Daily "Layalpur Post"

Afghan political leaders demands all inclusive, decentralized govt in Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD, August 19, 2021 (APP, LPP): A delegation of Afghan political leaders visiting Pakistan Thursday called for an all inclusive political solution in Afghanistan through power sharing and decentralized government, believing that any monopolistic set up was bound to fail. The visiting delegation comprised Speaker Wolesi Jirga Mir Rehman Rehmani, Salahud din Rabbani, former Afghan vice president Mohammad Yunus Qanooni, Ustad Mohammad Karim Khalili, Ahmad Zia Massoud, Ahmad Wali Massoud, Abdul Latif Pedram, and Khalid Noor.

The delegation visited Pakistan at the invitation of the Government of Pakistan and met top civil and military leadership including Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, and DG ISI Lt. General Faiz Hameed. Addressing a press conference here, Younus Qanooni along with other delegation members, spoke high of the government of Pakistan’s positive approach towards Afghanistan and desire for a comprehensive political settlement in the country.

They said the change of approach was visible in Naya Pakistan as the leadership wanted to leave the past behind and looked towards the future for stronger bilateral ties. The delegation members told media that the discussion with Pakistan leadership focused on all inclusive set up in Afghanistan representing all ethnic groups of the country. Another objective was to prevent bloodshed in the country. They thanked Pakistan’s leadership for giving assurance to play their all out role for a peaceful Afghanistan which was also inevitable for a stable Pakistan. He said the whole leadership had unanimity of views towards Afghanistan and wanted to start a new chapter of relations with the neighboring country.

The delegation members believed that the government of one group as experienced in 1996 had failed and was bound to fail in future too owing to the multi-ethnic nature of the Afghan society. They said another priority was the protection of rights of the people including women and children besides freedom of expression and voting rights. To a question, Qanooni said the Taliban could capture the land but not the people until they form an inclusive government and fulfill their commitments for protection of all communities’ rights including the minorities.

About the escape of Ashraf Ghani and reports of him carrying huge cash, the delegation said corruption of public money had been a practice in Afghanistan which could not be curbed until a comprehensive political system representing all groups. The delegation members told media that a larger delegation would also visit other countries to seek support for their demands, and said the process has started from Pakistan being a major player in the region with a big border with Afghanistan.

President for enhanced Pakistan-Poland cooperation in diverse areas

ISLAMABAD, August 13, 2021 (APP, LPP): President Dr Arif Alvi on Friday said that as Pakistan and Poland had huge potential in the areas of trade, there was a need to enhance bilateral business and economic cooperation for the mutual benefit of the two countries. He highlighted that Pakistan offered tremendous investment opportunities and investors from Poland should take advantage of the country’s investor-friendly policies and better security environment. The President was talking to the outgoing Ambassador of Poland to Pakistan, Piotr A. Opalinski, who called on him here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.

Underscoring the need for strengthening the cultural cooperation, he said that the two countries could enhance linkages through joint ventures on preservation and restoration of national heritage and exchange of cultural delegations and promoting people-to-people contacts. The President expressed the hope that a number of Pakistani students, studying in the Polish institutions of higher learning especially in the field of engineering and technology, would help in strengthening the cultural ties between the two countries. He appreciated the role played by the Polish Oil and Gas Company and its desire to expand business in Pakistan.

The President congratulated Piotr A. Opalinski on the successful completion of his tenure as Ambassador and also appreciated his efforts in promoting trade and economic relations between the two countries. The Polish Ambassador praised the policies of the government, saying that Pakistan was progressing amazingly and the youth should benefit from the emerging economic opportunities. He thanked the Government of Pakistan for extending him hospitality and taking care of him during his stay in Pakistan.

Hurriyet leader stresses Kashmir settlement through talks

ISLAMABAD, August 8, 2021 (APP, LPP): A senior Hurriyat leader, Professor Abdul Ghani Butt in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir stressed the need for resolving the Kashmir dispute and to settle it Pakistan and India should initiate a sustained and result-oriented dialogue process. According to Kashmir Media Service (KMS) Professor Abdul Ghani Butt, said the dialogue should be meaningful to resolve the long-pending dispute once and for all and the settlement should be acceptable to the people of Kashmir.

He said that India should give up its imperialist approach on Kashmir and accept the harsh reality in the changing Geo-political situation and new world order and resolve the Kashmir dispute according to the United Nations resolutions and aspirations of the Kashmiri people. Prof Abdul Ghani Butt said, the biggest human rights violation is not to allow people to choose their future and Kashmiri people are among those people who have been denied this right. He deplored that India is perpetrating grave human rights violations in the territory and the international community should take notice of it.

PM delighted over completion of final phase of Peshawar SKMHC

ISLAMABAD, August 6, 2021 (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday expressed his pleasure over the completion of final phase in the commissioning of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital (SKMCH) Peshawar, which had opened in 2015. The Prime Minister said that he was delighted to visit SKMCH Peshawar today to inaugurate the newly completed operating room suite and intensive care unit (ICU). “The opening of these state-of-the-art facilities at the hospital marks completion of final phase in commissioning of SKMCH, Peshawar which had opened in 2015,” Imran Khan said in a series of tweets posted on his social media account.

He said that Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Center, Peshawar now offered all diagnostic and treatment facilities for cancer under one roof, for the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Islamabad and Northern Pakistan. The Prime Minister mentioned that SKMCH, Lahore was opened in 1994, adding, since over 30% of all patients seen in Lahore came from KP & Afghanistan, they decided to establish Peshawar SKMCH.

He also appealed the hospital’s supporters and donors to donate generously so that the two existing hospitals could continue to treat ever-increasing number of cancer patients free of charge; and so as to allow the new hospital in Karachi to open its doors to patients in December 2023, as planned.

Palestine, Kashmir issues causing disaffection in Muslim world: PM

ISLAMABAD, August 3, 2021 (APP): Prime Minster Imran Khan Tuesday said that Palestine and Jammu & Kashmir disputes were among the principal root causes of disaffection in the Muslim world. He called for solidarity among the Muslim ummah to support the Palestinian and Kashmir causes and stressed the imperative to resolve these long-standing disputes in accordance with the resolutions of the UN Security Council and Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The prime minister was talking to a delegation of the Arab Parliament, headed by its President Adel Bin Abdul Rahman Al Asoomi that called on him.

The prime minister also called on Muslim countries to act collectively to counter growing Islamophobia, evident in different parts of the world. He extended a warm welcome to the president of the Arab Parliament and the accompanying delegation. While mentioning the historic bonds between the peoples of the Arab world and Pakistan, the prime minister emphasized the importance attached by Pakistan to peace, stability and prosperity in the Middle East region.

He also shared with the delegation his vision of a transformed Pakistan. He said that Pakistan’s economic security paradigm centered on the three pillars of peace, development partnerships and connectivity. The president of the Arab parliament thanked the prime minister for receiving the delegation. He appreciated the role Pakistan had played in support of the Muslim causes, including Palestine. He also called for a unanimous approach to deal with the regional and global challenges confronting the Muslim Ummah.

complainant medical student to request institution for retake of professional exams: Alvi

ISLAMABAD, August 1, 2021 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi on Sunday, on complaint of a medical student facing denial by his institution to appear in examinations, said the aggrieved could invoke a relevant clause of Pakistan Medical Commission (PMC) that gave universities a prerogative to allow students as many retakes. Complainant Sarbuland Khan had filed a representation with the President of Pakistan assailing the order of Wafaqi Mohtasib, which had upheld the decision of Mohammad Medical College, Mirpurkhas, on grounds that the case was time.

The complainant had mentioned that he had failed twice in the second year’s paper of Biochemistry, and under the rules had four chances to pass the examination. However, he could not avail the third and fourth chances as the medical college did not intimate him timely and also had banned his entry into the institution. He prayed that if he was not given a chance to appear in the examination, then the medical college be directed to refund his paid fee Rs.1,500,000 with seven years interest. He also requested for rechecking of Biochemistry paper, wherein he had failed lack of one mark.

The Wafaqi Mohtasib in its order said no maladministration on part of the Agency (medical college) was evident and the assertion of the complainant for the four-time limit under Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) stood repealed after the PMC Act came into force on 24.09.2020. The president, in his decision, referred to a notification of PMC’s (Admissions, Curriculum and Conduct) Regulations, 2021, that explained on how the university could allow the students to retake the examinations.

The President referred to Rule 16 (1) from notification’s Chapter-IV which empowers universities to frame their own regulations for allowing failed students to retake professional examinations, to publicly notify such regulations and make available to the students.” He also mentioned Rule 16 (2) which states “A university may allow a student as many retakes as may be determined by the university subject to no student being required to pay to the college tuition fee in addition to the fee paid for the given year. A retake exam fee may be charged as may be determined by the university subject to being a reasonable fee commensurate with the taking of an examination.”

He quoted Rule 16 (3) which states that “no student shall be allowed to repeat a year after having failed in a profession exam. Either a student qualifies their professional exam through retakes offered by the university or shall be expelled from the program on failure to qualify.” The President said “there was no fault with the orders passed by the Wafaqi Mohtasib”, however the complainant, if desired, could invoke the said clause. “If so desired, the complainant may take a chance of invoking the above mentioned R.16 before the competent authority for redressal of his grievance,” he wrote, disposing of the representation.

All set to hold AJK elections in free, fair and transparent manner

MIRPUR (AJK): (APP):All is set for holding general elections in Azad Jammu & Kashmir on Sunday – July 25, 2021 in a free, fair, peaceful and transparent manner. A total of 32,50,117 registered voters including 17, 8, 800 male and 14, 68, 317 female in all 33 electoral constituencies in all ten districts of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Moreover, all 12 constituencies meant for Pakistan-based Jammu & Kashmir refugees, would exercise their right of vote to elect the Azad Jammu Kashmir Legislative Assembly, for next five years constitutional term, AJK Election Commission sources told APP here on Saturday.

Over 2.8 million voters have been registered in 33 Azad Jammu Kashmir constituencies and 0.4 million in 12 Jammu Kashmir refugees based in various parts of Pakistan. The registered voters shall have to produce original computerized national identity card at the polling station at the time of exercising the right to vote. Polling will start at 8.00 in the morning and will continue till 5.00 p.m without any pause. The computerized registered voter shall have to produce his or her original computerized national identity card (CNIC) at the polling station at the time of exercising their right of franchise.

A total of 691 candidates including 381 belonging to a total of 32 registered political parties and a total of 310 independent candidates are in the run to win the election to 45 seats. The elections are being held under the supervision of AJK Judiciary, Pakistan army and Rangers with the coordination of the local civil law enforcement institutions including AJK police as well as the civil armed forces Punjab, KPK police and Frontier Constabulary to assist the local civil law enforcement authorities to ensure the holding of the polls in absolutely, free, fair, peaceful and transparent manner.

The security forces troops to be deployed to maintain peace and order during the polls including 5,300 AJK police cops, 12,000 from Punjab police, 10,000 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police and 1,000 from Islamabad police, 400 Frontier Constabulary personnel and 3,200 Rangers personnel to be backed by at least seven thousands of Pakistan army troops. Holding of the generation elections in free, fair and transparent manner is a constitutional and legal requirement and the State administrative machinery is required to assist the State election commission to this direction , under Article 50 of the AJK Constitution and section 5 of AJK Elections Act, 2020.

The constitutional term of incumbent AJK Legislative assembly is being expired on 29th July, 2021. Under interim Act 1974, the interim constitution of AJK , it is mandatory to hold elections 60 days before the last date. The polling will be held on direct adult-franchise basis on Sunday to 45 seats of the 53-member AJK Legislative Assembly including 33 meant for all 10 districts of AJK and 12 including six each meant for Pakistan-based refugees from Kashmir valley and Jammu region. Rest of eight reserved seats including five meant for women and one each for technocrats, ulema / Mashaikh and overseas Kashmiris will be filled in later on by the electoral college comprising above 45 members of the house to be elected on direct adult franchise basis on Sunday.

According to the final list released by the AJK Election Commission a total of 32,50,117 eligible registered voters would move to the total number of 5,123 polling stations, including 826 declared sensitive and 1,209 the most sensitive in all 45 constituencies including 33 in AJK and 12 of Pakistan-based Jammu & Kashmir. The Polling staff has yet moved for their respective destinations – the places of duties at the polling stations set up across AJK and in the constituencies of refugees dwelling in all four provinces of Pakistan, Member of the AJK Election Commission Farhat Ali Mir told APP.

The stipulated Pak Army and Civil Armed forces troops besides the AJK police have reached in all 45 electoral constituencies of AJK legislative assembly to assist the civil administration for maintaining complete peaceful environment to ensure existence of complete law and order during holding of the polls in absolutely free, fair and impartial atmosphere. The AJK Election Commission has set up control room to receive the elections results from all the concerned District Returning Officers soon after the polling.

Meanwhile, official sources told APP here Saturday that the civil administration including AJK police in all ten districts of AJK have made fool-proof arrangements to maintain peace and order during the elections in AJK. The AJK administration has taken adequate measures to strengthen and improve the professional skills of the AJK police besides other law enforcing agencies to ensure maintaining complete law and order during the polls, the official sources underlined.

Pakistan’s prosperity directly linked with Karachi’s development: President Arif Alvi

KARACHI, Jul 10, 2021 (APP):President Dr Arif Alvi while commending the federal government’s role in addressing Karachi’s issues, has said that country’s development and prosperity were directly linked with the development of Karachi and plight of its residents could no longer be ignored. The President made these remarks while chairing a high level meeting on Saturday at Sindh Governor’s House that discussed Karachi Transformation Plan to resolve major infrastructure issues of the metropolitan city.

The meeting attended by Governor Sindh Imran Ismail, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Asad Umar and MNA Aftab Siddiqi also discussed the increasing number of cases of COVID-19 due to new wave of pandemic. During the meeting, the President particular emphasized on the importance of water conservation in Karachi. He regretted that no such plan to preserve water had been formulated in past.The Governor Sindh updated the President about Karachi’s problems relating to availability of clean drinking water, sewerage, solid waste management and transport.

He also apprised of the measures being adopted by the Federal Government to redress the same. Federal Minister Asad Umar informed that there were clear signs of a fourth wave of COVID-19 starting in the country, primarily due to poor compliance to SOPs and arrival of the Delta (Indian) variant of the virus. The President stressed that the people should get themselves vaccinated at the earliest.He also advised the masses to follow instructions of NCOC to help check the spread of the virus. He maintained that the proactive decision-making had helped Pakistan avoid the kind of situation being witnessed in other countries.

President stresses importance of mosque as institution for social uplift: Arif Alvi

KARACHI, Jun 19,2021 (APP): President Dr. Arif Alvi on Saturday stressed the importance of the mosque as an institution for the social uplifting of the society and said that mosques were not only for Islamic rituals but also institutions for extending social services to masses. President Dr. Arif Alvi was talking to a delegation of Dawat-i-Islami at the Sindh Governor’s House here. The delegation sought the collaboration of the government in their activities related to the Green Pakistan vision.

Dr. Arif Alvi also urged the members of the delegation to sensitize the masses about the prevention of diseases along with carrying out their social work. The delegation apprised Dr. Arif Alvi that they were also actively working for the treatment of patients with Thalassemia as well as rehabilitation of special persons. President Arif Alvi advised the members of the delegation to take full advantage of government programmes such as Kamyaab Jawan, Akhuwat, and Skill Development, etc to further help their cause. The President appreciated the educational, social, and plantation activities which were being carried out by the Dawat-i-Islami throughout the country.

Provinces told to ensure closure of educational institutes                 till May 23, 2021

Federal education ministry directed the provinces on Friday to ensure closure of educational institutions until May 23 to avoid a further surge in Covid-19 cases.

ISLAMABAD: Federal education ministry directed the provinces on Friday to ensure closure of educational institutions until May 23 to avoid a further surge in Covid-19 cases. "Educational institutions shall remain closed till May 23 in view of the directives of the NCOC [National Command and Operation Centre] to deal with the third wave of Covid," read a communique sent to all provinces, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan." It added that the directives apply on all government, private institutions, seminaries, and vocational and technical educational campuses. The ministry asked the relevant institutions to ensure that the directives are followed in letter and spirit.

On May 8, NCOC – Pakistan's nerve centre to control the Covid-19 pandemic – decided to extend the closure of all educational institutions till May 23. The decision was taken in view of the ongoing trends of the disease. However, a review will be carried out in the NCOC’s next meeting, scheduled for May 18. Explaining the reason behind the recent restrictions put into effect by the Centre, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, who is also the chief of the NCOC, said that the government realises that the restrictions put into place are going to cause inconvenience. However, he added, they have been necessitated by the "extremely dangerous situation" created in the region with the spread of virulent mutations of the virus. The NCOC late last month announced a new set of restrictions including a blanket ban on tourism and inter-provincial transport in an attempt to contain a further rise in already mounting coronavirus cases under the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” strategy.

swift registration of disabled persons in Pakistan: Arif Alvi

It is imperative to streamline and expedite the registration of PWDs to ensure the protection of their rights: President: Arif Alvi.

ISLAMABAD, Apr 16, 2021(APP): President Dr Arif Alvi Friday asked the stakeholders to expedite the process of registration of persons with disabilities (PWDs) as well as devise a mechanism to classify various disabilities. The president, while chairing a follow-up meeting on the registration of differently-abled people (DAPs), said it was imperative to streamline and expedite the registration of PWDs to ensure the protection of their rights. The meeting was attended by SAPM on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHSR&C) Dr Faisal Sultan, Secretary NHSR&C Aamir Ashraf Khawaja, Special Secretary, Ministry of Interior Sher Alam Mehsud, Chairman NADRA, Brig (R) Khalid Latif and other senior officials of the government.

The president said that disability certificates were essential for DAPs to make them benefit from social protection schemes of the government like the Ehsaas Program. The federal health ministry and NADRA briefed the meeting about the progress regarding the registration of PWDs. NADRA Chairman Brig (R) Khalid Latif informed the meeting that his organization had registered 80,000 PWDs since January 2021. He said that NADRA would extend full support to the registration process of DAPs. President Alvi asked the ministries of human rights and health, and NADRA to facilitate DAPs by providing them disability certificates on regular basis. He also advised the stakeholders concerned to coordinate with the provincial governments to identify areas for registration of PWDs.

Shopian encounter, continuation of Indian oppression in IIOJ&K

SRINAGAR, March 16, 2021 (APP,LPP):Rawalpora locality of Shopian district of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K) was yet another fresh target where Indian occupation forces, in their continued acts of state terrorism, martyred two more freedom-loving youth and destroyed several residential houses in the grab of gunfights. The increasing trend in the killing of Kashmir youth and the burning of residential houses with explosive materials have been termed as tactics of the incumbent fascist Indian regime to suppress the voice of Kashmiris by inflicting on human as well as economic loss.

The occupation forces had cordoned off the Shopian locality on March 13 to conduct a search operation, which continued for three days during which the youth were martyred and more than half a dozen houses were raised to the ground. “The Indian occupation forces are used to damage and destroy residential houses of Kashmiri people and always remain on a killing hunt of pro-freedom youth in the garb of the so-called cordon and search operations,” said a spokesman of  Jammu and Kashmir National Front, a constituent of All Parties Hurriyat Conference.

“The Indian forces also destroy properties so that people face economic problems and are left to live under the open sky,” the spokesman added. Meanwhile, when the locals came out on streets to denounce the violent cordon and search operation, killing of youth and destruction of houses, they were sprayed with bullets and pellets. According to reports from IIOJK, dozens of youth (mostly aged between 18 to 22) were injured, many critically, in firing of bullets and pellets on protesters by Indian troops in the district.

The occupation authorities suspended internet service in the district to prevent dissemination of information about the brutalities of Indian forces in the area. Complete shutdown was observed in Shopian and adjoining Pulwama districts on Tuesday against the killing of two youth and destruction of houses by Indian troops, Kashmir Media Service Reported. The Modi’s fascist India has been on regressive path of de-humanization as it has usurped all fundamental freedom of Kashmiris through brutal military siege.

After August 5, 2019 when India illegally abrogated the Article 270 and 35A, more than 9,500 Cordon & Search Operation were conducted by occupation forces in IIOJK, which resulted in over 14,000 arrests and killing of hundreds of Kashmiris. On the other hand, IIOJK has endured economic losses of over $ 6 billion and 62% slump in exports while 0.5 million Kashmiris lost their jobs. Consequently, over 92% Kahsmiris are facing psychological trauma.

There is no count of the brutalities committed by Indian occupation forces in IIOJK. So far, 8,652 unidentified mass graves have been discovered in 89 villages of 6 districts of IIOJK. 8,000 to 10,000 Kashmiris are enforced disappeared while 2,500 women “Half Widows”. Earlier, Martyrdom of Burhan Wani in July 2016 marked turning point in evolution of Kashmir Force Mujahid as educated youth have joined freedom struggle which include 10 M Phil/ PhD, 15 Master and 47 Graduates.

ICG report titles “Raising Stakes in Kashmir” released in August 2020 had endorsed Kashmir Freedom Movement as an indigenized struggle as 95% freedom fighters killed were locals. The Indian government shunned to comply with its international and moral obligation and let Kashmiris exercise their inalienable right to self-determination as enshrined in international law and the relevant UNSC resolutions.

India’s ‘electoral autocracy’ exposed to world: AJK President

MIRPUR: Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President, Sardar Masood Khan has said that in spite of India’s repression and irredentism, the people of occupied Jammu and Kashmir are determined to continue their struggle for their freedom and right to self-determination.

MIRPUR (AJK): Mar 14, 2021 (APP):Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President, Sardar Masood Khan has said that in spite of India’s repression and irredentism, the people of occupied Jammu and Kashmir are determined to continue their struggle for their freedom and right to self-determination. While commenting on the latest report compiled and released by Sweden’s V-Dem Institute which stated that India is no longer an “electoral democracy” but it has become an “electoral autocracy”, the AJK state president maintained that uncalled for curbs on media and the discriminatory treatment towards minorities and the civil society in India may be a new development for the world, but the people of occupied Jammu and Kashmir have been aware of its sham democracy for the past 70 years, AJK President office said Saturday evening.

Saying that India’s false narrative on Kashmir is getting fast exposed to the world,” the president asserted that the time is not far off when the tyrant and oppressors would be brought to justice. “Despite India’s policy of irredentism, Kashmiris are determined to continue their struggle for freedom. They are giving their blood to keep the flame of liberty burning bright. We can say with conviction that the truth will ultimately prevail and the criminals will be brought to justice,” Khan said. He went on to say that Indian occupation troops are killing innocent Kashmiri people and burying them in unmarked graves for their just and democratic demand of freedom and right to self-determination.

The cruel army is using sexual violence against Kashmiri women as a weapon of war, while they kidnapped youth are subjected to the worst torture in prisons and concentration camps to compel them to give up demanding freedom and the right to self-determination. Sardar Masood Khan said that Nature is kind enough to the Kashmiri people because Narendra Modi and the ruling clique are carrying out such actions which are gradually exposing the Indian state to the international community.

“The international community is now realizing that the Narendra Modi regime and its Hindutva based policies have posed a serious threat to not only the Muslims of South Asia but the whole mankind,” he added. The AJK president said that the people of occupied Jammu and Kashmir are valiantly and firmly resisting the Indian imperialism, and the day is not far off when the dawn of freedom, liberty and justice will emerge out of the long night of tyranny and injustice.

Women empowerment linked to economic independence, awareness about rights: President

ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi on Monday said empowerment of Pakistan’s women was linked to their economic independence and awareness about rights particularly related to inheritance, education and healthcare.

ISLAMABAD, March 8, 2021 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi on Monday said empowerment of Pakistan’s women was linked to their economic independence and awareness about rights particularly related to inheritance, education and healthcare. Addressing at a ceremony to mark International Women’s Day, the President called upon women of the country to be well-aware of their rights as guaranteed by the Constitution. President’s wife Begum Samina Alvi and women trailblazers with major accomplishments in different fields of life attended the event here at Aiwan-e-Sadr, organized by Ministry of Human Rights in collaboration with UN Women, European Union and Haqooq-e-Pakistan.

President Alvi said the laws of Pakistan reiterated the teachings of Islam that focused on ensuring rights of women in all spheres of life. He emphasized on economic empowerment of women to help them thrive in society with dignity, adding that ‘without financial independence, there was hardly an independence’. He said the country’s laws ensured right of inheritance to women as taught by the religion, however stressed the need for social reformation to promote the trend. Dr Alvi mentioned that under the socio-welfare Ehsaas programme, women were the direct beneficiaries of the government’s stipend aimed at their uplift.

In terms of ensuring return of loans, he said, the women worldwide had been proved more responsible and reliable compared to men. He said the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan had approved loan disbursement of Rs 5 million for women to launch their businesses and urged those intending for entrepreneurship to avail the facility. In healthcare sector, the President emphasized on launch of Tele Health services for women to provide them prompt and free medical advice on telephone. He pointed that frequent pregnancies resulted in malnutrition of women and newborns, and stressed that breastfeeding for continuous two years could ensure birth spacing.

The President said the Muslim traditions were enriched with examples of a balanced society and quoted historian Ibn-e-Khuldun’s book ‘Muqadimah’ that mentioned the golden culture of equality of men and women. Similar traditions, he said, needed to be incorporated in the present day society by providing women an equitable platform to showcase their abilities and professionalism. The President acknowledged the services rendered by the country’s women during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly doctors and paramedics. However, he expressed concern that a large number of professional doctors left the profession after marriage compared with their 70 percent ratio of enrollment in medical colleges.

He stressed the need for a change in the country’s employment structure to accommodate the educated women and help them cope with the needs of both profession and family side by side. He also favoured women’s more effective electoral representation, decision-making opportunities and safer environment at workplaces sans harassment. Dr Alvi expressed concern over the retrogressive laws in the making in Europe in the wake of Islamophobia to target Muslims, including women. He said media could play an important role in changing cultural scriptures about problems such as domestic violence by portraying it as an ill-practice.

The President said the role of Ulema (religious figures) could prove effective in supporting healthcare issues including breastfeeding and population control. Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari said women of Pakistan played a forefront role in national development right from the creation of the country by standing shoulder-to-shoulder with their male counterparts. She said whether it was struggle for family laws in the era of 60s or the present day ‘Aurat March’ and ‘Haya March’, women of the country always championed their rights with diversity in views or forms.

She said the government’s amendments in inheritance laws led to smooth dispensation of justice and mentioned that soon the bill on amendment in Protection of Women Against Harassment at Workplace Act would be tabled in National Assembly. She urged upon the international community to take serious note of the rape incidents of Kashmiri women and the detention of women political leaders in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir besides the persistent violation of Geneva Convention. Minister for Defence Production Zubaida Jalal said education and financial security was the basis of women empowerment that gave strength to girls and women to make their mark in all fields of life. She mentioned that the school, she had founded 38 years ago in Balochistan’s Mand village, paved way for local girls to excel as a pilot, bankers and paramedics.

During COVID-19, she said, as an educationist, she started first ‘camel library’ in different areas of Balochistan to help children continue their studies during lockdown. She mentioned that 200 women had recently joined Frontier Corps in Balochistan in fight against terrorism. Dr Fehmida Mirza, Member National Assembly and former Speaker said women could harness their potential and achieve tremendously if provided a level-playing field instead of the treatment of gender bias. She proposed a gender-specific national budgeting, a 10 percent quota in party tickets in general elections and an intensive post-legislative scrutiny of Harassment at Workplace Act to make it more inclusive.

EU Ambassador to Pakistan Androulla Kaminara said a conducive legal environment and a gender sensitive approach was need of the hour. She termed the government’s Ehsaas programme ‘transformative’ in financially empowering the underprivileged women during pandemic. She said EU’s partnership with Pakistan supported equal representation of women in all fields of life for a country’s brighter future. Sharmeela Rasool, UN Women Countryhead said women’s equal participation was vital for Pakistan’s development and for achievement of Sustainable Development Goals. She lauded several pro-women laws as part of the government of Pakistan’s Vision 2025.

Given the male-dominated environment, she said, the UN Women emphasized on ensuring power of political decision-making for Pakistani women, which could lead to their greater social protection. Federal Secretary Ministry of Human Rights Inamullah Khan said the ministry took stringent steps regarding policy-making, monitoring mechanism and institutional reforms particularly protection of property rights and the Zainab Alert Bill against child abuse. He paid tribute to women who challenged stereotypes of gender discrimination and worked diligently as healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rakhshanda Naz, Khyber Pukhtunkhwa’s Ombudsperson against Harassment said Domestic Violence Act 2021 and Property Rights Act were significant steps of the government in ensuring rights of the women. She stressed provincial legislation for gender audit of each State institution, provision of equal resources and opportunities to women and enactment of laws against child marriage and domestic labour. Zara Naeem, who scored highest marks in ACCA worldwide, termed Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah as the ideal for the country’s women in view of her leadership, vision and steadfastness. Positive approach, focus and faith in Almighty Allah leads to success, she added.

Erum Baloch, the country’s youngest hockey player from Sindh’s Jacobbadad town termed the occasion momentous for acknowledging the contribution of sportswomen in surpassing challenges. Reem Sharif, the first transgender officer of Punjab Police mentioned that the government’s support through Transgender Persons Act 2018, Sehat Insaf Card and employment in public institutions were important steps in ensuring life as a respectful citizen. An inspirational song ‘Sar Buland’ penned by activist Samar Minallah was played on the occasion highlighting women as a source of strength and resilience.

A video presentation showed the government’s Helpline 1099 as the ‘24/7 savior for the victims of domestic violence’. A live musical performance by young artistes Shamu Bai and Vishnu belonging to rural Sindh enthralled the audience with their ode ‘Faqira’. A short drama documentary ‘Tum Mazboot Ho’ (You are strong) was screened to show a girl’s dream to be powerful enough to save her mother from domestic violence and an awareness story on the laws protecting women’s share in inheritance. A video titled ‘Wonder Women of Pakistan’ by UN Women showed achievements of Anita Karim, Pakistan’s first and only international practitioner of mixed martial arts.

Economy strengthening with every passing day: President

LAHORE: President Dr Arif Alvi Sunday said the economy was strengthening with every passing day because of a comprehensive policy of the government.

LAHORE, Mar 7, 2021(APP): President Dr Arif Alvi Sunday said the economy was strengthening with every passing day because of a comprehensive policy of the government. He expressed these views while addressing a ceremony as a chief guest at the final polo match of Master Paints Jinnah Gold Cup 2021 tournament played at Jinnah Polo and Country Club here. The team of Diamond Paints won the tournament after defeating DS Polo/ASC by eight to seven goals in a closely contested final match.

The President said that sports, tourism and peace played an important role in the development of the country. He said the government was taking steps for the promotion of polo as like cricket and hockey. The President appreciated the role of Pakistan army for promotion of polo. President Arif Alvi gave away trophy to the winner of the polo tournament. He also planted a sapling at the Polo Club. At the concluding ceremony, Punjab Rangers made an impressive display of tent pegging. Different army bands also performed during the event.

Video Leak: Furore as PPP tries to buy PTI MNAs for Senate polls

The leakage of video just a day ahead of the crucial Senate polls triggered a strong reaction from not only the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf workers and party leaders, but also the general public, who cried foul.

ISLAMABAD, March 3, 2021 (APP):A viral video of Yusuf Raza Gilani’s son, seeking the support of PTI MNAs and telling them how to get votes rejected, to ensure the success of his father, caused a furore hours before the crucial Senate polls on March 3. The video purportedly of Ali Haider Gilani, son of a joint opposition candidate for the much-hyped Senate polls, Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, went viral Tuesday in which he could be heard telling PTI members how to get their votes rejected, or to write specific numbers for identification of the voters at a later stage. The former Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani Pakistan Peoples Party candidate for a Senate seat from Islamabad has been fielded jointly by the opposition alliance under the banner of the Pakistan Democratic Alliance (PDM) against the government’s candidate Abdul Hafeez Sheikh.

The “leaked video” that was aired by several news channels showed a few people – PTI members, reportedly from Karachi, being asked to vote for the opposition candidate. Ali Haider Gilani asks them to get their votes rejected in the worst case. Given the video of his son Ali Haider Gilani buying votes on his behalf & then his press conference admitting the same, Yusuf Raza Gilani should withdraw from the Senate race if he has any shame! In the video, Ali Gilani is heard telling them to fold their ballot paper like a kite if the Election Commission of Pakistan does not put any number on the ballot paper.

However, if the ballot paper is without any numbers or identifiers, then the PTI members need to write numbers 60, 23, 7, 11 so that these can be later identified for the payments. He specifically gives them the numbers and also writes them down for his record. The faces of the people with whom Ali Gilani is talking cannot be seen. However, one of the person says that they have the support of four. It was not clear who made the video, and how it got leaked. However, according to Arshad Sharif, a senior journalist for the ARY News Channel the money was being offered to four PTI MNAs. He also aired a telephonic conversation allegedly of Nasir Hussain Shah, the PPP Minister in the Sindh Government in which Gilani can be heard saying that the deal was okayed by Asif Ali Zardari himself.

However, Nasir Hussain Shah later denied that it was his voice in the ARY’s program “Power Play” and said he did not talk to Ali Gilani. Ali Gilani earlier in a press conference at Multan admitted that it was his video and said being a politician he meets many people and he would meet them again. He described the PTI MNAs as his friends. He said it was his right to ask for a vote and it was up to them to vote according to their conscience. The PTI later termed it to be a confession on part of Ali Gilani for trying to bribe its MNAs.

The leakage of video just a day ahead of the crucial Senate polls triggered a strong reaction from not only the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf workers and party leaders, but also the general public, who cried foul. Strong support for the open ballot, a cause pursued by Prime Minister Imran Khan, emerged, as the people took to the social media platforms to reject the traditional horse-trading seen in the past for the Senate elections. The Supreme Court of Pakistan in its judgment a day earlier said the process should be secret, as provided in the Constitution of Pakistan, however, asked the Election Commission of Pakistan to ensure that measures were taken to ensure transparency in the voting.

The Election Commission however after a series of deliberations said, owing to the paucity of time it could not take any new measures and the voting would be done “as per the past practice.” A spokesperson of the Election Commission of Pakistan in a statement said it would initiate “an investigation on merit” of the viral video. Minister for Science and Technology Ch Fawad Hussain in a tweet said the Election Commission of Pakistan has taken note of the video and termed it a welcome step. He said the PTI would also file a reference against the disqualification of the joint PDM candidate Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani.

Later two PTI leaders Kanwal Shauzab MNA and Farrukh Habib MNA talked to the media outside the Election Commission of Pakistan and submitted their reference to disqualify Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani from the Senate elections. PTI leaders Kanwal Shauzab MNA and Farrukh Habib MNA submitted a reference to the ECP to disqualify Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani from the Senate elections. They said the candidate violated the law and the Constitution of Pakistan, and for being involved in criminal activity with the corroboration with his real son and for violating Sections 167, 168, 169, and 170. They sought his punishment under section 174 of the Election Act 2017.

Later Ali Haider Gilani in a tweet said it was in fact he who was approached by different MNA’s at several occasions, “as they are not happy with the candidate selection of PTI and it’s their right to vote against their party candidate if they will. It’s a pertinent question as to if this is the Govt’s last shot at saving face!” he claimed. I was approached by different MNA’s at several occasions, as they are not happy with the candidate selection of PTI and it’s their right to vote against their party candidate if they will. The Senate polls will be hotly contested for two seats in Islamabad, 11 each in Punjab and Sindh, and 12 each in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan. Due to an unopposed election on 11 seats in Punjab, there will be no polls in the province.

PTI, coalition parties to achieve historic win on March 3: Hafeez Shaikh

ISLAMABAD:Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh Monday said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and its coalition parties were fighting the battle for the future of Pakistan and would achieve historic victory in the Senate elections on March 3.

ISLAMABAD, Mar 1, 2021(APP):Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh Monday said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and its coalition parties were fighting the battle for the future of Pakistan and would achieve historic victory in the Senate elections on March 3. Addressing a press conference along with the leaders of coalition parties, including Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), the minister said all the coalition parties wanted to put the country on right direction and that was why they were united.

“The MQM-P, GDA, BAP and PML-Q – we all are standing with each other,” he added. The people wanted that their leadership should be honest and they found the PTI most suitable, he said. He expressed the hope that there would not be any bargaining on Senate seats in the current elections. The minister said his family had been in politics for decades and he himself had been elected as senator thrice and hopefully he would again be elected as member of the Senate. It was imperative for democracy that whoever got a chance he/she should come forward to serve the country, he added.

“Some persons are endowed with some capabilities by Allah Almighty such as education and hard work due to which their services are demanded across the world,” he said. “If Allah has given me the opportunity to be affiliated with the best university of the world Harvard, it is a matter of pride for me and my family and friends.” Likewise, he said, he had worked with World Bank and advised 20 to 22 countries which was a blessing from Allah. He said, if anybody was more intelligent and was demand in the world, it should not be questioned. The federal minister said whenever he was invited to come and serve the country, he was always ready to serve the country.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Syed Aminul Haque and lawmaker of MQM-P said that Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) was fully supporting the government for strengthening of democracy, parliament and rooting out of corruption from the country. He said work was on full swing on a package announced for the development of Karachi. The government of Pakistan People Party did not pay attention to the development of Sindh. Members Parliament belonging to Sindh were being threatened besides being offered bribe to change their loyalties, he said.

However, he said that MQM-P stood firmly with the federal government and would support the PTI candidates in the Senate elections. Minister of Inter-Provincial Coordination Dr Fehmida Mirza said Senate elections were very important for continuity of the process and strengthening of democracy. She said the Senate elections should be held under the constitution to eliminate the corruption. Only the proportionate representation of the parties could help eliminate corruption in the elections of Senate, she said. Tariq Bashir Cheema of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q) said all allied parties have joined their hands to fully support the PTI candidate Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in the Senate elections.

Govt to provide another Rs 5b to Akhuwat for low-income housing loan

ISLAMABAD:Prime Minister Imran Khan, who chaired the weekly meeting of National Coordination Committee on Housing, Construction and Development, was told that the government had provided Rs 5 billion to Akhuwat which had successfully accomplished the project.

ISLAMABAD, Feb 25, 2021(APP):Following the success of an initial experiment, the government would provide another Rs 5 billion to a civil society organization Akhuwat for disbursement of interest-free loans to the low-income class for building their houses. Prime Minister Imran Khan, who chaired the weekly meeting of National Coordination Committee on Housing, Construction and Development, was told that the government had provided Rs 5 billion to Akhuwat which had successfully accomplished the project. The representative of Akhuwat told the meeting that they would require Rs 2 billion for the current year which the government would provide.

It was told that around 16,000 housing units would be built under Akhuwat project by end of this year. The Sindh chief secretary told the prime minister that around 258 construction projects of Association of Builders and Developers were awaiting approval in Sindh which also sought the federal government’s support in this regard. The prime minister directed the chief secretary to accelerate the approval process of the projects. He viewed that the construction activity would not only accelerate the economic activity but also create jobs for the people of respective provinces.

Different development authorities apprised the prime minister of the progress on the online display of all approved societies. The prime minister emphasized to ensure online availability of the details of all approved societies, and projects on the websites to protect the people particularly the overseas Pakistanis from any fraudulent activity. Briefing the meeting on one window operation and automation of digitization of land record, the Capital Development Authority chairman said a case tracking and management system had been developed. Besides the process of properties’ transfer and verification had also been automated.

The CDA chief said an online payment mechanism had been introduced by the Authority for the purchase of the properties. It was told that starting from January this year, the CDA had approved 403 construction projects which would bring in Rs 735.5 million for the civic body. Moreover, an economic activity would also be generated with the launch of the approved projects. The prime minister directed all the chief secretaries to keep a vigil on the approval process of development projects to avoid any delay. He also called for devising a future strategy for unapproved or illegal housing societies.

President opposes Presidential form of government in Pakistan, calls for improvement in 18th amendment

ISLAMABAD,(APP): President Dr. Arif Alvi while opposing the view that Presidential form of democracy can bring about change in Pakistan Tuesday said the country cannot afford change of system from parliamentary democracy to any other form.

ISLAMABAD, Feb 24, 2021 (APP): President Dr. Arif Alvi while opposing the view that Presidential form of democracy can bring about change in Pakistan Tuesday said the country cannot afford change of system from parliamentary democracy to any other form. “I am against this thinking. Whether it is Presidential or the Parliamentary form of democracy, system does not bring change… Pakistan cannot afford any change of system,” Dr. Alvi said in an interview with a private television channel (Aaj News) aired on Tuesday night.

He, however, opined that 18th Constitutional Amendment needed improvement. “Amendments made so far in the 1973 Constitution prove that there is no finality,” he remarked. To a question, the President described democracy as an evolution and said democratic system in UK took 300 years to reach the current level, adding, Similarly, democracy in France and other European countries improved through evolutionary process. To another question, he described Prime Minister Imran Khan as “a strong personality” with non-compromising attitude especially towards corruption. The President said that even during the days of opposition he (Imran Khan) did not like to meet with corrupt politicians.

About the provisional status of Gilgit Baltistan and their number of seats in the parliament, he said, generally there was a formula of population. However, he added, the matter was under deliberations. The President said that Gilgit Baltistan owing to its beauty and tourist sites, had a lot of tourism potential and could bring about prosperity in the area. In the year 2018 alone 2 million tourists visited Gilgit Baltistan, he mentioned. To another question he said that Gilgit Baltistan was allowed to establish run of the river power generation plants.

He, however, added that in order to address the issue of load-shedding in the area measures were being taken. Similarly, he added that 3G and 4G services will be allowed in the area to improve internet connectivity. About social media laws in Pakistan and the reservations in that respect, the President said that the issue was being dealt with by keeping in view various social, cultural and religious sensitivities. To a question about the country’s relations with Middle East countries including Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, Dr. Alvi rejected apprehensions in that respect, saying, Pakistan enjoyed excellent relations with Arab countries.

He, however, added that economic stability was crucial for successful foreign policy and good bilateral relations with various countries. About women inheritance rights and the issues of implementations, the President said that all measures were being taken in consultation and cooperation with Ulema and the Islamic Ideology Council (IIC).

Kashmiris strive for UN-sponsored plebiscite, not autonomy: Masood

President AJK Sardar Masood Khan on Monday unequivocally stated that the Jammu and Kashmir conflict had nothing to do with autonomy nor is the issue of the rights of minorities.

ISLAMABAD, Feb 22, 2021(APP): Welcoming the statement of two UN special rapporteurs about the situation in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir Azad Jammu and Kashmir, President AJK Sardar Masood Khan on Monday unequivocally stated that the Jammu and Kashmir conflict had nothing to do with autonomy nor is the issue of the rights of minorities. “Kashmir is not about “autonomy” or “rights of minorities”. Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed state whose people have yet to decide their future. It is a Muslim majority state, but not part of India. We, however, welcome the statement of UN Special Rapporteurs on Kashmir situation,” he asserted.

Commenting on the recent statement of the two experts of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, he said that the people of Jammu and Kashmir had been offering unprecedented sacrifices for not any sort of autonomy within the Indian constitution but for the realization of their democratic right to self-determination. In this connection, he reminded that the UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir in which not only the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people had been recognized, but holding the UN-supervised plebiscite had also been promised. However, he maintained that we welcome the concern expressed by the United Nations over the change of demography of occupied Jammu and Kashmir by the Indian government.

Earlier, in an exclusive article published in the national English journal of Pakistan, the AJK president said that the Kashmiri Muslims are being punished collectively because they are Muslims and they have not given a right to India to determine their statehood or political future. They have resolved that they would shape their own destiny. IIOJ&K today has emerged as the worst Islamophobic hotspot in the world. Sardar Masood Khan cautioned that Indian fascism – Hindutva – is threatening the stability of South Asia and extended neighbourhoods. Its toxic legacy will ultimately affect all nations and all continents of the world. There is no room for complacency. If a big nation like India becomes the biggest rogue and bully in the world, seeking exceptionalism, what impact would that have on smaller nations, he questioned.

“BJP-RSS regime is committing crimes in Kashmir on an industrial scale primarily to consolidate and broaden its base amongst hardliners, extremist Hindus for the next elections due in 2024. The blood of Kashmiris will be used as fuel in their electoral campaigns and for getting votes,” President Khan cautioned. About America’s role in the peaceful settlement of the Kashmir issue, the AJK President said that President Biden and Vice President Harris, during election primaries and campaigns, assured Kashmiris that they would be there for them. We are optimistic about their role, but very cautiously.

“The minimum they (Biden-Administration) can do is to call a spade a spade and start conversations with the Indian government about the horrendous situation in IIOJ&K and thus debunk the indefensible Indian pretense that Kashmir is India’s internal matter. Kashmir, he said, is not an internal matter of India by any yardstick. The Biden Administration, Khan added could encourage a diplomatic process to promote dialogue on Jammu and Kashmir, but not try to take it out of the United Nations because that won’t work. “If the U.S. shows some leadership, West European countries will follow suit. The best place to authorize and start this process is the UN Security Council,” AJK President concluded.

Modi wants to take full control of IIOJK to win next polls: AJK president

Azad Jammu and Kashmir President Sardar Masood Khan Sunday said that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wanted to take full control of Indian Illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), in order to again win the parliamentary elections in 2024.

ISLAMABAD, Feb 21، 2021(APP): Azad Jammu and Kashmir President Sardar Masood Khan Sunday said that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wanted to take full control of Indian Illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), in order to again win the parliamentary elections in 2024. “If the Kashmir issue had been resolved through drawing-room politics, the UN Security Council, White House and 10-Downing Street would have resolved it long ago,” he said adding that we would have to come out in streets and squares and pay heed to the cries rising from Srinagar, Baramullah, Rajouri and Poonch. He was addressing a webinar organized by the UK-based Hidayat TV and CNI News. The webinar was also addressed by former member of the European Parliament, Lords Wajid Khan, President Tehrike Kashmir UK Faheem Kayani and the TV anchor Syed Abid Kazmi.

The state president said that the Kashmiri people would never forget those who were helping them in the current environment of distress or those who were raising their voice throughout the world. He maintained that at present, the Kashmiri people were being killed, their children were being slaughtered, and their daughters were being molested before their eyes, and they are forced to die of starvation by depriving them of their land, business and livelihood. Sardar Masood Khan asserted that what Modi was doing, was going to turn the whole of India into another Kashmir where the Muslims, Dalits, Sikhs and the Christians feel themselves to be insecure.

“The same was done by the German Nazi ruler Adolf Hitler to Jews, Roma nomads, and Hungarian and Polish citizens, and when his brutalities had crossed all limits, the world had to jointly fight a war against him on the cost of hundreds of thousands of human lives,” he added. The AJK president said that the only option to defeat Modi and rid the Kashmiri people of his repression was that we turn the Kashmir liberation movement into an international campaign of human rights and civil liberties, and at the same time, use our politics, diplomacy and media to disseminate the voice of Kashmiri people in every nook and corner of the world.

“We must keep exposing India’s false narrative, and promote our true narrative on a full-time basis,” he added. The President pointed out that in order to malign the Kashmir liberation movement and to tarnish the image of Pakistan on the international level, India had waged a systematic disinformation campaign which had recently stood exposed, but in spite of becoming all details of this international scam, no action has been taken against India. “If the same crime had been committed by Russia or China, not only they would have been held accountable but economic sanctions would also have been imposed on them,” he added.

Prime minister lauds FBR for achieving 7-month revenue targets

ISLAMABAD (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan Saturday appreciated the field formations of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on beating the seven-month target of revenue collection.

ISLAMABAD, Feb 20, 2021 (APP):Prime Minister Imran Khan Saturday appreciated the field formations of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on beating the seven-month target of revenue collection. “I commend FBR Field Formations on achieving 7-months revenue targets by undertaking bold tax audit and enforcement, and counter-smuggling measures,” the prime minister said on Twitte.

He advised the FBR field formations to continue working with honesty and commitment. The prime minister also lauded FBR Head Office team for developing the IT-enabled transformation plan and procuring cutting-edge Track and Trace System.

Once fully functional in July 2021, he said, the system would add hundreds of billions of additional revenue, curb counterfeiting and help establish rule of law. According to the data, the FBR beat target of Rs2,550 billion set for July-Jan (2020-21) by collecting net revenue of Rs2,570 billion, marking an increase of Rs 20 billion.

IHC directs removal of illegal structures from F-8 Football Ground

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday ordered the authorities concerned to remove all illegal structures, including lawyers’ chambers from the Football Ground and around District Courts in Sector F-8 Islamabad.

ISLAMABAD, Feb 16, 2021 (APP): The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday ordered the authorities concerned to remove all illegal structures, including lawyers’ chambers from the Football Ground and around District Courts in Sector F-8 Islamabad. A larger IHC bench comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Aamer Farooq, Justice Mohsin Akhter Kiyani, and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb announced the decision on a petition filed by Shehnaz Butt, a resident of Sector F-8, against the construction of illegal structures around the District Courts (Katcheri), including the Football Ground.

The larger IHC bench, in its verdict, said: “It is noted that since 1980, the District Judiciary was never a priority. In the last two years, the administration of this court has strived to give the District Judiciary top priority. We would take this opportunity to record our profound appreciation for the commitment displayed by the current Federal Government because it has ensured that there is no impediment in establishing a state-of-the-art judicial complex at the five (5) acre plot allotted for this purpose. The Executive branch of the state has indeed given top priority to shifting of the District Courts from the current deplorable commercial premises.

“The government has also earmarked a separate five (5) acre plot so that the enrolled advocates of the Islamabad Bar Council could establish facilities for themselves.” The court noted that in the case in hand the purported allotments made by the Islamabad District Bar in the playground or elsewhere were without lawful authority and jurisdiction, besides exposing the office-bearers, who were involved in such illegal acts to disciplinary proceedings for misconduct. Likewise, the enrolled advocates, who had accepted the purported illegal allotments, had also no lawful justification to construct chambers on state land, it added. “We, therefore, declare, observe and direct as follows:

(a) The purported allotments made by the Islamabad District Bar in the playground are illegal, void and without jurisdiction and authority.

(b) The encroachments on any state land and any construction thereon are illegal, void, and liable to be removed forthwith.

(c) An advocate who takes the law into his or her own hands or violates the law in any manner whatsoever is not eligible to be certified by the High Court as ‘fit and proper’ to plead and appear before the august Supreme Court.

Likewise, an enrolled advocate cannot be certified as having ‘character and conduct’ for the purposes of being enrolled as an advocate of the High Court.

(d) We are confident that as a gesture towards the actual stakeholders i.e. The general public, the members of the Bar will clear the illegal construction and restore the playground for public use.

(e) In case the playground is not restored by or before the 28th of February 2021, then the Federal Government and the Capital Development Authority will restore the playground for the use of the public before the 23rd of March, 2021.

(f) The Federal Government shall make arrangements for holding a football tournament amongst students of public schools on the Pakistan Day i.e. 23rd of March 2021, to give tribute to the greatest lawyer of the Sub-continent and founder of the Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

(g) The Islamabad District Bar may submit its proposed plan to the Capital Development Authority for consideration and approval in relation to the Lawyers Plot i.e. 5-acre plot separately.

(h) The Federal Government is directed to commence and complete the construction of the state of the art complex of District Courts. We expect that the Federal Government will ensure that the state of the art judicial complex is made functional before the next Pakistan Day – 23rd of March, 2022.”

The court directed the authorities to submit a progress report to its registrar office regarding the construction of the judicial complex.

Nations unprecedented resolve under NCOC helps overcome contagion outbreak

According to Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), the Pakistan Army in keeping with the tradition of “Nation First” has decided to donate the vaccine donation to FLHCWs across the country.

ISLAMABAD, Feb 13, 2021(APP): The unprecedented Coronavirus pandemic had gripped almost the entire world, including the developed and developing countries alike. Almost every country including Pakistan bore the brunt of this pandemic and tried to cope with the challenge. Pakistan through a highly integrated, unique and effective strategy, effectively coped with the first and second wave of the contagion. Timely measures not only prevented the disease spread successfully but also obtained effective vaccines in a very short period of time.

Prime Minister Imran Khan besides establishing National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) to fight the pandemic but also adopted a strategy to keep the employment and economy going uninterrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Enjoying full support of all stakeholders including civil and military leadership, federal health ministry and the provincial governments had strenuously went through the journey of unanimous decision making through detailed and painstaking deliberations, consultations and experts recommendations to entered the important stage of vaccination.

In this regard, it has succeeded in obtaining 4 out of 8 most effective vaccines in the world whereas the COVID-19 cure will arrive in Pakistan in different phases during the ongoing year. China as a trusted and time tested friend of Pakistan is the only country to donate 500,000 doses of Coronavirus vaccine to Pakistan. The process of administering the donated vaccine under National Vaccine Strategy was simultaneously launched in all federating units by the Chief Ministers of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir.

The 20 million doses of the Chinese vaccines SinoPharm and Cansino Bio will reach Pakistan in different phases this year where according to trial three tests’ results the efficacy of the vaccine was recorded 86 percent. However, in order to preserve the SinoPharm vaccine developed by China’s state-owned pharmaceutical company requires a temperature of two to eight degrees Celsius. Prime Minister Imran Khan officially launched the National Covid vaccination campaign in the country urging equitable and just distribution of Coronavirus vaccine among the provinces. “It is very important for health workers to be vaccinated as the biggest threat during the contagion,” the Prime Minister directed.

Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, said the NCOC has an important role in procuring the vaccine and hoped that the Pakistani nation under the leadership of the Chief Ministers would reap full benefits of this vaccine. “Our real heroes in the fight against Coronavirus are the frontline health workers who have made so many sacrifices to serve the nation during unusual times of the contagion,” he said. Asad Umar who is also chairman of the NCOC announced that registration for covid vaccination for 65 years old citizens and above would be initiated by the next week. The vaccination of those who register in this category would start in the month of March.

Meanwhile, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and the Chinese government donated vaccine to Pakistan’s armed forces which was the first such donation by the Chinese military to any foreign military around the world. According to Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), the Pakistan Army in keeping with the tradition of “Nation First” has decided to donate the vaccine donation to FLHCWs across the country. Under the National Vaccination Strategy, health workers will be vaccinated in the first phase, people aged 60 and above in second and those from 18 to 60 years in the third phase.

The authorities have also decided that people under the age of 18 year will not be vaccinated. The NCOC has developed an online portal called National Immunization Management System (NIMS) to monitor the registration and administration of the coronavirus vaccine to FLHCWs. So far, 511,000 medical personnel have been registered under the National Immunization Management System (NIMS) which is a computerized integrated system for registration. The FLHCWs can check their eligibility by sending their CNIC number to 1166 or visit nims.nadra.gov.pk website. In the first step a confirmation message containing Adult Vaccine Center (AVC) and a pin code will be sent whereas in the second step the FLHCW will be informed about his appointment for vaccination at the designated AVC.

In the third step, they will visit the AVC along with CNIC and pin code, the health staff at the AVC will confirm their appointment. In the next step, the vaccination staff will confirm vaccine entry in NIMS and confirmation SMS will be sent. Finally, the FLHCW will have to stay for 30 minutes for monitoring after vaccination at the AVC. Moreover, in case of double shot vaccine the message will be sent after seven days. All those who want to register themselves for Covid Vaccine have to follow this procedure. In case, any one cannot get to the designated vaccine center, he or she can call 1166 or visit physically or the NIMS website, to change his or her center. Citizens have to go to the vaccination center allotted to them on the specified date and time.

At the information counters at all vaccination centers the names, ages and temperatures of all the people coming for the vaccine will be recorded. According to Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM), Dr. Faisal Sultan out of Pakistan’s total population of 220 million, only 100 million people would be vaccinated. “The vaccine is being used successfully in China, Hungary, the UAE and other countries. Vaccine can be effective up to 86 percent where efforts are being made to make it available to 70 percent of the population by the end of the year. The vaccine can cause fever or mild pain for a day,” he said.

“Vaccine centers have been set up across Pakistan with the capacity to vaccinate 40,000 people daily and will be enhanced over the passage of time,” he added. It merits mention that 20 million doses of AstraZenica from the Global Vaccine Alliance International (GAVI), 30 million doses of Covax from the World Health Organization, 20 to 30 million doses from another Chinese company (Cansino) would be received whereas among these Russian origin vaccine Sputnik has been approved for emergency use in the country. Dr. Faisal Sultan added that vaccination of COVID-19 would be voluntary and no one would be forced to take the vaccine. The corona vaccine will be available free of charge in all government hospitals, while emergency use of the vaccine has been introduced for FLHCWs and senior citizens.

“The coronavirus vaccine will be given once and a special card will be issued by the government as a proof. Those vaccinated would be able to use this card anywhere in the world,” he informed. The NCOC has set up a National Vaccine Administration and Coordination Cell (NVACC) at the federal level and Provincial Vaccine Administration and Coordination Cell Provincial centers (PVACC) at the four provinces and AJK and GB to effectively monitor the vaccination process. The District Vaccine Administration and Coordination Cell will be attached to the PVACC to monitor the process at district level. Iram Naveed, the focal person for vaccination at PIMS Hospital said they had prepared the lists of doctors, paramedical and support staff (ward boys, sanitary workers, security guards) and sent to the district administration.

“Around 2000 PIMS healthcare workers were directly involved in treatment of Covid patients and they would be vaccinated on priority.” Since the pandemic broke out the government and the NCOC had been toiling hard to fight out the pandemic and with adoption of prudent policies and their execution, the country remained safe of the disastrous impacts like many other countries where the figure had reached to hundreds and thousands deceased. Hats off to medical practitioners who relentlessly worked for treatment of the Covid-19 patients’ saving them from devastating effects of the pandemic and secured country from its massive spread.

Employees demanding salary raise stage protest

ISLAMABAD, Feb 10, 2021(APP,LPP): A protest was staged by the Federal Government employees here on Wednesday with the demand of increase in their salaries. The protesters moved on the main Blue Area road disrupting flow of traffic and choking a couple of intersections which caused inconvenience to general public and commuters. The police had to disperse the protesters when they tried to move towards the Parliament House in Red Zone.

According to the police, around a dozen of protesting employees were taken into custody under Section 16 of the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance (MPO). Earlier, Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed addressed a joint press conference along with Minister for Defence Pervez Khattak and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affair Ali Muhammad Khan and said the government after negotiations with the protesting employees was ready to notify an increase in the wages of grade 1-16 employees.

Sheikh Rasheed said political parties were instigating the protestors for their personal gains. Negotiations with the employees were underway. Meanwhile, Inspector General of Islamabad Police Qazi Jameel said the entire security arrangements were being monitored through safe city cameras. He vowed that no one would be allowed to cause damage to private and public property, warning that stern action would be taken against those violating the law and causing inconvenience to the people.

He said necessary measures were being taken to ensure smooth flow of traffic on all the roads of twin cities. According to the Islamabad Traffic Police, diversions had been placed for both sides of traffic coming from Chungi-No 26 to Islamabad Chowk, diverting them to Peshawar Road. Similarly, diversions had been placed on Jinnah Aenue from Express Chowk to D-Chowk for both sides of traffic, diverting the traffic to Ayub Chowk and Margallah Road.

PM congratulates KP govt over health insurance facility to entire province

ISLAMABAD, February 1, 2021 (APP, LPP): Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday congratulated the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for becoming the first province in Pakistan to extend universal health coverage to all of its citizens. “Congratulations to KP govt for making KP first province in (Pakistan) with Universal Health Coverage for all KP-domiciled citizens,” the prime minister said on Twitter.

PM @ImranKhanPTI has congratulated KP govt on making KP the first province to roll out Universal Health Coverage. Over 40m residents now have free health insurance worth Rs. 1 million per family per year that can be availed in over 400 public & private hospitals#KPSehatCardPlus pic.twitter.com/NCnNGRqlf3 — Prime Minister's Office, Pakistan (@PakPMO) February 1, 2021

Congratulations to KP govt for making KP first province in Pak with Universal Health Coverage for all KP-domiciled citizens. 40,000,000 residents covered with free health insurance. Free treatment upto Rs1,000,000 per family per year in over 400 govt/private hospitals across Pak. — Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) February 1, 2021. Under the initiative, around 40 million residents of the province would avail free health insurance of up to Rs1,000,000 per family per year.

The beneficiaries would be able to get free medical facility in over 400 designated private and government hospitals across the province. From this point onwards, whenever you come across needy KP resident who needs medical care and can not afford, your duty should be giving him/her awareness regarding #KPSehatCardPlus; just tell him/her to take CNIC to any empaneled hospital across Pakistan & avail FREE treatment. 

The extension of universal health coverage to entire KP would complete on Monday as the provincial government was set to launch Sehat Cards in Southern Districts. With tomorrow’s launch of Sehat Card in Southern Districts we ll become first province to have universal coverage of health insurance for 100 % population. It’s a big step towards achieving the dream of welfare state on pattern of Riasat e Madina as envisioned by Imran Khan. “It’s a big step towards achieving the dream of welfare state on pattern of Riasat-e-Madina as envisioned by Imran Khan,” KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan said on Twitter. The districts include Kohat, Karak, Hangu, Bannu, Lakki Marwat, Tank and Dera Ismail Khan.

high level Kuwaiti delegation visited Ministry of EAD, Sec. EAD Briefed Delegation

ISLAMABAD, Jan 28, 2021 (LPP):A high level Kuwaiti delegation led by Mr. Ali Suliman Al-Saeed, Assistant Foreign Minister visited Ministry of Economic Affairs on 28th January 2021. Secretary EAD welcomed the delegation and emphasized upon enhancing bilateral economic relation for mutual benefit of both countries. The Secretary EAD appreciated the generous support of state of Kuwait in extending financing for development projects in Pakistan and debt suspension facility provided by Kuwait Fund to overcome Covid-19 situation. Both sides took a review of bilateral economic relations and resolved to move forward for enhancing cooperation in economic, trade, oil and gas , energy, investment , agriculture, IT and health sector. The secretary EAD underscored the need to sign a Framework Agreement with Kuwait Fund for financing the various projects in infrastructure, energy and social sector. Both sides agreed to hold next Session of Joint Ministerial Commission in near future. The Assistant Foreign Minister of Kuwait hoped that the forthcoming meeting of Joint Commission will be instrumental in paving way for future cooperation between the two countries.

No one to be allowed to disrupt peace in country: Interior Minister

PESHAWAR, Jan 27, 2021(APP): Interior Minister, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad here Wednesday said peace has been achieved after a lot of sacrifices and no one would be allowed to disrupt peace and law and order situation in the country. He expressed these views while jointly presiding over a high-level meeting along with Chief Minister Khyber Pakthunkhwa Mahmood Khan on the law and order situation in the province here at civil secretariat.

Chief Secretary KP, Dr Kazim Niaz, Inspector General of Police, Dr Sanaullah Abbasi and others senior officials of law enforcement agencies, district administration and police attended the meeting. While highly appreciating the sacrifices of law enforcement organizations, police and districts administration for restoration of peace in the province, the Interior Minister said KP has played a frontline role for establishment of peace in the country and the entire nation held sacrifices of its people and law enforcement agencies in high esteem.

He said unprecedented sacrifices have been given for achievement of durable peace in Pakistan and enemy would not be allowed to disrupt peace in the country. The Interior Minister said Government was well aware of problems of KP and all necessary resources would be provided to it.

GB’s immense potential in tourism, investment to be fully exploited: President

GILGIT, Jan 26, 2021(APP, LPP): President Dr Arif Alvi on Tuesday said Gilgit Baltistan would be developed at par with rest of the country by exploiting its immense potential in tourism and investment in diverse sectors. Addressing the provincial cabinet members of Gilgit Baltistan Secretariat here, the President said the federal government was firm to ensure uniform development of areas, including Gilgit Baltistan.

The President felicitated the newly formed government of GB and called the need for its active role for the prosperity of the area. He said the serene areas of GB could attract domestic and international tourists, adding that influx of two million tourists before COVID-19 to the area was quite welcoming. Dr Alvi mentioned that Prime Minister Imran Khan was considering to launch a project regarding the expansion of Gilgit Airport, a draft of which would also be shared with the GB government.

He said the federal government had initiated a welfare programme for the uplift of poor, besides disbursing Rs 2,000 per month among the disabled persons. The President said GB was rich in alternative energy resources including hydal and solar power generation. He expressed satisfaction over the literacy rate in GB, which was better as compared to rest of the country. Chief Minister GB Khalid Khursheed and secretaries concerned of the relevant departments including minerals, health and tourism gave an in-depth briefing to the President.

Earlier, the President laid a wreath at the martyrs’ memorial of Chinar Bagh and offered fateha for the departed souls. A contingent of police presented a salute to President. The President was also presented a traditional cloak and cap of Gilgit Baltistan.

Pakistan HC in London introduces “E-Katchehri” to address grievances of expatriates

ISLAMABAD, Jan 25, 2021(APP,LPP): Pakistan High Commission, London, in line with the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, has decided to hold E-Katchehri on first Tuesday of every month at 2 pm to address the grievances of Pakistani community. The High Commissioner for Pakistan would preside over the Katchehri and listen to the complaints of the community for their resolution, a press release issued by the High Commission in London on Monday said.

In this regard, an online registration system has been opened by the High Commission London on its website similar to the prevailing system of consular appointments prior to their temporary suspension due to the lockdown. All members of the Pakistani Community having any complaint in relation to the services offered by the High Commission would be required to register at the appointment system with the provision of details of the complaint for necessary preparation before holding the E-Katchehri.

The complainants may like to register their complaints by clicking on the following link: http://phclondon2.org/appointments/BookAppointment. Similar Katchehris would also be held in Pakistani Consulates in the UK (Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and Bradford).

Pakistan Urges World Role for Children’s Right to Education In IIOJK

ISLAMABAD, Jan 24, 2021(APP, LPP): Pakistan on Sunday drew the attention of international community particularly the United Nations to bring an end to the plight of Kashmiri children being denied their right to education. As the world observes International Day of Education on Monday (January 25), Pakistan highlighted the plight of children in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) suffering from inhuman military siege and “digital holocaust.”

“On International Day of Education, we draw attention of (international) community especially (United Nations) to plight of children of IIOJK, who remain deprived of their right to education due to continued inhuman military siege and digital holocaust imposed by India,” Foreign Office spokesperson said in a statement.

Pakistan To Continue Unwavering Support till Resolution of Kashmir Issue: NA Speaker

ISLAMABAD, Jan 24, 2021(APP): National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser on Friday said people and government of Pakistan condemned the atrocities committed on the innocent Kashmiris in strongest possible terms and reiterated unwavering support till its just resolution. Talking to President Asaz Jammu and Kashmir Sardar Masood Khan said silence of international community towards Indian atrocities in Kashmir was incomprehensible. He called upon the international community to take notice of the matter and take steps for ending the worst state sponsored human rights violations in Indian illegally occupied Kashmir.

Current situation of illegally Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir and further ways and means to highlight the issue at international level came under discussion. Chairman Parliamentary for Kashmir Shehryar Afridi was also present in the meeting. The speaker said Kashmir issue was the unsettled agenda of the partition plan of subcontinent and leaving it unresolved would put the peace of the region at stake. The Speaker said parliament stood by their Kashmiri brethren in their just struggle for self determination. He said the recent unconstitutional and inhumane steps taken by the present Indian regime in occupied valley had been raised at all Parliamentary Forums including Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and  Parliamentary Assembly of the Economic Cooperation Organization (PAECO) for mustering support for ending decades old tyranny.

He said peace in the region would only be possible with resolution of Kashmir issue in light of United Nations resolutions. He informed that standing committees on human rights and foreign affairs as well as parliamentary committee on Kashmir have been directed to raise Kashmir issue globally. He said recent discourse in United Kingdom and European Union Parliament was evident that the world was concerned about the situation in occupied Kashmir. The speaker said an International conference on Kashmir was being seriously considered. The President Azad Jammu and Kashmir Sardar Masood Khan said issue of Kashmir stood unresolved at the list of United Nations since last 72 years.

International community should look towards its resolution in accordance with the aspirations of people besides ending to state sponsored terrorism, he said. He said that parliament and government of Pakistan had aptly raised the issue at international parliamentary and other multilateral forums, respectively. He added that parliamentary diplomacy could play an excellent role in highlighting the Kashmir issue globally. President Azad Jammu and Kashmir said recent discussions in United Kingdom House of Commons and European Union were clear depiction of awareness caused by the effective diplomatic and parliamentary efforts of speaker national assembly.

AJK To Establish Land Routes with GB to Strengthen Bilateral Linkage Between Two Regions: AJK PM

MIRPUR (AJK), Jan 24, 2021 (APP): Azad Jammu and Kashmir Prime Minister Raja Muhammad Farooq Hiader Khan has said that government of Azad Jammu Kashmir would establish land routes with the Gilgit Baltistan to further strengthen the relations with the Gilgit Baltistan population. He was talking to a delegation of members of Gilgit Baltistan Assembly which called to him led by the member Assembly Surriya Zaman in the State capital town late Thursday.

The Prime Minister said that Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan have a great potential in Hydel power and tourism sector and the people of both the regions should share their experiences for boosting tourism activities in both the regions. The Prime Minister said that he is fully aware of the difficulties being faced by the people of Gilgit Baltistan and urged the Pakistan government to start the work on Triple M road to overcome the problems of the people of the area.

The Prime Minister assured that the Azad Kashmir government would also extend full cooperation with the Gilgit Baltistan government in Health education and other sectors.

Pakistan To Continue Unwavering Support till Resolution of Kashmir Issue: NA Speaker

ISLAMABAD, Jan 24, 2021 (APP): National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser on Friday said people and government of Pakistan condemned the atrocities committed on the innocent Kashmiris in strongest possible terms and reiterated unwavering support till its just resolution. Talking to President Asaz Jammu and Kashmir Sardar Masood Khan said silence of international community towards Indian atrocities in Kashmir was incomprehensible. He called upon the international community to take notice of the matter and take steps for ending the worst state sponsored human rights violations in Indian illegally occupied Kashmir.

Current situation of illegally Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir and further ways and means to highlight the issue at international level came under discussion. Chairman Parliamentary for Kashmir Shehryar Afridi was also present in the meeting. The speaker said Kashmir issue was the unsettled agenda of the partition plan of subcontinent and leaving it unresolved would put the peace of the region at stake. The Speaker said parliament stood by their Kashmiri brethren in their just struggle for self determination. He said the recent unconstitutional and inhumane steps taken by the present Indian regime in occupied valley had been raised at all Parliamentary Forums including Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and  Parliamentary Assembly of the Economic Cooperation Organization (PAECO) for mustering support for ending decades old tyranny.

He said peace in the region would only be possible with resolution of Kashmir issue in light of United Nations resolutions. He informed that standing committees on human rights and foreign affairs as well as parliamentary committee on Kashmir have been directed to raise Kashmir issue globally. He said recent discourse in United Kingdom and European Union Parliament was evident that the world was concerned about the situation in occupied Kashmir. The speaker said an International conference on Kashmir was being seriously considered. The President Azad Jammu and Kashmir Sardar Masood Khan said issue of Kashmir stood unresolved at the list of United Nations since last 72 years.

International community should look towards its resolution in accordance with the aspirations of people besides ending to state sponsored terrorism, he said. He said that parliament and government of Pakistan had aptly raised the issue at international parliamentary and other multilateral forums, respectively. He added that parliamentary diplomacy could play an excellent role in highlighting the Kashmir issue globally. President Azad Jammu and Kashmir said recent discussions in United Kingdom House of Commons and European Union were clear depiction of awareness caused by the effective diplomatic and parliamentary efforts of speaker national assembly.

Parliament Can Play A Key Role in Globalizing Kashmir Issue: Masood Khan

ISLAMABAD, Jan 23, 2021 (APP):Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan has said that the Kashmir issue can be effectively projected globally through parliamentary diplomacy and incumbent Pakistan parliament can play an important role in this regard. He expressed these views during a meeting with Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaisar. The state president thanked the Speaker National Assembly for expressing solidarity by Pakistani parliament with the Kashmiri people on various occasions, and highlighting the situation of occupied Jammu and Kashmir at different parliamentary forums of the world, said a press release.

He maintained that Kashmir issue stood unresolved at the agenda of United Nations’ Security Council for the last 72 years. The International community should look towards its resolution in accordance with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people besides ending to state-sponsored terrorism. He said in past seven decades, not only hundreds of thousands of human lives had been lost in occupied Jammu and Kashmir because of non-solution of this issue but it had also, put peace and security of the whole of South Asia at peril. Therefore, it is the basic responsibility of the UN Security Council and the international community to play their role in resolving the Kashmir issue in line with the UN resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmir people.

The state president said that the recent debate on Kashmir issue in the UK House of Commons and voices rising in the European Parliament and the US Congress in favour of the Kashmiri people, establish the fact that the results of our efforts and the efforts of Pakistani parliament and the government have started bearing fruits. Expressing grave concern over shifting of 21 Kashmiri political prisoners by the Indian regime to the special cell of the high-security Agra prison, the AJK president said that there may be some conspiracy behind this shifting. The Indian government after abolishing the special status of Kashmir in August 2019, had arrested these prisoners under the notorious Public Safety Act, and had detained them in a prison in Uttar Pradesh for the last 16 months.

Speaking on the occasion, Speaker National Assembly Assad Qaisar asserted that the people and the government of Pakistan strongly condemn the Indian brutalities being perpetrated in occupied Jammu and Kashmir, and they reiterate their pledge to support the struggle of Kashmiri people till the final resolution of Kashmir conflict. He called upon the international community to take immediate notice of the situation of Jammu and Kashmir, and play its concrete role in securing an end to the human rights violations in occupied Kashmir. He maintained that the Pakistani parliament sided with the Kashmiri people in their legitimate and just struggle for the realization of their right to self-determination, and assured that the voice of Kashmir people would be raised in every parliamentary forum of the world in future also.

 PM’s Vision of Riasat-E-Madina Meant to End Exploitative System, Ensure Equality

ISLAMABAD, Jan 21,2021 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi Thursday said the objective behind Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision of Riasat-e-Madina was to get rid of an exploitative system and establish a society based on principles of equality. The president, addressing a prize distribution ceremony of 15th Annual Quran Memorization Competition, said prior to the establishment of Madina State by Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), the society was rampant with exploitation of weak and poor, abuse of women rights and huge discrimination on the basis of colour and race.

Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Nurul Haq Qadri, Saudi Ambassador in Pakistan Nawaf Saeed Al Maliki, Deputy Secretary General of World Muslim League (WML) Abdul Rehman bin Abdullah Al Zayd, Regional Director WML Saad Masood Al Harithi and a huge number of Huffaz-e-Quran attended the event. The president congratulated the prize winning children and said the memorization of Holy Quran was not only a great achievement for them rather it would also bring about great reward for their parents in the life hereafter.

He said the memorization of Holy Quran was no less than a miracle meant to keep the divine teachings alive forever which was crucial particularly after the people in the past modified the divine books revealed on previous prophets. Arif Alvi, who also distributed cash prizes of Rs 0.5 million, Rs 0.35 million and Rs 0.25 million among the first, second and third position holders respectively, said his family was also lucky to have his grandfather, uncle and some cousins as Huffaz-e-Quran. He said the memorization of Quran was also a great culture of Islam and Pakistan, and appreciated the services and of WML in the fields of religious services and charity.

He said the incumbent government would continue striving for establishing a society reflecting the model of Madina State. President Alvi said both Quran and Holy Prophet (PBUH) ensured deliverance of society from exploitation, burial of women alive and inequality or discrimination towards the poor. The president told the gathering that Islam had granted rights to women far before the western society, which was no less than a revolution in the Arab society. He said the incumbent government was also striving to interpret and enforce the very principles of human rights and equality introduced by the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

The president spoke high of the services by Saudi King and Crown Prince for Islam particularly the administration of two holy mosques and facilitation of pilgrims. He said the state was supposed to create equal opportunities for both the rich and the poor. He said the deep rooted Pak-Saudi ties were based on religious values and the brotherly love between the two countries would continue forever. Religious Affairs Minister Pir Nurul Haq Qadri said the relationship between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were infinite for being based on religious values without being impacted by any conditions.

The minister appreciated the efforts by Saudi King and Crown Prince over laudable management and construction of Masjid-al-Haram to facilitate the pilgrims. He also appreciated the Saudi government’s contribution towards publication of Holy Quran and its translation into all world languages under a gigantic project established by late Saudi King Fahad. He said WML was serving the humanity across the globe regardless of faith, creed and culture. Even during the COVID-time, it was WML which served the people of Pakistan even in remote areas. Saudi Ambassador in Pakistan Nawaf Bin Saeed Al Maliki, WML Deputy Secretary General Abdul Rehman bin Abdullah Al Zayd and WML Regional Director Saad Masood Al Harithi also addressed the ceremony.

Pak-China International Cooperation Yield Fruitful Result In 2020: White Paper

BEIJING, Jan 20, 2021(APP): The State Council Information Office of China last weak published a White Paper on “China’s International Development Cooperation in the New Era” which includes multi-field international cooperation and frequently mentions Pak-China cooperation in 2020. The paper summarizes China’s recent engagement in providing development assistance and lays out China’s strategy and areas of future development assistance. The respects which are also closely concerned by Pakistan, such as debt relief, poverty reduction, infrastructure improvement, energy transformation, and food crisis alleviation, were emphasized in the paper, China Economic Net (CEN) reported on Wednesday.

According to the White Paper, in 2020, China continued a steady increase in the scale of its international development cooperation, giving high priority to the least developed countries in Asia and Africa and developing countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative. China held over 4,000 training sessions for officials from participating countries on Belt and Road. For example, on the conference of Pakistan’s vision of a new Pakistan, participants of the programs jointly discussed and planned on ways to link CPEC with regional and national initiatives. In terms of infrastructure, China supports Belt and Road participants in infrastructure connectivity projects to revive the ancient Silk Road.

To support CPEC and promote overland trade between the two countries, China participated in the upgrading and expansion of the Peshawar-Karachi Motorway and the Karakoram Highway. To meet the increasing needs of air transport, China has assisted Pakistan in upgrading and expanding our airports, thereby improving operational capacity and safety, increasing the passenger and cargo throughput, promoting local tourism, facilitating cross-border passenger and trade flow, and bringing more opportunities for their integration with the Belt and Road Initiative. To improve people’s lives, CPEC provided over 2,000 free cataract surgeries in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Uzbekistan. Youth exchange and talent training under CPEC also were praised in the White Paper.

In order to improve agro-productivity, China provided timely aid during locust plagues to help restore agricultural production in Pakistan and cultivate agricultural research and technical personnel for our nation. The White Paper concluded that the future of China closely relates to the fortunes of other countries, and China binds the interests of the Chinese people to the common interests of all people. China will stay true to its original principles regarding international development cooperation.

“The White Paper emphasized that China has always demonstrated a spirit of internationalism and humanitarianism, and promised development based on shared interests, mutual benefits and inclusiveness. Without a doubt the world needs more of that!” says Christoph Nedopil, Director Green Belt and Road Initiative Center at International Institute for Green Finance

Recommendations for reforms in criminal justice system ready, PM told

ISLAMABAD, Jan 15, 2021(APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan was on Thursday told that recommendations of the separate task forces, constituted after identifying 13 sectors to formulate a comprehensive strategy for reforms in the country’s criminal justice system, were ready for getting practical shape. He was presiding over a high level meeting here regarding reforms in the criminal justice system and the implementation of civil procedure code in the provinces and Islamabad Capital Territory.

Minister for Law Farogh Naseem, Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan, Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Law Minister Sultan Mehmood Khan and officers concerned were in attendance. The prime minister was told that the 13 sectors identified for reforms included registration of case, system of arrest and FIR (First Information Report), modernization and computerization of police stations, direct transfer of funds to police stations and giving station incharge the status of principal accounting officer, strengthening of investigation

system, improving Challan system, establishment of independent prosecution system, reducing pressure on courts through assessment of cases by prosecution, making the procedure of trial easy and quick, computerization of courts’ record and strengthening the system of probation and parole. Farogh Naseem told the meeting that the civil procedure code was being implemented after resolution of all constitutional matters regarding reforms. The prime minister was also informed about reforms in Punjab and KP.

Imran Khan said since this sector was very important and vital for governance, the progress on it should be ensured on priority basis. He said the history of world was witness to the fact that only those nations achieved development and progress who came up with an organized and strong justice system to provide justice to people. The prime minister regretted that the previous regimes destroyed the system and benefited from the lawlessness.

He said the present government would provide all required resources to correct the system on priority basis. In that regard targets should be set and their timely completion should be ensured, the prime minister directed.

President confers Pakistan’s second highest civil award on Turkish foreign minister

ISLAMABAD, Jan 13, 2021 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi Wednesday conferred Hilal-i-Pakistan, the country’s second highest civil award, on Foreign Minister of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu in recognition of his contribution to strengthen Pak-Turkish ties. The conferment on the Turkish foreign minister was made at a special investiture ceremony held here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr. Besides delegations of the visiting foreign minister, the ceremony was attended by federal ministers, diplomats and senior officers.

Started with recitation of Quranic verses, the ceremony featured playing of national anthems of both the countries. Reading out the citation, Secretary Cabinet Division Sardar Ahmed Nawaz Sukhera recounted the services of Turkish foreign minister for enriching the bilateral ties. He said in his capacity as Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had taken various initiatives for peace and security. Moreover, he also played vital role for strengthening Pak-Turkish ties and their transformation into a strategic partnership

The Hilal-i-Pakistan awards is conferred to recognize the meritorious contribution to the national interests of Pakistan, or culturalsocial contribution. Among other dignitaries to have achieved the honor included now US President-elect Joe Biden, Ruth Pfau, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and recently Chinese former ambassador in Islamabad Yao Jing. After the investiture, the Turkish foreign minister also introduced two renowned Turkish actors including Nurettin Sönmez, known for his role as Bamsı Beyrek in Ertugrul and Ayberk Pekcan, known for his role as Artuk Bey.

Both the celebrities were warmly received by the audience and did not miss the rare photo-op. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is visiting here for the second Pakistan-Turkey-Azerbaijan Trilateral Meeting being held on the day. Prior to the investiture ceremony, he called on the president and discussed the bilateral as well as regional matters of mutual interest.

Corrupt elites cant hide behind victimization card on int’l revelations: PM

ISLAMABAD, Jan 13, 2021 (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday said that having been exposed by Broadsheet after Panama Papers, the country’s elites could not hide behind “victimisation” card on international revelations of their corruption and money laundering. “Panama Papers exposed our ruling elites corruption & money laundering earlier. Now Broadsheet revelations have again exposed the massive scale of our ruling elites corruption & money laundering,” he said in a series of Tweets.

He said the international revelations exposed what he had been saying during his 24-year fight against corruption – also the biggest threat to Pakistan’s progress. He viewed that those elites came to power and plundered the country. Moreover, they also did money laundering to stash their ill-gotten gains abroad, safe from domestic prosecution.“They then use their political clout to get NROs.

That is how they kept their plundered wealth safe. People of (Pakistan) are biggest losers,” the prime minister remarked. He said the people were loser because not only their nation’s wealth was stolen by the elites rather their taxpayer money, paid for recovering this wealth, was wasted because of NROs. “These revelations (are) tip of the iceberg. We want complete transparency from Broadsheet on our elites money laundering & on who stopped investigations,” he added.

Hazardous pollutants recorded in Federal Capital’s air quality

ISLAMABAD, Jan 12, 2021(APP): Health experts have warned citizens to avoid unnecessary outdoor exertion as hazardous pollutants were recorded much beyond permissible limits in the Federal Capital’s air quality on Tuesday. The air with high pollutant ratio was injurious to the health of children, teenagers and old people while the patients of lungs and heart diseases were at high risk, the medical practitioners said.

Acoording to the data released by Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA), the particulate of 2.5 (PM2.5) microns, which was a hazardous ambient air pollutant causing chronic respiratory diseases and premature deaths, was higher than safer limits in the Capital’s air. PM2.5 was recorded 74.82 micrograms per cubic meter in Islamabad, which is much higher than the National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS) of 35 micrograms and the World Health Organization (WHO) standard of 20 micrograms per cubic meter.

The air quality data revealed the presence of 45.65 micrograms sulphur dioxide and 37.92 micrograms nitrogen dioxide per cubic meter against the NEQS of 120 micrograms and 80 micrograms per cubic meter respectively. According to an EPA official, prevailing dry weather was the main reason for the bad air quality, caused due to presence of PM2.2 above the NEQS limit.

It was the most health damaging environmental pollutant causing chronic respiratory diseases and premature deaths as it could easily penetrate into human blood through lungs cells, she said while talking to APP. The official said sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide were released from industrial emissions and car engines at different concentrations that accumulated into the ambience causing air pollution.

She mentioned that the Federal Capital’s air quality was commendable during the lockdown as vehicular emissions had drastically reduced. The main reason of air pollution was a large number of vehicles on the Capital’s roads emitting combustion gases, she added. She said the EPA regularly monitored the Capital’s air quality, which was found was unhealthy during dry weather, storm or pre-rain like situation.

The people should wear face masks and sunglasses during outdoor visits when the pollution level was recorded high, she added. A senior pulmonologist of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences expressed his serious concern over the presence of hazardous pollutants in Islamabad’s air as they caused respiratory diseases and serious health complications.

He said the people should be careful during the dry weather and avoid unnecessary outdoor activities. Use of face mask or covering was the best remedy to avoid air pollution contact, while sunglasses during day time helped prevent eye rashes or allergy due to dust and pollutants, he added.

Environmental regulator’s role imperative for sustainable industrial growth: Zartaj

ISLAMABAD, Jan 11, 2021: Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul on Wednesday said role of Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) was imperative for sustainable industrial growth to prevent least damage to the ecology. Addressing a two-day training workshop on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) organised by Pak-EPA for public and private corporate sector representatives, she said the environmental regulators had the core responsibility to make the industrial and corporate sector comply with its duties pledged under EIA for preventing pollution at all levels.

She said, “Pakistan’s 33 percent forest cover has been reduced to 4 percent since partition due to unbridled tree cutting by timber mafia. The forest department and other authorities could have prevented this huge damage to the environment that increased the country’s vulnerability to climate change at drastic level.” She added that the industrial and corporate sectors should realise its role under corporate social responsibility (CSR) for preserving environment around their business premises.

“DG Khan Cement one of the largest industrial unit in Dera Ghazi Khan (DG Khan) has merely contributed 350 plants for plantation which is regrettable as philanthropists of federal capital donated over 10,000 plants for plantation programme,” she said. Zartaj announced that by the end of July, 2021 Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) would achieve one billion plantation target under Ten Billion Tree Tsunami (TBTT) project.

The Pak-EPA was actively working to preserve the environment of the federal capital and had convinced steel manufacturing units to adopt air bag filter technology which helped in collecting dark carbon released into the atmosphere, she added. She said the training was a propitious initiative which should be extended further and the industries which are not complying with environmental laws should be trained under this initiative.
The MoCC, she said implemented maximum environment saving projects in the past two years under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Keeping in view the increasing risk of climate change and environmental degradation, she said forest and wildlife areas were developed, climate advance agriculture, latest hydrometric systems were installed and imposed ban on plastic bags with anti smog initiatives. Responding to a query, she said the Pak-EPA had rigorously implemented ban on plastic bags which was facing a little complacency due to COVID-19 pandemic. However, the drive would be revived soon after decline in the disease spread.

She said the provincial environmental protection departments should also proactively approach the industrial sector to ensure environmental laws’ compliance. “It will help them generate bi products giving economic benefits and ensure least damage to the environment,” she added. Around 20 representatives from public and private departments including environmental engineers participated in the two-day training workshop.

The training aimed at educating corporate representatives in implementing EIA reports recommendations made for sustainable development of a project. EIA report was the first step prior to initiating development work of any project for public facility that would give core priority to environment and biodiversity mostly at risk during mega projects. Its sole approval was given Pak-EPA at federal level where provincial EPAs were responsibile in their respective domains. EIA report holistically reviews a project, its scope, prospect, public utility and impact on the environment and also suggests measures to compensate and manage damage to the ecology.

NA Education Committee support government’s decision of reopening of educational institutions

ISLAMABAD, Jan 11, 2021(APP): The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Federal Education and Professional Training on Monday unanimously supported the government’s decision of reopening educational institutions from January 18. The committee which met here under the chairmanship of Najeeb Ud Din Awaisi, observed that reopening of the institutions would help overcome educational loss of students.

Parliamentary Secretary for Federal Education Wajiha Akram said, although the decision of schools’ reopening was difficult but it was unanimously taken on the recommendation of National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC). She said loans were given to small private schools to support their business and added that this matter would also be raised in the cabinet meeting.

Secretary, Ministry of Federal Education Farah Hamid informed the committee that the bill regarding provision of loans to small private schools was in the Finance Division and hoped that it would be approved in next three days. She said after approval from Finance Ministry, the bill would be sent to the cabinet meeting for final approval and hoped the deserving private schools would be benefited soon.

The committee was informed that Rs 0.5 to 01 million budgets would be given to each school. In his briefing, Chairman Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) Dr Ikram Ali Malik said educational session of the schools, colleges have been extended. He further informed that the syllabus was also being reduced to facilitate students, adding that examinations would be held from the course in May.

To a question, Chairman FDE said they did not have enough budget for corona testing of teachers prior their joining the schools. To another query, he said FDE has no such tool to monitor the ratio of those students taking benefit from online classes during the pandemic. Director General, Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), Higher Education Commission (HEC) Dr Nadia Tahir in her briefing said that when the academic activities were shifted to online amid COVID-19, HEC had the online facility for only 23 courses while, currently out of 118331, around 113617 courses were available online.

She went on saying that around 57 percent universities of the country were ready to teach the students through online mode of education. The Member HEC Lt. General (Retd) Muhammad Asghar told the committee that they did not have enough budget to support the universities. He said universities were demanding grants from HEC but they already had given lower budget than our needs. He requested the committee to ask the government for providing more budget to HEC as per its needs.

The representative from Private Educational Institution Regulatory Authority (PEIRA) informed that committee about the measures taken to implement COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in the educational institutions. They said those schools which did not follow SOPs, had been sealed with support of District Management. Among others the meeting was also attended by the Members National Assembly Sadaqat Ali Khan, Mehnaz Akbar Aziz, Hamid Hameed, Shazia Sobia Aslam Soomro, Asmatullah, Ali Nawaz Awan, Javairia Zafar Aheer, Umar Aslam Khan, Farooq Azam Malik, Andleeb Abbas, Ghazala Saifi, Asma Qadeer, Tashfeen Safdar, Kiran Imran Dar, Musarat Asif Khawja, Abid Husain Bhayo, Mussarat Rafiq, Farukh Khan and Nafeesa Inayatullah.

Sania Nishtar launches Ehsaas survey in South Waziristan

ISLAMABAD, Jan 10 (APP): Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Sania Nishtar on Saturday launched Ehsaas National Socio-economic Registry survey in South Waziristan to pass on the programme benefits to the locals by registering them under its multiple initiatives. During her visit to Tank and South Waziristan, the SAPM also met with four tribal Jirgas and sensitized their elders and influential about purpose of the ongoing survey, said a news release received here.

Addressing the Jirgas, she appealed them to facilitate survey teams in door-to-door collection of household data. “Poverty profiling of the households was being done through a computer aided digital system and would be completed in the next few months,” she noted. She said that tribal people should participate in the survey to get benefits from a multitude of conditional and unconditional cash transfer under Ehsaas programme. Dr. Sania said the government had executed the new Ehsaas survey on apolitical basis so that no deserving family remained unattended under the flagship social protection programme.

According to Ehsaas policy, she said the survey would ensure the inclusion of poor families in several Ehsaas initiatives- Kafaalat, Waseela-eTaleem Digital, Undergraduate Scholarship, Amdan, Interest Free Loan and Nashonuma. She thanked the local teachers for doing a commendable job in executing survey enumerations. She said with the support of local teachers under the technical handholding of Ehsaas, the survey would be completed in those areas at earliest.

She maintained that the survey approach was being accelerated across the southern tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the main priority goals of Ehsaas were to help the vulnerable population and uplift the under-developed districts. She informed that 65 per cent survey in Tank district had already been completed. Tank and South Waziristan were the most underprivileged districts of KP with high rates of poverty, malnutrition and infant mortality. Earlier, Dr. Sania held a news conference with the local press and media in Tank to describe the methodology and digital approach adopted for the Ehsaas survey.

Massive power breakdown hits the country; Restoration underway

ISLAMABAD, Jan 10, 2021 (APP): A massive power breakdown hit the country Saturday night, with the Ministry of Energy blaming it on a sudden drop in frequency that tripped the entire system. A spokesman of the Ministry said the initial fault occurred at Guddu power station at 2341 hrs, dropping the frequency to zero. It tripped within a second, causing a cascading effect and all power houses tripped, one after the other. Minister of Power Omer Ayub Khan in a tweet said all emergency teams were operational and trying to restore the system. He said efforts were afoot to find out the cause of frequency drop that triggered the tripping of the nationwide power transmission system.

The National Transmission and Dispatch Centre said efforts were afoot to first put Tarbella power house back on line. Omer Ayub said he was personally supervising the restoration operation from the National Power Control Central (NPCC). Without specifying a time limit, he said it would take some time before the entire generation system was back on line. Ministry of Power asked the people not to be misled by any rumors, as it was a technical issue, that was being addressed. The spokesman hoped that the system would be back on line soon.

The power breakdown was an immediate sensation on social media, with people attributing it to an alien and cyber attack. Twitter users were also quick to report the cities and towns that were hit by the outage Almost all major cities seemed to be without any power. However after around a two-hour nation-wide massive power outage, electricity supply was gradually restored, with the Capital Islamabad the first city to be back on line. Later other cities were energized.

Minister for Energy Omer Ayub said three units of Tarbella were back to work, along with those at Warsak and gradually all powerhouses and grid stations would be put on line. Omer Ayub also shared his picture on Twitter from the National Power Control Centre to supervise the restoration operation. In a tweet, he said the power supply for most of the areas under the IESCO has been restored.

Don't Know if Prime Minister Would Visit Quetta or Not: Sh. Rashid

ISLAMABAD, Jan 6, 2021: Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid said on Wednesday that he did not know whether Prime Minister Imran Khan will be visiting Quetta or not. However, the minister stated that he visited Quetta on the directives of the prime minister, promising to bring perpetrators of the Machh massacre to book. Rashid added that seven out of eight demands of the protestors have been accepted, adding that “they protestors need to understand it is a global conspiracy”.

The interior minister observed that a search was on to arrest the culprits. “We have brought many a terrorists to justice and will not spare those who were involved in this attack,” the minister added. A day ago, members of the Hazara community who have blocked a highway in Quetta with the bodies of slain coal miners said 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.

PDM protest

Speaking of the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s protest in front of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), Rashid stated that staging a protest was the opposition alliance’s democratic right. He said the premier told him to let the opposition hold a protest if they wish to do so. The interior minister added that the law will not be invoked if everything went peacefully at the protest.

“If they are coming then all I can do is to make sure there are no obstacles in their way,” said Rashid. A day earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan allowed the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) to protest outside the Election Commission of Pakistan, warning the opposition parties that “no breach of law will be allowed”.

“If anyone desires to protest, they may, no obstacle should be put in the way of demonstration,” said the prime minister on Tuesday in a meeting with Rashid. In continuation of a series of protest against the government and a demand for its ouster, the PDM, an 11-party alliance of opposition, had announced the protest in front of ECP on January 19.

Pakistan Vows Firm Support to Kashmiris, Urges UN To Honour Pledge for Plebiscite

ISLAMABAD, Jan 5, 2021 (APP): Pakistan on Tuesday vowed to continue supporting Kashmiris in their just struggle for the right to self-determination, urging the United Nations to honour its pledge to hold a free and impartial plebiscite in Kashmir. President Dr Arif Alvi, Prime Minister Imran, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Information Minister Senator Shibli Faraz in their separate messages extended strong support to Kashmiris all over the world, observing the Kashmiris’ Right to Self-determination Day.

On January 5, 1949, the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) had adopted a resolution that embodied the principle of right to self-determination for the people of Kashmir. The resolution mentions that the question of accession of Kashmir will be decided through democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite, as Kashmiris in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) are still living under brutal Indian occupation.

Kashmiris remain steadfast in their struggle for Right to Self-Determination guaranteed by UN resolutions and the UN charter. The world must act to fulfil its responsibility. Pakistan on its part, will always remain committed to the just cause of the people of Jammu & Kashmir. President Dr Arif Alvi in his message said Pakistan would continue to extend all possible support for the just cause of the people of Jammu and Kashmir till the realization of their right to self-determination in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions.

“The right to self-determination is a vital component of human dignity. Negation of this right is the negation of human freedom, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and UN Human Rights Covenants. India is the biggest violator of this inalienable human right,” he said. The President stressed that the United Nations must honour its commitment made 72 years ago and urged upon the global community not to shy away from its responsibility towards the oppressed people in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJK).

He said on 5th January 1949, the United Nations Commission on India and Pakistan (UNCIP) adopted the resolution that guaranteed a free and fair plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir to enable the Kashmiri people realize their right to self-determination. ‘Self-Determination is kashmiris’ basic right ‘ He said since August 5, 2019, through continuous illegal and unilateral steps, the Indian government had created an environment of fear and chaos in the IIOJK.

More than 500 days of military siege, and draconian restrictions on fundamental freedoms and rights, including the right to life and health, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, had challenged the conscience of international community and India’s credentials of being a respectable member of the comity of nations, he added.

The President said, “Indian actions have been widely rejected by the international community, the United Nations, and international human rights organizations. The current situation in the IIOJK is the worst in recent history where people have been deprived of all basic rights, including rights to freedom of expression and assembly, as well as self-determination.”

The people of IIOJK, he said, were being subjected to collective punishment by the Indian occupation forces, which had turned the territory into the largest militarized zone in the world and were seeking to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory in violation of the international law, including the 4th Geneva Convention.

Prime Minister Imran Khan called upon the international community to take action on the “well-documented human rights violations” being committed with impunity by Indian Occupation forces against innocent Kashmiri men, women and children. On 5th January 1949, the United Nations guaranteed the right to self-determination for the people of Jammu and Kashmir through an impartial plebiscite. We observe this day as a reminder to the UN & its member states of their unfulfilled commitment to the Kashmiri people.

He said it was time for the world to ensure that Kashmiris get their right to self- determination, denied to them since 73 years. “On 5th January 1949, the United Nations guaranteed the right to self-determination for the people of Jammu and Kashmir through an impartial plebiscite. We observe this day as a reminder to the UN and its member states of their unfulfilled commitment to the Kashmiri people,” he said in a series of tweets.

Imran Khan said despite suffering 73 years of brutal Indian occupation, Kashmiri people remained steadfast generation after generation in the demand for their inalienable right to self-determination as guaranteed to them under the United Nations Charter and by the UN Security Council. aug 5 a reminder to UNited nations to fulfill commitment made to kashmiris 73 years ago “Pakistan stands unequivocally with the Kashmiri people in their struggle for freedom from the tyranny of one of the most ruthless, inhumane and illegal occupation in modern history,” he said.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Pakistan would continue its strong and steadfast support to the valiant Kashmiri people in their just struggle for human dignity and their inalienable right to self-determination. “Regrettably, this right of Kashmiris is being brazenly denied by India in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) for more than past seven decades,” he said.

Qureshi said through its resolution, the United Nations had affirmed support for realization of the inalienable right to self-determination of Kashmiris – a right from which all other fundamental freedoms and basic human rights emanate. ‘The United Nations, especially the UN Security Council, bear the responsibility to ensure fulfillment of the promise of granting the right to self-determination to the Kashmiris,” he said.

The Foreign Minister stressed that India was the sole cause of non-fulfillment of this promise. On the 72nd anniversary of UNCIP’s commitment to resolve the Jammu & Kashmir dispute through free & impartial plebiscite under the UN auspices, Pakistan reaffirms its full support to Kashmiris in their just demand for realisation of their inalienable right to self determination.

“Post August 5, 2019, India’s unabated oppression has reached unprecedented levels with the inhuman military siege now in place for over 500 days,” he said. In the midst of COVID-19 pandemic, he said, India had deprived Kashmiris of their basic rights to life, health and food. Qureshi urged upon the international community to continue its support for the fundamental freedom and basic human rights of Kashmiris.

He also called upon India to allow United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) for an  unhindered access to carry out its duties in IIOJK. “If India has nothing to hide, why does it not allow international media and civil society to visit and report on the human rights situation in IIOJK?,” he said. Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz said January 5 was a remined for the United Nations that the resolution adopted by Security Council had not yet been implemented.

In a tweet, he said denial of self-determination right was also negation denial of human freedom, values and principles. He mentioned that Prime Minister Imran Khan effectively advocated the cause the Kashmiris at all international forums.

PM Khan Reminds UN, International Community of Kashmiri Sufferings

ISLAMABAD, Jan 5, 2021: Marking 72 years on Tuesday since the United Nations’ guarantee in 1949 for the right to self-determination for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, the Prime Minister urged the international community to take action against the well-documented human rights violations committed by India

Prime Minister Imran Khan wrote on his Twitter handle in the backdrop of January 5, 1949, that despite sufferings of  73 years inflicted on them by brutal Indian Occupation forces, generations after generations of the Kashmiri people remain steadfast in the demand for their inalienable right to self-determination.

 Pakistan stands unequivocally with the Kashmiri people in their struggle for freedom, the PM said today noting that their self-detemination right is guaranteed under the UN Charter and by the UNSC. He added that Pakistan stands unequivocally with the Kashmiri people in their struggle for freedom from the tyranny of one of the “most ruthless, inhumane & illegal Occupation in modern history”.

He added in his series of tweet that Pakistan calls on the international community to take action against the well-documented human rights violations being committed with impunity by Indian Occupation forces against innocent Kashmiri men, women & children and also to ensure Kashmiris get their right to self-determination.

Jan 5: 72 Years on, Kashmiris Await Fulfillment of UN’s Pledge for Plebiscite

ISLAMABAD, Jan 03, 2021(APP):Kashmiris are observing the ‘Right to Self-determination Day’ on January 5 (Tuesday) as they await fulfillment of the pledge made to them at the platform of United Nations 72 years ago. The United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) had adopted a resolution on January 5, 1949 that embodied the principle of right to self-determination
for the people of Kashmir.

The right to self-determination was a vital component of human dignity. Denial of this right is in fact negation of human freedom, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its covenants. The UNCIP resolution mentions that the question of accession of Kashmir will be decided through democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite, as Kashmiris in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) are still living under brutal Indian occupation.

The commemoration of January 5 is aimed at reminding global community that it cannot shy away from the responsibility towards Kashmir and also calls upon the UN to honour its commitment made 72 years ago. The Indian actions have been widely rejected by international community, UN and international human rights organizations.

The people of IIOJK are being subjected to collective punishment by Indian occupation forces who converted the territory into largest militarized zone in the world. Over the years, Kashmiris have tried to organize themselves against injustices of India which suppresses them through brutal state-terrorism.

In order to maintain its illegal control, India has continued its repressive regime in the IIOJK through various machinations. The Indian forces have employed various draconian laws like IIOJK Disturbed Area Act, Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act for arbitrarily arrest of any individual for an indefinite period and even killing them without any legal procedure.

The current situation in IIOJK is worst in recent history where people have been deprived of their fundamental rights, including rights to life, food health, freedom of expression and assembly. Since August 05, 2019, the government of Narendra Modi through continuous illegal and unilateral steps has created an environment of fear and chaos in IIOJK.

The continuing lockdown and absence of fundamental freedom have challenged the conscience of international community and also India’s credentials of being a respectable member of UN and the world community. Pakistan at all international platforms has expressed its commitment to extend moral, political and diplomatic support to the just cause of people of IIOJK till realization of their right to self-determination in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions.

President Suggests Early Population Census with Stakeholders’ Consultation for Consensus

ISLAMABAD, Jan 1, 2021(APP):President Dr Arif Alvi Friday said that in view of the controversy over the results of the population census, the next census should be held early by incorporating the suggestions of all the stakeholders to evolve a consensus.The president, in an interview with a private television channel (Sindh TV) he said as per law, the consensus on census result was essential for holding the elections. He said people of Karachi, Sindh and Punjab had reservation over under counting.

Regarding the 18th amendment, the president said it had been implemented with the federation handling international treaties and the provinces implementing those treaties.However, he said any shortcomings in the 18th amendment could be addressed. He said the devolution of power was essential but federation thought that it had more responsibilities than the revenue.

About the performance of the PTI government, he said it inherited several issues like artificial rupee values, current account deficit and low revenue generation. At macroeconomic level, current account deficit of annual $18 billion had been turned positive.He said the national economy made a turnaround despite COVID-19 and also maintained a balance between lives and livelihood by allowing business activity and even opening mosques during Holy Ramzan.

He said currently, the investors were coming to Pakistan as the stock exchange was also responding well.To a question, he said the issue of missing person was a painful one and the government as well as courts must keep focusing on it, though the ratio had already reduced comparing the past.About the NAB law, he said it covered the corruption made during last 40 years in which the number of cases on opposition parties would obviously be far more than the PTI which had just two years of rule.

President Strongly Condemns Terrorist Attack on FC Check Post

ISLAMABAD, Dec 27,2020 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi Sunday strongly condemned a terrorist attack on Frontier Corps check post in Harnai area of Balochistan province in which seven soldiers embraced shahdat last night.

According to a press release, the president expressed his deep grief and sorrow over the death of soldiers.Expressing sympathies with the bereaved families, the president prayed for the high ranks of the martyred soldiers and for the bereaved families to bear the loss with fortitude.

Quaid’s Birthday Celebrated Countrywide in Befitting Manner

ISLAMABAD, Dec 25, 2020 (APP):The nation celebrated 145th birthday of Father of the Nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah on Friday, with renewed pledge to work hard for progress and prosperity of the country.It was a public holiday and national flag was hoisted a top all public and private buildings. The day dawned with Quran Khawani at the Quaid’s mausoleum in Karachi.A graceful change of guards ceremony was held at Mazar-e-Quaid in Karachi while a smartly turned out contingent of Pakistan Military Academy Kakul assumed the guards’ duty.

A number of events, including seminars, debates and exhibitions, were arranged both at official and civil society levels to highlight life, achievements and different aspects of the personality of the Quaid.Radio Pakistan, PTV and private TV channels also broadcast and telecast special programmes by highlighting the life, political, legal services and sacrifices of the great leader. Newspapers published special supplements on the day to apprise the public of the political and constitutional struggles of the Quaid.

In Lahore, Peshawar, Islamabad, Quetta, Karachi, Muzaffarabad (AJK), Multan, Bahawalpur, Sialkot, Faisalabad, Hyderabad and other cities, different organisations arranged seminars to highlight the Quaid’s political struggle, sacrifices and successes.The speakers reminded the nation of the Quaid’s message of unity, faith and discipline. The speakers underscored the need for strictly pursuing the guiding principles of the Father of the Nation and set aside all differences to transform Pakistan into a vibrant, progressive and Islamic welfare state.

Seventy eight (78) cadets, including six lady cadets from Pakistan Military Academy on Friday assumed guard responsibilities of Mazar-e-Quaid in an impressive ceremony, held here to mark 145th birth anniversary of the Father of Nation, Mohammad Ali Jinnah.Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) Commandant, Maj Gen. Omer Ahmed Bukhari was the chief guest on the occasion. The ceremony was also attended by senior military and civil officials along with prominent citizens of Karachi.

Of the 78 PMA cadets, 72 represented 144 and 147 Long Course while lady cadets were from Lady Cadet Corps 17.
Maj General Omer Ahmed Bukhari laid wreath and offered ‘Fateha’ at Mazar-Quaid.The ceremony concluded with march past by the cadets assuming guard responsibilities.A ceremony was held at Ziarat Residency on the occasion of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s birthday with the aim to pay tribute to great services of founder of Pakistan.

Chief Minister Balochistan Mir Jam Kamal Khan, Commander Southern Command Lieutenant General Sarfraz Ali, IGFC South Major General Fayyaz Hussain Shah, Provincial Ministers including Engineer Zamrak Khan Achakzai, Mir Ziaullah Lango, Senator Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar and other tribal elders attended the ceremony.The Chief Minister of Sindh, Syed Murad Ali Shah who reached at the mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah Friday morning a little before Governor Imran Ismail, received the constitutional head of the province.

They offered ‘Fateha’ and laying wreaths together at the Mazar-e-Quaid.The gesture was very well received by people in general, who though not allowed to be around, witnessed it in a social media video released by media coordinator, Chief Minister (CM) Sindh.The two dignitaries also penned their comments in the guests’ book with specific reference to 145th birth anniversary of the father of the nation.A delegation of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in Karachi visited the mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah and paid rich tributes to the father of the nation on his birthday anniversary.

The delegation including Opposition leader in Sindh Assembly, Firdous Shamim Naqvi and President PTI Karachi Khurrum Sher Zaman laid a wreath at the mausoleum and offered Fateha for the departed soul.They also prayed for the prosperity and development of the country.Later, talking to media persons Firdous Shamim Naqvi said, ‘Today, we come to pay tribute to father of the nation and to salute his principles.’He said they would play their part to fulfill dreams of the Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah.

Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) arranged cultural activities titled “Millat Ka Pasban” to pay homage to Quaid-e-Azam on occasion of his 144th Birthday with traditional zeal and zest.The celebrations were being aimed at educating the youth about the Quaid’s vision and Pakistan’s ideology.Special events were arranged on the day to highlight and promote ideas and views of the father of the nation, particularly with regards to rule of law, supremacy of constitution and upholding of democracy.

Various colourful tableaus, patriotic songs were presented to commemorate the struggle of the Quaid for the creation of Pakistan.Moreover, a photographic exhibition portraying the educational, social and political life of Quaid-e-Azam was also displayed.Special Theatrical memes were presented by group of young to present Quiad’s long struggles for separate homeland.Muzakara and speeches were also organized to highlight Quaid’s vision for making a healthy nation.Other programmes included broadcasting of milli naghmas on large screen multimedia projector, screening of documentaries on Quaid’s life.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senator Faisal Javed Friday said that the government was working under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan for making the country according to the vision of Quaid-e-Azam.He was addressing at inauguration of sculpture of Quaid-e-Azam made by international fame sculptor Aftab Ahmed Changezi and cake cutting ceremony to mark birth anniversary of Quid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah under auspices of Punjab Council of the Arts at Rawalpindi.

Central and provincial leaders of Pakistan Youth Peace Movement (PYPM) also paid rich tribute to the founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah on his 145th birthday.They said that Pakistan is a blessing to Quaid-e-Azam who had struggled for a separate country for the Muslims of the subcontinent and we are breathing in the open air today due to great efforts of him.

President Stresses COMSTECH’s Role to Fill ‘Scientific Lag’ Of Islamic Nations

ISLAMABAD, Dec 21,2020 (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi on Monday called upon the Islamic countries to catch up the highly fast pace of global technological advancement in order to avoid the alarming scenario of further lag in the field of science. Addressing the inaugural session of Global Al-Farabi Forum here at Organization of Islamic Cooperation Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH) Secretariat, the President said the Muslim world needed to amplify efforts to fill the widening gap of scientific development.

The two-day symposium was held to celebrate the contributions of great Muslim philosopher and scientist Abu Nasr Al-Farabi on his 1150th birth anniversary, jointly organized by the governments of Pakistan and Kazakhstan. The President stressed that COMSTECH had a big responsibility to motivate the Muslim countries and help them forge ahead in the world of science and technology. “Your strength of intellect, character and ethics must be translated into scientific progress for the benefit of humanity,” the President told the gathering of eminent scholars and scientists from Islamic countries.

President Alvi said it was high time for Muslim Ummah to imbibe the knowledge and humanistic principles as presented by Al-Farabi, who wrote in the fields of political philosophy, metaphysics, ethics and logic. He mentioned that Al-Farabi was instrumental in translating the doctrines of Plato and Aristotle with considerable additions of his own. He said besides mathematics and cosmology, Al-Farabi also wrote about the concept of happiness, in his philosophy of society and religion.

Dr Alvi said a civilized society was based on principles of morality that also focused on ensuring access of education and health to all citizens. However, he regretted that even the internationals forums like United Nations lacked the concept of morality by remaining silent on the humanitarian issues of Kashmir, Palestine and Rohingya Muslims. He said unfortunately, the world was influenced by the power of money and armaments, forgetting the golden rules of ethics and humanitarian standards.

Assistant Secretary General Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ambassador Askar Mussinov said Islam gives high importance to knowledge and education, adding that Muslim scholars played a significant role in promotion of science and research. He said COMSTECH was focusing on improving the educational standards of universities in member countries and turning these into centre of excellence.

Bilawal Bhutto Will Lead Party Rally from Bilawal House to Jalsa Venue

LAHORE, Dec 13, 2020:: Chairman People’s Party Bilawal Bhutto is expected to leave Bilawal House to head a rally towards the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) public rally venue, ARY News reported on Sunday. A large number of enthusiastic PPP workers outside the Bilawal House here witnessed dancing on the party anthem. Bilawal Bhutto is expected to address the party workers before leaving for the public meeting venue at the head of a procession. His rally is expected to pass through Gajju Matta, Youhana Abad, Ismail Nagar and Liberty Chowk.

PPP chairman will attend a luncheon at Gulbarg, hosted by former speaker and PML-N leader Ayaz Sadiq in the honour of the PDM party leaders. The PDM sitting at Ayaz Sadiq’s residence will be attended by Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Maryam Nawaz, Bilawal Bhutto and other leaders of ther PDM constituent parties. The alliance leaders will decide their strategy and will head towards the public meeting venue jointly after the luncheon meeting.

The Lahore administration has declared security high alert at all entry and exit points of the historic city and police officers reviewed security at key points including churches. Police department has deployed additional contingents of police force and posted snipers at sensitive areas of the city. DIG Operations Police has said that the police also working to ensure enforcement of the COVID-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs). Moreover, rescue personnel have been asked to keep vigilance to tackle any untoward incident and Rescue 1122, motorcycle ambulance and fire fighters were on alert to meet any emergency situation.

Pakistan Calls for Upholding Rights of People in Occupied Kashmir, Palestine

UNITED NATIONS, Dec 11, 2020(APP):: Marking Human Rights Day, Pakistan has highlighted the sufferings of people of Kashmir and Palestine living under occupation, and urged the world community to uphold their rights. “From Palestine to Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, millions of people continue to face the worst abuses of human rights daily,” Ambassador Munir Akram said in a statement commemorating the Day, which is observed worldwide on December 10.

“These atrocities are well-documented and constitute flagrant violations of all international human rights,” he said. “The international community cannot remain oblivious of its political, legal and moral obligations towards the people of Kashmir and Palestine.” Human Rights Day commemorates the UN General Assembly’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on (UDHR) 10 December 1948.

“The UDHR’s central premise is that the dignity of men and women is inviolable in all cases,” Ambassador Akram said, adding, “it is especially true in situations where deliberate restrictions are placed to curb the enjoyment of fundamental rights.” “As we celebrate Human Rights Day,” he said., “we should not forget those unfortunate people who are forced to live under subjugation even in this day and age.”

The Pakistani envoy said that the coronavirus pandemic has shown that the rights to life, healthy living and development are interconnected. “We will not be able to build back better unless we address systemic discrimination and inequalities that define our world.” “In line with the spirit of UDHR,” he said, “Pakistan has always advocated universal respect for all human rights for all peoples, based on the principles of impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity.”

Cease Fire Violation by India; Two Soldiers Martyred in Exchange of Fire, Befitting Response Given: ISPR

ISLAMABAD, Dec 10, 2020:: In yet another gross Cease Fire Violation the Indian army on Wednesday initiated firing from across the Line of Control in the Khuiratta Sector. Two soldiers Lance Naik Tariq & Sepoy Zaroof embraced martyrdom while fighting valiantly, during the exchange of fire, the military’s press wing said Wednesday.

“The Pakistan army troops responded befittingly,” a tweet from the DG Inter Services Public Relations said. “Reports of heavy losses 2 [to] Indian troops in men & material,” ISPR said.

Pakistan to Build Mohmand, Bhasha Dams: PM Imran

ISLAMABAD, Dec 9, 2020:: Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan on Tuesday has said that five decades later after Mangla and Tarbela, Pakistan is going to build two big water dams Mohmand and Bhasha. The PM said a video of under construction Mohmand Dam on social-networking website Twitter.

Pakistani Envoy Gives UN Counter-Terrorism Chief Dossier on India’s Terror Campaign

UNITED NATIONS, Dec 05, 2020(APP):: Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Munir Akram, has held a meeting with the UN Under-Secretary-General for Counter-Terrorism, Vladimir Voronkov, and gave him the dossier regarding Indian involvement in terrorist activities against Pakistan, an official of the Pakistani Mission said Friday.

The UN counter-terrorism chief promised to “study” the dossier, which has been prepared by Pakistani agencies after full investigation of India’s systematic campaign to promote terrorism and subversion in Pakistan, the official said. During the meeting, which took place on Thursday, Voronkov also urged India and Pakistan to reduce tensions and engage in a dialogue and pursue solution in accordance with the UN Charter and Security Council resolutions.

On Nov 24, Ambassador Akram handed over the same dossier to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres when he met him. The Pakistani envoy also held a “productive meeting” with the Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate, Michele Coninsx, on Friday.

Ministry of Info. & Broadcasting Must Provide Details of Funds Released to Media Groups :  Zahid Abdullah, Information Commissioner

ISLAMABAD, Dec 3, 2020 (Layalpur Post):: Ministry of Information and Broadcasting was directed by the Pakistan Information Commission (PIC) to provide Shazia Mehboob (the Appellant) ccertified details of funds released by the government to media groups in the year 2019 and 2020 (total amount of funds and its year wise break-up). Zahid Abdullah, Information Commissioner, issued the Order on "In The Pakistan Information Commission, Islamabad Appeal No 673-10/20 Shazia Mehboob Vs. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting through its Public Information Officer" to provide the certified details of the funds released by the government to journalists’ bodies in the year 2019 and 2020 (funds year wise break-up), certified list of journalists’ bodies which received funds during past two years (separate details of funds to each journalist body), certified copy of criteria / policy document under which government release funds to journalists’ bodies and information about the mechanism adopted to keep check and balance over the utilization of its released funds to journalists’ bodies.

The ministry was alsodirected to put contact details of its designated Public Information Officer on its web site as required under Section 5 (1) (h)of the Act and submit notification to this effect to this commission within 10 working days of the receipt of this Order. The ministry was directed to proactively publish through its web site all categories of information as required under Section 5 of the Act and submit the compliance report to the commission in the Template for the Compliance Report-Proactive Disclosure of Information under Section 5 of the Right of Access to Information Act 2017’.

This template is available under ‘Information Desk’ category at the web site of the commission www.rti.gov.pk. The compliance report be submitted to this commission by 23/12/2020. The ministry was directed to ensure accessibility of the information proactively published on its web site under Section 5 of the Right of Access to Information Act 2017 for all citizens, including the blind, low-vision, physically disabled, speech and hearing impaired and people with other disabilities and submit compliance report to this effect using ‘Web accessibility checklist’. This checklist is available under ‘Information Desk’ category at the web site of the commission www.rti.gov.pk. The compliance report be submitted to this commission by 23/12/2020. Download Order 

AJK Producing 2300 Megawatt Electricity, Haider

MUZAFFARABAD, Dec 01, 2020(APP):: Prime Minister Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Raja Muhammad Farooq Haider Khan Tuesday said that 2300 megawatt electricity is being produced in Azad Kashmir through hydro power generation to cater the increasing demand of the electricity of the people.

He was addressing the signing ceremony of Azad Pattan power project between Azad Kashmir government and Chinese a company under CPEC to produce 700 megawatt electricity. The Prime Minister stressed the need to accelerate the pace of work on the projects which have already been included in the development economic zone.

He said water resources should be utilized fully for economic development and added that Kashmiri people have been tremendous sacrifices for the socio economic well-being of the people of Pakistan. He said security of food, water and energy have an important role in national security and expressed the hope that the Pakistan government would give special importance for the completion of the projects being launched under CPEC in Azad Kashmir.

Speaking on the occasion the Federal Minister for Planning and development Asad Umer highlighted the special efforts of the Azad Kashmir government for their important role in the development of Hydel power generation and said that this project would also play a fundamental role in the socio economic uplift of the people of Azad Kashmir.

The Federal Minister of Water resources Umer Ayub addressing the ceremony said that the water resources is a key for the overall development of the country and this project which is being completed under CPEC will generate 700 mega watt electricity.The ceremony was also attended by the Chairman CPEC authority Asim Salim Bajwa and the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Minister for Power development organization Ch Rukhsar Ahmed.

Coordination Among Different Stakeholders Must for Improved Economy: President

KARACHI, Nov 27, 2020(APP):: President Dr Arif Alvi on Friday said that coordination among different stakeholders was a must for improved economy. Speaking to the delegation of Sindh Industrial Liaison Committee (SILC) here, he stressed on the industrialists to join hands for solution of the issues faced by business community. The president reiterated the need of collective efforts for development of Pakistan as an industrial hub, according to a press release issued here.

Replying to queries of members of SILC, he said that a consortium was needed to be formed for planning and implementation of new projects and for better facilitation of new industrialists. The president urged K-Electric for uninterrupted supply of electricity to Industries by placing separate feeders and also emphasized that special measures should be taken for infrastructure development and water supply for better working of factories.

Mass Transit Program would solve the problems of industrial workers, he added. The president said that a criteria be made for establishing an advisory committee for better implementation of Karachi transformation plan. He urged on the need of one window operation for early disposal and verification of cases for establishment of new industries.

Dr Arif Alvi said that development of Special Economic Zones was the key for robust growth of industrial sector as China had also developed its industries through SEZs. He urged the industrialists to join hands for developing and setting up industries in potential economic zones. The committee led by Shariq Vohra, Zahid Saeed, Salim-uz-Zaman and others vowed to hold the meeting within months.

Karachi: Over 100 Projects Worth Rs 1.117 Trillion Planned , PM Told

ISLAMABAD, Nov 26, 2020 (APP):: A high level meeting held here Thursday with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair was told that under the Karachi Transformational Plan, over 100 projects have been planned, which would be completed at a cost of Rs 1.117 trillion. The meeting was briefed about the progress made so far on the projects, which have been divided into three phases in terms of completion.

Federal Ministers Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Asad Umar, Faisal Vawda and Advisor on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh were present in the meeting, which was also attended by Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa. The prime minister while stressing for timely completion of the projects said the redressal of Karachi’s problems on sustainable basis was very essential.

He said that illegal construction on and along Nullahs in Karachi was major reason behind losses caused by rains during the monsoon season every year. The prime minister clearly directed that before the removal of encroachments in Karachi, some alternative arrangements should be made and ensured for the deserving residents. He also directed to constitute a Technical Committee under the Ministry of Planning for the formulation of recommendations to upgrade the capacity and utility of K-4 project for the supply of water to Karachi.

Cabinet Gives In-Principle Approval to Anti-Rape Ordinance: Shibli Faraz

ISLAMABAD, Nov 24, 2020 (APP):: The Federal Cabinet on Tuesday gave in-principle approval to the anti-rape ordinance, aimed at curbing the growing number of rape incidents in the country through inclusion of stringent punishments in the contemporary laws. Addressing a post-cabinet press briefing, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz said after giving in-principle approval to the anti-rape ordinance, the cabinet asked the Law Division and other departments concerned to finalize the draft at the earliest by removing all legal lacunae that could be exploited by the offenders.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan, after taking serious notice of a recent rape incident of a mother and her daughter in Sindh, asked Law Minister Farogh Naseem to prepare a comprehensive ordinance, encompassing fast-track trial of the accused, comprehensive definition of rape, inclusion of new offences and strict punishments for the convicted rapists.

The minister said as the ordinance was of great importance and involved punitive actions against the rapists, it was forwarded to the Law Division for further improvement. He expressed the hope that the initiative would significantly reduce the number of rape incidents in the country by creating deterrence against the offence in the society.

AJK President Terms Nagrota Encounter as Orchestrated Drama

MIRPUR (AJK): Nov 22, 2020 (APP):: Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan, declaring Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the “King of Liars”, has strongly condemned his attempt to implicate Pakistan in Nagrota attack in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu Kashmir (IIOJK)under a well-planned drama.

As per AJK President office, Sardar Masood said that such false flag by India was being feared since Pakistan has brought to light the irrefutable proofs of Indian terrorism inside Pakistan . “Indian leaders openly hatching plots against Pakistan and AJK, there are signs that they’re preparing for a false flag operation or open aggression because India’s involvement in terrorism has been made public by Pakistan with evidence,” the President said.

He said that the time is over to maligning Pakistan and the Kashmir liberation movement by levelling concocted allegations. The president said that the international community has now fully realized that India which has engaged its one million troops for ethnic cleansing of the Kashmiri people is perpetrating state terrorism in occupied Jammu Kashmir.

Khan maintained that in the past, India has committed many such ugly acts to hide its terrorism and to divert the attention of the international community from the real issue. “Whether it is the Chattisinghpura massacre or the incidents in Uri, Pathankot and Pulwama, India’s history are full of false allegations and fraud. Modi and all Indian rulers have miserably failed in their conspiracies against Pakistan and the Kashmiri people,” he added.

“India’s BJP-RSS propagandists and publicists are harvesting and manipulating (false data) to negatively profile Kashmiris and Pakistan. We have to counter this campaign that first demonizes and vilifies Muslims and then weaponizes it to incite hatred and violence against them.” he said.

The AJK President said that it is obligatory for the international community not to let India hide its black face behind falsehood and shrewdness, hold it accountable for its terrorism, enmity against mankind and the war crimes, and administer justice to the Kashmiri people. “If India is not held accountable, no one will be able to save the world from becoming a jungle where only falsehood and injustice prevails,” he added.

Strongly condemning operation of the Indian government and the military against the Bakarwal Gujjar community in occupied Kashmir, Sardar Masood Khan said that these people living with their cattle in the forests and mountains for thousands of years are being punished for being Muslims. He also described the holding of district development council elections by the Indian government as a drama, and said that these sham elections will be neither impartial nor transparent nor will these provide any relief to the people of occupied Kashmir.

Actually, he said that India is holding these elections just to get its illegal actions in occupied Kashmir validated and to deceive the world. Meanwhile, AJK President also strongly condemned Indian firing at a wedding ceremony in Khuiratta sector of AJK’s Kotli district on Sunday, which resulted in injuring of 11 civilians including six women and three children besides causing destruction to the property of the civilian population.

Terming Indian India’s unprovoked firing as naked aggression, he said, India is deliberately targeting the civilian population on the Pakistani side of LoC to divert attention from the stiff resistance being offered by brave people in IIOJK.

PDM Playing “Reckless” Politics with People’s Safety Amidst COVID Surge: PM

ISLAMABAD, Nov 21, 2020 (APP):: Prime Minister Imran Khan Saturday said that the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) was playing “reckless” politics with people’s safety, which in the past had been calling for strict lockdown due to COVID-19. The prime minister’s remarks came a day ahead of scheduled public gathering of 11-member coalition of opposition parties in Peshawar where the COVID-19 positivity rate had reached above 13 percent.

“The same PDM (members) who had wanted a strict lockdown and criticised me earlier, now playing reckless politics with people’s safety,” the prime minister said on Twitter. He said the PDM members were even defying court orders and holding a public gathering when cases were rising dramatically.

The prime minister commented on a tweet by Planning Minister Asad Umar saying that Peshawar had 202 COVID-19 patients in critical care with 50 on low flow oxygen, 134 on high flow and 18 on ventilators.
“PDM response: we will be safe on the stage so who cares what happens to citizens,” the minister tweeted.

AJK PM Distributes Face Masks in Public, Appeals to Adopt SOPs.

MUZAFFARABAD, Nov 18, 2020 (APP):Prime Minister Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Raja Muhammad Farooq Haider Khan on Wednesday appealed to the masses and traders to strictly follow SOPs issued by the government for protection from the deadly phase of COVID-19 pandemic.

The Prime Minister said that the second phase of the pandemic is more dangerous than that of the previous one therefore the government has taken a difficult decision to impose lockdown to save the precious lives of the citizens. He asked the traders to supplement government efforts to control the virus and follow the SOPs to protect themselves and the general public as well.

He said the people have cooperated with the government as a result of which the government has managed to control the pandemic in the first phase and added that this phase is more dangerous therefore a difficult decision to impose lockdown was taken. He expressed his concern over the increase of corona patients in Muzaffarabad while it is also being increased rapidly in Mirpur and Kotli.

Talking to the people during the visit, he said it was the prime responsibility of the government to take all possible measures to save the lives of the people from this deadly pandemic. He directed the administration to ensure the implementation of protective measures and SOPs to meet the challenges of COVID-19.

PTI, PPP, PML-N Eye Victory as Gilgit-Baltistan Goes to Polls

SKARDU, Nov 15, 2020:: All preparations have been finalized to ensure a smooth polling process in Gilgit-Baltistan as the voters will elect members for the legislature on Sunday (today), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Muslim League (Q), Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM) are among the parties contesting the GB polls.

A three-pronged contest between the PTI, People’s Party and PML-N is expected as the opinion polls suggesting PTI ahead in the contest. The registered voters in the area are 745361 and 1160 polling stations have been set up across GB among which 418 has been declared very sensitive and 311 as sensitive. 330 candidates from 23 constituencies will take part in the election. The process of polling will begin at 8:00 am and will continue without any interval till 5 pm. Deployment of staff and materials will be completed by 6 pm in 23 constituencies.

Meanwhile, polling in constituency GBA-3 has been postponed due to the death of a candidate. The polling will now take place on November 22. More than 15000 security personnel from GB, Punjab, KPK, Sind and Bolochistan have been sent to their respective polling stations across GB. GB police chief Dr. Mujeebur Rehman has said that the military troops could also be deployed for assistance in the election if required, he added. Election Commission Gilgit-Baltistan has prohibited to carry mobile phones and other such devices inside the polling stations and within the parameters of 100 meters.

The elections will be held in 23 constituencies in the region, each electing a member to the 3rd Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly. In the 33 members’ house, six seats are reserved for women and three for technocrats.

Here’s a look at all 24 GB constituencies 

Gilgit Division:

The Gilgit region is divided into nine constituencies.

GBLA-1 Gilgit-1

A total of 25 candidates are contesting elections. In this constituency, former speaker and PML-N leader Jaffarullah, PPP candidate Amjad Hussain Advocate, Maulana Sultan Raees (Independent), PTI’s Johar Ali, Pakistan Rah-e-Haq Party candidate Himayat Ullah, Syed Mustafa Shah of Islami Tehreek are in the running.

GBLA-2 Gilgit-II

Of a total of 25 candidates, the real contest is expected between the former chief minister and PML-N candidate, Hafiz Hafeezur Rehman and PPP candidate Jamil Ahmed.

GBLA-3 Gilgit-III

The elections in this constituency have been postponed after the death of PTI President Syed Jaffer Shah.

GBLA-4 Nagar-1

A total of 18 candidates were initially in the run in this constituency. Top contenders: Amjad Hussain Advocate (PPP) and Muhammad Ayub Waziri (ITP).

GBLA-5 Nagar-II

Total 26 candidates had filed nomination papers in the constituency. A tough contest is expected between Rizwan Ali (MWM), Javed Ali Manva (Independent), and Mirza Hussain (PPP).

GBLA -6 Hunza

A close fight is expected between PTI’s Obaidullah Baig and Zahoor Karim of PPP.

GBLA-19 Ghizer-I

GBLA-20 Ghizer-II

Total of 12 candidates are contesting the election from this constituency. Top contenders: Ali Sher (PPP), Nazeer Ahmed (PTI), Safdar Ali Sherazi (Indp)

GBLA-21 Ghizer-III

In this constituency, the main contest is expected between PML-N’s Ghulam Muhammad, PPP’s Muhammad Ayub, PTI’s Raja Jahanzeb, Rehmat Rahim (Independent), Hafeez-ur-Rehman (Independent) and Abdul Saboor Khan (Independent).

Baltistan Division: The Baltistan region has a population of 538,300 and consists of nine constituencies.

GBLA-7 Skardu-I

A close fight is expected between PTI’s Raja Zekeria and PPP’s Syed Mehdi Shah.

GBLA-8 Skardu-II

Top contenders

Imtiaz Haider (Indp), Mohammad Ali Shah (PPP), Mohammad Kazim (MWM)

GBLA-9 Skardu-III

PTI candidate and former GBLA speaker Fida Muhammad Nashad and Wazir Muhammad Salem (Independent) are the leading candidates.

GBLA-10 Skardi-IV

Raja Nasir Ali (Independent), Wazir Hassan of PTI, Muhammad Sikandar Ali of Islami Tehreek Pakistan, Ghulam Abbas of PML-N and Najaf Ali, Independent are contesting election from this constituency.

GBLA-11 Kharmang

The contest is expected to be between PTI’s Syed Amjad Ali, Syed Mohsin Rizvi (Independent), PML-N’s Shabbir Hussain, and Iqbal Hussain.

GBLA-12 Shigar

Top contenders: Imran Nadeem (PPP), Raja Azam Khan (PTI), Tahir Shigri (PML-N)

GBLA-22 Ghanche-I

PTI’s Muhammad Ibrahim Sanai, Mushtaq Hussain (Independent) and PPP’s Muhammad Jaffer are contesting from this seat. In this constituency, the PTI candidate is tipped to win the polls.

GBLA-23 Ghanche-II

In this constituency, the main contest is expected between Amina Ansari of PTI, Ghulam Hussain of PML-N, Abdul Hameed (Independent) and Ghulam Ali Haideri of PPP.

GBLA-24 Ghanche-III

A total of five candidates are contesting elections in this constituency and the main contest is expected between PPP’s Muhammad Ismail, PML-Q’s Muhammad Ibrahim Taban and PTI’s Syed Shamsuddin.

Diamer Division:

The Diamer region has total of six seats

GBLA-13 Astore-I

Top contenders: Khalid Khurshid (PTI), Abdul Hamid Khan (PPP), Dr Ghulam Abbas (Indp),

GBLA-14 Astore-II

PTI’s Shamsul Haq, PML-N’s Rana Muhamad Farooq and PPP’s Muzaffar Ali Relay are contesting election from this constituency.

GBLA-15  Diamer-I

Candidates: Wali-ur-Rehman (JUI-F), Noushad Ali (PTI), Bashir Ahmed (PPP), Abdul Wajid (PML-N)

GBLA-16 Diamer-II

Eng Muhammad Anwar of PML-N, PPP’s Dilbar Khan, Attaulla (Independent) and Atiqullah of PTI contesting election from this seat.

GBLA-17 Diamer-III

Candidates: Haider Khan (PTI), Ghaffar Khan (PPP), Sardar Alam (PML-N), Rehman Khalid (JUI-F).

GBLA-18 Diamer-IV

The main tussle is expected between PTI’s Gulbar Khan, JUI-F’s Abdur Rasheed, Malik Kifayat-ur-Rehman (Independent), and PPP’s Sadia Danish.

World Community Can’t Remain Indifferent to India’s Involvement in Terrorism Against Pakistan: PMImran Khan

ISLAMABAD, Nov 14 (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan Saturday said that Pakistan had provided irrefutable evidences to the world community about India’s state sponsored terrorism inside Pakistan and expressed that in the face of such detailed evidences, it could not remain indifferent or silent.

In series of tweets, the prime minister posted “We have provided irrefutable evidence of India’s state sponsored terrorism inside Pak. Details of financial & material support & Indian state’s direct involvement in terrorism have been given to the world which, in the face of this evidence, cannot remain indifferent or silent.”

The prime ministers’ tweets followed the earlier press briefing of Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar in which they had presented an evidence-laden dossier exposing Indian-sponsored terrorism in Pakistan through its intelligence agencies.

The prime minister further said that they expected the international community to force India to end its terrorism and bring the responsible to justice who had killed thousands of innocent people in Pakistan. “We expect the international community to force India to end its terrorism & bring to justice those responsible for killing thousands of innocent people in Pakistan. Our resilient & courageous security agencies & forces will continue to give their all to protect our people,” he posted.

The prime minister also expressed the resolve to defend the country. “Let there be no doubt anywhere that we know how to defend our country and will continue to do so with our combined national resolve.”

PM Imran Condoles Death of Bahrain’s Prime Minister

ISLAMABAD, Nov 12, 2020:: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday expressed grief over the demise of Bahrain’s Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and extended his condolences to the bereaved family and brotherly people of Bahrain, ARY News reported. Taking to social networking website, Twitter, PM Imran said, “He was a man of great vision, profound integrity and above all a close friend to the people of Pakistan.

 “May his soul rest in eternal peace, Ameen,” he added. Earlier today, Bahrain’s Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al Khalifa had died, the royal palace announced on Twitter. Sheikh Khalifa passed away on Wednesday morning at Mayo Clinic hospital in the United States, Bahrain’s state news agency had said.

The burial ceremony will take place upon the repatriation of his body and the funeral will be limited to a specific number of relatives, the statement had read. Official mourning had been declared for a week in Bahrain.

Rangers, ISI Officers Involved in 'Karachi Incident' Removed: Pakistan Army

RAWALPINDI, Nov. 10, 2020:: ISPR chief Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar addresses the media during a past briefing. ISPR said on Tuesday that the security officials involved in the Karachi incident are being removed for acting imprudently. The Court of Inquiry formed on the orders of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has recommended the removal of Pakistan Rangers and Inter-Services Intelligence (IS) officials involved in the 'Karachi incident' for creating "an unwarranted situation that led to misunderstanding between two state institutions".

The inquiry had been ordered by the army chief after the Sindh police chief and several senior officers of the provincial police force had sought extended leave from duty saying they had been left demoralised due to the circumstances surrounding the arrest of PML-N leader Capt Muhammad Safdar on October 19. The statement issued by Inter-Services Public Relations on Tuesday notified that the inquiry "pertaining to the issue of redress of Inspector General of Police Sindh's grievances" had been completed and that it had recommended the removal of all security agencies' officers found involved in the events of October 18 and 19, 2020. 

"The Court of Inquiry has established that on the night of October 18/19, officers from Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) and the ISI sector Headquarters Karachi were considerably seized with the fallout of the desecration of Mazar-e-Quaid," the statement read. "They [the security officers] were under increasing public pressure to ensure prompt action as per the law. Assessing the response of police authorities against this developing yet volatile situation to be slow and wanting, in a charged environment, the concerned ISI/Rangers officers decided to act, rather over-zealously," the statement added.

"They were indeed experienced enough to have acted more prudently and could have avoided creating an unwarranted situation that led to misunderstanding between the two state institutions," it said. The ISPR statement said that "it has been decided to remove the concerned officers from their current assignments for further departmental proceedings and disposal at [the Army's] General Headquarters (GHQ)."

Bilawal welcomes decision to remove ISI, Rangers officials

PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari welcomed the Court of Inquiry's decision to remove the Rangers and ISI officials involved in the incident. "To take action against those found guilty of an act is the democratic way," he said during a jalsa in Nagar. "Such actions enhance the prestige of institutions. I hope we will take this initiative forward and join hands to work together," he said. Bilawal appreciated army chief General Bajwa for taking notice of the incident and ordering an inquiry into it.

Federal govt's reaction

Reacting to the ISPR statement, Information Minister Shibli Faraz appreciated the army chief for initiating the inquiry and implementing the recommendations. Information Minister Shibli Faraz, who had termed the incident as a political gimmick by the PPP, appreciated the army chief for initiating the inquiry and implementing the recommendations.

“We accept what happened. Since the issue was concerning Quaid-e-Azam, they [security officials] acted emotionally which I feel they should not have.” “But the ISPR has given its decision and we welcome it,” he added. When reminded that the federal government hadn’t taken it seriously, Faraz said this was a provincial issue. “The federal government had nothing to do with it. The Sindh government and institutions that operate in the province were responsible for it.”

“In our experience, the Sindh government politicizes everything – be it the coronavirus or the wheat crisis. Hence we had our reservations,” he stressed. “Now that the ISPR has issued the finding, the Sindh IG Mushtaq Ahmed Mahar should also investigate the ‘mutiny’ in police.”

Captain Safdar's arrest

Retired Captain Safdar — Nawaz Sharif's son-in-law and Maryam Nawaz's spouse — was arrested in the early morning on October 19 by Sindh Police for allegedly violating the sanctity of Quaid-e-Azam’s mausoleum and threatening harm to the petitioner who filed the case.

Representatives of the Sindh government had publicly distanced themselves from the arrest and condemned it, saying that while Captain Safdar raising slogans at the Quaid-e-Azam's Mazar was not condonable, the arrest had been made without its knowledge. Police were put under "extreme pressure" to arrest Captain Safdar, Maryam Nawaz's Spokesperson and senior PML-N leader Mohammad Zubair had said, quoting Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah.

“Murad Ali Shah personally confirmed to me his police had nothing to do with this. They were put under extreme pressure,” Zubair told reporters outside Karachi’s Aziz Bhatti police station. Shah had said an attempt was made to put the police under pressure, with PTI ministers going to the police on two different occasions to register a case.

They were told by police that a summary trial like the one sought falls under the jurisdiction of a judicial magistrate and it is not up to the police to register a case, said CM Shah. He said the police had refused to fall under pressure. Nonetheless, the CM Sindh said, the petitioner had "manufactured" a complaint saying that he had been threatened with his life, due to which police had to take action.

Chaos in Sindh Police

Sindh Police's Digital Media Cell had tweeted, then deleted, then tweeted again a statement defending Captain Safdar's arrest, saying it was done "according to the law". The department's Twitter activity, which indicated that not all was well within the provincial police, had raised eyebrows. On October 19, several high ranking officers of the Sindh Police requested to proceed on leave. 

However, the army chief personally took note of the situation, ordering an inquiry into the matter and promising action once it was completed. In a series of tweets, Sindh Police had subsequently thanked the army chief for "realising the sense of hurt that prevailed within a uniformed force, and for promptly ordering an inquiry into the matter".

A day later, IG Sindh Mushtaq Mahar deferred his own leave and ordered Sindh police officers to set aside their leave applications for 10 days, "pending the conclusion of the inquiry".

ECC to Mull Over Voluntary Separation Scheme for PIA Employees Today

ISLAMABAD, Nov 11, 2020:: Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) would take up the issue of the voluntary separation scheme (VSS) proposal for Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) employees in its meeting on Wednesday (today), ARY NEWS reported.

PIA CEO Arshad Malik would brief the ECC regarding the scheme, under which the employees could submit an application regarding early separation from the airline. The Board of Directors of the PIA had already approved the VSS scheme 2020 during its 48th meeting.

According to sources, the federal cabinet has already approved the scheme and over 2700 employees in the PIA would be benefitted from the scheme.

The application for the VSS would be processed within 14 days, they said.

On October 6, the Pakistan International Airline (PIA) officials had briefed the federal cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan over the performance and prospects of the national flag carrier on Tuesday.

Expanding on the subject, the CEO of PIA Air Marshal Arshad Malik had said that it was after a long time that PIA has posted profits.

Malik had stated the figures substantiating his briefing to the federal cabinet that PIA recorded a 42 percent hike in its revenues and a total profit of Rs7 billion.

Read More: PIA likely to introduce voluntary separation scheme in November: sources

He said that revenues and profits actually followed the revival and maintenance of grounded planes and the rule of discipline within the institution.

The CEO and the president had said that following the outbreak of the global pandemic, the flight operations plummeted by 70 percent. On the future prospects of the institution, he had said that tough decisions are necessary and impending for a better outcome.

PM Imran Khan Summons CCI Meeting on Wednesday

The meeting will discuss 17 point agenda including recommendations of Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) on IRSA act, Amendment in the OGRA Ordinance 2002, a decision on population census results,  handing over the control of Chasma Right Bank Canal (CRBC) to Punjab, Windfall levy, Royalty on LPG, import of LNG, implementation of Article 158 and 172(3) of the constitution of Pakistan and implementation of Kazi Committee Methodology for calculation of Net Hydle Power Profit.

The 42nd meeting of the Council of Common Interest (CCI) held in August had approved the renewable energy policy 2019. Amendments in Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) Ordinance 2002 were also mulled over during the meeting besides giving a task to the petroleum ministry to include suggestions from the provinces in Ogra meetings. The role of Basic Education Community Schools working under the National Commission on Human Development was also discussed during the meeting.

It was decided to hand them over to the provincial departments before the end of the ongoing year. The federal education ministry would devise a mechanism for the transfer after consultation with the provinces.The meeting also scrutinized the process of implementation upon the decisions taken during the 41st CCI meeting.

PM Stresses Upon Seeking Guidance from Iqbal’s Thoughts to Overcome Current Issues

ISLAMABAD, Nov 09, 2020 (APP):: Prime Minister Imran Khan has underlined the need of seeking guidance from Allama Iqbal’s thoughts to find solution to the issues being faced by the country and the nation, thus transforming it into an Islamic welfare state. In a message on the birth anniversary of Allama Muhammad Iqbal being observed on November 9, the prime minister said that now it was their individual and collective responsibility to play their role in the building of the nation while exploring thoughts of Allama Iqbal.

The prime minister said Allama Iqbal had decided to guide the Muslims of sub-continent with his thoughts and poetry at a time when they were groping in the darkness of slavery in search of their identity. With his poetry, Allama Iqbal invoked that power with which the Muslims overcome their sense of despondency, guiding them to achieve the impossible, he added. According to a press release, the prime minister further said Allama Iqbal not only dreamt of Pakistan but also reflected upon the issues it would have to face after its creation.

It was due to the farsightedness of his personality who had many years earlier predicted the contemporary problems being faced by us, he added. The prime minister said Iqbal’s vision was still a guiding force to overcome issues like sectarianism and extremism. The prime minister specially advised the youth to discover their innate qualities identical with Iqbal’s symbol of eagle, with which they could carve a niche in the world.

He urged the nation to concentrate their energies on transforming Pakistan under the visions of its forefathers and stressed upon the need of reorganization of political, social and economic bodies.

Secretary Information Pakistan Government Highlights Role of Regional Media

LAHORE, November 2, 2020 (APP): Federal Secretary for Information and Broadcasting Akbar Hussain Durrani on Monday said that role of regional media was of paramount importance to highlight the regional and local issues. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting was putting efforts day and night to resolve the issues faced by the media, he said and added that newspaper could provide information to the people through factual and evidence based reporting.

He said that reform package was being introduced with the consultation of all stakeholders to resolve the longstanding issues of media. He expressed these views during his visit to Press Information Department (PID) here regarding matters pertaining to regional media. The Federal Secretary said the policies to bring digitalization were being adopted and implemented to further improve the performance of departments falling under Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, however, the private sector should also take such steps to improve their working.

Akbar Hussain Durrani said that the measures taken by the Federal Information Department to bring reforms and betterment in its relevant bodies as per vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan and under the guidelines of Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz were also being appreciated widely. The Secretary said that successful implementation on print and electronic media policies had helped a lot in restoring the confidence of all other stakeholders.

He said that after December 2020, all the main offices of Federal Information Department would be converted to e-filing, adding that soon after the solution of issues faced by the media, the problems of media workers would also be redressed on priority. On the occasion, PID Lahore Director General Saeed Ahmad Sheikh briefed the Federal Secretary about the issues/challenges faced by the media. The Federal Secretary directed the officers to maintain strong working relations with print and electronic media representatives for resolving their issues with collaboration.

Strong Earthquake Kills 19 People in Turkey and Greek Islands

IZMIR, TURKEY, Oct 31, 2020:: Nineteen people were 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. People ran onto streets in panic in the Turkish city of Izmir, witnesses said, after the quake struck with a magnitude of up to 7.0. Neighbourhoods were deluged with surging seawater which swept debris inland and left fish stranded as it receded. Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said 17 people died, one due to drowning, while 709 people were injured. On the Greek island of Samos two teenagers, a boy and a girl, were found dead in an area where a wall had collapsed.

Search and rescue operations continued at 17 collapsed or damaged buildings in Izmir, AFAD said. Authorities were setting up tents with a total capacity of 2,000 people near areas with the highest damage, Urbanisation Minister Murat Kurum said. Ilke Cide, a doctoral student who was in Izmir’s Guzelbahce region during the earthquake, said he went inland after waters rose following the earthquake. “I am very used to earthquakes … so I didn’t take it very seriously at first but this time it was really scary,” he said, adding the earthquake had lasted for at least 25-30 seconds.

Crisscrossed by major fault lines, Turkey is among the most earthquake-prone countries in the world. More than 17,000 people were killed in August 1999 when a 7.6 magnitude quake struck Izmit, a city southeast of Istanbul. In 2011, a quake in the eastern city of Van killed more than 500.

Ismail Yetiskin, mayor of Izmir’s Seferihisar, said sea levels rose as a result of the quake. “There seems to be a small tsunami,” he told broadcaster NTV. Footage on social media showed debris including refrigerators, chairs and tables floating through streets on the deluge. TRT Haber showed cars in Izmir’s Seferihisar district had been dragged by the water and piled on top of each other.

Idil Gungor, who runs a hotel in Izmir’s Seferihisar district, told broadcaster NTV that people were cleaning the debris after the floodwaters receded. She said fish had washed up on the garden of the hotel, around 50 metres (55 yards)from the shore. Residents of the Greek island of Samos, which has a population of about 45,000, were urged to stay away from coastal areas, Eftyhmios Lekkas, head of Greece’s organisation for anti-seismic planning, told Greece’s Skai TV.

“It was a very big earthquake, it’s difficult to have a bigger one,” said Lekkas. “Whatever our differences, these are times when our people need to stand together,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis wrote in a tweet. “That two neighbors show solidarity in difficult times is more valuable than many things in life,” Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan wrote in a tweet responding to Mistotakis. Cooperation between the two countries after the devastating 1999 earthquake led to a period of warmer ties between them.

AFAD put the magnitude of the earthquake at 6.6, while the U.S. Geological Survey said it was 7.0. It was felt along Turkey’s Aegean coast and the northwestern Marmara region, media said. High tidal wave warnings were in place in Samos, where eight people were also injured, according to a Greek official. “We have never experienced anything like it,” said George Dionysiou, the local vice-mayor. “People are panicking.” A Greek police spokesman said there was damage to some old buildings on the island.

The leaders of Turkey and Greece – caught up in a bitter dispute over exploration rights in the eastern Mediterranean – spoke by phone and expressed hopes that both countries would see a speedy recovery from the quake, Turkey’s presidency said. Both leaders said they were ready to help the other country if needed and emphasised the importance of solidarity.

EU Allocates €1.15 Mn Assistance for Pakistan Flood Victims

ISLAMABAD, Oct 27, 2020:: The European Union has allocated Euro 1.15 million for Pakistan to cope with the damage caused by the devastating monsoon rains and floods across the country during August and September. The fund was part of a multi-donor response that would support over 420,000 people and help address the most pressing needs of around 75,000 people in the hardest-hit provinces of the country, Bernard Jaspers-Faijer, head of EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations Islamabad, said while talking to the state-owned news agency.

He said, “We stand by the people of Pakistan, many of whom have suffered tremendous losses in the wake of the floods.” Replying to a question, he said, “This contribution from the EU will enable our partners on the ground to scale up their operations and deliver vital assistance to those most in need, helping them to get back on their feet at the earliest possible.” Last month, the government of UK had pledged to provide life-saving clean water, sanitation and shelter to over 55,000 vulnerable people in Pakistan to help them recover from devastating floods.

The announcement was made by Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for South Asia at the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, during a virtual visit to Pakistan where he also discussed with the government of Pakistan how Britain could work with them to tackle climate change.

Judges Should Stay Abreast of Families’ Finances: SC

ISLAMABAD, Oct 25, 2020:: The country’s top court in its detailed verdict in the Justice Qazi Faez Isa case has set higher standards of accountability for superior judiciary judges and their family members. The Supreme Court, in its majority judgment that quashed the presidential reference against Justice Isa, held that judges were answerable for the financial interests of their family members. Even senior lawyers admitted that the apex court had accepted federal government lawyer Dr Farogh Naseem’s arguments on the principle of proximity by declaring that judges were supposed to be aware of the financial interests of their family members.

However, if they do not, then they are expected to make reasonable efforts to acquire such information, more so when they are questioned by a competent forum about it, according to the judgment authored by Justice Umar Ata Bandial. Currently around 140 superior court judges are working all over the country. The detailed verdict issued on Friday referred to perks and privileges of judges and their family members during service and after retirement. It read that these entitlements of a judge, which they shared with their family (their spouse and family members who were either dependent on them or with whom they has financial dealings) also carried certain responsibilities and obligations.

“One such obligation is the duty to enjoy these privileges with dignity, probity and discretion. Apart from the material benefits enjoyed by a judge’s family members during and after his service, they also receive an advantage from the respect and recognition extended, through association, by people who interact with them." It added. The court observed that in these circumstances, the family members of a judge were required to be careful (financially, socially and politically), moderate and fair in their dealings and exchange with others to avoid controversies that might embarrass the judge.

"Although these responsibilities are shared by family members of all public office holders, they apply with particular force to family members of judges as the latter are expected to be the embodiment of a person who is God-fearing, law-abiding, abstemious, truthful of tongue, wise in opinion, cautious and forbearing, blameless, and untouched by greed," the verdict read while referring to Article II of Judges Code of Conduct.

The court noted that high standards of propriety were expected of a judge and their family members.

The court also referred to former SC judge Justice Khilji Arif Hussain’s note in the Arsalan Iftikhar case wherein it was observed that although family members of public functionaries were, properly speaking, not performing state functions, the alleged facts of the case highlighted the necessity of extreme caution and discretion in their private and public dealings and conduct. “Generally, every adult individual is recognised in law as an independent entity. However, different principles apply in relation to family members of public office holders. This is because any irresponsible act on the part of a family member may reflect adversely on the Judge. This approach is recognised by the Judicial Codes of Conduct of various countries,” the judgment read.

The court observed that at first glance, an obligation to remain informed about the financial affairs of one’s family members seemed archaic because modern jurisprudence emphasised upon the need for the protection of the rights of the individual against the state and society. However, it added that to understand the rationale behind the obligation on judges to make reasonable efforts to be informed about or to watch over the financial affairs of their family members, one had to understand the nexus of this obligation with the nature of judges’ work and the position they occupied in the society.

“Judges exercise pre-eminent authority under the law. They adjudicate disputes between litigants, hold parties appearing before them accountable and impose liabilities and grant relief to such parties. With their authority comes an even greater responsibility to decide cases fairly, independently and in accordance with law. In such a situation, it is imperative for a Judge that he should make reasonable efforts to be informed about the financial interests of his family members for the simple reason that if a case comes before him which directly or indirectly involves the pecuniary, proprietary or other personal interests of any of his family members, he can recuse himself."

The court noted that judges were not as insulated from the conduct of their family members as were ordinary private citizens. “We need to consider the extent of the obligation on Judges to be aware of the financial interests of their family members. Both the UN Resolution 2006/23 (endorsing the Principles) and the United States Code of Conduct simply state that judges need to make reasonable efforts to be informed about the financial interests of their family members. However, neither elaborate upon the scope of this obligation. Consequently, its ambit needs to be determined.”

The verdict further read that what constituted ‘reasonable effort’ on the part of judges would depend upon the circumstances of each case. “However, a plea of lack of knowledge by a judge in relation to the financial affairs of his family members is untenable in light of the general trend in international practice, the obligations imposed on a judge under the Code of Conduct and the law relating to public officeholders including judges.”

Accordingly, the court added, there was a continuing obligation on a judge to keep themselves informed about the financial interests of their family members. “This view is consistent with the Preamble of the Code of Conduct which emphasises that the judges of superior courts of the country are role models for their fellow men and women. Such an elevated standard of conduct is demanded from judges so that the institution of the judiciary enjoys the trust and confidence of the nation for its integrity, probity, independence and transparency.”

The court also noted that unless the source of funding for the London properties was duly explained by the petitioner’s [Justice Isa] family, it would allow the resulting public controversy to continue which was neither beneficial for the petitioner in his personal capacity as a judge nor for the institution of which he is a part.

Review petition

Challenging the short order issued earlier by the court, Sarina Isa, Justice Isa’s wife, said the new class of people that the court had created, including judges’ spouses and children whose assets and liabilities had been elevated to the status of public importance, impinged on the fundamental rights of all citizens of the country. She said the creation of such a class backed by a judicial order without any foundation in law might be seen to be invidious and discriminatory. The petitioner said under Article 194 of the Constitution, all judges of the superior courts took the same oath under the third schedule.

“All judges of the superior courts abide by the same code of conduct, and their violation of the same is dealt with by the same forum, the SJC, under Article 209 of the Constitution,: she stated in her petition.

Sehat Sahulat Programme to Be Extended to Entire Punjab: PM Imran Khan

ISLAMABAD, Oct 24, 2020: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Friday that Sehat Sahulat Program will be extended to the entire Punjab province on the pattern of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), ARY News reported. The prime minister said that health facilities on the pattern of KP will be launched in Punjab and health cards would be given to all poor residents of the Punjab province.

“Some of my own party men get worried when they see opposition parties’ politicians staging rallies and doing pressers against the government and I even heard some cases were registered against them (opposition politicians) after current rallies but I feel it is wrong, it will be punishing them for crimes they didn’t commit, protest is their right, their real crime is corruption and for that, I have zero tolerance,” said Prime Minister Imran Khan.

He was of the view that opposition politicians tried their best to exert pressure on his government to give them some sort of relief in corruption cases, but “they don’t know me, I have this habit of performing under pressure”. Answering a question, the premier said that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughters are now launching attacks on state institutions out of disappointment as they know they will not get any relief.

Pakistan Fixes Wheat Production Target At 26.78 Mln Tons

ISLAMABAD, Oct 23,2020 (APP):The government on Thursday fixed the target for wheat production for Rabi 2020-21 at 26.78 million tons by cultivating the crop over 9.16 million hectares across the country. The target was set in a meeting of Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA) held here with Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam in the chair. The meeting was informed that for the upcoming Rabi season, Indus River System Authority (IRSA) Advisory Committee has anticipated shortfall of 10 percent. During the Rabi season provinces are allocated 33.09 million acre feet (MAF) of water and prevailing weather conditions are supportive and shortage is manageable.

Metrological Department informed that overall 41 percent above normal rainfall reported across the country in July to September, 2020, however, Sindh province received 100 percent above the normal rains, whereas, Balochistan 74 percent Punjab 16 percent, KPK 8 percent, Gilgit Baltistan received 36 percent above normal rains whereas Azad Jammu and Kashmir received 14 percent below normal. The meeting was further informed that sufficient amount of soil moisture was available for sowing of Rabi crops. Whether outlook for the period of October to December, 2020 suggest that amount of rainfall will be below normal in agricultural plains of all the provinces.

The meeting was informed that during financial year 2019-20, the agri-lending banks and institutions disbursed Rs 1,215 billion which was 90 percent of the actual target of Rs1,350 billion and 3.5 percent higher than the disbursement of Rs 1,174 billion made during FY 2018-19. Further, during the first quarter (July to September, 2020-2021) 50 agri-lending institutes including commercial, specialized Micro Finance, Islamic Banks and other Micro Finance Institutes have disbursed Rs 254 billion. The meeting was also informed that during upcoming Rabi 2020-21 (November – December, 2020) supply of urea and DAP expected to remain stable.

While reviewing the progress of Kharif crops, the meeting was informed that the output of all major Kharif Crops including sugarcane, rice, oil seeds and pulses witnessed significant growth. The meeting was informed that area under sugarcane cultivation in Punjab increased by 20.68 pc as compared to last year, Sindh by 0.96 pc, Balochistan 3.37 pc, where as area under sugarcane in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa decreased by 0.8 pc. As compared to the previous year, sugarcane production in Punjab grew by 21.18 pc, in Sindh, it increased by 0.53 pc, KPK increased 0.14 pc and sugarcane production in Balochistan increased by 9.54 pc.

In addition, the area under rice cultivation in Punjab enhanced by 20.30 pc as compared to the previous year, in KPK increased by 0.25 pc and the area under rice in Balochistan increased by 1.77 pc, where as it was decreased in Sindh. Meanwhile, rice production in Punjab witnessed 20.27 pc growth during the season, where as in Sindh it was decreased by 3.24 pc. The rice production in KPK increased by 0.77% and rice production in Balochistan increased by 2 pc respectively. The meeting was apprised that area under moong pulse cultivation grew by 22.54 pc as compared to previous year, where as peanut production in the country increased by 57.13 pc.

Speaking on the occasion, Fakhr Imam said that the Prime Minister, Imran Khan was giving special priority to agriculture, adding that acquisition of modern technology, supply of better seeds, balanced use of fertilizers could help achieve higher yields. “Our livestock sector is better, he said adding that production was better in paddy and sugarcane.” While cotton production was declining due to pink ball warm and white fly due to deficiencies in seed sector, he said adding that Punjab Seed Corporation was contributing only 3 to 5% of required seeds.

The minister further said that minimum support price of wheat would be decided in next week and fertilizer would be provided to farmers on subsidized. Imam stressed the need for taking needful steps for increasing wheat production to tackle with the growing requirements of the commodity as well as to exports. Secretary Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Omar Hamid Khan said that the purpose of the meeting was to formulate a strategy for the production target of all crops.

‘We will bring the Prime Minister’s agricultural vision into practice,’ he said, adding that the responsibility of food security during this crisis lied with the federation and the provinces. The Prime Minister’s National Agricultural Emergency Program was an important program, he said adding that crop reporting services must have data and statistics should be recorded. Omar said that a dashboard would be set up for authentic data collection and agro- zoning laws would be amended in collaboration with the provinces.

Pakistan Trashes Unwarranted, Tendentious Comments of Indian Minister

ISLAMABAD, Oct 17,2020 (APP): The Foreign Office Saturday completely rejected unwarranted and tendentious comments of the Indian External Affairs Minister in which he blamed Pakistan for the current state of India-Pakistan relations.

Responding to media queries regarding the Indian External Affairs Minister (EAM)’s comments made at a recent online think-tank event, the Foreign office spokesperson said rather than reflecting on its own egregious behaviour marked by illegal and unilateral actions in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), gross and systematic violations of human rights of unarmed and innocent Kashmiris, unabashed anti-minority policies and actions, incessantly bellicose statements against Pakistan, and aggressive steps in the shape of intensified violations of ceasefire along the Line of Control, India resorted to fabrications and baseless allegations against Pakistan.

“Clearly, an acknowledged perpetrator of state-terrorism cannot masquerade as a ‘victim’ of terrorism,” the spokesperson said. It was further said that portrayal of innocent Kashmiri youth, women and children, martyred in fake “encounters” and “cordon-and-search” operations, as terrorists to divert the world’s attention from the unacceptable actions of Indian occupation forces in IIOJK ‘is a travesty, reflective of the moral bankruptcy of the Indian leadership’.

“The so-called preachers of trade and connectivity should also tell the world as to who is blocking regional cooperation and the SAARC process, with its next Summit pending since 2016. Indian sophistry and obfuscation can neither hide hard facts, nor succeed in misleading the world community,” the spokesperson further added.

It was the RSS-BJP regime’s dangerous policies of ‘Hindutva’ and ‘Akhand Bharat’ that continue to victimize the Kashmiris in IIOJK and squeeze the space for the minorities in India on the one hand, and created problems with nearly all of India’s neighbours on the other hand. “Obviously, ‘normal’ relations with its neighbours remain contingent upon India beginning to act normally,” it was advised.

Pakistan Re-Elected to UN Human Rights Council, Polling 169 Votes

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 14 (APP): Pakistan was on Tuesday re-elected to the United Nations’ top human rights body for a period of three years beginning January 1, 2021, with a big vote of 169 in the Asia-Pacific group. The 193-member UN General Assembly held elections for 15 new members to the 47-member Human Rights Council, which is based in Geneva.

“Pakistan’s success in this important election is a reflection of the country’s high standing in the international community,” an elated Pakistani Ambassador Munir Akram said in a post-election interview with APP. “It was due to the personal outreach to world leaders by Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the skillful guidance of the Foreign Ministry and the contribution of all Pakistan Missions abroad and my team here at the United Nations,” he said.

“I would like to single out, in particular, First Secretary Jawad Chatta, whose dedicated and untiring efforts went a long way in making possible this outstanding result.” This is the fifth time Pakistan has been elected to the Council — the first success came in 2006 when the Council was created by the UN General Assembly. The election in the General Assembly was by secret ballot, with a simple majority required.

The contest was only in the Asian-Pacific group. Other groups put up agreed candidates: Five candidates contested for the four Asia-Pacific seats on the Council. Apart from Pakistan, China, Nepal and Uzbekistan were elected. Saudi Arabia, with 90 votes, could not make it. Members of the Council serve for a period of three years and are not eligible for immediate re-election after serving two consecutive terms.

The Council is an inter-governmental body within the UN system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them. The Council’s membership is based on equitable geographical distribution and seats are distributed as follows: 13 seats for African States, 13 seats for Asia Pacific States, 8 seats for Latin American and Caribbean States, 7 seats for Western European and other States, and 6 seats for Eastern European States.

PM Forms High Level Steering Committee to Streamline Youth Business Loan Processes

ISLAMABAD, October 10, 2020, (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan Saturday constituted a high level steering committee under deputy governor of State Bank to ensure smooth and undisrupted grant of youth entrepreneurship loans to bring success to the initiative.

Chairing a meeting with heads of various banks from across the country to discuss provision of easy loans under Kamyab Jawan Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme, the prime minister also sought regular update on the schemes’ progress.

Finance Advisor Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Commerce Advisor Abdul Razzak Dawood, Institutional Reforms Advisor Dr Ishrat Hussain, Special Assistant to PM on Youth Affairs Usman Dar and State Bank Governor Raza Baqir attended the meeting.

Usman Dar told the meeting that Rs 100 billion had been allocated for business loans to the youth for three years. So far, around 470,000 applications had been received and the loaning process was in progress after timely scrutiny.

He said under the scheme, the educated youths were submitting their applications directly with the banks and were being disbursed business loans purely on merit.

The meeting was told that 21 banks were taking part in the scheme which had assured to disburse Rs15 billion loans this year.

A detailed briefing was also given on the mechanism to ease out the loaning process, ensure transparency and merit besides duly publicizing the scheme through media.

The prime minister said that after their contribution to promote construction sector, the banks’ support for providing business opportunities to youth was appreciable.

The prime minister said the youth were an asset for the country and the banks’ contribution to make them utilize their capabilities was vital.

The prime minister assured that the government would not only ensure timely payment of subsidies to the collaborating banks but also address all the issues confronting them on priority.

The prime minister said it was among government’s priorities to assist the construction sector, small and medium enterprises and information technology and sought banks’ cooperation in this regard.

President Urges Battle Against Stress, Depression, Allied Taboos

(October 10, 2020)

ISLAMABAD (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi Saturday urged the countrymen to battle against stress and depression while doing away with the taboos attached with the conditions. The president said this in his message on Twitter on the occasion of World Mental Health Day annually observed on October 10 with an objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health.

“You are braver than (you) believe, stronger than (you) appear & smarter than (you) think. Do what’s necessary, then do what’s possible & suddenly you will be doing the impossible as today is only a start for a happier tomorrow,” the president remarked. This year, the Mental Health Day is being observed with the theme of “Move for mental health: let’s invest.”

Pakistan Govt Rubbishes ‘Fake News’ About Closure of Educational Institutes from Oct 15, 2020

(October 6, 2020)

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood on Monday rubbished a fake news making rounds on social media, clarifying that educational institutions across the country are not being closed on October 15. "Fake news being circulated on social media that educational Institutions will be closed on Oct 15. No truth in this," he wrote on his official Twitter handle.

Fake news being circulated on social media that educational institutions will be closed on Oct 15. No truth in this. Punjab Education Minister Murad Raas also echoed the statement of federal minister, saying that news regarding schools closing on October 15 was completely false. "Public and Private Schools of Punjab to remain open as scheduled. Schools closing on October 15th is completely FALSE. Please strictly follow SOPs," he said in a tweet.

Public and Private Schools of Punjab to remain open as scheduled. Schools closing on October 15th is completely FALSE. Please strictly follow SOPs. The statements come amid rumours that the educational institutions are being closed as coronavirus cases rise, particularly in Sindh, triggering fear of a second wave. According to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), there were at least 644 new coronavirus cases reported across the country on Monday, taking the tally to 315,260.

However, the tally is far lower compared to neighbouring India where thousands of cases are being diagnosed each day, narrowing its gape with the United States which tops the table at over 7,600,000. Pakistan has been largely able to successfully curb the contagious virus, which has so far claimed over 1,040,000 lives across the world. The educational institutions reopened in Pakistan last month after the NCOC nod. On September 29, Shafqat Mehmood had said that 171,436 coronavirus tests were carried out in educational institutions since they reopened on September 15, of which only 1,248 tests were positive.

He further added that only 1% of the infection rate has been witnessed in educational institutions. Despite the success, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday cautioned the nation against a possible second wave of the pandemic in the coming winter, urging the people once again to wear protective face masks in public places. "Compared to some other states, Allah has been kind to us in Pakistan and spared us the worst effects of Covid-19," the premier wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter on Sunday.

"[However] there is a fear [that the] onset of winter could result in a 2nd wave [of the contagious disease]. I urge everyone to wear face masks in public to avoid a spike," he added. Compared to some other states, Allah has been kind to us in Pak & spared us worst effects of COVID-19. 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. All offices & ed institutions must ensure masks are worn. He also directed all offices and institutions to use face masks to help prevent the spread of the disease.

Two Hardcore Terrorists Killed, One Apprehended in Mir Ali IBO

(October 5, 2020)

RAWALPINDI (APP): Around two hardcore terrorists were killed and one apprehended by the security forces on Sunday in Mir Ali area of North Waziristan.The security forces conducted an Intelligence Based Operation (IBO) in Mir Ali, North Waziristan, said an Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) press release.

CM Punjab Usman Buzdar Inaugurates Rs30b Rozgar Scheme

(October 2, 2020)

LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar Thursday inaugurated the Rs30 billion worth Punjab Rozgar Scheme at a ceremony held at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat. “Over 1.6 million needy persons will get employment through this scheme”, the CM said while addressing the ceremony.

The Chief Minister maintained that the PTI-led government had started taking practical steps to fulfill the promise of employment provision and added that this scheme will make the youth self-reliant and job-providers. “Youth will be provided loans on a priority basis and owners of small and medium enterprises, as well as those economically suffering from corona, would be able to resume economic activities”, he explained.

Giving details, Usman Buzdar announced that loans upto Rs 10 million will be given at minimal interest rates in collaboration with Punjab Small Industries Corporation and the Bank of Punjab. “Men, women, differently-abled, and the transgender community of 20 to 50 years of age would benefit from this beneficial scheme”, he said, adding that small loans will be provided for 339 subsectors of 23 assorted sectors, including 26 subsectors of the textile industry to boost business, trade and manufacturing in the province. He said this facility will promote the cottage industry and interested persons could expand their businesses by benefitting from Punjab Rozgar Scheme.

The CM maintained that the loan process had been made easy and the interested youth could submit their applications through PSIC, Punjab Bank websites, or Punjab Rozgar App. “The PTI is committed to making the youth economically self-reliant and the government is enabling the youth as job-providers instead of a job-seeker. The government is transforming skills as an investment as it is the biggest social asset to make the youth prosperous”, he further said.

Provincial Minister Mian Aslam Iqbal lamented that the metro project was erected in the previous tenure but the welfare of the poor was badly ignored. He added that the past rulers spent a whopping Rs250 billion on the Orange Line Metro Train but did not give a penny to the needy skilled workers. “Had this money been spent on imparting skilled education to the poor children, the country would have been different today. Common man’s welfare was not the agenda of the past government”, he remarked.

He said a project like the metro does not earn the poor the bread as such projects were started for the sake of kickbacks and political gimmickry. He asserted that practical steps had been taken to expedite the industrial process and the government was working for the betterment of the indigent strata.  Finance minister Hashim Jawan Bakht termed the youth as an asset and announced to empower it to strengthen the national economy.

“This scheme will be reviewed every month to make it better than the best”. He announced to motivate the banks to give loans to the housing sector and hoped that the scheme would prove a game-changing initiative. MD PSIC stated that the target of giving loans to 68 thousand SMEs had been fixed. Ministers, parliamentarians, and others attended the ceremony.   

PM Imran Urges Comprehensive Strategy to Tackle Energy Challenges

(October 2, 2020)

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has stressed the need for a coherent and comprehensive strategy to address energy challenges, being faced by the country. Chairing a meeting on oil and gas exploration and production in Islamabad on Friday, he said implementation of Exploration and Production Management System will enable to benefit from low cost oil and gas reserves.

The Prime Minister said using this system will also enable us to reduce the burden on the national exchequer and it will make possible to supply oil and gas to public at lower prices. He said that technology should be used in all sectors to reduce the additional cost burden on the public and it will also minimize drainage of foreign exchange reserves.

On the occasion, Secretary Petroleum briefed the meeting on Exploration and Production Management System.The meeting was informed that the implementation of this system will help to enhance the local production capacity of oil and gas in the country.

President Stresses Making Credibility A Hallmark of ‘Made-In-Pakistan’ Brand

(September 29, 2020)

ISLAMABAD (APP): President Dr Arif Alvi on Monday said as global platform opened for marketing and exports, it was time for Pakistani products to make impact with high-quality standards coupled with credible and trusted business dealings at international level. “Turn the ‘Made-in-Pakistan’ label into a symbol of repute before the world,” the President said in his address at the award ceremony of Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FCCI), here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.

President Alvi emphasized on conforming to the noble ethics of Islam such as honesty by shunning deception, while undertaking business transactions. He also called upon the businessmen to focus on value-addition and proper branding of their products to compete with international market. He said adopting business mechanisms based on information technology could help the local traders address the challenges of contemporary financial world.

President Alvi expressed satisfaction that FCCI as a dynamic organization was contributing to the economy of country and termed the traders and businessmen the genuine stakeholders that needed to be taken onboard by the governments in decision-making. The President lauded the government for holding consultations with relevant stakeholders while remaining accessible to business community to listen to their grievances.

Dr Alvi said Pakistan effectively countered the challenge of coronavirus pandemic with Allah Almighty’s blessings, the government’s prudent smart lockdown strategy and the nation’s will. He termed the COVID-19 experience a success that could be proudly shared with the world. Punjab Minister for Industries Mian Aslam Iqbal said giving confidence to industrial units was important to boost the country’s economy. He mentioned that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was the only political party which promoted Special Economic Zones to facilitate traders.

He announced setting up a SEZ on Information Technology and 23 new cement plants to boost trade activity. President FCCI Rana Muhammad Sikandar-e-Azam said Faisalabad’s share in the country’s textiles comprised 60 percent, while the industrial city made 20 percent of the overall Gross Domestic Province (GDP). He lauded the government’s strategy to effectively address economic challenges in the wake of COVID-19, that helped traders gain momentum in difficult times. Earlier, the President gave away awards among the incumbent and former office-bearers of FCCI, and other members of business community in recognition to their services for promoting trade and business.

 UN Chief Urges end to fresh Armenia-Azerbaijan Fighting in Disputed Region

(September 28, 2020)

UNITED NATIONS (APP): UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said he is “extremely concerned” over renewed hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh disputed region that erupted on Sunday. According to news reports, at least 18 people have been killed along the line of contact in the worst fighting between the two former Soviet Republics in four years. “He condemns the use of force and regrets the loss of life and the toll on the civilian population”, UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

This latest skirmish between the two countries, which fought a war in the 1990s as the Soviet Union was dissolving, has heightened fears of instability in the South Caucasus, a region that provides crucial transit routes for gas and oil to world markets. Both States have declared martial law and Armenia ordered the total mobilization of its military, according to media reports. “The Secretary-General strongly calls on the sides to immediately stop fighting, de-escalate tensions and return to meaningful negotiations without delay”, Dujarric said, adding that the UN chief would be speaking to both the President of Azerbaijan and the Prime Minister of Armenia.

Armenia accused Azerbaijan of carrying out early morning air and artillery attacks on the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. The two fought a six-year war over the region until a 1994 truce, but over the years, both countries have blamed the other for ceasefire violations in the enclave and along the border, including in July. In recent months, more than a dozen soldiers and civilians have been killed in the struggle.  Dujarric , the UN spokesman, underscored that the Secretary-General reiterated his “full support” for the important role of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group Co-Chairs and urged the sides to “work closely with them for an urgent resumption of dialogue without preconditions”.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has thrown its weight behind Azerbaijan following Armenia’s border violations and attacks in Upper Karabakh. “Pakistan stands with the brotherly nation of Azerbaijan and supports its right of self-defence,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.“We support Azerbaijan’s position on Nagorno-Karabakh, which is in line with several unanimously adopted UN Security Council resolutions,” it added.

 Pakistani Students Take Online Chinese Proficiency Test to Pursue Research Dreams

(September 26, 2020)

BEIJING (APP): Sichuan Normal University (SICNU), China has held the first online Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK) or Chinese Proficiency Test amid the COVID-19 outbreak for international students to pursue their research dreams. As per Liu Tianhao, a Pakistani student from SICNU, the Chinese Proficiency Test empowered him to explore China, according to China Economic Net (CEN) on Saturday.

He said, “Mastering local languages will enrich your experience in foreign countries. “Each language is beautiful with its history and content, so are Urdu and Chinese,” he added. According to SICNU, while doing a good job in epidemic prevention and control, they spare no efforts in the normalization of HSK. “We take HSK as an opportunity to vigorously develop international students’ education at all levels, so as to create a new landscape in international Chinese education,” said an official from SICNU.

The candidates of this online HSK are from Pakistan, Austria, Russia, South Korea, Laos, the United States, Japan, Singapore and some other countries, SICNU noted. Most of the examinees are from colleges and universities in Sichuan, China; a small number of social examinees are from the Consulate General of Singapore in Chengdu, a well-known foreign enterprise, etc.

HSK, translated as the Chinese Proficiency Test used in China, is the standardized test of Standard Chinese (a type of Mandarin Chinese) language proficiency of China for non-native speakers such as foreign students and overseas Chinese. The test is administered by Hanban, an agency of the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China.

PM Asks UN Security Council to Protect Kashmiris from “Impending Indian Genocide”

(September 25, 2020)

ISLAMABAD (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday urged the UN Security Council to protect the Kashmiris from “an impending genocide by India” and warned that there would be no durable peace and stability in South Asia until the Jammu and Kashmir dispute was resolved on the basis of international legitimacy. Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, Imran Khan said India in an attempt to divert the world’s attention from its actions in Jammu and Kashmir was upping the military ante against Pakistan.

“I want to make it clear that any attempt by the fascist totalitarian RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh)-led Indian government to aggress against Pakistan will be met by a nation that will fight for its freedom to the end.” “I want to make it clear that any attempt by the fascist totalitarian RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh)-led Indian government to aggress against Pakistan will be met by a nation that will fight for its freedom to the end”. Building upon his last year’s address where he spoke about the gross human rights violations in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the prime minister said Kashmir had been rightly described as a “nuclear flash point”.

“The Security Council must prevent a disastrous conflict and secure the implementation of its own resolutions as it did in the case of East Timor,” Imran Khan told the 193-member world body. He said the Security Council had considered the situation in Jammu and Kashmir three times in the past year. “It must take appropriate enforcement actions. It must also take steps to protect the Kashmiris from an impending genocide by India.” In a rare virtual address to the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly being held in New York, Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke at length about the “smart lockdown” policy of Pakistan that won international acclaim, creation of a 500 billion US dollars fund for the developing world, climate change, India’s state sponsorship of Islamophobia and global framework to stem the illicit financial flows.

The prime minister told the world body that India was playing a dangerous game of upping the military ante against Pakistan in a nuclearized environment, to divert the world’s attention from its illegal actions and atrocities in the Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. “Despite constant Indian provocations and ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and the Working Boundary targeting innocent civilians, Pakistan has exercised maximum restraint. “We have consistently sensitized the world community about a ‘false flag’ operation and another ill-conceived misadventure by India”. “We have consistently sensitized the world community about a ‘false flag’ operation and another ill-conceived misadventure by India.” Imran Khan said his parents were born in colonial India and he was the first generation that grew up in an independent Pakistan, and warned. “The fascist totalitarian RSS-led Indian government to aggress against Pakistan”. The Pakistani nation would fight for its freedom to the end, he added.

KASHMIR:

The prime minister said Pakistan had always called for a peaceful solution to the Kashmir dispute. He, however, pointed out that to achieve that end “India must rescind the measures it has instituted since 5th August 2019, end its military siege and other gross human rights violations, and agree to resolve the Jammu & Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and of course the wishes of the Kashmiri people.” Imran Khan, in his speech a major portion of which dealt with the Kashmir cause, said for over 72 years, India had illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir against the wishes of the Kashmiri people, and in blatant violation of the resolutions of the Security Council and indeed its own commitments to the people of Kashmir.

“India must rescind the measures it has instituted since 5th August 2019, end its military siege and other gross human rights violations on 5th August last year, India illegally and unilaterally sought to change the status of the occupied territories and deployed additional troops, bringing the total number to 900,000, to impose a military siege on 8 million Kashmiris.” He mentioned that all the Kashmiri political leaders were incarcerated; about 13,000 Kashmiri youth were abducted and thousands tortured; a complete curfew was imposed, accompanied by a total communications blackout. He said the Indian occupation forces used brute force, including pellet guns against peaceful protestors; imposed collective punishments, including the destruction of entire neighbourhoods, and extra-judicially murdered hundreds of innocent young Kashmiris in fake “encounters”, refusing even to hand over their bodies for burial.

“The Kashmiri media, and those daring to raise their voice, are being systematically harassed and intimidated through the use of draconian laws,” Imran Khan said. All of that had been well documented in the reports of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, communications from the Special Rapporteurs of Human Rights Council, and statements from human rights and civil society organizations, he added. “The international community must investigate the grave violations and prosecute the Indian civil and military personnel involved in state terrorism and serious crimes against humanity, being perpetrated, I am sad to say, with complete impunity.” The objective of the brutal campaign, Prime Minister Imran Khan said, was to impose what the RSS-BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) regime had itself called the ‘Final Solution’ for Jammu and Kashmir.

He said the military siege was being followed by moves to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory. “This”, the prime minister termed, was an attempt to “obliterate the distinct Kashmiri identity in order to affect the outcome of a plebiscite envisaged in the UN Security Council resolutions”. “This action is in violation of the UN Charter, Council resolutions and international law, particularly the 4th Geneva Convention. Changing demographic structure of occupied territory is a war crime,” Prime Minister Imran Khan said. Prime Minister Imran Khan said the brave Kashmiri people would never submit to the Indian occupation and oppression. brave Kashmiri people would never submit to the Indian occupation and oppression. “Their struggle is indigenous … They are fighting for a just cause and generation after generation have laid down their lives to rid themselves of Indian occupation.” Imran Khan said, “The government and people of Pakistan are committed to standing by and supporting their Kashmiri brothers and sisters in their legitimate struggle for self-determination.”

INDIA:

He said India was the only country in the world, which sponsored Islamophobia. “The one country in the world today where, I am sad to say, the state sponsors Islamophobia, is India.” Dwelling at length about India’s extremist ideology, Imran Khan said it was being ruled by the RSS whose founding fathers were inspired by the Nazis and adopted their concepts of racial purity and supremacy. “While the Nazis’ hate was directed at the Jews, the RSS directs it towards the Muslims and to a lesser extent towards the Christians,” he added. The RSS, he said, believed that India was exclusively for Hindus while the rest of its citizens were not equal citizens. “The secularism of Gandhi and Nehru has been replaced by the dream of creating a Hindu Rashtra by subjugating, even cleansing India’s 200 million Muslims and other minorities.”

He recalled that in 1992, the RSS destroyed Babri Mosque; in 2002, some 2,000 Muslims were slaughtered in Gujarat, under the watch of Chief Minister Modi; and in 2007, over 50 Muslims were burnt alive by the RSS arsonists aboard the Samjhota Express Train.
In Assam, Imran Khan said, around two million Muslims faced the prospects of being arbitrarily stripped of their nationality through the adoption of discriminatory laws. He mentioned reports of large concentration camps being filled with by the Indian Muslim citizens. He said the Muslims were falsely blamed, vilified and victimized for spreading the coronavirus. They were denied medical attention on many occasions, their businesses were boycotted. “The Hindutva ideology is set to marginalize almost 300 million human beings – Muslims, Christians and Sikhs”

“Cow vigilantes attack and kill Muslims with impunity. Last February, Muslims faced targeted killings, with police complicity in New Delhi,” he added. The prime minister said mass registrations in the past had often been a precursor to genocide, and cited the examples of the Nuremburg Laws in Germany in 1935 and then in 1982 in Myanmar. “The Hindutva ideology is set to marginalize almost 300 million human beings – Muslims, Christians and Sikhs.” “This is unprecedented in history and does not augur well for the future of India as we all know that marginalization of human beings leads to their radicalization,” Imran Khan warned.

PALESTINE:

The prime minister said as Palestine remained a ‘festering wound’, a just and lasting settlement was indispensable, for the Middle East and actually the world. “Illegal annexations of Palestinian territory, the building of illegal settlements and the imposition of inhuman living conditions on the Palestinian people, especially in Gaza, cannot bring peace to a troubled region,” he added. “Illegal annexations of Palestinian territory, building of illegal settlements and imposition of inhuman living conditions on the Palestinian people, cannot bring peace to a troubled region”. Imran Khan said, “Pakistan continues to support a two-state solution – in line with UN General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, within the internationally agreed parameters, and they are; pre-1967 borders, and Al-Quds Al-Sharif as the capital of a united, contiguous and independent Palestinian state.”

AFGHANISTAN:

The prime minister said Pakistan’s desire for peace in their region was also manifested in their efforts to promote a political solution in Afghanistan. “I have consistently maintained over the past two decades that there is no military solution to the decades-old conflict in Afghanistan. The only way forward was and is a political settlement, which involves the full spectrum of Afghanistan’s political actors,” he added. He mentioned Pakistan’s full facilitation to the process that culminated in the US-Taliban Peace Agreement on February 29, 2020. “Pakistan is deeply gratified that it has fulfilled its part of the responsibility,” he added. He said the Afghan leaders must now seize the historic opportunity to achieve reconciliation and restore peace in their war-torn country.

The prime minister said through the Intra-Afghan Negotiations that commenced on September 12, they must work out an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement. He, however, maintained that the process must be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned, and without any interference or outside influence. Imran Khan said early return of the Afghan refugees must be a part of the political solution. “After almost two decades of war, it is imperative not to allow “spoilers” – within and outside Afghanistan – to subvert the peace process,” he added. He was confident that peace and stability in Afghanistan would open new opportunities for development and regional connectivity. The prime minister said the United Nations remained the best legitimate avenue for collective action – managing international conflicts, fostering peace and security, promoting equitable development, and addressing global problems.

He urged the Secretary-General to take the lead in preventing global conflicts, and convene summit-level meetings to address regional hotspots and resolve the outstanding disputes. “The United Nations should be made fully responsive to the challenges of our times. A comprehensive reform of the United Nations, including the Security Council, is essential to promote greater democracy, accountability, transparency and efficiency,” he added. The prime minister assured that Pakistan would continue to participate actively in the process and endeavour, with other member states, to build a world where conflict was outlawed and equitable prosperity for all pursued in conditions of peace and security. Imran Khan congratulated Volkan Bozkir on his election as the President of the 75th Session of the General Assembly.

“We also appreciate the skilful leadership of the outgoing President, His Excellency Tijani Muhammad-Bande, especially during the COVID-19 crisis,” he added. The prime minister also commended the leadership of Secretary General in the extremely turbulent times.

MONEY LAUNDERING:

Imran Khan referred to his address to the General Assembly last year, in which he highlighted the tremendous damage that illicit financial flows from developing countries to rich countries and to offshore tax havens cause. “This leads to the impoverishment of the developing nations. Money that could be used towards human development is siphoned off by corrupt elites. The loss of foreign exchange causes currency depreciation that in turn leads to inflation and poverty,” he added. The prime minister said the quest for getting back those stolen resources was nearly impossible, given the cumbersome procedures. “Moreover, the powerful money launderers have access to the best lawyers. And sadly, because they are the beneficiaries, there is a lack of political will in the rich countries to curb this criminal activity”, he added.

The prime minister said if that phenomena was unaddressed, it would continue to accentuate the inequality between the rich and the poor nations, and eventually would spark off a far bigger global crisis than the present migration issue posed. “The rich states cannot hold forth on human rights and justice when they provide sanctuary to money launderers and their looted wealth,” he remarked. The prime minister referred to the existing robust anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regimes, and called upon the UN General Assembly to take the lead in efforts to build a global framework to stem the illicit financial flows and ensure speedy repatriation of stolen wealth. “It is important to realize that the aid that flows from rich countries to the developing world is miniscule compared to the massive out-flows by our corrupt elites,” he stressed.

COVID-19:

The prime minister said the COVID-19 pandemic had illustrated the oneness of humanity and in their interconnected world no one was safe unless everyone was safe. He said locking down to control the pandemic had triggered the worst recession since the Great Recession in the last century. “This has hit the poorest countries the hardest as well as the poor in all the countries,” he added. In Pakistan, Imran Khan said, they realized very early on that if they imposed a strict lockdown like that of several affluent countries, they would have more people dying of hunger than the virus. “Therefore, we adopted a policy of ‘smart lockdown.’ While concentrating on the virus hot-spots we opened up our agricultural sector immediately and then followed it up by the construction sector, which employed most of the people,” he added.

The prime minister said at the same time, and it was despite financial constraints, that his government deployed an unprecedented US$ 8 billion for health services; plus supported the poorest and most vulnerable households with direct cash payments through the Ehsaas Programme; and then subsidies to small businesses. “Even though our ‘smart lockdown’ was heavily criticized in the beginning, but thanks to Almighty Allah’s Grace, we have not only managed to control the virus, stabilize our economy, but most importantly, we have been able to protect the poorest segment of the society from the worst fallout of the lockdown,” he added.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said today Pakistan’s response was cited among the success stories in controlling and responding to the pandemic. “However, we are still not out of the woods, like no country is out of the woods today,” he added.

DEBT RELIEF FOR DEVELOPING COUNTRIES:

The prime minister said it was obvious from the outset that the developing countries would need a fiscal space to respond to, and recover from, the COVID crisis. “Debt relief is one of the best ways to create that fiscal space for developing countries. Therefore, in early April, I called for a ‘Global Initiative on Debt Relief’,” he stressed. Imran Khan appreciated the G-20’s official debt suspension initiative, and the emergency and rapid financing offered by the IMF (International Monetary Fund), World Bank, Asian Development Bank and UN agencies. “This, however, is not going to be enough,” he said, adding the IMF had estimated that the developing countries would need over US$ 2.5 trillion to respond and recover from the crisis.

The prime minister said the official debt suspension would need to be extended and expanded. “Additional debt relief measures will also be needed. The development banks should ensure adequate financial inflows,” he added. He said the rich countries had generated over 10 trillion dollars to finance their own response and recovery. “They should support the creation of at least US$500 billion in new Special Drawing Rights for the developing world, “he added.

PEACE AND STABILITY:

The prime minister said since his government assumed office, their consistent effort had been to fundamentally transform Pakistan. “We envisage ‘Naya Pakistan’ to be modeled on the principles of the State of Madina, established by our Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). A just and humane society where all government policies are directed at lifting our citizens out of poverty and creating a just and equitable dispensation,” he maintained. Imran Khan, however, stressed that to achieve that goal, they needed to have peace and stability. “Thus our foreign policy aims to have peace with our neighbors and settle disputes through dialogue,” he added. He said the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations was an extremely important milestone, as that was the only body in the world that could help them achieve their goals of peace and stability in their neighborhood.

“This is also a time for us to reflect whether as the United Nations we have been able to realize the promise we collectively made to our peoples,” he added. The prime minister said, “Today, the foundations of ‘world order’ – non-use of or threat of unilateral force, self-determination of peoples, the sovereign equality and territorial integrity of states, non-interference in their internal affairs, international cooperation – all these ideals are being systematically eroded.” He said, “International agreements are being flouted and set aside. Renewed great-power rivalries are leading to a new arms race. Conflicts are proliferating and intensifying. Military occupation and illegal annexations are suppressing the right of human beings to self-determination.”

The prime minister quoted the respected Professor Noam Chomsky as saying that “mankind is at even a greater risk than it was before the 1st and 2nd World Wars in the last century”. It was because of the increased threat of nuclear war, climate change, and sadly the rise of authoritarian regimes. “We must come together to prevent such a catastrophe,” he maintained. Imran Khan said Pakistan believed that the driving force in international relations must be cooperation, in accordance with principles of international law, and not confrontation and force. “We all must emphatically reaffirm our support for multilateralism,” he added.

CLIMATE CHANGE:

Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterated the threat posed to mankind due to climate change, mentioning the unprecedented fires in Australia, Siberia, California and Brazil; unprecedented flooding in various parts of the world; and record temperatures even in the Arctic Circle. “This should make us all worried for our future generations,” he said and added that commitments made through the Paris Agreement must be fulfilled, in particular the  commitment to mobilize US$ 100 billion annually as climate finance. The prime minister said Pakistan’s contribution to carbon emissions was minimal, but it was one of those countries most affected by climate change. “Yet, we have decided to take the lead as we consider addressing climate change a universal responsibility”, he said and mentioned that Pakistan had launched an extremely ambitious programme to plant 10 billion trees in next three years as their contribution to mitigating the effects of climate change. 

Committee discusses Constitution Amendment Bill

(September 24, 2020)

ISLAMABAD: Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice in its meeting on Wednesday discussed ‘The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2020” (Amendment of Article 140) introduced by Senator Muhammad Javed Abbasi.  The meeting was presided over by Chairman of the Committee Senator Muhammad Javed Abbasi at the Parliament House.

Senator Farooq H. Naek and Senator Musadik Masood Malik highlighted some important aspects of the Bill and said that the Bill requires thorough consideration and in this regard the response of the relevant ministry needs to be sought at the earliest. Chairman of the Committee directed the ministry concerned to provide details of appointment procedures of the Advocate General Islamabad and the summary be presented on which the appointment was made.

The Committee observed that the committee would like to see all the legal and constitutional aspects before deciding the fate of the legislation under consideration. It also directed that views of the ministry of Interior should also be solicited at the earliest. The committee deferred further consideration on the Bill. Another important Bill moved by Senator Farooq H. Naek “The Guardians and Wards (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was also taken into consideration. The Bill, Senator Farooq H. Naek, said, seeks to codify and clarify existing case law and afford protection to mothers in relation to the custody of their children.

He said that the Bill further purports to codify the hierarchy of preference in relation to custody.  The Committee deferred the Bill till next meeting wherein Senator Farooq H. Naek will present amended bill in view of discussions by the committee for conclusive discussion.

WAPDA Opens Jobs for Locals in Gilgit-Baltistan

(September 21, 2020)

MIRPUR: As the construction activities on strategically important Diamer Bash Dam Project are picking up pace, the Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) has started the process for providing thousands of jobs to the people of Gilgit -Baltistan (GB) for poverty alleviation in the area and socio-economic uplift of the local people. WAPDA has advertised as many as 124 vacancies ranging from Basic Pay Scale (BPS) 6 to 16, against which only the people belonging to District Diamer, Gilgit Baltistan will be recruited.

Earlier, WAPDA also advertised 179 vacancies of BPS 14 to 20 and some 317 vacancies for security personnel, an official statement issued by WAPDA to media on Sunday said . The eligible candidates hailing from the project area and Gilgit Baltistan will be given priority against these vacancies. Besides providing employment to the locals on priority, a sum of Rs 78.5 billion is also being spent for resettlement and Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) leading towards socio-economic development in the area.

As many as 44 development schemes for improving the existing water supply, irrigation, health and education infrastructures have been started. Construction of Chilas Cadet College under the CBMs is nearing completion which will help provide quality education to the local students. In addition, Thak Hydropower Project of 3 MW is also about to be completed to meet the electricity requirements of the area. It is worth mentioning here that Diamer Basha Dam, a vital project for water, food and energy security of Pakistan, is being constructed on River Indus, 315 Kilometer (Km) upstream of Tarbela Dam, 180 Km downstream of Gilgit, and 40 Km downstream of Chilas town.

Diamer Basha Dam with gross water storage capacity of 8.1 million acre feet (MAF) and power generation capacity of 4500 Mega Watt (MW) will go a long way in stabilizing the economy. The project will also prove to be instrumental in developing the human resources and creating employment opportunities in the country. As many as 16,500 job opportunities of engineers and other staff will be made available at the national and local levels.

Opposition Announces Pakistan Democratic Movement Against “Selected” PTI Government

(September 20, 2020)

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s opposition parties on Sunday announced to form a new alliance to overthrow the incumbent government of Imran Khan-led Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). A gathering of 12 parties and all opposition leaders, including Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif, agreed on a 26-point charter of demands in the PPP-hosted multiparty conference in the federal capital. According to Sunday’s resolution, the forum is named Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) — an "alliance structure which will lead and guide nationwide protests against the anti-public and anti-nation government in a disciplined and integrated manner".

After hours of discussion over ways to oust the "selected" government, opposition parties demanded the "immediate" resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan. The meeting declared that the "incumbent selected government has been granted artificial stability by the establishment that has imposed it on the people through rigged elections", said JUI-F chief Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman. The forum also demanded that elections be held again in a transparent manner and that electoral reforms should be made in order to ensure free and fair polls.

Terming the Parliament, a "rubber stamp", the PDM declared that the opposition will not cooperate with the government in the legislative process. The APC expressed grave concerns over the "complete failure" of the government's policy regarding Afghanistan. It also condemned "unprecedented" gags on the media and censorship, demanding that media tycoon Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman be released along with other media persons. It also demanded that a new law of accountability be passed in the country that is in accordance with the Supreme Court's verdict and recommendations from Human Rights Watch and Council of Islamic Ideology and would hold everyone accountable, including bureaucrats, lawmakers, judicial and army officials.

PDM also agreed upon a six-point action plan to depose the incumbent government, which would be implemented in phases. In the first phase that starts in October, opposition parties will hold joint rallies in all four provinces. The second phase will begin in December of this year, during which the opposition will hold "huge public demonstrations" across the country. In January next year, the opposition will set out on a "decisive long march" towards Islamabad.

The opposition will also enlist lawyers, traders, farmers, students, media as well as members of the civil society in its movement. In order to oust the government, opposition parties will use "every legal and constitutional option in and out of parliament, which include moving no-confidence motions and collective resignations from assemblies at an appropriate time," the resolution states.The forum also demanded transparent elections in the country and calls for electoral reforms. According to the declaration, due to the "non- implementation" of the National Action Plan there has been "a surge in terrorism". The opposition has also called for elections in Gilgit-Baltistan to be held on time and "without intervention".

PM’s UN Address On 25th Will Focus on Kashmir Issue

(September 19, 2020)

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Sept 25 would focus on Kashmir dispute, the Foreign Office said. “Due to restrictions imposed by the local government in New York, there will be no in-person high-level participation from outside. Prime Minister Imran Khan will address the General Assembly on Friday, 25th September,” FO Spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said at the weekly media briefing.

The general debate, which is the centerpiece of any UN General Assembly session, starts from Tuesday (Sept 22). The current session, which is the 75th session, is unique in the world body’s history with leaders not attending in person and other meetings being held online. World leaders will send recorded video statements, which would be introduced by the respective country’s envoy, and then played in the UNGA Hall “as live”. FO rejects India’s request for appointment of foreign lawyer in Jadhav case. However, the world leaders can still attend in person.

Spokesman Chaudhri said: “... Jammu and Kashmir dispute will certainly be an important component of the Prime Minister’s UNGA address. Let me reiterate that Jammu and Kashmir dispute continues to remain a Foreign Policy priority for Pakistan”. In his speech at the 74th UNGA session last year, PM Khan had highlighted sufferings of Kashmiris and the Indian action of annexing the occupied territory. Alongside the UNGA session, there would be a series of special high-level sessions, including an event to commemorate the UN’s 75th anniversary; a summit on biodiversity; and a meeting to commemorate, and promote, the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

Mr Chaudhri said that Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi would participate virtually in the high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. He will also participate in other high-level engagements, he added. The spokesman reiterated concerns about India’s military buildup saying Delhi was amassing military capabilities beyond its genuine security requirements. “Pakistan has been consistently highlighting the risk of massive Indian arms buildup as well as their offensive security doctrine and force postures, which are adversely affecting strategic stability in South Asia,” the spokesman said.

He was reacting to the formal induction of the first five of 36 Dassault Rafale fighter aircraft into the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Sept 10. The aircraft is being celebrated as a ‘game changer’ by IAF for significantly upgrading its capability. Mr Chaudhri regretted that this arms buildup by India is being aided and abetted by the West through a policy of exemptions, waivers and supply of advanced equipment, technology and weapons for narrow commercial interests. “The world community must dissuade India from its disproportionate arms buildup which could lead to an arms race in South Asia,” he said, reminding the world of India’s bellicose and irresponsible rhetoric in pursuit of a revisionist agenda in the neighbourhood.

Mr Chaudhri once again said that India would not be allowed to appoint a foreign lawyer for representing spy Kulbhushan Jadhav during the review proceedings in the Islamabad High Court. “India has been consistently making the unrealistic demand of allowing a lawyer from outside Pakistan to represent Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav,” he said. “We have informed India that only those lawyers are allowed to appear in Pakistani courts who have a licence to practice law in Pakistan. This is in line with international legal practice. There can be no change in this position,” he added.

Indian Ministry of External Affairs suggested appointment of a Queen’s counsel to represent Jhadav. Pakistan government-initiated review and reconsideration of Jhadav case to implement last year’s ICJ verdict, which asked Pakistan to allow Indian consular officers’ access to him, and arrange effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav. Jadhav, who was arrested in 2016 in Balochistan, was sentenced to death by a military court in 2017 after being convicted of espionage.

Pakistan’s National Assembly Passes Bill to Curb Terror Financing 

(September 15, 2020)

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Tuesday passed the “Anti-Terrorism (Third Amendment) Bill, 2020” which aims at addressing the issue of terror financing through latest techniques. The bill was tabled by Faheem Khan in the lower house of the parliament. The bill has been introduced in order to implement demands made by FATF regarding curbing terror financing in the country. 

The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was also introduced in the House., proposing amendments in the Pakistan Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure, penalizing the intentional ridiculing and defaming of the armed forces of Pakistan or any of its member. A person guilty of such offence will be punished with imprisonment for a term up to two years or fined for up to five hundred thousand rupees.

The purpose of this amendment is to prevent hatred and disrespectful behavior against the armed forces. The House was also informed that the National Disaster Management Authority has been carrying out relief and rescue operation in the rain hit areas across the country. Responding to a calling attention notice, Advisor on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan said currently Chairman NDMA, Lt. General Muhammad Afzal, along with teams of experts, is visiting Sindh to personally monitor the relief efforts.

He said food packages and tents have also been distributed among the rain affected people across Pakistan. Later, the House resumed discussion on the situation arising out of unfortunate crime of gang rape against a woman on the Lahore-Sialkot motorway.Taking part in the discussion, Minister for Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain stressed the need to reform the justice system in Pakistan to increase conviction rate in rape cases to prevent such inhuman acts in the society.

He said a rape victim should be treated as victim of violence and women investigation officer should be appointed to handle these cases.

Pakistan's Peace Quest Not Be Mistaken as Weakness: PM Imran 

(September 6, 2020)

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said that Pakistan's desire for peace must not be misconstrued as its weakness. In his message to nation on Defence Day of Pakistan today, the premier said that "We need to work together for peace and securing a brighter future for our coming generations.".

He said the resilient nation and the battle-hardened armed forces of Pakistan had time and again proved that they were fully capable of defending the country and were fully prepared to meet any kind of eventuality.

He said September 6 was a day in Pakistan's glorious history that was commemorated as a symbol of courage, strong will and unmatched spirit of sacrifice by its gallant armed forces.

He said together with the brave nation, Pakistan's officers, soldiers, sailors and airmen proved to the world 55 year ago on September 6, that they were ever ready to defend every inch of the motherland no matter whatever the cost.The prime minister said that with the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35-A, India had not only violated the UN Charter but has

also unleashed reign of terror on innocent Kashmiris, the APP reported.Indians are also showing aggressive posture on the Line of Control and such provocations were aimed at diverting the world attention from Indian atrocities in IIOJK, he added.

He urged the countrymen to pay homage to its martyrs and Ghazis, and pledge anew to defend Pakistan, safeguard its security and sovereignty at all costs with the same spirit, undaunted courage, unconquerable and indomitable spirit as had been displayed by the martyrs and Ghazis (veterans) of 1965 war.

PM Imran Summons Meeting of Senators to Discuss FATF Legislation

(September 4, 2020)

ISLAMABAD: In order to discuss legislation on Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Prime Minister Imran Khan has summoned a meeting of the Senators from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and other coalition parties.

According to the details, the meeting will be held at 4:30 pm today where the prime minister would also issue directives to the Senators on legislation pertaining to FATF and other matters.

On Wednesday Prime Minister Imran Khan while meeting with an adviser to Parliamentary Affairs Dr. Babar Awan in the federal capital Islamabad, said FATF rules will be passed in any case. Opposition to the FATF law is opposition to national goals, he said.

Plot Allotment Case: AC Issues Non-Bailable Arrest Warrant Against Nawaz Sharif 

(September 3, 2020)

LAHORE: An accountability court has issued non-bailable arrest warrants against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a plot allotment case.

According to media details, during the hearing, judge Asad Ali has directed foreign ministry to contact Pakistan High Commission in London for implementation on the warrant issued in the reference pertaining to a 34-year-old land allotment case.

Meanwhile, Inspector Bashir Ahmed submitted a report in the court, stating Nawaz Sharif was not present at his Model Town and Raiwind residences as he was in London for medical treatment.

Subsequently, the court, while extending judicial remand of veteran journalist Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman, has adjourned the hearing.

NAB spokesperson Nawazish Ali said media tycoon’s arrest had been in a case pertaining to the clandestine allotment of a 54-kanal piece of land in 1986, from the then government of chief minister Nawaz Sharif.

IHC tells Nawaz to Surrender Before Court on Sept 10

(September 1, 2020)

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday said former prime minister Nawaz Sharif should surrender and "appear before the court" at the next hearing, scheduled for September 10.

A two-member special bench comprising Justice Amir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani heard the petitions against the sentences of Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Captain (retd) Safdar in the Avenfield and Al-Azizia Steel Mills references.

Nawaz Sharif's lawyer, Khawaja Harris, appeared before the court whereas Prosecutor Jahanzeb Bharwana and Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi appeared before the court on behalf of NAB.

“We are not passing the final verdict as of yet,” the court said. “We are giving you [Nawaz] last chance to surrender before the next hearing. Nawaz Sharif should appear before the court in any case.”

To this, Harris prayed before the court that a verdict has been passed then because the court has said that Nawaz should surrender in any case. The court is not even giving an opportunity to explain the reasons for not appearing in court, Nawaz’s counsel added. "Don't give a surrender date today, have a hearing next week and then announce it.".

“Let us know if you fear any arrest at the airport,” Justice Kayani replied. “We will pass a written order in this regard. The court would also issue appropriate order on Nawaz Sharif's request for exemption from attendance.”

The court also barred Maryam from appearing in court for the next hearing and said the federal government should also present its position on the matter.

Further hearing of the case was adjourned till September 10 whereas appeals of Maryam and Captain Safdar in Avenfield reference would be heard on September 23.

During today's proceedings, Nawaz’s counsel prayed before the court that the former premier was not medically fit to return to Pakistan and that a writ petition in this regard is pending in the Lahore High Court (LHC).

In the Avenfield reference, bail was granted on merit, lawyer Harris prayed, adding that the status of Nawaz Sharif's bail today is that he is not on bail.

To this, Justice Amir Farooq inquired if Nawaz was surrendering if he was not on bail. “Punjab government rejected Nawaz Sharif's bail plea,” Khawaja Harris replied. Shouldn't Nawaz Sharif have surrendered to court after his bail had expired, the court inquired.

“Nawaz Sharif's case is unique, I will give detailed information on the condition of non-surrender to court,” the counsel replied. "The Punjab government formed a medical board which had said that Nawaz Sharif could not be treated here.”

Nawaz’s counsel added that his client was undergoing treatment abroad when his bail extension application was rejected. LHC was approached to remove Nawaz’s name from ECL, the lawyer stated; to which, Justice Farooq replied that LHC’s order cannot supersede Nawaz’ sentence suspension.

“Nawaz Sharif's bail was conditional or Punjab government would extend his bail,” the court stated. “If the Lahore High Court orders to remove the name from the ECL, then Al-Azizia sentence is over?”

To this, counsel Harris remarked that the sworn statement said that after recovery, if doctors give permission, Nawaz Sharif would return to Pakistan. “Today's position is that Nawaz Sharif does not have bail in the Al-Azizia reference,” Justice Amir Farooq.

“I admit that Nawaz Sharif has no guarantee at the moment,” Nawaz’s counsel replied. Justice Amir Farooq inquired how the court would know about Nawaz’s medical condition. “You filed the last report on June 26,” the judge said. To this, the counsel replied that he would submit a fresh medical report.

“There is nothing on record now that shows Nawaz Sharif is hospitalised or can travel. If you do not appear during the appeal proceedings, you will be sentenced to three years imprisonment. Did you challenge the order passed by the Punjab government?”

Nawaz Sharif did not challenge the order and the reason is written in the petition, the counsel replied.NAB opposed Nawaz Sharif's request for exemption from appearance. "Both the pleas for an exemption for Nawaz 


If bail was not conditional in the Al-Azizia reference, what would be the status of exemption of applications today, the court inquired.

Nawaz Sharif is a fugitive, the NAB prosecutor said as the former premier is not attending the court proceedings. "In case of absconding, a lawyer cannot appear in the appeal on behalf of Nawaz,” NAB prosecutor said.

Can Nawaz Sharif pursue appeals through a representative? Justice Amir Farooq asked “If Nawaz Sharif absconds, the court can appoint a representative,” NAB stated. Earlier while talking to the media, Maryam said that the former premier was anxious to return to Pakistan.

She added that the former premier is undergoing treatment in London which was delayed due to the outbreak of coronavirus. “I will be remain stubborn and say that Nawaz Sharif should not come back till his treatment is completed,” Maryam said. “Nawaz Sharif is very anxious to return home.”

Maryam added that she does not think that Nawaz would bar the party from attending the all parties conference (APC). She added that people would now have to think about Pakistan instead of themselves whereas the APC would find out if everyone is on the same page or not.

“It takes time for all parties to come together on one page for the country,” she said. Earlier, Nawaz assured the IHC that he would return to Pakistan as soon as he recuperates and maintained that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, his treatment in London had been subjected to delay.

The PML-N supremo on August 31, filed an application in the IHC seeking exemption from appearance in the hearing of his appeal against his conviction in the Avenfield reference. In the Al-Azizia reference, Sharif requested the court to adjourn the hearing of the case or carry out the proceedings in the presence of his representative.

Sharif’s daughter Maryam and his son-in-law Capt (retd) Safdar's counsel Amjad Pervaiz also moved two separate petitions to adjourn the hearing of appeals in Avenfield property reference. Pervaiz stated that he was on leave until September 5 and prayed the court to fix the hearing of the case after the ending of his vacations.

In his two separate applications, Nawaz Sharif responded to the questions regarding his recuperation and return to the country. The PML-N chief, in his application, seeking exemption from appearance in the hearing, adopted the stance that the matter regarding his departure for treatment abroad was already pending before the Lahore High Court.

He said the Punjab government despite being aware of this fact had neglected his medical reports and rejected his application for extension in bail. Assuring the IHC of his return to Pakistan after recuperation, Sharif noted that his treatment in London was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He stated that the physicians had advised him to stay at home due to the lockdown. He noted that the doctors had still not allowed him to travel to Pakistan and added that after being recovered, if permitted, he would travel back to his country on the first flight.

Sharif recalled that when his wife was critically ill, he had surrendered after going back to Pakistan and observed that he wanted to face the law in future too. The PML-N supremo noted that he could not challenge the Punjab government’s decision on his extension of bail as he was out of the country.

Clarifying his position on the matter, Sharif said his counsel had suggested that the Punjab government’s decision should not be challenged from abroad and that the initiative could not be taken without appearing personally before the court.

The former prime minister said that he had submitted his documents for extension in bail to the Punjab government but the authorities had deliberately rejected his application. Sharif further stated that he had sent his latest medical reports, which would be brought on record as soon as they are received by his counsel.

On Ashura, President Urges Countrymen to Strive for National Development, Shun Differences

(August 30, 2020)

ISLAMABAD(APP): President Dr Arif Alvi urged countrymen to strive for national progress and prosperity while shunning mutual differences, sectarian biases, and faith-based hate, in light of Hazrat Imam Hussain (R.A)’s teachings.

In his message on the occasion of Ashura, the president said that since the beginning, Allah bestowed special status to the 10th of Moharram-ul-Haram. Many of the remarkable historic incidents had taken place on this day, be it the acceptance of Holy Prophet Adam’s apology, safe arrival of Hazrat Noah’s ark at Mount Jodi, turning of Namrood’s fire into coolness for Hazrat Ibrahim (A.S) and the martyrdom of Hazrat Umar (R.A).

The president said that the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain (R.A) and his companions had eternally enriched the significance of 10th of Moharram in the Islamic history. The sacrifice of Imam Hussain gave Muslims a lesson that one should not evade even sacrificing his life while fighting against the evil forces.

He said the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (R.A) was in fact the victory of truth, and symbol of steadfastness against oppression and a glorious example of sacrifice. He said Moharram-ul-Haram instilled a passion which made the followers cope with any ordeal.

The president said the Pakistani nation had shown exemplary discipline during its fights against coronavirus. As the pandemic is not yet over, we must still show further precaution, he advised. He hoped that the people

On Ashura, President urges countrymen to strive for national development, shun differences

would adhere to anti-COVID 19 SOPs during the Ashura rituals in light of the guidelines issued after consultation with the religious scholars.

The president urged the countrymen to make a pledge to take every step for victory of truth, promotion of justice, adherence to Islamic values, and for national progress and prosperity. He prayed to Allah Almighty to turn the new Islamic year as year of development and prosperity for Pakistan.

Kashmiris Should be Inspired by Karbala to Fight Indian Tyranny: PM

(August 30, 2020)

ISLAMABAD (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan Sunday said that the brave Kashmiris who were fighting against the worst form of military oppression and tyranny should be inspired by Karbala to stay steadfast in their courage.

“The brave Kashmiris who are fighting against the worst form of military oppression & tyranny should be inspired by Karbala to stay steadfast in their courage because their struggle against tyranny & injustice will succeed as the martyrs of Karbala showed us,” the prime minister said on Twitter.

He said the sacrifice of Imam Hussain (A.S), his family and followers gave three messages for the Muslims.

Firstly, he said the immortality was earned by those who gave the supreme sacrifice of their lives to stand against tyranny and injustice. “It is not earned simply by being rich, powerful or educated,” he remarked.

He said throughout history, many great Muslims had been inspired by Karbala and sacrificed their lives to stand against oppression, colonial rule and injustice.

The prime minister said that today, the struggle continued against oppression of occupation and injustice in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan to Decide About Reopening of Schools on Sept 7, 2020

(August 28, 2020)

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood has said that the government will take the final decision regarding the reopening of educational institutions with consensus on the 7th of next month.

While speaking at a meeting of National Command and Operation Center in Islamabad (Thursday), it was emphasized that the educational institutions must ensure compliance to all Covid protocols and prepare accordingly before the final decision.

The forum suggested a strategy about reopening of educational institutions. It said that the institutions be opened on top to bottom approach starting from the Universities to the High Schools on rotation

basis. The NCOC proposed that timings of various institutions be staggered with suspending various activities which involve contraction and mass gatherings including co-curricular activities.

Development of Construction Sector Key to Economic Stability, Growth: PM Imran

(August 28, 2020)

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said the development of the construction sector is the key to the stability and growth of the country's economy. 

While chairing a weekly meeting of National Coordination Committee for Housing, Construction and Development in Islamabad, he said the promotion of this sector and providing facilities for investors, builders and developers associated with this sector is top priority of the government.

The Prime Minister directed all the Chief Secretaries to expedite the process of approval of pending applications for construction and to ensure that decisions on all applications are completed within the stipulated time, the Radio Pakistan reported.

The Chairman of CDA apprised the Prime Minister of the concessions

given in the construction sector in the Federal Capital Territory, the approvals given so far for commercial, residential construction, projects to be started in the near future, Park Enclave III project and Blue Area.

Peshawar BRT bus catches fire near Hayatabad

(August 26, 2020)

PESHAWAR – A bus of the recently launched public transport project, Bust Rapid Transit (BRT), caught fire on Wednesday near Hayatabad in Peshawar. 

All the passengers have been safely moved out of the station while the fire has been extinguished. No any loss of life has been reported. BRT spokesperson said that an investigation has been launched to know the reason behind the incident. This is for the fourth time that BRT system faced a problem.pic.twiter.com/1IHc9GO45Q

Last week, a bus of the BRT fleet developed a fault in Gulbahar area, causing suspension of the service for several hours. The bus was tow-chained to a crane and taken to the depot for repair.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had inaugurated the BRT on August 13 and the very next day passengers stormed the corridor of a station after exit machines suffered technical glitches. 

US embassy warns citizens about travel on Pakistani airlines

(August 25, 2020)

ISLAMABAD: In latest Travel Alert for its citizens, the US Embassy in Islamabad has asked them to monitor local media for updates before travelling on Pakistani air carriers and enroll themselves in Safe Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). 

The alert has been issued in the light of US Federal Aviation Administration’s decision to downgrade Pakistan to Category 2 ranking over its failure to comply with certain International Civil Aviation Organisation safety standards. 

A statement issued by the embassy said, "According to the FAA’s International Aviation Safety Assessment programme, air carriers from countries with Category 2 ratings are not allowed to initiate new service to the United States, are restricted to current levels of existing service to the United States, and are not permitted to carry the code of US carriers on any flights".

US citizens have been asked to "Monitor local media for updates on travel to, from, and within Pakistan on Pakistani air carriers" and "enroll in Safe Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive travel and security updates".

“U.S. citizens residing or traveling in Pakistan are advised that U.S. Embassy and Mission personnel are precluded from traveling on any Pakistani airline without prior authorization,” read the statement.

Pakistan’s ranking was dropped by the US authorities after fake pilots’ licenses issued surfaced earlier this year. 

Pakistan Rejects Indian “Charge Sheet”

(August 24, 2020)

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has categorically rejected the so-called "charge sheet" by India's National Investigation Agency which mischievously attempts to implicate Pakistan in the Pulwama attack in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir last year.

In a statement on Wednesday, Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said that the fabrications in the reported "charge sheet" are patently designed to further the BJP's anti-Pakistan rhetoric and its narrow domestic political interests.

He said at the outset, Pakistan had rejected India's baseless allegations and expressed readiness to extend cooperation on the basis of any actionable information. India failed to provide any credible evidence for its invective and has instead been using the attack for its malicious propaganda campaign against Pakistan.

The Spokesperson said the timing of the Pulwama attack, just two months before the Lok Sabha elections in India, and the fact that explosives used in the attack were collected from inside the IIOJK, and the key accused persons in the attack have already been killed by Indian forces, raise too many questions. The world knows well as to who benefited the most from Pulwama attack and drew electoral dividends.

He said it would be recalled that Indian military aircraft engaged in belligerent action against Pakistan on 26th February 2019. The Indian misadventure was effectively countered by the Pakistan Air Force, which resulted in the downing of two Indian warplanes and capture of an Indian pilot. Despite India's provocations, the Indian pilot was released by Pakistan as a peace gesture.


He said in response to a paper shared by the Indian Government following the Pulwama attack, Pakistan constituted a high-level investigation team to examine its contents. As the information provided by India was incomplete, patchy and unsubstantiated, Pakistan shared two Aides-memoir, seeking further information and supporting evidence from India. India has been unable to provide any corroboration of its unfounded allegations.

The Spokesperson said India cannot mislead the world community with its motivated propaganda. Indian allegations against Pakistan seek to divert attention from India's state-terrorism in IIOJK, grave human rights violations of the Kashmiri people under Indian occupation, and the RSS-BJP regime's mishandling of domestic issues.

He said Pakistan has been forewarning the international community about India's use of "false flag" operation and possible ill-conceived misadventure. With the approaching state elections in India, the RSS-BJP ploy of raising the Pakistan bogey again for making electoral gains is palpable.

I made Imran Khan PM PK: Miandad

(AUGUST 12, 2020)

ISLAMABAD: Legendary cricketer Javed Miandad says he was the driving force for Imran Khan in cricket.

In an interview on his YouTube channel Tuesday, the former Pakistan captain said actually he was the captain of Imran Khan. He said he will join politics and tell people what is real politics? He explained that after joining politics he will call a spade a spade.

Javed Miandad, a member of the World Cup winning team in 1992, said he made Imran Khan the prime minister, but it seems he has lost his way. He said Imran Khan is not running the country properly and the appointments in the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) are also questionable.

He said Imran Khan has deprived players of their jobs. He said the people of Pakistan are very capable, and there is no need to run the Affairs of Pakistan cricket by bringing people from abroad. He alleged that ignorant people are running the affairs of PCB. He said who will

catch the foreigners if they escaped after doing corruption in the PCB.Javed Miandad also said that the treatment of former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed was not right. He praised the Pakistan Army for keeping the country united.

President Sardar Masood Khan Pays Tributes to IIOJK People for Resisting Colonialism, Foreign Occupation           Fri 31st July 2020 | 10:34 PM

MUZAFFARABAD: Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan on Friday paid tributes to the valiant people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) for their resilience to face India's barbaric scorched-earth policy, and their resolve to resist colonialism and foreign occupation

"We are with our brothers and sisters in IIOJK until together we repulse the Indian invasion and wrestle down the monster of Hindutva which is feeding on Kashmiri lives and rights," Masood said in a video message to the Kashmiri people in connection with the Youm-e-Istehsal (August 5) marking the first anniversary of last year's unilateral illegal Indian action of abrogating the special constitutional status of IIOJK and its military siege.

He said the day (August 5) had gone down as the blackest day in the history of Kashmir as on that day last year 900,000 Indian occupation forces invaded the IIOJK and re-occupied it. Ever since they had been brutalizing the people and colonizing the territory. The occupation army, he said, had killed hundreds of young men, incarcerated thousands of boys and children, and forcibly disappeared Kashmiris. All freedom leaders were under illegal detention. Concentration camps had been set up in the occupied territory in order to force political activists to discard their quest for liberty.

Sardar Masood pointed out that late last year, India bifurcated the disputed territory illicitly into two parts and declared that they would be ruled by Delhi, without the consent of the people. "In another sinister move this year, India has launched massive import and transfer of Hindus from India to settle them in the occupied territory in order to change the demographic composition of the state. This is a flagrant violation of the 4th Geneva Convention and international law." He observed that the scale at which the atrocities were being committed had been rightly termed genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

"Kashmiris are being exterminated; they are being made aliens in their own land, homeless in their homeland. The full-fledged aggression against Kashmiris is driven by the Neo-Fascist Hindutva doctrine and settler colonialism. We see a replication of the Nazi policies in the occupied territory," he asserted. The AJK president said Indian rulers and armed forces, through their warmongering, ceasefire violations, and threats to attack Azad Kashmir and disintegrate Pakistan, were pushing the region to the brink of war. In fact, they had declared multiple wars against all their neighbouring and even against their own population.

Expressing gratitude to the international media, world parliaments, international civil society and human rights organisations for calling out India's revolting and despicable crimes against humanity and for speaking up for the oppressed and besieged Kashmiris, Sardar Masood regretted that with the exception of China, Turkey, Malaysia, Iran and West European countries, the response of the most powerful nations had been disappointing and faltering.

He also thanked the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation for its strong solidarity with the Kashmiris; and the periodic statements issued by the United Nations leadership. "But this is not enough. We demand action." President Masood appealed to the international community, especially the United Nations, to step forward and help liberate the people of IIOJK, or, otherwise, it would be too late. An entire people would be disenfranchised, dispossessed, displaced and destroyed altogether.

In another video message, the AJK president paid great homage to Ghazi-e-Millat Sardar Mohammad Ibrahim Khan, and said undoubtedly he was a hero of the liberation movement and a popular Kashmiri leader, who had got a resolution of Kashmir's accession to Pakistan passed at his residence in Srinagar on July 19, 1947, and was also instrumental in declaring war against Maharaja Hari Singh's forces and liberating of one-third part of Kashmir.

He said if India had not landed its troops in Srinagar on October 27, 1947, the whole Jammu and Kashmir would have formed Pakistan today. Terming late Ghazi-e- Millat an honest, upright and most clean politician of his time, Sardar Masood said the best tribute to the founder leader was to dedicate all abilities for strengthening and reinforcing Kashmir liberation struggle while adhering to his principles and thoughts.

He urged the youth of AJK to follow the footsteps of late Ghazi-e- Millat to achieve the desired goals in life. In a special message on the eve of Eid-ul-Azha, the AJK president expressed the confidence that the day was not far off when the Kashmiri people would celebrate the Eid and observe the Sunnah-e-Ibrahimi in an environment of liberty by virtue of the unprecedented sacrifices they had offered for their supreme cause of freedom from the usurper.

He said on the Eid ul Azha, on the one hand the people of occupied Kashmiri, who were faced with the worst siege of their homeland by India, were fighting the novel coronavirus while on the other the Indian rulers and the occupation army had tied them like animals, and dozens of youth were being martyred on daily basis. While extending Eid greetings to the IIOJK people, the AJK president assured that the people of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir stood shoulder to shoulder with them, and would continue supporting their freedom struggle till the occupied territory was liberated.

The people of Jammu and Kashmir dwelling both sides of the line of control are all set to celebrate Eidul Adha with traditional religious zeal and fervor on August 1st, 2020      (July 31, 2020)

MIRPUR: The people of Jammu and Kashmir dwelling both sides of the line of control are all set to celebrate Eidul Adha with traditional religious zeal and fervor on August 1st. The day will begin with special prayers in the mosques for the stability, integrity, unity and solidarity of the Muslim Ummah, progress and prosperity of Pakistan and Azad Jammu & Kashmir and the liberation of Indian Illegally occupied Jammu Kashmir.

The Indian Illegal occupational forces have locked all mosques and other sites of worships to resist Muslim population attending Eid congregations to offer the Eid prayers. As such People of Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir, besieged in the curfew-clamped bleeding valley were being deprived of celebrating the sanctified day, because of the total siege of the internationally-acknowledged disputed Indian Illegally occupied Jammu Kashmir state by over 1.50 million other Indian occupying armed forces in follow up of the August 5, 2919 Indian abortive attempt of revocation of special status of the Internationally acknowledged disputed Himalayan state.

Valiant Kashmiri Muslims in the occupied state, are, however, reportedly determined to celebrate Eidul Adha with full religious zeal and fervor despite the exceptional restrictions imposed by the occupational Indian forces, with renewal of the pledge to continue the liberation struggle, a report reaching from across the line of control here Saturday said.

As Diplomatic Relations Worsen, India Increases Shelling Across LOC   (July 31, 2020)

MUZAFFARABAD: The Pakistan Army said that there has been an escalation in firing and shelling across the Line of Control (LoC), at a time of heightened diplomatic tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours. Major-General Amer Ahsan Nawaz, the commander of Pakistani troops in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), said that the Indian military is trying to distract attention from unrest in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K).

“If you compare it to the past years, there is a definite increase in this year,” he told reporters on Wednesday near the LoC, across which the two sides’ militaries have faced off for decades. According to the Pakistan Army, in 2019, when ceasefire violations hit a more than decade-high peak, there were just over 3,500 incidents. Already in 2020 there have been almost 1,800 violations, The surge during the more volatile summer season since June has been more pronounced than in previous years, they added.

Tensions were exacerbated last year when India revoked the autonomous status of IOJ&K. In the recent months, the diplomatic relationship has worsened further as New Delhi and Islamabad each ejected half of its neighbour’s diplomats. In AJK, which is relatively heavily populated close to the LoC, locals said that shelling or firing was becoming a near-daily occurrence. “It can start any time day or night,” said Malik Mohammad Ayub, a local deputy commissioner, who said around four civilians were martyred and 13 wounded in his district since he took the job four months ago.

Faiza Shabbir, 12, said she and her sisters had been afraid when shelling began in their area earlier this month. “Firing was going on, so we hid in our house, then a shell hit our roof. Three of us sisters and our grandmother were injured,” she said, adding that had spent four days in hospital being treated for shrapnel wounds.

AJK President Urges UK Councillors to Lobby for Kashmir Issue Settlement (July 30, 2020)

ISLAMABAD: The Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan has called upon the British government to fulfil its responsibility to resolve the Kashmir issue according to the aspirations of the people of the valley and urged the Kashmiri community of the UK to use their leverage for the solution of the problem.

Addressing a National Councillors' Conference organised by Faheem Kiyani, President Tahreek-e-Kashmir UK on the topic of “Brutal Lockdown and Demographic Changes in Kashmir”, he said the UK being a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and forbearer of human rights has the responsibility to brief the others, permanent members of the council about the irredentism in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K) and mounting humanitarian crisis in the region.

The event, first of its kind, participated besides others by elected members of over fifty members of different City Councils and Boroughs from across the UK was moderated by Uzma Rasool and also addressed by prominent Kashmiri Hurriyat leader Altaf Ahmed Bhatt and Raja Faheem Kiani. Speaking as chief guest of the event, Masood Khan urged the Kashmiri leaders to accelerate their efforts and mobilise British Parliamentarians through cohesive efforts to raise the issue.

“I appeal to you to mobilise public opinion in the UK and beyond by relating that in the last century it was a crime to be a Jew in Nazi Germany and now Muslims in India and Occupied Kashmir are facing the same persecution at the hands of BJP-RSS fascist regime,” Masood said.

The president exhorted the diaspora community leaders to play their due role in raising the Kashmir issue effectively in the British Parliament, civil society and the media and approve resolutions in their respective councils in favour of Kashmiris peoples’ inalienable right to self-determination and against Indian atrocities and monstrosities in IOJ&K.

Masood noted that many electoral constituencies in the UK have a strong Kashmiri population and the constituents can persuade their elected MPs in the British Parliament to help push the Kashmir issue forward for its peaceful resolution as the conflict has posed a serious threat to peace and security of the region. “Your outreach within your councils and constituencies is very significant. It's time to work at the grass-root level to draw global attention towards the horrendous human rights situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir and stem the genocide taking place in the occupied territory,” he added.

Urging the elected representatives of the diaspora community to communicate with their lawmakers and write to FCO and 10 Downing Street, the president asserted that the UK government should be more firm when it comes to situation in IOJ&K and they should not hide behind the frivolous argument that the Kashmir issue is a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan. Referring to the history of Kashmir freedom, Masood said Kashmiris have been fighting for the freedom and liberty for past 200 years but their plight became more complex after India's occupation of Kashmir in 1947.

“Kashmiris have been facing massacres and mayhem in the hands of the occupying army since India occupied the territory 73 years ago. A holocaust took place in 1947 leading to the brutal murder of 237,000 Muslim Kashmiris that resulted in a major demographic change in Jammu region of the occupied state, he said. Now India, AJK president said, under the garb of double lockdown is transforming the demography in Kashmir valley. After the occupational lockdown the 700,000 troops present in IOJ&K were beefed up to 900,000 and there has been an incessant communication blockade across the occupied territory.

The reaction to the August 05 move of Indian government came from world parliaments, civil society and media, questioning the legitimacy of Indian action to colonise Kashmir and even United Nations called the communication blockades imposed by New Delhi in Occupied Kashmir as a tool to curb expression and other fundamental rights of the people.

But unfortunately, the reaction lasted only for three months partly because of Brexit in the UK, President’s Trump’s impeachment and later due to outbreak of Covid-19. However, he expressed his deep gratitude to the UK’s public opinion leader parliamentarians and the diaspora community for mobilising support for the oppressed Kashmiris by organising massive rallies and calling out human right crimes committed by India in IOJ&K.

Others who spoke on the occasion were, Cllr Zafar Islam Dudley, Cllr Sajid Mehmood from Nottingham, Cllr Khatejah Malik from Luton, Cllr Altaf Hussain from Oxford. Cllr Kashif Ch from Luton, Cllr Naveed Raja from Luton, Cllr Maqsood from Waltham Forest, Muhammad Hanif Raja from Glasgow, Qaiser Chaudhry from Chesham, Mehboob Hussain Bhatti from Wycombe,

Cllr Muhammad Ayun from Bolton, Liaqat Ali MBE from Waltham Forest, Cllr Nyer Nazir from Redditch, Cllr Aasim Rashid from Rochdale, Cllr, Shoukat Ali from Manchester, Cllr Aslam Khan from Loton, Cllr Shahida Mehrban from Hounslow, Cllr Munsif Dad from Hyndburn, Cllr Salma Mumtaz from Nottingham, Cllr Shazia Bashir from Peterborough, Cllr Khalid Hussain from Bury, Cllr Muhammad Idrees from Birmingham, Cllr Javeria Hussain from Luton, Cllr Jamila Azad from Oxford,

Cllr Mushtaq Ahmed from Red Bridge, Cllr Akhtar Hussain from Black Burn, Cllr Iram Ali from Newcastle, Cllr Asif Khan from Watford, Cllr Nighat Khan from Nottingham, Cllr Muhammad Saghir from Nottingham, Cllr Shakil Ahmed from Rochdale, Cllr Muhammad Iqbal from Bolton, Cllr Sehrish Loan from Burnley, Cllr Mushtaq Mughal from Newham, Cllr Fiaz Matloob from Slough, Cllr Hather Ali from Waltham Forest, Cllr Afrasiab Anwar from Burnley, Cllr M. Yaseen Hussain from Sandwell, Cllr M. Shahzad from Leeds and Cllr Sabina Dita from Wallsal.


British Airways Starts Direct Flights to Pakistan...(July 30, 2020) 

LONDON: British Airways on Thursday announced to resume flight operations for Pakistan. Direct flights will be operated between Islamabad and Heathrow Airport London three times a week, with first British Airways flight landing in the country on August 14 amid extra precautionary measures for the safety of its crew and passenger.

The airline today said it would start direct flights three times a week to and from Heathrow Airport and Islamabad. The first flight will land in Islamabad on 14 August, and will be taking extra precautionary measures for the safety of its crew and passengers.

Today’s announcement is another important step in reconnecting the trade ties and people-to-people ties between the UK and Pakistan. Wearing masks during the flights will be mandatory for the passengers traveling to and from Islamabad International Airport.

The United Kingdom (UK) government website shared details of the flight operations saying that from London Heathrow the flights will be on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, departing at 20:30 and arriving in Islamabad at 04:20. From Islamabad, flights will be on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, departing at 06:15 and arriving in London at 15:00.

The British High Commissioner Dr. Christian Turner CMG, said this was an important moment for UK-Pakistan links.“The resumption of British Airways direct flights is a big boost for the hundreds of thousands of travellers who travel regularly between our two great nations, many who have had their travel plans disrupted by the pandemic,” the high commissioner said.

He expressed gratitude towards the government of Pakistan, British Airways and his team in Pakistan who worked hard to achieve the results. The airline’s direct flights restarted in June 2019 after a break of 10 years. The carrier first flew to Islamabad in 1976.

Sardar Masood Khan is currently serving as the 27th President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, a position he assumed on 25th August 2016. Immediately before becoming the President he was the Director General of the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad.

Prior to getting elected as the President of AJK, Sardar Masood Khan Khan had a long diplomatic career with the Foreign Service of Pakistan. Most notably, he served as the Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2003 to 2005; Pakistan’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Geneva, Switzerland, from 2005 to 2008; Pakistan's Ambassador to China from 2008 to 2012; and Pakistan’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Headquarters, New York, from 2012 to 2015.

In his earlier diplomatic career, he held important diplomatic positions in China, The Netherlands, United Nations (New York) and the USA (Washington D.C).

Over the years, he has also held leadership positions in the international community which include President of the Conference on Disarmament, President of the Biological Weapons Review Conference 2006, President of the Governmental Group of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Chairman of the ILO Reform Committee, Chairman of the Council of the International Organization for Migration, Chairman of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Geneva and Chairman of the Group of 77 and China.

In New York, Sardar Masood Khan represented Pakistan as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council from 2012 to 2013 and became the President of the Security Council in January 2013. While in New York, he was also the Vice President of the Economic and Social Council, Vice President of the UN General Assembly and President of the Executive Board of UNICEF.

Sardar Masood Khan also remained Pakistan's Chief Negotiator at the Nuclear Security Summit from 2009 to 2015.

In the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he has served as Director General United Nations, Director General Nuclear Disarmament, Director General Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Director General East Asia and Pacific. Earlier, he was Director Secretary General’s Office and Director International Conferences.

His areas of specialization include nuclear diplomacy, Kashmir, South Asia, Pak-China relations, Pak-US relations, e-governance, multilateral diplomacy and international humanitarian law, among others.

Raja Muhammad Farooq Haider Khan ,was elected Azad Jammu and Kashmir Prime Minister and leader of the House by AJK Legislative Assembly on 31st July, 2016 by a vast majority. Raja Muhammad Farooq Haider Khan belongs to a well known political family & inherited the career from his family, his father Raja Muhammad Haider Khan (Late) led the Muslim Conference being the President of Muslim Conference two times i.e. in 1960 & 1963. His mother Mohterma Saeeda Khan (late) holds the honor to be the first female Member of AJ&K Legislative Assembly in the history of Azad Jammu & Kashmir. His uncle Raja Muhammad Latif Khan was elected as a Member of AJ&K Legislative Assembly in 1970. His sister Miss Naureen Haider also remained a Member of AJ&K Legislative Assembly from 1991 to 1996.

The honourable, Prime Minister of Government of Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Raja Farooq Haider talking to the media representatives in the Tulip garden at Muzaffarabad.The Tulip garden is established under the administration of the Dr. Muhammad Bashir Butt, Director General, Agriculture, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Muzaffarabad and Tariq Masood Khan, Secretary, Agriculture, Irrigation and Animal Husbandry Affairs, Government of Azad Jammu & Kashmir.

ISLAMABAD: Kashmiri leaders across the Line of Control (LoC) have urged the governments of Pakistan and India to resume dialogue aimed at bringing sustainable peace and security in South Asia.

These views were expressed by speakers at a conference titled “Kashmir Freedom Struggle and Challenges”, jointly organised by Jammu and Kashmir Salvation Movement (JKSM) and Tehreek-e-Kashmir (TeK) United Kingdom (UK) at the Kashmir House in Islamabad on Monday.

Speaking on the occasion, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan stressed upon the need to approach the overseas Kashmiris for the projection of Kashmir cause and exposing India’s state terrorism in the occupied valley.

“The third generation of Pakistanis and Kashmiris settled in the UK and Europe must be approached for highlighting the Kashmir cause at international level,” he said.  Khan added the Kashmir conflict has now become an issue for Indian Muslims and Pakistan as well due to Modi government’s anti-Muslim agenda.

JKSM chairman Altaf Bhat said that harassment of the families of political workers and other social activists at the hands of Indian forces is unfortunate. He also deplored travel restrictions on Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Yaseen Malik and Zafar Akbar Bhat.

Bhat demanded an end to censorship imposed on media by the Indian government, including frequent shut downs of internet services to stop people from taking to social media.

A resolution was also passed by the summit, extending solidarity with the family members of political workers who were either martyred or sent to jail by India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Through the resolution it was also demanded that all political leaders including Shabir Ahmad Shah, Asiya Andrabi, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Dr Qasim Fakhtu and Mussarat Alam among others are released at the earliest.

The resolution demanded an end to the ban imposed on Jammu and Kashmir Jamaat-e-Islami (JKJI) , Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) and an immediate release of JKJI chief Dr Abdul Hameed Fayaz, JKLF chief Yaseen Malik and others.

“World community and human rights organisations must take notice of the youngest pellet-gun victim Hibba Nisar, an 18-month infant who was injured by the pellets fired by the Indian troops on her face.

“This conference also denounces continued ceasefire violations on the Line of Control by the Indian forces, targeting civilians and unarmed people of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. We appeal to the world community to put pressure on New Delhi to stop the targetted killing of civilians,” the resolution further read.

Dr. Muhammad Bashir Butt                                                          Director General Agriculture                                                                          Government of Azad Jammu & Kashmir                                        Agriculture Complex, Shaukat Lines, Gojra, Muzaffarabad,           +92(582)-2920563    +92(582)-5822920563               +92(333)-5308935   agriculture_ajk@yahoo.com                    https://agriculture.ajk.gov.pk/

مظفر آباد (لائلپورپوسٹ)-آزاد کشمیر میں دو ہفتوں کے لیے مکمل لاک ڈاؤن کا فیصلہ، اطلاق آج رات بارہ بجے سے ہوگا۔ وزیر اعظم آزاد کشمیر راجہ محمد فاروق خان نے نرمی کا فیصلہ واپس لیتے ہوئے آزاد کشمیر میں لاک ڈاؤن مزید سخت کرنے کا حکم دے دیا۔

آزاد کشمیر میں رات 12 بجے سے مکمل لاک ڈاؤن بحال کر دیا جائے گا۔ وزیراعظم آزاد کشمیر کا کہنا ہے کہ لاک ڈاؤن کے دوران اشیاء ضروریہ میڈیکل اسٹور طے شدہ اوقات کار کے مطابق کھلے رہیں گے۔ راجہ فاروق حیدر نے کہا کہ فیصلہ کورونا کے بڑھتے ہوئے کیسز کو مدنظر رکھ کر کیا گیا، عوام سے تعاون کی اپیل ہے۔

وزیر اعظم آزاد کشمیر نے کہا کہ یہ احتیاطی اور حفاظتی اقدامات ہیں، جو عوام کو محفوظ بنانے کے لیے اٹھائے گئے ہیں۔ انہوں نے کہا کہ حالات عید کی شاپنگ کرنے کے متقاضی نہیں ہیں، عید سادگی سے منائیں۔ فاروق حیدر خان نے کہا کہ عید تک ٹرانسپورٹ بھی معطل رہےگی، عوام غیر ضروری طور پر گھروں سے نہ نکلیں۔ وزیراعظم آزاد کشمیر نے کہا کہ لاک ڈاؤن کے احکامات کا اطلاق 18 مئی سے دو ہفتوں کےلیے ہو گا۔

Mr. Mathar Niaz Rana has assumed the charge of 48th Chief Secretary Azad Government of the State of Jammu & Kashmir on 12th February 2019.

He is graduate of UET Lahore, Imperial College, Business School London, London School of Economics and NDU Islamabad.

He has served on important positions in Islamabad Capital Terrority, Administration, Federal Government and Governments of Punjab and Balochistan.

ISLAMABAD. National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri raised the Kashmir cause at the Sustainable Deve­lopment Goals summit and apprised its participants about unconstitutional steps and atrocities being committed by Indian government against innocent people of held Kashmir.

Members of the Indian delegation at the summit led by the Lok Sabha speaker tried to interrupt Mr Suri. However, their attempt went unheeded and the deputy speaker continued his speech and apprised the participants about the volatile situation in India-held Kashmir.

The entire occupied valley had been converted into a heavily militarized zone and people were being stopped from performing their religious rites, Mr Suri said, according to a message received here from Maldives.

The deputy speaker stressed upon the South Asian countries to support Kashmiris for their right to self-determination under the auspicious of United Nations.
He said means of communication had been disconnected in the occupied valley aggravating the agony of its people, and that the international community must raise the Kashmir issue at appropriate level by asserting pressure on India for its resolution in accordance with the UN resolutions and aspiration of Kashmiri people.

He reiterated Pakistan’s stance for morally and diplomatically supporting Kashmiris, saying that the attitude of India towards Kashmir issue was putting South Asia peace and development at stake.

NEW DELHI: Indian government said it was 'unacceptable' over the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation's (OIC) reference to Jammu and Kashmir in a communiqué adopted at its summit meeting in the Saudi Arabian city of Makkah last week.

In a strong reaction, Indian foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar slammed the OIC saying it should refrain from making such "unwarranted references."

In its final communique at the Makkah summit, the OIC reiterated its support for the legitimate rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and also appointed a special envoy for the state. The OIC is an international organisation consisting of 57 member states, 53 of them Muslim-majority nations.

In his statement Kumar said: "We categorically reject yet another unacceptable reference to matters internal to India in the Final Communiqué adopted at the conclusion of the 14th Islamic Summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states held at Makkah on 31 May 31."

"The OIC has no locus standi in matters relating to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral part of India. It is reiterated that OIC should refrain from making such unwarranted references," Kumar said.

Pakistan is suspected to have played a major part in finalising the communiqué, according to people familiar with the developments in New Delhi – one of the possible key reasons Kashmir having figured so prominently in the OIC communiqué.

The OIC move comes within months of the grouping inviting India as a “guest of honour" to address a foreign ministers’ meeting in Abu Dhabi. On 1 March, former foreign minister Sushma Swaraj had attended the inaugural plenary of the 46th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers– becoming the first Indian minister to address an OIC meeting.

India's participation happened despite Pakistan's strong demand to withdraw the invitation to Swaraj. Pakistan's request was turned down by host UAE, resulting in Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi boycotting the plenary.

2020. All Rights Reserved. Layalpur Post.Pakistan.