pakistan news

Want good ties with India but no peace without Kashmir: Pakistan PM Shahbaz Sharif

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Newly-elected Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that his government wants good relations with India, but added that peace would not be possible without the resolution of the so-called “Kashmir issue”.

In his inaugural speech in the National Assembly soon after his election, Sharif touched on the abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir and said that Pakistan will offer “diplomatic and moral support” to “Kashmiri brothers and sisters” and also bringing up the matter at each global forum.
“Neighbours are not a matter of choice, it is something we have to live with. Unfortunately, our relations with India could not improve in the past,” Sharif said. “We want good relations with India, but peace can not be discussed without resolution of the Kashmir issue,” he said.

Sharif further said that there are economic challenges in both India and Pakistan, including unemployment, healthcare and education, and addressed Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying, “why do we want to disadvantage our coming generations? Let’s decide the Kashmir issue in accordance with the desires of the Kashmiri people, and let’s end the conflict on both sides, create employment, progress and happiness.”

Shehbaz Sharif, President of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and former leader of the Opposition, was elected the 23rd Prime Minister of Pakistan by the National Assembly of the country on Monday following the ouster of Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government after a no-confidence motion late on Saturday.

Ahead of the voting on Prime Minister’s election, PTI legislators resigned en masse from the National Assembly and walked out of the National Assembly after a speech by former Foreign Minister and PTI candidate for the prime ministerial post, Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

The younger brother of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was set to grab the top post after former Prime Minister Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government was ousted from power following the no-confidence motion against the regime. (ANI)

 

Pakistan, Sri Lanka crises lessons for countries to not fall for China’s debt trap

Washington [US]: The over-dependence on China for economic development could be a miserable option for any country, and the latest examples of it, are Pakistan and Sri Lanka which have been facing a dire financial crisis at present, according to reports.

It is not a coincidence that these two countries have been the biggest beneficiaries of economic “assistance” from China. But instead of becoming more resilient, they folded up in the wake of the global economic crisis brought about by a pandemic many suspects originated in Chinese laboratories, Global Strat View reported.
China’s “Debt Trap” policy follows a similar global pattern. Pakistan, an “all-weather friend” of China, remains another example, which, according to a recent World Bank Report, now finds its place in the world’s 10 largest borrowers.

Pakistan owes most of its debt to China. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, which aims to connect Gwadar Port in Pakistan’s Baluchistan with China’s Xinjiang province, is a flagship project of China’s BRI.

Further, it has been argued by various analysts that China is using “debt-trap” diplomacy to gain access to strategic assets in Pakistan. The infrastructure projects in Pakistan were financed by Chinese banks.

Meanwhile, the crisis in Sri Lanka was apparent after the pandemic that dried up the international tourist traffic to the island nation, one of its main foreign exchange earners, the country’s debts spiralled and foreign exchange reserves shrunk as the end result of reckless borrowings from China to finance infrastructure projects, reported The Hong Kong Post.

With tourism hit by the pandemic, the economic structure of Sri Lanka, which was already tottering under the heavy burden of loans, crumbled. A major part of this debt was owed to China, which accounts for nearly USD 8 billion.

This debt burden was a result of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects like Hambantota Port and Colombo Port City for which Chinese agencies lent large amounts to Sri Lanka under stiff terms of repayment.

Notably, in 2021-22, Colombo’s debt repayment to Beijing amounted to nearly USD 2 billion. Further, Hambantota port has already been leased out to China for 99 years against USD 1.2 billion.

In the face of the deepening foreign exchange crisis, Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa sought China’s help in December 2021 as he requested a debt restructuring in a meeting with China Foreign Minister Wang Yi. However, Beijing has reportedly shown Colombo the door, according to the media outlet.

Ironically, the deeply pro-China Rajapaksa government dug its own grave as it had booted out the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) of the USA with its offer to extend developmental assistance grant to Colombo as the Board of Directors of MCC discontinued its USD 480 million contract with Sri Lanka in December 2020 “due to lack of partner country engagement,” the publication reported citing the US embassy.

Further, China-assisted projects in Sri Lanka are likely to deepen the indebtedness of the island nation.

Notably, China refused to assist Sri Lanka which appealed to reschedule its huge Chinese debt burden in the face of the Covid-19 outbreak that has adversely affected the tourism sector, said a media report.

Chinese loans have come at a hefty cost for Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The slow bleeding would have continued for a few more years without the extent of the damage being recognized by them. While the warnings by experts have been ignored by Colombo and Islamabad alike, the pandemic, followed by the Ukraine-Russia conflict, has exposed how vulnerable both economies had become due to indiscriminate borrowing from China.

Two countries going down almost the exact same way is not a coincidence. Other countries tempted by the Chinese-inspired dream of rapid economic progress need to think twice before embracing economic engagement with the dragon. Whether it will make them more resilient or vulnerable to shocks is the question they need to ask.

Countries like Madagascar, Maldives and Tajikistan are also reeling under Chinese debts. (ANI)

 

Pakistan: SC seeks record of NA proceedings on no-confidence motion against Imran Khan

Islamabad [Pakistan]- Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Tuesday sought the record of National Assembly (NA) proceedings conducted on the no-confidence motion filed against interim Prime Minister Imran Khan as it resumed its hearing on the legality of the ruling by the deputy speaker dismissing the no-trust vote.

A five-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial and including Justice Ijazul Ahsan, Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar, Justice Munib Akhtar and Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail, is hearing the case, Dawn newspaper reported.
On Sunday, Pakistani President Arif Alvi dissolved the Pakistani parliament following Imran Khan’s advice. Imran Khan made the proposal minutes after parliament’s deputy speaker rejected a motion of no confidence in him as “unconstitutional.”

Pakistan media and opposition parties criticised this decision saying that it violated all rules governing proceedings in the House.

According to the ECP official, procurement of election material, arrangement for ballot papers and appointment and training of polling staff were also among the challenges. He said that under the law, ballot papers with watermark were to be used which were not available in the country and would have to be imported.

He revealed that the ECP had proposed to amend the law to provide for ballot papers with “security features,” instead of “watermark”.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan will continue as the Prime Minister until the caretaker Prime Minister is appointed, said the President as the SC is looking into the matter of National Assembly dissolution. (ANI)

 

Pakistan PM Imran Khan names US official who sent ‘threat’ message

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has revealed that Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu had sent a threatening message to him through Pakistan’s envoy Ambassador Asad Majeed.

“US had sent a threatening message through Pakistan’s envoy,” Dawn quoting Imran Khan reported.
During his remarks that were televised, Imran Khan told them that when the National Security Council (NSC) had condemned the involvement of an external force in no-trust resolution, counting (of votes on the motion) had become “irrelevant”.

He said that US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu had reportedly in a meeting with Ambassador Asad Majeed warned there could be implications if he survived the opposition’s no-confidence motion in the National Assembly.

According to Dawn, the Prime Minister said he had reports that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) dissidents had frequented the [US] embassy. “What were the reasons that the people, who have left us, met people of the embassy frequently in the last few days,” he said.

In an address to the nation last week, Imran Khan had raised a “foreign conspiracy” charge amid the opposition’s growing confidence about the no-trust motion against his government.

Imran Khan mentioned “United States” in this context and then immediately changed tack to say “foreign country”.

“On March 8 or before that on March 7, the US sent us a…not the US but a foreign country sent us a message. The reason why I talking about this…for an independent country to receive such a message… this is against me and the country,” he had said.

The United States has rejected Imran Khan’s allegations regarding Washington’s role in the alleged “foreign conspiracy” to oust him from power.

Imran Khan is the third Prime Minister to face the no-confidence motion in Pakistan.

However, Pakistan National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri on Sunday had dismissed the no-trust motion against the PTI government, terming it a contradiction of Article 5 of the country’s Constitution.

Moreover, Pakistan President Arif Alvi dissolved the National Assembly on the proposal of Imran Khan. (ANI)

 

Pakistan PM Imran Khan advises President to dissolve National Assembly

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan shocked the Opposition by advising President Arif Alvi to dissolve National Assembly.

His announcement came moments after National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri, who was chairing today’s session, dismissed the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan, terming it a contradiction of Article 5 of the Constitution.
“I have written to the President to dissolve the assemblies. There should be elections in a democratic way. I call upon the people of Pakistan to prepare for elections,” Khan said in an address to the nation.

Earlier, National Assembly Deputy Speaker Sadiq Sanjrani dissolved the house alleging “foreign conspiracy” and said that no-trust motion was ” unconstitutional”.

“I congratulate every Pakistani on the Speaker’s decision. The no-confidence motion was a foreign conspiracy against us. Pakistan should decide who should govern them,” Khan added.

Earlier it was reported that Imran Khan has offered to dissolve the assembly on the condition to withdraw the no-confidence motion against him.

Khan had said that he was given three options ahead of the no-trust vote by the “establishment” — resignation, holding early elections or facing the no-confidence motion.

The military establishment however denied the claim and said that it did not bring the Opposition’s options, and rather it was the federal Government that telephoned the top brass while asking for a meeting to discuss the ongoing political scenario, The News International reported.

The Chief of Pakistan Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and the Directive General (DG) of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) met Pakistan PM on Wednesday at the request of the ruling government, according to The News International citing sources.

Imran Khan has seemingly lost support both in the lower house of the legislature and the backing of the all-powerful Pakistan army.

Imran Khan received a massive blow when the PTI “lost the majority” in the National Assembly after losing its key ally in the coalition Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P). The MQM on Wednesday announced that it had struck a deal with the opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and would support the no-trust vote in the 342-member National Assembly.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan Niazi is a former Pakistani cricketer, who after leading the country to victory in the 1992 World Cup Final, retired from cricket and joined politics. He is the founding Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

His political front, which he founded in 1997, remained on the sidelines of Pakistani politics until he found favour with the military establishment, which began propping him after 2013, to counter the growing political assertion of the two traditional mainstream parties led by Sharif and the Bhutto families.

The military establishment is widely known to have given its tacit approval to Khan in 2016 when he organised a massive rally and threatened a lockdown of Islamabad over the Panama Papers leak which had implicated the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The rally propped Khan as a serious contender for power, who enjoyed the blessings of the all-important Pakistani Army.In 1997, he founded his own political party ‘Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

Khan contested for a National Assembly seat in October 2002 elections and served as a Member Parliament from NA- 71, Mianwali until 2007. In 2018, Imran Khan stormed to power in Pakistan by winning 176 votes.

Imran Khan, the seventh member of his family, was born on November 25, 1952, to a Pashtun family in Lahore, Pakistan. He attended Aitchison College in Lahore and later moved to Oxford for higher studies.

Hailing from a cricketing family, his cousins, Javed Burki and Majid Khan, both preceded him in going to Oxford and captaining Pakistan. Khan married Jemima Goldsmith, an English socialite, who converted to Islam on May 16, 1995, in Paris.

The marriage ended in divorce after eight years in June 2004 as Jemima Khan was allegedly unable to adapt to Pakistani culture.Khan started playing cricket at the age of 13. Initially playing for his college and later representing English county Worcester, he made his debut for Pakistan at the age of 18 during the 1971 English series at Birmingham.

Soon, he acquired a permanent place in the team. Khan achieved the all-rounder’s triple in 75 tests.His career came to an end after the first and only ODI World Cup victory for Pakistan in 1992 with a record of 3,807 runs and 362 wickets in Test cricket.

He founded Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust in 1991, which actively worked on the research and development of cancer and other related diseases. He also founded the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research centre in 1994.

He passionately pursued healthcare interests in the wake of his mother’s untimely death, who died of cancer.Khan was awarded ‘The Cricket Society Wetherall Award’ in 1976 and 1980 for being the leading all-rounder in English first-class cricket.

He was also named as the Wisden Cricketer of the year in 1983 and received the ‘President’s Pride of Performance’ award in 1983.He also got the Sussex Cricket Society Player of the Year Award in 1985 and served as Unicef’s Special Representative for Sports during the 1990s. Khan was inducted in the ‘ICC Hall of Fame’ on July 14, 2010. (ANI)

 

Pakistan PM Imran Khan to face no-confidence vote today

Islamabad [Pakistan]: After weeks of political mudslinging, name-calling, and claims of an international conspiracy, Imran Khan is set to face the no-confidence vote on Sunday in Pakistan’s National Assembly.

As Pakistan PM readies himself to face the “last ball”, it is clear that Imran Khan has seemingly lost support both in the lower house of the legislature and the backing of the all-powerful Pakistan army.
Imran Khan received a massive blow when the PTI “lost the majority” in the National Assembly after losing its key ally in the coalition Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P). The MQM announced on Wednesday that it had struck a deal with the opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and would support the no-trust vote in the 342-member National Assembly.

Imran Khan, elected in July 2018 vowing to fix the economy and combat corruption, isn’t going quietly. Pakistan PM held a massive rally last Sunday in Islamabad and later gave controversial speeches to show he remains wildly popular with his supporters.

A day before the decisive no-confidence vote, Imran Khan urged the country’s youth to stage “peaceful protests” against a “foreign conspiracy” allegedly hatched against his government.

Pakistan Prime Minister even said that he has “more than one plan” for tomorrow’s vote on the no-confidence motion against him. He also urged the youth of Pakistan to agitate and raise their voice against the conspiracy by external forces.

Imran Khan further claimed that the Opposition leaders are seeking power to dispose of the corruption cases against them.

In an editorial on Saturday, Pakistan’s Dawn said Imran Khan seems willing to go to any lengths in his determination to convert his looming defeat in Sunday’s vote of no-confidence into a moment of political martyrdom.

“As if the shock value of an international conspiracy to oust him was not enough, his close aides and Mr Khan himself have since doubled down with public statements that they fear an attempt on his life,” the newspaper said.

Criticising the country’s prime minister, the Pakistani daily said one hopes that Imrana Khan is not simply trying to create panic among his supporters, many of whom have already issued passionate calls for rallies and demonstrations ahead of the Sunday vote.

Tilak Devasher, an author and India’s foremost Pakistan expert said that Imran Khan is hoping for clashes and violence forcing the army to step in and wrap up the system rather than leave democratically.

“Imran Khan still doesn’t get it that his fate will be decided in the National Assembly on Sunday and not by inciting youth to come on the streets to protest. He is hoping for clashes and violence forcing the army to step in and wrap up the system rather than leave democratically,” Devasher tweeted.

“By saying that he won’t accept the results of the NCM, Imran Khan has confirmed that he doesn’t believe in democracy or the constitutional process. Someone needs to tell him that it doesn’t matter whether he accepts the results or not. If he is defeated he is ex-PM,” he added. (ANI)

Ahead of trust vote, Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s address to nation

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will address the nation later tonight ahead of the no-confidence motion against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government, said federal minister Fawad Chaudhry on Thursday.

Taking to Twitter, Fawad Chaudhry said: “Prime Minister Imran Khan will address the nation tonight”.
The development comes at a time when Pakistan National Assembly is all set to take up discussion on the no-confidence motion against Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government in the Lower House session which is scheduled at 4 pm today.

The National Assembly secretariat issued the order on Wednesday night for the discussion on the no-trust motion for today’s (Thursday) agenda, Geo TV reported.

Earlier, on Monday, Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) President Shahbaz Sharif tabled the no-confidence motion. With this move, Imran Khan became the third Pakistani PM to face the no-confidence motion.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan in two back-to-back decisions has summoned a National Security Committee (NSC) meeting in the afternoon at his residence, Fawad Chaudhry said.

Yesterday, Imran Khan deferred his address to the nation hours after an announcement was made that he will take people into confidence about a “foreign-funded conspiracy letter” to show “evidence” of attempts to topple his government.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) senator Faisal Javed Khan gave the information about the address having been postponed, reported Geo News. The Imran Khan government is facing the heat over the no-confidence motion brought by the Opposition.

“PM Imran Khan’s address to the nation for today has been postponed,” Javed Khan said in a tweet.

After the no-confidence motion against the Imran Khan government was tabled in the National Assembly with a total of 161 votes in favour, the proceedings were adjourned till March 31.

The no-confidence motion was submitted by the opposition parties on March 8. The Opposition is confident that its motion would be carried as some allies of PTI have come out in the open against Imran Khan. (ANI)

 

US denies sending ‘conspiracy’ letter to topple Imran Khan govt

Islamabad [Pakistan]: The US on Wednesday denied reports of any specific message being delivered to Pakistan’s then-ambassador to the United States and said that no US government agency had sent a letter to Pakistan on the current political situation in the country.

While responding to the question regarding the alleged ‘letter’ and ‘US involvement in a no-confidence motion against Pakistan Prime minister Imran Khan’, a State Department spokesperson said, “there is no truth to these allegations,” Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported.
Pakistan’s embattled Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday shared some details of the “foreign conspiracy letter” with senior journalists and cabinet members, asserting that the document was authentic and a foreign conspiracy was afoot to remove him from power, touting the Opposition’s no-confidence motion against him as a testimony of “foreign-funded” move to topple his government.

According to some media reports, it was assumed that the ‘foreign-conspiracy’ letter was sent to Ambassador Asad Mujeed on the basis of his meeting with the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Donald Lu.

The letter can be the diplomatic cable from Washington, drafted by a Pakistani diplomat. “The contents of the letter, apparently, are based on informal discussions between Pakistani and other officials,” a source was quoted as saying by Dawn.

“The contents, if correct, show a set of friendly officials from various countries indulging in some loud-thinking and probing. Nothing more,” the source added.

“The purpose behind such cables is to keep your government informed. It’s no sign of a conspiracy against a government or a personality,” another diplomatic source said.

Currently, Pakistan’s new ambassador to the US is Masood Khan, while Ambassador Majeed has been moved to Brussels for taking up his new assignment.

Yesterday, in a special session of the cabinet chaired by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, the government has decided to share the ‘foreign-conspiracy’ letter with the National Security Committee where Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi would brief the Committee about the letter in an in-camera session.

Apart from that, the letter was shown to the federal ministers on a teleprompter in the cabinet’s special session chaired by Imran Khan, reported ARY News citing sources.

Imran Khan also said that he will share the ‘foreign-funded conspiracy’ letter with senior journalists and ally party members. “The letter will reveal the elements who are conspiring against the country from abroad,” he said at the launch of e-passport services in Islamabad.

After the no-confidence motion against Imran Khan’s government was tabled in the National Assembly with a total of 161 votes in favour, the proceedings were adjourned till today.

The no-confidence motion was submitted by the opposition parties on March 8. The opposition is confident that its motion would be carried as some allies of PTI have come out in the open against Imran Khan. (ANI)

 

PM Imran Khan to address Pakistan over ‘foreign conspiracy’

Islamabad [Pakistan]:  Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is set to address the nation on Wednesday evening to take people into confidence that there is a ‘foreign-funded conspiracy’ letter that contains evidence that outside elements are trying to topple the government.

Sheikh Rasheed, Pakistan’s Interior Minister, while addressing the media said the Prime Minister has also summoned an emergency meeting of the federal cabinet to take party leaders and allies into confidence over the contents of the letter, reported ARY News.
According to the sources privy to the matter, the allied parties to the ruling PTI will also be invited to the meeting so that they can be taken into confidence too ahead of the no-trust motion against the PM.

Meanwhile, a total of fourteen journalists have been invited to the PM’s house where Imran Khan will brief them on the contents of the letter, reported the news channel.

PM, earlier in the day said that he will share the ‘foreign-funded conspiracy’ letter with senior journalists and ally party members. “The letter will reveal the elements who are conspiring against the country from abroad,” he said at the launch of e-passport services in Islamabad and added, “Suspicions were cast that the government is doing all this to save itself.”

“The letter clearly shows how big conspiracy is against the government and it is far bigger conspiracy than what I am telling to you,” he added.

After the no-confidence motion against Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was tabled in the National Assembly with a total of 161 votes in favour, the proceedings were adjourned till March 31.

The no-confidence motion was submitted by the Opposition parties on March 8. The Opposition has been confident that its motion would be carried as many PTI lawmakers have come out in the open against PM Imran Khan. (ANI)

 

Imran Khan loses majority as MQM strikes deal with opposition

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government received a major blow by the key ally and the main coalition partner Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM) after it struck a deal with the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

“The united opposition and MQM have reached an agreement. Rabta committee MQM and PPP CEC will ratify the said agreement. We will then share details with the media in a press conference tomorrow IA. Congratulations Pakistan,” tweeted PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
The PTI government lost the majority in the lower house of the parliament following the late-night development ahead of the no-confidence motion against Imran Khan on March 31.

The joint opposition has 177 members of the national assembly after the ruling coalition partner MQM-P decided to part ways with the Imran Khan-led government that has left with 164 MNAs.

Notably, in order to make the no-confidence motion against the prime minister successful, the joint opposition requires the support of 172 MNAs.

Meanwhile, after Imran Khan alleged that some people are trying to topple his government with the help of foreign funds, federal minister Asad Umar claimed that the PM is ready to show a letter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial to back his claims.

PM Imran had said during his rally, “Attempts are being made through foreign money to change the government in Pakistan. Our people are being used. Mostly inadvertently, but some people are using money against us. We know from what places attempts are being to pressure us. We have been threatened in writing but we will not compromise on national interest.” (ANI)

At Islamabad jalsa, Pak minister says entire nation stands with Imran Khan

Islamabad [Pakistan]: The “entire nation is standing with Imran Khan,” said Pakistan Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood on Sunday at the massive jalsa in Islamabad.

Speaking at the power show in the national capital, Mehmood spoke about the corruption cases against PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and said that the buying and selling of people’s conscience is not democracy.
He said, “the entire nation is standing with Imran Khan.” “The people attending this rally today must support the truth and stand with Imran Khan,” he added.

The show of strength by Imran Khan comes as the opposition geared up for a no-trust vote in the National Assembly to oust his government. This comes as the opposition has geared up for a no-trust vote in the National Assembly to oust his government over massive corruption, unemployment, inflation and price hike.

Earlier, rumours of Imran Khan resigning from his office were rife after the renaming of Pakistan’s Prime Minister’s Office YouTube channel to “Imran Khan” on Saturday.

The no-confidence motion was submitted by the Opposition parties on March 8 after the Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) long march in Islamabad. The Opposition has been confident that its motion would be carried as many PTI lawmakers have come out in the open against PM Imran Khan.

As the crucial no-confidence motion session inched closer and uncertainty continued to shroud political alliances, at least 50 ministers belonging to the ruling party had gone ‘missing’ from the political front.

The Pakistani National Assembly has a total strength of 342 members, with the majority mark being 172. The PTI led coalition was formed with the support of 179 members, with Imran Khan’s PTI having 155 members, and four major allies Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) having seven, five, five and three members respectively.

Imran Khan’s situation was precarious given that three of the four allies, that is, MQM-P, PML-Q and BAP had stated their support to the Opposition’s no-confidence motion and said that they will vote accordingly.

Imran Khan recently dispatched a team of senior PTI leaders to meet the allies and assure them that their reservations would be addressed. On Saturday, it was reported that the Prime Minister was himself setting up meetings with the estranged allies, particularly the MQM-P in order to reach an understanding. (ANI)

 

Pakistan National Assembly session adjourned till 28 March, Opposition cries ‘Foul’

Islamabad [Pakistan]: The much-awaited session of Pakistan’s National Assembly to take up the no-confidence motion against the Imran Khan-led Pakistan-Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has been adjourned to March 28 without the motion being tabled.

The session was adjourned shortly after tributes were offered to Khayal Zaman, a member of the house from the ruling PTI who had recently passed away.
Citing parliamentary convention, speaker of the National Assembly Asad Qaiser said the first sitting after the death of a Member of the National Assembly (MNA) is limited to prayers for the soul of the departed and tributes fellow lawmakers wish to pay them, The Dawn reported.

Qaiser asserted that he would conduct proceedings “as per rules and procedures” after which he adjourned the session till 4 pm on March 28.

National Assembly Asad Qaiser has previously been slammed by the Opposition for siding with Imran Khan and even attending the party meetings of the ruling PTI.

The National Assembly Secretariat had on Thursday evening issued a 15-point ‘Orders of the Day’ for the National Assembly session, which included the no-confidence motion.

The development comes even as the Opposition parties had vowed to not allow any adjournment of the session without tabling of the motion.

In a meeting on Thursday night, it was decided that the opposition would lodge strong protests if the proceedings were adjourned, media reports said.

The Opposition parties had made elaborate preparations for the session, which was demanded in a letter to the National Assembly speaker on March 8.

On the other hand, the ruling PTI has not issued any special instructions to its members for attending the session as the session has been requisitioned by the opposition

Earlier, the joint Opposition had lodged protests over the session not being convened within the stipulated 14 days of the requisition, calling the delay by the speaker unconstitutional.

The Pakistani National Assembly has a total strength of 342 members, with the majority mark being 172. The PTI led coalition was formed with the support of 179 members, with Imran Khan’s PTI having 155 members, and four major allies Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) having seven, five, five and three members respectively.

Imran Khan’s situation is precarious given that three of the four allies, that is, MQM-P, PML-Q and BAP have stated their support to the Opposition’s no-confidence motion and said that they will vote accordingly

Upset with the news of allies joining the opposition camp, Imran Khan, in a last-ditch attempt, recently dispatched a team of senior PTI leaders to meet the allies and assure them that their reservations would be addressed.

Adding to Khan’s woes, almost 20 members from his own party had recently sought refuge in the Sindh House in Islamabad, and are expected to vote in favour of the no-confidence motion.

The Opposition parties in Pakistan on the other hand hold the support of 162 members of the house and are expected to be joined by the three ruling coalition parties during the vote, helping them cross the majority mark, with 179 members supporting the no-confidence motion. (ANI)

 

Imran Khan says he won’t ‘resign under any circumstances’ ahead of no-confidence motion

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said that he will not “resign under any circumstances” ahead of a no-confidence motion to be held on Friday.

While conversing with journalists here, the prime minister said that despite the Opposition laying out all of their cards, the no-confidence motion against him would not be successful, reported Geo News.
“I will not resign under any circumstance. I will play till the last ball and I will surprise them a day before as they are still under pressure,” said Khan, without revealing further details.

National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser has summoned the session for the no-confidence motion on March 25 — and in line with the NA rules, the voting has to take place after three and within seven days, reported Geo News.

“My trump card is that I have not laid any of my cards yet,” said Khan confidently, as he vowed to foil the no-trust motion.

“No one should be under the false impression that I will sit at home. I will not resign, and why should I? Should I resign due to the pressure from thieves?” he stressed.

He also reiterated that he had good relations with the military to date, reported Geo News.

Khan said that it was wrong to consistently attack and criticise the army as a powerful military was crucial for Pakistan. “Had the army not been here, the country would have split into three parts.”

“The army should not be criticised for politicking,” he said.

Khan also warned the Opposition that he would not silent if he steps down from office — a threat he has repeated time and again.

“I will not compromise on my principles even if my government is ousted. I cannot betray the people and God.”

He also claimed that his party — Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI’s) popularity has witnessed an increase.

“People are with me, as many as 60-65 per cent respectable people are standing by my side.” (ANI)

Show 172 votes or ‘go home’, Bilawal Bhutto challenges PM Imran Khan

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan Opposition leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has challenged Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to either prove that he has the support of the majority in the National Assembly or else “go home”.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairperson Zardari has in his message to the cricketer-turned- Prime Minister Imran Khan said “At this stage, don’t do ball-tampering. Show 172 votes or go back home,” tweeted the Pakistani correspondent for the New York Times, Salman Masood.
Zardari stated that the Opposition would not be “cowed down” by the attacks on them. The Opposition is seeking to oust Khan in a vote that could come as soon as this month.

Several of Khan’s lawmakers have withdrawn their support to him ahead of the crucial no confidence vote.

Earlier, the Pakistani PM had attacked Opposition by using police to barge into Parliament Lodges and make arrests and subsequently workers of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) workers attacked the Sindh House in Islamabad in an attempt to terrorise the opposition leaders.

The workers were angry against the dissident members who were staying inside the building. The PPP chairperson stated that the Pakistani PM violated Article 6 of the Constitution by using force.

The Opposition parties in Pakistan are jettisoning mutual hatred to oust Imran Khan as they submitted the no-trust motion in the National Assembly secretariat on March 8. While the Imran Khan government has exuded confidence to defeat the no-trust motion, the Opposition is sure that they will oust Khan.

The resolution needs to be passed by 172 MNAs and the Opposition faces the tough task to bring that number not only in the National Assembly but also ensuring that they remain inside the Assembly hall during the voting time.

Notably, if Imran Khan is voted out through the motion, it would create history as a vote of no-confidence has never been carried against the prime minister in Pakistan. (ANI)

 

Pakistan: Sindh to retaliate if Imran Khan imposes governor’s rule in province, warns Sindh CM

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan’s Sindh Province’s Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Thursday warned the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government over imposing governor’s rule in his province and said that the people will retaliate against this “unconstitutional move”.

“Let me categorically state that any unconstitutional move by the federal government to impose the governor’s rule in Sindh will provoke an unprecedented retaliation from the people of Sindh,” Pakistani channel Geo News reported citing Syed Murad Ali Shah’s tweet.
His statement comes after the Pakistani interior minister Sheikh Rasheed said that he advised the government to impose the governor’s rule in Sindh in the wake of the alleged horse-trading controversy.

A few hours ago, PTI’s Members of National Assembly (MNAs) Raja Riaz and Malik Nawab Sher Waseer claimed that about 24 MNAs have sought refuge in Sindh house, fearing that the Pakistani government would take strict steps against them.

Riaz, who is a member of the Jahangir Tareen group, told journalist Hamid Mir that the disgruntled members would vote for the no-confidence motion against PM Imran Khan in “accordance with their conscience.”

Waseer also said he would not contest the next general elections on a PTI ticket. Meanwhile, MNA Ramesh Kumar announced that he has parted ways with the PTI, reported Geo News.

Amid this chaos, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is leaving no opportunity to oust Imran Khan. PPP’s MNA Abdul Qadir Patel said that the disgruntled members of the PTI are “living peacefully in Sindh House,” and “will leave after ousting Niazi [Imran Khan],” according to Geo News.

Meanwhile, Pakistani Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Thursday said that there were reports of the transfer of huge amounts of money to Sindh House.

The Opposition parties in Pakistan had submitted the no-trust motion in the National Assembly secretariat on March 8. While the PTI government has exuded confidence to defeat the no-trust motion, the Opposition is sure that they will oust Khan. (ANI)

 

Imran Khan govt offers Opposition a deal to take back no-trust motion

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Amid the ongoing political turmoil in the country, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) government has offered a deal to the Opposition for taking back the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan, local media reported.

Saying that the opposition should take back its no-confidence motion against Imran Khan, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has said that the PTI government “will see what can be given in return”, reported The News International.
“If the Opposition withdraws the no-trust motion, let’s see what can be given to them in return,” the media outlet quoted him as saying.

Chaudhry added that the no-trust motion had caused bitterness in politics and the current political situation could harm the country.

However, he ruled out the possibility of declaring an emergency by saying that the “emergency powers are limited after the 18th Amendment.”

Terming the PTI’s upcoming public gathering at Islamabad a “mini referendum” on the no-confidence motion, Chaudhry said that the MNAs will cast their votes in the National Assembly after passing through the crowd, according to the publication.

Notably, the Opposition Parties in Pakistan are jettisoning mutual hatred to oust Imran Khan as they submitted a no-confidence motion in the National Assembly Secretariat last Tuesday.

At present, the government has a 17-member lead over the Opposition but the latter has claimed that it has enough support to prove that Imran Khan no more commands the people’s trust. (ANI)

 

Pakistan: Opposition lambastes govt, saying ‘can’t talk with hooligans like Imran Khan’

Islamabad [Pakistan]: With political tensions in Pakistan heating up ahead of a no-confidence motion against the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Marriyum Aurangzeb lambasted Prime Minister Imran Khan, saying a democratic negotiation can’t be held with “thugs and hooligans”.

Marriyum Aurangzeb, who is also the information secretary of PML-N, was responding to Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry’s tweet, saying that politics should be based on consensus.
“Democracy is not a system of extreme divisions. It is based on a system of consensus. I don’t think there should be so much division for any reason. It is not difficult to fight when it becomes difficult. However, reconciliation is difficult,” Chaudhry said in a tweet.

In a series of tweets in response to the Information Minister’s message, Aurangzeb asked Chaudhry to explain to Imran Khan the things which have filled the politics of the country with enmity, saying further that talks can be held with politicians and not “abusive thugs and hooligans like Imran Khan”.

“Explain to Imran Sahib the things which have created enmity in politics. Talks can be had with politicians, not abusive thugs and hooligans. It is Imran Khan who has created division, chaos and disorder in the society,” Aurangzeb tweeted.

The Opposition leader further attacked Imran Khan and Fawad Chaudhry over the ruling party’s behaviour towards the Opposition parties.

“Insult and threaten political opponents, put them to death, throw daughters and sisters in jails, make baseless allegations, then give (moral) lectures? Does Fawad Chaudhry think that people are insane?” Aurangzeb further said.

She further accused Imran Khan of introducing dirt and filth in Pakistan’s politics. Hinting at the upcoming no-confidence motion, she said that by cleaning up the “filth and filthiness” (of Imran Khan), the Opposition will get rid of stench and suffocation in the country.

The heated remarks among the leaders of the political parties came in the backdrop of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s profanity-laced speech against Pakistan’s Opposition parties, calling them names.

The abusive speech from the country’s Prime Minister drew severe criticism from Opposition leaders and the civil society alike. (ANI)

 

Is US backing bid to remove Pak PM? Exclusive Report

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Facing political challenge and discontent at home, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan appears to think that the United States is behind the Opposition’s no-confidence motion (NCM) that aims to remove his government.

Khan’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), “is increasingly promoting a narrative that the international establishment, presumably the US, is behind the current move of the Opposition i.e. no-confidence motion (NCM),” writes Jan Achakzai in an op-ed in The News International (March 7, 2022).
The writer, a politician from Balochistan and an ex-adviser to the Balochistan government on media and strategic communication asks, “Is it true and does the US still have such capability of affecting regime change in Pakistan?

Khan has cut out his frequent pronouncements against the US and the West in the wake of his visit to Moscow last month, a day after Russia-Ukraine launched its military operations in Ukraine, observing that he had arrived amidst “a lot of excitement.”

He did meet President Vladimir Putin for a photo-op and a general discussion, but no bilateral talks, nor any of the planned agreements were signed. Khan faced a lot of flak at home and in the West, but justified the visit saying it was to “improve bilateral relations.”

He resumed his anti-West stance last week and criticised Western envoys in Islamabad for ‘pressurising Pakistan” to condemn the Russian invasion in Ukraine. He insisted that Pakistan intends to stay ‘neutral.’

Analysts say it is easy to invoke popular anti-West sentiment in Pakistan, although its generals and politician alike have remained pro-West, and benefited from it immensely. Pakistan was a member of the erstwhile CENTO and SEATO military pacts.

After facilitating the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, it was nominated “non-NATO ally” in the “fight against terrorism”. But successive US administrations since 2001 have also accused Pakistan governments of “beating on both sides of the drum.”

This became more pronounced as Pakistan actively facilitated the return of the Taliban to Kabul last August for which the US had to conduct a hasty and chaotic evacuation.

This factor bolstered the feeling in Washington that the Biden Admin may no longer need the active support of the PTI government in Afghanistan.

Following this, the Biden administration, analysts say, has yet to figure out Pakistan’s role post-withdrawal, and in the South Asian region.

Achakzai recalls, “Then the infamous call was not made to PM by President Biden which left the PTI government bitter towards the US Admin. The PTI government boycotted the “Democracy Conference” called in and presided over by the Biden Admin.

The government also failed to put forth any cogent reason for the boycott except linking the move with ostensibly balancing Chinese concerns.

“It would have been better for the PTI government to join the Conference as a confident democratic polity and asserted its stance of any presumed US hypocrisy on democracy,” he observes.

The PTI government tried to balance by not joining condemnation of Russia and abstained in UNGA while making statements that implicitly disapprove invasion.

It made the government appear on the wrong side of the US Admin-led international consensus, still. The perception of hard lean on Russia is the last thing the PTI government wants.”

Achakzai stresses that “the narrative of the US being behind the no-confidence motion is systematically being promoted to make the PM a political martyr for “defying the US” and is driven largely by a populist streak of the PTI. But the main factors behind the NCM are domestic.” (ANI)

 

Pakistan’s economy plunges; Imran Khan busy offering goodies for popularity

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan’s financial condition is in a precarious situation under the inefficient leadership of its Prime Minister Imran Khan.

As reported on February 28, Pakistan’s former finance minister and well-known economist Dr Hafeez A Pasha disclosed that the current account deficit was heading towards a historic record by touching the USD 20 billion mark or 6 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the current fiscal year.
He said the international prices of various commodities were witnessing skyrocketing trends and now the Current Account Deficit (CAD) would witness more pressure with the possibility of touching a historic high.

“For God’s sake, the political parties must shun their differences because the country is heading towards a serious financial crisis,” he appealed.

Amidst such horrific statistics, Imran Khan is announcing one economic package after another. On March 2, he launched an interest-free loan programme worth Pakistani Rupee (PKR ) 407 billion under the “Kamyab Pakistan Programme”, which he claimed would contribute to making the country’s low-income groups self-reliant.

Addressing the programme’s launching ceremony at Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, the premier said 4.5 million families would benefit from interest-free loans under this initiative to set up.

The prime minister stressed the need for transforming Pakistan into a welfare state, along the lines of the state of Madinah, saying that the country was envisioned as a socio-welfare state.

Three days back, on February 28, he announced the slashing of the price of petroleum products by PKR 10 per litre and electricity tariff by PKR 5 per unit as part of a series of measures to bring some relief to the public.

No increase in petrol and electricity prices until the next budget; tax exemption for companies and freelancers in IT sector; foreign exchange exemption; exemption from capital gain tax for IT startups and Ehsaas stipend increased to PKR 14,000 from PKR 12,000.

However, in reality, while the cut in petrol and energy prices were immediately implemented, the other measures announced by Imran Khan might take more time or might not even see the light of day until the adoption of the next budget.

The process of designing and executing these reforms, other than Ehsaas transfers, may take another two to three months when it is time for the next budget. The proclamation, though, will be enough to create some goodwill on its face value and buy the government some time.

Incidentally, Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are also scheduled to hold review talks this week whereby both sides will discuss the merits of the relief package announced by Imran Khan for reducing the Pakistan Oilfields Limited (POL) and electricity prices amidst a challenging external environment.

If indeed the government will push on for the execution of all the measures announced by Imran Khan, it would not only be defaulting on its commitments to the IMF, specifically in relation to fiscal reforms and pricing in the energy sector but also jeopardising the seventh review by the Fund.

Not only will this hurt the government’s credibility, but any form of derailment from the IMF programme will also have an adverse effect on the exchange rate as well as the foreign exchange reserves, further elevating the inflationary pressure. This in turn can have wide-ranging medium to long term consequences for the economy.

Earlier on November 24, shamefully, official figures revealed that Pakistan’s total debt and liabilities have crossed PKR 50.5 trillion, an addition of PKR 20.7 trillion under the current government alone.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) released the debt figures till September 2021, a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan described the increasing debt as a “national security issue”.

As expected, figures showed that the total debt and public debt situation deteriorated during the tenure of current Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government. Pakistan’s total debt and liabilities jumped to the record PKR 50.5 trillion at the end of September 2021, an addition to PKR 20.7 trillion in the past 39 months. There was an increase of nearly 70 per cent in total debt of the country.

The so-called benefits announced will be celebrated briefly as “relief” but will further deteriorate Pakistan’s financial health, because they will create a burden that its decrepit tax machinery cannot shoulder through practical revenue collection elsewhere.

For an efficient economic system, it is essential that prices be connected directly to costs. When primary costs rise, as they do when international commodity prices increase, the government cannot insulate the population from higher domestic prices without creating a higher debt burden for future generations.

Insufficient tax collection from broad paths of the economy and a lack of productivity in comparison to other countries are at the core of ailments of Pakistan’s economy, under Imran Khan’s government.

There is no doubt that the Prime Minister is living in his self-created bubble, miles away from reality and the actual ground situation of the country.

But, at the same time, it has to be kept in mind that, Pakistan will go into general elections in less than 1.5 years. As a politician, he has already started to ‘project’ the efficiency of his party in comparison to others.

On March 1, he said that the previous governments have failed to uplift the economy of the country because they did not pay attention to the small and medium scale industries whereas his government has made policies, especially for these industries.

There is no doubt that Khan has been at the receiving end of people’s rage and outburst due to skyrocketing inflation, somewhat because of external reasons like exorbitant fuel and commodities prices, and he is trying to make a fool out of common Pakistani citizen by showing them these economic ‘goodies’ with no stable, secured and self-sustaining future. (ANI)

 

Asma Shafique, Pakistani student thanks Indian govt for safe evacuation from Ukraine’s Sumy

Sumy [Ukraine],(ANI): Asma Shafique, a Pakistani student of Sumy State Medical College on Wednesday thanked the Indian Government for her safe evacuation amid the Russia-Ukraine war which entered the fourteenth day today.

“Hi, my name is Asma Shafique from Pakistan. I am really grateful and thankful to the Red Cross Society, the Indian Government and the Indian Embassy for safely evacuating us from our places and letting us go to the borders and reach our destinations safely. Thank You,” she said.
Pakistani student of Sumy State Medical College is enroute to western Ukraine with fellow batchmates for further evacuation from the country.

“We are Indian students from Sumy State University, Ukraine. We have been evacuated yesterday from Sumy safely with full security and currently, we are moving towards Lviv border along my friend from Pakistan,” said an Indian student.

The evacuation process of Indian students from Ukraine under ‘Operation Ganga’ has brought about 18 thousand Indians through special flights so far.

This comes against the backdrop of Russian forces launching military operations in Ukraine on February 24, three days after Moscow recognized Ukraine’s breakaway regions – Donetsk and Luhansk – as independent entities. (ANI)

 

Imran Khan to address Pakistan on economic crisis

               

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will address the nation today over the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on the country’s economy.

The development comes amid news of another imminent petrol hike in Pakistan, reported Samaa TV.
According to analysts, the price of petroleum products may increase by Pakistani Rs 8 to Rs 12 after the price of crude oil in the international market hit over USD 100 a barrel for the first time since 2014.

Earlier this month, the Imran Khan government had dropped a “petrol bomb” on the masses by increasing the prices of petroleum products by up to PKR 12.03 per litre. Petrol in Pakistan now costs PKR 159.86 per litre.

The Russia-Ukraine crisis has also fanned concerns over supplies of key commodities including wheat and metals in an already struggling economy, reported the media outlet.

On Thursday, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) released data showing that Pakistan’s Current Account Deficit (CAD) rose to an all-time high of USD 2.56 billion in the month of January 2022.

At the same time, Pakistan’s debt and liabilities hit an all-time high of Rs 51.724 trillion in December 2021 with external debt rising by a staggering 20 per cent during the first half of the current fiscal (2021-22).

Notably, the Ukraine crisis is also expected to weigh on the Pakistan currency as a large current account deficit, surging energy and oil prices, and volatility in financial markets will likely put the Pakistani rupee under pressure next week, Geo News reported.

Meanwhile, the Imran Khan government has been facing flak from both the opposition and masses over the record increase in oil prices as well as the dependency on loans and bailouts.

The massive rise in inflation in Pakistan could also result in demand destruction and may create difficulties for the government to meet its tax targets, according to a report by Dawn. (ANI)

No-confidence move against Imran Khan govt underway: Shehbaz Sharif

              

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday said that preparations were still underway for the opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) planned no-confidence move against the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.

The PDM had announced to bring a no-trust move against the PTI government on February 11 after a meeting of its constituent parties.
The PDM had said it would contact the PTI government’s allies in the centre for this purpose which was followed by several meetings in the last few weeks between the opposition parties and PTI’s allies, Dawn newspaper reported.

Responding to a question, while addressing a press conference in Lahore with Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) president Sardar Akhtar Mengal, Shehbaz said that “preparation is underway” for the no-confidence motion and he could not provide a definite date on when it will be tabled, the Pakistani newspaper said.

It further reported that Shehbaz said the move was according to the wishes of the people who were praying for deliverance from the incumbent government and they had already given the “signal” for it.

The opposition is jettisoning mutual hatred to ouster Imran Khan. PPP and PML-N have also announced separate long marches on Islamabad with the former’s starting on February 27 and the latter’s March 23. (ANI)

Pakistan: Government faces backlash over Ordinances to push ‘draconian laws’

              

Islamabad [Pakistan] (ANI): The Imran Khan government is facing heavy backlash from all quarters for amending the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) 2016 through the promulgation of an Ordinance.

The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) moved a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) stating that the promulgation of the ordinance is based on “malice” as the required conditions have not been met by the government, local media reported on Wednesday.
“No emergency situations had arisen which called for the issuance of an Ordinance of this nature as it could have waited till the session of the National Assembly,” the petitioner argued as quoted by The News International.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP), Khalid Javed Khan while talking to Geo News criticised the Ordinance, saying that “the PECA (amendment) Ordinance will be draconian if it comes into force.”

“Since coming to power in 2018, the PTI has regrettably placed greater reliance on Presidential Ordinances to bring in laws of its own liking,” said The Dawn in an editorial on Wednesday, further pointing out that the Imran Khan government has introduced more than 75 Ordinances since coming to power in 2018.

The Ordinance was signed by President Arif Alvi on Sunday, after approval of the Cabinet. Under the Ordinance, the definition of a “person” has been broadened to include any company, association, institution, organization, authority, or any other. Furthermore, anyone found guilty of attacking a person’s “identity” will now be sentenced to five years instead of three years.

Another Ordinance was signed to amend the country’s election laws, allowing any person holding any office under the Constitution or any other law to visit or address public meetings in “any area or constituency”.

On Monday, the Islamabad High court, lambasted the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for wrongly invoking the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) and PECA to arrest journalist Mohsin Jameel Baig asking “Has a martial law been imposed in this country?” the Court observed. (ANI)(instagram)

Pakistan students continue protest to lift ban on unions, reduction in fees

               

Lahore [Pakistan] (ANI): Students in Pakistan continued their sit-in at Charing Cross on Friday to protest against the ban on student unions imposed by former president General Zia-ul-Haq.

Progressive Students Collective (PSC) has entered its ninth day on Thursday, demanding a revival of the student unions, reduction in fee and withdrawal of security forces from the campuses, local media reported on Friday.
On Thursday, the Aurat March Lahore organisers visited the week-long sit-in to show solidarity with the students fighting for their rights for a better future.

PPP parliamentary leader in Punjab Assembly Syed Hassan Murtaza also visited the student’s camp and supported their demands for the restoration of the unions across the country. He said a bill for the restoration of the unions would be tabled in the next session of the assembly, supporting all demands of the students.

Notably, the demonstrations started on February 9 to mark the 38th anniversary of the ban on student unions.

The protesters asked all political parties to unanimously pass legislation in parliament to decriminalise student politics. Pakistan Bar Council member Abid Saqi said that Ziaul era banned the student unions to close the door of politics on students.

A number of students have established a camp which has been visited by social and political workers, lawyers, members of the Punjab Assembly, journalists and students from different colleges and universities, reported Dawn. (ANI)(image -instagram)

Pakistan: Shahbaz Sharif slams Imran Khan govt for rising foreign debt, inflation

               

Islamabad [Pakistan](ANI): Pakistan’s Leader of Opposition and Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) President Shahbaz Sharif, on Tuesday, slammed Imran Khan government for accepting huge amounts of international loans saying that the inflation has never been so high in the country.

He further said that Prime Minister Imran Khan should worry about the country’s crippling economy rather than political meetings of the opposition parties, reported Geo TV. “Throughout the history of this country, inflation has never been as high as it is now,” he said
Shahbaz replied, “The prime minister should focus on the country’s inflation rate, unemployment and the catastrophic situation of the economy.”

“Corruption worth billions of rupees is happening under the nose of the government,” he criticised the government for the sugar and wheat scams, reported the News Channel.

During a press conference, last week, Shahbaz said that Prime Minister is not concerned about the problems of the masses but is only concerned about the Opposition. Sharif had also lashed out at Imran Khan, accusing him of turning a blind eye to Karachi’s problems.

“Life has become hard for people due to additional taxes, rising electricity prices,” he said.

Furthermore, Earlier, PML-N announced that they will lead a long march against the ruling PTI government from Karachi to Islamabad on February 27. (ANI)

Pakistan: Young Baloch rebel killed by Pakistani army in Gwadar

               

Balochistan [Pakistan] (ANI): In a clash between Baloch and Pakistani army in Shadi Kaur area of Pasni tehsil of Gwadar district, a young rebel Sarmachar Hidayatullah was killed on Monday, according to local media.

Radio Zrumbesh Urdu reported that gunship helicopters were also dispatched from Turbat to assist the Pakistani army after the clash.
The death of Hidayatullah was confirmed by his brother Kifayat Baloch who shared his picture on his Twitter account.

He tweeted, “Hon Plugdin Bachani Rich Ant. Gulzamin Banuri Stra Posh Ayat.” It translates to “When the blood of the well-dressed children falls on the ground, Gulzamin covers herself like a bride.”

Kifayatullah further told the staff reporter of Radio Zarmbash that he is proud of his brother. He said, “My brother was younger than me but he always encouraged me.”

He said that suffering and hunger should be tolerated, this is a war in which everyone should make their own sacrifice, this is the duty of everyone. (ANI)(instagram Image)

Valentine’s Day : Universities in Pakistan issue weird circulars, youth shocked

              

Islamabad [Pakistan](ANI): At a time when the world is celebrating love and friendship, weird circulars of Pakistani Universities on Valentine’s Day are going viral.

Most of the Universities in Pakistan have fixed rules and protocols to restrict students from taking part in associated activities today.
Islamic International Medical College in Rawalpindi has strictly ordered the male students to wear white prayer caps on the day, while female students have been instructed to properly cover their heads, necks, and chests with a hijab according to the university dress code.

The circular issued has warned that members of the college staff would be patrolling the campus to punish the students violating these rules.

Those breaching the guidelines would be fined PKR 5000.

Gender mixing is strictly forbidden and male and female students should be at a minimum distance of 2 metres at all times.

Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad which has issued the same kind of circular has mentioned Valentine’s day as “Haya Day”.

Those not following the rules will be fined PKR 3000 by the administration.

Another public university, “University of Peshawar” has announced a holiday on occasion.

The circular says that the university will be closed on February 14 in lieu of February 5, Kashmir Day, for keeping the university open for arranging discussions, seminars, and workshops.

Almost all universities of Pakistan have issued such a notice which has divided social media users with some tweeting in favour and others vehemently against it. (ANI)

Pakistan: Drugs worth USD 1.4 billion seized from vacant plot in Karachi

               

Karachi [Pakistan](ANI): Pakistan’s Sindh Excise Taxation and Narcotics Control Department confiscated drugs worth USD 1.4 billion from a vacant plot situated in Karachi’s Surjani Town on Sunday.

The anti-narcotics department launched an operation in Surjani Town’s Sector 70-D, recovered drugs and apprehended one person from the crime scene, reported ARY News.
Mukesh Kumar Chawla, Sindh Minister for Excise & Taxation and Narcotics Control Department, said the heroin was concealed in plastic bags during a news briefing. According to him, a case has been filed against the accused, and additional investigation is underway.

Pakistan is one of the highest drug-consuming nations in Southwest Asia. Drug abuse is taking a heavy toll on the youth in Pakistan, especially students, and fuelling a life of addiction and crime.

The country’s Anti-Narcotics force has said that children as young as 9-12 have already started consuming tobacco and some as young as 13 and 14 are said to be turning to drugs.

In a similar incident earlier this month, the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) found 360 kilograms of heroin at the Karachi seaport terminal during an operation.

According to an ANF spokesperson, the ANF conducted a raid at the port after receiving a tip-off and found 360 kilograms of heroin from cargo containers booked for the United Kingdom, reported the news channel.

The spokesperson further stated that containers were seized and the officials thoroughly searched the cargoes in containers.

“1200 sanitary pipes were found suspected during the search of the cargo,” the spokesperson added. (ANI)

Pak reports 3,206 new COVID cases, 41 deaths in last 24 hours

               

Islamabad [Pakistan], (ANI): Pakistan reported a total of 3,206 new COVID-19 cases and 41 deaths in the last 24 hours, according to National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) data on Sunday.

With this latest data, the death toll has reached 29,772. The number of coronavirus patients in critical care at various hospitals across the country stands at 1,623, reported ARY News.
Sindh province remained top on the list with 555,920 COVID-19 so far since the outbreak of the pandemic in February 2020. Punjab follows with 493,478 cases, while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has reported 207,820 coronavirus cases to date.

Moreover, Islamabad has registered 132,711 coronavirus cases, while Balochistan stands with 34,986 overall cases. The infection rate increased to 5.79 per cent from yesterday’s 5.35 per cent, reported the news channel. (ANI)(image -instagram)

As Imran govt imposes taxes on agriculture sector, farmers in Pakistan to take to streets next week

               

Lahore [Pakistan](ANI): Farmers in Pakistan have announced to take to streets next week as the Imran Khan government imposed taxes on the agriculture sector, rising prices of fertilisers and other farm inputs, reported local media.

Pakistan Kissan Ittehad (PKI) activists, along with their children, livestock and poultry will protest on February 14 in Multan against the imposition of taxes on the agriculture sector, costlier fertiliser and other farm inputs, reported Dawn.
The protest is being called ‘Speechless Animals and Helpless Farmers’ by the farmers association. The PKI has vowed to take the protest to other districts of the province and later move towards the federal capital.

PKI chief Khalid Mahmood Khokhar said that the farmer next week on Monday will be mourning to save the future of their children, coming generations and the economy of their beloved motherland.

Khokhar also said that the representatives of the farmers held a series of meetings with the government authorities to protest a 17 per cent general sales tax on farm produce.

They also opposed 3 per cent GST on seeds, high rates of electricity billing for tubewells, manifold increase in diesel and fertiliser prices in the wake of Supplementary Finance Bill 2021 but to no avail as they were told the steps were being taken on IMF directions.

Farmers argue that as they have never benefited from the loans and borrowings by the government from the IMF, why they are forced to pay high taxes on seeds, electricity and diesel as per demands of international money lenders, according to Dawn. (ANI)(laest news-Image -KshvidInstagram)

Bilawal Bhutto firm on long march despite government tactics

               

Islamabad [Pakistan] (ANI): Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari reaffirmed his faith in the scheduled long march next month despite Imran Khan’s government’s tactics to derail it.

Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that the government is specifically targeting the PPP because of the long march but it will be held despite government tactics and propaganda, according to News International.
“The propaganda against the PPP had started from various quarters before the long march,” he said.

“The government’s tactics are bound to fail and he could visualise the difficulties the government is already facing due to this long march,” he added.

Earlier, Bilawal Bhutto telephoned Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) president and Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif.

Further, PMLN President and Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif thanked Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

Meanwhile, Shehbaz Sharif tested positive for coronavirus a few days back.

Meanwhile, Bilawal Bhutto, who is in Lahore, held a meeting with former Prime Ministers Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and handed them over important tasks regarding the PPP’s long march scheduled to be started from Karachi on February 27, as reported by Dawn.

Also, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was briefed by former Prime Ministers and members of the long march organising committee on the preparations, according to the Dawn.

On the other hand, Pakistan opposition under Bilawal Bhutto decided to challenge the State Bank of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill 2022 after the Pakistan Senate approved it with a one-vote majority.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that the Imran government is following foreign agenda.

“Sometimes he talks to bring the system of China, other times desires to introduce the system followed in Iran,” he said.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman claimed that March 23 would be marked a historic day for Pakistan when the whole country would be moving towards Islamabad, according to the Dawn. (Image -instagram)

Bilawal Bhutto to attend Sargodha rally on Jan 30; March against PM Imran Khan

               

Islamabad [Pakistan](ANI): The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Friday arrived in Lahore on a three-day visit during which he would travel to Sargodha to attend a rally at Sial Sharif, local media reported.

Apart from this, he would hold meetings at his residence to chalk out a plan of action for the Islamabad bound long march against Imran Khan government that is scheduled to commence from Karachi on February 27, The Express Tribune reported.
Other important activities that the PPP chairman will indulge in whilst in Lahore include deliberating upon the road map, stopover points and party campsites for the long march with the provincial leadership, the Pakistani media reported.

Talking to The Express Tribune, a PPP office-bearer said Bilawal will attend a rally on January 30. The PPP office-bearer went on to say that several proposals were under consideration for the long march.

“There was one proposal of commencing the long march on Feb 27 and reach Islamabad by March 10-12,” he said. “There were other proposals, favoring further prolonging the march and that of condensing it to a mere few days.”

Earlier this month, Pakistan opposition announced a long march against Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government from Karachi on February 27 over the rise in inflation. (Image -InstagramBilawal)

Pakistan Interior Minister warns opposition leaders of political defeat, humiliation over protests on Pakistan Day

              

Islamabad [Pakistan](ANI): Pakistan Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has warned opposition leaders of political defeat and humiliation over their planned protest in March on the occasion of Pakistan Day, reported local media.

The Opposition had not been able to make any headway in its bid to oust the government in the last three-and-a-half years, and it could not do anything in the future as well, Geo News quoted Rashid as saying.
“The only thing they have done is giving irresponsible statements against Imran Khan. The public did not come out on the streets in the last 3.5 years, and they will not come out now,” Rashid said.

The Opposition has announced its march to Islamabad on March 23.

“What is your agenda? Why are you marching towards Islamabad?” Rashid asked the opposition. However, the Minister reiterated that opposition leaders would face no resistance from the government.

On Tuesday, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) had decided to continue with the long march against rising inflation on Pakistan Day (March 23).

The Opposition has already faced defeat in Parliament, said Rashid, adding, those leaders will also face “political defeat on the roads”.

Rashid also warned the Opposition that the Prime Minister would indeed be “very dangerous” if he were to take to the streets against it. “I say this with authority: Imran Khan has street power”, according to Geo News. (Image – Instagram)

10 Pakistanis held in Paris for money-laundering, human trafficking, using fake documents

              

Islamabad/Paris [France]: Ten Pakistani nationals have been arrested from the suburbs of Paris, on the suspicion of money laundering, human trafficking and fake documents, according to sources.

As per media reports, police suspect two brothers among the 10 arrested, to be controlling this network. Police got a whiff of the network in June 2020 after being informed of suspicious packages carrying fake European documents arriving in France, from Pakistan via Turkey and Greece.
According to sources, the fake documents included official documents of countries in the Schengen area and in particular for France, including passports, identity cards and residence permits.

Following this lead, investigators from the Central Office for the Suppression of Irregular Immigration and the Employment of Undocumented Foreigners and OCRGDF (Central Office for the Suppression of Serious Financial Crime) began investigations into the presence of illegal workers operating in the Paris region, largely in the construction sector.

During the probe, the French authorities also unearthed 20 legal companies involved in the construction business that were linked to a large network of “taxi” companies, which were used to redirect the funds to nearly 200 bank accounts opened with false papers.

This network transferred money to the various accounts using fake invoices or documents and then got the money out of the legal circuit by withdrawing large amounts from these bank accounts through ATMs.

Part of the money withdrawn was used to pay illegal Pakistanis working in these construction sites and the remaining diverted to Pakistan.

Searches at the houses and offices of these 10 individuals from Val-d’Oise and Seine-Saint-Denis areas in Paris led to the recovery of 157 fake identity documents, Euros 134,000 in cash, four vehicles including a Maserati, documents related to 180 bank accounts and the false papers used to open these accounts. As per the police, between 2019 and 2021, at least Euro 28 million were transferred to the bank accounts of different people and another Euro 13 million were transferred to the accounts in the names of front companies, sources said.

The case has unearthed the close link between illegal immigration from Pakistan and money laundering. (ANI)

Moscow, Islamabad in talks for Putin’s maiden Pakistan visit

               

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Moscow and Islamabad are in talks to finalize the plan for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Pakistan this year, a media report said on Sunday.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has already extended a formal invitation to Putin, The Express Tribune newspaper said in its report, adding that Imran Khan reiterated the invitation to him during his telephonic conversation this month.
The Pakistani newspaper said Putin’s visit was under discussion for the last two years but could not materialize because of several reasons, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the report, Moscow also wants that there must be “big-ticket projects” or other initiatives that the Russian president would announce when he finally undertakes the trip to Pakistan.

Last year, Pakistan and Russia had signed an agreement for the construction of a 1,100 km gas pipeline from Port Qasim in Karachi to Lahore.

The Pakistan media report said that the signing of the Pakistan Steam Gas Pipeline in July last year has brightened the prospects of Putin’s visit to Pakistan.

Pakistan is keen that President Putin inaugurates the more than USD 2 billion gas pipeline project and wants Russian companies to lay the pipeline from Karachi to Kasur.

This project, according to the newspaper, is a flagship project that Moscow and Islamabad intend to undertake and enter into a new era of bilateral ties. The project not only had economic but strategic significance for Pakistan, the Tribune report added citing officials familiar with the development.

It further said Pakistan wanted to broaden ties with Russia as part of its efforts to diversify its foreign policy options. (ANI)

Pakistan’s police beat women protesters in Sindh

             

Karachi [Pakistan], (ANI): Pakistan’s police on Saturday applied baton charge to disperse women protesters in Sindh province’s Tando Allahyar who agitated against the arrest of their family members following a Friday night arson attack on a ’15 police helpline’ centre in the city, a media report said.

The Tando Allahyar police on Saturday beat women protesters with sticks which drew criticism from Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan leadership. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah also took notice of the use of force by police against the women and asked the Hyderabad DIG, Pir Mohammad Shah, for an inquiry, reported Dawn.
Three cases have been registered by Tando Allahyar police against Asif Khanzada — presumably brother and complainant of Bholu Khanzada murder case — and many others at the A-Section police station of Tando Allahyar. An unspecified number of suspects were picked up, said the Pakistani publication.

It came after an arson attack occurred on the police center on Friday night following the funeral of MQM-P activist, Khalilur Rehman alias Bholu Khanzada, who was gunned down at the gate of sessions court earlier in the day.

Nearly 10 motorcycles and a private car present inside the police centre were torched. According to police officials, intruders took away their motorbikes and official instruments including charging devices of walkie-talkie sets.

With regard to the arson attack, the police conducted raids on the houses of suspects. However, amid the crackdown, family members of the suspects blocked Hyderabad road near Islamia Mohallah and raised slogans against police highhandedness, according to Dawn.

Pakistan police beat women protesters with sticks in order to disperse them. The video of the incident went viral and drew criticism from the political parties and government functionaries. (ANI)

Pak’s blatant lies about JeM, LeT terror groups deserve FATF blacklisting

              

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan rightly deserves blacklisting by Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as the country, in its plenary session in October, blatantly misrepresented information of Jaish-e-Mohammad leader, Maulana Masood Azhar and claimed that he is untraceable.

This assertion was quickly debunked, as Azhar’s writings advocating for jihad appeared in the jihadi media.
According to reports, JeM leaders are running indoctrination and training camps as well as organising and attending conferences across Punjab and other provinces in search of recruits and cash.

On September 19 last, Azhar wrote an article criticising the media for circulating fake news instead of celebrating the Islamic victory in Afghanistan. On December 29, he called for jihad in the name of Allah, reported Islam Khabar.

In the last few months, there has been clear evidence of the terrorist group holding different meetings in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

On September 10, 2021, the JeM held a “Salam Shuhada-e-Islam Conference” at Markaz Jamia Masjid Hanifa Abbasspur, where Masood Ilyas Kashmiri shouted slogans like “India Teri Maut Ayee, Jaish Ayee, Jaish Ayee”.

It threatened that its cadres had crossed the Line of Control and would soon carry out suicide attacks in Kashmir and Delhi. At the mosque, posters of fallen terrorists were widely exhibited.

The terrorist group is also infamous for carrying out jihadist activities in madrasas of Karachi and Bahawalpur in Pakistan.

Terrorists claimed responsibility for the December 2021 terrorist attack on Srinagar police and sought funds for future operations at a big public assembly in PoK earlier this month, reported Islam Khabar.

The conference was held in Jaloth, near Rawalakote, and was addressed by PoK’s regional chief, Muhammad Ilyas.

The same is also confirmed by a US report which emphasizes that terror groups, including JeM and LeT, are targeting India. (ANI)

Imran govt’s mini-budget will push Pakistanis to ‘miserable’ death, says Shahbaz Sharif

                

Islamabad [Pakistan](ANI): The mini-budget of the Imran Khan government will push poor Pakistanis to “miserable” death as the bill proposes to hike taxes in a variety of sectors, said Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief Shahbaz Sharif on Thursday as the country’s National Assembly passed the Finance (Supplementary) Bill, reported local media.

“Imran Khan has been imposed on the country and leading the country towards destruction, pushing the poor to the brink of death,” The News International quoted Shehbaz Sharif as saying in the National Assembly while addressing the participants.
The PML-N leader also said that people will have to take to the streets against inflation. “We will have to get the country out of economic misery,” he added.

Stressing that mini-budget was a budget that would push the poor people towards “miserable” death, Shahbaz said, “Remember the time of Nawaz Sharif when there was no inflation; electricity was cheap under the PML-N government.”

The leader also termed the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government as the most incompetent government in the history of Pakistan.

It comes as Pakistan’s National Assembly on Thursday passed the controversial Finance (Supplementary) Bill, generally known as the “mini-budget”, and the State Bank of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill 2021 during an hours-long session amid fierce objection from the opposition benches, according to Dawn. (Image -Instagram)

‘Thousands of Pakistan Opposition activists to join long march against Imran Khan govt next month’

             

Islamabad [Pakistan], (ANI): After Pakistan opposition announced a long march against Prime Minister Imran Khan-led government from Karachi, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) said it expects thousands of its activists will participate in the march, which is scheduled to kick off next month, local media reported on Wednesday.

Pakistan’s Sindh Information and Labour Minister and president of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Karachi Division, Saeed Ghani, on Tuesday announced that the party would organise protest demonstrations, rallies and sit-ins at the district-level in the city over the issues of hikes in the prices of essential commodities, unemployment and a shortage of natural gas in the country due to “incompetence on the part of the federal government on February 27”, The News International reported.
Ghani said the preparations had begun for the commencement of the long march from Karachi next month.

He recalled that the PPP was the only political party that had lately staged protest demonstrations throughout the country against the “incompetence and ill-advised economic policies of the government” that had resulted in hikes in the prices of essential products, joblessness and gas crisis, The News International reported.

The Pakistani publication reported that Ghani said that the 220 million masses of the country had to face immense hardships as the rulers did not have competency and eligibility to manage the governance-related affairs.

He said the protest drive was being accelerated, and demonstrations, rallies and sit-ins would be staged on a daily basis in all districts of the Karachi Division.

He further stated that the food cost inflation had simply become unbearable for the public to the extent that they did not have the financial capacity to arrange meals just twice a day for their families. (Image-Instagram)

Shehbaz Sharif, Bilawal seek judicial commission into Murree deaths, ask Imran Khan to quit

                

Islamabad [Pakistan] (ANI): Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Shehbaz Sharif has asked for the formation of a judicial commission to probe deaths of 23 tourists during snowfall in Murree and has said that PM Imran Khan should quit.

“We will not agree on less than the formation of a judicial commission to probe the deaths of 23 tourists who were stranded in their vehicles during snowfall in Murree,” the Opposition leader said while taking part in a debate on the Murree tragedy said, reported The News International.
“Prime Minister should quit if his Government could not handle rush in Murree and avert the human disaster,” he added.

Pakistan’s Peoples Party (PPP) Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also showed his support for the formation of a judicial commission.

“I will also request you to use your good offices to form the judicial commission,” he said, reported the newspaper.

Pakistan on Sunday formed a committee to probe the deaths of more than 20 people stranded in their vehicles in snow-hit Murree.

A notification was issued after the names of its members were finalised, according to which Additional Chief Secretary Home Zafar Nasrullah has been appointed as the convener, reported Geo News.

Provincial secretaries Ali Sarfaraz and Asad Gilani have been named as members of the committee. In addition, Assistant Inspector General Farooq Mazhar has also been named as a member.

Notably, at least 23 people died in Pakistan’s Murree after their vehicles were stranded following heavy snowfall overnight, local media reported. (Image – unsplash)

Pakistan’s progress at stake due to economic stagnation

             

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan’s economic progress appears to be at stake due to economic stagnation with Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) government’s failed efforts to increase foreign direct investments.

According to a report by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), FDI inflow to Pakistan decreased by 30 per cent to USD 1.39 billion during July-March (FY 2020-21) against USD 2.15 billion for the same period in the previous year, reported The Singapore Post.
The drop is an indication of the country’s deteriorating business climate for investments including for the telecommunication sector. However, the Pak government blamed the overall weak global trends for the tepid FDI inflows.

Depreciating Pakistan’s currency PKR (Pakistan Rupee) and continuing high inflation rate are viewed as the immediate factors affecting returns for foreign investors, reported The Singapore Post.

The value of PKR has plummeted to around Rs 177.49 against USD by December 2021 from Rs 123 in August 2018, a depreciation of over 44 per cent since the current PM took over administration.

PKR is among the world’s worst-performing currencies in recent times and has depreciated with respect to all major currencies of the world. Inflation also rose from 5.65 per cent in January-2021 to 12.3 per cent in the month of December in 2021.

Pakistan’s inconsistent economic growth rate, rising debt payments, a balance of payment crisis, increasing country’s current account and fiscal deficits and poor security scenario have also impacted foreign investor’s confidence, reported The Singapore Post.

The country’s terror financing and anti-money laundering laws are also still not compliant with international standards. Further, political instability and constant imbalance in civil-military relations too discourages foreign investment.

The FATF’s (Financial Action Task Force) listing of Pakistan in grey list intermittently also resulted in a USD 38 billion economic loss coupled with stringent domestic tax and interest rate policies, contributing to deteriorating business interests for overseas investors, reported The Singapore Post.

The US Department of State, in its 2021 Investment Climate Statement on Pakistan noted that Pakistan remains a challenging environment for investors with FDI declining by 29 per cent in the first half of FY 2021 against the same time period in FY 2020, despite having a relatively open formal regime, reported The Singapore Post.

Compared with the regional competitors, it attributed the declining trend to unpredictable security situations; lengthy dispute resolution processes; poor intellectual property rights enforcement; inconsistent taxation policies; and lack of harmonization of rules across provinces, reported The Singapore Post.

Interestingly, Pakistan’s ‘all-weather/iron friend’ China is also wary of the present business climate in the country. China has been the largest investor in Pakistan for several years. However, Chinese FDI inflow during July-March (FY2020-21) had declined to USD 650.8 million compared to USD 859.3 million during the same period for the previous year.

China’s reluctance for investing in the Phase-II of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) construction project can be seen in the backdrop of emerging differences between the two countries over the USD 6.8 billion worth of railway project. It was also attributed to the increased debt burden of Pakistan, corruption in the CPEC authority & Chinese companies residing in Pakistan, as well attempts to expand military control over the CPEC projects, reported The Singapore Post.

The adverse business climate also impacted Pakistan’s other indicators. The current government nearly doubled its foreign debt in just three years, adding USD 35.1 billion to bring the total to USD 85.6 billion as of June 30, 2021

COVID-19: No plan for lockdown at this time, says Pak Minister

             

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar said on Thursday that the country does not have any plans to impose lockdown despite the Omicron-driven fifth wave.

The Minister’s statement came at a time when the COVID cases in the country for the last 24 hours have crossed the 1,000 mark. It reported a total of 1,084 new coronavirus cases in a day, reported the Dawn News.
“At this time there is no plan of imposing lockdowns. We are looking at COVID numbers very closely as we shared today what has happened in the rest of the world and what is starting to happen in Pakistan,” Umar told Geo News.

Last year on October 14, Pakistan has reported more than 1,000 cases with 1,086 cases and now the country is in the same state crossing the 1000 mark. According to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the positivity rate has risen to 2.32 per cent.

Earlier, during a press conference, Head of National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), Asad Umar urged the public to take precautionary measures and get the vaccination done.

He shared his concern on the Omicron variant and said that vaccination will lead to a lesser impact of the Omicron wave and also pointed out that the Omicron strain is more in Karachi and Lahore. (ANI)

Pak opposition calls Imran Khan ‘thief’ after ECP committee report on foreign funding

              

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan opposition parties on Tuesday slammed the Prime Minister after a report of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) scrutiny committee probing Imran Khan’s party funds revealed that it has hidden funds worth millions of rupees and called him a “thief”.

Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) spokesperson Hafiz Hamdullah, in a statement, said the scrutiny committee’s report has “revealed the theft of Imran Khan and PTI”, reported Geo News.
“The scrutiny committee has exposed the true face of the PTI before the nation […] Imran Khan and PTI, who accused others of theft, turned out to be thieves themselves,” he said.

The spokesperson said the report has “proven” that PM Imran Khan is “not sadiq and ameen” anymore, as he demanded the premier to disclose the purpose for which the hidden bank accounts were used.

Lashing out at Khan, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Vice-President Maryam Nawaz said Imran Khan had not only “stolen and hidden money, but also plundered the people”, reported Geo News.

Maryam said the “constant leaks, revelations, and evidence, are more than enough to bring down the PTI”.

“No other party in history has been behind such serious fraud and scandals,” she said.

“Has there been such a corrupt, liar, and conspiratorial ruler like Imran Khan in the history of Pakistan?” she asked.

The ECP report stated that the PTI provided “false information” regarding the party’s funding. It said that the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) statement revealed that the party had received Rs 1.64 billion in funding, Geo News reported.

According to the report, the party did not disclose funding worth more than Rs 310 million to the ECP.

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)’s Central Information Secretary Shazia Marri, addressing a press conference in Lahore, asked the PTI and PM Imran Khan to provide complete bank account and funding details to the ECP.

“You have given details about 12 accounts, where are the details of the rest of the accounts […] PPP has submitted complete details of its accounts,” she said, Geo News reported.

Later, in a tweet, Marri said, “Imran Khan talashi do (give yourself up for examination).”

PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal said that the scrutiny committee’s report had “washed away Imran Khan’s make up of honesty”.

“Imran Khan acts as the champion of transparency in the country, but in the foreign funding case, he is making lame excuses to stop the hearing; PTI is resorting to mudslinging to cover its own theft,” he said, reported Geo News.

The scrutiny committee was formed in 2019 to audit foreign funding received by the PTI. The case began in 2014 when the party’s founding member, Akbar S Babar, filed it.

Babar alleged that the PTI received funding from illegal sources and that the party was also involved in money laundering, according to Dawn. (ANI)

Death toll in Pak’s Quetta blast rises to six, Imran Khan government slammed

Pakistan PM Imran Khan
              

Quetta [Pakistan]: The death toll in Pakistan’s Quetta blast has climbed to six as two injured succumbed to their injuries on Friday, local media reported.

The explosion took place on Thursday night at the gate of Science College in Quetta when workers and leaders of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-I) were returning from the college auditorium at the end of the Shuhada Conference. Earlier, four people were killed and 16 others injured in the blast.
“Another two workers (of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Ideological) lost their lives. They had received multiple injuries in the explosion,” Dawn quoted Maulana Abdul Sattar Chishti, provincial information secretary of the party as saying. The deceased were identified as Sanaullah and Mohammed Ramzan.

Chishti said that the condition of some other injured persons was critical.

“Thirteen injured are still under treatment in the civil hospital,” Dawn quoted a police statement.

No group has claimed responsibility for the blast, but the Counter-Terrorism Department has lodged a case against unknown people.

Democracy in Pakistan only exists on paper: PPP’s Bilawal Bhutto

               

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Highlighting the slew of issues afflicting the people of Pakistan, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Monday said that democracy in Pakistan only exists on paper.

He made these remarks while speaking during a rally in Sindh’s Larkana District on the 14th death anniversary of the slain PPP leader Benazir Bhutto.
“We had said that democracy is the best revenge and hence, we restored the system despite all the ill-practices,” he was quoted as saying by Geo News. He added that democracy was snatched from the people of Pakistan.

Targeting the Imran Khan government, Bilawal said that Pakistanis are bearing the burden of a puppet and selected government.

This rebuke comes as PPP has announced it would launch a movement to remove the ‘puppet’ Imran Khan government in Pakistan, reported local media. The party will start a campaign from Lahore on January 5.

“On January 5, which is the birth anniversary of [party founder] Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, PPP’s executive committee will set up its base in Lahore,” Samaa TV quoted Bilawal as saying.

“The end of this puppet government will begin from the city where the foundation of PPP was laid,” he added.

Stressing that PPP can not bear the suffering of people in Pakistan, Bilawal said that only his party can save this country as he asked the party’s provincial leadership and workers to gear up to take part in the agitation against the sitting government.

Remembering his mother, Bilawal said that it has been 14 years but we still miss Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.

Referring to Benazir Bhutoo, the PPP Chairman said, “Shaheed Bibi, your Pakistan is in turmoil, there is no freedom of speech, life or even breath.”

“We fulfilled Shaheed Benazir Bhutto’s 30-year struggle for the restoration of the 1973 constitution by introducing the 18th amendment and transferring all the powers to parliament,” Bilawal added. (ANI)

World Bank approves USD 195 million loan for Pakistan

Washington [US]: The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved USD 195 million loan for Pakistan in order to improve electricity distribution and implement energy sector reforms to increase service quality for consumers.

“The Electricity Distribution Efficiency Improvement Project (EDEIP) will help distribution companies improve operations to manage the electricity supply more efficiently and increase the reliability of the electrical grid. It focuses on cost-saving interventions to increase revenue collection and reduce losses, and on modernizing operations by employing technology and information systems. The project will also invest in climate-resilient infrastructure, particularly grid stations and transmission lines, which are critical to distribution and utility services,” the World Bank said in a statement on Saturday.
“The long-term financial viability of the power sector depends on improving the efficiency of electricity distribution companies that deliver electricity to consumers,” said Najy Benhassine, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan. “These efforts will improve the operational and financial performance of select distribution companies to improve their bankability and ultimately generate more private sector participation.”

The statement said the EDEIP will support institutional reforms to improve governance and transparency and will develop systems and practices to improve managerial performance and compliance with regulatory requirements. In addition, the project will help build the technical capacity of the distribution companies by providing training programs, tools, and equipment to improve staff performance in key utility operations.

“The project will focus on strengthening operations and governance of Hyderabad Electric Supply Company, Multan Electric Power Company, and Peshawar Electric Supply Company,” said Mohammad Saqib Task Team Leader for the project. “With the leadership of the Ministry of Energy, this project will bolster market-sector reforms, reduce transmission and distribution losses, and improve the sector’s financial performance.”

The EDEIP complements ongoing power sector support from the World Bank, including on transmission network, renewable energy generation, as well as reforms through the Pakistan Program for Affordable and Clean Energy (PACE), which focuses on improving its financial viability and transitioning to low-carbon energy. The project will increase the reliability of electricity services for residential, agricultural, commercial, and industrial sector consumers in project areas, and will contribute to reducing carbon emissions, read the statement.

Harmanpreet’s brace helps India beat Pakistan 3-1 in Asian Champions Trophy

                

Dhaka [Bangladesh]: India continued their domination against arch-rivals Pakistan in hockey as reigning Olympic bronze medallist registered a thumping 3-1 win in the Asian Champions Trophy 2021 match in Dhaka.

With one thumping win against minnows Bangladesh and a draw in the opening match against South Korea, India made a confident start and took a lead in the opening quarter with drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh converting the penalty corner giving the Olympic bronze medallist a 1-0 lead.
India kept on putting pressure on the opponent’s defence but Pakistan somehow managed to save the onslaught. India enjoyed more possession, circle penetrations and shots on target but failed to double their lead as Pakistan goal-keeper Mazhar Abbas made numerous saves. With a goalless second quarter, the first half of the match ended 1-0 in India’s favour.

India came back strong in the third quarter as Akashdeep Singh scored a brilliant field goal to take the lead to 2-0. The celebration did not last too long as Junaid Manzoor scored for Pakistan reducing the deficit. The third quarter ended with India leading the match by 2 goals to 1.

Pakistan got their first penalty corner of the match but goal-keeper Suraj Karkera made an impressive save to deny an equalizer. India then got yet another penalty corner and this time too Harmanpreet Singh converted scoring his second goal taking the lead to 3-1.

Pakistan got their second penalty corner of the match but goalie Suraj Karkera once again made a brilliant save to deny Pakistan any hopes of a comeback. India being the more dominant team wrapped up the match 3-1 to continue their domination over Pakistan. India have won 11 out of the last 12 matches against Pakistan and one match ended in a draw.

India remain unbeaten in the ongoing Asian Champions Trophy 2021 with two wins and one draw. (ANI)

Pak vs WI: Pity about the rescheduling of ODI series, says Ramiz Raja

               

Karachi [Pakistan]: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ramiz Raja expressed disappointment after the ODI series against West Indies was rescheduled following the COVID scare.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and Cricket West Indies (CWI) on Thursday issued a joint statement after five more positive cases were reported in the West Indies camp following Wednesday’s PCR testing, taking the total number of positive cases to nine since their arrival in Karachi on December 9.
It was agreed that the ODI series, which forms part of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League, will be postponed and rescheduled for early June 2022.

“Very impressive record chase tonight. Self-belief & calmness was at the heart of that feat! Great year for Rizwan & he doesn’t have a bad partner in Babar too. Pity about the rescheduling of the ODI series but we will have a full-fledged fit WI team for that June encounter,” Ramiz Raja tweeted after Pakistan win in the third T20I.

Coming to the game, Pakistan completed a clean sweep in the three-match T20I series against a virus-hit West Indies with a resounding seven-wicket win on Thursday.

Run-machine Mohammad Rizwan rounded off the year with his 12th half-century in Twenty20 internationals by scoring 87 while captain Babar Azam made 79 in Pakistan’s blistering run-chase of 208-3 in 18.5 overs.

The West Indies’ top-order batters, led by captain Nicholas Pooran’s blazing 64 off 37 balls, still did well to post 207-3 after the tourists had won the toss and elected to bat. (ANI)

Pakistan to conduct Sri Lankan man’s lynching trial in jail

             

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan’s provincial Punjab government and prosecution have decided to conduct the case trial of the suspects arrested in the brutal lynching of Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara in jail, reported local media.

The decision was taken in a meeting on Friday to “maintain the law and order situation in the province”, reported Samaa TV.
The jail administration has been ordered to ensure all arrangements for the trial and the police have also been instructed to complete the case challan at the earliest.

131 men have been arrested by the police and 30 among them are declared prime suspects in the lynching of Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara.

Last week, Kumara was tortured, beaten to death and then set on fire by a mob of more than 800 people over alleged blasphemy accusations in the Wazirabad neighbourhood, said Samaa TV. (ANI)

Colombo asks Imran Khan govt to expedite compensation to kin of slain Sri Lankan national

Colombo [Sri Lanka]: Sri Lanka Foreign Minister G L Peiris had a meeting with the Acting High Commissioner of Pakistan in Colombo Tanvir Ahmad on Thursday to discuss the matters relating to financial security and compensation of the family of late Priyantha Kumara who was killed by a mob in Sialkot area, Pakistan last week.

Last week, a mob in the Wazirabad Road area in Sialkot had tortured Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara Diyawadana to death before burning his body in Sialkot over alleged blasphemy.
Sri Lanka Foreign Ministry said in a press note that Peiris expressed confidence that the Pakistan Government would take the required steps that the family of late Priyantha Kumara gets justice.

Recalling the telephone call had with the Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday, the Minister said: “he offered his condolences and promised to make available to Sri Lanka all the information from the probe at the earliest”.

Sri Lankan Foreign Minister also appreciated the intervention of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan who has taken personal charge of this investigation and taken steps to immediately investigate the incident.

He also welcomed the announcement of the donation of USD 100,000 by the business community in Sialkot and the payment of the monthly salary of Priyantha Kumara to his widow. Peiris highlighted the fact that the Sri Lankan government is concerned about the future of the two children of the late Priyantha Kumara and the importance of receiving the payments on time.

He requested the Pakistan envoy to arrange a mechanism to ensure that the salary will be received by the family every month without any disruption. Conveying his heartfelt apologies for the incident, the Acting High Commissioner assured that the Government of Pakistan has taken the necessary steps for a full investigation and ensuring compensation for the family.

Protest in Islamabad against enforced disappearances in Balochistan

Islamabad [Pakistan] Dozens of people protested in Islamabad to highlight the rampant enforced disappearance cases in Balochistan.

The rally was held by Voice For Baloch Missing Persons on Thursday. The protesters held placards and banners demanding the release of all forcefully disappeared Baloch people.
Enforced disappearance has been used as a tool by the Pakistani state to silence the oppressed people of Balochistan since the very first day of its occupation.

While countless abductees have been killed, many of them are still facing inhuman torture in army secret cells.

While successive governments have promised to criminalise enforced disappearance, none has taken concrete steps and the practice continues with impunity.

Several human rights organisations including the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Amnesty International have confirmed that security forces are behind these disappearances,

Recently, fighting between Pakistan security forces and Baloch insurgents have intensified in the region. In its 2020 Country Reports on Human Rights, the US State Department has highlighted significant human rights issues in Pakistan, including unlawful or arbitrary killings by the government and forced disappearance of Pashtun, Sindhi and Baloch human rights activists.

In a recent report titled “Living Ghosts,” the human rights group Amnesty International documented the practice of enforced disappearances in Pakistan and urged Pakistani authorities to end its use as a tool of state policy. (ANI)

Pakistan undermining global efforts to promote COVID-19 vaccination: Report

Washington [US]: As the world continues to campaign to overcome vaccine hesitancy, Pakistan appears to be creating anti-vaccine sentiment with the aim of spreading sectarian discord.

In an opinion piece for Washington based The National Interest, an American scholar has highlighted how groups apparently aligned with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency appear to be sabotaging vaccination campaigns deliberately.
This is being done to further sectarian discord and to deny any diplomatic gain their opponents’ goodwill vaccination diplomacy might achieve.

Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, cited the example of Hindu faith-based charity group Sewa International USA which has nearly four dozen chapters across the country and serves Hindus, Muslims, Christians, and Jews.

Sewa, which has been active in both vaccination and fundraising campaigns in both the US and India, began facing problems at the height of India’s second COVID-19 wave, when then-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced a USD 2.5 million donations for the group to help its anti-COVID efforts in India.

Soon after the announcement was made, the blogosphere erupted and an activist named Pieter Friedrich posted an article to a self-publication platform Medium, alleging that Sewa was the “welfare wing” of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Rubin said that sparked follow-on articles in more mainstream publications amplifying the criticism. Friedrich then announced a hunger strike to protest the donation, repeating the charge that Sewa was affiliated with RSS.

Rubin explained how that Friedrich is known primarily for gadfly efforts to cancel Mahatma Gandhi in both US and in South Asian circles. Friedrich often accuses the Indian founding father of everything from “white supremacy” to promoting Adolf Hitler.

The US scholar has argued that the Biden administration should continue to pursue its vaccine diplomacy and at the same time act against Pakistan’s government, which is weaponizing COVID-19.

“American efforts to immunize those in India and elsewhere against COVID-19 can buy the same goodwill and have the same lasting impact that George W. Bush-era efforts to counter HIV in Africa have had,” he said.

Meanwhile, Rubin also insists that it is important not only to provide vaccines and education but also to expose against unregistered foreign agents who seek to obfuscate and undermine efforts domestically.

"

Simply put, for Biden’s anti-COVID-19 efforts to work, it is time to call out the ISI and sanction Pakistan for actions that, quite literally, endanger the world,” he emphasised. (ANI)

Bangladesh needs to do soul searching

Dhaka [Bangladesh]: Former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi feels the Bangladesh team need better wickets to showcase their talent rather than competing on poor pitches and giving “ordinary” performances in World Cups.

Mohammad Rizwan (40) and Haider Ali (45) starred with the bat as Pakistan defeated Bangladesh by five wickets in the third and final T20I here at the Shere Bangla National Stadium on Monday.
Afridi congratulated Pakistan on the victory and said the side needs to carry the winning momentum.

“Congratulations Pakistan!! A bit too close for comfort at the end. Great to see the team maintain winning ways, so important for a team to carry on the winning momentum,” Afridi tweeted.

The former Pakistan skipper also pointed out that Bangladesh “desperately” need better pitches if they want to improve as a team.

“Bangladesh really need to do some soul searching, do they want to win on such pitches and give ordinary performances abroad and in World Cups? They have great talent and passion for the game but desperately need better pitches if they want to progress,” Afridi tweeted.

With this win, Pakistan won the three-match series 3-0 and now both teams will square off in a two-match Test series, beginning on Friday in Chittagong.

Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid decides to part ways with Imran Khan-led PTI

Lahore [Pakistan]: After Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) parliamentarians said that it has become difficult for partnership with Prime Minister Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to continue, the party on Sunday decided to part ways.

The PML-Q is a key ally of the PTI at the Centre and in Punjab and decided to break up and launch its own campaign for the next general elections after rising tensions between the two coalition partners, reported The Express Tribune.
The announcement was made after a meeting of the PML-Q’s parliamentary party held under the chair of its Punjab president, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, who is also the speaker of the provincial assembly.

All parliamentarians of the party had empowered the PML-Q’s Punjab chief to decide the fate of its alliance with the government.

The PML-Q leaders expressed their concern over the unprecedented increase in the prices of petroleum products and energy tariff as well as the depreciation of the local currency, reported The Express Tribune.

They also criticised the PTI government for its failure to rein in crimes and high level of unemployment in the country.

The party’s parliamentarians noted that the people were facing great difficulties in making ends meet because of the “negligence” of the government.

In this bleak situation, how public representatives would face their voters in their constituencies in upcoming general elections, they added.

The parliamentarians maintained that they had cooperated with the ruling PTI and extended all possible support to it. However, they added, it had now become difficult for the PML-Q to continue its partnership with the PTI, reported The Express Tribune.

The PML-Q leaders underlined that if the government did not pay heed to basic public issues, including inflation and unemployment, the situation would worsen in the country.

A day earlier, the PML-Q had already indicated to go against the PTI over “mistreatment of its workers” in Punjab and for “not being included in the decision-making process”.

“We have been supporting them [the government] in the Centre and Punjab for the past three years but the provincial government is mistreating our workers in every district,” Elahi said while chairing a meeting of the party’s central committee on Saturday.

Meanwhile, other opposition parties have already teamed up under the banner of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and announced that they would take to the streets against the Imran Khan government. (ANI)

Inflation in Pakistan will continue to rise for next 6 months

Islamabad [Pakistan] : The inflation will remain high in Pakistan for the next six months and the rupee is likely to continue on a depreciatory path despite a support package from Saudi Arabia, local media reported citing the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
The EIU’s assessment comes after data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) showed that the Consumer Price Index — a key marker of inflation — surged 9.2 per cent year-on-year in October, reported Geo News. “Strengthening inflationary headwinds are being driven largely by rapid import growth, exacerbated by a surge in global commodity prices, as the economy recovers from the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” EIU said.
“We continue to expect that upward pressure on consumer prices will persist during the first half of 2022, as the global economic recovery is likely to keep commodity prices elevated and the rupee will continue on a depreciatory path despite short-term relief in the form of a financial assistance package from Saudi Arabia due to Pakistan’s persistently wide trade deficit and strong inflationary pressures,” the EIU added.
The EIU used its assessment to predict that the State Bank of Pakistan will raise rates again at its next monetary policy meeting on November 26, according to Geo News.
“We maintain our forecast of an elevated inflation rate of 9.2 per cent in 2021, eliciting further policy tightening from the SBP,” it said.
Inflation in Pakistan is on the rise and it has triggered countrywide protests by the opposition and people.

TTP may consider ceasefire after Pak govt agrees to release its terrorists

Peshawar [Pakistan] : After Islamabad reportedly agreed to release several Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorists in the first phase, the terrorists might declare a nationwide ceasefire in return, reported a local media.
“The prisoners were supposed to be freed on November 1 this year but then there were some technical issues that delayed the release process. Then they were required to be freed on November 4 but again it didn’t happen due to some reasons,” The News quoted a source privy to the negotiations as saying. Some of the prisoners including top Taliban leaders in Swat, Mehmood Khan and Muslim Khan, were taken to Afghanistan for their “likely release”, said the newspaper citing the source.
Former spokesperson of the TTP, Maulvi Omar was reportedly in the first batch of prisoners who were supposed to be free as a “goodwill” gesture.
However, the development has not been confirmed by the Pakistani authorities and Taliban spokesman Mohammad Khurasani.
The TTP had earlier demanded from the government to release five of its senior “leaders” so that they can start trusting the government’s seriousness in the talks, the newspaper reported citing the sources.
“Pakistani authorities themselves offered to 102 prisoners, including the five important leaders so that the peace process could yield results,” The News reporter the sources as saying.
All the prisoner terrorists had been taken from various prisons in the country to the headquarters of North Waziristan, Miransha for their likely shifting to Khost in Afghanistan and handing over to the Afghan Taliban for their release, the newspaper reported citing the sources.
“None of the prisoners had been shifted to Afghanistan yet. They are still in Miranshah but can be taken any time to cross the border in Afghanistan,” The News quoted the sources.
“There have been a series of fruitful meetings between the Pakistan government and leaders of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan. The first meeting had taken place in Kabul after the fall of Kabul and then two sessions were held in Khost province of Afghanistan in which the two sides exchanged views and proposals for meaningful dialogue,” The News quoted one member of the negotiation team as saying on condition of anonymity.
The acting interior minister in the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan, Sirajuddin Haqqani is reportedly playing a role of a mediator between Pakistan and the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to reach a “broader” “peace agreement” to bring an end to the two-decades of militancy in Pakistan, Dawn reported.(

Imran Khan govt reaches understanding with banned TTP group for truce

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistani officials have reached a “tentative understanding” with the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to seek a “peace agreement” following nearly two decades of militancy.

Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reported that this truce has come after direct talks between the two sides in Afghanistan’s south-western Khost province for nearly two weeks.
These “face-to-face” talks had resulted in a tentative understanding to declare a countrywide truce, conditional to the release of some TTP foot soldiers as part of confidence-building measures, according to Pakistani publication.

The acting interior minister in the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan, Sirajuddin Haqqani is reportedly playing a role of a mediator between Pakistan and the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to reach a “broader” “peace agreement” to bring an end to the two-decades of militancy in Pakistan.

Even though an understanding has been reached between the two sides, it is not yet clear who on the Pakistan side is negotiating with the TTP.

The understanding includes the declaration of a nationwide truce and the release of some TTP terrorists based on certain conditions, as part of confidence-building measures.

The number of terrorists who are to be released was not clear, however, the newspaper reported citing the sources that the number of such terrorists would not be more than two dozen.

“These are foot soldiers (terrorists), not senior or mid-level commanders. We are testing the ground. We are cautious. The truce will come into effect once the prisoners are released,” Dawn quoted the sources as saying.

“Talks are being held directly between senior officers and senior TTP leadership. The TTP includes all groups without exception. There are several proposals on the table and both sides are working to hammer out a workable solution,” Dawn quoted the source as saying.

The strong resurgence of Pakistani Taliban’s terror activities soon after the Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan is raising new concerns about Pakistan’s overall stability, including the security of its nuclear arsenal, said a Canada-based think tank.

Pakistan’s efforts to pressurise the Taliban to ensure that the TTP is not allowed any sanctuary in Afghanistan, have failed to yield any visible results, according to International Forum for Rights and Security (IFFRAS).

In recent times, the Pakistani Taliban has carried out multiple attacks in Pakistan.

A ceasefire between Pakistan’s government and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) announced on October 1 has fallen apart in days as fears rise about the al Qaeda-linked group’s true agenda, the think tank said. (ANI)

Sugar price increases across Pakistan amid inflation

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Amid the rising inflation in Pakistan, prices of sugar have been jacked up in various parts of the country, local media reported on Thursday.

The wholesale rate of the essential commodity has gone up to Rs 25 in Karachi after which its available Rs 140 per kg now. Whereas in the retail market the sugar kilogram is available for no less than Rs 145, ARY News reported.
According to the Pakistani publication, in Lahore, the retail price of sugar currently stands at Rs 140 per kg while the Sugar Dealers Association said there’s a suspended supply of the commodity by the millers.

The price of sugar has increased by Rs 9 per kg in the wholesale market and is being sold at Rs 135 per kg as compared to yesterday’s rate of Rs 126 per kg, ARY News further reported.

This comes after Imran Khan on Wednesday announced “country’s biggest-ever” subsidy package worth Rs 120 billion, providing 30 per cent discount on ghee, flour and pulses to support 130 million people by ebbing away from the impact of inflation. (ANI)

Militancy, sectarian violence engulfs Pakistan after Taliban takeover in Afghanistan

After the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, the complexities including militancy and sectarian violence are widely arising in the country, according to a media report.

Islamabad [Pakistan] : Pakistan’s government hinted earlier at these challenges, but its voice is muted after what it perceives as its “strategic victory” with the group that it sheltered for long taking power in Kabul. According to Al Arabiya Post, these complexities depend on two factors –one, Taliban themselves encounter more extremist Al Qaida and local affiliates of the Islamic State-Khorasan and other, the Kabul government is unwilling to curb their ideological allies, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
In Pakistan, the Imran Khan-led government is facing challenges from the TTP that are from the Deobandi section of Islam and from Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) that belongs to the rival Barelvi section.
TTP is consolidating itself with help from Kabul and the TLP has unleashed its “Long March” from Lahore to Islamabad. Experts and human rights bodies fear that the inevitable socio-religious fall-out will be sectarian violence in the country, Al Arabiya Post reported.
The number of the violence registered in the portal “Violence Register Database Pakistan”
In the Christian community there are 304 incidents of violence against Pakistani Christians, specifically attacks on places of worship and persons; targeted killings, kidnappings, sectarian attacks, mob violence, bomb blasts, rapes and forced conversions between 2005 and 2021.
While in the Hindu community, over the 2010-2021 period, it reported around 205 reported incidents of violence. For Ahmadi community at least 274 Ahmadis are said to have been killed in violent attacks since 1901. At least 1,436 incidents of violence against the Shia community have been reported in the form of attacks on Shia mosques and community centres, targeted killings, abductions, blasphemy, mob violence, bomb blasts and religious discrimination between 1963 and 2015.
Most of the data in the portal are sourced from official sources like the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, according to Al Arabiya Post

‘Imran Khan would better suit for job at PCB instead of being PM’

Pakistan’s Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has said that Imran Khan would have better suited for the job at the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) instead of being a Prime Minister, reported Geo News.

Islamabad [Pakistan] : The Chief Minister slammed the Imran Khan government and said everyone knows how the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) won the elections. “Now the people of PTI will forfeit their guarantees in the elections because the tide has now turned,” Geo News quoted Shah as saying while talking to the media in Islamabad.
Talking about the recent protests by the proscribed Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) that lasted more than a week leading to violence in the country, the chief minister said that the incompetence of the government on the issue led to the loss of precious lives.
The statements come a day after when the government announced reaching an agreement with the TLP to end the protest.
“The government of Pakistan and the TLP had a detailed discussion under the environment of mutual trust, and an agreement has been reached between the two sides,” Dawn quoted Mufti as saying.
However, Mufti refrained from sharing any details of the terms of agreement and said that they will be shared at an appropriate time”, reported Dawn.
Hundreds of TLP members had taken to the streets throughout the country recently to exert pressure on the government for the release of its chief Hafiz Saad Hussain Rizvi.
A spokesperson for the TLP had said that the proscribed organisation stands by its demands that it will present before the government. “Our only demand from day one is the removal of the French ambassador,” the spokesperson said, according to The News International.
At least three Pakistani policemen were killed and several others suffered injuries in clashes with workers of the banned Islamist group and police personnel in Lahore when hundreds of TLP members had taken to the streets. 

Lahore ranks second among top five most polluted cities in world

Lahore [Pakistan] : Pakistan’s Lahore is ranked second among the top five cities with bad air quality in the world, reported local media.
Lahore recorded a particulate matter (PM) rating of 188 that places it under the “unhealthy” category of air quality, reported Dawn. The United States Environmental Protection Agency regards air quality as satisfactory if the Air Quality Index is under 50.
The environmental experts of the country have blamed the transportation sector and industries, besides the burning of crops, for the pollution.
A resident of the city tweeted, “Air quality in Lahore is the worst. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to be healthy in this pollution. All those planning to settle in Lahore should rethink their decision and settle elsewhere. We should also consider to change Lahore as a capital city. It’s too populated,” Dawn quoted the tweet.
Earlier in March this year, Pakistan was ranked as the second-most polluted country by IQAir global air quality report.

T20 WC: Asif Ali hits 4 sixes in 19th over as Pak beat Afg by 5 wickets

Dubai [UAE] : Asif Ali blistering cameo powered Pakistan to a five-wicket win over Afghanistan in the ongoing T20 World Cup here at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Friday.
Pakistan needed 24 runs in 12 balls but Asif did a Carlos Brathwaite and smashed four sixes to power Pakistan home. Chasing 148, Afghanistan dented Pakistan’s hopes star batter Mohammad Rizwan in the third over. The Green Army stitched a partnership but Afghanistan skipper Nabi brought himself into the attack gave the breakthrough.
Pakistan skipper Babar Azam kept fighting and completed his fifty in 45 balls despite losing Mohammad Hafeez in the 15th over. Rashid Khan turned the game in Afghanistan’s favour as he dismissed Babar in the 17th over.
But Asif Ali smashed four sixes in the penultimate over as Pakistan defeated Afghanistan with six balls to spare.
Earlier, opting to bat first Afghanistan got off to the worst possible start as the side lost four wickets inside the powerplay. Karim Janat and Najibullah stitched a 25-run stand to revive Afghanistan innings however Shadab Khan struck as the side lost five wickets before completion of 10 overs.
Skipper Mohammad Nabi and Gulbadin Naib scored 35 runs each as Afghanistan fought back after being reduced to 64/5. The side had scored 147/6 in the 20 overs.
Brief Scores: Afghanistan 147/6 (Mohammad Nabi 35, Gulbadin 35; Imad Wasim 2-25) vs Pakistan 148/5 (Babar Azam 51, Fakhar Zaman30; Rashid Khan 2-26)

T20 WC: Was confident that Asif Ali would deliver when needed, says Babar

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam said on Friday that he had confidence in the ability of Asif Ali and knew the batter would take his side home during crunch games in the ongoing T20 World Cup.
Asif Ali blistering cameo powered Pakistan to a five-wicket win over Afghanistan here at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Friday. Pakistan needed 24 runs in 12 balls but Asif did a Carlos Brathwaite and smashed four sixes to power his side home
“We started well with the ball, got a lot of wickets like we planned. Maybe gave away 10-15 runs too many at the end. With the bat, we couldn’t capitalise the powerplay as we wanted to,” Babar told the host broadcaster Star Sports after the match.
“At the end, with Malik and Asif Ali, we knew they could do the job. He (Asif Ali) is known for this and I was confident pre-tournament itself that he would deliver when needed,” he added.
Babar kept fighting for his side when Pakistan was in dire need but Rashid Khan turned the game in Afghanistan’s favour as he dismissed the skipper in the 17th over.
However, Asif Ali smashed four sixes in the penultimate over as Pakistan defeated Afghanistan with six balls to spare.
“We planned our strategies well with the ball, and also ensured that he kept the uneven boundary dimensions in mind while bowling. Spinners were getting some grip from the track, Afghanistan has quality bowlers too and I was trying to take it as deep as possible. Unfortunately, I couldn’t finish things off but credit to Asif Ali,” said Babar.

Mir Abdul Bizenjo elected CM of Pak’s Balochistan province

ANI | Updated: Oct 29, 2021 15:25 IST

Quetta [Pakistan], October 29 (ANI): Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, leader of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), has been elected the Balochistan chief minister, local media reported.
Abdul Bizenjo was elected unopposed during a Balochistan Assembly session on Friday, Geo News reported. The session was chaired by Balochistan Assembly Speaker Sardar Babar Musakhel. Bizenjo had said in a statement that he wanted to work with other leaders of the province, and added that he had even tried to contact former CM Jam Kamal Khan Aylani.
Later today, the Governor will administer the oath to Bizenjo in a swearing-in ceremony at Governor House in Quetta.
The swearing-in ceremony will be attended by members of the Assembly, leaders of political parties and civil and military officials.
Last week, Jam Kamal stepped down from his position, ending months of political drama. In a tweet, Aylani had said that he would rather leave respectfully and not be part of their monetary agenda and bad governance formulation.

Proscribed TLP crossed red line, says Pakistan NSA

Islamabad [Pakistan]): Amid rising protests by proscribed Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) in the country, National Security Adviser (NSA) Moeed Yusuf said that proscribed TLP has crossed the red line, reported Geo News.
Stating that TLP has exhausted the state’s patience, Yusuf said that they have killed policemen, distorted public property and continued to cause massive disruption. On Saturday, at least three Pakistani policemen were killed and several others suffered injuries in clashes with workers of a banned Islamist group in Lahore. Clashes broke out between workers of banned TLP and police personnel in Lahore.
The government is holding talks with TLP’s imprisoned leader Saad Hussain Rizvi, as protests have created chaos in Punjab cities.
Yusuf also warned that there would be no armed militias of any sort in the country.
“For all individuals and groups who think they can challenge the writ of the Pakistani state, do not test the proposition. As the basic principle of national security, the state will never shy away from protecting each and every citizen from any form of violence,” he said in a tweet on Friday.
A spokesperson for the TLP said that the proscribed organisation stands by its demands that it will present before the government during the talks.
“Our only demand from day one is the removal of the French ambassador,” added the spokesperson, according to The News International.

Pak media authority bans coverage of proscribed outfit Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan

Islamabad [Pakistan] : Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Thursday barred TV channels and all other media outlets from covering any activity of the proscribed outfit Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), local media reported.
Citing an official notification issued by the PEMRA, Geo News reported that the restriction has been imposed under the Electronic Media (Programmes and Advertisements) Code of Conduct, 2015, which prohibits covering proscribed organisations. “Ministry of Interior had declared the TLP as a proscribed organisation for being engaged in act of terrorism […] on April 15, 2021,” read the statement.
According to the statement, all satellite TV channels, FM radio stations and distribution services networks (cable TV operators and Internet Protocol television) have been directed to stop disseminating information about the proscribed outfit.
Earlier in the day, the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Cyber Crime Wing announced that it has launched an operation against the proscribed outlet’s social media accounts, Geo News reported.
According to the Pakistani publication, a statement issued by the FIA said that 12 people were arrested during the crackdown in Lahore, Faisalabad, Nankana Sahab, Islamabad, and other cities of Punjab.
The statement said that “arrested individuals were involved in uploading hate-inciting material and doctored images on the internet through the proscribed organisation’s social media handles.”
On Wednesday, Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad had directed the authorities concerned to launch a crackdown on the social media accounts of the proscribed outfit, Geo News reported.

Eight Pak soldiers killed as terrorist attacks rise in northwestern province

A total of eight Pakistan security personnel were killed and another wounded in a cross-border attack and bomb explosions in different areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, in the northwestern region of the country.

Peshawar [Pakistan] : Terrorists from inside Afghanistan attempted to cross the fence along the Pak-Afghan border in Kurram district between Tuesday and Wednesday, Dawn newspaper reported citing Pakistan Armed Forces’ media wing. The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said the Pakistani army thwarted an attempt to cross the border into the tribal district. During intense exchange of fire, two soldiers were killed, the ISPR added.
Meanwhile, four police constables were killed during patrolling on a busy road linking Lakki Marwat with the Mianwali district on Tuesday.
In another incident, a police party head came under attack near Lakki city. The report said armed men riding motorcycles fired at the police van and sped away. According to Dawn, a large contingent of police reached the scene as personnel started combing the area in search of the assailants.
The publication said that two Pak soldiers were killed and another one suffered injuries in bomb attacks in three different areas of the North Waziristan district on Wednesday.
One soldier was killed in a roadside explosion in Degan area near the Afghan border, whereas another soldier was killed in another explosion that occurred in the Garyum area of Razmak tehsil. One other soldier sustained injuries in the Tapesi Adda near Mirali town.

IMF likely to allow Pak to use USD 2.78 billion for meeting budgetary requirements

Amid the rising inflation in Pakistan and the spate of protests against the falling state of the country’s economy, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has agreed to allow Pakistan to use USD 2.78 billion to meet the budgetary requirement, reported a local media.

Islamabad [Pakistan] : According to Geo TV, the IMF is yet to make an official announcement and is expected to be made besides the announcement of the approval of USD 1 billion tranche pending under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF). Notably, the fund was provided to Pakistan in the fight against the pandemic.
“The Ministry of Finance has made a request to the IMF to allow utilisation of $2.78 billion windows provided to fight the COVID-19 pandemic for the purpose of meeting financing of budgetary requirements,” Geo TV reported the officials as saying citing a conversation with The News on Tuesday.
Pakistan sought explanations from the IMF after the latter shared an initial draft of the Memorandum of Financial and Economic Policies (MEFP) before reaching a staff-level agreement, reported Geo TV.
However, the Finance Ministry has refrained from issuing any press statement until the issuance of the order from the IMF’s side.

Absolutely vile from Waqar Younis : Jaffer on ‘namaz’ comment

Former India batter Wasim Jaffer on Wednesday did not mince his words while condemning former Pakistan pacer Waqar Younis’ comment following the India-Pakistan T20 World Cup match.

New Delhi [India]: Younis’ comment on Mohammad Rizwan offering namaz during the drinks break in the India-Pakistan game in the ICC T20 World Cup on Sunday had not gone down well with former cricketers as well as Pakistan fans. “Absolutely vile and disgusting comments from Waqar Younis. #Shameful,” tweeted Jaffer.
While cricket fans across both nations have lauded Pakistan’s dominant performance, former pacer Waqar finding joy in something beyond cricket had left fans unimpressed.
“The manner in which Babar and Rizwan batted, the strike-rotation, the look on their faces, it was amazing. The best thing, what Rizwan did, Mashalla, he offered the Namaz on the ground surrounded by Hindus, that was really something very special for me,” said Waqar on ARY News.
After facing severe backlash, Younis on Wednesday apologised for his comments.
“In the heat of the moment, I said something which I did not mean which has hurt the sentiments of many. I apologise for this, this was not intended at all, a genuine mistake. Sports unites people regardless of race, colour, or religion. #apologies,” Younis tweeted.
Mohammad Rizwan and skipper Babar Azam put on a remarkable show on Sunday as Pakistan thrashed India by 10 wickets at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Rizwan (79*) and Babar (68*) didn’t give any chance to Indian bowlers to come on top as the two batsmen dominated the proceedings. Pakistan chased down the target of 152 without losing a wicket as India looked clueless in their opening match.
This was the first time that India has lost a T20I by ten wickets. Coincidentally, this was also the first time that Pakistan has won a T20I by ten wickets. Shaheen Afridi was adjudged as Player of the Game after a three-wicket haul.

Pakistan govt yields to banned Islamist group, release 350 workers

Giving in to pressure from the proscribed hardline Islamist group, the Pakistan government on Sunday released over 350 workers of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and announced that the cases against others would be withdrawn by Wednesday.

Islamabad [Pakistan] : “We have released 350 TLP workers up to now and we are still waiting to open both sides Road of Muridke as per the decision with TLP,” Pakistan Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed tweeted. The Imran Khan government is also working on a plan to release TLP’s jailed chief Saad Rizvi, Dawn newspaper reported.
This comes after TLP warned on Sunday that its workers will stage a sit-in in Muridke near the city of Lahore and then move to Islamabad by Tuesday evening.
“The government has gone back on its word thrice. This time we will sit and wait,” said a statement issued by the proscribed group’s leadership council on Sunday.
Hundreds of TLP workers took to the streets throughout the country to exert pressure on the government for the release of its chief, Hafiz Saad Hussain Rizvi.
“No one will go home until the entire TLP leadership, including chief Saad Hussain Rizvi, comes to the container and makes an announcement,” said the statement. “Even if a member of the council says go home without Saad Rizvi, you may shoot that leader too,” it added.
Rasheed Ahmad earlier on Sunday had said all the cases against the protestors of TLP will be dropped by Wednesday.
This announcement was made after an eight-hour-long meeting between the arrested Saad Rizvi and the Imran Khan government, ARY News reported.
Rasheed had said the ban on TLP will also be reviewed in the days to come. The Pakistani publication also stated that a plan is being devised for the release of its chief Saad Rizvi’s release.
On Saturday, the Interior Minister returned to his country after he was called back by Imran Khan, to deal with the ongoing security situation in the country.
Pakistan Interior Minister was forced to return to Pakistan after TLP had announced that it will start a “long march” towards Islamabad on Friday against the detention of its chief Hafiz Saad Hussain Rizvi, Pakistani news channel Geo News reported.
Thousands of personnel of various Pakistani forces were deployed on Saturday to stop a possible march to Islamabad by the hardline Islamist group.

Islamabad proposes hosting meeting of extended troika in second part of November- Moscow

Moscow [Russia] : Pakistan proposes to hold a meeting of the Extended Troika on Afghanistan in Islamabad in the second half of November, new US envoy Tom West plans to participate, Russian Special Presidential Representative for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov said on Monday.
“Our Pakistani colleagues have come up with an initiative to convene a meeting of the Extended Troika in Islamabad in the second half of November. The new US special representative has told me that he expects a date to be confirmed and that the US will participate,” Kabulov said at a press conference.

India should play Pak in 3 T20Is at neutral venue every year, suggests Pietersen

Former England skipper Kevin Pietersen on Monday suggested that arch-rivals India and Pakistan should play every year in three T20Is at a neutral venue.

New Delhi [India] : Pietersen’s suggestion comes after India and Pakistan’s T20 World Cup game on Sunday witnessed a viewership of more than 1 billion. The former Three Lions captain also suggested that whoever wins the series, gets to take the prize money of USD 15 million.
“IDEA: India should play PAK every year in 3 T20s at a neutral venue over a 5 day period! 15 man squads, $15M purse for the winning team. Cities/countries/broadcasters would queue up to have that week every single year,” tweeted Pietersen.
Mohammad Rizwan and skipper Babar Azam put on a remarkable show on Sunday as Pakistan thrashed India by 10 wickets at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Rizwan (79*) and Babar (68*) didn’t give any chance to India bowlers to come on top as the two batsmen dominated the proceedings. Pakistan chased down the target of 152 without losing a wicket as India looked clueless in their opening match.
This is the first time that India has lost a T20I by ten wickets. Coincidentally, this is also the first time that Pakistan has won a T20I by ten wickets.
India will next square off against New Zealand on Sunday, October 31 while Pakistan will take on New Zealand on Tuesday, October 26.

Don’t get over excited after beating India, focus remains to win T20 WC: Babar Azam to his team

Dubai [UAE : Pakistan skipper Babar Azam does not want his team to get over-excited just because they managed to defeat India in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup as their prime focus remains to win the entire tournament and take the trophy home.
Mohammad Rizwan and skipper Babar Azam put on a remarkable show on Sunday as Pakistan thrashed India by 10 wickets at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. “Look guys, this win was not a result of any individual performance. We gave a complete team performance and we do not have to let go of this. This is just a start, enjoy it, but do not get over-excited after beating India. We need to look ahead and our focus is to win the T20 World Cup. We will never be relaxed, just look to give your 100 per cent. Do not get over-excited,” said Azam while addressing the Pakistan cricket team, in a video shared by the official Twitter handle of the Pakistan Cricket Board.
“We have a habit of being inconsistent, but please do not do this. We have to change this and it will hopefully. Well done boys for the win against India,” he added.
Rizwan (79*) and Babar (68*) didn’t give any chance to India bowlers to come on top as the two batsmen dominated the proceedings. Pakistan chased down the target of 152 without losing a wicket as India looked clueless in their opening match.
This is the first time that India has lost a T20I by ten wickets. Coincidentally, this is also the first time that Pakistan has won a T20I by ten wickets. Shaheen Afridi was adjudged as Player of the Game after a three-wicket haul.
India will next square off against New Zealand on Sunday, October 31 while Pakistan will take on New Zealand on Tuesday, October 26.

T20 WC: Babar, Rizwan, Shaheen steal show as Pakistan thrash India by 10 wickets

Mohammad Rizwan and skipper Babar Azam put on a remarkable show on Sunday as Pakistan thrashed India by 10 wickets in their opening game of the ICC T20 World Cup at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Dubai [UAE] : Rizwan (79*) and Babar (68*) didn’t give any chance to India bowlers to come on top as the two batsmen dominated the proceedings. Pakistan chased down the target of 152 without losing a wicket as India looked clueless in their opening match Before this game, Pakistan had failed to beat India in the history of the men’s World Cup but the Babar-led side came out with flying colours on Sunday on the back of some sensational performance after Shaheen Shah Afridi’s show with the ball.
Chasing 152, Pakistan got off to a steady start as openers Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam took Pakistan to 35 after five overs. The two batsmen looked in great touch and steered the side to 71/0 after the end of 10 overs.
Both Rizwan (79) and Babar (68) not only hit timely boundaries but also made sure they rotate the strike at regular intervals to put pressure on India
Rizwan and Babar continued to pile further pressure as they both smashed respective half-centuries to take Pakistan over the 100-run mark without losing a wicket.
Earlier, put into bat first, India posted 151/7 in their 20 overs on the back of skipper Kohli’s fifty. The India captain once again showed what it takes to be a big match player as he hit a quality 57 to take his side over the 150-run mark.
India got off to the worst start possible as it was once again a left-arm pacer who came in to haunt the Indian top order after Mohammad Amir had rocked the lineup in the 2017 Champions Trophy final.
Suryakumar Yadav then joined Kohli in the middle and the hopes were high from them.
Both batters put on a brief 25-run stand for the third wicket, but as soon as the innings started streamlining for India, Hasan Ali dismissed Suryakumar (11), leaving the Men in Blue at 31/3.
Rishabh Pant then came together with Kohli and at the halfway mark, India’s score read 60/3.
Pant changed the tempo of India’s innings with two sixes in the 12th over bowled by Hasan Ali and the Men in Blue started to gain some momentum.
However, Pant went for a shot too many and he perished off the bowling of Shadab Khan after playing a knock of 39, reducing India to 84/4 in the 13th over.
Kohli brought up his 29th half-century in the 18th over of the innings and he changed his batting gears upon reaching the landmark.
Jadeja departed after scoring 13, and Shaheen once again changed the game as he took the key wicket of skipper Kohli (57).
Brief Scores: India 151/7 (Virat Kohli 57, Rishabh Pant 39; Shaheen Shah Afridi 3-31) vs Pakistan 152/0 (Mohammad Rizwan 79*, Babar Azam 68*; Jasprit Bumrah 0-22)

‘India will come out with flying colors’

Former England skipper Michael Vaughan feels Pakistan can beat any team when they are playing in UAE but backed India to come out with flying colours in the upcoming match of the ongoing T20 World Cup.

Dubai [UAE] : The heavyweight Group 2 contest is the first T20 meeting between these two rivals since the last time this showpiece event was played in 2016 and no teams have won more T20Is in the intervening period than India and Pakistan. India and Pakistan will square off against each other on Sunday evening and Vaughan also said the Virat Kohli-led side will be too strong for the Green Army.
“India should be too strong for Pakistan today. But this Pakistan team in these conditions could beat anyone .. Hearing 1 Billion will be watching globally. India to win. #India vs Pakistan #T20WorldCup,” Vaughan tweeted.
Pakistan is yet to get a one-up over India in World Cups as the head-to-head has been completely dominated by the Men in Blue.
Kohli is entering his last tournament in charge in the shortest format and will be tasked with ensuring his players shut out the noise amid the pressure and expectation on Sunday.
The stakes are at an all-time high with Kohli and Co. looking to continue their dominance against Pakistan in ICC World Cups. Both sides have a strong lineup and it will be about keeping calm and rising to the occasion when they set foot on the pitch on Sunday.

‘India always won, but the one who plays better today will win’

Former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Secretary Sanjay Jagdale on Sunday said that India has been winning matches in the past but that has become history and the one who plays better today will win, adding that history doesn’t matter, circumstances change, players and grounds change so past record does not matter.

Indore (Madhya Pradesh) : Former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Secretary Sanjay Jagdale on Sunday said that India has been winning matches in the past but that has become history and the one who plays better today will win, adding that history doesn’t matter, circumstances change, players and grounds change so past record does not matter.
Jagdale said, “I worry the most about Hardik Pandya in Team India because if he is not bowling then he will put the team in a big backward search. Pakistan’s strength is fast bowling, Afridi and Hasan Ali are their main bowlers. Batting depends on Babar-e-Azam because he is the best batsman in the world.” Regarding the ground, Jagdale said, “Our players have been playing in rhythm, but Pakistan did not get as much practice as they wanted. They have a lot of idea of the conditions because if international cricket is not done in Pakistan, then they come and play their matches in UAE.”
“The strength of the Pakistan team is fast bowling, still, I understand Afridi and Hasan Ali are their main bowlers. Their batting is dependent on Babar-e-Azam. I think Babar-e-Azam is also one of the best batsmen in the world… Great batsman I am personally his fan…
T20 is a game of extreme uncertainty. In 2 balls the direction of the match changes. Whoever seizes the opportunity will win,” he said.

Dengue cases continue to rise in Pakistan’s capital

Islamabad [Pakistan] : Dengue cases are on the rise in Pakistan’s capital as Islamabad recorded fresh 146 cases in the past 24-hour period on Sunday while one man died, reported local media.
The health department report on the virus said that the fresh cases on Sunday took the infection tally of the federal capital to 2,867 since the outbreak of its virality this season, according to ARY News. The report stressed that so far 11 people have been killed due to Dengue.
Among the new cases reported on Sunday, at least 48 come from the rural region of Islamabad while 98 of them were reported in the urban areas, reported ARY News.
The provincial dengue cases in Punjab raised alarms on Saturday as it witnessed 546 new infections of dengue in the preceding 24-hour period.
Imran Sikandar Baloch, provincial health secretary, has said that 361 dengue fever cases were reported in Lahore.

Pak govt ally backs call for early election, says inflation swallowed country’s prosperity

Underling that the scourge of high inflation has swallowed the prosperity of Pakistan, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan ( MQM-P) — the key government ally — Saturday backed calls to hold the early general elections in the country, reported local media.

Karachi [Pakistan] : Emphasising that the country is witnessing high inflation, MQM-P convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui stressed that the party supported the government for the sake of democracy, hinting MQM-P can part ways with the PTI-led federal government, according to ARY News. Earlier on Friday, Shahbaz Sharif, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief had stated that fresh elections should be held in the country.
“Only transparent and immediate elections can put the country on track,” Shehbaz Sharif said while talking to media along with Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief and Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) head Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
Due to the rising inflation, Pakistan is witnessing a surge in the price of daily needs, fuel and others. Opposition parties have slammed the government over inflation and held several rallies across the country.

INDIA vs PAKISTAN: The world to come to its feet as the arch-rivals meet once again

The sensitive nature of cross-border relationship between the neighbours has led to minimal sporting engagements and cricket has always become the vehicle of one upmanship for the fans on both sides.

Dubai : The most sought-after megastars of the current generation are primed to show their might against a bunch of enigmatic cricketers as India and Pakistan engage in an ICC T20 World Cup face-off, something that transcends the 22-yard strip.

The sensitive nature of the cross-border relationship between the neighbours has led to minimal sporting engagements and cricket has always become the vehicle of one-upmanship for the fans on both sides. In terms of numbers, India have an all-win record against their arch-rivals in the T20 World Cup since its inception in 2007. Incidentally, all the matches were won under the one and only Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who will be there on skipperVirat Kohali’s ears with his ‘diamond crusted info-nuggets’, which might lead to Babar Azam tearing a hair or two in exasperation.

Yet, this is a match that everyone awaits in the global event — the fans because of its novelty factor, the ICC and the broadcasters for filling up the coffers. Everyone is invested be it emotionally, like the fans, or materially, like the other stakeholders.

Be it Sunil Gavaskar or Sourav Ganguly, everyone who understands the game would tell you that this is the one format where the margins are thinnest and qualitative difference matters the least, as anyone performer can win it for his side on a given day.

It could be Kohli, who would love to get over his mediocre run of form in a match that always carries a posterity value or Shaheen Shah Afridi could tail one into KL Rahul’s pads first up to set it up for Pakistan.

It could be Mohammed Rizwan, who might just launch into Mohammed Shami or it could be Suryakumar Yadav, who could play a reverse flick off Hasn Ali. The players may say that it’s just “another game of cricket” but even they know that in this day and age of retro videos and offensive memes, a not-so-great performance stays forever.

No one knows it better than the current chairman of selectors Chetan Sharma, who is carrying the cross of a last-ball six off Javed Miandad for the past 35 years. But cricket has changed since those heady days of Sharjah and India, with its robust structure and talent factory, has produced world-class performers by the dozens.

The Virat Kohlis, the Rohit Sharma and the Jasprit Bumrahs don’t carry any baggage despite the blip in the 2017 Champions Trophy final.

On Sunday, the Pakistanis will have a lot more to prove than their Indian counterparts.

For the likes of Shah, Rizwan, Harris Rauf and their uber cool captain Babar, it will not just be about breaking a World Cup jinx against a world-class side. It is also about how global cricket perceives Pakistan which saw two of the cricketing elites England and New Zealand close ranks and refuse to tour the country.

Over the years, Pakistan cricket have faced an existential crisis and a good game against India will certainly give them some breathing space.
But it will be easier said than done against an Indian side whose players are coming into the tournament with a heavy dose of IPL games in the UAE, which is Pakistan’s adopted home.

For India, their strength is a crack top-five that comprises Rohit, Rahul, Kohli, Suryakumar and Rishabh Pant. Here is a line-up that can send a chill down the spine of Afridi, Rauf, Hasan, Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan, who are going to form the core of their bowling attack.

India’s problem is going to be a long tail and the absence of a sixth bowler if Hardik Pandya is played purely as a batter. But if one believes in the MSD template of T20 cricket, this format is all about handling the pressure and if 20 is required off 10 balls, Pandya is still a better bet than a greenhorn like Ishan Kishan, who is supposedly in better form.

The bowling department will depend on which side of the track they are playing as Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja , Shami and Varun Chakravarthy pick themselves. Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s experience holds him in good stead and he has better variations than Shardul Thakur, who despite a knack of getting wickets, can go for runs. If there’s an extra spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, with his great game awareness, could be more effective than Rahul Chahar, but the Indian team management can throw in a surprise or two.

For Pakistan, their two main players will be skipper Babar, an all-format superstar and someone who is destined to be one of the modern day greats. He will require support from Shaheen with the new ball as Hasan and Rauf could go for runs against India.

Left-arm spinner Imad has had a great record in UAE for Pakistan and how he varies his pace in the power play and middle-overs against the likes of Pant and Surya will also define how they fare.

Similarly, the two old men in Shoaib Malik and Mohammed Hafeez will be keen to settle scores with India. On paper, it looks unlikely but T20 is a different beast.

Teams (from) India: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit sharma (vc), KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Shardul Thakur, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Jasprit Bumrah, R Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Varun Chakravarthy, Rahul Chahar

Pakistan (Playing XI): Babar Azam (captain), Mohammed Rizwan, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammed Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Harris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haider Ali.

Match starts: 7:30 pm IST.

Torkham border crossing point linking Afghanistan, Pakistan reopens

The Torkham border crossing point which links Afghanistan and Pakistan has been reopened and those having travel documents can cross it, Abdul Qahar Balkhi, spokesman for Foreign Ministry, has said.

Kabul [Afghanistan] : “The Torkham gate is reopened and those Afghans have passport and Pakistan visa can cross the border,” Balkhi said in his Twitter account. The reopening of Torkham crossing point has been announced in the wake of the visit of Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi who visited Kabul on Thursday.
During Qureshi’s one-day visit to Afghanistan capital Kabul and his meetings with officials here, matters pertaining mutual interests including reopening border crossing points and enhancing trade and economic cooperation came under discussion, according to local media reports.

Pakistan refutes report of talks with US on use of its airspace

Islamabad [Pakistan], October 23 (ANI): Pakistan has refuted a report which claimed that it is in talks with the Biden administration for use of Pakistan’s airspace by the US to carry out military operations in Afghanistan, reported local media.
Responding to media queries regarding the latest news report “alluding to the formalisation of an agreement for the use of Pakistan’s airspace by the US to coduct military and intelligence operations in Afghanistan”, spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmad said, “no such understanding was in place”, according to ARY News. Rejecting the news report, Ahmad also emphasised Washington and Islamabad have longstanding cooperation on regional security and counter-terrorism and the two sides remain engaged in regular consultations.
Earlier, on Friday CNN reported citing three sources that the US administration informed lawmakers that the country is nearing a formalise agreement with Pakistan for use of its airspace to conduct military and intelligence operations in Afghanistan.
Islamabad expressed a desire to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in exchange for assistance with its own counterterrorism efforts, CNN quoted one of the sources as saying.

US nearing to formalise deal with Pakistan for using its airspace for military operations in Afghanistan

The US administration on Friday informed lawmakers that the country is nearing a formalise an agreement with Pakistan for use of its airspace to conduct military and intelligence operations in Afghanistan.

Washington [US] : Islamabad has expressed a desire to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in exchange for assistance with its own counterterrorism efforts, one of the sources said. But the negotiations are ongoing, another source told CNN, and the terms of the agreement, which has not been finalised, could still change. An agreement was discussed when US officials visited Pakistan, the third source told CNN, adding but it is not yet clear what Pakistan wants or how much the US would be willing to give in return.
Currently, Washington uses Pakistan’s airspace to reach Afghanistan for ongoing intelligence-gathering efforts.
But so far there’s no formal agreement in place that can ensure continued access to a critical piece of airspace necessary for the US to reach Afghanistan.
The air corridor through Pakistan to Afghanistan may become even more critical if and when the US resumes flights into Kabul to fly out American citizens and others who remain in the country.
The US — without any formal agreement in place– runs the risk of Pakistan refusing entry to its military aircraft and drones en route to Afghanistan. (ANI)

Pak journalist faces ire of ministers for criticism of Imran Khan government

Pakistani journalist Asma Shirazi’s comments concerning Prime Minister Imran Khan and the state of the country’s economy in an article for BBC Urdu has drawn severe criticism from several Pakistani ministers.

Islamabad [Pakistan] : However, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) warned of “serious consequences” against the use of “intimidating” language against the journalist, Dawn reported. Shirazi had reportedly criticized the Imran Khan government without naming it or any individuals including Imran Khan’s wife.
According to Dawn, special assistant to Imran Khan on political communication, Shahbaz Gill hit out at Shirazi for her criticism of the government’s economic policies during his press conference on Thursday.
Gill alleged that the journalist had put allegations on the first lady and said that there are ethical limits on criticism.
“If you dislike the prime minister’s family, you can hold a grudge against them, but there are ethical limits,” Dawn quoted Gill as saying.
Gill said that the news should not be made out of assumptions and should report news based on proof, the report said.
He accused the journalist of having “good ties” with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president Maryam Nawaz and alleged that Shirazi spoke to her regularly, reported Dawn.
He also lashed out at the journalists who extended support to Shirazi on Twitter.
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) based in Belgium has slammed the statements made by Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari over the matter.
IFJ sought an apology from the minister for “harassing” and “targeting” a journalist for doing her job, Dawn reported.
Pakistani Minister for Ports and Shipping Ali Haider Zaidi took to Twitter and attacked the journalist saying that she has crossed the line.
Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar tweeted and suggested that she joins PML-N.
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists issued a statement and lashed out at Gill saying that he was supposed to improve relations between the government and the media, however, his statements are a reflection of his mental capacity, reported Dawn.

In-swingers can trouble Rohit, must make Kohli earn first 10-15 runs, says Mushtaq

He was known as one of the best leg-spinners in the business during his playing days and while Mushtaq Ahmed has turned to coaching after retirement, he knows what it takes to be a part of India-Pakistan games in the World Cup. Having played against India in the 1992 and 1996 World Cup, the Deccan Gladiators head coach believes it will be all about temperament when the two teams clash in the T20 World Cup on Sunday.

Dubai [UAE]: Mushtaq said more than talent, it will be the temperament of players that will be tested when the arch-rivals clash at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. “What is important in the World Cup is temperament and the team which has the belief will have a better chance. Stats are in favour of India but if the Pakistan players keep this in mind and play, the chances will go down. The balance with Shoaib and Hafeez coming back will give them a lot of confidence as these pitches need experienced players. India obviously is one of the best teams but this game is about temperament,” he said.
Having picked five wickets in two World Cup encounters against India (3 in 1992 and 2 in 1996), Mushtaq did rise to the challenge against quality Indian batsmen. And the player turned coach feels strategising will be important when it comes to attacking two of India’s best batsmen in Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.
“Rohit takes his time and is smart and I feel an inswing bowler can be effective against him at the beginning of his innings. It creates a bit of a problem for him. Also, bouncers can work on slow wickets as he is a compulsive puller so that can work if you set the field well.
“For Kohli, I believe you have to play with the field setting. It is white-ball cricket so you won’t have much swing. But the key will be to make him earn the first 10-15 runs by keeping the fielding tight. In that case, he will try to hit over the fielders and that can create chances,” he explained.
While Rohit and Kohli are conventional cricketers, someone like a Rishabh Pant can change the complexion of a game with his unorthodox style. But Mushtaq wants the Pakistan bowlers to play with the field when bowling to Pant.
“Looking into the stats, whoever is more successful against Pant, such bowlers should be handed the ball against him. With players like Pant, you need to play with the field more than the bowlers. If you are tactically smart with the field settings, you can change his approach. Of course, he is very aggressive and dangerous, but you must plan well against such players,” he pointed.
While the Indian team looks solid on paper, the absence of leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal has raised quite a few eyebrows and Mushtaq feels the team could end up missing his services, especially after his brilliant show in the recently concluded IPL in UAE.
“Chahal has been bowling beautifully for India for the last couple of years so they will definitely miss his experience. But I think maybe they have considered his form or the conditions and made the call, I don’t know. A mature wrist spinner is always handy and I feel they will miss him during the course of the tournament,” the Deccan Gladiators coach signed off. (

Pakistan : Protest in 11 cities

Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) will protest in 11 cities of the country’s Punjab province against Imran Khan-led government over inflation in the country under the banner of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).

Lahore [Pakistan] : According to the PML-N, the demonstrations will be held in Lahore, Muzaffargarh, Jhang, Kasur, Mianwali, Bahawalpur, Bhakkar, Vehari, Khushab, Layyah and Murree, reported Dawn. A senior party leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will lead the rally in Murree.
Taking to Twitter Shehbaz Sharif said: “People are literally struggling to survive due to non-existent governance. The future looks increasingly bleak under the PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf). Never before in our history has any Pakistani leader abandoned people like this. So unfortunate.”
He added: “Dealing with the challenges of economy should be the foremost subject of our national conversation & public policy. A fast deteriorating economy means more misery for people, a greater reliance on international financial institutions & grave implications for national security.”
On Thursday, PML-N senior leader Khwaja Ahmad Hassan said while speaking to reporters that this protest drive was not to meet any personal agenda but against unprecedented price hike and inflation. He asked the Lahorites to take to streets to lodge their protest against this anti-people government.
PML-N Punjab president Rana Sanullah issued a direction to workers to ensure maximum participation of commoners in the protest rallies in the province. “The PML-N is standing shoulder to shoulder with the miseries of the people inflicted by the PTI government,” he said, reported Dawn.
Inflation is rising in Pakistan. The prices of daily needs and fuel have soared up and even opposition parties have held rallies against the inflation and criticised the government led by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Pakistan to provide aid worth PKR 5 billion to Afghanistan: FM Qureshi

Pakistan will give humanitarian assistance worth Pakistani Rs 5 billion to Afghanistan, announced Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday.

Kabul [Afghanistan] : Speaking to the media after a day-long visit to Kabul, the minister said: “If they need medicines at hospitals […] or whatever else their priorities are, they will tell us and we will be ready to give them humanitarian assistance in-kind.” Qureshi arrived in Kabul earlier today for his visit to Afghanistan’s capital since the Taliban takeover of the country in mid-August, Dawn reported.
The foreign minister said that the high-level delegation that accompanied him on the trip also included officials from different ministries and institutions.
“The point of taking [the delegation] was so that after the main discussion, they would break off into sub-groups and hammer out the details of different issues related to visas, trade and border movement,” Qureshi added.
He said that to follow up on the issues discussed during today’s meet, a Taliban delegation will visit Islamabad in the next few days.
Qureshi and his delegation were received by Afghanistan’s Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and Pakistan Ambassador to Kabul Mansoor Ahmad Khan at the airport’s tarmac.
Later, Afghan Deputy Prime Minister Abdus Salam Hanafi hosted a luncheon in honour of Qureshi and his delegation. A large number of members of the Afghan interim cabinet were present on the occasion.

Pakistani Army-Imran Khan tussle continues over appointment of DG ISI

A tussle between the Pakistani Army and Prime Minister Imran Khan is brimming over the appointment of the new Director General (DG) of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Islamabad [Pakistan] : As per True Ceylon, the rift is growing between the ‘selectors’ (Pakistan Army) and the ‘selected’ (Prime Minister Imran Khan). Publicly, both sides gave the impression of being on the ‘same page’. But it was increasingly becoming clear that the proverbial ‘page’ was fraying, even disintegrating.
Khan tried to impose himself on the transfers and postings in the army, playing favourites with officers who he believes will do his bidding, reported True Ceylon.
Three generals were due for retirement and new people had to be posted in their place. It was against this backdrop that the ISI Chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed was posted out of ISI as the new Corps Commander in Peshawar.
Hameed had served as ISI Chief for over two and a half years and needed to command a Corps if he had to have any chance to succeed Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa when his second tenure as Army Chief ends next year.
The new postings had been discussed and approved not just in the top echelons of the Army but also by the Prime Minister who picks the ISI Chief.
The military announced the new postings but three days after the announcement the Prime Minister’s Secretariat has still not issued a notification on the appointment of the new Director-General of the ISI, reported True Ceylon.
The talk in Islamabad is that after first agreeing to Hameed’s replacement, Imran Khan changed his mind. When there was a delay in the announcement of the new ISI Chief from the PM’s Secretariat, the Army decided to confront it with a fait accompli by announcing Lt General Nadeem Anjum’s name.
Instead of going along with the announcement, Imran Khan has dug in his heels. The grapevine is that he does not want Hameed to be posted out because Hameed is seen as his man, who ensured that Imran become Prime Minister and fixed his opponents, reported True Ceylon.
Hameed has become very controversial for his interference and messing up on Afghanistan – he is believed to have been marched in after his very public visit to Kabul.
While on the face of it, being given the command of the Peshawar Corps is push up for Hameed, it is also something of a minefield – one wrong move and that’s the end of his career, reported True Ceylon.
There is speculation that Bajwa has sent Hameed to Peshawar and set him up for failure. But in reality, not only has Bajwa got Hameed, who was getting a bit too close for comfort to Imran, out of the way, but given him a post that could well see his exit in disgrace and ignominy, added True Ceylon.
As far as Imran is concerned, if Hameed has to go, then he wants his own man as DG ISI. Imran thinks, perhaps correctly, that with Hameed out, he will not get the political support he needs from the ISI’s dirty tricks department. Basically, he fears being left out in the cold to fend for himself. Worse, he thinks that this could perhaps be the first step to his own ouster.
In order to ward off this possibility, the man Imran Khan wants as Hameed’s replacement is believed to be the former ISPR Chief, Lt General Asif Gafoor, someone who had ingratiated himself with Imran during his stint as Director General ISPR, wrote True Ceylon.
Gafoor who is currently cooling his heels as IG Communications and Information Technology has been reportedly lobbying for the ISI Chief’s post. In fact, a few months back there were strong rumours that he was being posted as the new DG ISI.
Imran is supposed to be keen on Gafoor for temporal reasons because Gafoor weaponized Twitter and social media to plug the military establishment’s and Imran Khan’s line. He set up a huge troll factory under the ISPR for this purpose. Since Imran Khan has nothing to show by way of governance and administration, he feels that if he can control the narrative and the perception by muzzling the media, reported True Ceylon.
Clearly, things are on a slippery slope in Islamabad/Rawalpindi now. The immediate crisis, even if tided over, has created an unbridgeable cleavage between Imran and his sponsors in the military.
If the next ISI Chief is anyone but Nadeem Anjum, Bajwa will lose face. Worse, he will be seen as a lame duck; if however the military forces Imran to sign on the dotted line, then Imran will lose face, wrote True Ceylon.

Pakistan will remain in FATF ‘grey list’, Turkey added too

Pakistan will continue to remain on the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) increased monitoring list, also known as the ‘grey list,’ till February 2022 as it has failed to curb terror financing of UN proscribed terrorists living on its soil. Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Thursday also placed Turkey on its grey list for failing to check terror financing.

Paris [France] : The Paris-based financial watchdog called on Islamabad to address deficiencies related to anti-money laundering and combat financing of terrorism. Pakistan has been on the FATF’s increased monitoring list since June 2018. FATF announced the decision at a press conference on Thursday after the culmination of its three-day hybrid plenary that began on October 19.
The delegates discussed key issues in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing in the plenary.
FATF President Dr Marcus Pleyer said that Pakistan had to complete two concurrent action plans with a total of 34 items. “It has now addressed or largely addressed 30 of the items,” he said.
The FATF has been examining how data pooling and collaborative analytics can be used to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing.
FATF plenary took place under the German Presidency of Dr Marcus Pleyer and delegates representing 205 members of the Global Network and observer organisations including the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations and the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units.
The global financial watchdog asked Pakistan to address its strategically important deficiencies and provide evidence that it actively seeks to enhance the impact of sanctions beyond its jurisdiction by nominating additional individuals and entities for designation at the United Nations.
“Pakistan should continue to work to address its other strategically important AML/CFT deficiencies, namely by providing evidence that it actively seeks to enhance the impact of sanctions beyond its jurisdiction by nominating additional individuals and entities for designation at the UN; and demonstrating an increase in ML investigations and prosecutions and that proceeds of crime continue to be restrained and confiscated in line with Pakistan’s risk profile, including working with foreign counterparts to trace, freeze, and confiscate assets,” Pleyer said.
The FATF, in its last session in June, had kept Pakistan on the watchdog’s “increased monitoring list” till it addressed the single remaining item on the original action plan agreed to in June 2018 as well as all items on a parallel action plan given by the Asia Pacific Group — the FATF’s regional affiliate.
Pakistan was given a plan of action and a deadline to complete it by October 2019.
Recent targeted attacks by Pakistan-backed terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir expose the state-sponsored terrorism by Pakistan.

FATF places Turkey on grey list for failing to check terror financing

“Turkey had a mutual evaluation, assessment in late 2019. The report outlined a large number of serious issues regarding Turkey’s effort to prevent and combat money laundering and terrorist financing. Since then, Turkey has made some progress across all areas of concern, however, serious issues remain,” said FATF president Dr Marcus Pleyer. “This includes issues concerning supervision, in particular high-risk sectors such as banks, precious stone dealers, and real estate agents,” said Pleyer.
Three countries were added to the grey list: Jordan, Mali and Turkey.
He also took notice of Turkey’s clampdown on non-profit organisations (NPOs).
“The FATF is aware of human rights groups’ concerns about Turkey treatment of non-profit organisations (NPOs). Turkey needs to implement a truly risk-based approach to NPOs and ensure authorities don’t disrupt or discourage legitimate activity,” said Pleyer.
FATF president also advised Turkey to effectively tackle complex money-laundering cases.
“Turkey needs to show it is effectively tackling complex money-laundering cases and show it is pursuing terrorist financing prosecutions in line with its risks and prioritizing cases of UN-designated terrorist organisations such as ISIL and Al Qaeda,” said Pleyer.
“It is crucial for Turkey to make sure that it effectively tackles money laundering and terrorist financing, serious organised crimes and corruption,” added Pleyer.
He urged Turkey to turn its commitment to concrete action regarding money laundering and terror financing.
“The Turkish govt has given a high-level political commitment to continue to make necessary changes. I urge them to turn that commitment to concrete action,” said Pleyer.
The move is a heavy blow to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as its economy is fragile and has recorded heavy losses against the US dollar and it will curtail its power to raise international investment.
Meanwhile, Botswana and Mauritius were removed from the grey list. Both countries gave high-level commitment to implement reforms to improve their anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism finances.

Decision to retain Pakistan on grey list made by consensus : FATF president

FATF president Dr Marcus Pleyer on Thursday said the decision to include Pakistan in the grey list was taken by consensus and not by just one country.
Answering a question from a journalist at the press conference here, Pleyer stated that Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is a technical body and the decision to retain Islamabad was made by consensus. He dismissed reports of any possible political connotation regarding the global financial watchdog’s decision. “FATF is a technical body and we take our decision by consensus, so not only one country that makes the decision, the FATF contains 39 jurisdictions and also the decision on Pakistan was taken by consensus,” said Pleyer.
FATF president made this comment after Pakistan was once again retained on the ‘grey list’ following the conclusion of the three-day Plenary to discuss issues related to money laundering and terrorist financing.


“Pakistan remains under increased monitoring (grey list). The Pakistan government has two concurrent action plans, with a total of 34 action plan items. It has now addressed or largely addressed 30 of the items,” FATF President said during a presser.
Pakistan has been on the FATF’s grey list for deficiencies in its counter-terror financing and anti-money laundering regimes since June 2018.
Earlier in July, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar had credited the Narendra Modi government for ensuring Pakistan is included in the FATF grey list.
Jaishankar while virtually addressing BJP leaders’ training program on the foreign policy of the Modi government, made members aware that it is due to the government’s efforts on global forums that sanctions were imposed on terrorists from Jaish and LeT.
“Due to us, Pakistan is under the lens of FATF and it was kept in the grey list. We have been successful in pressurizing Pakistan and the fact that Pakistan’s behaviour has changed is because of pressure put by India by various measures,” Jaishankar reportedly told the leaders. 

Pakistan: Lahore police on high alert as TLP stages protest for its chief’s release

Pakistan’s Lahore Police were put on high alert after Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) resumed protest on the occasion of the Eid Milad by staging a massive sit-in near its headquarters in the city.

Lahore [Pakistan] : Dawn reported that hundreds of activists and workers of the proscribed TLP participated in the sit-in to put pressure on the Punjab government for the release of its chief Hafiz Saad Hussain Rizvi, a son of its late founder Khadim Rizvi. Rizvi has been detained by the Punjab government since April 12 for “maintenance of public order (MPO)”. He was initially detained for three months and then again under the Anti-Terrorist Act on July 10. A federal review board is scheduled to take up the government’s reference against him on October 23, as per the publication.
A division bench of the Lahore High Court is yet to be constituted to hear an appeal of the government against a decision of a single bench that had set aside the detention of the TLP leader. On October 12, the Supreme Court had suspended the operations of the single bench’s order and remanded the case for a fresh decision by a division bench.
Earlier, the TLP took out a massive rally where its senior leaders delivered fiery speeches, accusing the government of using delay tactics in releasing Saad Rizvi, Dawn reported.
Addressing the participants, a member of TLP’s Majalis-i-Shura (central executive), Syed Afzaal Hussain Shah, made an announcement that a new series of protests would be launched.
Meanwhile, Dawn reported that Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Additional IG Ghulam Mahmood Dogar called a meeting of senior officers, and after reviewing the issue, devised a security plan to avoid any untoward incident as TLP had a history of violent protests.

Pakistan records 554 new COVID-19 cases, 12 deaths

Pakistan added 554 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) said on Wednesday.

Islamabad [Pakistan] : The overall tally of the infected people climbed to 1,266,204 across the country, said the NCOC, the department leading Pakistan’s campaign against the pandemic. A total of 28,312 people died of COVID-19 in Pakistan, including 12 patients who lost their lives to the pandemic over the last 24 hours, the NCOC said.
Pakistan’s southern Sindh province has been the worst hit with a total of 466,432 cases, followed by eastern Punjab province where the virus was detected in 438,271 people.
Over the last 24 hours, 977 patients have recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries to 1,212,687, said the NCOC.

Pakistan’s double standards on Terrorism exposed : Report

Former US National Security Advisor, Lt. General McMaster believes that any assistance provided to Pakistan should stop immediately and wanted to hold Imran Khan accountable for his recent remarks on the fall of Kabul.

Ottawa [Canada] : Speaking on Pakistan and its double standards on terrorism, the former NSA bluntly said: “I don’t think we should give any assistance to Pakistan at all. I think Pakistan has had it both ways for way too long. I think Pakistan should be confronted with its behavior over the years that has actually resulted, I think, in large measure in this outcome,” International Forum For Right And Security (IFFRAS) reported. “The Trump administration had blocked all aid to Pakistan and the Biden administration is yet to revive the same. McMaster also wanted Prime Minister Imran Khan to be held accountable for his recent comments on the fall of Kabul, when he said the Afghan people had been unshackled,” he said.
Pakistan is at the receiving end of international criticism for its open support to the Taliban. It has been over two months when the Taliban captured Kabul after an aggressive and rapid advance against Afghanistan government forces after US military drawdown.
According to the Canada-based publication, McMaster’s recent comments that Pakistan has for long had it both ways is to be welcomed as a wake call to the US administration to sanction Pakistan for its decades-long support to jihadi groups, like the Afghan Taliban and Haqqani network.
McMaster also said that during the presidency of Donald Trump he had advised the administration and its lawmakers not to provide any fresh aid to Pakistan. He also said the US needs to hold the current Pakistan Prime Minister accountable for some of his remarks on Afghanistan in recent days. The fact of the matter is that for too long, Pakistan has slept in bed with jihadi terrorists and simultaneously used American dollars to ‘fight’ the terrorists from the US, said a Canada-based think tank.
Former President Trump had ripped Pakistan in a speech announcing the mini-surge in Afghanistan (August 2017). He said, “We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting. But that will have to change, and that will change immediately.”
The lesson learnt from that temporary suspension of aid to Pakistan should have been that Pakistan should not be trusted, for it is this country that had become the global jihadi factory. Yet, strangely enough, successive US administrations had continued to give military and other forms of aid to Pakistan. They lived in the false hope that Pakistan will improve. Today, with Pakistan firmly in China’s pocket, it is all the more unlikely. Thus, the way forward for the US under President Biden will be to keep Pakistan at an arms distance, at least for the time being, IFFRAS reported.

Imran’s reverse counting has begun: Bilawal Bhutto

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Sunday slammed the Imran Khan government over its “anti-people” policies and promised to continue protesting against the ruling PTI government till it was sent packing.

Islamabad [Pakistan] : “I am warning Imran Khan that reverse counting has begun [for this government],” The Express Tribune quoted Bilawal as saying while addressing a rally in Karachi. This comes as opposition parties have demanded immediate withdrawal of unprecedented increase in petroleum prices in Pakistan. On Saturday, the Imran Khan government made the highest-ever increase in petroleum prices in one go as it raised the price of petrol and high-speed diesel by Rs 10.49 and Rs 12.44 per litre.
Both Pakistan PPP and Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) promised to take to the streets against the price hike but did not give any date for the protest.
During the party’s power show in Karachi, Bilawal promised the participants that his party would form the next government “very soon”. “Our protest will continue until [PM] Imran’s rule is over.”
“Look what they did to curriculum… this not change but destruction… look what they did to HEC by reducing its budget… this is not change but destruction,” he told the charged crowd, as quoted by Tribune.
After the Pakistani government announced a massive hike in petroleum prices, the opposition parties on Saturday condemned the government’s move and demanded Prime Minister Imran Khan’s resignation.
Pakistan Muslim League -Nawaz (PML-N) President Shahbaz Sharif termed the increase as “utterly shameful” and said that the latest hike, along with the petrol bomb, will push people to the brink of starvation, the Pakistani publication reported.
“No words to describe the extreme cruelty this selected PTI regime has inflicted on people in the form of yet another increase in prices of items of daily use,” Geo News quoted Sharif as saying.
Shahbaz Sharif said Imran Khan has no right to remain in office and demanded his resignation.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Vice President Sherry Rehman said rising prices, inflation and unemployment were making life extremely difficult for the common man.

Pakistan blacklists Chinese firm, bars participating in all tenders over forged documents

The firm has been blacklisted over allegations of preparing and submitting forged documents to the department concerned during the bidding of a project, Dawn has learnt.

Islamabad ( Pakistan ): Pakistans National Transm­ission and Despatch Company (NTDC) has blacklisted a Chinese firm and barred it from participating in all tenders process for a month, Dawn reported.

The state-owned subsidiary of the Ministry of Energy (Power Division) blacklisted the firm over allegations of preparing and submitting forged documents to the department concerned during the bidding of a project, Dawn has learnt.

“(The Chinese firm) is hereby blacklisted and barred from participating in all NTDC bidding/tender process with immediate effect for a period of one month on account of submitting forged and fake documents,” reads a letter issued a couple of days ago from the office of the NTDC general manager.

“However, this office order will have a prospective effect in terms hereof and shall not be applicable on the existing contracts under execution (if any),” the letter, titled ‘Blacklisting of the Chinese Firm for procurement of insulator hardware assemblies.

Copies of the letter have also been sent to the NTDC managing director (MD), chairmen of the Water and Power and Development Authority and Pakistan Engineering Council, the MDs of National Engineering Services Pakistan and Public Procurement Regulatory Authority, the Central Power Purchasing Agency-Guarantee chief operating officer (CEO) as well as the CEOs of all power distribution companies.

Pakistan opens air route to Afghanistan for commercial cargo

Pakistan has opened its air trade route for the first time to commercial cargo destined to landlocked Afghanistan, reported Voice of America (VOA).

Islamabad [Pakistan] : Mohammad Sadiq, Pakistan’s special representative for Afghanistan, said in a tweet on Saturday, “Islamabad International Airport is now opened for high-value Afghan transit trade.” Further, Sadiq said that a chartered aircraft brought “various industrial inputs” to Islamabad on Friday and the Afghan transit cargo was then loaded into containers before being transported by road to Kabul through the northwestern Torkham crossing on the Afghan border, according to VOA.
“I congratulate Pakistan Customs for arranging the first-ever plane-to-truck transfer of international cargo via Pakistan. It shows Pakistan’s commitment to a geo-economics led foreign policy,” Sadiq further said in the tweet.
Earlier on Thursday, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) said that it had immediately suspended its operation in Kabul citing “security reasons”.
Abdullah Khan, the national carrier’s spokesperson, confirmed the development, saying that Kabul operations of PIA will remain suspended until further notice, Dawn reported.
The spokesperson emphasised the fact that the PIA had kept flying in and out of Kabul under “difficult circumstances” when others had ceased their operations.

Imran Khan-led PTI govt ranks ‘number 1’ in leaked Pandora Papers, says Maryam Nawaz

Seeking public support to oust the corrupt government of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N’s) Vice president Maryam Nawaz on Saturday said that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government ranked “number 1” in the recently leaked Pandora Papers.

Islamabad [Pakistan] : While addressing a rally in Faisalabad, Maryam said PM Imran Khan cannot save himself from accountability, reported Geo News. “The nation was told Imran Khan’s name isn’t included in the list […] have you ever heard that the leader of a pack of thieves was an honest person?” she asked.
The Pandora Papers, compiled by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists following a two-year investigation, exposed over 35 current and former global leaders, as well as more than 330 politicians and officials worldwide, who reportedly used tax havens and hid real incomes through offshore companies. The dossier contains over 11.9 million confidential documents.
Taking a dig at rocketing prices of wheat flour prices in the country amid high inflation, she recalled how once PM Imran Khan had remarked that when wheat flour becomes expensive, it is a sign the country’s ruler is “corrupt”, reported Geo News.
Speaking of foreign policy matters, Maryam said that things are dismal on that front as well with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi “not answering” the prime minister’s call, while US President Joe Biden has not even called the premier yet, the Geo News reported.
“People on American television channels remark that Imran Khan’s real authority is no greater than that of the Islamabad mayor,” she said.
Speaking of the government’s recent statement, whereby Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry had remarked that the prime minister has the prerogative to appoint the Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), she said that it may very well be his prerogative to do so, but “electing the prime minister is the prerogative of the people”, reported Geo News.
“The people should first choose their own prime minister and then he may decide what to do,” she said, adding: “Imran Khan is not an elected leader; he is selected.”
She asked why a nation of 220 million should support the current regime, when the government, under the guise of a democracy, was in fact running a “dictatorship”.
Maryam Nawaz also hit out at PTI government over the recent hike in prices of fuel and other utilities in the country.
She also lashed at Khan over the mishandling of dengue fever in the country, reported Geo News.
“The entire world is facing coronavirus, but now because of their [government’s] incompetence, people are dying of dengue,” Maryam Nawaz said during the rally.
Maryam’s remarks came while she was addressing a rally of the anti-government alliance, famously known as Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), in Faisalabad’s Dhobi Ghat.

We’ll win against India: Babar Azam

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam has exuded confidence ahead of the blockbuster clash against India in the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup 2021.

Lahore [Pakistan], October 14 : India will face Pakistan in their opening game of the showpiece event at the Dubai International Stadium on October 24. Babar feels Pakistan is better prepared since the Green Army has been playing cricket in UAE for the past three or four years.
“We’ve been playing cricket in UAE for the past 3-4 years and we know the conditions really well. We know how the wicket will behave and the adjustments batters will have to make. On the day who plays the better cricket, wins the match. If you ask me, we will win,” ICC quoted Babar as saying.
Pakistan will depart on Friday morning for the UAE to feature in the T20 World Cup. This will be Babar’s first marquee event in the shortest format.
“I am very happy and proud to go to the T20 World Cup as a captain. We know the pressure and the high intensity of each game, especially the first one. Hopefully, we can win the match and carry the momentum forward,” said Babar.
Pakistan has not defeated India in a World Cup match across both ODIs and T20Is but Babar is not thinking about the past.
“Your belief and confidence as a group matter a lot before a tournament. As a team, our confidence and morale are really high. We are not thinking of the past but the future,” said Babar.
“We are preparing for that. I am fully confident that we are well prepared and will play good cricket on the day,” he added.
Former Australia batsman Matthew Hayden and former South Africa seamer Vernon Philander have joined Pakistan’s coaching staff ahead of the T20 World Cup.
“Hayden and Philander bring a lot of experience. Our attempt will be to learn from them as much as we can and quickly. The boys have the ability to absorb quickly and mix with them,” said Babar.
“You can see Philander has already started working hard with the bowlers and you can see the past record, bowlers win you the tournament. Hasan Ali was our best bowler in the Champions Trophy. He will take the bowling line-up alongside him,” he added.
Pakistan will lock horns with West Indies on Monday and South Africa on October 20 in their warm-up matches in Dubai and Abu Dhabi respectively.

Former ISI chief Faiz Hameed can become Pak Army head with Imran Khan’s support

Faiz Hameed, who was removed as the Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence and appointed as the Peshawar Corps Commander, can become the Pakistan Army head with the support of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Islamabad [Pakistan], October 14 : Hameed is said to have been handling military and diplomatic roles and also fighting Imran Khan’s political opponents, particularly the family of exiled three-time prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, reported Islam Khabar. Earlier, Hameed was on a high profile visit to Kabul last month to patch up differences between the so-called moderate Taliban, mainly those who negotiated the February 2020 Doha Pact and the field commanders whose military push brought the group to power on August 15.
He ensured that Sirajuddin Haqqani, son of Jalaluddin Haqqani (head of the Haqqani Network that worked at the ISI’s behest and was on the UN’s list of terrorists) was appointed Interior Minister and at least two other Haqqanis got key positions in the interim government.
Hameed is reputed to have piloted the Taliban through the Doha talks and on the battlefield across Afghanistan, sending thousands of irregular fighters and military planners to help the Taliban.
It is reported that the current Army Chief, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa saw Hameed out and probably felt he was growing too big for his boots, reported Islam Khabar.
Moreover, as new Peshawar corps commander Hameed is overseeing the Kabul developments where the Taliban are still at loggerheads.
Even more important is that the post brings Hameed in line for the top job when it falls vacant when Bajwa, already on an extension, finally retires in 2022, reported Islam Khabar.
Reports are that Bajwa may seek one more extension but even if that does not happen, Imran Khan, who formally ‘selects’ the Army Chief and the ISI chief from the panels submitted to him, would want to have his say, before he goes for national elections in the summer of 2023.
Although officially announced by the Army Headquarters, Hameed’s appointment has yet to receive approval from the Prime Minister’s Office.
Najam Sethi said in his editorial in The Friday Times (October 8), “Although the transfer was on the cards — because his subsequent professional ambition depended on commanding a Corps – it was also known that Prime Minister Imran Khan wanted to hang on to his ISI coattails for as long as possible. Perhaps this is why there is a buzz about the delay in issuing the notification. Has Imran Khan changed his mind for some reason? Was there some misunderstanding between COAS and PM that has led to this confusion? If this is not sorted out quickly, we could face some serious turbulence,” reported Islam Khabar
Sethi observes, “it is now speculated that the new DGISI, Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum, will not be inclined to follow too closely in the political footsteps of his predecessor for two reasons: one, he is General Bajwa’s nominee rather than the prime minister’s even though the appointment is supposed to originate in the PM’s office; two, the army chief means to direct the ISI to pursue his own objectives and priorities rather than those of the prime minister or General Faiz himself.”
Moreover, Imran Khan was mentored by Hamid Gul, former head of Pakistan’s ISI, known as the “godfather of the Taliban”, when he left cricket to join politics, to develop sympathy for the terrorist groups. He opposed military action against them to such an extent that Musharraf had nicknamed him “Taleban Khan.” Khan also benefited immensely when the ISI sought to confront Nawaz Sharif in 2014.
Over the years, DG, ISI is involved in key decisions with India, Afghanistan, on the Kashmir issue, on nuclear weapons and the US. In recent years, this has been extended to China and Saudi Arabia, both countries that exercise immense influence in Pakistan. The openly unstated task of DG, ISI has been to nurture and deploy terrorists, reported Islam Khabar.

COVID-19: Quarantine mandatory for Pakistani nationals in UK

The United Kingdom has said that Pakistani nationals coming to Britain will have to undergo several COVID-19 safety measures.

Islamabad [Pakistan], October 7 : Pakistan was removed from the red list last month which bars most non-essential travel, Geo News reported. However, in the new travel advisory, UK authorities stated that they were working to recognise Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) issued vaccine certificate.
Pakistan is now on the “rest of the world” list. But not on the list of the countries whose vaccination certificates are recognised in the UK.
According to Geo News, once the UK authorities will recognise NADRA’s vaccination certificate, fully vaccinated Pak nationals will not have to self-isolate or take a pre-departure test.
However, they will still have to complete a COVID test and fill in a passenger locator form, as mandated by the UK authorities.
Pakistan is mainly using China’s Sinopharm and Sinovac.
Both of these vaccines are approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) but these are not approved by the UK government and there not part of the UK-approved list of vaccines.

Pak court gives India more time

The Islamabad High Court has given India more time to appoint a lawyer to review the death sentence ordered to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav.

Islamabad [Pakistan], October 6 : According to a report in Dawn, an IHC larger bench, comprising Chief Justice Athar Minallah, Justice Amer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, on Tuesday took up a petition filed by the law ministry seeking a lawyer for the Indian spy. Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer, was arrested in March 2016 in Balochistan, according to Pakistan authority. He was sentenced to death by Pakistan military court in 2017. India has rejected Pakistan’s allegations and said he was kidnapped from the Iranian port of Chabahar. In early 2017, a Pakistani military court sentenced him to death.
During Tuesday’s hearing, the attorney general Khalid Jawed Khan showed the court correspondence between Pakistan and India for providing counsel to Jadhav in order to comply with the verdict in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
He said the Indian government did not respond and argued that the federal government had filed the petition seeking the appointment of a lawyer so that the verdict of the military court could be revisited at an appropriate forum.
The ICJ has ruled that Pakistan was in breach of its international obligations because of the failure to provide consular access to Jadhav.
In June, the Pakistan National Assembly had adopted the Bill to give the right of appeal to Indian prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav in regard to the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) ruling.
In 2020, the Pakistan government presented an ordinance in the National Assembly The ‘International Court of Justice Review and Reconsideration Ordinance 2020’.
India has said Pakistan must take appropriate steps to address the shortcomings of the bill.

Pakistan: Daesh claims responsibility for killing Sikh physician

Islamabad [Pakistan], October 3 (ANI): The terrorist organisation Islamic State (Daesh) has claimed responsibility for killing a Sikh community member earlier this week in Pakistan’s Peshawar.
In a statement, Islamic State (Daesh) on Friday said Satnam Singh was shot dead by IS (Daesh) members. Satnam Singh, a Hakim (physician) was inside his clinic on Thursday in Peshawar when he was shot dead. The incident comes as yet another example of the deplorable conditions under which religious minorities live in Pakistan.
Religious minorities continue to face brutal suppression of their rights. They regularly become a target of rampant violence.
Religious minorities remain a soft target of non-state actors and religiously inspired extremists. Meanwhile, the dogged persistence of state policies has failed to reboot the judicial system and rule of law.
Pakistan on several occasions has promised to safeguard the interests of minority communities in the nation. However, rampant attacks on the minorities narrate a different story.

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