AJK to follow NCOC instructions about opening of educational institutions
MUZAFFARABAD, Jan 15, 2021(APP): A high level meeting was held under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Raja Muhammad Farooq Haider Khan here Thursday to review the latest situation of coronavirus pandemic and opening of educational institutions in the region. The meeting was briefed about the latest situation of coronavirus pandemic while various proposals were discussed in connection with the opening of educational institutions.
The meeting decided to present the proposals in the National Command and Operations Center (NCOC) meeting on behalf of the Azad Kashmir government. The meeting decided that the decisions of the NCOC in connection with the opening of educational institutions will be fully implemented in Azad Kashmir. The meeting was attended by the Health Minister Dr. Najeeb Naqi, Minister for education Barrister Iftikhar Gillani, Minister for Higher Education Col Rted Waqar Ahmed Noor , Chief Secretary and secretaries to the government.
PM for pacing up measures, removing all hurdles to ensure improved governance
ISLAMABAD, Jan 14, 2021(APP):Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday stressed for further pacing up the implementation of measures for improved governance in the country by removing any types of hurdles coming in the way. He said administrative reforms should be implemented in stipulated time to provide relief to the masses. Since there was no discrimination of rich and poor in the welfare state and reformation was impossible without strengthening the system of reward and punishment, legal action against the corrupt elements should be ensured, he added.
The prime minister was presiding over a high level meeting here regarding Governance Action Matrix, which was attended by the federal and provincial officers concerned. Imran Khan was briefed in detail about the measures taken for bringing about improvement in administrative matters. He was told that the steps for providing relief to the people, registration and redressal of complaints, holding of Khuli Kachehris (open courts), resolution of problems relating to Mehakma Mall (department of land and revenue) on priority basis, establishment of one-window operation and facilitation of the people in government departments, have been practically implemented.
The prime minister was told that the process of large scale implementation of measures to ensure improvement in governance in Punjab has been started, with steps to boost its pace. He was also informed about the timely redressal of complaints in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, coordination with the administration of merged districts, strict monitoring of the prices of daily use items and the resultant significant reduction in flour price in the province.
Instead of investment, Modi’s black laws brought 0.5m troops to IIOJK: President
ISLAMABAD, Jan 13 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi Wednesday said that 500,000 soldiers came into the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), instead of the so-called investment as claimed by Narendra Modi while imposing black laws. “PM Modi said when imposing black laws in IIOJ & Kashmir that investment will flood in. No money arrived but 500K soldiers came, filling the streets,” the president said on Twitter.
Sharing The New York Times report on IIOJK situation, the president said besides the streets filled by the troops, the internet, television and telephone services had been closed down in the territory.Moreover, he said the internet speed had been slowed down to discourage videos from going out and those who vented anger were charged with terrorism.
In an article published in The New York Times said Emily Schmall wrote from Srinagar, “Once a hub for both Western and Indian tourists, Kashmir has been reeling for more than a year. First, India brought in security forces to clamp down on the region. Then the coronavirus struck.”
PM stresses transforming Pak-Turkish ties into robust economic partnership
ISLAMABAD, Jan 13, 2021 (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday while reaffirming the exceptional nature of Pakistan-Turkey political relationship, stressed the importance of transforming it into a robust economic partnership. The bilateral ties were discussed here in a meeting between the prime minister and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu who called him, a PM Office press release said.
During the meeting, they discussed Pakistan-Turkey bilateral relations and regional and international issues. The two sides reaffirmed their shared resolve to further upgrade trade, investment, defence, educational and cultural cooperation. The prime minister thanked Turkey for its steadfast support on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute and highlighted the detrimental Indian actions posing a threat to peace and security.
In the regional context, the prime minister underscored the importance Pakistan attached to a peaceful solution of the conflict in Afghanistan. In this regard, he highlighted Pakistan’s positive contribution to Afghan peace process and the imperative for all Afghan stakeholders to work for bringing down violence leading to ceasefire and securing an inclusive and broad-based political settlement.
Imran Khan emphasized the importance of working to combat Islamophobia and promote better understanding of the reverence Muslims have for the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It was agreed to maintain high-level exchanges and further build Pakistan-Turkey strategic relationship to the mutual benefit of the two countries and peoples.
Pakistan, Turkey & Azerbaijan to hold 2nd trilateral meeting on Jan 13, 2021
ISLAMABAD, Jan 12, 2021(APP):The Foreign Ministers of Pakistan, Turkey and Azerbaijan will hold their second Trilateral Meeting on Wednesday in Islamabad, the Foreign Office said Tuesday. The three sides will exchange views on global and regional issues including new and emerging threats to regional peace and security, address challenges faced by the COVID-19 pandemic, environment and climate change and to achieve economic development targets.
“The three Foreign Ministers would also explore possibilities of deepening trilateral cooperation in all areas of common interest, including peace and security, trade and investment, science and technology, education and cultural cooperation,” the Foreign Office said. Pakistan, Azerbaijan and Turkey enjoy close fraternal relations based on common faith, values, culture and history; deeply embedded in mutual trust and understanding. The first round of Trilateral Meeting was held in Baku in November 2017.
India’s evil designs about Kashmir to never materialize: AJK President
MIRPUR (AJK) Jan 12, 2021(APP): Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan unequivocally stated on Tuesday that India’s dream of turning the territory of Jammu and Kashmir into Hindu Rashtra would never materialize as the Kashmiri people are determined to continue their struggle for freedom and the right of self-determination till the last drop of their blood.
He made these remarks while addressing – as a keynote speaker – a webinar on “Marginalization of Kashmiris in the Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir by Indian Government”, organized by the Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI), AJK President office said. Other speakers at the event included former Senator Javed Jabbar, Chairperson Pakistan Peace and Culture Organisation Mishaal Hussain Malik and AVM (R) Shahzad Chaudhry. Acting President IPRI, Brig. (R) Raashid Wali Janjua hosted the event.
“Despite India’s policy of irredentism, Kashmiris have vowed to continue their struggle for freedom and self-determination by giving their blood to keep the flame of liberty burning. I say with conviction that the truth will prevail, evil will be crushed, and the Indian criminals will be brought to justice”, Khan affirmed. He said that the whole population of occupied Jammu and Kashmir has been under the siege of the Indian Army since August 5 last year, and the occupation troops are ruthlessly engaged in crimes like the ethnic cleansing of the Kashmiri people, which are not only crimes against humanity but the war crimes as well.
Sardar Masood Khan said that the BJP-RSS regime is taking systematic steps in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJK) to alter its demography, its geography, its statehood, and the rights of the people of Kashmir recognized by international law. “Jammu and Kashmir, as we knew it and as recognised by the UN is disappearing before our very eyes”, he warned. He elaborated that last year on August 5, after the invasion and forcibly annexing the occupied territory with its federation, it arbitrarily and in violation of the UN Security Council resolutions divided the occupied state into two parts and designated them as federal territories.
The President said that later last year, another sinister plan was implemented to ruthlessly take Kashmir away from Kashmiris, where more than 2 million Hindus from India have been illicitly settled inside the occupied territory. The AJK President also informed his audience of how legal businesses of Kashmiri Muslims are being delegitimized under illegal edicts and their land is being commandeered for settlements and Hindu enterprises. “Any part of the sovereign territory of Kashmiris is fair game for confiscation”, said the State President.
Speaking of the imposition of a counterfeit political class on Kashmiris, the President said that with ongoing gerrymandering, Muslims are being reduced to a minority even in the constituencies where they have been in majority. “Holding of the recent farcical local elections, the cycle for the total disenfranchisement and dispossession of Kashmiris is being completed”, he informed. President AJK said that crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and war crimes – all indictable offences under international law.
He added that the campaign is not just about the marginalization of Kashmiris, but their total annihilation and what is happening in the IOJK is genocide as defined in Article 2 of the 1948 Genocide Convention. “Scores of young men are being killed in fake encounters. Nobody knows the fate of more than 13,000 young boys rounded up in 2019 and put into concentration camps. Our top Kashmiris leadership is either in the most infamous jails in India or are imprisoned in their houses”, he said.
Masood Khan urged the participants of the webinar to issue a communiqué demanding the release of our leaders – Asiya Andrabi, Yasin Malik, Shabbir Shah, Ashraf Sehrai, and Musrat Alam Bhatt; and remove restrictions on Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq. Sardar Masood once again called to change the Kashmir movement into an international civil rights movement, to move with energy and ingenuity to reverse the vicious brutalization of the Kashmiris and block India’s path of fascism and its Hindutva doctrine.
“We are trying to break the silence of the international community in the UN, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, European Parliament, other national parliaments, and multilateral forums.”, he concluded.
Top civil, military brass discuss national security
ISLAMABAD, Jan 11, 2021(APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa Monday expressed their resolve to bring the perpetrators of unfortunate Mach incident to justice. The resolve was reiterated during the army chief’s call on the prime minister. During their meeting, they discussed the national security situation, the PM Office Media Wing said in a press release.
“The unfortunate Mach, Balochistan incident was highly condemned. It was resolved that the perpetrators would be brought to justice,” the press release said. Director General Inter Services Intelligence Lt Gen Faiz Hamid was also present in the meeting.The continuous human rights violations in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJK) and the frequent ceasefire violations over the Line of Control also came under discussion.
Gradual- Restoration efforts underway after major power breakdown hits Pakistan
KARACHI، Jan 10, 2021: Restoration efforts carried on well into Sunday morning after almost all cities and towns across Pakistan plunged into darkness late Saturday night following a major technical fault that caused the frequency in the entire distribution system to drop from 50 to 0. Tweeting from the ministry's official Twitter handle, spoksperson for the the Ministry of Energy said that according to initial reports, the Guddu power plant developed a fault at 11:41pm on Saturday night.
Addressing a press conference on Sunday, Federal Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan along with Federal Information Minister Shibli Faraz said the exact reason for the fault had still not been ascertained owing to the fog surrounding the Guddu power plant. However, he said efforts were underway to ascertain the cause. The minister informed that the power plant's safety systems started shutting off automatically soon after it developed a fault. "There are three 5 KV circuits at the Guddu power plant," Khan informed.
According to the energy minister, Prime Minister Imran Khan had been informed of the entire situation, and that he had directed for the electricity supply to be restored at the earliest. In a bid to keep people updated, Khan posted updates from his Twitter account throughout the night. The Ministry of Energy also posted regular updates from its Twitter handle. It's last tweet listed the names of Sukkur Electric Supply Company's grids that had so far been energised.
The National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) informed that a high-level committee to investigate the national power breakdown had been formed. The committee has been formed by the managing director of the NTDC. In a statement released on Saturday night, the NTDC stated that teams were working to ascertain reasons behind the sudden fall in frequency of the national distribution system. Residents in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta and Islamabad among other major cities faced a complete blackout with hastags #blackout, #electricity and #poweroutage trending on Twitter.
According to the power division spokesperson, efforts were afoot to start Tarbela unit so that the electricity distribution system can be restored in phases. The power division spokesperson also appealed to the masses to remain patient. “All teams have reached their respective stations… Federal Minister for Power, Petroleum and Natural Resources Omar Ayub is himself supervising the restoration work,” he stated. “People will be kept updated.” Ayub also took to Twitter to share the same details with public saying the nationwide outage was caused after the frequency in the national power distribution system suddenly fell from 50 to zero.
Federal Information Minister Shibli Faraz also shared details on the micro-blogging website. He said the power breakdown was caused by a technical fault in the NTDC system which is being restored," he tweeted. Technical fault in NTDC system. System is being restored۔ PM’s aide Shahbaz Gill also said the energy minister and his entire team were working to restore the transmission, adding that people would be kept updated on the situation. Guddu power plant developed a fault at 11:41pm on Saturday night, the Ministry of Energy tweeted from its official handle. The technical fault in which frequency fell from 50 to zero in less than a second led to the country’s main high transmission lines to trip.
The units of Tarbela and Warsak power house have been started for sequential restoration of power, it added. “Once the initial frequency is restored, the maintenance work will speed up.”
Maryam Nawaz, Bilawal Bhutto met Machh tragedy victims In Quetta today
QUETTA, Jan 7, 2021: PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz along with other leaders of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) has arrived in Quetta to pay their visit to the Machh incident victims today. The incident took place last week when 11 colliers were killed and four others seriously injured after armed men opened fire at them at the Machh coalfield in Balochistan's Bolan district.
The PML-N confirmed Maryam Nawaz is on visit of Quetta with other senior leaders of the party whereas Bilawal is accompanied by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to the Quetta visit. Meanwhile, a delegation of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) will also leave Islamabad for Quetta today to show solidarity with the Hazara community. The delegation will convey Maulana Fazlur Rehman's condolence message to the Hazara community members. A day earlier, Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal had visited the protest camp of the Hazara families and urged them to bury the slain coal miners. He had appealed to let go of the condition that they will only do so if Prime Minister Imran Khan visits them.
Bilawal Bhutto’s arrival in Quetta was delayed as he had to offload the plane after some technical default. Earlier, sharing the update on Twitter, the PPP leader said that he has been making other arrangements and is trying his level best to reach Quetta with CM Sindh & Former PM Gillani. “Have been trying to reach Quetta with CM Sindh & Former PM Gillani. We’ve had to offload as the plane's engine would not start. Trying to make other arrangements,” Bilawal said in a tweet.
He also stressed that Prime Minister Imran Khan must accept the demands of the victims of terrorism protesting along with their death for the fifth consecutive day now. Members of the Hazara community have staged a continuous sit-in in Quetta in freezing temperatures to demand justice for the slain coal miners who were gunned down in Machh for the fifth consecutive day. The bodies of the deceased have been kept where the community is staging its demonstration, on the Quetta-Sibi highway (Western Bypass), near Hazara Town. Due to the presence of the protesters, the area is completely blocked off to traffic.
Please Bury Your Loved Ones : PM Pleads Hazara Mourners
ISLAMABAD, Jan 6, 2021: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday assured the Hazara community that he was cognizant of their sufferings and demands and requested them to bury the bodies of the slain coal miners. “I share your pain and have come to you before also to stand with you in your time of suffering,” he said adding that we will come again very soon to offer prayers and condole with all the families personally.
“I will never betray my people's trust. Please bury your loved ones so their souls find peace,” he urged the community. Members of the Hazara community have blockaded a highway in Quetta with the bodies of slain coal miners since Sunday demanding that they will not withdraw until Prime Minister Imran Khan meets them and the killers are brought to justice.
Islamic State militants slit the throats of 11 miners in a residential compound near a mine site in Balochistan on Sunday, filming the entire incident and later posting it online. Thousands of Hazaras have since staged a protest, arranging the coffins across a highway in the provincial capital.
In a series of tweets, the premier assured that the government was taking steps to prevent such attacks in the future. Without mentioning a country, the premier further stated that the government was well aware that Pakistan’s “neighbour was instigating this sectarian terrorism”.
Cabinet Approves Purchase of COVID-19 Vaccine to Save Human Lives
ISLAMABAD, Jan 5, 2021(APP): The Federal Cabinet Tuesday accorded approval to the Ministry of Health, to purchase the COVID-19 vaccine on an emergency basis to save precious human lives. The cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan was briefed by Special Assistant on Health Dr. Faisal Sultan about the current situation of coronavirus pandemic in the country.
The cabinet offered Fateha and prayed for the souls of laborers martyred in Machh, Balochistan incident, Osama Satti, who was killed in police firing in Islamabad, and for the martyrs of Pakistan Armed Forces. The meeting approved the appointment of the Chairman Board of Directors (BOD) of Pakistan Expo Centers Private Limited.
It also approved the constitution of a special committee to adjudicate on the appeals made under Clause 21 of the Trade Organizations Act 2013. The committee would be able to exercise its authority after the completion of amendments in the relevant laws. The meeting also accorded approval for the appointment of members of the Press Council of Pakistan.
The cabinet, in order to improve the quality of exports in the fisheries sector, approved the constitution of the Inspection Committee, which would perform duties of inspection of the Fish Processing Plants to be established in the country. The Inspection Committee comprised representatives of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Ministry of Commerce, and Pakistan Fisheries Exporters Association.
The cabinet accepted the resignation of Dr Rana Abdul Jabbar as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Alternate Energy Development Board (AEDB) and approved the constitution of a selection committee for the appointment of the new CEO. The Managing Director of the Private Power Infrastructure Board (PPIB) would look after the AEDB till the appointment of a new CEO. The cabinet endorsed the decisions taken by the Cabinet Committee for Legal Cases in its meeting held on December 31, 2020.
India Behind Mach Terror Incident: Bushra Rind
ISLAMABAD, Jan 4, 2021 (APP):Baluchistan Parliamentary Secretary for Information Bushra Rind Monday said that India is behind the terror incident and involved in the killing of 11 coal miners in Mach area of Baluchistan. While holding a press conference here at the National Press Club, she said “All our sympathies are with the Hazara community and especially with the bereaved families of coal miners of Mach incident”.
Condemning the attack, she said that anti-national elements wanted to vitiate the law and order situation in the province. The investigation of the Mach terrorist incident is underway on the directives of Chief Minister Jam Kamal and the evil elements will be brought to justice. India and other anti-Pakistan elements wanted to sabotage China Pakistan Economic Corridor through such terrorist activities, she added.
Talking about Pakistan democratic Moment (PDM), she said they wanted chaos in the country as the nation has rejected their narrative. PDM is causing the spread of the corona virus among the public. Rind said that Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) and other parties have hollowed out the roots of the country. The role of the nationalist parties in Baluchistan is also very disappointing, she added.
The Baluchistan government under the leadership of Chief Minister Jam Kamal is taking revolutionary steps in the province for development and promotion of tourism in the province. “Our government has taken steps to promote tourism in Balochistan. We have made historic strides in agriculture, health, education and other areas. A date processing plant has been set up in Balochistan” she told.
For the first time, the Baluchistan Awami Endowment Fund has been set up to award financial support to needy patients in the province. Around 22 dams were being constructed to promote agriculture, she said adding that work has resumed on the Kirthar Canal. The present government is paying special attention to the development of the coastal belt.
For promotion of coastal tourism, she said the government is constructing hotels, restaurants and ensuring the provision of other facilities in the shores of Gwadar.
We tried to release funds to the local government for strengthening of the local bodies system. She further said that the Baluchistan Awami Party has given most of the funds and initiated development projects in the constituencies of the opposition parties. Talking about the case of Karima Baloch, she said that unjustified allegations were made against the state in the case of Karima Baloch. The report of Canadian police said that Karima Baloch’s death was natural.
PM Condemns 11 Miners’ killing in Balochistan; Orders Immediate Arrest of killers
ISLAMABAD, Jan 03, 2021(APP):Prime Minister Imran Khan Sunday condemned the killing of 11 coal miners in Mach area of Balochistan, calling it “yet another cowardly inhumane act of terrorism”.Eleven mines were killed after armed militants kidnapped them and took them to a nearby area before opening fire at close range, according to police.
The prime minister, in a tweet, directed the Frontier Corps to use all resources to apprehend the killers and bring them to justice.“The families of the victims will not be left abandoned by the government,” he said.
Year 2021 to Bring About Good Time for Pakistan: PM
ISLAMABAD, Jan 1, 2021 (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday while reiterating his government’s resolve to uplift people’s living standard and improve justice system, hoped that new year 2021 will bring about good time for Pakistan.
The prime minister, in his first interview of new year with a private television channel (Dunya News), said all the reshuffle in federal and provincial cabinets and bureaucracy would become irrelevant before a question whether Imran Khan improved people’s lives after five years.
“You get a mandate for five years. I will not commit to not change my team. I am captain and always kept changing the team. I have to win the match. I have to make Pakistan win.,” the prime minister said.He said his goal was to make a common man recognizes uplift in his living standard, justice system and steering them out of poverty after five years.
Calling him a prime minister of common man, not elite class, he said the first two years were very tough.“These were the most difficult years of my life. I have very good feeling. Insha Allah, my instinct is saying that 2021 will bring about a very good time for Pakistan,” the prime minister remarked.
Govt Striving to Create Equitable Opportunities for Growth: President
ISLAMABAD, Dec 30, 2020 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi Wednesday said that the government was striving to create equitable opportunities for growth and development in the country.The president, in a meeting with a delegation of Entrepreneurs Organization (EO), said the business atmosphere had improved in the country due to the reforms and prudent policies being pursued by the government.
Entrepreneurs Organization, is a global non-profit organization and a high-quality support network of over 14,000 like-minded leaders across 61 countries. It helps entrepreneurs achieve their full potential through the power of life-enhancing connections, shared experiences and collaborative learning.The president told the delegation that owing to government’s pro-business policies and facilitations, Pakistan’s global ranking in ease of doing business had improved by 28 points.
He urged the EO to play its role for boosting Pakistan’s exports and its access to global markets.The president called for adopting the strategy to cope with the changing scenarios and trends in the global markets to make the country achieve economic benefits.He also called for efforts for welfare of deprived and less-privileged segments of the society particularly the differently-abled persons. He also advised the business community to take steps for employment of the disabled people.
PM “Saddened” Over Martyrdom of Seven Soldiers in Balochistan Attack
ISLAMABAD, Dec 27,2020 (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan Sunday expressed sadness over the martyrdom of seven soldiers in a terrorist attack at FC check post in Harnai area of Balochistan on Saturday night.“Saddened to hear of 7 brave soldiers martyrdom as a result of terrorist attack on FC post in Harnai Balochistan late last night,” the prime minister said on Twitter.
While condoling the loss of lives, the prime minister sympathised with the bereaved families and prayed for strength to them to bear the loss.“Our nation stands with our courageous soldiers who face attacks from Indian backed terrorists,” the prime minister remarked.According to an ISPR statement, the terrorists fire raid on a post of Frontier Corps Balochistan in Sharig, Harnai, Balochistan late Saturday night. During the intense exchange of fire, seven brave soldiers martyred while repulsing raiding terrorists.
PM Urges Nation to Pay Homage to Great Quaid By Following His Footsteps in All Walks of Life
ISLAMABAD, Dec 24 (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan while paying rich tribute to Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah for his role in the creation of Pakistan has urged the nation to pay a befitting homage to “our great Quaid” by following his footsteps in all walks of lives.“Let us live the Quaid’s ideals of Unity, Faith and Discipline with a renewed national spirit so that we make this country rise above all seen and unseen challenges,” he said in a message on the occasion of the birth anniversary of the founder of nation.
The Prime Minister said, “On this eventful day when Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was born, a proud nation was destined to come into being.“I feel blessed to have opened my eyes in a free environment bestowed upon us by God through his chosen personality who was none other but our beloved Quaid,” he added.The Prime Minister said that Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had a vision for the Muslims of the subcontinent which got translated in the shape of Pakistan.
“Therefore, there is no other pleasure more real to us as a nation than the commemoration of his birthday. As a prime representative of whole nation, I owe immense gratitude, love and devotion towards my beloved leader Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah,” he added.The Prime Minister said that in the modern history of mankind, there were a few people who garnered such a wide popularity as our Quaid did.“His determination to carve a nation out of chaos and relentless deprivation was miraculous and insuperable against all odds and challenges”, he added..
The Prime Minister said that Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had a firm faith in God and His Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) which guided him through a long journey comprising of ordeals, deceptions and dejections but culminating in grandeur, décor and eternity.“He is a role model not merely for us but for Muslims of whole world because of the universal vision he instilled in the creation of Pakistan.With the adorable actions which spoke louder than words, he became an actual prototype of honesty and righteousness,” he added.
The Prime Minister said, “We trace not a single discourse by our beloved Quaid on the innumerable sacrifices he made for the cause of his nascent nation rather it is only through his actions that we learn of all those grieving losses he personally went through.”“Together, let us beseech Allah that He grants us strength to realize our destiny of becoming the strongest nation on earth as rightly visualized by our Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah,” he maintained.
President Urges Children to Follow Quaid’s Principles to Make Pakistan Rise
ISLAMABAD, Dec 25, 2020 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi Friday urged the children of Pakistan to excel in every field of knowledge and skills by adhering to the principles of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and make the country rise.“Great countries are built by strong and disciplined nations, who are committed to grow in every sphere of life with hard work, commitment and sincerity of purpose,” the President told a gathering of children at an event marking the Quaid’s birth anniversary.
The programme titled ‘Quaid and children’ was part of the special celebrations for the Quaid Day, held every year at the Aiwan-e-Sadr. The President called upon the children to study the life of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah on how selflessly he struggled hard for the creation of Pakistan. He said only a person with such impeccable character and strong will could achieve this tough goal, which everyone believed as impossible.
The President urged upon the parents and teachers to help build strong character of the young generation right from their earlier age as they would turn out to be the next leaders of this country. He said Pakistan had been handed over to the future generations by the Quaid as a “trust”, and now it was their duty to make the country strong and prosperous.President Alvi said no one should have any doubt about Pakistan which, he said was “destined to rise”.
He mentioned the rapid progress in sciences the world over and the way it was breaking all barriers in the world of technology, with latest innovations and developments. He termed as vital the study of sciences for the progress of any country in contemporary age. He said Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah had a belief that the Pakistani nation would build their country which would earn respect and admiration in the comity of nations.
President Dr Arif Alvi also urged the children to strictly follow the life and teachings of Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him), as only by following the greatest leader of all times. He recalled the address of the Quaid of 11 August 1947, wherein he promised that the minorities would be fully able to pursue their religions freely without any fear or persecution and the State would ensure the sanctity of places of worships- mosques, temples, churches , etc.
He said Pakistan was created on democratic principles and on the basis of a kind of referendum where the people demonstrated their democratic right to choose their separate homeland. The President asked the children to follow in letter and spirit the guiding principles of faith, unity and discipline. He said the Quaid-e-Azam believed in justice for all and always stood for the oppressed and those who were weak and were being exploited.
He also briefly touched upon the history of creation of Pakistan and told the children about different facets of the long struggle that culminated in the creation of a separate homeland for the Muslims of sub-continent. He also spoke about the decline of Muslims and attributed it to lack of unity, knowledge and will to excel. He said it was time that the young children learn lessons from history and set their targets high so that the Muslim Ummah could rise again to its zenith.The children sang national songs and performed tableaus depicting the struggle for the creation of Pakistan.
PM For Enhanced Forestation, Promoting Production of Olives, Avocado, Fruits, Vegetables
ISLAMABAD, Dec 21, 2020 (APP):Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday stressed for enhanced forestation in the county to mitigate the negative effects of climate change and promoting the production of exportable agriculture-related products such as honey, olives, avocado, and other fruits and vegetables for wealth creation.
With the depleting forest cover, and increasing air and water pollutions, Pakistan had become the fifth country in the world being affected by the climate change, he said while addressing the launching ceremony of ‘Billion Tree Honey’ Initiative here. The initiative – part of the Prime Minister’s vision of a Clean and Green Pakistan, is aimed at promoting tree plantation to support production of honey in the country under the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme (TBTTP).
The prime minister said with 70% depletion in the country’s forest cover due to negligence of previous regimes, one of the big challenges faced by his government was to reverse the situation through various measures such as the initiative of 10 billion tree tsunami programme. He said contrary to the past regimes which did not think about humans and coming generations but for the next elections, the present government was fulfilling its obligations of putting the country back on the right track of clean environment.
Imran Khan said for the first time in the country’s history the previous government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa launched and successfully achieved the billion tree plantation programme, a fact also recognized by international institutions, including the World Bank. He said the initiatives like “Billion Tree Honey” would help protect the forests as the local people, including bee-keepers, would take ownership of the area and not let anyone to cut trees due to their financial interests.
Such initiatives supported by the government, he added, would also help promote the culture of enhanced tree plantation for the benefit of people and country alike, and create employment opportunities. He said the country’s known forests in Kundian (Mianwali District) and Changa Manga (Kasur District) had been devastated due to ill planning and leasing of lands to the people on political grounds in the past.
The prime minister since Pakistan was bestowed by Allah Almighty with diverse climatic zones due to mountains, plains, coastal lines, there was a need to tap that natural potential by promoting tree plantation and production of variety of fruits and vegetables to enhance exports. He said for example the areas of Sulaiman Range, at the right bank of Indus River, was best for planting of precious olive trees, which could help check the country’s annual US$ 3 billion edible oil import.
Similarly, the prime minister said fruits like avocado and others could be produced for export. He, however, added that in order to achieve enhanced exports of fruits and vegetables, particularly in the Middle East, required the quality control and effective branding and marketing of the products. Imran Khan said as Pakistan was the second youngest population in the world, the promotion of value addition in agriculture and other products would help check poverty, create employment opportunities and strengthen economy.
He lauded the efforts of Ministry of Climate Change for taking various measures and initiatives towards a clean and green Pakistan. Earlier, Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul and Special Assistant to the PM on Climate Change, in their remarks, highlighted various aspects of the “Billion Tree Honey” Initiative. About 10,000 beekeepers are using 300,000 colonies for producing 7,500 metric tons of honey annually.
The potential can be enhanced to produce 70,000 metric tons of honey from the same harvest by using modern bee keeping gears, training on the latest techniques, standardization / certification of the product and intensive marketing. It is anticipated that marketing of 70,000 metric tons of honey will generate an income of about Rs. 35-43 billion in the national economy and provide about 87,000 green jobs.
Plantation of trees, including Kao, Phulai, Ber, Kikar and other bee flora is being encouraged under the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme (TBTTP).
PM Dares PDM On Immediate Resignations; Says Majority of Members Not to Resign
ISLAMABAD, Dec 18 (APP):: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday while daring the opposition parties on immediate resignations, predicted that majority of their members of National and provincial assemblies would not tender resignations. “I invite them to resign today instead of tomorrow. I am predicting that majority of them [members of assemblies] will not resign,” Imran Khan said in an interview with a private television channel (Samaa News).
The prime minister further said he was waiting rather praying for their resignations. “If they resign, it will be better for Pakistan,” he remarked. Imran Khan said the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) could do whatever it wanted, as the government was ready for everything. “Whatever they do, they will make their own loss like they did at the Minar-e-Pakistan,” he remarked.
The prime minister described the PDM’s December 13 public meeting a “flop show” and said the people of Lahore did not come out and most of the participants comprised students of religious seminaries or those attracted by the offers of ‘Naan and Biryani’. “They were claiming to gather a sea of people at the Minar-e-Pakistan,” Imran Khan remarked and offered to facilitate the PDM in their planned sit-in in Islamabad. “But they will not be able to achieve their objective,” he added.
The prime minister also dared the PDM to stage even a week-long sit-in the Federal Capital, saying after holding a 126 days sit-in in Islamabad he had become a “Dharna Specialist”. “If they sustain even a week-long sit-in, he will start thinking of resignation,” he said in response to a question. About the Senate elections, the prime minister said the polls could be held 30 days prior to the expiry of tenure of the present members.
As far as the procedure of open ballot or show of hands was concerned, he said, the government would approach the Supreme Court for interpretation of the relevant clauses of law. He said as it was a well known fact that the people indulged in corruption through use of money in the Senate elections, the government’s intention was to check such malpractices in election of Upper House of Parliament. “If a member of Senate is elected through corruption, how and what he will contribute in the legislation process?” he remarked.
To a question, the prime minister categorically rejected the reports of his cabinet member’s visit to Tel Aviv as “totally incorrect” and “fake news” and said it was part of India’s disinformation campaign recently exposed by EU DisinfoLab. “It is totally incorrect. When we have a policy that we will not recognize Israel, why a minister will go there? And what he will do there? It is fake news,” he added.
The prime minister said a full-fledged campaign was being run and the European Union DisinfoLab had recently exposed the whole Indian network. Some Pakistani nationals were also involved in the network [of disinformation] and were feeding them from here, he added. “Uproar is going on in the country [by the opposition parties] for the last two years.., the voices of all is bad,” the prime minister remarked and questioned “Did no good thing happened [during this period?”
He lamented that nobody [from the opposition side] was telling that the country’s economy had come on a takeoff position. “If the stock exchange is moving upward, it shows the confidence of investors and businessmen,” he said and again questioned, “Can anybody take the stock market up by force?” Prime Minister Imran Khan said the governments of Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz took the country’s debt from Rs 6,000 billion in 2008 to Rs 30,000 billion in 2018.
To a question about the PDM’s movement, he said ‘big thieves’ had come together to protect their interests and seek an NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) which he would never give. The prime minister said the opposition parties blackmailed the government on the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) legislation by proposing amendments in 34 out of 38 clauses of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) law, which if adopted, was tantamount to bury the NAB institution.
He said if he gave the NRO to the opposition, it would be bad for the country’s future. “And, if do so, how I will face Allah Almighty?,” he remarked. To a question, the prime minister said it was not his government which instituted the cases against Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari, rather they themselves had made cases against each other during their respective regimes. About the PDM’s ultimatum of January 31 for his resignation, Imran Khan said they were threatening the man, who had come into power after 22 years of struggle and had not inherited the leadership.
The prime minister said he had predicted in his first address to the nation in 2018 that the opposition parties would get united to protect their corruption and seek the NRO. “They have not come together for democracy or interests of the country, but are staging dramas for their personal interests,” he remarked. Imran Khan said the PDM was appealing to the army to dislodge a democratically elected government, which was against the Constitution.
To a question, he said the institution of military was part of the government and always helped the civil institutions in hard times, including the fight against COVId-19, locust attack, polio immunization campaign, flooding etc. The prime minister said since Nawaz Sharif was a product of the Establishment and had always come into power through their support, he was perturbed over why he was not being supported now. To a question, he said he was very happy over the current excellent civil-military relations and had no problem with the army.
About Nawaz Sharif’s return to Pakistan, Imran Khan remarked that it was a very sad story as he (Nawaz) travelled to London on medical grounds by showing his medical reports of serious ailment. He, however, added that the government was looking ways and means to bring Nawaz Sharif back to Pakistan either through extradition or deportation. The prime minister, in response to a question, said the PDM had the support of anti-Pakistan people and forces like Hussain Haqqani, who were trying to destabilize the country.
He said the narrative of Nawaz Sharif was highlighted by Indian media. “Why Nawaz Sharif is popular in India? He has become a hero in India,” he remarked. Imran Khan said for the last 73 years any government in India had not been so anti-Muslim or anti-Pakistan than the current regime led by Narendra Modi, who fully tried to get Pakistan in the black list of FATF. The prime minister said just like every household, the country also had to face fiscal deficit when it was under debt burden and had lower revenue generation than the expenses.
Pakistan had not been generating sufficient revenue for having the lowest tax-to-GDP ratio making the government short of money to improve hospitals and living conditions of the people, he added. Imran Khan said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government inherited record fiscal and current account deficits, which he could not rectify by just switching a button.
“You have to reduce expenses. This surely brings difficulties when you come out of bankruptcy. There is no magic stick to correct it all,” he remarked. However, he said the economic turnaround made by Pakistan despite the COVID-19 pandemic was a miracle. To a question, the prime minister said the country faced inflation just because of lower dollar inflow, which devalued the rupee, and increased oil and power prices.
He said the solution was the wealth creation for which the government was facilitating the industrial sector. Despite all odds, the industry in Faisalabad and Sialkot was running on full capacity and even facing shortage of labour. The construction industry in the country was witnessing a boom with record surge in cement sale which would ultimately create jobs for the people, he added. To a question, he clarified that it was mainly the private sector that created jobs, as the government could give only a few.
He said through unnecessary recruitment, the previous governments made the institutions face loss like Pakistan International Airlines facing Rs 400 billion and Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) Rs 350 billion loss. Everywhere in the world, the employees of the loss-making entities were laid off, but those being sacked from the PSM were being given a golden handshake, he added. The sacked employees, he said, would get a chance of re-employment, once any investor took over the mills and revived its operations.
He said the government had reduced the PM Office’s expenses by 70% and the Pakistan Army had also frozen its expenses despite challenging circumstances. Consequent to two-year efforts, the country had finally achieved primary balance as remittances and exports were also on the rise. The prime minister assured that in near future, Pakistan would make swift progress as the government was executing mega development projects like two major Mohmand and Diamer Bhasha dams after 50 years and would develop two new cities of Ravi Urban Front and Bundal Island to create jobs as well as bringing foreign exchange.
Appreciating the government’s anti-poverty Ehsaas Programme as the best and internationally recognized scheme, the prime minister said the government was focusing on agriculture, construction and textile industries for jobs creations. Moreover, following the Chinese anti-poverty model, the people were being given easy loans and women were getting cattle under the Ehsaas to enhance their earning. Asked about the accountability process and the opposition’s criticism, the prime minister said the people, who had ruled the country for three decades, could not be equalized with the ones with just two years in government.
He said though being a fair and transparent personality, he was never afraid of free media, but the media too should not compare the opposition leaders having corrupt and criminal backgrounds with the new entrants. An independent media was in the government’s favour to point out its mistakes for rectification, he added. Imran Khan said he had nothing to do with the NAB investigation into cases against Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari, registered by themselves against each other. All what his government had done was to make the institutions independent, he added.
As regards the petrol price issue report, he said a three-member committee had been formed and action would be taken against the one found guilty. Calling the PDM as Pakistan Anti-Democratic Movement, the prime minister questioned its chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman about the source of his properties worth billions while having no business. Asked about Pakistan’s ties with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, he said the foreign policy of any country depended on its economic condition.
“If you have to beg everywhere… and your country is facing deficit, keep in mind, you will not have an independent foreign policy,” he commented. To a question, the prime minister opined that the first choice of any US administration would be the establishment of peace in Afghanistan, of which Pakistan would be the second most beneficiary. Pakistan would also use its influence on Taliban for reduction in violence for the success of the peace talks, he added.
Rubbishing the opposition’s criticism of losing Kashmir to India, the prime minister said contrarily, it had been made an international issue for the first time after 50 years and was also discussed thrice by the United Nations Security Council. Nawaz Sharif as prime minister had not mentioned Kashmir, who used to hold no meeting with Hurriyat leaders while being in India, invite Modi on family events and even instructed the then foreign secretary not to criticize India, he added. He said currently Kashmir was far more relevant than ever and Pakistan’s positive image had also been revived internationally.
Asked as to why he unfollowed people on his Twitter account, he said it was different to be a politician and a prime minister, and he was recommended to do so, having nothing to do with any conspiracy. The prime minister said he was trying his best to change the public mindset for developing Pakistan as an independent nation which was not achievable until they paid taxes. “We will have to decide we have not to live this way. We will have to pay taxes. The country’s 70pc tax is paid by only 30,000 people. What others are doing,” he questioned.
He said after five-year term, it would be the people to decide whether to re-elect the PTI based on any change in their living condition and level of fulfilling the commitments made by him. He said by 2023, the most important achievements of his government would be the worldwide recognition of Ehsaas Programme, the country’s industrialization, execution of long term projects like the dams and new cities, and environmental protection.
Maryam Nawaz Urges Participants to Wear Masks During Lahore Jalsa
LAHORE, Dec 13, 2020:: PML-N vice-president Maryam Nawaz on Sunday urged the participants of Pakistan Democratic Movement's (PDM) rally to abide by the coronavirus safety guidelines as responsible citizens. Taking her request to Twitter, the PML-N leader asked the participants to wear masks to ensure their own safety and the well-being of their loved ones during what she called would be a "historic jalsa".
"Dear All, as responsible citizens, please remember to wear a mask for your own safety and that of your dear ones, at all times, before, during and after what is going to Insha’Allah a historic jalsa," Maryam said in a tweet. The Opposition is expecting a big turnout at the rally while the government has asked the PDM to shun the politics of agitation for a while as the coronavirus situation is worsening day-by-day.
The health experts had also warned that large public gatherings would deteriorate the health crisis. The opposition parties, under the banner of PDM, will put up their last power show in Lahore today. A large stage has been established on the steps of Minar-e-Pakistan for the leadership while chairs are being set up on the ground at the forefront.
Generators have been hooked up and light installed for the rally beside the all-important sound system. Despite the cold weather, workers of Opposition parties have started arriving at the ground, carrying flags, chanting slogans, warming up the atmosphere. The organisers, however, have asked the supporters to reach the venue at 2 pm.
PDM Lahore Jalsa: All Set for Power Show at Lahore’s Minar-E-Pakistan
LAHORE, Dec 13, 2020:: The preparations for the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s Lahore jalsa, hosted by the PML-N, are complete at the Minar-e-Pakistan ground. Even though the organisers of the jalsa had asked the attendees to reach the venue at 2 pm, dozens of supports already started gathering there early on despite the cold weather, enthusiastically chanting slogans, carrying flags, and warming up the atmosphere. A large stage has been set up on the steps of Minar-e-Pakistan for the leaders while chairs have been set up on the ground at the forefront. Generators have been hooked up and lights have been installed for the rally beside the all-important sound system.
Meanwhile, PML-N leaders Marriyum Aurangzeb and Attaullah Tarar, along with other members, inspected the arrangements. Sources said that the bomb-disposal squad has also examined the venue and have greenlighted it as safe. The PML-N will also host a lunch for the PDM leaders today at the residence of Ayaz Sadiq where all PDM leaders will gather before departing for Minar-e-Pakistan. Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Bilawal Bhutto and other senior leaders of the 11-party Opposition alliance have been invited for at the residence of Ayaz Sadiq.
Maryam Nawaz, along with Pervez Rasheed, Mohammad Zubair, Musadik Malik, has reached Sadiq's house. She was joined by National Party's Dr Abdul Malik Baloch and Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai, Speaking to journalists before the departure, she said that the Opposition, along with the masses, will soon "topple the government." "We are aware of the problems of the people of Lahore," she said. "You all should get out of your house for the sake of the country and help us oust this government."
The senior leadership of the PDM has been warned of a possible "terrorist activity" today. Lahore police have sent letters to PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Maryam Nawaz and lawmakers Khawaja Saad Rafique and Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, and PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari. "TTP terrorists are coordinating to carry out a terrorist activity on 13 December, 2020. Although details regarding the place of terrorist activity and likely targets is not available, the date (13 December 2020) appears to be significant as a huge public gathering is expected at Minar-e-Pakistan," read the letter.
It states that after the terrorists failed in their attempt in Peshawar, "they are planning to shift their operatives, required material and logistics towards another place (most likely Lahore)". The letter warns that information available suggests that hostile intelligence agencies along with Afghanistan-based Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan have planned to carry out terrorist activities in Punjab particularly in Lahore. A meeting was held on December 8 on the Western border to "upsurge (sic) terrorist activities in Pakistan", according to the letter.
These hostile intelligence agencies "may also carry out assassinations of senior political personalities associated with PDM" to create instability in the country, it further warns "Besides other targets, political and religious personalities or high profile figures of minorities in Punjab Province are on their priority list," the letter adds. CM Buzdar asks Opposition to postpone rally due to the pandemic. 'Those involved in the jalsa will be prosecuted per law'. Ahead of the jalsa, Chief Minister of Punjab Usman Buzdar said that politicians, who had been involved in corrupt practices for the last 40 years, now have the audacity to gather at the sacred site of Minar-e-Pakistan and chant anti-corruption slogans.
"Through the jalsa innocent people are being exposed to the coronavirus," he said, adding that the government will prosecute those involved in the jalsa according to the law," he wrote on Twitter. The Punjab government has not permitted the PDM to hold the rally in Lahore citing terror threat and the second wave COVID-19 pandemic. However, no action has been taken by the provincial government to stop the rally participants. No containers have been set up on the roads, and no other obstruction has been put in place. Meanwhile, government spokespersons said the law will come into force if the coronavirus standard operation procedures (SOPs) or the law are violated.
PM Stresses on Exploring Country’s Huge Untapped Potential of Tourism
ISLAMABAD, Dec 12, 2020(APP):: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said with Pakistan having the most beautiful and undiscovered tourist sites in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Northern Areas, there was a need to explore and promote the huge untapped tourism potential, including mountain tourism, skiing etc. Switzerland, which was just half of KP in term of area, was earning $80 billion per annum through skiing alone, whereas Pakistan’s annual exports were around $ 25 billion, he added.
The prime minister was addressing the launching and partnership signing ceremony of ‘Travel Responsibility for Experiencing Eco Tourism (TREK)’ here between the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, World Bank and Nestle Pakistan. TREK initiative includes collaboration for awareness campaigns on responsible tourism, waste collection, management and recycling activities. The initiative is aimed at promoting Eco Tourism whereby environmental protection of tourism sites in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will be ensured.
Imran Khan, while congratulating KP Chief Minister Mehmood Khan for taking lead, said the promotion of tourism especially eco-tourism would not only help the country achieve enhanced economic development but would create more employment opportunities for local population. He said unfortunately the country’s tourist sites, including those of Naran and Nathiagali, were damaged due to unplanned tourism and constructions.
The prime minister, however, believed that the TREK initiative, under byelaws for environmental protection, would help protect the beautiful tourist sites like Kumrat Valley, which, he feared, would also be devastated due to unplanned tourism and constructions. The installation of a cable car at Kumrat Valley would not only add to the beauty of area but would also help attract more tourists, he added. Imran Khan said unlike Pakistan, where permanent concrete structures were built at beautiful tourist locations, moveable structures were made at various tourist resorts in the world, including Kenya Safari Park to protect the environment.
The prime minister said the initiatives like TREK would also encourage the local people to take care of the tourist areas in terms of cleanliness and protection of natural beauty from pollution. He referred to the government’s initiative of protecting the wildlife habitat, including ibex in Chitral, and said due to the government’s efforts the preservation of ibex had been ensured for the protection of wildlife habitat as well as for the benefit of local community.
The prime minister said owing to the government’s policy of promoting tourism, there was a historic increase in tourism, especially local tourism and a large number of people were seen rushing to the KP and Norther Areas in summer and winter seasons alike. He said mobile phones were contributing a lot in promoting tourism in the country, as tourists often used the social media, including Facebook to post their pictures at beautiful scenic and tourist sites. The prime minister while constructing roads, hotels or any other buildings in the country’s tourist sites and areas, the protection of environment should be specially taken care of.
Rs 17 Billion Development Package to Change Fate of Sialkot: PM
SIALKOT, Dec 9, 2020(APP):: Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday said that the mega development package worth Rs 17 billion encompassing water supply, sewerage system, solid waste schemes and parks would change the fate of Sialkot city. Addressing a ceremony for distribution of cheques of business loans under Kamyab Jawan Program here, the prime minister congratulated Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar for launching development works city by city after thorough review of their needs.
The prime minister who also launched the first phase of the public welfare projects of the package including the groundbreaking of sewage system and water supply schemes costing Rs 9.5 billion, recreational park valuing Rs 300 million and latest machinery for solid waste management worth Rs 600 million. The projects have been announced under Punjab Intermediate Cities Improvement Investment Program (PICIIP).
As per details, the projects comprise replacement of 260-kilometer stretch of water pipelines, installation of 15 new tubewells, seven filtration plants, five overhead reservoirs to be completed by 2022. The project would have the capacity to supply clean drinking water to around 322,000 people till 2044.
The prime minister said the people expected a lot from new government and it was also easy for them to dole out public money extravagantly just to win public applause. But, the chief minister’s decision of launching need-based development scheme after proper review and planning was laudable. He said the cities’ unplanned growth always created troubles for governments to provide amenities like water supply and sewerage.
In order to address the issue, the government had decided to design master plans of the cities to contain the haphazard growth which otherwise would eat up green areas to beget food insecurity for future generations. He said the civic amenities like water supply and sewerage systems were essential to prevent water borne diseases and infections particularly among children.
He congratulated the Sialkot’s business community for launching a private airline after establishing the first private airport in the city. The prime minister also performed ground breaking of Rs 14 billion project of Sialkot University of Applied Engineering and Technology in what he said would be applauded by the future generations.
He said due to the efforts by Dr Attaur Rehman, a university had already been made operational in Haripur and he was also making efforts for collaboration of the newly announced university with world’s renowned universities in Austria, Italy and China. The prime minister, who earlier distributed cheques among the beneficiaries, believed that the nations always progressed on the basis of higher education and technical education institutions.
He said despite minimal support and previous government’s anti-industrialization policies, the Sialkot’s business community always acted vibrantly and made the city a hub of exports. Contrary to the past, he said, the current government was fully backing the industrialists and also agreed to their demand for provision of 1000 acre land to develop an industrial estate for convergence of the scattered industrial units.
The prime minister said it would also make it easier for the government to provide amenities to the industries besides addressing the difficulties faced by the people by the industries operating in residential areas. The proposed industrial estate would especially accommodate the SMEs which created most of the jobs. He also assured that the government would further enhance the volume of loans for the sector.
He especially appreciated the Bank of Punjab for supporting the government’s pro-poor initiatives of Kamyab Jawan Program as well as Naya Pakistan Housing Program. He also announced establishment of a laborers colony in Sialkot under Naya Pakistan Housing Program to provide them house on easy installments. Special Assistant to PM Usman Dar told the gathering that the government had allocated Rs 100 billion for Kamyab Jawan Program.
He said despite creating most of the jobs, the SME sector had access to only 6 to 7pc of finance; however under the Program, the SME sector would grow by getting easy loans. He hoped that industries operating in Sialkot, Gujranwala, Gujrat and others would help boost exports taking advantage of the program. The SAPM congratulated those who qualified for the loans and encouraged others to work harder to meet purely apolitical and merit-based criteria.
Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said after execution of Rs 17 billion development package, Sialkot would emerge as a developed city with improved infrastructure and facilities. He said the summary for the technical university had been approved and project would start soon after the release of funds. He hoped that the Sialkot Ring Road and 500-bed hospital would be completed soon and that during his next visit, the prime minister would also break ground for 500-bed mother and child hospital.
The chief minister said during COVID-19, the Punjab government gave Rs 56 billion package to traders and the cabinet also approved five cement plants in the recent meeting. Following the prime minister’s vision, he said the whole of Punjab would be extended health insurance facility by 2021.
By-Polls to Be Held on Vacant Seats if Opposition Lawmakers Resign: PM Imran
ISLAMABAD, Dec 9, 2020:: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Tuesday that he will hold elections on vacant seats if opposition lawmakers resigned from National Assembly. Talking to journalists in Islamabad, the prime minister reiterated that he would not give any (National Reconciliation Ordinance) NRO-like concession to corrupt opposition leaders and will hold by-elections on seats vacated by opposition lawmakers.
PM Imran Khan said that he will betray the country if he grants NRO to corrupt opposition leaders.”I will leave my post but will never betray the country by granting an NRO to opposition leaders.” The premier once again ruled out a complete lockdown in the country in view of rising Covid-19 infections in the second coronavirus wave. PM Khan said: “Pakistan cannot afford a second lockdown as it will destroy our economy completely.”
Continuing his tirade against opposition parties, he said they are spreading the coronavirus by holding rallies. They are resorting to public meetings in order to hide their corruption, the prime minister maintained. “Opposition is playing with the lives of people by holding rallies amid Covid second wave. The government can sit and talk with the opposition on every issue apart from the NRO matter. They [Opposition] will end their protest movement today if I accept their illegal demands,” said the prime minister.
Responding to a question, Imran Khan further said that the opposition wants a confrontation with the government, adding that government will not create any hurdles in way of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) leaders, but warned strict action against violators of Covid-19 SOPs. Speaking over local bodies election, PM Khan said that his government will hold LG polls after senate elections in March. “Local government polls were delayed due to Covid-19 pandemic, but govt will hold it after Senate election in March next year,” added the prime minister.
Replying to another question, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that there was no pressure on him to recognize Israel, adding that Pakistan has good relations with UAE and Saudi Arabia. Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed regret over the delay in bringing reforms in all national institutions.
PDM Leaders Meet Today to Devise Strategy Against Government
Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president Maryam Nawaz, Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai and Qaumi Watan Party head Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao attended the meeting. Political leaders Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ahsan Iqbal, Sherry Rehman, and Professor Sajid among others also participated in the session.
Sources told that important decisions were likely to be taken for the second phase of the anti-government movement during today’s meeting.
Maryam Says PDM to Make 'Big Decisions', Asks Workers to Not Fall Under 'Pressure'
LAHORE, Dec 7, 2020 (Layalpur Post):: PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz addresses a social media workers convention in Lahore, on December 6, 2020. PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz addressed a social media workers convention in Lahore on Sunday during which she said Pakistan Democratic Movement is due to make big decisions on December 8 and urged party workers to not fall under any "pressure". She said after December 8, it will be a "do or die situation".
Speaking to provincial and national assembly members, she said: "If we call for resignations from the assemblies, you must be willing to stand by us. Do not fall under any pressure." She further said that whoever "falls under pressure and goes against the party" will have to deal with the people, who will surround their homes. Maryam said said the party workers must embrace any cases registered against them by the government. She said the people must know "how fearful the government is" of the Opposition and that "the most that the government can do" is register cases.
"You must take these charge sheets, string them together and wear them proudly like a garland," she told party workers, as she lamented that as many as "3,000 first information reports (FIRs)" are filed after every rally held by the Opposition. Maryam's remarks, hinting at resignations from assemblies or possibly a long march, came ahead of a meeting between alliance members on December 8, 2020. "The people of Pakistan have won this war. Victory only remains to be declared in the rally on the 13th," she said.
A rally has been planned by the Pakistan Democratic Movement at Lahore's Minar-e-Pakistan monument on December 13. Although Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the 11-party Opposition alliance will not be prevented from holding the rally, he vowed that cases will be registered against all organisers and facilitators of the rally as large gatherings are a violation of coronavirus safety protocols.
Taking aim at the government, she said that with a single roti (piece of bread) costing Rs30, a family of 8-10 people have no hope of making ends meet. She said PM Imran Khan used to claim that the "green passport will be respected across the world" but now flights from Pakistan have been banned. "Is there anyone who can ask him what became of the claims he made?" she inquired. Speaking of the delay in LNG procurement, which ultimately led to high gas prices, she said "the prime minister's friends who run his kitchen were benefited".
"People hardly have any supply of gas in their homes, but they get unbelievably high bills," she followed by saying, adding that owing to the government's "mismanagement", a loss of Rs122bn had been incurred. She dared the "fake and cowardly" prime minister to come and mingle with the people for two minutes.
The PML-N vice president said that Pakistan's GDP has turned negative, "hundreds of thousands" have become unemployed, medicines are prohibitively expensive, the "wheel of progress has begun to spin in the opposite direction", European countries have banned Pakistani flights, people have been robbed of wheat, sugar, flour, but no one is bothered, and there is no legal action, "all because he is viewed as taabedaar (servile)". "We must now call Imran Khan by his new name — Taabedaar Khan," she said.
Maryam spoke at length about how the party's popularity and reach has been propelled by the social media teams and thanked them for their dedication. "Thanks to our social media team, Nawaz Sharif's voice has reached across the country today," Maryam said, as she paid tribute to teams from across the provinces, taking name after name in recognition of their "hard work". She thanked social media workers for "continuing to carry forward Nawaz Sharif's narrative".
Earlier in the day, PTI's Senator Faisal Javed Khan had termed talk of resignations "a joke". He said that he does not believe there will be any resignations, but even if there are the government welcomes them. "By-elections will be held for whichever seats they resign from and PTI will win a heavy majority," he added. "You can try as hard as you like to get an NRO. There will be no deal," Javed told the Opposition.
Pakistan Rejects India’s Misleading Assertions in Kulbhushan Case
ISLAMABAD, Dec 5, 2020 (APP):: Pakistan on Friday categorically rejected the assertions made by Indian Ministry of External Affairs regarding legal proceedings as “incorrect and misleading” in case of Indian Naval Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav. “It is evident that by casting aspersions on the Indian High Commission’s own legal Counsel, the Indian government is looking for an escape from the legal proceedings in Commander Jadhav case,” Foreign Office spokesperson said in a statement.
He reminded the Indian government that in pursuance of the judgment of International Court of Justice (ICJ), Pakistan had twice invited the Indian High Commission to meet with Commander Jadhav and appoint a lawyer on his behalf to commence the proceedings to review and reconsider his conviction. However, he said during the course of diplomatic exchanges, the Indian High Commission refused to instruct a lawyer itself, as in their view this would amount to a waiver of India’s sovereign immunity.
As a result, the government of Pakistan was constrained to initiate proceedings for appointment of a state counsel for Commander Jadhav, he added.To show the discrepancy in the Indian position, the Attorney-General for Pakistan, during the course of proceedings cited the case of Muhammad Ismail an Indian national currently in custody in Pakistan where the Indian High Commission had instructed Noon as its lawyer.
“Contrary to the false statement by the MEA, no attempt was made to link the cases of Commander Jadhav with another Indian prisoner Ismail. The two cases are and remain entirely distinct. Reference to the case of Mr. Ismail was only for purpose of showing the discrepancy and inconsistency in the Indian position,” the spokesperson remarked.
He reiterated that in line with the ICJ’s judgment, Pakistan had already provided consular access to the Indian High Commission twice and had taken all necessary steps for effective review and reconsideration in the case. The offer of a third consular access is still there, he added. He again urged the Indian side to desist from the use of its usual diversionary and dilatory tactics and instead take practical steps so that legal proceedings could be duly concluded and full effect could be given to the judgment of ICJ.
Nawaz as PM Or Otherwise is Not Against Military: Ishaq Dar
LONDON, Dec 02, 2020:: Former finance minister Ishaq Dar has defended his party leader Nawaz Sharif’s criticism of senior officials of the Pakistan Army, saying he is not an “anti-military” politician. “I think there seems to be confusion,” Dar said, when the host of BBC’s Hardtalk programme asked him about Sharif’s criticism of the military establishment.
“Mr Nawaz Sharif as prime minister or otherwise is not anti-military,” he said. “He blames certain individuals and as I said the buck you know stops at the top.” Dar, who has been declared an absconder by Pakistani courts in corruption cases, has been in London for almost three years on account of his medical treatment.
Sharif, his close friend and the party leader, has twice been jailed by the Pakistani courts. But he was allowed to go to London in November 2019 on medical grounds. He hasn’t returned to Pakistan since. The former three-time prime minister has been criticizing top military officials at public rallies after Pakistani opposition parties formed an alliance — the Pakistan Democratic Movement — against the government in September 2020.
The PDM, an eleven-party alliance, has held several rallies in Pakistan with Sharif among the key speakers at some events. At one such rally, he had directly held Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and ISI DG Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed responsible for bringing Prime Minister Imran Khan to power. Dar also believes that Sharif was ousted from power because he was fighting for “supremacy of democracy” and “supremacy of parliament”.
“We must be fair to analyze things,” he told BBC’s Stephen Sackur. “The election was stolen. “It started off from Dawn Leaks. Mr Sharif has been struggling for the supremacy of democracy, for supremacy of parliament and I have been struggling for fiscal discipline and transparency,” Dar said, questioning, “Is it wrong?” The former minister said he expects the UK to support the PML-N campaign for “holding democratic values”.
“I mean the UK has been holding democracy and the democratic values,” Dar said. “We would think that you would be supporting us.” To support his point that the 2018 elections were rigged, Dar gave the example of Pakistan Interior Minister Ijaz Shah’s recent interview. He quoted Shah as saying that Sharif would have become the prime minister for the fourth time if he had not had issues with the deep state.
Corruption allegations: The former finance minister said the National Accountability Bureau has lost its credibility a long time ago because “it is an institution which is used against political opponents”. “In Pakistan over a period of 73 years, the corruption rhetoric has been used in the last few dictatorships and the current one isn’t different because this regime in known to be under a covert coup or a judicial martial law,” he added.
When asked how many properties does he or his family own, Dar said he had only one property in Pakistan and his sons have a villa. “It’s all declared in my tax returns,” he said. “I have my main residence in Pakistan which has been taken over by you know this regime.” The minister, however, said the villa is owned by his sons and they are independent. “My sons just have one villa which is owned by them. They are in business for last 17 years,” he said.
“They are adults. They are married…17 years they are in business so they are independent of me.” Dar denied fleeing Pakistan in order to get away from corruption cases against him. He said his lawyers appear before the courts in Pakistan and he is in the UK for medical treatment because he has a cervical issue. The minister claimed that NAB was being used against him because “Mr. Sharif was fighting for civil supremacy and I have always been fighting for the financial and fiscal discipline and transparency”.
‘PML-N leaders can’t speak truth even if they want to: Shibli Faraz, the minister for information in PM Khan’s government, said the top leaders of the PML-N can’t speak the truth even if they want to. “I haven’t seen the program and I don’t need to see the program because I know what question was asked and what the answer would be,” Faraz said, while commenting on Dar’s interview. “Who told him to go to a show such as HARDtalk and insult himself?”
President Confers Nishan-E-Imtiaz (Mly) on Chinese Defence Minister
ISLAMABAD, December 01, 2020:: President Dr. Arif Alvi on Tuesday conferred Nishan-e-Imtiaz (military) on China’s Minister of National Defence General Wei Fenghe at a special investiture ceremony held here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr. The President decorated the Chinese official with the award in recognition to his illustrious services for strengthening defence relations between Pakistan and China.
Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on National Security Dr Moeed Yusuf, services chiefs, and senior military officials of Pakistan and China attended the ceremony. “General Wei Fenghe is a sincere and close friend of Pakistan. He has played a prominent role in promoting and further strengthening defence relations between the Armed Forces of Pakistan and China,” said a citation read on the occasion.
With a distinguished career, General Wei Fenghe graduated from People’s Liberation Army National Defence University, China and was commissioned in People’s Liberation Army in December 1970. During his outstanding military career, he served as Chief of Staff, People’s Liberation Army Second Artillery Force and Deputy Chief of General Staff of People’s Liberation Army and Commanded People’s Liberation Army Second Artillery Force and People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force.
In 2012, he became a Member of the Central Military Commission and later appointed Member of Leading Party Member’s Group of the State Council. Later, General Wei Fenghe called on President Arif Alvi and discussed issues pertaining to the military cooperation between Pakistan and China.
PM Imran Khan Okays Names for GB CM, Cabinet Members
ISLAMABAD, Nov 28, 2020:: Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved the nomination of Advocate Khalid Khursheed as the next Chief Minister of the Gilgit Baltistan region. The name was finalized after Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Ali Amin Gandapur and PTI leader Saifullah Niazi met with the prime minister on Friday, where the three also discussed the names of the cabinet members of the next government in the Gilgit Baltistan.
Besides nominating Advocate Khalid Khursheed as the chief minister, the meeting also named Fateh Ullah Khan for the portfolio of Planning and development and information. The meeting headed by the Prime Minister Imran Khan also finalized names for other cabinet members including Saleem for works ministry, Raja Zakria for wildlife department, Azam Khan for education Gulber Khan for health and Shams ul Haq Loan for food department.
Besides this, Mushtaq Hussain would get the portfolio of Water and Power while Haji Abdul Hameed and Raja Nasir Abbas would be given the portfolios of agriculture and tourism respectively. The prime minister also lauded Ali Amin Gandapur for his performance during the elections for Gilgit Baltistan Legislative Assembly. It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Thursday clinched both speaker and deputy speaker seats in the Gilgit Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA).
According to the details, PTI’s Syed Amjad Ali Zaidi was elected as Speaker of Gilgit Baltistan Assembly. He secured 18 votes while the joint opposition’s candidate Ghulam Muhammad got only 8 votes. Later, out-going Speaker Fida Muhammad Nashad administered the oath to the newly elected speaker. Meanwhile, PTI’s Nazir Ahmed was elected as Deputy Speaker of Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly today. He secured 22 votes while the joint opposition’s nominated candidate received only nine votes.
President Proposes ‘Trade Triangle’ of Pakistan, China & ASEAN for Win-Win Prosperity
ISLAMABAD, Nov 28, 2020(APP):: President Dr Arif Alvi on Friday proposed establishing a ‘trade triangle’ among Pakistan, China and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to maximize the quantum of intra-regional business opportunities. In his virtual address to the 17th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) held in China’s Nanning city, the President said Pakistan’s stable macro-economic policies and ease of doing business offered an attractive market to both China and the ASEAN countries for trade cooperation in diverse areas.
The four-day CAEXPO themed ‘Building the Belt and Road, Strengthening Digital Economy Cooperation’ kicked off in the capital of South China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on Friday. The expo hosted 11 high-level forums, over 160 trade promotion activities and 229 booths for participants from 22 countries including Pakistan. President Alvi said despite the challenge of the coronavirus pandemic, Pakistan’s economy strengthened and its online businesses grew due to implementation of far-reaching economic reforms.
The President mentioned that Pakistan greatly learned from the experiences of China in establishing Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and invited the investors from ASEAN and China to explore Pakistan’s business potential. “We encourage the ASEAN countries and the Chinese businessmen to invest in SEZs as Pakistan’s macro-economic policies have changed tremendously with an improved state of ease of doing business,” he said.
Dr Alvi said Pakistan was making great progress after moving on from the original course of China Pakistan Economic Corridor, i.e. energy and infrastructure, to other areas of cooperation including agriculture, industries and socio-economic reforms. He mentioned that the second phase of Free Trade Agreement between Pakistan and China Pak was in place since January this year, while Pakistan had a sectoral dialogue partnership with ASEAN with increased mutual cooperation.
“We want to do a feasibility where Pakistan, China and ASEAN trade triangle can come up as well as feasibility into a Free Trade Agreement between Pakistan and ASEAN,” he said, stressing that such intra-regional arrangement could lead to prosperity. On exports to ASEAN and China, he said, textiles, food produce including meat and vegetables, surgical goods, minerals and Information Technology could be the prospective areas. Also, Pakistan produced best sports goods with its footballs used in several FIFA world cups, he added.
President Alvi recalled that China recently signed the world’s largest trade agreement – Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership – with a number of countries and emerged as a reliable trading partner and economic hub. On Pakistan-China relationship, he said the trusted bond was based on a friendship which was “deeper than oceans and higher than skies”.
He said CPEC had done wonders by turning Pakistan into an economic and strategic hub that provided an easy and fast route for transportation of goods from China and Central Asia to the sea. President Alvi lauded the 14 enterprises from Pakistan participating in CAEXPO and expressed confidence that the activity would support an increased trade activity among Pakistan, China and the ASEAN countries.
“This expo symbolically shows that China, beyond COVID-19, has provided leadership to the world in the area of trade,” he said. The CAEXPO being held at Nanning International Convention and Exhibition Centre has been co-sponsored by China’s Ministry of Commerce and its counterparts in the 10 ASEAN member states as well as the ASEAN Secretariat.
Pakistan is participating in the 17th CAEXPO as a Special Partner for the first time and is making full spectrum representation through country pavilion, commercial display booths and an exclusive trade and investment conference on the sidelines. President Alvi’s video speech was released together with speeches of Chinese President Xi Jinping and ASEAN leaders including the Presidents of Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines and Prime Ministers of Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.
PM Seeks Proposals from Industrialists to Launch Corporate Farming at Larger Scale
ISLAMABAD, Nov 28, 2020 (APP):: To launch corporate farming at larger scale, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday sought proposals from industrialists for modernizing the agriculture sector and enhancing production of various crops. The national development and prosperity was linked with the development of business community, he said while talking to a delegation of leading industrialists and businessmen here.
The prime minister said it was the government’s responsibility to facilitate the promotion of industries and trade activities. The government had included the proposals of industrialists in policy-making, which had started producing good results, he added. Imran Khan directed the authorities concerned to resolve the issues faced by the industrialists regarding export of their products.
The delegation included Azam Farooq (Cherat Cement), Bashir Ali Muhamamd (Gul Ahmed), Muhammad Ali Taba (Lucky Cement), Saqib Shirazi (Honda Atlas), Fawad Mukhtar (Fatima Fertilizer), Arif Habib (Arif Habib Group Ltd) and Hussain Dawood (Engro Corporation). Federal Minister Hammad Azhar, advisers to the PM Abdul Razak Dawood, Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and Dr Ishrat Hussain, and senior officials also attended the meeting.
The delegation thanked the prime minister for patronizing the trade activities in the country that yielded positive results. They said the high level of foreign exchange reserves reflected the country’s economic stability and the surplus current account was a welcome sign. The businessmen said the demand of cement was the highest in the country’s history due to the promotion of construction activities, which had generated immense employment opportunities during the pandemic.
They expressed satisfaction over the availability of the government’s economic team for guidance. They also expressed confidence in the government’s policies, and presented proposals for further improvement of the economy.
Prime Minister's Statement on Coronavirus (COVID-19): 26 November 2020
LONDON, Nov 27 2020:: We now have reason to hope that by Spring, community testing and vaccines will combine to end this era of restrictions. But to get there we must first navigate a hard winter when the burden on our NHS is heaviest and the cold weather favours the virus. The data already suggests national measures in England have slowed - and in some places reversed - the growth of new cases.
As more data comes in, we hope and expect to see those trends continue. Together we have prevented our NHS from being overwhelmed,but those dangers have not gone away. If we ease off now, we risk losing control of this virus all over again, casting aside our hard won gains, and forcing us back into a New Year national lockdown with all the damage that would mean.
The tough measures in our Winter Plan are the best way to avoid this outcome. All our friends around the world are grappling with the same question of how to keep people safe without retreating into a winter of hibernation. In Italy there is a nightly curfew, in Germany, hospitality will remain closed until 20th December, and in France, until 20 January.
Across the whole of the UK, measures remain in place to control the virus. Under our Winter Plan, England will return to a tiered system of local restrictions. Our decisions on which area enters which tier are based on public health advice according to five indicators:cases across all ages, especially the over 60s, the rate by which cases are rising or falling the percentage of those tested in a local population who have Covid and the pressure on the NHS. We are publishing data packs setting out the reasons behind decisions in each area. To find out how this affects you, log on to gov.uk where all the information is available.
I’m sorry to confirm that, from Wednesday, most of England will be in the top two tiers with the toughest measures. I know this will bring a great deal of heartache and frustration, especially for our vital hospitality sector, our pubs, our restaurants, our hotels, in so many ways the soul of our communities - which continue to bear a disproportionate share of the burden.
I really wish it were otherwise, but if we are to keep schools open – as we must - then our options in bearing down on the disease are necessarily limited. What we will do is continue taking every possible step to protect jobs and livelihoods across the UK. These tougher tiers strike a balance – they are sufficient to continue driving the virus downwards but it’s important to recognise they are less intrusive than the current national measures. In all tiers, shops, gyms and the leisure sector, hairdressers, other forms of personal care, places of worship will reopen.
You will no longer be instructed to stay at home, though you should continue to work from home if you can. The rule of 6 will once again apply in public outdoor spaces and organised outdoor sport can begin again. But there is no doubt that the restrictions in all tiers are tough – and I am sorry about that. While the data is beginning to improve, the virus is still prevalent, and the faster we drive it down the faster we can lift restrictions.
And that is exactly what these new tiers are designed to achieve. While the previous tiers slowed the spread of the virus, they were never quite enough to cut the R below 1 and keep it there, so areas did not escape whatever level they were placed in. Our new approach is designed to reduce R below 1, opening a path for areas to move down the scale, as soon as the situation improves.
And crucially, we now have the means to accelerate that moment of escape with rapid community testing, allowing anyone carrying the disease - including those without symptoms – to isolate thereby reducing the R. And the truth is that at least one in three people with Covid have no symptoms at all and may be spreading the disease without even knowing that they’ve got it.
The only way to identify them and protect everyone is through mass testing. Liverpool shows what can be achieved. In Liverpool, in the space of two and a half weeks, over 240,000 tests have been conducted and together with the effect of national restrictions, this has helped to reduce the number of cases in Liverpool City Region by more than two thirds.
So having previously been in tier 3, Liverpool City Region and Warrington will now be in tier 2. This is a success story which we want other parts of the country to replicate so we will work with local government, public health leaders and our fantastic Armed Forces, to offer community testing to tier 3 areas as quickly as possible, opening the way for them to follow Liverpool’s example.
Testing on this scale is untried, but in due course, if it works, where people test negative, it may also be possible for families and communities to be released from certain restrictions even if their home area stays in tier 3. The allocation of tiers will be reviewed every fourteen days, starting on 16 December. So your tier is not your destiny. Every area has the means of escape.
And I have no doubt that together we can get through this Winter,suppress the virus until vaccines come to our aid, and then reclaim our lives and all the things that we love.
PM PK Directs Provision of Alternatives for Karachi Anti-Encroachment Affectees
ISLAMABAD, Nov 27, 2020:: Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a Karachi Transformation Plan session on Thursday to go over more than 100 projects for port city transformation that will cost about Rs1.1 trillion. The projects for transformation have been divided in three phases in terms of their completion as the PM said that at this point it has become inevitable to find permanent solutions for city’s grievances.
The session for Karachi uplift was attended by Cheif of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa as well while federal cabinet members including Shaikh Rasheed, Asad Umar, Faisal Vawda anf Hafeez Shaikh participated. The huddle was briefed with the developments so far into the transformation projects while the damage assessment due to recent monsoon rains was also tabled. The huddle was told that encroachments on nullahs were the primary reason of choking in rainwater drainages.
PM Khan said before razing down the encroachments, the authorities must relocate the residents in those areas. Furthermore, the committee to oversee K4 line has been tasked to formulate recommendations for an increased capacity and more benefit in the project. On the other hand, the PM has directed planning ministry to constitute a technical committee for the Karachi Uplift projects.
Pakistan Calls on Int’l Community to Take Cognizance of Crimes Against Women In IIOJK
ISLAMABAD, Nov 25, 2020 (APP):: Pakistan on Wednesday called on the international community, including the United Nations human rights mechanisms and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict to take cognizance of the crimes against women in the IIOJK and hold India accountable for its failure to uphold its international obligations.
“India’s use of rape as a weapon of war in the world’s most militarized zone has been extensively documented by the UN human rights machinery, global media and independent civil society organizations,” the Foreign Office said in a press release issued on the occasion of International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
“This day should serve as a solemn reminder of the need to address the systematic violence against women in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). For several decades, India has employed rape, torture, degrading treatment and killings of Kashmiri women as instruments of its state terrorism in the occupied territory,” the FO said.
“Since 1990s, dignity and lives of at least 11,000 women have been violated by Indian occupation forces. Hundreds of cases of violence remain unreported due to fear of reprisals. The level and form of state-sanctioned violence against Kashmiri women has reached new heights since India’s illegal actions of August 5, 2019 in IIOJK,” it added.
The FO pointed out that the Kashmiri women in the occupied territory were living in a constant state of siege and surveillance. Body searches, ill-treatment and molestation of young women during fake “cordon-and-search operations” were being used with complete impunity by the Indian occupation forces.
It said the two Kashmir reports by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (2018 and 2019) had recorded in detail the sexual violence against women in the IIOJK and the wide-scale abuse of their basic human rights. “These reports have, inter alia, deplored lack of justice for the victims as a key human rights concern and called for repeal of all draconian laws,” it added.
“On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Pakistan reaffirms its resolve to empower women and end violence against them,” the Foreign Office maintained. It pointed out that steady progress has been made in Pakistan through legislative, policy and institutional measures to promote and protect the rights of women and girls, in particular to address the issues of violence against women, domestic abuse, harassment, and the protection of social and property rights.
“Pakistan’s National Action Plan on Human Rights has ‘protection of women’ as one of its key priority areas. Women Protection Centres and a 24-hour Helpline (1099) have been established to provide free legal advice, redressal and referral mechanism,” it added.
Amid Sharp COVID Spike, Govt Won’t Allow Opposition Gatherings to Risk Lives: PM
LAHORE, Nov 25, 2020 (APP):: Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday said amid the sharp surge in COVID-19 cases with 50 plus deaths during the last 24 hours, the government would not allow the opposition to hold any public gathering to risk the people’s lives and aggravate the situation.
“Over 50 deaths have been reported during the last 24 hours. This has surged from eight, nine to 50 just in two weeks. They are risking the people’s lives. It will not help them. How so many gatherings they hold they will not get any NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance),” the prime minister said while talking to the media here during his daylong visit.
He said considering the COVID-19 surge, the government had also called off its own public gatherings until the downturn of coronavirus curve. Even the Islamabad High Court had also ruled against the public gatherings just because the virus spread fast with the people coming in close proximity, the prime minister added.
Accompanied by Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar and provincial cabinet members, Imran Khan said the pressure was increasing on health facilities and the government was also concerned about the COVID threat to doctors, nurses and other health workers particularly in the cities.
He also urged the nation not to give up precautions to keep up the success the country had achieved during the first wave. Contrary to the neighbouring countries like India, there were fewer deaths in Pakistan, with the economy back on track within minimum possible time. Pakistan’s economy was progressing at better pace in the Sub-continent with increased exports, well performing industries and appreciating currency, he remarked.
“But I fear, our hospitals will come under pressure and economy will suffer too, if we did not adhere to the precautions,” he said and appealed to the people to keep observing anti-COVID standard operating procedures (SOPs) as they did at mosques, markets and factories. He urged the Ulema and other opinion makers to take the responsibility of saving the nation form the deadly disease by pursuing the people to follow the SOPs .
The prime minister said the government had decided not to close down factories and businesses in order to avert the hunger related deaths while protecting the people from the virus. He, however, strictly advised the factory owners, shopkeepers and others to ensure observance of the SOPs, particularly wearing the face masks, which, he said, was the easiest tool to contain the pathogen.
Imran Khan said currently, Pakistan’s exports were better than those of India and Bangladesh. Faisalabad’s textile industry was running at full capacity and even fell short of the labor, he added. The prime minister, in response to a question about the recognition of Israel, said Pakistan did not face any international pressure on the issue and still stood at the position taken by the Founder of the Nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah in 1948.
It may be mentioned here that the Quaid-e-Azam had stated in 1948 that Pakistan would never recognize Israel until Palestinians were given their right of a just settlement. Speaking on the country’s foreign policy, Imran Khan said owing to the present government’s successful foreign policy initiatives, being appreciated at the world level, Pakistan’s acceptance had significantly increased internationally.
He in that respect also referred to the country’s historic successful diplomatic initiatives such as exposing India at the world level, positive role in the Afghan peace process, and improved relations with Afghanistan. The prime minister said Pakistan, which was asked to “do more” in the past, was now being appreciated by the world, including the United States for its positive role for achieving peace in the region, including Afghanistan.
Pakistan enjoyed goods relations with Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, he added. To another question, Imran Khan described the overseas Pakistanis as the country’s assets and hoped that they would invest in the two mega development projects of Ravi City, Lahore and Bundle Island, Karachi. He said the government had launched a crackdown against land grabbers in Lahore, which had the backing of some political parties in the past. “You will soon hear the cries of Qabza Mafia in Lahore,” he remarked.
The prime minister said the government would soon take a big action against land grabbers and land encroachers in Lahore. To a question about price-hike, he explained how mafias and cartels had manipulated the situation to make money out of the shortage and low produce of the commodities, particularly wheat, caused by untimely rains and bad weather over the last two years due to climate change.
He, however, mentioned that owing to the government’s effective measures including the import of sugar and wheat, prices of the two vital commodities (wheat and sugar) had witnessed decline. About the country’s economic situation, the prime minister said with all major economic indicators showing positive trends, Pakistan’s economy was growing fast in the Sub-continent and was on the right path.
He said the current account deficit, which was at US $ 20 billion when the present government came into power, had been recorded in surplus for the first time in 17 years. Similarly, he said, as the country’s exports were rising, the government had also curbed the huge trade deficit of US $ 40 billion. To a question, Imran Khan said the Ravi Urban Development and Bundal Islanad were two crucial projects to stop the haphazard spread of Lahore and Karachi respectively.
The cities like Lahore would face severe problems of water, sewerage and pollution if the government did not establish new ones, he added. He said Lahore had spread one-and-half times in just 20 years with fast depleting water table, and 70pc green cover vanished. Even if the government did not execute the Ravi Urban projects, the Lahore city would touch that project area but in a haphazard way without any planning and further polluting the River Ravi, he added.
The prime minister said the major objective was to protect Karachi and Lahore as the said projects would go vertical. He said if the cities continued growing with the current pace, the green cover would reduce to bring food insecurity. Water treatment plants would be set up for water storage, which would also help recharge the ground water, besides stopping the flow of sewage water into the river, he added.
He said the Bundal Island would be developed as modern city to protect mangroves forest, treat the sewerage water and protect Karachi from ill-planned growth. Besides the development, both the projects would also bring in the foreign exchange as the overseas Pakistanis were eying to invest in them, which would also beget job opportunities, he added.
Imran Munir of the Ravi Urban Development Authority told the media that barrages would be developed for retaining the water to help recharge water table and protect Lahore against floods. An eco-city would be developed for forestation over the leftover forest land, besides developing a sewage treatment plant to clean water as well as benefit the surrounding population, he added.
Technical Fault at Sialkot Airport Causes International Flights to Reroute
SIALKOT, Nov 25, 2020:: After a reported fault in runway edge lights of Sialkot airport on Wednesday the oncoming flights scheduled to land here have been rerouted to Lahore Airport. The international flights including one en route to Sialkot from Muscat, MS-301, has been detoured to land on Lahore airport as well. Another flight of Pakistan International Airlines PK-9244 arriving from Dammam, too, was rerouted today to Lahore’s Allama Iqbal Internation Airport.
The reason behind both the detours was reported to be the technical fault of runway lights, ARY News learned from sources who added that both these flights will return for Sialkot as soon as the lights have been restored. Separately, federal aviation minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said Tuesday the Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan will satisfactorily compensate PIA employees being laid off voluntarily.
Federal Minister Ghulam Sarwar said while PIA requires only seven thousand employees to operate, it employs over 14,000 currently due to the politically influenced recruitments in the past by ruling parties. He said out of 14,000 currently employed, half will have to be let go of via Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS) and those will be compensated.
No Tolerance for Crimes Against Children, Women in Civilized Society: PM
ISLAMABAD, Nov 24, 2020 (APP):: The prime minister was chairing a meeting of the Federal Cabinet which considered a number of important agenda items, PM Office Media Wing in a press release said. The cabinet, in principle, approved Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Ordinance 2020 and Pakistan Penal Code (Amended) Ordinance 2020.
Minister of Law and Justice Faroogh Nasim apprised the meeting about the relevant laws regarding appointment of members of parliament in the board of directors of government entities. The cabinet decided to seek guidance from the Supreme Court of Pakistan in that regard. For the promotion of technology, the cabinet in principle approved establishment of Special Technology Zones Authority. Initially, the zones would be established in Peshawar, Islamabad, Lahore and Haripur.
The cabinet also approved such zones for Karachi and Quetta. The prime minister observed that Pakistan enjoyed huge potential in information technology (IT), which should be utilized. He said the IT was a step towards progress in the modern times and directed for setting up 50 technological zones throughout the country. The cabinet also ratified the decisions taken during meetings of the Cabinet Committee on Institutional Reforms held on October 29 and November 12 respectively.
A progress report with regard to the vacancies of chief executive officers (CEOs) and managing directors in different government institutions was also submitted. The prime minister directed earlier completion of the process. The cabinet also approved appointment of director general of National Archives under Clause 3(2) of the National Archives Act.
The Economic Affairs Division apprised the cabinet that G-20 countries had deferred payments on loans worth 1.7 to 2 billion dollars given to the country during the period from May to December this year. The decision to defer payment of these loans and facility was taken in view of the coronavirus pandemic, which would remain effective till June 2021.
The cabinet granted its approval to the Secretary Economic Affairs Division for signing of agreements over rescheduling of these loans with 16 countries of G-20. The cabinet also granted approval to the Ministry of Commerce to issue a no-objection certificate (NOC) for payments to different international channels with respect to sports transmission on the Pakistan Television.
It also directed the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to run effective campaign for public awareness about the coronavirus pandemic in accordance with the direction of Lahore High Court on a petition. The cabinet approved appointments of managing director and board of governors of National Book Foundation. It also accorded its approval for referring of the amendments issue of Civil Aviation Rules 1991 to the Cabinet Committee on law.
The cabinet ratified decisions taken by its Economic Coordination Committee during its meeting on November 16 and those of the Cabinet Committee on Energy during its meeting on November 19. Minister for planning Asad Umar briefed the meeting about the important economic indicators.
PM Taking All Possible Steps to Check Spread of Coronavirus, Protect Lives of Common People
ISLAMABAD, Nov 23, 2020 (APP):: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday directed to take all possible steps to check the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the country and protect the lives of common people. He also directed to summon the meeting of National Coordination Committee on COVID0-19 for consultation and taking various decisions in that regard. The prime minister was presiding over a high level meeting to review the overall situation of coronavirus in the country.
Besides federal ministers Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Shafqat Mehmood, Hammad Azhar, Senator Shbili Faraz, Ejaz Shah and Asad Umar, the meeting was attended by special assistants Sania Nishtar and Dr Faisal Sultan, Advisor to PM Abdul Razzak Dawood and Minister of State Ali Muhammad Khan. The prime minister said Pakistan had been successful in tackling the first wave of coronavirus due to its effective strategy and timely decisions, which was also recognized by the world.
Now during the second wave as well they should not at all abandon seriousness, balance and precautions, he added. The meeting was told about the decisions taken in the meeting of National Command and Control Center (NCOC). The prime minister was briefed in detail about various aspects of COVID-19 pandemic, including its spread in the country, loss of previous lives and the capacity of hospitals.
PDM To Be Responsible If Govt Compelled to Go for Complete Lockdown: PM
ISLAMABAD, Nov 22, 2020 (APP):: Prime Minister Imran Khan Sunday said the PDM would be responsible for consequences if they continued with their public gatherings despite COVID-19 spike, and the government was forced to go for a lockdown. “In (Pakistan), the PDM by continuing with jalsas (public gatherings) is deliberately endangering lives & livelihoods (because) if cases continue to rise at the rate we are seeing, we will be compelled to go into complete lockdown & PDM will be responsible for consequences,” the prime minister said on Twitter.
He said Pakistan’s second COVID-19 spike data was of concern showing 200 percent each increase of patients on ventilators in Peshawar and Multan during last 15 days, Karachi 148%, Lahore 114%, Islamabad 65%. The capacity of ventilators utilization had touched 70 percent in Multan and Islamabad, he added. The prime minister said across the world there was a second spike and complete lockdowns in most countries.
“I do not want to take measures like a lockdown that will start hurting our economy which at the moment is showing signs of a robust recovery,” he remarked. However, he said the opposition was callously destroying people’s lives and livelihoods in their desperation to get an NRO. “Let me make it clear: they can hold a million jalsas but will not get any NRO,” he categorically said. He viewed that unfortunately, the opposition’s only goal was NRO at whatever cost to the lives of people and the country’s economy.
Ravi City, Bundle Island Projects to Have Positive Impact on Economy, People’s Lives: PM
ISLAMABAD, Nov 20, 2020 (APP)::Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said the mega urban development projects of Ravi City, Lahore and Bundle Island, Karachi would bring in positive impact on the country’s economy and the lives of common man. The two mega projects, besides promoting the local industries, would also help create job opportunities in the country, he added.
The prime minister expressed these views while presiding over a meeting here of the working groups of Pakistan Island Development Authority (PIDA) and Ravi Urban Development Authority (RUDA). He said Pakistan’s coastal-line was not only appropriate for tourism and urban development of international standards, but also had the potential of creating numerous investment opportunities.
The prime minister further said that the Ravi City project, besides reducing the pressure of urban population in the big city of Lahore, would introduce new dimensions of urban planning in the country. During the meeting, which was attended by Sindh Governor Imran Ismail and Punjab Chief Secretary Jawad Rafiq Malik through video-link, the prime minister was briefed about the progress made so far on the two projects.
The prime minister was told that the urban centers at Ravi City and Bundle Island would be constructed for the first time in the country’s history in line with the principles of a green city. The Ravi Urban Development Authority chairman told the meeting that the survey of 18600 acres of land for the construction had been completed, which did not require any evacuation or dislocation of the local residents.
He said Ravi City project, besides providing the residential facilities of international standards to the people, would prove to be a model in the region to follow due to the availability of basic amenities like sewerage, underground water tanks, safety and environmental protection. It may be mentioned here that instead of taking loans, the two projects are being development on the basis of public private partnership for which international institutions and investors are taking keen interest.
The Pakistan Island Development Authority chairman apprised the prime minister of the interest being taken by various international companies in the master planning and environmental study of the Island development.
Pakistan Condemns Extra-Judicial Killing of 4 More Innocent Kashmiris in IIOJK
ISLAMABAD, Nov 19, 2020 (APP):Pakistan on Thursday strongly condemned the extra-judicial killing of four more innocent Kashmiris in a fake encounter outside the city of Jammu by the occupation forces in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). “Pakistan calls for immediate and transparent judicial inquiry, under international scrutiny, into the extra-judicial killings of innocent Kashmiris including these four”, Foreign Office said in a statement issued here.
The statement pointed out that in the last one year alone, Indian occupation forces had martyred more than three hundred (300) innocent Kashmiris, including women and children, in fake encounters and so-called “cordon and search” operations in complete violation of the fundamental precepts of international humanitarian law.
“The toxic ‘Hindutva’ ideology, preached and practiced by the RSS-BJP mix, has resulted in the systematic targeting of Kashmiri youth through extra-judicial killings, torture in custody, enforced disappearances and incarcerations under the cover of draconian laws such as Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), Public Safety Act (PSA) and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA),” it added.
“We also urge the international community to take immediate cognizance of the rampant state terrorism being perpetrated in IIOJK and hold India accountable for its serious crimes against humanity,” the statement stressed.
India must eschew the use of state-terrorism as an instrument of state policy, end its egregious violations of human rights of the Kashmiri people, and take concrete steps towards the resolution of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute as per the Resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, it added.
Probe Report Holds ‘PIA Engineers’ Responsible for Havelian Plane Crash
KARACHI, Nov 19, 2020:: The Aircraft Accident Investigation Board of Pakistan tasked to probe into the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) plane crash near Havilian in 2016 has released its inquiry report and held PIA engineers responsible for the crash. A fractured turbine blade triggered a “complicated” sequence of failures that culminated in the fatal Havelian PIA crash in 2016, the Aircraft Accident Investigation Board of Pakistan has said in a report.
“The dislodging / fracture of PT-1 blade of No 1 Engine occurred after omission from the EMM (Non-Compliance of SB-21878) by PIA Engineering during an unscheduled maintenance performed on the engine in November 2016, in which the PT-1 blades had fulfilled the criteria for replacement, but were not replaced,” according to a report.
The report said that in February 2017, PIA Engineering reviewed the life of the old design PT-1 blades. “PIA Engineering decided to change the soft life as a hard life of 10,000 hrs irrespective of the conditions given in the maintenance manual (an action overboard towards safe side).” PIA’s PK-661, crashed while travelling from Chitral to Islamabad on December 7, 2016. All 48 passengers and crew aboard, including religious scholar and former singer Junaid Jamshed, died in the crash.
The report said that most probably, the PT-1 blade had fractured during the previous flight (Peshawar to Chitral). The summarized sequence of the technical failures was as follows: Before the accident flight,Engine Power Turbine Stage 1 (PT-1) Blade fractured/dislodged causing imbalanced rotation of PT shaft,OSG pin fractured and Probable contamination (external from the engine) in PVM.
It is pertinent to mention here that PM Imran in May 2020 had ordered to make public all reports on fatal plane crashes that happened in past. PM Khan had chaired the meeting regarding PIA Karachi plane crash and had ordered to public Junaid Jamshed plane crash report.
PM Pushes Industrialists to Invest Freely, Assuring Govt’s Full Backing, Facilitation
FAISALABAD, Nov 18, 2020 (APP):: Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday urged the businessmen and exporters to invest freely in the country with no worry for any policy shift or bottlenecks as the government was fully focused at reviving industrialization through maximum facilitation.
“Invest more on exports without worry. The government will resolve all of your issues. You should not be afraid of any policy shift to affect your investment. Our job is your facilitation, which will lead to creation of wealth and jobs,” the prime minister said while addressing here a gathering of exporters and industrialists.
Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar, Planning Minister Asad Umar, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar and Chief Minister Usman Buzdar also attended the ceremony, besides a limited number of businessmen, exporters and industrialists owing to anti-COIVD19 precautions.
The prime minister said it was pleasing that the industries and power looms were running at full capacity which even created shortage of textile labour. He asked the Punjab government to promote skill training of the youth to enhance value-added textile workforce. He said if Faisalabad, once known as Pakistan’s Manchester, kept up its current pace of industrial development, it would even leave Manchester behind.
The prime minister recalled that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government inherited a record debt burden, $20 billion current account deficit, $40 billion trade deficit, devalued currency, and the reserves at the lowest ebb.The country was even short of money to make international payments but the government successfully passed through the difficult phase courtesy the timely support by the friendly states saving it from default, he added.
The prime minister said since 1960s, Pakistan’s industrial model institutions like hospitals and universities used to be idolized but it took a downturn following the then government’s policy of nationalization. Instead of introducing nationalization, the government should have done legislation to channelize into the national economy the money which had been accumulated within few families, he added.
He said through similar policies, China steered around 700 million people out of poverty, but contrarily, the nationalization in Pakistan impeded the growth. He said after nationalization, even money making was considered a taboo which instead should have been encouraged, if through legal means and not through cartelization or profiteering.
“Our full focus is to take Pakistan to industrialization and enhance exports. The government will facilitate and bring ease of doing business. We are fully striving to attract people to invest and create jobs. This will happen through ease of doing business,” the prime minister said.
He told the gathering that the automation of Federal Board of Revenue was also in process to reduce human intervention. The prime minister said the government’s policy of providing incentives to exporters was paying dividends as exports were on surge. He said contrary to the world, Pakistan maintained balance between lives and livelihood during the COVID-19 which kept people from poverty and economy from default.
He also appreciated his economic team including Hammad Azhar, NCOC and others for helping the government formulate policies to incentivize business and industries besides containing the pathogen. He said even the World Health Organization (WHO) also lauded Pakistan for successfully navigating during COVID-19. However, he advised the people not to give up wearing mask as the second wave had hit the country again, to ebb away pressure from economy as well as hospitals.
As requested by the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI), the prime minister assured to uplift the city’s infrastructure. He said despite being the opposition led province, the government also announced a mega development package for Karachi. He said the government was toeing the policy of industrialization and all the relevant policies would be formulated after consultation with the stakeholders.
He said following the government’s business friendly policies and packages, the industrial and construction sectors were showing improvement. As pointed out from audience, the prime minister agreed to the idea of establishing a high court bench in Faisalabad for ease of the litigants. He said the government was coming up with a local government system to run the major cities on the model of world’s biggest cities like London, New York, Paris and Mumbai which directly elected their mayors and also generated revenue through own tax collection.
Similarly, he said currently, being an industrialist and mega city, Faisalabad had to depend on funds from Punjab government which would be done away with under the new system. In his address, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar announced Rs 13 billion development package for infrastructural uplift of Faisalabad which he said would be included in the annual development program.
He told the audience that the provincial government provided Rs 26 billion tax relief to the industrial sector during COVID-19. The provincial government had also issued NOC for five more cement factories and 16 more to be issued by December which manifested the growth of construction industry, he added.
The chief minister said in order to improve law and order situation in the province, the government handed over 600 police vehicles to the police stations and also approved 10,000 posts for recruitment. Industries Minister Hammad Azhar said the textile industry and power looms had made a turnaround within two years of the PTI government to create jobs under PM’s vision of 10 million jobs.
He said unlike its predecessor, the incumbent government was spending nothing to artificially uplift the local currency rather it had opted for free floating. Moreover, he said 21 of 28 points given by FATF had been implemented and rest would be fulfilled soon. The government had made Rs 248 billion tax refunds to the businessmen, he added.
FCCI President Engineer Ehtisham Javed said the government’ textile policy was paying dividends in form of increased production and exports. He hoped that Faisalabad would again regain get its lost identity Pakistan’s Manchester. He also thanked the prime minister for his prudent and pro-poor policies during the COVID-19 which helped both the people as well as the businesses.
Govt to Introduce E-Voting in General Polls, Open Ballot in Senate
ISLAMABAD, (APP)Tue, 18 Nov 2020:: Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday said the government had decided to introduce electronic voting in general election and also move a bill in parliament to amend the current mode of secret ballot in Senate polls to show of hands, in a bid to ensure fair and transparent polls.
Talking to media after his meeting with the Electoral Reforms Committee, the Prime Minister said the bill aimed at discouraging ‘vote selling’ in the upcoming Senate elections in March. Imran Khan said the constitutional amendment required two-third majority for the passage of bill, adding that “it would reveal which political party would side or oppose corrupt practices”.
He said the move was unprecedented on part of a sitting government and recalled that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in 2018 had shown door to 20 of its lawmakers on evidence of selling their votes. On electronic voting, he said, consultations with Election Commission were underway to devise a system in collaboration with the data provided by National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA).
Besides ensuring transparency, he said, the computerized system would also benefit the nine million Pakistanis living abroad to help them conveniently poll their votes online. The Prime Minister thanked the people of Gilgit Baltistan for reposing confidence in PTI during the recent election and lauded the big turnout even from far-flung areas despite tough weather conditions.
He said that the government would take every possible step to bring development in GB. He said his government stood by its pledge to grant provisional provincial status to GB to end their sense of deprivation, as per the longstanding demand of locals. Imran Khan said the people of GB would be kept updated about step-by-step phases leading towards the formulation of their province.
He dismissed the allegations of Opposition parties of rigging in the GB polls and stressed the need for a spirit among political parties to accept defeat. He recalled that the purpose behind PTI’s demand to open four constituencies after 2013 general election and the 126-day sit-in was to set in place a system of transparent and free polls in future.
Even as skipper of cricket team, Khan said, he always campaigned for neutral umpires in the matches. The Prime Minister expressed confidence that with implementation of electoral reforms, the country would witness a norm among political parties to have faith in polling process and accept the results.
Petitioners Find Punjab’s Two-Finger Test Ban Notification Vague, Lacking
LAHORE, Nov 14, 2020:: The Punjab government’s notification banning the two-finger test for rape and sexual violence survivors is “hastily prepared, vague and deficient in material respects”. The government submitted a list of guidelines for female medico-legal officers handling rape or sexual violence cases to the Lahore High Court on November 13. Judge Ayesha A Malik is hearing two separate petitions filed against the ‘two-finger test’ and other virginity testing practices.
The notification was issued by the Punjab Specialised Healthcare and Medical Education Department and outlined the way to conduct examinations of rape or sexual violence survivors, including separate procedures for girls, virgins and non-virgins. However, the petitioners in the case say it isn’t enough. They called the guidelines “hastily prepared, with inadequate input, are vague, and are deficient in material respects, including with respect to providing adequate guidance to medico-legal officers in the appropriate manner of conducting the medico–legal examinations”.
When the Punjab government was asked in court whom it had consulted to prepare the guidelines, it was vague in its answer and only said a meeting was held with “the relevant secretaries” in attendance, according to the petitioners’ lawyer. The petitioners said that while the guidelines inform MLOs about the need for consent from the survivors, they do not have adequate safeguards regarding securing consent and “continue to place an undue emphases on the status of the victim’s virginity, character and past sexual conduct, which has no legal relevance whatsoever to the question of whether an assault/incident of raped occurred”.
And while the notification bans the use of the two-finger test specifically, it does not ban or seek to discontinue all unwarranted invasive practices, noted the petitioners. One such practice is the hymen check, which the government has mentioned in its notification.
The notification urges MLOs not to use the terms “habituation to sex, easy virtue or loose morals” yet it still requires that the “report submitted to the court/police should be brief, concise, precise and without any ambiguity stating about recent or old loss of virginity as well as occurrence of recent sexual intercourse per-vaginum etc.”
The petitioners are in the process of placing their observations regarding the notified guidelines before the court. The judge has reserved her verdict in the case.
A group of women had moved the Lahore High Court on March 12, 2020. PML-N MPA Shaista Pervez Malik also filed a separate petition. In Pakistan, virginity tests are conducted on rape survivors to check if they have had sexual intercourse prior to the assault. The assumption is that a woman must be a virgin for her to be raped, said lawyer Maliha Zia Lari, one of the petitioners in the case. Such tests are an inaccurate way of testing for rape and they violate a woman’s space and dignity, she added.
The petition argues that it has now “conclusively established that these so-called ‘tests’ have no scientific or medical basis.” They are an “extreme invasion of women’s privacy and bodily integrity as well as a source of re-traumatisation.” There is “no place for these outdated practices under the Constitution,” says the petition. The petition has asked for such tests to be declared illegal and discontinue phrases such as “habituated to sex”, “easy virtue” and “loose morals” while referring to women in medical reports.Virginity tests are commonly performed on rape survivors in Pakistan. There are two ways in which they are conducted for:
Inspection of the hymen: The hymen is a thin membrane that surrounds the opening of the vagina. This test assumes that only the hymen of women who have engaged in sexual activity is torn. There are, however, a number of reasons why a woman hymen could’ve been torn such physical activity, horse riding, and working in the fields, among others.
Two-finger test: One or more fingers are inserted inside the vagina to assess the size of the vaginal opening to check penetrability. This test assumes that if the vagina admits two or more fingers then the woman is likely to have been sexually active. “The premise of the tests is flawed because of the underlying assumption that only the overt use of force can result in a lack of consent to a sexual encounter and [women] who have suffered as a result of covert use of force should be presumed to have consented,” the petition states.
The World Health Organisation has clearly said that there is no medical basis for such tests, says the petition. “Neither the size of the vaginal opening, nor the ease with which the fingers can be admitted, or the state of the hymen are medically sound indications of prior sexual activity,” it adds. Such tests are banned in India and Bangladesh.
In Pakistan, the ways through which the authorities get the consent of rape survivors for these tests is questionable, says the petition. The survivors are “either completely unaware or not informed in enough detail with sufficient sensitivity,” it says. They are not informed that they have the right to refuse to consent to these tests. They don’t realise that they have “consented to the disclosure of the results of these tests to third parties”.
“Instead of punishing violence against women, the reliance of the justice system on such tests actually results in a far more insidious form of violence upon women inflicted by the State itself,” the petition adds. The Ministry of Human Rights had told the court on October 14 that the two-finger test is a violation of the constitutional rights of the people of Pakistan
“Pakistan is a signatory to the UN Convention of the Elimination against Discrimination against Women Rights and is committed to upholding and protecting the rights of women including their right to dignity and life,” the ministry said in its reply.The ministry agreed that the “TFT is a violation of the constitutional right to dignity of women guaranteed by Article 14 and right to be protected from discrimination, and considers it to be a form of violence on women as stated by Guidelines for the Medico-legal Care for Victims of Sexual Violence issued by the World Health Organization.”
The ministry also said it does not support the use of phrases such as “habitual to sexual act” or “woman of easy virtue” while referring to women in medical reports.
JUI (F) Spokesman Removed from Post Over Opposing Nawaz Sharif’s Narrative
QUETTA, Nov 12, 2020:: The Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) on Wednesday removed party spokesman Hafiz Hussain Ahmed over opposing the narrative of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif. The JUI-F has appointed Aslam Ghauri as the acting spokesman of the party besides also issuing a show-cause notice to Hafiz Hussain Ahmed over his remarks against Nawaz Sharif’s narrative.
According to sources, the decision to remove Hafiz Hussain Ahmed was taken during the meeting of the top consultative body of the JUI-F, Majlis-e-Shura, where an inquiry committee under Maulana Abdul Qayyum was also formed to probe into the matter. Hafiz Hussain distanced himself from the narrative of the PML-N leader during the Quetta rally as the JUI-F at that time termed the remarks of their party spokesman as a personal comment.
The sources said that JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who headed the Majlis-e-Shura meeting, also briefed the party regarding the decisions taken by the PDM. Although Hafiz Hussain Ahmed is the first one to openly oppose the narrative of the PML-N leader from the JUI-F and sent packing, there are many top leaders within PML-N who had opposed the narative and shared the same fate.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Balochistan chief Abdul Qadir Baloch on November 01 announced to part ways with the party citing rhetoric against Pakistan Army from the platform of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM). “The only reason I have decided to part ways with the PML-N is its narrative against Pakistan Army,” he said while terming the act as unacceptable for him. Later another top party leader, Sanaullah Zehri also announced resignation from the PML-N over a similar reason.
Covid-19 Second Wave: PM ImranAide Says Time Has Come for Tough Decisions
ISLAMABAD, Nov 12, 2020:: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan said the number of COVID-19 cases have surged in Pakistan during the recent few weeks and time has come to take tough decisions. While talking in ARY News program ‘powerplay’ Dr Faisal Sultan has expressed concerns over the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the country and said that time has come to take more strict decisions in order to tackle the outbreak.
“People are not taking pandemic seriously due to which positive cases are increasing rapidly,” he said, adding that marriage halls and restaurants were becoming main sources for the spread of Covid-19. Underscoring the neglect from the masses, SAPM on health said the people need to be more careful about the situation and play an active role in the fight against the pandemic.
Speaking on the vaccine, the special assistant said that Prime Minister has approved funds to purchase the possible vaccines of COVID-19 in advance. The Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination had written a letter to PM Imran Khan to seek permission for advance booking of coronavirus vaccines. It is pertinent to mention here that the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) today discussed and recommended ban on big public gatherings in the country in view of the soaring rate of COVID-19 positive cases in the second wave of the disease.
A review meeting of the NCOC, chaired by federal minister Asad Umar, discussed spike in novel coronavirus positive cases and recommended ban on large public gatherings in the country as a precautionary measure. The NCOC session also recommended tightening of precautionary measures in the high risk areas.
The federal and provincial officials briefed the meeting that the rate of positive cases continuously rising in the educational institutions. The novel coronavirus rate has three-fold increased, the NCOC session was informed. The NCOC session also recommended for early winter vacations in schools to halt rapid spread of the pandemic. The meeting recommended immediate closure of shrines, cinema halls and theatres across the country.
CCI Agrees on Launch of Rs 350 Bln Project To Tackle Malnutrition, Stunting Growth
ISLAMABAD, Wed, Nov 11 (APP):: The Council of Common Interests, while taking serious note of the critical issue of malnutrition and stunted growth among the children, Wednesday unanimously agreed upon launching of a development project “Tackling Malnutrition Induced Stunting in Pakistan” at a total cost of approximately Rs 350 billion and duration of five years (FY 2020-25).
Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired the 43rd meeting of CCI, which was attended by the chief ministers of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. It was agreed that 50 % cost i.e. approx Rs 175 billion would be provided by the Federal Government and equal distribution to be made by the provincial governments for five years, a press release issued by the PM Media Wing said. The project would target 30% of the country’s total population, including 15 million women of reproductive age group and 3.9 million children under the age of 2 years through nutrition interventions.
It was agreed that the Federal Government would provide for nutrition supplementary commodities, capacity building of new & existing healthcare workers, and research & monitoring while the provinces would contribute towards implementation through involvement of existing Lady Health Workers (LHWs, Community Health Workers, target population identification, programme management, institutional arrangement, evaluation and data sharing.
The CCI considered the request of KP Government for one-time permission to swap / substitute arrangement of one exploration block with another prospective block within the province. It accorded the one-time approval for the swap with the condition that commitments accruing out of previous award of block should be completed and the Petroleum Division should incorporate a time limit for such swap so that future requests were catered for.
The CCI also reviewed implementation status of previous decisions. Keeping in view the importance of developing a consensus on the energy issues, it was decided that the next meeting of CCI be called in the first month of next year to finalize issues related to the costs of electricity, gas & fuel; and to resolve water related matters.
The prime minister emphasized that the energy issues carried a national impact and it was necessary that a consensus was developed among the provinces where a win-win result was achieved for the benefit of the people of Pakistan.
Pakistan Hails Cessation of Hostilities in Nagorno Karabagh Region
ISLAMABAD, Nov 11, 2020:: Pakistan on Tuesday hailed the recent announcement of cessation of hostilities by the relevant parties, Azerbaijan and Armenia, in the Nagorno Karabagh dispute, as said by the Foreign Office spokesman. According to the Foreign Office Spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, Pakistan has consistently supported the resolution of the Nagorno Karabagh dispute in accordance with international law and the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.
“We welcome the recent announcement of cessation of hostilities by the relevant parties,” he said. The spokesman said that the trilateral agreement facilitated by the Russian Federation offers a renewed opportunity for establishing peace in the South Caucasus region. “We congratulate the government and brotherly people of Azerbaijan on the liberation of their territories,” he said adding that they hoped that this will lead to an era of stability and prosperity in the region and will pave way for the return of internally displaced persons to their ancestral lands.
It is pertinent to mention here that Azerbaijan said Sunday its forces had captured the key town of Shusha from Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh. The capture of Shusha was a major victory for Azerbaijan six weeks after new fighting erupted over Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian enclave that broke away from Azerbaijan’s control in the 1990s.
The fortress town sits on cliffs around 15 kilometres (nine miles) from Nagorno-Karabakh’s largest city Stepanakert and on the main road through the region to the territory of Armenia, which backs the separatists. Turkey is a key ally of Azerbaijan and on Sunday Erdogan congratulated Baku after its claim of retaking Shusha, saying it was “a sign that the liberation of the rest of the occupied territories is near”.
PM To Participate in SCO Heads of State Council Video Conference Today
ISLAMABAD, Nov 10, 2020:: Prime Minister Imran Khan will participate in the 20th Shanghai Cooperation Organization Council of Heads of State (SCO-CHS) meeting, being held in video conference format on Tuesday. According to the foreign office, Russian President Vladimir Putin invited PM Imran Khan to attend the summit of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
Vladimir Putin would chair the meeting while leaders from all 8 SCO Member States and 4 Observer States will attend, besides the UN Secretary-General and the Secretary-General of SCO. The SCO-CHS is the highest forum of SCO. It adopts documents and decisions that provide policy guidelines for determining priorities and major areas of activities of the Organization.
The 20th SCO-CHS will adopt 16 documents including Moscow Declaration reflecting member states’ stance on important regional and international issues. Besides Pakistan, SCO’s current membership comprises China, Russia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. SCO’s major objectives include promoting mutual confidence and good-neighborly relations among member states, strengthening regional peace, security and stability, and creating a framework for effective cooperation in political, cultural, trade and economy, science and technology, education, energy, transportation, tourism, environmental protection and other fields.
SCO is an important forum for further enriching our deep rooted historical and cultural links with member states, providing these ties a sound economic foundation, and promoting Pakistan as a regional trade and transit corridor. Since becoming a member in 2017, Pakistan has been actively contributing to the promotion SCO’s multi-sectoral agenda through participation in various SCO mechanisms.
Trump Will Lose Special Twitter Protections in January
WASHINGTON, Nov 9, 2020:: US President Donald Trump will be subject to the same Twitter Inc rules as any other user when President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Jan. 20, the social media company confirmed this week. Twitter places “public interest” notices on some rule-breaking tweets from “world leaders” that would otherwise be removed. Such tweets from political candidates and elected or government officials are instead hidden by a warning and Twitter takes actions to restrict their reach.
But the company said this treatment does not apply to former office holders. “This policy framework applies to current world leaders and candidates for office, and not private citizens when they no longer hold these positions,” a Twitter spokesman said in a statement. It has added multiple warnings and labels to tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account, including many since Tuesday’s election that made unfounded allegations of voting fraud.
It first hid one of his tweets behind a “public interest” label in May when the president violated the company’s policy against glorifying violence. Under Facebook Inc’s policies, it appears that after Biden takes office in January, Trump’s posts would also no longer be exempt from review by Facebook’s third-party fact-checking partners. Facebook’s online policy says it defines politicians, whose posts are exempt from fact-checking, as candidates running for office, current office holders and many of their cabinet appointees, along with political parties and their leaders.
It says “former candidates for office or former officials continue to be covered by our third-party fact-checking programme.” Facebook did not reply to Reuters questions about how it would treat Trump’s account. Biden’s victory on Saturday in Pennsylvania put the Democratic presidential candidate over the threshold of 270 Electoral College votes needed to clinch the presidency. Republican Trump has not conceded and has vowed to challenge the outcome in court.
Strict Penalties Imposed in Oman Over Use of Animals for Entertainment Shows
MUSCAT, Nov 9, 2020:: Authorities in Oman have announced penalties to be imposed on those using animals to perform at artistic or entertainment shows such as at wrestling arenas and circuses. According to a Times of Oman report, the Ministry of Agricultural, Fisheries and Water Resources, has issued regulations for the animal welfare law.
The actions barred under the new order included exposing animals to neglect, malnutrition and not giving them adequate rest; using cruelty while preparing the animal for slaughter; exhaustion of animals at work, for racing without regard for their age and health; use of animals for an act contrary to their nature by making them perform in artistic and entertainment shows such as wrestling arenas and circuses.
Further shedding light on the new regulations, the order sought a ban on giving animals a growth stimulant, or any unauthorized feed additives, seizing animals or transporting them by unprepared means, display or trade of any sick or injured animals, and getting rid of sick animals in a merciless way, such as using slow death methods.
It further banned lifting or pulling animals unable to walk in a painful way that harms them, exercising any form of abuse, including sexual abuse of animals. The decision also includes the duties of the employer, the specifications of animal housing facilities, the specifications of employees acting in a judicial capacity, the standards for using animals for scientific purposes, and the correct methods for disposing of animal carcasses.
Spontaneous Celebrations Erupt Across US After Biden’s Victory
NEW YORK, Sat. Nov 07, 2020 (APP):Celebrations broke out across US cities with people dancing in the streets, motorists honking their horns and cheers filling the air as Joe Biden is named the next president of the United States on Saturday. Biden was called the next president at 11.25 a.m. ( 9:25 pm PST) Saturday by television networks and the Associated Press, while Donald Trump played golf.
CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, the AP and USA Today all made the call and Fox News followed suit 10 minutes later as votes in Philadelphia pushed his margin in the crucial swing state of Pennsylvania over the edge. This took him to 273 electoral votes – over the 270 needed to win the White House race. Kamala Devi Harris, his running mate, becomes the first female vice president and the first black and Asian-American vice president in history.
Most Muslim-Americans, including Pakistanis, who have been under pressure since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, voted for Biden, according to reports. There are more than 3.45 million Muslims living in the US, which has a population of over 328 million. Throughout his 2016 presidential campaign and time in office, President Donald Trump has made Islamophobic comments that alienated Muslim voters.
At a 2015 campaign rally, Trump told a supporter he would look into the country’s “Muslim problem”. Later that year, he made promises to implement a database or “watchlist” to track Muslims in the U.S., and issued a statement calling for the shutdown of Muslim immigration to the U.S. He also falsely claimed he watched thousands of Muslims cheering as the World Trade Center collapsed on 9/11. During a debate, he said “Islam hates us.”
In New York City, cheers of celebration, clapping and car horns filled the air seconds after Biden’s victory was called. Cheers could be heard all across Manhattan as walkers in Central Park stopped and threw their arms in the air in celebration. Many people flocked to their balconies to join in the celebrations in the streets below.
Footage on social media revealed the moment many New Yorkers learned Biden would become the 46th president of the United States. Over in Philadelphia – where the latest votes to be counted pushed Biden to victory – people cried and embraced in the streets outside the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Some Biden supporters danced in the streets as they couldn’t contain their emotion over the victory for the Democrat. People in Washington choked back tears of relief and hugged each other.
Outside the White House on Saturday afternoon, the resident made themselves heard. Cars honked nonstop as drivers stuck their head out windows and waved Biden flags. Cyclists cheered as they sailed past, lifting fists in the air. Along a nearby street where protesters had so many times marched against the outgoing President, a young Black woman stuck her head above the sunroof of her car, yelling: “FINALLY!”
Parents waved small American flags and held their children on their shoulders, and even a recycling truck blared its horn as scores of vehicles headed south on Connecticut Avenue toward the White House. People flocked toward the White House on foot and by car, honking their horns, sticking solidarity fists out their windows and congratulating strangers on the street.
They carried Biden-Harris signs, Black Lives Matter signs, American flags — the mood one of a party inside a sigh of relief. The Trump hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue NW became a scene of beeping horns, middle finger waves and many expletive-laced goodbyes.
Biden Defeats Trump To Win White House, US Media Projects; Imran Khan Greets
NEW YORK, Nov 07 (APP) Former Vice President Joe Biden has been elected the 46th president of the United States, narrowly emerging victorious from a hotly-contested White House campaign that stretched days past election night, as vote tallies in several battleground states were slowed by an unprecedented surge in postal ballots, according to US media projections.
He will address the nation tonight, an official told CNN.
With this victory, Kamala Devi Harris, a senator and former prosecutor born to a Jamaican father and Indian mother, became the first Black person and first person of Asian descent to become vice president in US 244-year history.
Biden, who has visited Pakistan both as a senator and vice-president, edged out President Donald Trump after one term in the office. In the days since voting ended, Trump has claimed a premature victory and accused Democrats were trying to steal the election. The Trump campaign is still contesting the process in several states, and said in a statement Friday: “This election is not over.”
US Election 2020 Results Updated 2250 hrs PST
Prime Minister Imran Khan congratulated the President-elect Joe Biden and said he looked forward to working with him to end illegal tax havens, and stealing of national wealth by corrupt leaders.
“We will continue to work with the US for peace in Afghanistan and in the region,” Imran Khan said in a tweet.
Congratulations @JoeBiden & @KamalaHarris. Look forward to President Elect Biden’s Global Summit on Democracy & working with him to end illegal tax havens & stealth of nation’s wealth by corrupt ldrs. We will also continue to work with US for peace in Afghanistan & in the region
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) November 7, 2020
Biden campaigned on the promise to restore political normalcy and a spirit of national unity to confront raging health and economic crises, after four years of tumult in the White House.
Despite Trump’s rhetoric, Biden’s team projected confidence as ballots were tabulated, knowing that large chunks of the vote still to be counted were in diverse Democratic strongholds like Milwaukee, Detroit and Philadelphia.
The Associated Press, an American news agency, was first to call the race for Biden on Saturday when it said that Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes put him over the 270-vote threshold needed to win the Electoral College.
JOE BIDEN DEFEATS PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP
The Associated Press declares Joe Biden the winner of a grueling campaign for the American presidency. He will lead a polarized nation through a historic collision of health, economic and social crises. #APracecall pic.twitter.com/lInwqjX3PB
— The Associated Press (@AP) November 7, 2020
Biden was born in Pennsylvania and launched his campaign with rallies in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. He spent Election Day visiting his childhood home in Scranton and then rallying supporters in Philadelphia.
President Urges UN’s Role to Implement Security Council’s Resolutions on Kashmir
ISLAMABAD, November 2, 2020 (APP): President Dr. Arif Alvi on Monday called upon the United Nations to take steps to implement the resolutions of UN Security Council Resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir. In a meeting with UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Pakistan Julien Harneis here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, he said core dispute of Jammu and Kashmir was on the agenda of the UN for over seven decades.
President Alvi said Pakistan had always pursued peaceful resolution of all outstanding issues with India, including the Jammu and Kashmir issue. He reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to multilateralism and the principles and purpose of the UN Charter. He said Pakistan had launched several programmes to realize the Sustainable Development Goals. He also apprised Julien Harneis of the measures taken by Pakistan against the spread of COVID-19 pandemic as well as the financial support provided by the government to the deserving families under Ehsaas Programme.
The President reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to bring minorities into the mainstream and protect their rights, to which Julien Harneis lauded Pakistan for being tolerant to minorities. Dr Alvi lauded the efforts of the United Nations in supporting government in reducing hunger. He also appreciated the role of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) for extensively documenting gross Human Rights violations being committed by India in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).
Elimination of Class-Based Division in Education Sector, Foremost Priority of Govt: PM
ISLAMABAD, November 2, 2020 (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said that elimination of the prevailing class-based division in the country’s education sector was foremost priority of the present government. Uniform education system was not only the need of modern era but was also a basic right of every child, he added. The prime minister expressed these views while presiding over a meeting here regarding the uniform curriculum.
The meeting was attended by Minister for Federal Education and Professional Education Shafqat Mehmood, Punjab Provincial Minister for Education Murad Ras, Punjab Provincial Minister for Higher Education Yasir Humayun, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Provincial Minister for Education Shehram Tarkai, Parliamentary Secretary for Federal Ministry of Education Mohtarma Wajiha Ikram and senior officers. The prime minister said the new generation should be fully aware of the life and Sunnah of Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) because “Hazrat Muhammad is the only role model for us and His Sunah is the beacon of light for us”.
He stressed that National Education Policy besides bringing improvement in the quality of education would also empower all segments of the society and provide equal opportunities. The prime minister, however, added that the success of that system depended on the selection of teaching staff and their capacity building. He said that the new policy would make getting quality education in Pakistan possible, while the uniform education system would be a role model for other countries of the region to follow.
Federal Minister Shafqat Mehmood told the meeting that the introduction of a uniform curriculum at national level was aimed at prompting the analytical and creative capabilities of the students. Besides promoting curricular education and Pakistanisms, the new system was also aimed at equipping the students with golden principles like truthfulness, fairness, tolerance, respect, mutual harmony, awareness about environment, democracy, human rights, sustainable development and self-defence.
The meeting stressed the need of character building of students should be given special importance in the uniform education system. The meeting was informed that the new curriculum had been formulated in view of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and it would be implemented in all the public and private schools as well as religious seminaries across the country. “Promotion of Islamic teachings, Islamiat would be taught as a separate subject in the curriculum from 1st to 12th grade. For the subject Students belonging to minorities, a separate subject namely religious education had been introduced, which would be taught from Class One,” the meeting was told.
The meeting also discussed that the focus of uniform curricular education was to equip the students with the requirements of current era and in that regard the process of consultation with all stakeholders had been completed. The prime minister was also briefed about the Federal Directorate of Education as well as the upgradation of educational institutions.
PM Imran, Erdogan Express Concerns Over Rising Islamophobia in Europe
ISLAMABAD, Nov 1, 2020:: Prime Minister Imran Khan and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday held a telephonic conversation. During the telephonic conversation, PM Imran Khan expressed his heartfelt grief and sorrow over the loss of lives in the earthquake in Turkey. Pakistan stood with the Turkish nation in this difficult time, the prime minister said and extended all-out help and cooperation to Ankara.
Both the leaders expressed serious concerns over rising Islamophobia in Europe. Earlier today, Prime Minister Imran Khan had extended condolences to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the people of Turkey over the loss of precious lives in an earthquake in Izmir city. He tweeted: “We stand with the Turkish nation, offering every help we can give. We can never forget the way Turkey stood with us when the devastating earthquake hit Pak & AJK in 2005.”
Nineteen people had been killed in Turkey and Greece after a strong earthquake struck the Aegean Sea on Friday, bringing buildings crashing down and setting off tidal waves which slammed into coastal areas and islands.
Johnson Locks Down England As UK COVID-19 Cases Pass 1 Million
LONDON, November 1, 2020:: Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered England back into a national lockdown after the United Kingdom passed the milestone of one million COVID-19 cases and a second wave of infections threatened to overwhelm the health service. The United Kingdom, which has the biggest official death toll in Europe from COVID-19, is grappling with more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases a day and scientists have warned the “worst case” scenario of 80,000 dead could be exceeded.
Johnson, at a hastily convened news conference in Downing Street after news of a lockdown leaked to local media, said that the one-month lockdown across England would kick in at a minute past midnight on Thursday morning and last until Dec. 2, 2020. In some of the most onerous restrictions in Britain’s peacetime history, people will only be allowed to leave home for specific reasons such as education, work, exercise, shopping for essentials and medicines or caring for the vulnerable.
“Now is the time to take action because there is no alternative,” Johnson said, flanked by his chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, and his chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance. The government will revive its emergency coronavirus wage subsidy scheme to ensure workers who are temporarily laid off during a new England-wide lockdown receive 80% of their pay. Essential shops, schools, and universities will remain open, Johnson said. Pubs and restaurants will be shut apart from for takeaways. All non-essential retail will close.
Johnson’s imposition of stricter curbs came after scientists warned the outbreak was going in the wrong direction and that action was needed to halt the spread of the virus if families were to have any hope of gathering at Christmas. Johnson was criticised by political opponents for moving too slowly into the first national lockdown, which stretched from March 23 to July 4. He fell ill with COVID in late March and was hospitalised in early April.
The measures bring England into alignment with France and Germany by imposing nationwide restrictions almost as severe as the ones that drove the global economy this year into its deepest recession in generations. So far the United Kingdom has reported 46,555 COVID-19 deaths – defined as those dying within 28 days of a positive test. A broader death measure of those with COVID-19 on their death certificates gives the toll as 58,925.
The United Kingdom has the world’s fifth largest official death toll, after the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally
Pakistan Expects Even-Handed Treatment from US for Kashmir Resolution: Imran Khan
ISLAMABAD, Oct 31, 2020 (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said Pakistan expects from the United States an “even-handed treatment with respect to India”, especially on the Kashmir dispute. “The region is a hot-spot, it could flare up at any time. That’s why we expect the U.S., as the strongest country in the world, to be even handed, whoever becomes president,” the prime minister said in an interview with Der Spiegel’s Susanne Koelbl in Islamabad. On the upcoming U.S. election and prospects of winning, the Prime Minister said though Joe Biden was in front in the opinion polls, but Donald Trump was very unpredictable because unlike normal politicians, “he plays by his own rules”.
Asked with whom he would prefer to work with, Imran Khan said, “What we really want from the U.S. is an even-handed treatment with respect to India, especially with the dispute in Kashmir.” Khan said being a politician in Pakistan who formed his own party the biggest in over 22 years, he also had to do a lot of out-of-the-box-thinking including relying on social media and then attracting the youth to rallies. He said the U.S. thinks India will contain China, which is a “completely flawed premise”.
“India is a threat to its neighbors, to China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and to us. It has the most extremist, racist government on the subcontinent. It is a fascist state, inspired by the Nazis in the 1920s and ’30s,” he said. India is a threat to its neighbors, to China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and to us. Imran Khan said Indian Narendra Modi´s party openly admired Hitler, adding that the “Nazis wanted to get rid of the Jews, while the RSS wanted to rid India of the Muslims”. To a question if Washington had forced Pakistan into a misguided war in neighboring Afghanistan, he said “Pakistan had nothing to do with the terror attacks on 9/11 as Al-Qaida was in Afghanistan.”
“After 9/11, we should not have allowed our army to become involved in the war. I opposed it from day one. The U.S. put pressure on us, and the military dictator Pervez Musharraf succumbed to that pressure,” he said. He said from day one, his government had been fostering dialogue to resume peace in Afghanistan. He mentioned that Pakistan lost 70,000 people in this conflict, and the tribal areas adjacent to the Afghan border were devastated in the last 15 years. He said Pakistan had no “favorites” in Afghanistan and added that “Our only interest is that the future government in Kabul does not allow India to operate from there against Pakistan.”
To a question if new law would make it impossible for journalists to report on the army, he said there will be another way of dealing with the security forces – not through the media, but through the government. “I will speak to the army chief if I think there’s something wrong…. But this should not be done in public. When soldiers are risking their lives, you cannot demoralize them in public,” he said. On Pakistan’s successful strategy during coronavirus pandemic, he said with smart lockdown, the government did not stop agriculture sector and quickly reopened the construction sector, because that’s what employed the most people in the urban areas.
India and Iran, he said, restricted people to their homes in poor areas with complete lockdown imposed. He said around 180,000 to 200,000 people in the country were getting tested every week and mentioned that the national coordination team had a very clear composite picture of the epidemic. From peak numbers in June, he said, the country saw a steady decline in cases, positivity and deaths across the country until late August and expressed hope to survive the second wave. On Pakistan’s offer for mediation on Middle East situation, he said soon after assuming power, he had offered Saudi Arabia and Iran to mediate in Yemen.
“But you can´t force anybody to agree on peace talks if they don´t want to,” he said. On United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan having established relations with Israel, he said every country had its own foreign policy, however said “unless there’s a just settlement, we cannot recognize Israel”. The Prime Minister said countries did not become poor because of a lack of resources, but due to corruption among the leadership. “As we know from the Panama Papers, the same is true for Pakistani politicians. Millions of dollars went into properties in the most expensive areas in London, siphoned off from this country,” he said.
“They want to blackmail me into getting them off the corruption cases. But there’s no way I will ever relent,” he said. Asked if he took advice from his wife Bushra Bibi on political issues, he said, “She has great wisdom. I discuss everything with her, also problems I face in government, dealing with complex situations.” “She is my soulmate. She is my companion. I would not have survived without her,” he said.
Indian Threats Against AJK, Pakistan Cannot Be Overlooked: Masood
MUZAFFARABAD, Oct 31,2020 (APP): President Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Sardar Masood Khan on Friday said latest threats from India to fight a war inside Pakistan and Azad Kashmir should be considered as warning it comes from the Indian prime minister, defence minister and the national security adviser. Addressing a conference on Kashmir organized by Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadith Pakistan in Lahore, he said India had been acquiring weapons and war arsenal from all over the world.
He said stockpiling of these weapons warrant us to remain alive to India’s nefarious designs and prepare ourselves to respond to the looming dangers. According to a release issued by his office here, the President said existing global order which had been siding with the powerful instead of the weak had become ineffective as the big powers are either silent over brutalities as well as crimes against humanity being perpetrated in occupied Kashmir.
In this situation, they themselves would have to awaken and also have to awaken the whole Muslim community. He warned that on the one hand, the enemy intended to crush us through its military might and on the other hand, creating a wedge in our rank and file to weaken our strength.
“The small conferences and the lip service would never resolve the Kashmir issue,” he said adding that they would have to launch an effective campaign across the world to capture the attention of the United Nations, and to compel the influential world powers to break their silence.
Sardar Masood Khan stressed the need for mobilizing over ten million Pakistani and Kashmiri expatriates to further accelerate our efforts around the world in the changed situation. Kashmir has now become a humanitarian issue, and the big powers can be persuaded to play their role in resolving this human crisis. “Spread the voice of the oppressed people of Occupied Kashmir to nook and corner of the world and its echo should be heard in Paris, New York, London, Brussels, Geneva, Vienna, Dhaka and Kuala Lumpur,” Khan emphasized.
He maintained that they have a model of the Vietnam War and the anti-racism movement in South Africa, where pressure from the people forced the United States to end the war in Vietnam and the pro-apartheid regime to abolish racism in South Africa. About Eid Miladun Nabi, the state president said the Great Prophet Hazrat Mohammad is the most sacred personality in this world, and they could not tolerate his insult.
He was the benefactor of not only the Muslims but the whole of mankind. The blasphemy in France had hurt our sentiments. However, it is a matter of great satisfaction that the whole Muslim world had shown strong reaction over it.
He said a forceful campaign to boycott French products is going on from Tokyo to Washington. Similar campaign is required against India also because India is killing Kashmiri Muslims for being followers of the Great Prophet. The conference was also addressed among others by the Chief of Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadith Prof. Sajid Mir, Allama Ibtisam Ilahi Zaheer, Allama Moatasim Alahi Zaheer and Syed Attiqur Rehamn Shah besides Secretary-General Jamiat Ahle Hadith Azad Kashmir Daniyal Shahab Madni and Hafiz Farooq Rahimi.
PM Imran Khan to visit Gilgit Baltistan on Sunday: sources
ISLAMABAD, Oct 30, 2020:: Prime Minister Imran Khan would visit Gilgit Baltistan on Sunday to attend the National Day celebrations of the region, reported quoting sources. According to sources, Imran Khan would also address a ceremony during his visit to be attended by the Governor Gilgit Baltistan and interim chief minister of the region. It is pertinent to mention here that the election schedule for the Gilgit Baltistan region was announced in September this year.
The caretaker chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), Mir Afzal Khan, announced that the elections for the legislative assembly will be organised on November 15. Caretaker CM Mir Afzal Khan said in a statement that all preparations for the organisation of polls for GB Legislative Assembly were completed and the authorities will ensure measures to hold a transparent election.
He said that security forces will be deployed during the polls, whereas, army troops will also be summoned if required.
PM Imran Khan Shares His Thoughts on US Presidential Election 2020
ISLAMABAD, Oct 30, 2020:: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said that Pakistan wanted the future leadership of the United States- to be elected after upcoming elections on November 03- to maintain a balance in ties between India and Pakistan. He said this while responding to a query on the next United States (US) President during an interview with the German news website, Spiegel.
When asked as to who would be the next US president, the prime minister said that the Democrat candidate, Joe Biden, seems to be leading in the public surveys, however, Donald Trump is a non-traditional politician and could pull an unpredictable thing to win the election. We hope that the US would adopt a balanced policy on Kashmir, he said adding that whosoever wins the US polls, should treat both the countries equally as there is already a conflict in the region that could flare up at any moment.
Imran Khan said that the United States was only giving importance to India due to its issues with China. “However, such US attitude is full of blunders,” he predicted saying that India is a threat to its neighbouring countries including China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. This is for the first time that such a racist government led by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is ruling in South Asia, he said while terming India as a fascist state, inspired by the Nazi ideology.
He said that the ruling BJP in India has openly lauded Hitler and wanted to eliminate Muslims from India in a similar fashion as Nazis did with Jews. Further speaking on the peace in Afghanistan, the prime minister said that there are no favourites for Pakistan in the neighbouring country as a ruler. “We only want Kabul administration to halt anti-Pakistan activity from their soil,” he said.
Imran Khan once again reiterated Pakistan’s long-standing stance on normalizing ties with Israel and said that it could not happen unless the Palestine issue is resolved.
Coronavirus: Czech Republic Has Its Third Health Minister in Just Six Weeks
BRNO, October 29, 2020:: The Czech Republic has its third health minister in just six weeks as the country grapples with a worsening coronavirus outbreak. Jan Blatný replaces Roman Prymula, who was photographed leaving a restaurant that should have been closed under his own COVID-19 restrictions. Prymula denied any wrongdoing, saying he went through the restaurant to a private space for a meeting, but offered his resignation to Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.
The new health minister was formerly the deputy director of the University Hospital in Brno the second largest Czech city but has no political experience. Blatný's appointment was announced on Twitter by Jiri Ovcacek, spokesman for Czech President Milos Zeman. The Czech Republic is one of the worst affected EU countries for the number of new deaths and infections per 100,000 inhabitants. A total of 297,013 confirmed cases have been registered in the country, including more than half that figure in the last two weeks.
Prymula was appointed in September to lead the country's response to the health crisis, just as the number of infections began to soar. In a press release, the Czech Prime Minister thanked his former health chief and said Blatný's main task is to "stabilise the current epidemiological situation and ensure the capacity of hospitals". "The main task is to protect people over 65 and the sick in nursing homes, social care, etc," said Babiš, who also stated that the government had ordered two million antigen tests.
Moreover, the Czech parliament has approved a government plan to allow up to 300 military medical personnel from NATO and EU countries to help with the coronavirus. The first group of 28 medical staff is expected from the US National Guard. Blatný has also emphasised the need to change the perception of the pandemic in Czech society. "Let us please turn the feeling of fear into respect together," he said in a press release. "Fear paralyses us, and what's even worse, it divides, if we change that into respect, we can gain strength."
Blatný also pledged that any decisions taken by the ministry of health will be based on coherent data and expert opinion. The new health minister also faces challenges in improving the Czech Republic medical education industry, to keep young doctors from moving abroad.
Poland's Abortion Ban: President Andrzej Duda Appears to Backtrack After A Week of Protests
WARSA, October 29, 2020:: Poland's president, Andrzej Duda, appears to have broken ranks with the government and backed demonstrators protesting over tighter abortion laws. A recent ruling by the country's constitutional court banned virtually all abortions, sparking a week of protests. Duda said on Thursday he thinks women should have the right to abortion in some cases. “It cannot be that the law requires this kind of heroism from a woman,” he said in an interview with radio RMF FM. The president said he still favours outlawing abortion in cases of fetuses with non-lethal congenital defects.
"Abortion is the thing that was deeply polarising to society over the last five years," Malgorzata Szuleka, a lawyer at Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights in Warsaw, told Euronews. "The current governing majority which is represented also by Andrzej Duda took several attempts to restrict the abortion law. "It's important to say Poland has one of the most restricted access to abortion across all the European countries.
"The latest decision taken by the constitutional tribunal was some sort of a bypass of the parliament because every time the government and parliament tried to restrict abortion they were confronted with massive social protests."
French PM Details New Restrictions as Country Heads Back into Lockdown
PARIS, October 30, 2020:: French people will only be allowed to leave their homes for food shopping, medical appointments, pressing family reasons and to commute to work when the job cannot be done from home, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Thursday ahead of a new Covid-19 lockdown starting at midnight. France goes into its second nationwide lockdown this year from Friday, amid a surge in Covid-19 cases that has threatened to overwhelm French hospitals.
The nationwide lockdown will be enforced initially until December 1, though health experts have warned a longer clampdown may be necessary. Detailing the new restrictions, Castex said people will be allowed outside for just one hour of exercise per day and no further than one kilometre from their homes. For every outing, they will have to carry a document justifying their presence outside or risk a fine of 135 euros. Travel within France, including to holiday homes, will be prohibited, though borders with EU countries will remain open, the prime minister said. Visits to friends or family are also banned.
Earlier in the day, France’s lower house of parliament approved the new measures by a vote of 399 to 27 following a debate that was paused to maintain a minute’s silence for the victims of a deadly knife attack at a church in the southern city of Nice. Under the new rules, French schools will require all students aged six and over to wear face masks in class, Castex said. Until now masks were mandatory only for students 11 and older, but Castex told lawmakers in parliament that new efforts were needed "to protect all our children, teachers and parents."
Business allowed to remain open include garages, food shops, launderettes, opticians and newspaper vendors. Hotels will be allowed to maintain a reduced activity for work-related trips. Places of worship will remain open, but no ceremonies will be allowed, the prime minister added. Speaking after the prime minister, Labour Minister Elisabeth Borne said working from home will be mandatory except when it is technically impossible.
The new measures echo the eight-week lockdown that France enforced in the spring, though the government is hoping to cushion the blow for some sectors of the economy by leaving schools open. "The economy must not stop, nor collapse," French President Emmanuel Macron said in an address to the nation on Wednesday announcing the new lockdown. Macron has pledged additional financial relief for businesses, acknowledging that many were hoping to stay open ahead of the crucial holiday season that now seems jeopardised.
On Thursday, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said measures to support French companies would cost 15 billion euros per month of lockdown. Macron sends France back to lockdown as cases spiral out of control. In his address on Wednesday, Macron stressed that, "the virus is spreading across France at a speed that even the most pessimistic did not predict." He said the lockdown might start to ease once Covid-19 infections fall back to about 5,000 per day from around 40,000 per day at present.
But the government's scientific adviser, Professor Jean-François Delfraissy, has warned that the lockdown may have to extend beyond December 1. Speaking on France Inter radio, Delfraissy said the goal of bringing infections down to 5,000 a day was unlikely to be achieved by the end of November, 2020. "By December 1, we will not be at 5,000 contaminations per day. I can tell you that straight away today. We will need more time," said Delfraissy, who heads the scientific council that advises the French government on the pandemic.
"The scenario is rather to have this lockdown period of one month, to look at the different types of markers and then to exit this containment through, by example, a curfew that could continue through December, possibly covering also Christmas and New Year’s Eve, and to end it only in early January", he said. France on Thursday reported 235 new virus deaths over the past 24 hours, and more than 47,000 new positive tests.
President Alvi Pays Glowing Tribute to Coronavirus Heroes
LAHORE, Oct 28, 2020:: President Dr Arif Alvi on Tuesday paid glowing tribute to those who played great role and rendered services during the Coronavirus pandemic in the country. Speaking at the inauguration of ‘Corona Wall of Heroes’ in Lahore, President Arif Alvi said that the government and people of Pakistan bravely faced the challenge of coronavirus.
Appreciating the government for giving a well-planned response to the pandemic, the president also lauded the financial assistance provided by philanthropists and the business community to the needy people. Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, Governor Chaudhary Muhammad Sarwar, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail and other provincial ministers were also present on occasion.
Earlier on June 4, Prime Minister Imran Khan had lauded the services of doctors and paramedics at the forefront of the country’s fight against the novel coronavirus. Speaking to a delegation of Insaf Doctors Forum at the PM Office, he had said the entire nation paid tribute to health professionals struggling to turn the tide against the pathogen that has so far infected more than 80,000 people and killed over 1,770.
PM Imran Reaffirms Pakistan’s Unwavering Support to Kashmiri Peoples
ISLAMABAD, Oct 27, 2020 :: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday reiterated that Pakistan will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Kashmiri people and extend all possible support to them until they realize their legitimate right to self-determination. In his message on the “Kashmir Black Day”, PM Imran said, “We are observing this day to condemn Indian illegal occupation and to reiterate our unwavering support to the Kashmiri people.”
He maintained that the black day represents a dark chapter in the human history when, 73 years ago, Indian forces landed in Srinagar to forcibly occupy the territory and subjugate the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The illegal occupation of parts of Jammu and Kashmir by India represents an international dispute, the solution of which is firmly anchored in the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions in accordance with the UN charter, the prime minister added.
PM Imran said that despite unabated Indian atrocities for more than seven decades posing an existential threat, India was unable to break the will of the Kashmiri people. “International community bears witness that Indian state-terrorism, extra-judicial killing of innocent Kashmiris, restrictions in freedom of speech, fake encounters, cordon-and-search operations, custodial torture and deaths, enforced disappearances, incarceration of Kashmiri leadership and youth, use of pellet guns, destruction and burning of houses to inflict ‘collective punishment’ on the Kashmiris communities and other methods of subjugation have failed to shake the resolve of the Kashmiris people in their just struggle for the inalienable right to self-determination.”
He said that India’s unilateral actions, military siege and communication blockade accompanied by illegal measures to bring about demographic change in occupied Kashmir since 5th August 2019, expose yet another dimension of RSS-inspired ‘Hindutva’ ideology. The dangerous mix of extremist ideology (Hindutva) and hegemonic designs (Akhand Bharat) is imperiling regional peace and stability, he added. The international legitimacy of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is enshrined in the UNSC resolutions, which are binding, he said and added that It was a collective responsibility of all member states to ensure compliance by India of its international obligations.
The prime minister urged the international community to take practical steps to stop India from using state-terrorism as a tool to destabilize the region and to work for peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UNSC resolutions and wishes of the Kashmiri people. This was the only way durable peace and stability can be ensured in South Asia, he concluded. Pakistanis and Kashmiris living on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) and rest of the world, are observing black day today to condemn Indian illegal occupation on Jammu and Kashmir.
Quality Education Lays Foundation for Tolerant, Progressive Society: PM Imran
MIANWALI, Oct 25, 2020:: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday said that quality education lays the foundation for a tolerant and progressive society. Addressing the ground-breaking ceremony of Namal Knowledge City phase-1 in Mianwali, PM Imran stressed upon availability of affordable and quality higher education opportunities for the talented youth of Pakistan.
“I want that this institute becomes an internationally renowned center of excellence,” he added. The prime minister paid special tribute and expressed deep gratitude for the commitments made by donors worth millions of dollars. Earlier today, Prime Minister Imran Khan had said that people should have a little bit of patience to see Pakistan emerge as a powerful country in the comity of nations.
Speaking at an event at Isa Khel Cadet College in Mianwali, he had emphasised the need for promoting knowledge economy to put the country on the path of progress and prosperity. Prime Minister Khan had maintained the government was trying to develop backward areas and ensured that they would be provided with all basic amenities of life, including access to quality healthcare and education.
Palace Dwellers Can’t Know Peoples Woes: PM
ISLAMABAD, Oct 25، 2020: Indirectly hitting out at his political opponents particularly former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister Imran Khan has said the people who live in palaces and who go to London for medical checkups could not understand the woes of the common man. “I have seen the living conditions of the people of Mianwali [his native city]. I faithfully believe that unless a person knows how people live in backward areas, he will not be able to help them out,” Imran said while addressing a public gathering at his hometown amid warning of a second wave of Covid-19.
“Those who spend their lives in big palaces in Lahore and become chief ministers; the ones who get themselves medically examined in London; whose children are in London; how would they realize how people are living in these [backward] areas,” he added. Imran was indirectly referring to the PML-N leaders – Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shehbaz Sharif – both of which have served as the chief minister of the country’s most populous province. Convicted former prime minister Nawaz has been in London since November 2019 after he got bail in a corruption case and later a rare permission to fly to London to get medical treatment. Both sons of Nawaz – declared proclaimed offenders by courts – are also in London.
The PM said this was the reason why he chose Usman Buzdar as the chief minister of Punjab. “I chose Buzdar because of the reason that only a man who understands the difficulties of the poor people would be able to solve their problems,” he added. Admitting that many have been questioning his choice for the top position in the province, the prime minister said Buzdar belongs to Dera Ghazi Khan, which is the most backward district of Punjab. Imran said DG Khan was even more backward than Mianwali but several other districts of the province were facing similar issues. “Nations do not prosper if all the money is spent on two, three cities. No nation progresses like that.”
He reiterated that Pakistan will one day emerge as a strong country in the comity of nations and the dream of Naya Pakistan will come true. “I urge people to show some patience. Pakistan will emerge as a powerful country of the world.” Separately, addressing the ground breaking ceremony of the Namal Knowledge City Phase-1 in Isa Khel, he said investment in human capital and promotion of the knowledge economy are key to development. He assured the marginalized population residing in remote areas that the government will protect the rights of the weaker sections and make sure that no one is exploited.
Imran expressed deep gratitude for the commitments made by donors worth millions of dollars. He laid stress on the availability of affordable and quality higher education opportunities for the talented youth of Pakistan. He said good education lays the foundation for a tolerant and progressive society. According to the official statement released after the event, more than 10,000 students from deprived areas would benefit from the Knowledge City after completion of the first phase-1 and the project would be environment friendly and a state-of-the-art green structure. He said he aims at making this institute an internationally renowned centre of excellence.
The premier also inaugurated a new hostel block at the Cadet College Isa Khel. He also laid the foundation stone of a clean water supply project for the area, especially for the Khattak belt. The total cost of the clean water supply project is Rs3.2 billion, of which 80 per cent will be provided by the federal government and 20 per cent by the Punjab government. The project will supply 3.4 million gallons of water per day to 87 villages and 151 settlements with a population of about 2.5 million. The project will be powered by solar energy and upon completion will be able to store water for up to 3 months for dry season use.
Imran said the government was focusing on providing basic health and education facilities to the people of remote areas. He said a new system is being evolved to ensure the presence of doctors in the hospitals of far-flung areas. He said the government is keen to transform the police into such a dynamic force that protects the weak segments of society. He directed the Punjab Inspector General of Police to ensure that the common man is treated fairly at the police stations. Before his address, Imran was given a detailed briefing about the Rs19 billion Mianwali development package that would be utilized for road infrastructures, resumption of 46 water supply projects and reconstruction of tehsil hospitals in Piplan and Kalabagh.
He was also briefed on the progress of children’s hospital, addition of 400 classrooms in existing schools, construction of 77 dilapidated school buildings and projects of Mianwali University. Imran said special attention should be paid to the education facilities for girls and women. Later, Imran took an aerial view of the clean water supply project for Isa Khel Tehsil and adjoining tehsils. He had started Saturday’s campaign by administering polio drops and also planted saplings.
All Set for PDM’s Third Power Show in Quetta
I consider it a sin holding talks with a puppet government, which has no legitimacy: Maryam Nawaz
QUETTA، Oct 25، 2020: The 11-party opposition alliance, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), is all set to hold its third power show at Ayub Stadium, Quetta on Sunday (today) amid heightened security measures over credible reports of a possible terror attack. The National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) warned that the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan in connivance with HIAs have planned to carry out large-scale terrorist activities in Quetta, targeting political and religious leadership.
The Balochistan government had appealed to the PDM leadership to defer their rally in the wake of the security alert. However, the opposition leaders paid no heed to the warning and started gathering in Quetta on Saturday. PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz reached Quetta at around 12:30pm by airplane, while JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who is also the central president of the PDM, arrived in the city by road in the shape of a caravan through Khuzdar. PPP Balochistan spokesperson Hayat Achakzai told The Express Tribune that Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari might not be able to make it to the public gathering as he is in Gilgit-Baltistan busy electioneering for the upcoming polls on November 15. However, he said, if Bilawal cannot make it to the venue, he will address the rally through video link.
PML-N Balochistan President Gen (retd) Qadir Baloch said that party supreme leader Nawaz Sharif will address the public gathering through video link. A PML-N social media team has reached Quetta to broadcast the speech. All preparations, including security measures and provision of sanitisers and face masks, for the third PDM rally have been completed. The PDM has started decorating the ground for the rally. A control room has been set up at the Deputy Commissioner's Office to monitor the security arrangements in the wake of a possible terror attack. The Balochistan Home Department has placed a ban on pillion riding for 24 hours in Quetta.
More than 4,000 security personnel have been deployed by the Balochistan government, including police, Frontier Corps and Balochistan Constabulary. Other leaders who arrived included JUI-F’s Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, PML-N's Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ahsan Iqbal, Capt (retd) Safdar, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Nihal Hashmi, PPP Senior Vice Chairman and former prime minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Awami National Party Central Vice President Amir Haider Khan Hoti and General Secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain.
Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai, Balochistan National Party chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal and National Party Central President Dr Abdul Malik Baloch have reached Quetta. Further, the Balochistan government detained Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement leader MNA Mohsin Dawar when he arrived at the Quetta airport due to a three-month ban on him for delivering anti-government speeches, which will end on October 29. Home Minister Ziaullah Langove confirmed the development.
Maryam, while interacting with media persons at a local hotel on Saturday, ruled out any chance of negotiation with the PTI government, saying: “I consider it a sin holding talks with a puppet government, which has no legitimacy.” She said that the incumbent government would fall through democratic ways. Addressing JUI-F workers at a local madrassa, Fazl said, “It is the responsibility of the government to provide security for the Quetta gathering. If they cannot provide security, they should go home.” Fazl called the government “illegitimate”, “fake” and “incompetent”.
Uplift of Industrial Sector to Accelerate Economic Activity, Create Jobs, Wealth: PM
ISLAMABAD, Oct 23، 2020 (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday while reiterating the promotion of industrial sector as his government’s priority, said it would not only accelerate the economic activity but would also lead to creation of jobs and wealth. In a meeting with a delegation of renowned exporters, he assured them that the government would mull over all of the proposals they put forward to him during the meeting for their maximum ease and facilitation.
Federal ministers Hammad Azhar, Syed Ali Zaidi, Faisal Vawda, advisors Abdul Razzak Dawood, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Dr Ishrat Hussain, Specials Assistant to the Prime Minister Zulfiqar Bukhari, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, State Bank of Pakistan Governor Raza Baqir, Federal Board of Revenue chairman and senior officers attended the meeting. The delegation comprised representatives of Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce, Pakistan Business Council, automobiles sector, tanners association, hosiery, fisheries, garments, pharmaceutical, steel, textiles and other industries.
The delegation members appreciated the government’s measures and efforts to boost the exports and spoke high of the prime minister and his economic team. They conveyed to the prime minister that the government’s pro-business policies had revived the business community’s confidence to stimulate the business activity. They also mentioned remarkable increase in the exports, export orders and domestic sale of cement, steel and automobiles. The delegation members also put forward multiple proposals to enhance country’s exports and exploit the potential.
President Suggests Surplus Import, Stocking of Eatables to Contain Inflation
ISLAMABAD, Oct 23 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi Thursday suggested the government to ensure sufficient import and stocking of eatables to reduce inflation by closing doors to mafias, who always took advantage of demand-supply gap. President Alvi, in an interview with a private television channel (Roze News), said it was essential to control the prices of flour, sugar and other food items for being daily use items for everyone. He said the shortage of any commodity always created room for the mafias, which exploited the situation. However, the government could control the shortage of eatables by enhancing their agriculture produce or through import, he added.
Lauding the government’s achievements against COVID-19 and on economic front, he said unfortunately, both the achievements were not made part of any political discussion contrary to other countries like the United States where even the presidential debate revolved around the pandemic. Referring to his recent meeting with the Board of Governors of National School of Public Policy, the president urged the bureaucracy to be responsive for meeting the public expectations. About the ongoing month-long awareness drive in October on the breast cancer, he said the early detection of the disease would avert deaths.
Similarly, he said, the country could have witnessed huge casualties if it had not achieved success against the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he said the credit for remarkable success went to the coordination and better data sharing among the national institutions, financial support by the government to avoid hunger-related deaths and discipline showed by the people. He advised the people to continue pursuing the anti-COVID precautions to avert the overcrowding at hospitals and deaths. He said after the month-long awareness on breast cancer, First Lady Samina Alvi would focus her efforts for the rights of disabled people, particularly the job opportunities for them.
He said population control was another area of his interest which could be managed through two-year breastfeeding, which would not only delay the pregnancy but also protect the child from stunted growth. The president said the prime minister boldly faced the pressure of blanket lockdown in the country because he feared that any such step would cause hunger-related deaths even more than the COVID itself. Rather, he said the government announced incentive-laden relief package for the construction industry to keep up the economic activity. The construction package would help engage both the skilled and non-skilled labour to provide them livelihood.
He said under the new initiative, the government had passed new laws to engage the private commercial banks to provide housing loan to the low-income group for fulfilling their dream of having own shelter. He said the recent auction of commercial plots in Islamabad was also due to the investors’ confidence in the country’s future economic outlook. He said consequent to the government’s prudent economic policies, the country’s current account deficit had been reduced from $18 billion to $2 billion.
To a question, the president appreciated the contribution of Pakistan Army in the national development particularly its tremendous achievement of purging the country of terrorism, which no other country could do. He also recalled the army’s support to revive peace in Karachi, besides its contribution during the floods. He said during his recent visit, leader of Hizb-e-Islami of Afghanistan Gulbadin Hekmatyar lauded the hosting of millions of Afghan refugees by Pakistan as historic gesture contrary to the Western countries which were unwilling even to host a few hundred refugees.
Asked about the recent controversy in Karachi following the arrest of PML-N leader Safdar Awan, the president said the matters involved politics and should have been handled in a better way. However, he said, the parties concerned must await the findings of the inquiry ordered by the army chief. The president said Pakistan was emerging as a great nation that would revive the moral standards in a world where the money was the driving force.
PM Stresses Maximum Facilitation for Poor in Getting Bank Loans, Taking Care of Their Self-Respect
ISLAMABAD, Oct 23 (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday stressed for providing all kinds of facilitation to the poor people in getting bank loans and particularly taking care of their self-respect. He expressed these views while presiding over the weekly meeting of the National Coordination Committee on Housing, Construction and Development here. The State Bank of Pakistan governor briefed the meeting about the provision of loans to the poor and middle class segments of the society on easy installments. Heads of the National Bank of Pakistan, Allied Bank Limited, Meezan Bank, Bank Al-Habib, Habib Bank and Bank of Punjab apprised the prime minister of the provision of loans under the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme.
The meeting was told that with the setting up of special desks at their respective branches, the process of getting loans had been made very easy. The private banks would provide loans both under the Islamic and conventional banking. The heads of banks assured their full support and cooperation to the government in the promotion of construction sector and facilitating the poor segments of the society for the construction of their own houses. They lauded the prime minister and the government’s economic team for taking measures for the business community, including the banks keeping in view the situation of COVID-19 pandemic.
The meeting was told that technology was being used to make the process of providing loans in short time as it would help verify the applicants’ documents early and speedily. The prime minister was told that more private banks would also start providing loans. The Punjab chief secretary told the meeting that an online portal had been established for the constructors and builders. The portal had so far received 6,994 applications and 54 percent of those had been approved.
The meeting was told that in order to avoid delay in the approval process, the institutions concerned had also been linked with the online portal. With the provision of a time-line for the approval of applications, the applicant also remained updated about his/her case through the mobile application. The prime minister urged all the provinces to fully utilize the online portal so that the process of approvals could be made early and transparent.
PM Expresses ‘Deep Grief’ Over Tragic Deaths in Jalalabad Stampede
ISLAMABAD, October 22, 2020 (APP) Prime Minister Imran Khan has expressed deep grief over tragic deaths and casualties in a stampede in Jalalabad of Afghans wanting to get Pakistani visas. In a tweet tonight, he said condoled the victim's families and prayed for early recovery of the injured. At least 15, including women, got dead in stampede that occurred after thousands of Afghan nationals gathered to secure visa near Pakistani consulate in Afghanistan’s Jalalabad city on Wednesday.
According to the media details, the stampede occurred in a stadium in the city where an estimated 3,000 Afghans had congregated on the open ground outside the consulate, waiting to collect tokens needed to apply for a visa. Tens of thousands of Afghans every year travel to neighboring Pakistan to secure medical treatment, education and jobs.Last week, Pakistani consulate had resumed issuing visas after a seven-month closure due to COVID-19 pandemic.
President Urges Opposition Parties to Desist from Attacking State Institutions
ISLAMABAD, Oct 21 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday urged the Pakistan Democratic Movement – the alliance of opposition parties – to desist from criticizing or attacking the state institutions, as it would benefit the country’s enemies. “Criticizing the government or its policies is the democratic right of the opposition parties, but I urge them to exercise care while talking about the state institutions,” he said in an interview with a private television channel (Roze TV). The president said the Indian media was giving extra coverage to the ongoing political activities in Pakistan.
It was the right of the opposition to express reservations about the government, if any, but the political issues should be taken up at political levels, he remarked. President Alvi recalled the protest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) after the 2013 general election and said the party before going for public protest, had taken up the matter of its demand for opening of four constituencies in the Parliament and courts, and also presented the evidence of rigging. The opposition parties should also present the evidence of rigging in the election, he said, adding Prime Minister Imran Khan had offered them to open any constituency/constituencies for probing their claims.
The president said the state institutions had not any role in the elections, as they were called by the government to assist the civil administration in maintenance of law and order, and security as the polling exercise involved the mobility of millions of voters on a single day. He said as far as the 2018 general election was concerned, various independent surveys and opinion polls, including the Gallup Polls, had predicted the victory of PTI. Recognizing the importance of free, fair and transparent elections in a democratic system, the president, however, recalled that when he was a member of the Elections Reforms Committee, he had proposed improvement in the voting system through various modern means, including the introduction of electronic voting.
He further said it was after the Panama Papers case verdict by the Supreme Court that the then government and now the opposition started attacking the institutions, first the courts and then the army. To a question about the private discussions on introducing the presidential form of government in Pakistan, President Alvi said when it came to the issues of governance or tackling corruption, “it is not the system which matters but the leadership”. About the fears of second wave of coronavirus in the country, the president said the number of new corona cases in Pakistan was touching over 700 per day with some deaths and advised the people to continue to adopting the COVID-10 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to protect themselves.
With the second spike of COVID-19 in various countries, including the Europe, and deaths being reported, there was a need to adopt extra protective measures in Pakistan as well, he stressed. The president recalled how Pakistan remained successful in the fight against COVID-19 during the previous months, a fact also recognized by various international institutions, including the World Health Organization (WHO). The people should continue to take protective measures, including the use of face masks, hand-washing and social distancing, he added.
He also urged the participants of the opposition’s political rallies to use face masks to protect themselves from the coronavirus. President Alvi said the nations, which developed the institutions, always succeeded, and the institutions in Pakistan were on the course of development. It was the coordination among the institutions and provinces that brought about success to Pakistan in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, he added.
He said contrary to India, Pakistan successfully averted the severity of economic distress consequent to the prudent decisions taken by the government and timely support to the construction industry to save the people from unemployment. He said due to the very reasons, Pakistan’s stock market was on a surge, which showed the investors’ confidence in the government’s policies. The president emphasized that the continuity of policies was inevitable for national development, which must go on regardless of any change in the government.
Referring to the remarks of former US treasury secretary and renowned economist Lawrence ‘Larry’ Summers that the United States could have saved around $10 trillion if it had handled COVID-19 like Pakistan, the president said the success was achieved due to coordination and better data sharing among the national institutions and implementation by the federating units with a bit change. He, however, said, the incidents like the political sloganeering at the Quaid’s Mausoleum by PML-N’s Safdar Awan in fact diverted the government’s attention from real issues.
To a question about his special focus on health and IT subjects, he said he had not a ministerial role, and he rather discussed and coordinated the mattes with relevant ministries. Like being head of the Task Force on Information Technology (IT), the president said, he chaired meetings on IT issues as he had done on the day (today) to discuss the idea of electronic voting for overseas Pakistanis.He viewed that the excellence in health and education sectors could steer the country out of poverty.
Imran Khan Vows to Put Nawaz Back in Jail with Ordinary Prisoners
ISLAMABAD, Oct 18, 2020 (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan Saturday while strongly reacting to the offensive language used by Nawaz Sharif against the military leadership, said he would ensure that Nawaz was brought back from his London hideout and placed with common prisoners, and not the VVIP jail, he was in. “Now I will do my best to bring you back and put you in common prison, not a VVIP one. Those who loot few hundreds of thousand rupees stay in common prison but those who laundered billions and their children live in apartments, worth billions, stay in a VVIP jail. Come back and see where I will put you,” the prime minister said in his address to the Tiger Force Convention here.
Nawaz Sharif who was convicted by an accountability court in Dec 2018 and sentenced seven year jail-term in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference and also fined Rs1.5 billion and US $25 million. A disqualification of 10 years from holding any public office was part of the sentences. However, he was provided a fully furnished room with a television, air conditioner and Describing Friday’s public gathering of 11-member opposition coalition – Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) in Gujranwala a “circus” the prime minister also requested the courts and National Accountability Bureau to conclude corruption cases against Sharif Family and Asif Zardari without any delay as the people were yearning to get back their looted money.
He assured both the institutions of fullest logistics support to dispose of the said cases and also announced that he would be activating all the institutions under him to arrest the looters. “I know whose game he is playing … He is trying to create rift between government and the army”. He said Nawaz Sharif’s verbal attack against Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Director General Inter-Services Intelligence Lt General Faiz Hameed were in fact an attempt to get cheap popularity in the Indian and Israeli lobbies.
“I understand whose game he is playing. I have full intelligence (reports). For me it makes no difference who is the army chief now just because I have not laundered money … He is trying to create rift between government and the army,” the prime minister said in an aggressive tone. Deputy Speaker National Assembly Qasim Suri, Special Assistant to PM on Youth Affairs Usman Dar, SAPM on Overseas Pakistan Zulfiqar Bukhari, SAPM Shahbaz Gill, senior party leadership attended the mega event attended by thousands of the volunteers from across the country.
“So far, the opposition has seen just one Imran Khan. This is Naya Imran Khan after yesterday’s speech by a ‘jackal’. Now they will see a different Imran Khan,” he said while announcing that no more production orders would be issued for the detained opposition leaders on corruption charges to attend the parliament session until they satisfied the courts. Terming Nawaz Sharif’s words “an attack on Pakistan Army, not General Bajwa” the prime minister said the military had fully supported the government during COVID-19 pandemic, after Karachi rains, in defence and foreign policies and by slashing its annual budget considering country’s tough financial conditions.
He told the volunteers that Nawaz Sharif first become a minister through the patronage of General (Retd) Jilani and chief minister by “polishing the boots of General Ziaul Haq”. He said the PML-N leader also received millions of rupees from Mehran Bank to contest elections against the PPP. But he said unfortunately, the country’s courts always supported him. Even it was Nawaz Sharif who jailed Asif Ali Zardari twice and it was Zardari who filed Hudaibiya Paper Mills case against him, not Gen Bajwa. He said after his speech, Nawaz Sharif got huge applause in Indian media as it was Narendra Modi using similar language against Pakistan and Pakistan Army.
“These are the people who can even put the country up for sale just to protect their corruption money. Money is their god”
“These are the people who can even put the country up for sale just to protect their corruption money. Money is their god,” the prime minister said as the volunteers chanted Imran – Imran and anti-opposition slogans with a predominant chant of “diesel” a term usually referred to JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman. He said India also knew well that the same Nawaz Sharif started his political career under former military generals’ patronage, got attacked Supreme Court, bought judges to get favoring verdicts, and influenced others to victimize the then opposition.
The prime minister who earlier also launched a web portal for registration of Tiger Force volunteers and help them report hoarding and overpricing complaints through their mobile phone, said Nawaz Sharif maligned judiciary after the Panama case verdict against him. “Was Panama case filed by General Bajwa? Who was at fault then? He (Nawaz Sharif) is lying shamelessly, even his brother, sons and daughter,” the prime minister said.
He said Nawaz was maligning the army at time when over 20 army personnel have been martyred in past few days. A visibly charged Khan repeatedly calling the former premier a “jackal” for having escaped to avoid corruption cases. He is maligning the army, when over 20 of their personnel have been martyred in past few days. He told the audience that some 11 years ago, he had forecast that the corrupt opposition partied would get united whenever they would fall in grip for their corruption.
However, he avoided to comment on the speeches by Maryam Nawaz and Bilawal Bhutto calling them “kids”, though he said both were brought up on the corruption money of their respective fathers. Just to focus more on Nawaz Sharif’s anti-military remarks, the prime minister also opted to utter nothing more against Fazlur Rehman except calling him 12th man in the 11-member team. Showing on screen the gloomy face of Nawaz Sharif while being in Pakistan and aggressive during Friday’s virtual address from London, he reiterated that Nawaz was allowed to go abroad after he portrayed himself as a critical patient.
The prime minister also quoted three books written by foreign authors mentioning tales of corruption by both Sharif and Zardari families. “What they have done to their country is what Mir Jafar and Mir Sadiq had done to their people,” he remarked. “What they have done to their country is what Mir Jafar and Mir Sadiq had done to their people”. Recalling the controversy of opening of four-rigged constituencies after 2013 polls, the prime minister said after 2018 elections, he had assured the opposition to open any constituency where they suspected rigging.
He said the government had collected evidences of Rs 2.5 billion of public money spent by PML-N during the election contested by now late Kulsoom Nawaz and electioneered by Maryam Nawaz. The prime minister thanked the Tiger Force volunteers for their contributions during COVID-19, in health and environment sectors. Khan repeatedly directed the volunteers not to interfere in city administration’s working. He apprised them that their role was limited to just reporting the hoarding and overpricing through the exclusive web portal that would prompt action by the district administration.
Recalling tremendous public support, he got for building cancer hospital, he said the public support could do wonders and that the great nations like Pakistanis, always stood to support the country in any difficult situation. He said the Tiger Force’s cooperation would help curb inflation and hoarding besides assisting the government in its 10 Billion Trees Tsunami to mitigate effects of climate change. He told the audience that the country got reduced wheat crop consequent to damaging untimely rains during last two years; however the government had already made imported the commodity to make up the deficiency.
Calling hoarding a “scourge” the prime minister said the government had devised a plan to curb the monopoly of sugar mill owners who so far used to announce sugar prices on their own. In his address, SAPM Usman Dar lauded the prime minister’s vision to launch Tiger Force initiative which had remarkably assisted the government in ration scheme, Ehsaas registration, in hospitals as well as for tree plantation. He asked the district administration to respect the volunteers as they offered their services for national development without any financial benefit.
He also condemned the opposition for criticizing the Tiger Force and said rather it was an ideological force for public and national service. The SAPM said the government allocated Rs 100 billion for Kamyab Jawan Program to provide Rs 100,000 to 25 million for business. The youths were being given loans only on personal guarantee for start-ups, he added. He said the government spent Rs 10 billion to train the youth skillfully in computing, artificial intelligence and software development. The SAPM said the Tiger Force portal would bring digital governance and make youth part of the government’s decision making. The documentary films on Tiger Force’s services, theme song and on the career and struggle of Imran Khan were also played.
PM Opens Pakistan’s First Local Cardiac Stent Manufacturing Facility At NUST
ISLAMABAD, Oct 16 (APP): As a ground-breaking initiative in Pakistan’s medical device industry, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday inaugurated the first facility in the country that will locally manufacture cardiac stents. The facility – ‘N-ovative Health Technologies‘ at National University of Science and Technology (NUST) has started mass production of cardiac stents and angioplasty balloon catheters for general public at affordable prices.
The Prime Minister said with a large number of heart patients in the country, the step was significant in provision of medical treatment with an exponential price difference besides facilitating the financially weaker sections of society. He expressed satisfaction over NUST setting a precedent of an academia-industry linkup, which he said, was extremely important in exploring the benefits of knowledge and innovation in true spirit.
He said excelling in field of science and technology could be no difficult for a country which developed its nuclear capabilities, however the “fracture mindset” was the main reason behind such lagging. “We, as nation, need to set ahead clear goals with all institutions and government departments working in unison for their achievement,” he said.
PM Vows to Expose Indian Human Rights Violations in IIOJK at UNHRC
ISLAMABAD, Oct 14 (APP): On Pakistan’s re-election to UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for three years, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said Pakistan would continue to expose human rights violations, committed by India in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). “Pakistan will continue to expose human rights violations committed with impunity by the Indian occupation forces in IIOJK,” the Prime Minister tweeted.
Imran Khan said, “We remain committed to upholding human rights for all, prioritizing advancement of tolerance & constructive engagement.” I am pleased with Pakistan’s re-election to UN Human Rights Council for another 3-yr term. We remain committed to upholding human rights for all, prioritizing advancement of tolerance & constructive engagement. We stand resolute against Islamophobia & in support of mutual respect
I commend the role of the Foreign Office and Pakistan’s Missions abroad in yet another diplomatic achievement, enhancing Pakistan’s profile and recognition on the international stage. He expressed the commitment to stand resolute against Islamophobia and in support of mutual respect. “Pakistan will continue efforts towards consensus building and ensuring HRC’s work is guided by principles of universality, impartiality, dialogue & cooperation,” he said.
He commended the role of the Foreign Office and Pakistan’s missions abroad in yet another diplomatic achievement, enhancing Pakistan’s profile and recognition on the international stage.
President Rejects PIMS Representation Against Wafaqi Mohtasib’s Decision
ISLAMABAD, Oct 14 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi on Wednesday rejected an instant representation of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) against an order of Wafaqi Mohtasib regarding violation of transparency and merit in appointment of a Draftsman (BS-14). The President ordered two reports, pertaining to an internal inquiry into the case of appointment and also on the structure of interview process at PIMS, required to be submitted to Wafaqi Mohtasib within 45 days.
The candidate Asim Hanif, who had applied for the post of Draftsman against the vacancies advertised by PIMS, topped the list while obtaining 63 marks in written examination, but was not selected finally after the Interview Committee awarded him six (06) marks out of 30. Feeling aggrieved, the candidate had approached the learned Wafaqi Mohtasib and the hearing of the case was held on September 30,2020 with Dr. Minhaj us Siraj, Joint Executive Director along with Jameel Shirazi, Deputyy Director appearing on behalf of PIMS, while Asim Hanif appeared in-person.
The perusal of record revealed that the educational qualification of candidate Asim Hanif was B-Tech (Hons) along with Diploma of Associate Engineer. On the other hand, the selected candidate, who was a matriculate with a Diploma of Associate Engineer, got 48 marks in written examination while 25 out of 30 marks were awarded to her by the Interview Committee.
The Wafaqi Mohtasib, in its earlier order, had held that “During hearing it was revealed that the complainant has been put on disadvantage position by pulling him down in the merit given him only 6 marks in Interview, although he had topped in the initial screening test. The selected candidate scored 15% less marks from the complainant, but, was pulled up, given her maximum marks in the interview.”
The order of the Wafaqi Mohtasib was issued in light of an Office Memorandum of Establishment Division that emphasized upon ensuring transparency and merit while making appointments. The order added: “Both candidates possessed same qualification/experience/diplomas. In guidelines provided by the Establishment Division in its Office Memorandum No.F.53/1/2008-SP dated 16th January, 2015.
The interview marks, however, are divided objectively and not subjectively, based on relevant, knowledge, experience and other communication skills.
In this case, the guidelines have been violated, and maladministration has been observed in bringing a candidate from bottom to top and pulling the top most candidate (complainant) at merit position No.2, awarding him only 6 out of 30 marks.”
The Wafaqi Mohtasib in view of the maladministration established against PIMS accepted the complaint of Asim Hanif and declared the interview process done as “null and void”. Also, it directed constitution of Interview Committee afresh with different composition. It emphasized that interview process is not meant to exclude the meritorious candidates and select the candidates of lesser merit amounting to abuse of the process.
“Such an assessment of a candidate by the Interview Committee is totally unfair and biased constituting maladministration as a candidate scoring the highest marks in the written examination cannot be so incompetent to get even the passing marks in the interview. Article 2(2) of the Establishment of the Office of the Wafaqi Mohtasib (Ombudsman) Order I983 defines maladministration to include a decision which is unreasonable, unjust, biased or discriminatory. The learned Wafaqi Mohtasib has found it a matter of maladministration and quashed the interview process and directed that the Interview Committee be constituted afresh for interviews,” it said.
PM Imran Khan Taking for All Measures to Check Prices of Essential Items; Strict Action Against Hoarders, Profiteers
ISLAMABAD, Oct 13 (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday called for taking all possible administrative measures to check the prices of basic essential goods and commodities, and ensure strict action against the hoarders and profiteers. He was presiding over a high-level meeting here regarding the prices and availability of basic essential commodities, particularly wheat and sugar.
Federal ministers Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Senator Shibli Faraz, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Syed Fakhar Imam and Ali Ameen Gandapur, advisors Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Abdul Razzak Dawood and Dr Ishrat Hussain, special assistants Dr Shehbaz Gill, Muhammad Usman Dar and Dr Waqar Masood, State Bank Governor Dr Reza Baqir and senior government officials attended the meeting.
Punjab Food Minister Abdul Aleem Khan and Minister for Industries Mian Aslam Iqbal, and provincial chief secretaries joined the meeting through video link. The prime minister, on the occasion, also approved the proposed administrative measures to check the prices of essential items. During the first part of meeting, besides the details of availability of wheat in the country as well as the prices of wheat and flour in different provinces, the schedule of wheat import by the public and private sectors to meet the future requirements was also presented.
The detailed schedule of tenders at public level and government-to-government import of the wheat was also presented during the meeting. The meeting was presented a report based on the information of Tiger Force and independent sources about the prices of wheat and wheat flour in different parts of the country. It was briefed in detail about the administrative measures being taken to check hoarding and ensuring to keep the prices of wheat at appropriate levels.
The meeting was briefed about the new administrative measures, including the introduction of comprehensive system regarding the credible estimates of demand and supply of basic essential items, steps to check the difference of prices at the levels of wholesale dealers and retailers, elimination of market exploitation, hoarding, smuggling and speculation along with further strengthening and making the monitoring system more effective.
It was apprised of the situation of release of wheat by the Punjab government on daily basis. It was told that the Sindh government would start releasing of wheat from October 16. The meeting decided that the Punjab government would further enhance its daily basis release of wheat so as to ensure its ample supply. During the second part of the meeting, the participants were briefed about the availability of sugar, its import and prices. The meeting was told that as compared to the current prices, the imported sugar would be available to the masses at lower rates.
The meeting was told that in Punjab, the sugarcane crushing season would start from November 10. The available stocks, import of sugar and the early start of crushing season would not only help augment the availability of sugar in the market but would also reduce the prices.
President Alvi for Enhanced Pak-Nigerian Trade, Defence Cooperation
(October 10, 2020)
ISLAMABAD (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi Friday stressed the need for increased cooperation between Pakistan and Nigeria in the areas of trade, economy and defence besides promoting high level contacts. In a meeting with outgoing Nigerian High Commissioner, Major Gen (R) Ashimiyu A Olaniyi, who made a farewell call on him, at Aiwan-e-Sadr, the president said Pakistan attached great importance to its ties with Nigeria, a President House press release said.
He said Pakistan desired to further strengthen and diversify the existing bilateral relations to the mutual benefit of the two countries. The president said both the countries needed to promote high level contacts and visits which would further cement bilateral relations.
Highlighting the atrocities by India security forces against the Muslims of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), he urged the international community to play its role for peaceful resolution of Jammu and Kashmir dispute and protection of the Muslim minority in India.
The meeting expressed satisfaction over the current level of cooperation and emphasized the need to further strengthen defence, trade and political relations. The president appreciated the efforts made by the outgoing high commissioner for enhancing bilateral relations between Pakistan and Nigeria.
AJK Government Inks Integrated Uplift Plan for Construction of Commercial Complexes
(October 10, 2020)
MIRPUR (AJK) (APP):Azad Jammu & Kashmir Prime Minister, Raja Muhammad Farooq Haider Khan Friday said that his government had launched a phased comprehensive development plan for construction of commercial complexes and renovation of the mausoleums of the saints and religious divines throughout Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). Addressing the budget session of the Aquaf Department in the State’s capital town, he directed the officials of the Aquaf Department to extend modern facilities to the devotees and pilgrims visiting the mausoleums from various parts of the country.
The prime minister urged the concerned officials to start immediately the construction work of Sain Saheli Sarkar complex and expedite the remaining work of Kharri Sharif complex within the specified time. He appreciated the steps taken by the Aquaf Departments for extending maximum facilities to the devotees coming from all over Azad Jammu and Kashmir and fulfilled their obligations for which the departments was established.
He assured that the government would cooperate with the Aquaf department to meet the expenditure of pension of the employees and other related issues and added that the department should manage its expenditure within the specified income and control the deficit. The meeting also approved the construction of Auaf Complex ,Sheli Sarkar and Kharri Sharif complex.
Minister for Aquaf Raja Abdul Qayyum Khan said on his occasion that the Aquaf department had imposed strict financial discipline meeting the expenditures of the department from its own resources. He said besides hosting the devotees the department was also taking measures to project the Islamic values and teachings of Saints and Religious divines effectively.
Jobless Politicians’ Get United on One-Point Agenda of Defending Corruption: PM Imran
(October 9, 2020)
ISLAMABAD (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said the one-point agenda of all “jobless politicians” giving a call for public gatherings against the government was to cover up their corruption by not conforming to the rule of law. “Sitting in London and asking the people to take to streets is meant to show that the rulers, who had looted the country for 30 years, are above law,” he said while addressing a seminar of All Pakistan Insaf Lawyers Forum (ILF) here at the Convention Centre.
The prime minister, while terming the rule of law the basis of a civilized society, said the ruling elite class had caused irreparable losses to the national economy through plunder and corruption during their tenures. Those leaders, he said, were now maligning the government, the army and the judiciary, in order to get relief in the form of an NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance).
“Do as many Jalsas (public gatherings) as you want, but remember that in case of violating law, you will be put in an ordinary and not a VIP jail,” he warned the politicians, who had gathered at a platform to save their corruption. The prime minister said the “coalition of dacoits” was opposing the government as it was heading towards making the country financially strong and stable.
He said the opposition parties made every tactic to get the country blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as they pressured the government to carry out 34 amendments in the National Accountability Bureau law. The prime minister said the cabinet had given a nod for allowing Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief to get medical treatment abroad in view of number of diseases as claimed. However by denying to return to the country, Nawaz Sharif was proving that he belonged to a “special class that could not be questioned”.
He said likening Nawaz Sharif with Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Khomeini by a PML-N spokesman was quite ridiculous. “Khomeini was loved by his people. He led a simple life and owned a small house when passed away. How can he (Khomeini) be compared with a person who has made property worth billions, from one factory to 30, and had the Panama property in her daughter’s name,” he added. Imran Khan said Nawaz Sharif did not present a single document to prove his money trail (for purchasing the property), while he, being a former cricket, showed all purchase contracts of his London flat bought some 40 years ago.
“In fact, they feel no shame in looting the money from public exchequer belonging to the poor people of this country,” he said, stressing that Pakistan could prosper in the absence of rule of law, where rulers considered themselves above law and indulged in corruption. He referred to an international report saying that around $1,000 billion were annually drained from the poor to rich countries through corruption and exploitation by the elite.
Imran Khan said Nawaz Sharif was in fact promoting the agenda of India by maligning the Pakistan Army, ignoring the situation of countries like Libya, Somalia and Yemen faced in the absence of a strong military. “I don’t have any problem with the army because it supports our manifesto and has effectively assisted the government during the situation like COVID-19 and Karachi rains,” he said.
Referring to Nawaz Sharif’s statement that the then Inter-Services Intelligence chief had demanded resignation from him, he said, “If this is so, why he remained silent. This is because that he knew of his involvement in corruption.” The prime minister mentioned that Pakistan was at the tipping point after two difficult years of dealing with economy nearing the verge of collapse. He said the country witnessed success in areas particularly overcoming the challenge of COVID-19 and unprecedented rise of sale of cement in last month showing growing economic activity.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said the rule of law was the basic principle of State of Madina, and the lawyers should follow such values during their professional duties and become future leaders by pursuing politics. He announced that health cards would be introduced for medical treatment of lawyers and they would also be accommodated in the Naya Pakistan Housing Project, aimed at providing low cost houses. ILF Chairman Barrister Syed Ali Zafar said the lawyers had always stood by democracy and justice following the principles as championed by Founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, also a renowned lawyer of his time.
He said the government of Imran Khan was aware of the importance of people in a democracy and thus was following a people-centric approach in governance. He said winning a war against terror by the Pakistani people was a ‘striking example of a resilient and brave nation that never compromised on its integrity and sovereignty. Stressing the importance of social justice and equity for all, Barrister Zafar mentioned the government’s priorities in health and education with the recent strategy to tackle COVID-19 and the upcoming programme of universities to promote scientific education.
He called upon the lawyers’ fraternity to be responsible in “putting their own house in order to reform the judiciary” and adopt the principles of professionalism. Advocate General Ahmed Awais spoke about the rule of law as the hallmark of State of Madina that needed to be replicated for a revolution in the society.
LHC Acquits Convict in Blasphemy Case
(October 6, 2020)
LAHORE: A Lahore High Court (LHC) division bench, headed by Justice Syed Shehbaz Ali Rizvi, has acquitted a man who had been handed down death sentence on blasphemy charges in March 2014. The convict, Sawan Masih, had filed an appeal against the death sentence given by the trial court. The appellant raised several objections on the police investigation and prosecution.
Masih told the court that police had registered the case 35 hours after the alleged occurrence, alleging that it showed mala fide intent in the case. There were contradictions in the story of the FIR and the one narrated by the complainant before the trial court, he contended. The appellant further said that the blasphemy charges were fabricated by elements who wanted to occupy the land of Joseph Colony. He asked the court to set aside his conviction and order his acquittal.
The division bench, after hearing arguments from both sides, acquitted the convict and declared that the prosecution had failed to establish involvement of the convict in blasphemy.
NAB Harming Country’s Governance System: IHC
(October 6, 2020)
ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has noted that the country’s prime graft buster the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is playing a dangerous game to ruin the governance system in the country. “[In this case] NAB has nominated people it should never have declared accused. [Due to NAB action] respected people face humiliation in society. “NAB is playing with the governance system in a destructive manner. NAB should know every action that it takes affects governance in the country,” said IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Monday.
CJ Minallah was heading a division bench hearing NAB’s appeals against acquittal of two accused including Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affair Dr Babar Awan in Nandipur case. The bench was also hearing the appeal of another former law secretary Masood Chishti against an accountability court’s decision to dismiss his application for acquittal in the same case. Islamabad Accountability Court-II former judge Arshad Malik on June 25, 2019 acquitted Dr Awan and former secretary law Justice (retd) Riaz Kiyani in the Nandipur power plant corruption reference.
Dr Babar Awan, who was the law minister during the last PPP’s government, was accused of delaying his opinion on a summary of the Ministry of Water and Power on the power project, a delay which, NAB had claimed, caused a loss of over Rs27 billion to the national exchequer. The $329 million Nandipur power project was approved by the Economic Coordination Committee in December 2007. Subsequently, a contract was signed on January 28, 2008 between the Northern Power Generation Company Limited and the Dong Fang Electric Corporation, China.
Two consortiums, Coface for 68.967m euros and Sinosure for $150.151m, were set up for financing the project. The Water and Power Ministry sought legal opinion from the Ministry of Law in accordance with the schedule of the agreement in July 2009 but the opinion didn’t come through despite reminders. NAB on July 4 moved the IHC against the order, contending that the accountability court acquitted the PM’s aide and the former secretary without giving NAB an opportunity to present evidence and even before conclusion of the trial. It requested the IHC to set aside the trial court’s order.
During hearing of the appeals on Monday, counsel for another former secretary law Masood Chishti – who had replaced Justice (retd) Riaz Kiyani – told the bench that NAB accused in the reference that due to his client’s alleged delay in giving legal opinion on the power project the project cost escalated. In his remarks, the CJ asked as to what was the reason for seeking clearance of the contract with Chinese company from the Ministry of Law when the law division had already cleared the agreement.
“This doesn’t appear to be a legal case. Why was the state embarrassed by filing a reference when no crime was committed?” the judge asked. The court also asked the NAB prosecutor to show a document which could prove that the law secretary committed a violation of the law. The judge noted that NAB is mandated to curb corruption but it is interfering in procedural matters.
“If the secretary law had given his opinion, you would have held him accountable for doing that. That is why governance in the country is not working out. The governance system won’t work if you keep interfering. In this atmosphere, no bureaucrat is ready to give his opinion on any matter,” he added. The IHC bench later reserved its judgment on the NAB appeals against acquittal of Dr Babar Awan and Justice (retd) Riaz Kiyani. It also reserved judgment on the appeal filed by Masood Chisti.
PM Advises Face Mask Use to Avert 2nd Coronavirus Wave in Winter
(October 5, 2020)
ISLAMABAD (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan Sunday advised the countrymen to wear face masks in public to avert the feared second wave of COVID-19 pandemic in winter. On Twitter, the prime minister said compared to some other states, Allah had been kind to Pakistan by sparing it from worst effects of the pandemic.
Prime Minister @ImranKhanPTI has urged the nation not to abandon the use of face masks and adherence to SOPs in order to prevent the emergence of a second wave of the COVID-19 virus. “There is a fear, onset of winter could result in 2nd wave. I urge everyone to wear face masks in public to avoid a spike,” the prime minister said.
He also instructed all offices and educational institutions to ensure every one wore face mask. The prime minister’s statement came amidst a slightly surge in coronavirus cases in the country. During last one month, over 16,000 people were infected by the virus. As of Sunday, Pakistan has so far registered 314,616 COVID-19 cases out of which 298,968 had been recovered, 9,135 were still active while 6,513 victims succumbed to the disease.
President to Visit Kuwait on Monday to Offer Condolences
(October 5, 2020)
ISLAMABAD (APP): President Dr. Arif Alvi on Monday will undertake a visit to the State of Kuwait to offer condolences over the sad demise of the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. The president will meet new Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and convey the profound sympathies and condolences of the leadership, Government and people of Pakistan, Foreign office spokesperson said in a press release on Sunday.
“Pakistan and Kuwait are bound by a close fraternal relationship. Under the leadership of the late Amir, bilateral cooperation acquired a new level. Late Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah was a sincere and trusted friend of Pakistan. He made an invaluable contribution to bringing the two countries and peoples closer. His efforts in the bilateral context and for regional peace and stability will be long remembered,” it added.
Human Rights Declining in Modi’s India, Says US Scholar Citing Abuses in Kashmir (October 4, 2020)
NEW YORK (APP): An Indian-American academician has brushed aside India’s reasons for its recent tough action against Amnesty International, saying “ample evidence” existed that the government was in fact irritated by the international human rights body’s unfavourable reports on the situation in Indian occupied Kashmir, the recent New Delhi riots and the legislation adversely affecting Muslims.
On Sept. 29, Amnesty said it was forced to shut down its operations in India and lay off all staff after the Indian government froze its bank accounts. The watchdog body said that the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi had targeted it for years in response to its work exposing human rights violations in India. “Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government appear intent on squelching any independent scrutiny of India’s human rights problems,” Sumit Ganguly, a political science professor at Indiana University, Bloomington, wrote in an opinion piece in ‘Foreign Policy’, a prestigious US magazine.
“Images of Amnesty International closing its Indian offices may be shocking, but this is hardly the first time an Indian administration, faced with similar criticisms, reacted with hostility,” Prof. Ganguly wrote under the headline: The Death of Human Rights in India?
“For example,” he said, “at the height of the Kashmir insurgency in 1990, Narasimha Rao, then prime minister, was surely irritated by criticism of the Indian security forces’ harsh counterinsurgency tactics. Still, his actual efforts to limit the work of foreign human rights organizations in India was minimal.
“On the contrary, stung with repeated allegations of rampant human rights violations in Kashmir, his (Rao’s) government created the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to examine the charges. Initially dismissed as a public relations move, over time, the NHRC became more autonomous and powerful. “As he is faced with criticisms of his own, it is hard to imagine Modi setting up such a watchdog. Instead, he’s decided to bully Amnesty International.” Prof. Ganguly wrote, “After New Delhi froze all its bank assets, the organization chose to suspend its activities in India. This was the fifth time it felt compelled to discontinue its operations in the country. The last time, before now, was in 2009, when its applications to be allowed to accept funds from abroad were repeatedly denied and it faced budget shortfalls.
“The global human rights organization has again come under pressure from the current government. In October 2018, one of India’s national anti-corruption organizations, the Enforcement Directorate, accused Amnesty of violating the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act and seized some of its bank accounts… “For now,” Prof. Ganguly wrote, “the Modi government’s intolerance of foreign institutions that question it is growing. “Unless a groundswell of opposition emerges from India’s increasingly beleaguered civil society, there’s little hope that Modi’s human rights record will improve.
“That’s especially true given that the Indian judiciary, long known for its independence, is increasingly submissive to Modi, too. If there is one small sign of hope, it is that the NHRC has issued a formal note to the home ministry asking it to clarify its grounds for freezing the financial assets of Amnesty International. Whether its elicits a meaningful response is doubtful.” “At best,” he added, “if it (NHRC) persists with its inquiries it could put the government on notice that even a quasi-governmental body finds its actions questionable. And so, the Modi government may still continue to use its expansive and largely unfettered executive powers to shoot any messenger who dares bring it unwelcome news.”
Meanwhile, the escalating violence along the Line-of-Control in the disputed Kashmir region was highlighted in a detailed report in Newsweek, a leading American magazine. “India and Pakistan’s deadly border fight has continued to rage on, threatening to destabilize South Asia as U.N. peacekeepers struggle to keep up with mounting casualties along the disputed boundary, while only able to operate on one side,” the widely-circulated weekly said. In a statement that Newsweek said was sent to it, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry charged India with some 2,387 ceasefire violations this year.
Islamabad also charged New Delhi with “the deplorable targeting of innocent civilians” linking them to the humanitarian situation in India-occupied Kashmir, which has been in an effective state of lockdown since last August, when a constitutional change removed its autonomy.” The statement also urged India to allow the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to operate on its side of the Line of Control. New Delhi has refused UNMOGIP’s mandate. But UNMOGIP, Newsweek said, presses on despite a challenging political and security environment.
“The Mission investigates alleged ceasefire violations complaints in a timely fashion within the constraints of a difficult operating terrain,” a U.N. Peacekeeping spokesperson told Newsweek.
”Only Pakistan has continued to lodge alleged ceasefire violation complaints with the Mission over the past years,” the spokesperson said. “India has maintained that UNMOGIP’s mandate has lapsed since the signing of the Simla Agreement in 1972.” India’s cooperation with UNMOGIP was further urged in a letter sent earlier this month by Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to the U.N. Security Council, the report pointed out. The letter noted that the U.N. peacekeeping force’s mandate to monitor and enforce ceasefires along the Line of Control “is being severely constrained by the limited number of UN observers and India’s non-cooperation with UNMOGIP.”
“India has flooded the share of Kashmir it controls with troops and paramilitary forces in a bid to assert order against an insurgency it ties to Pakistan, but Pakistani officials and rights group have raised concerns about a worsening humanitarian situation there,” the magazine noted. FM Qureshi’s letter came ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s virtual address last week to the U.N. General Assembly, in which, for a second year in a row, the Pakistani leader spoke at length about India’s abuses in Kashmir and warned of potential war should the U.N. Security Council not step to in to “prevent a disastrous conflict” by implementing its resolutions.
But in his speech, the report pointed out that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not bring up the issue of Kashmir, eliciting a reaction from Pakistan Permanent Representative to the U.N. Munir Akram, saying that that Modi was “silent on international issues and divorced from the reality of an intolerant, divided, brutal and economically failing India, locked in disputes with all its neighbours.”
553 New Coronavirus Cases Reported in Pakistan; Eight Deaths in Past 24 Hrs
(October 3, 2020)
ISLAMABAD (APP): The total active COVID-19 cases in Pakistan on Friday were recorded 8,884 as 553 more people tested positive for the deadly virus during the last 24 hours. Eight corona patients, who were under treatment in hospital died on Friday, according to the latest update issued by the National command and Operation Center (NCOC). No COVID affected person was on ventilator in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Balochistan, while 104 ventilators elsewhere in Pakistan, out of 1,912 allocated for COVID-19 patients, were occupied.
Some 35,071 tests were conducted across the country on Friday, including 12,990 in Sindh, 12,765 in Punjab, 3,946 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 3,550 in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), 974 in Balochistan, 378 in Gilgit Baltistan (GB), and 468 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). Around 298,593 people have recovered from the disease so far across Pakistan making it a significant count with over 90 percent recovery ratio of the affected patients.
Since the pandemic outbreak, a total of 313,984 cases were detected so far, including AJK 2,776, Balochistan 15,323, GB 3,816, ICT 16,713, KP 37,908, Punjab 99,665 and Sindh 137,783. About 6,507 deaths were recorded in country since the eruption of the contagion, including 2,517 in Sindh among five of them in hospital on Friday, 2,238 in Punjab one of them died in hospital on Friday, 1,260 in KP, 183 in ICT one of them in hospital on Friday, 146 in Balochistan, 88 in GB and 75 in AJK one of them in hospital on Friday.
A total of 3,615,244 corona tests have been conducted so far, while 735 hospitals are equipped with COVID facilities. Some 717 corona patients were admitted in hospitals across the country.
President for Developing Centralized National Database on All Diseases
(October 2, 2020)
ISLAMABAD (APP): President Dr. Arif Alvi on Friday emphasized the need for developing a centralized national database on all diseases. He said that Pakistan currently lacked a comprehensive centralized database on health issues and he highlighted the need to make integrated data available which would help the government to effectively combat the diseases.
The President made these remarks while chairing a meeting regarding data collection on Breast Cancer in Pakistan, a press release issued by the President’s Media Office here said.Special Assistant to PM on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHSRC), Dr. Faisal Sultan, and MD Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal, Aon Abbas Buppi also attended the meeting.
The President said that Pakistan had the highest prevalence of breast cancer, as compared to other South Asian countries, and he underscored the need to raise awareness among the people about the disease.
President Arif Alvi Sees No Threat to Democracy; Says Govt to Complete Its Mandated Term
(October 2, 2020)
ISLAMABAD (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi on Friday said there was no threat to the government or democracy, and he was confident that the present democratic set-up would complete its mandated term. “I don’t see any threat to the government or democracy in the country. I am confident that the present government will complete its term like the two previous regimes,” he said when asked to comment on the current political situation in the country in an interview with a private television channel (Ary News).
The president, in response to a question about the opposition’s complaints about the government, said the opposition’s complaints were not a matter of concern, however, “talking about the country’s institutions in such a way and criticizing them is unfortunate.” “Because it is my country and these are our institutions. And degrading our institutions is unfair,” he remarked. The president further said there should not be any efforts to malign the state institutions. When asked as what role he could play in engaging the opposition parties, President Alvi said he could not interfere in the political matters of government and opposition, but in the national and federal issues such as health etc.
To a question about legislative business, he said the ordinances issued by the present government were far less in number than the ones issued by the previous Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim league-Nawaz regimes. He maintained that the Constitution provided the government with a space to issue ordinances for essential legislative requirements for six months. The president, however, was confident that the government’s legislative business in the parliament would get boost after the Senate elections in March next.
To another question, he said all the institutions in the country were against corruption. “Even all the political parties on-paper are against corruption,” he added. The president appreciated the judiciary for their efforts against corruption. “I salute the judiciary for their efforts to eliminate corruption,” he remarked. About corruption and accountability, President Alvi said though the accused in some criminal cases were considered innocent until proven guilty, but in financial crimes like “assets beyond means” the situation was different and the accused have to prove their innocence.
He in that respect also referred to the laws of various countries, including the “Unexplained Wealth Order” of the United Kingdom, and similar legislation in the Switzerland that bound the accused to prove his innocence. The president said the Islamic laws also required the accused to prove his innocence in financial matters. Accountability was the part of any government, he added. To a question, he, however, added that there should be an across the board accountability. To a question, the president said he was highly satisfied over the government’s performance, citing the reduced inflation, successful turnaround of COIV-19, besides ensuring economic activity even despite the coronavirus pandemic.
He said the stock exchange index had reflected the businessmen and investors’ confidence in the government’s economic policies. He lauded the discipline and cooperation by the people, media and Ulema during the COVID-19, but also advised the masses not to give up the precautions. Asked about the government’s decisions to bring PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif back, he said he had gone abroad on medical grounds citing the platelets issue. However, he said he did not know whether he remained admitted in any hospital abroad or not, and urged the opposition leader to face the court case and fulfill the commitments made with the courts.
He said the maligning of national institutions by any Pakistani sitting abroad would appease the enemy country like India. He recalled that the British government delayed action against MQM leader Altaf Hussain after the government complained against his anti-Pakistan statements and involvement in killings in Karachi. The president urged the media to highlight the positive image and developments in Pakistan like the success against COVID-19 and economic growth. About the ban by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on airing Nawaz Sharif’s speeches on local television channels, the president said it was a subject to be decided by the government.
Commenting on the ongoing debate regarding Gilgit-Baltistan, he said the issue must not be seen through political prism rather all the political parties must show unity to resolve the matter at the earliest. The president, who also wore pink ribbon as well as the host anchor as part of the month-long awareness drive on breast cancer, called for the media’s role to teach men and women to self-examine their chest by palpating their breasts on monthly basis. He said contrary to 98 percent survival rate in the world, it stood between 40 to 50 percent in Pakistan which could be improved through early diagnosis.
Citing the Islamic teachings as well as medical research, the president said the breast cancer could also be prevented through breast feeding the babies, which could also address the issue of children’s stunted growth. Asked to comment on the proposals for chemical castration or death sentence for the rapists, President Alvi said the chemical castration alone was not a solution. It was not a one-time procedure rather required life-long administration of medicines to the culprits. The issue needed a long term solution, which should be worked out by both the Parliament as well as the Council of Islamic Ideology.
About the Federal Government’s Rs 1,100 billion development package for Karachi, he hoped that it would help resolve the development issues like completion of K-4, Karachi Circular Railway, water supply, garbage collection and sewage projects. He, however, urged both the PPP and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf not to compromise Karachi’s development amidst political differences rather show unity for betterment of its people.
PM Imran Khan Wishes Trump, Melania Speedy Recovery From COVID-19
(October 2, 2020)
ISLAMABAD (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday wished U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump speedy recovery from COVID-19. The Prime Minister expressed his good wishes in a twitter post as President Trump and Melania Trump were tested positive for the coronavirus. Earlier, President Trump tweeted early Friday that “Tonight, @FLOTUS (First Lady of the United States) and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!”
Presidential physician Sean Conley in a memo released by the White House said, “The President and First Lady are both well at this time, and they plan to remain at home within the White House during their convalescence.” “The White House medical team and I will maintain a vigilant watch, and I appreciate the support provided by some of our country’s greatest medical professionals and institutions. Rest assured I expect the President to continue carrying out his duties without disruption while recovering, and I will keep you updated on any future developments,” Conley added.
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