ISLAMABAD, 1 December, 2020, (TON): Pakistan and China signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for enhancing defence cooperation between the two armies, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Monday. 

The development comes during a meeting of Minister of National Defence China General Wei Fenghe with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi. 

Chinese visiting dignitary also acknowledged and appreciated the Pakistan Army’s sincere efforts for regional peace and provision of secure environment for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, according to the military's media wing. 

Matters of mutual interest, regional security and enhanced bilateral defence collaboration were discussed during the meeting. 

The army chief thanked the national defence minister for China’s unwavering support to Pakistan on all key issues at regional and international forums. He said that Pakistan Army greatly values "our time-tested and brotherly relations with China". 

Both the dignitaries discussed matters related to changing geostrategic environment and further strengthening of security and defence cooperation between the two countries, the ISPR said. 

Earlier on arrival at the GHQ Pakistan Army presented the guard of honour to the visiting dignitary. 

China has proved to be an increasing source of stability and security of Pakistan. Both countries have developed closer defence cooperation with each other. There have been frequent military exchanges between the two-armed forces and have signed a number of defence agreements to promote defence cooperation to take existing bilateral military cooperation to new heights. 

ISLAMABAD, 30 November 2020, (TON): Thousands of small and medium level non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have suffered during the government’s campaign to regularise their affairs in a bid to fulfil the requirements of Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the global watchdog for illicit financing.

The mapping of NGOs was stared in May 2019 to fulfil the FATF requirements. The provincial government of KPK deregistered earlier this year around 3,851 NGOs of the total 4,935, working in different sectors in the province.

Prior to launching the exercise, sources said that 3, 838 NGOs were registered with the provincial social welfare department and 1,097 were registered with the provincial industries department. They said that social welfare department deregistered 3,030 NGOs while industries department deregistered 821 for not fulfilling the criteria required for their mapping. Over 3,500 non-governmental organisations deregistered since May 2019

However, later, the social welfare department re-registered 12 NOGs out of 3,030 while industries department re-registered 20 NGOs after they provided the required documents.

The government has also frozen the bank accounts of all the deregistered NGOs. The major information sought by the government from NGOs included registration certificates; constitution, rules and regulations; annual action plan and five years strategic plan; detailed annual budget; tax registration certificates; tax exemption certificates; tax returns of the last three years; evidence of withholding taxes; and annual performance reports for three years.

The director of social welfare department, Habib Afridi, when contacted, said that those NGOs were deregistered, which were not fulfilling the required criteria. “We have reregistered 12 NGOs, which have properly applied and provided the required documents,” he said.

He claimed that the most of deregistered NGOs had been dormant since long.

However, he said, the department had directed all the NGOs through advertisements in the newspapers to provide the requisite information.

For effective and secure working, FATF has recommended scrutiny of non-profits and NGOs. Pakistan was assigned by the FATF with 28 recommendations involving problems like terror financing and money laundering. Despite the publication of notices in newspapers, there was zero response from inactive organizations and were thus sacked.

SRINAGAR, 29 November 2020, (TON): All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) has welcomed OIC Foreign Ministers’ Council resolution passed in favour of the Kashmiris’ inalienable right to self-determination at its session in Niamey, Niger.

Message on the behalf of top Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Geelani said, “We are thankful to all the Muslims countries as members of the OIC to support Kashmiris right of seld-determination and highlighting the atrocities of Indian occupying brute forces.”

APHC General Secretary Molvi Bashir Ahmad in a statement issued in Srinagar, today, thanked all members of OIC for its efforts to muster the support of Muslim countries for the Kashmir cause. He said, the situation has become more serious in occupied Kashmir where human rights violations are committed by Indian troops in a systematic manner. He also the appreciated the role of Foreign Minister of Pakistan in drawing the attention of the Muslim countries towards the sufferings of the Kashmiris in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir State.

He said that killings and vandalism were going on in IIOJK and it was a matter of concern for the civilized world, urging it to play role and settle the dispute according to the UN resolutions so that permanent peace could be established in the region.

Meanwhile, Islami Tanzeem-e-Azadi Chairman, Abdul Samad Inqilabi in a statement in Srinagar also sought intervention by the OIC to save Kashmiris from ethnic cleansing in IIOJK. He said that Kashmiri people are facing Islamophobia at the hands of occupational forces of Modi-led fascist Indian government.

Vice Chairman of Political Division of Ittehad-e-Islami, Ghulam Nabi Darzi in a statement in Srinagar appreciated the OIC Foreign Ministers’ conference for approving resolution on Kashmir and termed it a welcome step.

ISLAMABAD, 28 November 2020, (TON): Special Assistant to Prime Minister on overseas Pakistanis, Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari on Friday said that Pakistani labour would avail new opportunities of job in Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

In an interview with a private television channel program Zulfi Bukhari said ‘many countries provided employment to Pakistani people in the recent past due to vibrant foreign policy.”

The weak economic activity was being observed around the world due to emergence of COVID-19 cases, he stated.

Regarding the restriction on Pakistanis visa for Dubai he said “there was no restriction of visa, but Dubai was undergoing in a scrutiny process.”

“We should understand the problems of the people of U.A.E, who were also facing the challenges, emerged due to corona virus,” he said.

he added that virtual labour was being reduced in U.A.E, due to which, new jobs would be available for labour community of Pakistan.

The Special Assistant to Prime Minister said, we have sent over nine hundred thousand Pakistanis to many countries for jobs. In November, he said some 1600 Pakistani people went to U.A.E for work purpose.

Workers from Pakistan in the Gulf region make a considerable percentage of the overall working class employed in the region. The recent lock-down due to the corona virus fear, has immensely endangered the jobs of these migrant workers and according to reports UAE has restricted new visas for several countries including Pakistan due to security reasons however, Zulfi Bukhari clarified that there is no such restriction while the UAE is undergoing a scrutiny process.

ISLAMABAD, 28 November 2020, (TON): Pakistan on Friday asked the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to launch an international campaign for outlawing willful provocation against Muslims and incitement to hate.

At the 47th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) in Niamey, Niger, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi proposed designating March 15 as ‘International Day to Combat Islamophobia.’

He appealed to the OIC countries to use their political influence and economic clout to prevent India from committing atrocities in occupied Kashmir.

He said “Islamophobia and hatred towards Muslims was on steep rise in the West and elsewhere. Recent despicable incidents like desecration of the Holy Quran and reprinting of caricatures of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) have seriously hurt the sentiments of over 1.8 billion Muslims around the world.”

Mr Qureshi added “these shameful acts could not and should not be justified in the name of freedom of expression.”

He said the rise and political mainstreaming of far-right extremism in many countries were creating a hostile environment for Muslims and it was critical to raise awareness about this new scourge.

The foreign minister said the rising wave of Hindutva in India had emerged as a serious threat not only to Indian Muslims but also to regional security.

He said the Modi government was systematically attacking India’s over 180 million Muslims.

“We must take cognizance of these crimes lest we see another bloodbath of Indian Muslims,” the foreign minister said.

He praised the OIC for being at the forefront of efforts to support the legitimate and just struggle of the Kashmiri people for their inalienable right to self-determination. “The beleaguered people of IIOJK, now more than ever, look towards the OIC and the Ummah to help alleviate their sufferings.”

Muslims continue to be targeted with impunity in many countries. Islamophobia and provocation against Muslims is another way to exert ideological power on Muslim world. However, OIC must work to outlaw the deliberate provoke to demean Muslims.

MUZAFFARABAD, 26 November 2020, (TON): A villager of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) lost his life on Wednesday evening after an Indian sniper shot at him from across the restive Line of Control (LoC) while he was heading home on a motorbike, officials said.

Chaudhry Ansar Mahmood, was about to reach his home in Gohra Mehri hamlet when he fell victim to the savagery of some trigger-happy soldier in an Indian post, situated at a stone’s throw from the spot, deputy commissioner Bhimber Qaiser Aurangzeb told a news agency by telephone.

Gohra Mehri hamlet is part of the revenue village Kahanwaliyan in Samahni subdivision of Bhimber district. Milit­ary refers to this area as Baghsar sector.

DC Aurangzeb said “He was struck by a single bullet that pierced the right side of his body through the ribs.”

A group of undaunted villagers took the victim to the nearest health facility in Bandala, but he did not survive due to excessive blood loss.

The deceased was said to be the elder son of his parents and a father of three daughters.

In a statement, the Inter-Services Public Relations confirmed the martyrdom of Mr Mahmood due to “unprovoked ceasefire violation by the Indian army in Baghsar sector”.

Locals are victims as India unleashed its security forces on non-combatant Kashmiris along the LoC in AJK. 

LAHORE, 19 November 2020, (TON): Khadim Hussain Rizvi, Chief of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan has reportedly passed away. As per the reports from Sheikh Zayed Hospital, Lahore, an unidentified dead body was received at the hospital on Thursday at 0845 hours who had already expired so the dead body was returned to those who brought the body to the hospital. The hospital authorities declined to comment on the cause of the death.

Later, for the reasons best known to the attendant who brought the dead body to Sheikh Zayed Hospital, Lahore, shifted the said body to another private hospital where dead body was kept for quite some time. Later the dead body was reportedly shifted to unidentified location when last report came in.

The media report claims that it was dead body of Khadim Hussain Rizvi but nothing has been confirmed as yet; either the cause of death or other details.

As per one witness, Khadim Hussain Rizvi died mysteriously and was shifted to Farooq Hospital in Iqbal Town, Lahore where he was pronounced dead but his dead body was shifted to Sheikh Zayed Hospital, Lahore where too Medical Officer pronounced dead. Isolated reports claimed that Khadim Hussain Rizvi has not expired and has just gone underground.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister of Pakistan and Chief of the Army Staff  General Qamar Javed Bajwa have expressed condolences on the demise of Khadim Hussain Rizvi. His funeral will be offered at compound of Minar-e--Pakistan at Lahore on Friday. 

GILGIT, 15 November 2020, (TON): Pakistan Northern Areas of Gilgit-Baltistan voted on 15 November in the third legislative Assembly election.  The counting of votes has started and official results are expected by tomorrow on 16 November.

Voting started from 8 am (Pakistan Standard Time) and ended peacefully at 5 pm. No untoward incident was reported. 330 candidates, including four women  contested for 24 seats but polling on one seat was postponed.

After political reform in 2010, 15 November election was third in series to choose new members of Legislative Assembly.  Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) nominated its candidates for 23 seats, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) nominated 21 candidates while Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) made a seat adjustment on two constituencies with Majlis-i-Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) while in others nominated its candidates.

There were total 1,141 polling stations out of which 577 were declared sensitive and 297 highly sensitive. Over 15,000 security personnel from Gilgit-Baltistan, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan were deployed at polling stations.

The polls in Gilgit-Baltistan were to be held on 18 August this year but Election Commission of Pakista postponed them due to the coronavirus pandemic. The five-year term of the previous Assembly ended on 24 June, bringing an end to the five-year tenure of the PML-N.

 

ISLAMABAD, 07 November, 2020, (Media Report): Pakistan may return $2 billion Saudi Arabian loan and is looking for various options to secure more lending aimed at retaining gross official foreign exchange reserves at their current level of over $12 billion, Ministry of Finance sources told The Express Tribune.

The second tranche of $1 billion of Saudi loan is maturing next month and there is likelihood that the government will return the money – two years after the borrowings, the sources added.

“It is a bilateral confidential matter,” said the Ministry of Finance in a terse response on Friday.

But a top government official said on condition of anonymity that there is a possibility that Pakistan will be returning the money next month.

After coming into power, Prime Minister Imran Khan had twice flown to Saudi Arabia to secure the package, which provided space to the first-timer PTI government to negotiate a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Saudi Arabia had agreed to provide $6.2 billion worth of financial package to Pakistan for three years. This included $3 billion in cash assistance and $3.2 billion worth of annual oil and gas supply on deferred payments.

As per the agreement, the Saudi cash and oil facility was for one year with an option to roll over the amount at the end of the year for a period of three years.

Pakistan was paying 3.2% interest on the $3-billion facility, according to the information that the Ministry of Finance shared with the National Assembly. The Saudi oil facility has already been suspended while Pakistan has also paid back Saudi Arabia $1 billion out of the $3 billion in May this year.

The sources said the government was considering various options to repay the Saudi loan, which is booked on the balance sheet of the State Bank of Pakistan.

ISLAMABAD, 06 November, 2020, (TON): A contingent of special Russian Forces arrived in Pakaistan on Thursday to participate in a joint military exercise –DRUZHBA—the Army said.

ISPR said in a statement that “Russian Federation Special Forces’ contingent arrived in Pakistan for two weeks long joint exercise Druzhba 5. The exercise is aimed at sharing both army’s experiences in counterterrorism domain.”

Meanwhile, Russian defence ministry said the exercise was aimed to strengthen military cooperation among the two countries and it was being held under the framework of international military cooperation.

The two-week-long drills would formally commence on November 8 in Tarbela. Some 70 Russian troops and officers are participating in the exercise that would continue till Nov 21. Almost an equal number of soldiers are participating from Pakistan side.

“During the exercise, the military personnel of the two countries will exchange experience and work out interaction in performing tasks within the framework of training combat operations, in particular, to destroy illegal armed formations,” the Russian defence ministry said.

The Druzhba exercises are held annually since 2016 alternating between Pakistan and Russia. Pakistan is hosting the drills for the third time. The joint drill offers Islamabad and Moscow opportunity to expand military collaboration in security, defense and counter-terrorism operations.

ISLAMABAD, 5 November (TON): Pakistan and Bosnia on Wednesday agreed to further deepen mutual cooperation in all fields, especially in economic, trade and investment, science and technology, defence industry, educational, cultural arenas and migrant return.

Agreement to this effect was reached between Prime Minister of Pakistan and Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Sefik Dzaferovic who met here in Islamabad and exchanged views on the entire gamut of bilateral relations including a bilateral readmission agreement.

The signing of the agreement by Pakistan's Interior Minister Ijaz Ahmed Shah and Bosnian Security Minister Selmo Cikotic paved way for repatriation of nearly 3,000 illegal Pakistani migrants and vice versa.The issue of illegal migrants earlier in April this year became contentious between the two countries as Bosnia and Herzegovina pushed to deport illegal migrants.

Speaking after their talks, Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chairman of the Tripartite Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Sefik Dzaferovic said their discussions focused on bilateral trade and cooperation. Moreover, growing incidents of Islamophobia in Europe were also discussed. He also briefed the Bosnia and Herzegovina leaders about human rights violations by India in occupied Jammu and Kashmir and threat posed by Indian actions to peace and security in the region. The Chairman reiterated Bosnia & Herzegovina’s position regarding the grave situation in IOJK, stressing respect for human rights and resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in line with relevant UN Security Council resolutions. Following the talks, the two sides signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Scientific and Technological Cooperation as well as the Readmission Agreement.

ISLAMABAD, 1 November 2020, (TON): Pakistan has categorically rejected the Indian Prime Minister’s insinuation of Pakistan’s involvement in the Pulwama attack by alluding to remarks made by a Minister in the National Assembly. The statement issued by Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “This is a brazen attempt to twist the remarks of the Federal Minister, who was referring to the befitting response given by the Pakistan Armed Forces in broad day-light to India’s ill-conceived misadventure of 26 February 2019, in violation of the UN Charter and international law”.

It is the BJP leadership’s incurable obsession with Pakistan that impels them to invariably blame Pakistan for their own failings and shortcomings. Most notably, it has been a part and parcel of the BJP’s electoral strategy to raise the Pakistan ‘bogey’ in the attempt to galvanise voters’ support, while seeking to divert public attention from their domestic and foreign policy failures, the statement said.

The statement said, “The BJP regime is advised, once again, to stop dragging Pakistan into India’s domestic politics, especially at the time of elections in India. Instead of mobilizing the electorate through stoking of anti-Pakistan sentiments, the BJP leadership would be well-advised to win voter support by demonstrating actual performance in meeting the expectations of the Indian people”.

ISLAMABAD, 29 October, 2020, (TON): Responding to media queries regarding reference to Pakistan in the “Joint Statement” issued by India and the U.S. after their “2+2 Ministerial Dialogue” held in New Delhi on 27 October 2020, the Spokesperson said:

We reject the Pakistan-specific reference in the “Joint Statement”, issued by India and the U.S. after their “2+2 Ministerial Dialogue”, as unwarranted and misleading.

We take strong exception to Pakistan-related assertions made in the selective and one-sided Joint Statement, devoid of meeting the “objectivity criteria.” Failing to take cognizance of the grave humanitarian and human rights situation in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJK), further aggravated by India’s unilateral and illegal measures of 5 August 2019, is tantamount to abdication of international responsibility.

Gratuitous and self-serving references in joint statements cannot mask the fact that it is India that continues to be the nerve centre of State-terrorism in the region including Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir, besides being a safe haven for the perpetrators of hate crimes against Muslims and Islamophobia.

By seeking to project itself as ‘victim’ of terrorism, India cannot divert attention from the gross human rights violations being perpetrated by Indian occupation forces and the resulting humanitarian crisis in IIOJK.

The international community recognizes Pakistan’s efforts, sacrifices and success in the fight against terrorism. As a country that has suffered the most from cross-border terrorism, Pakistan would continue to contribute constructively to regional and global efforts to promote peace and stability in the region.

It is important that partner countries take an objective view of the issues of peace and security in South Asia and refrain from endorsing positions that are one-sided and divorced from ground realities.

By Afshain Afzal, The Orient News Research Section

On the arrival of Muharram this year, an order was issued by Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Hamza Shafqaat which said, “There are sufficient grounds for proceedings under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) 1898, to prohibit the use of motorcycles for pillion riding to avoid any threats to public peace and tranquility within the jurisdiction of Islamabad on 8th, 9th and 10th of Muharram. This was done to facilitate Mattami Jaloos and Processions as the authorities apprehended terrorist attack on Shia during Muharram. Accordingly, all roads were closed through long vehicles and containers and traffic was totally paralyzed in Rawalpindi and Islamabad as well as other cities while heavy contingent of law enforcement and police was deployed to allow all rituals complete unhindered.  For the successful execution, beside road closure by Traffic Police like Rawalpindi – Murree Hill station, all the internat / mobile service and transport was closed.

This year, on 12th Rabi-ul-Awal, Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi, as the birthday as well as death anniversary of Prophet Muhammad Alhe Salam (Sal Allah Ho Alhe Wassalam) will be observed from 29 to 30 October 2020.  The same Deputy Commissioner, Islamabad, Muhammed Hamza Shafqaat, has issued a confusing order communicated through tweet, which has also been covered by all national and international media. The official tweet emitting from Twitter of Deputy Commissioner (DC) Islamabad says, DC Islamabad notified the public regarding the enactment of Section U/S 144 CrPc 1898 on the compulsory use of facemasks in public places, adding that anyone not adhering to the directive can be apprehended by the ICT Police.”

Business Recorder reported in its issue 29 October 2020, “Section 144 was imposed in Islamabad on Wednesday for ensuring strict compliance of standard operating procedures (SOPs) related to the Covid-19 among the general public and to stop further spread of the virus in the community. Following imposition of Section 144 in the city, wearing mask in public places has been made mandatory and anyone who is seen without a face mask will be prosecuted under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). This order shall come into force with immediate effect and shall remain in force for a period of two months.”

The official news agency, Associated Press of Pakistan reports, “The district administration on Wednesday imposed Section 144 in the Federal Capital for a period of two months, making wearing face mask at public places mandatory to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). District Magistrate Hamza Shafqaat, in a notification, said the Section-144 had been enforced to ensure compliance of COVID-19 SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) among the general public, following the advice of epidemiologists of DC COVID Nerve Center. Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Hamza Shafqaat said on his Twitter handle that anyone seen without a face mask would be arrested by the ICT Police. He also shared the notification along with his tweet.” 

One wonders who is responsible for such orders for Muharram, Chelums, Eid Milad-un-Nabi, Shab-e-Baraat etc. Can Pakistani authorities in all cities and cantonments officially seal main and link roads with huge containers and trucks, jam mobile & internet services, cancel leaves of security forces and deploy them everywhere while prevent other religious occasions to take place? Why authorities ordered closer of Mosques and Madrassas and prevented congregational prayers in the name of COVID-19 this year but lifted all restrictions during Muharram and Chelums, however, ordered strict restrictions on all other occasions. It is high time that the authorities including Supreme Court of Pakistan take Suo Moto notice of the grave disparity and ensure that every Pakistani individually and collectively is treated equally with same yard stick.

PESHAWAR, 27 October 2020, (TON): Indian intelligence agencies are blaming armed separatist group of the ethnic Balochs as the one behind terrorism and named Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) to have has accepted responsibility of the attack on the Mosque cum religious Madrassa (religious seminary)  on Tuesday. Indian agencies are claiming that Baloch group is said to be demanding independence for the Balochistan province from which it operates.

The blast took place at around 8:30 AM local time at the Spin Jamaat mosque, which also serves as a religious school, named Jamia Zubairia Madrassa for local community in the Dir Colony.

The blast occurred when students and teachers were studying the Quran. According to the seminary’s administration,  “More than 1,000 people study at the Madrassa and nearly 130 people were inside the prayer hall when the blast happened. Majority of the victims are children and teachers”. The wounded were being treated at the Lady Reading Hospital and Naseerullah Khan Babar hospital.

One of the witness said that the terrorists had come through Parachinar and linked to Indian Intelligence agencies operating from Pak-Afghan border. He said that in Afghanistan, there is a reasonable percentage of Indian nationals involved in road construction and other development work. However, Pakistan is hesitant in taking sides and only involved to blame locals rather than New Delhi.

ISLAMABAD, 23 October 2020, (TON): The global watchdog on terror financing and money laundering, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), has ruled against taking Pakistan off the ‘Grey List’ and gave Islamabad time till February 2021 to comply with its 27-point action plan. FATF Plenary which was held from 21-23 October 2020 concluded today.

FATF has reiterated that Pakistan needs to continue working on the implementation of its action plan and address its strategic deficiencies.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that it was India's desire to see Pakistan slipping into the black list but New Delhi's plans have failed. He said, ‘Pakistan had complied with at least 21 points out of the 27 points mentioned in the action plan, hoping that the world would acknowledge the steps taken by the country’. He added, ‘'India's plans to push Pakistan into the black list of FATF will fail because of the steps the country has taken to meet the requirements of the global money laundering and terror financing watchdog’.

ISLAMABAD 23 October 2020 (TON): The Supreme Court on Thursday adjourned for four weeks the hearing of an appeal from the family of American journalist Daniel Pearl against the acquittal of a British-born Pakistani man convicted over the 2002 beheading of the Wall Street Journal reporter.

The key suspect in Pearl’s slaying, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, and three other accomplices were sentenced to life in prison for their role in the plot. But the Sindh High Court in April acquitted him, a move that stunned the US government, Pearl’s family and journalism advocacy groups.

 

ISLAMABAD, 22 October 2020, (TON): Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in a statement said the government was seriously considering to take up with international human rights organizations the issue of mysterious murder of 11 Pakistani Hindu nationals in Jodhpur, India, APP reported.

Speaking at the floor of Senate, the Foreign Minister said the issue would also be raised at all forums besides in parliament and through Pakistan’s key missions abroad.

 

Qureshi informed the House that a writ petition in this regard had also been filed in the Islamabad High Court. He was responding to a calling attention notice by Jamaat-e-Islami’s Mushtaq Ahmed.

He said Pakistan had repeatedly demanded India to share the details of investigation into the incident that took place in September and also the copy of First Information Report (FIR) by the Jodhpur police.

Since the killed persons were Pakistani nationals, he said, an FIR had also been registered within the country.

He pointed out that there was no update regarding autopsy of the bodies as demanded by a member of the family.

The Foreign Minister said “according to our information, an attempt was made to use this family for spying as the narrative of secular India had been badly tarnished”.

He mentioned that a resolution was passed during the two-day protest by the Indian community in Pakistan, which was supported by thousands of protesters.

He said the 11 members of Hindu community belonged to Bheel tribe and were residents of Sanghar district. In 2012, he said, the unfortunate family went to India for with the purpose of settlement after being lured for incentives. He said immediately after the incident came to light, the Ministry of External Affairs, through Pakistan’s High Commission in India was handed over a note verbale, seeking answers to queries regarding the killing.

The silence of India, he said, provoked the Hindu community in Pakistan where thousands of people from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and especially Sindh staged a two-day protest in front of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, as organized by the Hindu Council.

ISLAMABD, 19 October, 2020, (TON):  The Pakistan government has sent out invitations to Indian Sikhs to attend celebrations marking the 551st birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism. The invitation is sent in advance via the Indian Sikh Sangats. The devotees will be offered a five-day visa to enter Pakistan after a mandatory Covid-19 test.

An official of the Abandoned Waqf Property Board said "All pilgrims coming to partake in the festivities of Baba Guru Nanak Dev's birth anniversary will required to observe and abide by all Covid-19 SOPs throughout their stay, even after showing the mandatory negative Covid-19 test."

The country's Waqf board and the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee have also sent regular invitations and itineraries to different Sikh societies including the Shiromani Committee of India, inviting them to the festivities.

Because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Indian Sikhs will be allowed to stay in Pakistan only for a limited period of time, without any extensions.

Guru Nanak Gurpurab, a three-day celebration will begin on November 27 at the Nankana Sahib, with celebrations continuing throughout the month.

Sardar Satwant Singh, head of Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee said "The stay of Indian Sikhs in Pakistan had to be revised in consideration of closed borders and rising coronavirus tally in India."

There will be no new restrictions placed on the number of Indian Sikh pilgrims making the journey.

According to the bilateral agreement between India and Pakistan 3,000 Indian Sikh pilgrims will be allowed entry into Pakistan, specifically for the Gurdwara celebrations.

COVID-19 the pilgrims were provided with an option of a 10-day vista to visit multiple gurdwaras in Lahore, Nankana Sahib, Hasan Abdal, Kartarpura, Rohri Sahib and Farooqabad but now the pilgrims will be restricted to Nankana Sahib only.

It has also been reported that certain Sikh societies including Shiromani Committee in India, have called on the Indian government to open the Kartarpur Corridor of India for Guru Nanak's birth anniversary.

Sources disclosed that Pakistan has shown its willingness to promote religious tourism in the country.  However, till now no response has been received from the Indian government on the matter.

KABUL, 17 October, 2020, (TON): According to Afghanistan Chambers Federation (ACF) trade between Afghanistan and Pakistan will significantly drop down by the end of this year because of different hurdles including “extortion”, transit issues and recent closure of crossing points among the both neighboring countries.

Afghanistan Chambers Federation also predicted that trade will be less than $1 billion this year.

ACF Deputy Chief Khan Jan Alokozai said “This year our trade relations with Pakistan have been affected massively compared to the past”.

He added that “The trucks that are coming from Pakistan are not searched. Up to 200 vehicles are entering Afghanistan from Pakistan per hour, but when the vehicles unload and go back to Pakistan, it takes up to 40 minutes for them to enter Pakistan due to security procedures (by Pakistani officials)”.

The ministry of Industry and Commerce vowed to address the problems through talks with Pakistani officials.

Jawad Dabir, head of public relations of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce said that “There is one road at Torkham crossing through which trucks travel in turns”.

Pakistan has been a main trade partner for Afghanistan in recent years with an annual trade volume of approximately $2 billion.

Pakistan special envoy for Afghanistan Muhammad Sadiq on Friday said in a tweet that 19,000 multiple entry visas were issued to Afghans in the last five days.

This follows a trip of Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation to Pakistan.

“The new visa regime for Afghan citizens is now enforced. Under this regime long term multiple visas are being issued to all categories of Afghan citizens including visitors, students, businessmen, investors and patients,” Sadiq added.

ISLAMABAD, 16 October, 2020, (TON): G20 nations, representing the world’s biggest economies have agreed to extend the debt suspension initiative for the world’s poorest countries by an additional six months, until June 2021 to support them in their fight against the corona virus pandemic.

In April, the G20 pledged to offer debt relief for the world’s poorest countries under the Debt Service Suspension Initiative.

According to G-20 the extension will provide ongoing relief for the $14bn in debt payments that would have come due at the end of the year otherwise. Wednesday’s decision gives developing nations until the end of June 2021 to focus spending on health care and emergency stimulus programs rather than debt repayments.

This announcement was made on Twitter in the beginning during a meeting of the group’s finance ministers and central bank governors and later on confirmed at a news conference. Effective discussions are being held at the start of the week’s meetings of the 189 nations International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which are also being conducted virtually because of the corona virus pandemic.

International aid groups expressed dissatisfaction that more debt relief is not being provided by extending the moratorium on debt payments for a full year or by forgiving part of the debt rather than merely suspending payments.

G20 officials argued that the relief is helping 46 of the 73 countries eligible, with efforts under way to expand. Some countries, like Pakistan, have called for a cancellation of their debt payments.

David McNair, executive director for global policy at ONE, an international aid group said that “This pandemic has laid bare a glaring and unjust double standard: The world’s wealthiest countries play by one set of rules, and the world’s poorest by another”.  

The G-20, in a final communiqué urged private lenders to join its initiative for debt suspension.

ISLAMABAD, 15 October, 2020, (TON): Fifth round of Pakistan – United Kingdom Bilateral consultations on arms control, Non-Proliferation and Disarmament was held virtually on October 13, 2020.

During the meeting, Director-General Arms Control and Disarmament at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Kamran Akhtar represented Pakistan while UK Director-General and International Security Samantha Job represented UK.

The Foreign Office said the meeting held in a constructive environment and both sides discussed issues related to Arms Control, Non-Proliferation & Disarmament in addition to global & regional security and stability.

Officials from both countries showed their commitment to further boost up the coordination on different multilateral forums.  Both the countries also appreciated the continuation of the arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament consultations.

Pakistan and the UK agreed to hold the sixth round of consultations next year on a mutually agreed date.

GENEVA, 14 October, 2020, (TON): In a statement issued by Pakistan Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said that Pakistan is re-elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) with 169 votes out of 193 – member UN General Assembly.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in a statement said that “Pakistan's re-election to the UN Human Rights Council is a reflection of international community's confidence and trust in its commitment to a progressive national and global human rights agenda”.

The 47-nation UNHRC is an inter-governmental body based in Geneva with UN system which is responsible for protection of human rights across the world. The contest was in the Asian-Pacific group as the 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. Pakistan secured the highest number of votes among the five candidates. Pakistan will continue as a member for another three-year term starting on January 1st, 2021.

Speaking to media Foreign Minister Qureshi said that there should be four priorities for Pakistan as a member of UN body; the Kashmir issue, the rise of Islamophobia, “Muslim causes” and human rights.

The HRC has been an important forum for discussing the gruesome and systematic human rights abuses being perpetrated in Jammu and Kashmir by India. Despite Indian opposition Pakistan is re-elected with an overwhelming majority for the fifth time.

ISLAMABAD, 10 October 2020. (TON): A three-member bench of Supreme Court of Pakistan has observed that the Pakistan had no actual extradition treaty with the US.

The observation was made on Thursday while hearing a petition filed by Talha Haroon, an American national accused of planning a bomb attack in New York, challenging his extradition to US and handing over to the American authorities. The court extended stay order on Haroon’s extradition to the US till final decision.

An additional attorney general informed the court that Washington had extradited two suspects namely Farid Tawakal and Farooq Tawakal to Islamabad in 2008. The input revealed by the Foreign Affairs Ministry said “Pakistan had adopted a bilateral agreement signed between the US and the UK in 1932”. The bench ordered Foreign Office officials to appear before the court at the next hearing along with properly prepared for the case on the subject.

 

ISLAMABAD, 9 October, 2020, (TON):  Several members of the Parliamentary Committee to Protect Minorities from Forced Conversions as well as representatives of minority communities of Sindh from Ghotki, Sukkur and Hyderabad met at the Sindh Secretariat to discuss the Sindh Minorities Rights Commission Bill.

The main demand of minorities included implementation of five per cent quota reserved for minorities in government jobs, inclusion of religious books of minorities in curriculum, provision of security to sensitive minorities’ religious places, registration of minorities’ religious places and their maintenance and improvement of the social and economic conditions of minorities.

It was clarified that the Sindh government was completely dedicated to ensuring the essential privileges of minorities as given in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan under Article-25,

The Sindh Minorities Rights Commission Bill and the Criminal Law (Protection of Minorities) Bill are right now under cycle in the law division for enactment,

ISLAMABAD, 9 October 2020, (TON): Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a telephone conversation with Ms Retno Marsudi, Foreign Minister of Republic of Indonesia on Thursday. The two sides exchanged views on wide ranging topics of mutual interest including bilateral ties covering political, trade and economic matters, as well as cooperation at the United Nations, ASEAN and other multilateral fora.

Congratulating the Foreign Minister Marsudi on Indonesia’s successful leadership at the UNSC during its term of presidency in August 2020, Foreign Minister Qureshi highlighted the importance of continued efforts by all to preserve peace and stability in different parts of the world. The Indonesian Foreign Minister expressed appreciation for Pakistan’s positive contribution in facilitation of the Afghan peace process.

Expressing satisfaction over the existing political, economic and defence ties, the Foreign Minister appreciated the growing security cooperation between the two brotherly countries. He shared Pakistan’s readiness to hold the Inaugural meeting of the Security Dialogue, to be held between Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Political, Security and Law and Defence Minister of Pakistan, as soon as the COVID situation allows.

The two Ministers agreed on further strengthening political relations, deepening mutually beneficial trade and economic ties, and expanding cultural and people-to-people exchanges. They also agreed to remain engaged on issues of common interest, both bilateral and multilateral.

The Foreign Minister extended a cordial invitation to the Indonesian Foreign Minister to visit Pakistan. She accepted the invitation with thanks and agreed to visit Pakistan as soon as the Covid-19 situation stabilizes.

ISLAMABAD, 7 October 2020, (TON): In  a change of command ceremony, held at PNS Zafar in Islamabad, on 7 October 2020,  Admiral Amjad Khan Niazi took over the charge as 22nd Chief of Naval Staff (CNS). Outgoing Chief of Naval Staff , Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi formally handed over the command of Pakistan Navy by presenting the traditional scroll to Admiral Niazi. Speaking on the occasion, Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi said, “fleet of more than fifty vessels, including twenty major ships, was envisioned to improve the capabilities of the Navy while four Chinese frigates will be inducted in the next few years”. He added, “Four Turkish medium-class ships will be inducted between 2023 and 2025”.

On the occasion, a smartly turned out contingent of Pakistan Navy also gave guard of honour to the new Pakistan Navy Chief at Islamabad.

ISLAMABAD, 5 October 2020, (TON): A virtual meeting of the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary scheduled for 21-23 October 2020, will decide if Pakistan should be excluded from its ‘Grey List, based on a review of Islamabad’s actions against money laundering and terror financing.

The FATF plenary was scheduled some time back but in the wake of of the Covid-19 pandemic, the global watchdog against financial crimes postponed all mutual evaluations and deadlines.  in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to the postponement, Pakistan got additional four months to meet the requirements.

In February, the FATF had given Pakistan four additional month as grace period to complete its 27-point action plan as Islamabad delivered and show improvement on 14 points but missed 13 other targets. Presently, Pakistan has to submit compliance report on action plan on the basis of 40 recommendations of the FATF.

If we recall, European Union's Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) is also conditional to Pakistan's compliance to 27 international covenants, treaties and conventions and the European Union is mandated to review Pakistan's human rights progress every two years under GSP+.

ISLAMABAD, 2 October 2020, (TON): Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement, “Pakistan supports Azerbaijan’s position on Nagorno-Karabakh, which is in line with the several unanimously adopted United Nations Security Council resolutions”.

The statement said, “Pakistan is deeply concerned over the deteriorating security situation in Nagorno-Karabakh region. The intensive shelling by Armenian forces on civilian populations of Azerbaijan is reprehensible and most unfortunate. This could compromise peace and security of the entire region. Armenia must stop its military action to avoid further escalation”.

The statement further clarified, “Pakistan supports Azerbaijan’s position on Nagorno-Karabakh, which is in line with the several unanimously adopted United Nations Security Council resolutions”.

 

ISLAMABAD, 29 September 2020, (TON): The Supreme Court of Pakistan has barred the Sindh government from releasing Omar Sheikh, the main accused in the 2002 abduction and murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl, as Supreme Court began hearing arguments which challenged the provincial High Court's decision.

The Sindh government as well as Peral's parents had filed separate appeals against the 2 April order of the Sindh High Court (SHC) that had modified Sheikh's death sentence to seven-year rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Pak Rs 2 million.

Omar Sheikh, who had already spent 18 years in prison on death row after being sentenced by an anti-terrorism court for Pearl's murder, was expected to be released after the high court verdict since his seven-year sentence was to be counted as time already served.

However, the Sindh government issued an order to detain Omar Sheikh and four others, whose convictions had been overturned, till 30 September 2020.

During 28 September's hearing, the three-member judge bench of the apex court led by Justice Mushir Alam issued notices to all the respondents in acquittal pleas.

During the proceedings, the counsel for Pearl's parents, Faisal Siddiqui, argued that Omar Sheikh wrote a letter to the SHC Registrar, but it ignored his confession in the letter.

The council said, "We want the trial court's decision to be reinstated. Evidence suggests the abduction was for ransom. The court's query regarding the element of conspiracy is correct."  adding that the confessional statements of the two accused proved the murder to be a conspiracy.

Allowing the appeals challenging the SHC's decision for a preliminary hearing, the court adjourned the hearing for a week.

Denial Pearl was the South Asia Bureau Chief for The Wall Street Journal, when he was abducted from Karachi in January 2002. A video showing Pearl's beheading was received by US Counsel general, Karachi within a month after he was kidnapped. Omar Sheikh was arrested soon after the release of video in February 2002.

SRINAGAR, 27 September 2020, (TON): Top Kashmiri Pakistani leader Syed Ali Geelani has asked Pakistan not to change the status quo of Gilgit-Baltistan. In a statement to media, Syed Ali Geelani issued the statement through Abdullah Gilani in which he asked Pakistan to maintain its consistent policy on Kashmir.

He pointed out, “The recent unfortunate decision to grant Gilgit and Baltistan the status of a provisional province represent a major shift in Pakistan’s so far consistent policy.”He said, “The move will result in disastrous consequences. Pakistan risks not only weakening its legal position and losing moral high ground but also demoralizing Kashmiri people.”

“While the local population in Gilgit and Baltistan may have some genuine grievances and concerns and Pakistan is duty bound to address them, we believe the purpose could have been efficiently and sufficiently served without altering the status quo. The move, in our view, is laden with disastrous consequences. Pakistan risks not only weakening its position and losing moral high ground but also demoralizing Kashmiri people.”

The statement said, “We, therefore, earnestly urge the government of Pakistan to rethink the decision granting provisional provincial status to Gilgit and Baltistan keeping in view all aspects, particularly, the possible detrimental repercussions it would have on the future of Kashmir as a dispute and, consequently, on its final settlement.”

REKO DIQ, 18 September 2020, (TON): An international tribunal has granted a stay pending a final decision on a $5.8 billion penalty imposed on Pakistan for denying a mining lease to an Australian company.After the stay, the mining company is likely to consider a settlement pending a final decision on the award, which is likely to happen during next year.

If we recall, Pakistan's cancelled Reko Diq mining lease of Australia's Tethyan Copper Corp in 2011, a 50-50 joint venture of Barrick Gold Corp of Australia and Antofagasto PLC of Chile, to build and operate a copper-gold open-pit mine. Tethyan had invested $220 million in Reko Diq by 2011, when Pakistan terminated its mining lease. The company sought help from the tribunal the following year, and it ruled against Pakistan in 2017.   

ISLAMABAD, 12 September 2020, TON: A Pakistani journalist associated with English-language daily, The Express Tribune was arrested by police from his residence in Defence Housing Authority, Karachi on Friday, after he allegedly posted social media posts, criticizing government authorities.

Additional Inspector General Ghulam Nabi Memon confirmed that Bilal Farooqi, who is a news editor at The Express Tribune, was arrested by  DHA Police Station on Friday evening.  

An FIR was lodged against Bilal Farooqi under Sections 500 and 505 of the Pakistan Penal Code and Sections 11 and 20 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA), 2016. The police authorities informed that FIR has been lodged on the complaint by Javed Khan on 9 September 2020. According to the FIR, the complainant, who is a machine operator at a factory and is a resident of Majeed Colony in Landhi area, said he visited a restaurant in DHA Phase-2 Extension on September 9, during which he checked his Facebook and Twitter accounts. It was then he found highly objectionable posts against the Pakistan Army were posted by Farooqi on both platforms and the material was aimed at allegedly spreading religious hate.

Javed Khan alleged that the Bilal Farooqi has defamed Pakistan Army and social media posts could be used by enemies to achieve nefarious designs so legal action should be initiated him.

Meanwhile, the Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ), released a statement condemning the arrest of Bilal Farooqi and saying that Bilal remained executive committee of the KUJ, has is an educated and responsible youth, who has never indulged in any kind of violation of Pakistani laws.

 

ISLAMABAD, 9 August 2020, TON: Iranian President Hassan Rohani announced that Muharram commemorations "cannot be canceled. Qom-based Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi was quoted as saying, "We have some principles that we cannot give up at all, including mourning in Muharram."  It has been reported that Minoo Mohraz, a physician who specializes in infectious diseases and is a member of Iran's task force to combat the coronavirus, warned that Muharram gatherings would be dangerous said,  "The coronavirus is only being transmitted in wedding ceremonies, Eids, prayers in Mosque.  Otherwise during Muharram mourning, the virus stands in a corner, beats its chest and weeps." Soon after the announcement by Iranian ledership, Pakistan has taken a lead and announced holding of  Majalis and Procession as well as Police operations against the others. It should be recalled that throughout the lockdown in Pakistan there was total ban on even offering Jumma prayers or normal congregation in the Mosques. However, after the Iranian announcement now Jumma prayers have been allowed.

A press release has been issued by authorities in Pakistan on 8th August 2020 that security arrangements were discussed in a high level meeting, presided over by Inspector General of Police (IGP) Islamabad to devise an elaborate security plan and supervise all the arrangements by maintaining close liaison between police officials and peace committees, Majalis organizers and procession organizers. In a surprise move special cards would be issued to police deputed for security at religious gatherings and Imambargahs. Strict security and vigilance will be maintained at gatherings and participants through Safe City system. It has been announced that the entry of all kinds of vehicles in Imambargahs’ surroundings will be prohibited, and barbed wire will be placed around venues of gatherings while police officials will be deployed on the rooftops of buildings on procession routes. Safe City Director General has been ordered to monitor all kinds of movement around imambargahs and religious gatherings using CCTV cameras. Large strength of police has been deputed everywhere throughout the country and all Superintendent of Police have been ordered to monitor search operations themselves and inform senior officials of progress on a daily basis.

Punjab Home Department while issuing security guidelines for Ashura-e-Muharram has decided to call army and Rangers for maintaining law and order during the holy month of Muharram. Additionally, the department has issued instructions to all deputy commissioners and DPOs to make security plans and point out sensitive places. It was decided that mobile phone services would not be available on the Ashura while ban on pillion riding was under consideration, said the sources. According to sources, police guidelines have been sent to administration of all districts of the province. Leaves of police officials will be cancelled. Other provinces have also decided to call army and Rangers for maintaining law and order during the Muharram.

UNITED NATIONS: 02 July 2020, TON: In a statement, the Secretary-General strongly condemned the terrorist attack on the stock exchange in Karachi, Pakistan, on 29 June.  He conveyed his deep condolences to the families of the victims and the people and Government of Pakistan. He reiterated the solidarity of the United Nations with the Government and people of Pakistan in their efforts to address terrorism and violent extremism.

Press statement issued Security Council President Christoph Heusgen on 1 July 2020, is reproduced:-

The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the heinous and cowardly terrorist attack that took place in Karachi, Pakistan, on 29 June 2020, which resulted in several people killed.

The members of the Security Council expressed their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Pakistan and they wished a speedy and full recovery to those who were injured.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security.

The members of the Security Council underlined the need to bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice and urged all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with the Government of Pakistan and all other relevant authorities in this regard.

The members of the Security Council reiterated that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed. They reaffirmed the need for all States to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and other obligations under international law, including international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.

 

 

KARACHI, 29 June 2020, TON: Terrorist attacked Pakistan financial center, Pakistan Stock Exchange in provincial capital Karachi on Monday, killing at least three people including two guards and a policeman. There were no reports of wounded, however, media reported at least three injuries.   

As per the details, unidentified persons driving silver Toyota Corolla Sedan 2013, bearing Karachi registration plate BAP 629, tried to enter the security barrier near Stock Exchange. When the guards stopped them, the unidentified gunmen got down from the car and opened fire on the guard killing one of them on the spot. Later there was exchange of fire in which another guard and a Policeman was martyred. Sindh Police Additional Inspector General Ghulam Nabi Memon confirmed that the firing took place outside the barrier gate. It was confirmed from eyewitnesses as well as Police authorities that the terrorists could not enter the Stock Market building. At least two terrorist were killed whose dead bodies were shown to the media. However, the security apparatus claimed to have killed four terrorists. Eyewitnesses claimed that they had brought some person in the car who was made hostage and wanted to recover some huge amount, however, their attempt failed. Another eyewitness claimed that there was internal rift between two groups within the Karachi Stock Exchange, having links in Mumbai Stock Exchange over some issue. The witness added that the group has gone underground after the incident as most of them migrated from Indian post 1980s and some of them do not possess valid Pakistani nationality.

A Counter-Terrorism Department official said that the attackers were carrying significant quantities of ammunition and grenades in backpacks. However, personnel, who were part of the Rapid Reaction claimed on the condition of anonymity that when they saw the bodies of neuteralized attackers, neither grenades, nor large quantity of arms and ammunition was there but later some placed different items including mobile phones beside the dead bodies, which was also displayed to media.

Meanwhile, the Indian media and Indian Military Intelligence run social media groups are carrying out extensive propaganda that Balochistan Liberation Army has accepted the responsibility of the attack. The names of Tasleem Baloch, Shehzad Baloch, Salman Hammal, Siraj Kungur are being publicized by the Indian intelligence agencies through their social networking. It has also come to light that India has established various call centers in Karachi and other cities of Pakistan, manned round the clock, where such propaganda articles, news items and video clips are regularly viralized.  New Delhi has shifted hundreds and thousands of illegal Indian with criminal background in Pakistan, especially Karachi who are also involved in terrorist activities. Such individuals are able to get Pakistani nationality by bribing NADRA employees and have been tasked to create unrest in Sindh and Balochistan by eliminating Baloch presence in Hyderabad, Sukkur, Karachi, especially Layari.

PAkistan government has Announced New Date May 15 to extended suspension Date Of International Flights according to a notification issued on Saturday 11.59pm.

The government had Last extended suspension Date April 21.

The decision was made by Prime Minister Imran Khan on a meeting of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) on COVID-19.

QUETTA, 7 March 2020, TON: Provincial Police resort to baton charge to disperse the protesters in provincial capital Quetta on Monday. The protest was launched by Pakistani doctors and medical staff against a lack of protective gears to guard against Coronavirus. The Government of Balochistan had given an undertaking of to provide masks and gloves but so far nothing has been supplied at the hospitals.Despite efforts, TON could not approach representatives of National Disaster Management Authority for their comments. 

On Tuesday, doctors across the province went on strike in non-critical care wards to protest against the Monday arrests and lack of equipment. However, those on emergency and Corona wards did not participate in the protest. Spokesman of Young Doctors Association (YDA) confirmed that over 50 doctors were arrested on Monday, 6 April 2020. They highlighted that so far, at least 18 doctors have been infected with the Coronavirus in Balochistan due to lack of provision of safety gears. They demanded that military doctors and paramedics must also join them in fight against Coronavirus.

Doctor  Nasir, one of the protester  disclosed that the incident  took place due to non provision of  safety gear by the Government, putting lives of doctors and paramedics at risk. He said that a number of doctors and paramedics had been injured in the baton charge by Police.

A statement issued by Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) on Tuesday said, “Emergency supplies of medical equipment including PPEs being dispatched to Quetta on orders of COAS to help medical staff fight Covid-19 effectively in Balochistan.

As per the details after government failed to deliver the promised supplies, hundreds of doctors and paramedics chanted slogans demanding safeguards items. Polices used force to disperse the protesters in which some of the doctors and paramedic staff were dragged off by the police equipped with rifles and batons.

Police authorities said, they arrested 30 protesters who were defying a ban on public gatherings imposed during a lockdown in connection with efforts to check spread of Coronavirus.  Doctors threatened to stop working unless the detained protesters were released.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Zaireen who visited Iran from Pakistan or were residing there from some years were expelled by the Iranian Government and forced to crossover to Pakistan through FIA Gate Taftan, Mand and Rabat area. Pakistan has reported a total of 3,352 cases of the Coronavirus and majority of the cases as well as initial spread was from the Iranian border.

ISLAMABAD, 6 April 2020, TON: Pakistan’s Ministry of Health released latest figure of COVID-19 positives and deaths. It has been reported that the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 is 3,059 including 45 deaths in Pakistan. However, the officials at provincial hospitals claimed that the figures are exaggerated as they have admitted many cases who had fever and some of the symptoms with the apprehension that they are COVID-19 positive. Dr Naveed disclosed that the list prepared in each hospital show names of many individuals who had previous history of multiple respiratory diseases and presently some hospitals show admissions and deaths to have occurred due to COVID-19 but actually, no tests have been carried out to confirm they actually contracted the viral disease.  

The Heath Ministry’s statistics presented by the ministry showed that at least 512 people were tested positive while eight deaths were registered from Friday to Sunday.

In Punjab province 1,319 confirmed cases were reported while in Sindh province 881 cases have been reported. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province 372 cases were reported while 206 in Gilgit-Baltistan, 189 Balochistan and 78 in the capital Islamabad. The death gigures show that 12 people died in Punjab, 15 in Sindh, 14 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 4 elsewhere. Overall, 170 people across the country recovered.

ISLAMABAD, 28 March 2020, TON: Pakistan’s National Coordination Committee (NCC) had decided to close Eastern and Western borders both for trade and passenger traffic for another two weeks. In statement issued by NCC at Islamabad said, “The closure duration of two weeks of the borders has come to an end today and therefore NCC has decided to further extend the restriction for another two weeks. Both passenger traffic and trade has been stopped at the borders with Afghanistan, Iran and India which includes Kartarpur Corridor as well.”

The NCC on 14 March had earlier decided to halt border traffic on borders of the country for two weeks. International flights to the country were banned till 4th  April. In addition there will also be prohibition for flights leaving the country for abroad from tomorrow. It is interesting to note that the domestic flights were also suspended except the form Gilgit and Skardu.

BEIJING, 27 March 2020, TON:  China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has announced it it will soon send medical team to help Pakistan fight against the novel coronavirus.

Zeng Yixin, Vice Minister of China’s National Health Commission said, the Chinese authorities was quick enough to share the COVID-19 related knowledge, prevention and control plan, and diagnosis and treatment plan with Pakistan soon after the virus outbreak in Pakistan. The Chinese side shared this experience regarding prevention, controlling, diagnosing and treating COVID-19 and other issues with Pakistan via video conference.

Deng Boqing, Vice-chairman of China International Development Cooperation Agency, said that China would share every aspect and updates about prevention and control experience with Pakistan in response to the COVID-19 challenge.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in Pakistan, China had provided Pakistan four batches of medical supplies, including detection reagents, medical protective gowns, N95 face masks, surgical face masks and breathing machines.

Earlier, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region had donated a batch of medical supplies to Pakistan, which was offloaded on 20 March. Besides Chinese government, Chinese companies and general masses had also been proactively helping Pakistan fight against the epidemic.

Meanwhile, the first batch of relief materials donated by China’s Alibaba Foundation and Jack Ma Foundation had arrived at Karachi. The two Foundations would send the second and third batches of relief materials to Pakistan within a week.

ISLAMABAD, 25 March 2020, TON: In an important development, Ulema from Rawalpindi and Lahore are not ready to accept that Ulemah from Egypt have issued any Fatwa regarding cancellation of Friday prayers and other congregational prayers at Mosques.  They said, “it is misleading statement, being attributed to have said by President Alvi that Islamic countries Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Tunisia, Jordan, Palestine, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt have already suspended congregational prayers.”
It is important to mention here that Surat-e-Jumma Ayat No 9 and 10 orders. “O people who believe! When there is call for prayes (Azzan) on the day of Jumma  (Friday), then proceed to the remembrance of Almighty Allah and close trading. That is better for you, if you only knew. And when the prayer has been concluded, disperse within the land and seek from the bounty of Allah, and remember Allah in abundance so that you may succeed. It is added that the Preamble and Article 2A of the Constitution of Pakistan provides, “Wherein the Muslims shall be enabled to order their lives in the individual and collective spheres in accordance with the teachings and requirements of Islam as set out in the Holy Quran and Sunnah.”

As reported by APP President Dr Arif Alvi of Islamic Republic of Pakistan requested Al-Azhar Egypt, an authority on Islamic injunctions, permitting suspension of Friday prayers to control the spread of deadly coronavirus in the country. It has been claimed that Al-Azhar has issued a Fatwa on the request of President Alvi permitting suspension of Friday prayers.

Pakistani President said in a tweet on Wednesday, “I am thankful to Grand Imam Shaikh of Al Azhar and Supreme Council for responding to my personal request to provide guidance to us with regard to Farz Jamaat & Juma prayers in mosques during coronavirus attack.”
The president urged the Ulema in the country for urgent action on the Fatwa of Egypt’s Al-Azhar institution that termed it purely Islamic to cancel Friday prayers over coronavirus concerns.
The Fatwa stressed that public gatherings, including congregational prayers at mosques, could result in spread of coronavirus and the governments of Muslim countries had full jurisdiction to cancel such events. It also emphasized amending Azaan (call to prayer) with words ‘Salaat Fi Buyut-e-Kum’, meaning ‘pray in your homes’ instead of the usual ‘come to prayer. 

ISLAMABAD, 24 March 2020,TON (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday announced a relief package aimed at providing financial support to the different sectors of economy affected by the economic slowdown unleashed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) all over the globe. Government has decided to allocate Rs 200 billion for the labour class, which had been hit hard in the difficult times. To help the industrial sector and especially the export sector, it was decided to release tax refunds amounting to Rs 100 billion, besides, deferring of the interest payment to bolster this sector.

For the small and medium industry, and agriculture sector, another amount of Rs 100 billion was set aside with deferred interest payment. In addition, concessional loans would also being extended to the sectors to bring down the input costs for the farmers. Other packages included additional amount of 50 billion for the Utility Stores, Rs 280 billion for the wheat procurement, slashing of petrol and diesel prices by Rs 15 per liter for which the government would have to bear the burden of Rs 75 billion. An amount of Rs 100 billion was allocated separately for the emergency situation. A sum of Rs 50 billion was also allocated for the medical staff. The National Disaster Management Authority would get Rs 25 billion for purchase and procuring of kits. It was also announced that for the vulnerable families who were bearing the brunt of the difficult time an amount of Rs 150 billion for a period of four months was allocated.

RAWALPINDI, 23 March 2020, TON: Special Corps Commanders’ Conference on COVID-19 was held through video link on evening 22 March 2020. Chaired by General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), the Corps Commanders participated in the conference through video link from respective Corps Headquarters. The conference deliberated Pakistan Army’s readiness to assist civil administration to contain the pandemic. The COAS placed
all available troops and Armed Forces medical resources to be prepared to assist civil administration on short notice with regard to COVID-19. The plan of action has, however, not been shared.
 In Punjab, Pakistan Army is being called to assist civil administration in tackling Coronavirus challenge, said Punjab’s Chief Minister Usman Buzdar on Monday.

ISLAMABAD, 23 March 2020, TON: This year to express solidarity with rest of world regarding Coronavirus COVID-19 spread, the 23 March parade and other events were cancelled. However, throughout the country, special prayers and recitation of Al Quran was arranged after Namaz-e-Fajr (morning prayers) on Monday, 23 March 2020. Despite restrictions, large numbers of people assembled at the mosques throughout the country to offer special prayers for the safety and security of Pakistan as well as blessings from Almighty Allah to overcome the deadly coronavirus COVID-19 from Pakistan and around the world.

To celebrate getting rid of the dominion status and becoming Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 23rd March is being celebrated every year with zeal, enthusiasm and national spirit. Every year as ‘Pakistan Day’ is celebrated to commemorate Lahore Resolution adopted of 23 March 1940 which later paved way for the partition of India and independence of Pakistan on 15 August 1947.  A national tradition, the day begins with Fajar prayers and recitation from holy Al Quran, followed by Guns salute in Federal Capital Islamabad and all provincial capitals, followed by an impressive Armed Forces parade to show of military might showcasing war and pace capabilities including missiles, tanks, fighter jets, radars, aerobatics and commandos parachuting from helicopters as well as cultural and traditional floats.

ISLAMABAD, 20 March 2020, TON (APP): As the coronavirus continues to put an impact on sports events around the globe, Pakistan’s Emerging Pugilist Usman Wazeer’s dream of having the World Boxing Council (WBC) title bout at home has also came under jeopardy, resulting in postponement of the event, which was scheduled to be held here at the Pakistan Sports Complex on 21 March (Saturday).

A total of 8 fights were to be featured in the mega event which was being organized by Amir Khan promotions. “The event has been postponed for one or two weeks as part of the precautionary measures being taken for the ongoing threat of coronavirus. My training has also been affected, but hopefully the bout will take place in Islamabad only,” he told APP on Friday.

Usman was scheduled to fight an international boxer anyone from Europe, Philippines or Thailand for his bout. “The fight was planned to be held out of the country but Amir Khan (British boxer of Pakistani-origin) brought it here on my request,” he said and added that top boxers from Afghanistan, Thailand, Malaysia and England would be featuring in the mega event.

The Asian Boy said he had been training here at the Amir Khan Boxing Academy for the last two months for the fight. “I go through two training sessions everyday to prepare for the fight. In the morning session I focus on physical fitness, running and cardio while in the evening I do technical training including punching skills etc,” he said and added that his Iranian coach Daud was working extra hard on him.

Speaking about his future dream, Usman said he wanted to win the WBC Youth Title for Pakistan. “Nobody from Pakistan has ever attempted for the WBC Youth Title. But my dream is not only just to attempt the title but also to win it,” he said.

Usman said there were also plans on holding a fight with an Indian boxer at the end of this year. “The fight might take place in Pakistan, India or Dubai depending on the situation,” he said.

BEIJING, 20 March 2020, TON (APP)::Pakistan and China under a memorandum of understanding signed between the two countries during President Dr. Arif Alvi’s recent visit to China, will jointly establish a center to fight against the locust threat in Pakistan.
The MOU on strengthening of cooperation on pest and disease control was signed between Ministry of Food Security and Research and Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA), China Economic Net reported on Friday.

The two countries will carry out a comprehensive cooperation on plant protection, including monitoring and early warning, demonstration, mutual recognition of standards, personnel training, and emergency response, according to the official website of MARA.
Now, Pakistan is facing a severe locust threat, said the survey report of the work team to assist Pakistan in combating desert locust which was sent by MARA.

The Chinese work team predicts that the current locust eggs will hatch in April and become adult in May, after analyzing the climatic conditions, characteristic of the plant and locust breeding in Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh provinces.
In addition, locusts from India and Iran may invade Pakistan. If not controlled well, it may swarm a huge number of locusts and swell into a plague of locusts.
Chinese work team suggested Pakistan make long-and short-term control plans, with combined efforts from chemical pesticides and bio-prevention methods.

The first batch of aid from China has already arrived in Karachi on 9 March. The aid includes 50,000 liters of malathion and 14 air-powered high-efficiency remote sprayers.
The locust outbreak, the worst one in 27 years, has damaged cotton, wheat and corn plants, posing severe threats to agriculture and food security of Pakistan.

ISLAMABAD, 19 March 2020, TON: APP has reported that Government of Pakistan has so far released development funds of over Rs 12.13 billion for various development projects of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) under its Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2019-20.

According to latest data issued by the ministry of Planning on Thursday, the government had allocated Rs 18 billion for around 20 projects of CPEC for the year 2019-20.

For construction of KKH phase-II Havelian-Thakot (118.057 M) part of CPEC, the government released Rs 2 billion out of total allocation of Rs 2.238 billion.
The government has also released Rs 1.8 billion for preliminary design for up-gradation of main line (ML-1) and establishment of dryport near Havelian under the CPEC.

For improvement and widening of Chitral-Booni-Mastuj-Shandur road, the total allocated amount of Rs 1 billion has been released, whereas for Sukkur-Hyderabad motorway, an amount of Rs 2.8 billion was released out of total allocated funds of Rs 6.5 billion.

The government also released Rs 1.2 billion for land acquisition and resettlement for CPEC- Islamabad-Raikot section (Phase-I), Havelian-Thakot (120.12 km), while Rs 1.89 billion were released for construction of Zhob to Kuchlak for which the government had allocated Rs 1.025 billion.

Similarly the government also released Rs 320 million for 5 million gallon per day sea water desalination plant at Gwadar out of total allocation of Rs 400 million and for strengthening of core network and expansion of PERN footprints through CPEC optical fiber (PERN III), an amount of Rs 300 million has also been released.

For construction of offices for Intelligence Bureau alongwith CPEC, the government released Rs 111.2 million out of total allocation of Rs 164 million while for the project upgradation of NGMS (3G/4G) services and seamless coverage along KKH (in support of CPEC) in Gilgit Baltistan, an amount of Rs 600 million has been released.

The government also released Rs 9.455 million for establishment of CPEC Support Unit (CSU) for projects and activities in Gwadar Port Authority for which Rs 18.19 have been allocated for current fiscal year.

Likewise, for construction of Centre of Excellence for CPEC, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), the government has so far released Rs 50 million out of Rs 73.8 million while for CPEC support project at ministry of Railways, another Rs 50 million have also been released.

 

 

ISLAMABAD, 19 March 2020, TON: APP reported on Thursday that Prime Minister Imran Khan said the aim behind enforcement of unified educational curriculum was to equip the young generation to cope with challenges of technological age and to instill in them social values that highlighted distinct national character.
The prime minister said this while chairing a high-level meeting to review progress on the implementation of unified educational curriculum across the country. The meeting was attended by Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood, secretary education and high officials.
Prime Minister Imran Khan emphasized that the teachings of Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), guidelines of Father of the Nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and philosophy of Allama Muhammad Iqbal should be made part of the curriculum. He also highlighted that the curriculum should cater to the needs of modern times.
The prime minister directed that the mafias’ role should be eliminated during publication of unified curriculum textbooks. He assured full support of the Federal Government in implementation of the uniform education system in the country.
The meeting was told that the present class-based education system had not only divided the educational institutions, education standard, teachers and students but it had also created a system based on the whole social and economic structure, which was serving the interests of a particular class. The system was creating a diverging mind-set in the society, which had caused a divided national consciousness and psyche.
The meeting was informed that the present government after coming into power formed the National Curriculum Council, comprising representatives from all the federating unites, besides famous personalities from the private sector and religious seminaries.
It was briefed that implementation of the unified curriculum for educational institutions and its evaluation had remained one of the important elements of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s election manifesto. The rationale behind the decision was to eliminate the disparity between curriculum, facilities, mediums of instruction, teachers and students’ performance, which had resulted into differing mindsets causing a fractured national psyche.
Working groups were also established wherein technical input was provided by a dedicated team of professionals and subject specialists. World renowned educational assessment institutions including Cambridge, Agha Khan University’s Institute of Educational Development and LUMS also contributed to formulation of evaluation systems.
The prime minister was apprised that under Phase-I, unified curriculum for class one to 5th had been developed and its implementation would be completed by March 2021. Phase-II curriculum for Class 6th to 8th would be ready by March 2021 and implemented by March 2022, while Phase-III curriculum for Class 9th to 12th would be ready by March 2022 and enforced by March 2023.

BEIJING, 18 March 2020, TON : Pakistani President Dr. Arif Alvi’s recent visit to Beijing weighted with rich benefits and symbolized mutual benefits for both the countries.

As the nations of the world are worried about tackling a new pandemic of Coronavirus, Pakistan and China are thinking ahead. For official visits by foreign leaders, timing always matters. But particularly now, as countries all over the world are preoccupied with self-defense amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, and national leaders are, by and large, avoiding international trips, according to an article published by China Daily on Wednesday.

President Alvi third foreign leader to visit China since the outbreak of Coronavirus in China appealed to global attention, following Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Mongolian President Khaltmaa Battulga

China and Pakistan had high ties and strong mutual bonds. Chinese investment in economic and trade sector benefiting both the countries.

Bilateral ties are so good, at both the government-to-government and people-to-people levels, that official statements here refer to Pakistan as an “all-weather friend”, the man on the street calls it “ba tie”, meaning there’s an ironclad bond that could not be better.

At this time of struggle, President Alvi offered valuable moral support to China and expressed appreciation of what it has contributed to the global campaign to contain the ongoing pandemic.

As China realizes control over the outbreak at home, Pakistan is witnessing a continuous rise in infections. How China has responded to the outbreak and what it has learned from it can provide useful insight into Pakistan’s own endeavors to bring the virus under control. And as work and production resume in China, Beijing will be better equipped to provide Pakistan with what it needs.

The series of memorandums signed in Beijing, under the framework of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, portend a solid step forward in bilateral economic cooperation, which will in turn raise overall relations to a higher level.

CPEC China- Pakistan economic corridor will pave the way to economic, agricultural and trade cooperation not only between China and Pakistan but also attract the world leaders to make investment in CPEC projects.  President Allvi’s visit is of great significance for long term practical benefits for both the neighboring countries.

ISLAMABAD, 18 March 2020, TON: Prime Minister Imran Khan while addressing the nation discussed about the threats of Coronavius and its implications on the national economy, expressed his optimism that together, the government and the nation would win the fight against the pandemic.

The prime Minister advised the people not to panic from the situation. The country could not go for a complete lockdown due to the economic situation, which had seen vital signs of resurgence from the last year.

“The situation in Pakistan has been different. About 25 per cent of the country’s population is poor. The 2019 was a difficult year. Slowly and gradually, we arrested the economic situation, which showed signs of recovery. In case of lockdown, the people would be saved from the coronavirus, but could die from poverty,” he said referring to the lockdown of cities in Europe and the United States.

Dilating upon the negative impacts of the Coronavirus on the world economy, the prime minister warned that Pakistan had to endure its shocks due to slide in the prices of oil, aviation industry and transport.

He talked about  his fears that certain elements could try to push prices of the daily use items through artificial shortage and gave a stern warning to such elements that they would be strongly dealt in accordance with law.

Such elements in the past had created shortage of sugar and flour through hoarding, he added.

He said, “I give a clear message to these people that such situation will evoke strong reaction from the state that will move strictly against hoarders and profiteers trying to take undue benefits from the situation.”

The prime minister advised the nation to follow basic hygienic measures like frequently washing of hands and avoiding social gatherings, and said as Muslims they had firm belief in life and death, but they should also follow the teachings of Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) about taking precautions in such situation.

“As a nation, we will face and Insha’Allah win this war,” he declared, and said under such scenario, they could also approach the International Monetary Funds (IMF).

The prime minister also assured doctors, nurses and other medical staff that the government would ensure provision of all the required health equipment to assist them in their Jihad against the virus.

He said the government was ready to take action to the situation after the outbreak of Coronavirus in China. On January 15, the government took decisions as the people were arriving Pakistan and they could carry the pathogen, he added.

He said the government was in constant contact with the Chinese and Iranian governments after the outbreak there.

The Pakistani Zaireen (pilgrims) were arriving at the border of Balochistan province, which was a deserted place where the provision of logistics was difficult, he said and appreciated the provincial government and the armed forces, who did well to handle the situation.

The prime minister referred to the government’s response, which, he said, was continuously following the situation.

“Our response started from January 15, as we had started screening of passengers at airports and so far about nine lakh were screened out,” he added.

On February 26, he said, the first coronavirus case was reported. Last week, the National Security Committee meeting was held after the cases surged to 20. They studied the world responses, like in Italy which was in complete lockdown whereas the United Kingdom had a different approach to the situation. The United States did not do anything at first, but now went for lockdown of its cities.

The National Coordination Committee was formed with the National Disaster Management Authority and all the chief ministers as its members. The economic committee was tasked to keep check on prices of food items, he added.

Expressing satisfaction at the availability of face masks, he said in severe cases, they could require ventilators and other equipment, and assured that arrangements in that regard were being made.

The prime minister said the core medical committee was continuously advising the government after reviewing the world scenario and the latest experiences.

President Dr Arif Alvi, he said, was visiting China recently and they would also learn a lot from the Chinese experience. China had almost overcome the outbreak, he added.

The prime minister said from the world experiences, they had fears over spread of virus in Pakistan, but expressed the confidence that they would overcome the situation.

He said the symptoms of the Coronavirus  resemblance to flu or cough like symptoms, but advised the people that every flu or cough was not related to the coronavirus.

The prime minister said the recovery from the Coronavirus was 97 per cent whereas in 90 per cent, the sufferers experienced mild symptoms.

He said the severe cases were hardly three to four p

BEIJING, 16 March 2020, TON: The President is accompanied by a Pakistani delegation including Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar and senior officials.

The President was warmly welcomed by Chinese Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Han Changfu, Pakistan Ambassador to China, Naghmana Alamgir Hashmi and other senior officials of the Chinese government and Pakistan Embassy Beijing.

A smartly turned out contingent of the People’s Liberation Army presented a guard of honour. The President will hold separate meetings with President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and other Chinese leaders. A number of MoUs are expected to be signed.

This is the President’s first visit to China, which is specifically aimed at conveying strong support and solidarity of Pakistan towards the Government and the people of China in their battle against COVID-19.

The visit will play an important role in further solidifying the historic bonds of trust and mutual support between the two “iron brothers”.

It will also serve as an opportunity for the leadership of the two countries to review bilateral, regional and international issues and to advance the shared goals of promoting peace, prosperity and development in the region and beyond.

Pakistan and China are the closest friends and staunch partners. The two countries are joined together in an “All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership.” This time-tested friendship is based on unparalleled mutual trust, understanding and commonality of interests.

The leadership of both countries is fully committed to building closer China-Pakistan Community of Shared Future in the New Era.

ISLAMABAD: 15 March, 2020, TON:  Terming Pakistan’s measures against novel coronavirus  threat as ‘timely’ and the ‘best national response’ World Health Organisation (WHO) has suggested the government to continue to keep a vigilant eye on new cases and expand testing facilities to various public sector hospitals.

Country Head of the WHO Dr Palitha Gunarathna Mahipala, while talking to media in Karachi during his visit to various hospitals and testing labs, said: “At a time when other countries were reporting cases, Pakistan was keeping the virus at bay, which is something quite praiseworthy.”

He also said that adopting coughing etiquette was also very important as it would prevent spreading the virus to others.

The WHO Chief was in the city to assess the provincial government’s response to the virus and to inspect isolation units set up in various hospitals.

During his visit to the Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) Ojha Campus, he inspected the diagnostic lab of the health facility as well as their isolation facility, and termed them ‘world class diagnostic and treatment facility’.

Dr Mahipala also met provincial health minister Dr Azra Pechuho and inquired about the status of diagnostic kits and personal protective equipment (PPE) and offered WHO’s support in the provision of diagnostic kits for testing suspected Covid-19 patients in Sindh.

Later talking to media, Dr Mahipala said the federal and provincial governments had arranged around 2,000 isolation beds in the country to keep the suspected patients of Covid-19 while extraordinary screening arrangements had been made at the points of entry by the authorities, which were quite helpful to keeping the virus away from the country to a large extent.

“At the moment, Pakistan has seven diagnostic labs which are capable of conducting 15,000 tests, but there is a need for more diagnostic facilities in case the number of suspected patients go up,” he said and added that authorities had even established a mobile diagnostic facility that had been dispatched to Taftan to test and diagnose suspected people coming from Iran.

Highlighting the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic, he said even countries with well-advanced health systems like South Korea and Italy had failed to contain Covid-19. He added that Pakistani authorities timely responded to the threat and took measures which resulted in keeping the virus at bay for a longer time when other counties were reporting its cases.

BEIJING, 15 March 2020, TON: China has been assisting Pakistan in cultivating local talents and technical force, building infrastructure, and utilizing its own resources, in order to help Pakistan to independent development, Cheng Xizhong, a Chinese scholar said on Sunday

“In my opinion, to achieve domestic production, three basic conditions need to be created,” he said in his article published by China Economic Net.

Giving the detail, Cheng Xichong, special commentator of China Economic Net, visiting professor at Southwest University of Political Science and Law said that the one condition is the market localization.

The core of market localization is the market share. To increase market share, localization features should be strengthened in corporate culture, management mode and sales channels.

The second one is the localization of production and technology. In terms of hardware, it includes localization of complete mobile phone and parts production. In terms of software, it is necessary to integrate international advanced technology with local cultural and economic background.

The last one is the talent localization. Not only should the majority of ordinary workers be local people, but also there should be as many locals as possible involved in management and technical work.

In terms of mobile phone manufacturing, Pakistan may learn from Huawei’s practices and experiences.

Nowadays, “Made in China” is well known in the international market. However, it used to be a byword for poor quality and low price.

In the field of mobile phone manufacturing, Huawei has gradually changed the low-end image of “made in China” with its pure business operation, high-quality products and services. Huawei’s approach has three main points.

Huawei focuses on the core technology. As for mobile phone manufacturing, Huawei’s main success is in the aspect of chips, which gives it a huge advantage in the most competitive field of smart phones.

Huawei attaches great importance to skilled talents and give them good reward. It’s employees enjoy high salary, which is linked with good performance. Besides high salary, Huawei takes many measures to keep the talents, such as distributing a large number of shares of the enterprise, so that every employee has a sense of ownership.

In addition, the CEO system is in turn, so that all outstanding talents have the opportunity to display their ability.

Huawei also looks towards management. Management is a way to the maintenance and development of enterprises. Better management help to the team to work better and the company run more smoothly.

 

ISLAMABAD, 13 March 2020, TON: Turkish Ambassador to Pakistan Mustafa Yurdakul said that Turkey wants to strengthen the bilateral trade between the two countries. Turkey seeks to maintain long-lasting free trade agreement with Pakistan.  It would be in the interest of both the brother countries.

“The existing two-way trade between Pakistan and Turkey amounts to around $800 million, which is far from the true potential keeping in view that both countries have a common market worth billions of dollars,” he said.

He was addressing to Islamabad chamber of commerce and Industry (ICCI) on Thursday. He said through this trade pact annual bilateral trade would rise to $5 billion between the two countries.

He said “Pakistan has a great potential for foreign direct investment (FDI) and Turkish companies want to take the first-mover advantage in this regard, however, Pakistan needs to improve ease of doing business further,”.

He said Turkish investors should require the complete information about the mega project of CPEC in regard to investment prospect in relation to Special Economic Zones(SEZs) so that they would join it. ICCI President Muhammad Ahmed Waheed said Pakistan and Turkey soon sign the Free Trade Agreement (FTA). This agreement would pave the way to increase mutual trade between the true countries and would strengthen the relation between Turkey and Pakistan. Muhammad Waheed ICCI President said Turkey should cooperate with Pakistan in developing tourism Industry in Pakistan.

 

ISLAMABAD, 12 March 2020, TON: Chairperson Council of Islamic Ideology Dr Qibla Ayaz on Thursday, welcomed the bill but expressed reservations on name of Zainab Alert Bill, saying the constitutional body has objections over the name of the bill and the definition of child in it. It also objected over not including capital punishment of death penalty in the law.

The Zainab Alert Recovery and Response Bill 2020 recommends life imprisonment and a penalty of Rs1 million as maximum and a minimum sentence of 10 years punishments to child sexual offenders.

The Council of Islamic Ideology is a constitutional body that advises the legislature whether or not a certain law is repugnant to Islam, namely to the Qur'an and Sunnah.

 

ISLAMABAD, 11 March 2020, TON: A Pakistan Airforce fighter aircraft crashed near parade ground at Shakarparian, Islamabad on Wednesday. As per the details Wing Commander Noman Akram was carrying out nose diving rehearsal for 23rd March “Pakistan Day” parade when his F-16 lost control due to bad weather cum technical fault and crashed in the adjoining green belt. 

According to the Air Force authorities, “The aircraft was taking part in rehearsals for a Pakistan Day air show and Wing Commander Noman Akram was the only pilot in the aircraft and embraced martyrdom in the crash. Investigation into the crash has been ordered.

The F-16 fighter-aircrafts are often developing technical faults and crashes have become quite frequent.  In just less than one year, a number of aircrafts crashed, In May 2019 a F-16 fighter jet crashed into a warehouse outside of Los Angeles,  in September 2019, a Belgian F-16 fighter jet crashed in western France, in December 2019, another F-16 Fighting US Airforce crashed as it was about to land on Kunsan Air Base, near Gunsan, South Korea, another F-16 fighter jet stationed at the US air base in Spangdahlem, Rhineland-Palatinate crashed in Trier near the Luxembourg border.  Similarly, in January 2020 an Egyptian Air Force F-16 fighter jet crashed in North Sinai and on 11 February 2020, one more aircraft crashed in Islamabad, Pakistan.   

ISLAMABAD, 8 March 2020, TON: Every year International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8th March, This year the theme for Year-2020 is,” I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights”. The United Nations observed International Women’s Day on 6 March 2020 from 10am to 1pm at the UN Secretariat in New York. The day marks as a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Generally speaking, women and girls throughout the world are facing disadvantages; they are mostly undervalued so they have to work more and appreciated less and where they have to earn they have comparatively fewer choices and earn less. Generally speaking, they have to face multiple forms of harassment and violence at public spaces and sometime at their home.

Tens and hundreds of demonstrators assembled in different cities of Pakistan to raise voice for the rights of women. They chanted slogans and displayed play cards. Some foreign funded NGOs raised controversial slogans which were criticized by majority of segment of the society. Some media persons used unacceptable language while criticizing them that created even bitter atmosphere. All print, social and electronic media channels gave full coverage and generated discussions from different point of view.

There is a lot of debate of the Women March “Aurat March”. Interestingly, resistance was faced not by the Islamic religious factions but the modern community. With the exception of criticism over some unethical and vulgar playcards and posters, the Islamic parties supported the rights of women. On the contrary the modern factions opinioned that Women March was hijacked by less than dozen of controversial foreign funded third gender  holding National Identity Cards of female.

LAHORE, 17 February 2020, TON: Kabaddi World Cup final was played at Punjab Stadium in Lahore on Sunday, 16 February 2020, between Pakistan and India.  Pakistan defeated India 43-41 to become champions for the first time.

The score was 24-18 at half time; Pakistan took lead in the second half to become the new world champions.

Total nine teams including hosts Pakistan, India, Germany, Azerbaijan, Iran, Canada, Sierra Leone, England and Australia features in the Kabaddi World Cup 2020, which was jointly organised by Punjab government, Sports Board Punjab and Pakistan Kabaddi Federation (PKF). The matches were played at three venues including Punjab Stadium Lahore, Iqbal Cricket Stadium Faisalabad and Zahoor Elahi Stadium Gujrat.

Punjab Stadium, which has 10,000 sitting capacity, but around 12,000 to 13,000 spectators were present inside the venue while around 3,000 to 4,000 were standing outside

At the concluding ceremony, chief guest Governor Punjab awarded the winning trophy and PKR 10 million to victorious Pakistan team while handed over PKR 7.5 million and silver medals to runners-up India.

ISLAMABAD, 16 February 2020, TON: Pakistan’s Consulate General in Jeddah on Saturday issued a statement to counter an online propaganda campaign against Saudi Arabia, issuing a clarification that no Pakistan-specific repatriation was happening in the Kingdom as maintained by some social media users. All foreign nationals who are either living in the country illegally without valid documents or working without Iqama or have an expired work permit or doing a job at a place not mentioned on the Iqama or working outside of their declared profession have to deal with the situation. Saudi Arabia is home to about 2.6 million Pakistani expats and on Saturday, around 400 Pakistanis were brought to the Shumaisi Deportation Center near Makkah for deportation.

ISLAMABAD, 14 February 2020, TON: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is Pakistan on two-day official visit. He arrived Thursday at Nur Khan airbase, Chaklala. A smartly turned-out contingent of the Pakistani Armed Forces presented guard of honour to honourable guest. At the occasion national anthems of the two countries were also played. Later, Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Recep Rayyip discussed isssues of mutual interests including issues of strategic contemporary international politics. 

Besides, holding a separate meeting with President Dr. Arif Alvi, President Erdogan will also address a Joint Session of the Parliament today. He will hold consultations with all the parliamentary leaders of all the political parties on this matter.

The commitment of the Turkish President include co-chair the 6th Session of the Pakistan-Turkey High Level Strategic Cooperation Council (HLSCC) at Islamabad. A number of important agreements / MoUs (Memorandums of Understanding) have been on the table and a Joint Declaration will also be signed.

President Erdogan, who is visiting Pakistan on the invitation of Prime Minister Imran Khan, was accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising cabinet members and senior government officials, as well as heads and CEOs (Chief Executive Officers) of leading Turkish corporations. 

Together with Prime Minister Imran Khan, President Erdogan will address the Pakistan-Turkey Business and Investment Forum, which brings together leading investors and business-people from both sides. 

An official statement issued by Islamabad said, the visit of President Erdogan will serve to underscore the traditional solidarity and affinity between the two countries, and prove to be another significant milestone in the further deepening and broadening of the flourishing Pakistan-Turkey strategic partnership.

RAWALPINDI, 1 February 2020, TON; Bangladesh team toured Pakistan and played three-match Twenty20 International series at historical Gaddafi Stadium 24, 25 and 27 January 2020. Pakistan won the series. Bangladeshi team returned home and they will come again to Pakistan this month to play first Test in Rawalpindi from 7 to 11 February 2020 and then in the last phase, the Bangladeshi cricketers will again come to Pakistan in April after the completion of PSL-5. They will first play one off ODI on 3 April at National Stadium Karachi and then play second Test at the same venue from 5 to 9 April.  

Muhammad Ibrahim, a student of local college in Rawalpindi while speaking to The Orient News correspondent said, “It hardly matter if Pakistan or Bangladesh wins, we were brothers in the past but separated and will be one again.” Pakistan and Bangladesh are today two brotherly countries with same religion but the same ideology. Many Pakistanis consider Bangladeshis as their real brothers and sisters and strongly believe that one day all the misunderstandings would be removed and both countries would live like real brothers.

ISLAMABAD, 1 February 2020, TON: Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed on Saturday that the country was preparing a draft agreement in collaboration with Turkey to grant dual nationality to the citizens of the two countries.

“The Turkish Ambassador called on the Interior Minister last week to discuss matters of mutual interest,” foreign office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui told Arab News. “During the interaction, the question of dual nationality also came up for discussion.”

The decision to prepare the draft, she added, was taken to meet the longstanding demand of the Pakistani community in Turkey.

According to a recent statement by the Interior Ministry, Federal Minister for Interior Brigadier (Retired) Ijaz Ahmad Shah held a meeting with Turkish Ambassador Ihsan Mustafa Yurdakul and resolved to work together and strengthen bilateral ties.

The Turkish Ambassador on behalf of his government proposed the two countries to sign an agreement regarding the idea of giving dual nationality to the citizens, the statement added.

“In response to this, the interior minister said that the draft is under consideration and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is on board with us, we hope to reach a mutual conclusion soon,” said the statement.

The Turkish ambassador also expressed the hope that the process would be expedited to achieve the desired results.

According to the statement, the Turkish ambassador informed that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was scheduled to visit Pakistan during the course of this month and would be accompanied by a large delegation.

He also told the Minister that the Turkish consulate in Karachi, which is still under construction, is the largest one his country had built anywhere in the world.

“It was heartening to know about the largest Turkish consulate in Karachi,” Minister Shah was quoted as saying, “and we will provide any assistance required from our end to ensure timely operation of the building.”

ISLAMABAD, 1 February 2020, TON: The Government of Pakistan has decided in principle Islamabad not evacuate Pakistani citizens stranded in China’s coronavirus-hit regions, in order to ensure the safety of the larger public.

Foreign Ministry data reflected that approximately 28,300 Pakistani students are currently studying at Chinese universities, with more than 500 of them in the virus epicenter of Wuhan. Only four Pakistani students tested positive for the virus.

Many countries including the US, UK, Japan, Australia and India have flown their citizens out of China after the outbreak of the virus. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the outbreak a global health emergency. Earlier, on Friday, Pakistan announced it was suspending all direct flights to and from the country until 2 February 2020.

 

Pakistan pledged its support to Sri Lanka yesterday to combat drug trafficking and human smuggling.

Visiting Pakistani Navy Commander Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi conveyed Pakistan’s willingness to assist the Government’s efforts to battle drug trafficking and human smuggling when he met Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Kamal Gunaratne at the Defence Ministry yesterday.

While pledging Pakistan’s support for countering terrorism, Admiral Abbasi said that both countries should enhance existing cooperation to improve information sharing and defence ties.

“Pakistan will help to repair the Sri Lanka Navy’s hovercraft and also to develop a library at the proposed National Defence College,” Admiral Abbasi said. Expressing gratitude over Pakistan’s continuous assistance to Sri Lanka, Maj. Gen. Gunaratne said that he was looking forward to working closely with Pakistan in the future to strengthen military relations between the two nations.

Admiral Mahmood arrived in Sri Lanka on Saturday (25), on an official visit made on the invitation of SLN Commander Vice Admiral Piyal De Silva.

Maj. Gen. Gunaratne and Admiral Abbasi exchanged mementos to mark the occasion.

ISLAMABAD, 28 January 2020, TON: Hundreds of protesters have gathered in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa province of Pakistan over detention of Pakistani human and civil rights activists, Manzoor Pashteen, Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir.

It is pertinent to mention here that cases against these activities were already filed in Islamabad High Court (IHC) and were repeatedly summoned regarding response from Pashtun Tahafuz  Movemnet (PTM) chief Manzoor Pashteen, MNAs Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir in a case pertaining to maligning state institutions.

Manzoor Pashteen, a Pakistani youth leader who  remained vocal over foreign military operations especially drone attacks, killing hundreds and thousands of innocent, men, women and children as well as operations by Pakistani security forces and extrajudicial detentions in the northwestern tribal districts. He along with his activists were detained in the city of Peshawar, while court rejected their bail application on 28 January and sent them on 14-day judicial remand.
Manzoor Pashteenm leader of the PTM is accused of sedition, hate speech, incitement against the state, and criminal conspiracy.

Protesters took out rallies in Peshawar, Nowshera, Mardan, Tribal districts as well as Islamabad and Karachi, demanding immediate release of Pashteen, d PTM members, were among those detained during the demonstration outside the National Press Club in the capital.
Afghan nationals in Kabul also protested in front of Pakistani Embassy in Kabul and demanded immediate release of PTM leaders.

Meanwhile, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani while criticizing detention said, “Pakistan must support and encourage peaceful civil movements for justice and must not use coercive force to supress these movements." Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs cautioned President Ashraf Ghani for his comments as a clear interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs.

Hajj cost further jacks up due to Saudi fee

Expresstribune: After a possible hike in the cost of government’s Hajj package, Saudi Arabia has also announced to impose an additional fee of Rs16,000 – raising the minimum cost of Hajj this year to around Rs566,000.

 

The Ministry of Religious Affair on Thursday told a Senate panel that cost of Hajj might increase this year Rs115,000 because of hike in the US dollar’s exchange rate and rising airfares.

 

After the increase in the Hajj package, the cost of government Hajj package for northern region would increase to Rs550,000 and that of the southern region to Rs545,000. The cost of government Hajj package last year was Rs433,000.

CPI REPORT ON PAKISTAN MISINTERPRETED, DOESN’T IMPLY INCREASE IN CORRUPTION: TI

 

Newsone: Transparency International (TI) has clarified that its Corruption Per­ce­ptions Index (CPI) report 2019 on Pakistan has been misinterpreted and it is a move to defame the country, media reported on Sunday.

Transparency International stated that the media and some politicians misreported the findings of the report and highlighted false data and figures.

It added the report does not state that corruption has increased in Pakistan. The watchdog mentioned that a slip of Pakistan’s ranking on global corruption perception index does not represent an increase or decrease in corruption.

On January 23, 2020, Transparency International issued a global ranking which showed that Pakistan slipped three spots from the previous year’s place despite increased anti-corruption efforts.

Pakistan has been ra­nk­ed 120 out of 180 countries on the Corruption Per­ce­ptions Index (CPI) 2019.

WORLD NOW ACKNOWLEDGING MODI’S FASCIST IDEOLOGY BEING IMPOSED IN IOK, INDIA: PM IMRAN

 

Newsone: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday said that the world is now acknowledging the anti-democratic and fascist ideology being imposed in occupied Kashmir and in India.

In a tweet, featuring the cover of London-based magazine ‘The Economist’, the prime minister said, “The world is now acknowledging the anti-democratic and fascist ideology being imposed in IOJK and in India.”

He said that the fascist ideology of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the biggest threat to regional peace and stability.

He also pointed out that already eight million Kashmiris and Muslims in India were suffering because of Modi’s fascist policies.

An article which appeared in the weekly magazine read that the Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in India had “stoked divisions in the world’s biggest democracy.”

Pakistan summons Indian diplomat over truce breaches

 

Pakistan has summoned a senior diplomat at the foreign ministry to register “strong protest” over unabated violations of the 2003 ceasefire agreement by Indian border guards along the heavily-miltarised Line of Control (LoC).

“A senior diplomat from the High Commission of India was summoned to the Foreign Office, today, to register Pakistan’s strong protest at the ceasefire violations by Indian occupation forces along the Line of Control (LoC), resulting in serious injuries to an innocent civilian lady,” a spokesperson for the Foreign Office said in a statement on Saturday

Pakistan-Belgium trade rises to €900m

The Express Tribune: Bilateral trade between Pakistan and Belgium has increased to 900 million euros as Pakistan is a key beneficiary of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Plus status that provides its businessmen trade opportunities in Belgium, said Belgian Ambassador Philippe Bronchain.

Meeting a business delegation, led by Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) President Saboor Malik, the envoy said Pakistan should take full advantage of Belgium’s unique geographical position in the European Union.

Bronchain emphasised that there should be further interaction between business communities, private sectors and chambers of commerce of the two sides to enhance trade and economic cooperation.

He assured his full cooperation and support for RCCI’s EU Summit and Business Conference in Brussels this year.

He pointed out that Belgium was cooperating with Pakistan in the fields of energy, infrastructure, textile, dairy, poultry and education, adding that a lot of Pakistani products had the potential to find good markets in Belgium.

US appreciates Islamabad's role in Afghan peace process: Wells

Dawn News:Chief US diplomat for South Asian affairs, Alice Wells, appreciated the steps taken by Pakistan to advance the Afghan peace process.

The US diplomat, in a media briefing after her visit to three South Asian nations — Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka — said, "Pakistan has important leverage to promote lasting security and stability in Afghanistan."

She said that she held several meetings in Pakistan with government, military, civil society, and business leaders. "At the top of the agenda was understanding how we can grow our bilateral relationship commensurate with the cooperation that we are achieving in promoting peace in Afghanistan and regional stability," she added.

Islamabad almost ready to get off FATF grey list

 

 

The Express Tribune:As Pakistan and Asia-Pacific Joint Group of the Financial Action Task Force’s meeting ends in Beijing, Islamabad hopes to acquire the Unites States’ cooperation in next month’s plenary aimed at avoiding any further adverse action by the global body.

 

The face-to-face meeting between Pakistan and the FATF took place at a time when the US Assistant Secretary of State Alice Wells was in Islamabad with a message of cooperation.

 

In her off the record discussions, she tried to dispel the impression that the US was changing the goalposts of the FATF.

Ambassador Wells assured that Pakistan’s case would be purely treated on technical grounds but said that the country still had to make efforts to ensure convictions in terror-financing cases.

UK softens travel advisory due to 'improved security situation' in Pakistan

 

The Express Tribune: The United Kingdom has softened its travel advice to its citizens to reflect the improved security situation in Pakistan.

“Today’s announcement is the result of a comprehensive review of UK travel advice for Pakistan, based on a wide-ranging assessment of the country’s security situation,” read a statement issued by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) on Friday.

The UK FCO provides travel advice based on objective information to help British nationals make better informed decisions about foreign travel.

This is the first major update in the travel advice since 2015.

In 2018, there were an estimated 484,000 visits by British nationals to Pakistan. There are 22 weekly direct flights to the UK.

The improved security situation allowed for the return of British Airways to Pakistan in June 2019 and the visit by Prince Williams and Kate Middleton – the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – in October 2019.

Pakistan's first woman architect honoured with global women in architecture award

 

Hellopakistan:Pakistan's first woman architect , "yasmeen Lari" has won women in architecture awards, which recognize women's contribution to architecture around the world. Yasmeen Lari has been awarded the Jane Dew Prize, in recognition of design excellence. She is known for her work that combines architecture with questions of social justice.

The women in architecture awards , the W awards are organized by the UK-based publications; The Architectural Review and Architects journal.

PAKISTAN TO LAUNCH CAMPAIGN TO EXPRESS SOLIDARITY WITH KASHMIRIS: FM QURESHI

News One: Prime Minister Imran has decided to spearhead a new campaign for the rights of the people of occupied Kashmir from January 25, so those ground realities of the Indian-held territory are shown to the world

a press conference at the Foreign Office. He said the purpose of the campaign was to inform the youth and foreigners about the ground realities in the Indian-held territory.

 

India and Pakistan have been at loggerheads ever since New Delhi decided to illegally annex the occupied territory by scrapping Article 370 of the Indian constitution which recognised the valley as a special territory.

FM Qureshi said every fundamental right was being denied to the masses in occupied Kashmir and that Indian policies were reflective of its growing “unilateralism” on the issue of occupied Kashmir

Border trade: A collateral victim of Indo-Pak tensions

 

The Express Tribune:The tensions between India and Pakistan, resulting in snapping of trade ties have affected 50,000 people directly in India’s border city of Amritsar, according to a study conducted by an Indian research and consulting organisation.

The Sikh holy city of Amritsar, in the northwestern Indian state of Punjab, 28km from the border, is losing $4.2 million every month it used to earn because of the India-Pakistan trade through Attari-Wagah border.

The losses accounted for are collateral damages, not including the larger costs incurred by the traders, dealing in cross-border trade, said a study by the Bureau of Research on Industry and Economic Fundamentals (BRIEF).

Pakistan conducts successful training launch of Ghaznavi ballistic missile

Express Tribune: Pakistan Army’s strategic forces on Thursday conducted a successful training launch of the 290-kilometre range Ghaznavi ballistic missile, said a statement by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

The latest missile test by the Pakistan Army comes days after India test-launched the submarine-launched K-4 ballistic missile.

The missile is capable of delivering a conventional or nuclear warheads and the training launch was part of a field training exercise of the Strategic Forces Command aimed at “rehearsing operational readiness procedures during day and night”.

Pakistan will continue to look after its interests with regards to CPEC: FM Qureshi

Dawn News: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Thursday that when it comes to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Pakistan has to look out for what is in the country's best interests.

"We will continue to do what is beneficial to us," the foreign minister said in a statement released by his office Thursday morning.

Qureshi's remarks come a day after China issued a strongly-worded statement in response to allegations levelled by US diplomat Ambassador Alice Wells, who said there was no transparency in CPEC projects.

Developments in Mideast may seriously impact regional peace, security: Pak FM Qureshi tells UK minister

Deccan Herald: Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday told his British counterpart, Dominic Raab, that the recent developments in the Middle East could have a serious impact on regional peace and security. Qureshi held a telephonic conversation with British foreign secretary and discussed a wide range of regional and bilateral issues of mutual interest , the foreign official said in a statement.

The foreign minister briefed Raab on the evolving security situation of the region and "shared Pakistan's concern over the latest developments in the Middle East/Gulf region, which carried serious implications for the peace and security as well as world economy”, it said

Qureshi underlined the importance of "maximum restraint" and steps for de-escalation of tensions by all sides.

Chinese Embassy Criticizes US Diplomat  Wells’ ‘Negative Propaganda’ against CPEC

News One:The Chinese embassy in Pakistan on Wednesday took exception to senior US diplomat Alice Wells’ criticism of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), terming it “negative propaganda” by the US to interfere in China-Pakistan relations and CPEC

“Although you can never wake up a person who is pretending to be asleep, we have to make our position clear and reject the negative propaganda by the US,” the embassy’s spokesperson said in response to a question, according to a press release.

The rebuke comes a day after Wells criticised the flagship project of China’s One Belt One Road Initiative and alleged that there was no transparency in CPEC projects. Wells had also claimed that Pakistan’s debt burden was growing due to the Chinese financing.

Responding to her comments on Wednesday, the Chinese embassy spokesperson said, “The comments hold nothing new, but the same cliche in her speech in November, 2019, which has been repeatedly rejected by China and Pakistan.” It added that “we must not let the truth be distorted and the lies run wild”.

With regard to Wells’ allegations about blacklisted firms getting contracts in CPEC, the embassy spokesperson said, “The Chinese government always requests the Chinese companies to operate according to local laws and regulations.

Pakistan’s Asad Ali climbs highest mountain in South America

News One:Pakistan’s Asad Ali Memon has climbed Aconcagua – the highest mountain peak in South America – and hoisted a 50-meter-long national flag at the top.

The 22-year-old mountaineer dedicated his success to the soldiers of Pakistan Army and the people of Kashmir after making it to the highest mountain in the world outside Asia.

Aconcagua is a mountain in the Principal Cordillera of the Andes mountain range, in Mendoza Province, Argentina with an elevation of 22,837 feet. Climbing Aconcagua was a part of ‘Seven Summit Challenge’ for Asad Ali

Conflict among two nuclear armed countries unthinkable: PM Imran Khan

News One:Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday that one should not even think about a conflict between two nuclear armed states owing to the devastation it would create across the world.

The prime minister was speaking to media in Davos, where he is attending the World Economic Forum (WEF) summit. He spoke about India-Pakistan tensions, saying that Modi’s wrong policies in occupied Kashmir were the main cause for deteriorating relations between Islamabad and New Delhi

The prime minister said he was a “firm believer” in peace and that military conflicts were never the solution to problems. PM Imran said he reached out to Modi to settle disputes between the two countries when he first became prime minister. However, he said the reaction from Modi was “quite weird”

 

World’s largest urban forest will be planted along the Lyari river

Hellopakistan:The largest urban forest in the world will be planted along the Lyari river over an area of 26 kilometers. Only environment –friendly fruit bearing trees will be planted. As an urban forest is planted along the rivers it will turn the area into an attractive spot for local people and foreign tourists. It is said that similar urban forest will be planted in other parts of the city as well.

Pakistan becomes second developing country to introduce electric vehicle policy

Hellopakistan:Pakistan has become the second developing country in the region to introduce an electric vehicle (EV) policy .There are many opportunities for Pakistan under the EV industry as it would help reduce the import of oil and help save around $1billion whereas 70% air pollution would be curtailed through EVs.

 

Imran seeks Trump’s mediation on Kashmir issue in Davos meeting

Express Tribune:Prime Minister Imran Khan has once again expressed his desire for mediation by the United States on the Kashmir issue between the two hostile South Asian neighbours – Pakistan and India.

He conveyed his message to President Donald Trump on the sidelines of ongoing World Economic Forum in the Davos as the two leaders meet for the third time in less than a year amid reports that the US and Afghan Taliban are close to striking a peace deal after over yearlong painstaking process.

Islamabad: Pakistan’s military courts which had sentenced 161 militants to death and pronounced 116 others jail terms during their two-year tenure, were wound up on Saturday, two years after they were set up for speedy trial of hardcore terrorists.

Islamabad:: Claiming that Kashmir was an “integral part” of Pakistan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today needled India yet again by praising slain Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani as a “vibrant and charismatic leader”.

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan on Friday announced that it has submitted a dossier to the new United Nations’ Secretary General Antonio Guterres over Indian interference in Islamabad, which was aimed at “destabilizing” the nation.

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