Sunday, 11 February, 2018
ATTemPTS To ConCeAl lnG deAl PoinTS To mAjor SCAm: imrAn ISLAMABAD
AKISTAN Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Saturday said that there could be a major corruption scam underlying the multi-billion dollar Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) deal as it has been kept under wraps. The PTI chief took to Twitter to take a jab at the Pakistan Muslim LeagueNawaz (PML-N) government on the issue. He said, “No wonder govt has kept this LNG deal under wraps. Despite commitment from Prime Minister (PM) Abbasi, he has so far refused to reveal the deal’s details to Parliament and the public. This shows there could be a major corruption scam underlying this deal.” The PTI chief said, “It is absolutely shameful how this govt’s policies have hurt our export industry. During my visit
to the APTMA, information shared with me showed how our exports have performed worse than all other regional competitors.” He went on to say that the export industry must be given a level playing field to compete against the regional competitors. “Reducing the energy costs for the export industry in line with regional prices is a key part of the textile policy we have announced.” “Unfortunately, Pakistan Muslim league-Nawaz (PML-N) govt has chosen to do reverse by increasing costs of energy inputs. The Qatar LNG deal is the most glaring example. Auditor General’s Report of LNG import says Pakistan signed contract at rates higher than market when competitive bidding would have allowed better deal,” he went on to say. He said that to revitalise Pakistan’s export industry, the PTI will also stop PML-N’s “disastrous practice of holding back refunds of exporters just to make the
SC orders body to ascertain poultry quality in Punjab LAHORE: The Supreme Court (SC) on Saturday, while hearing a suo motu case pertaining to the sale of contaminated chicken meat at Lahore registry ordered the formation of a committee which will carry out tests at various locations in Punjab to ascertain the presence of harmful chemicals in the meat. Headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Saqib Nisar, the three-judge bench ordered chicken meat being sold in markets in Punjab to be tested so that knowledge about harmful chemicals in the meat could be gathered. The chief justice observed that chicken meat was triggering hormonal changes in human body. During the hearing of the case an expert told the judges that if the feed of the chicken is prepared from natural ingredients, it would not result in changes in hormones of the human body. STAFF REPORT
‘Triple divorce should be punishable crime’ ISLAMABAD: Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) Chairman Qibla Ayaz has said that “triple divorce” should be a punishable crime and he will submit a resolution regarding it in the parliament. “We are preparing a bill pertaining to this matter and it will be sent to the law ministry for prescribing a suitable punishment,” he added while giving an interview to BBC Urdu. “In case of a triple divorce, the divorce will be considered valid. However the last decision rests with the Qazi in the court,” said Ayaz as he responded to a question. “Unfortunately the impression created about women is that we only make them a basis of our arguments but we have even made some recommendations for the rights of women.” While answering another question, he said that Maulana Sheerani’s remarks are his personal opinion. “There are no restrictions on women for taking part in economic activities if they keep themselves within the limit of modesty and chastity.” STAFF REPORT
Afghan Taliban release 17 Pakistani hostages KHYBER AGENCY: Afghan Taliban released 17 Pakistani hostages kidnapped on September 5, 2017, from Adil Khad area of Landi KotalLandi Kotal, on Friday. According to reports, the hostages were shifted to Afghanistan after their abduction where they had been kept in the Lal Pur district of Nangarhar province. The militants had kidnapped the individuals for a ransom but their families were too poor to pay the amount. Family sources revealed that the hostages were expected to reach Pakistan on Saturday. Khyber Agency political agent Khalid Mahmood said, “The hostages could have been recovered through law enforcement agencies’ efforts.” AGENCIES
fiscal deficit look artificially low.” He said, “We must also revitalise the cotton economy and improve the profitability of
the cotton farmer. We must restore our competitive advantage of cotton which has been lost by years of neglect and anti farmer policies of the govt.” It is crucial to note that despite a period of more than two years, a NAB inquiry regarding the award of LNG contract and billion rupees payment to the Elengy Terminal Pvt Ltd (ETPL) is still in the doldrums. The contract was allegedly signed in the violation of rules, causing a huge loss to the national exchequer. A copy of NAB inquiry report revealed that incumbent Prime Minister Shahid Khaqqan Abbasi—who was then a petroleum minister—former petroleum secretary Abid Saeed, Inter-State Gas Systems Pvt Ltd (ISGS) Managing Director Mobin Saulut, Sui Southern Gas Company Limited former MD Zuhair Ahmed Siddiqui, and Engro Pvt Ltd CEO Emranul Haq were involved in the awarding of the LNG contract.
Sattar proposes Senate names to end persisting impasse MUJAHID JOINS MQMP, ACCUSES AMIR KHAN-LED GROUP OF CONSPIRING AGAINST PARTY CHIEF RABITA COMMITTEE RETRACTS LETTER TO ECP AGAINST SATTAR KARACHI STAFF REPORT
In order to put an end to the controversy engulfing the party, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQMP) Convenor Dr Farooq Sattar on Saturday offered the party’s Rabita Committee to draft “a new list of four mutually agreed upon candidates from the total of 15 candidates”. Speaking to reporters outside his residence in the PIB Colony, Dr Sattar said that if the committee accepts his offer then he would have no reservations visiting the party’s temporary headquarters in Bahadurabad — a stronghold of the rebellious Rabita Committee members. He said that if four new names can be agreed upon between the “PIB and Bahadurabad, then I will take the first flight to Bahadurbad”. In a last-ditch effort to save the party from further drifting in chaos, the party chief said: “If we can’t even do that [agree on a new list of Senate candidates], then I would advise that let’s forget Senate seats and save the party.” “My utmost effort is aimed towards stopping this party from splitting. We cannot let 40 years of efforts go to waste,” said Sattar, as he vowed to save the party. Backtracking from his earlier stance on the nomination of Kamran Tessori, Dr Sattar said that “we will drop the names of whoever is controversial” if the committee accepts his offer. He went on to add that the issue was never about Tessori, it was beyond that. It may be mentioned here the tacit rebellion against Sattar in the MQM-P took an ugly turn when Amir Khan-led Rabita Committee group decided to remove Tessori from the Senate candidates, prompting the party chief to left the Bahadaurabad and calling a late night meeting and a presser at his residence. ECP LETTER WITHDRAWN: In an apparent attempt to appease Sattar, the Rabita Committee re-
tracted its letter that sought curtailment of Sattar’s powers as party chief by sidelining him in the process of choosing Senate candidates. The letter was written by the coordination committee asking the ECP not to entertain the nominations submitted by Sattar, claiming that it was the committee’s privilege to do so. The move, however, failed when the ECP ruled in Sattar’s favour, saying that nominating candidates for the Senate elections is the sole right of a party chief or of a person nominated by the chief. MQM-P leader and MNA Kunwar Naveed Jamil told media that Sattar objected to the coordination committee’s letter and sent a message that he would visit the party’s Bahadurabad centre if that letter is retracted. Announcing the retraction of the letter, Jamil said that a delegation of the coordination committee will pay Sattar a visit at his residence in the PIB Colony. AMIR KHAN DENIES ‘HIJACKING’ PARTY: In the evening, Senior Deputy Convener Amir Khan said that attempts were being made to give an impression that he was trying to hijack the party, as he refuted rumours about him eyeing a “prominent position” in the party. “I am happy to work as a party member...I have never wanted to have a position in the party,” he said, adding: “You don’t get respect from positions.” “Attempts are being made to create an impression that I am trying to hijack the party,” a teary Khan told the journalists, adding that [some] people were also trying to create an impression that there was a rift between Sattar and him. SLAMAN MUJAHID JOINS MQM-P, AGAIN: A good news for Sattar as MNA Salman Mujahid Baloch once again joined the MQMP, nearly two months after he joined the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP). Baloch rejoined the MQM-P after a meeting with party chief Farooq Sattar, at a time when the party is experiencing an impasse between the two groups led by Deputy Convenor Amir Khan and Convenor Farooq Sattar. Speaking to reporters, Baloch said that it was impossible for him to stay away from the party when it was marred with internal conflicts. He claimed that a group of people was hatching a conspiracy against the party and urged party workers to “come forward to save the party”. Baloch accused Amir Khan-led group of hatching “conspiracy against the party chief”, as he went on to add that Sattar was an honest person, and that a minus one con-
spiracy was underway to remove him from the party’s leadership. It may be mentioned here Baloch was the first person to divulge the presence of two factions within the MQM-P during a TV show after he was expelled from the party due to disciplinary issues. He had told the outlet that Farooq Sattar and Amir Khan were heading their separate groups within the party. ‘MQM-P INFIGHTING DISHEARTENING ACTIVISTS’: Meanwhile, MQM-P MPA Khawaja Izharul Hassan said that infighting in the party is disheartening the activists, particularly for those in jails. Addressing a press conference here, the MQM-P MPA admitted that mistrust between the two groups exists and efforts are being made to reunite the groups. Taking exception to defiant Amir-led group’s objections, the MPA said the residence of Dr Farooq Sattar had previously been used temporarily as the party office. “I have offered my resignation [from the provincial assembly] as a member of an intermediary committee to bring the two groups on the negotiation table,” he said. Flanked by another party leader Rauf Siddiqui, Hassan said if the impasse didn’t resolve, it wouldn’t be deemed a matter of principle. START OF TROUBLE: Rumours of a split in the party were rife after Sattar abruptly left a party meeting on February 5 over a disagreement on nominations of Senate candidates with senior party leader and deputy convener Amir Khan. Sattar’s blue-eyed party leader, Kamran Tessori, was removed from the list by the Rabita Committee after which Sattar had abruptly left the meeting and called a subsequent meeting of the party workers and leaders at his residence in the PIB. Following the open revolt against the party chief, MQM-P Rabita Committee in late night presser had also suspended Kamran Tessori from the party for six months and also removed him from the committee. Sattar had taken this as insolence and told reporters in a late presser that Amir Khan-group wanted to take over the party from him. He also complained that he cannot accept being treated as the ceremonial head of the party. After the pressers of the Rabia Committee and Dr Sattar, a reconciliation committee was constituted to defuse the tensions within the party ranks. Sattar has often been criticised for favouring Tessori over seasoned party leaders and workers.
KAShmiri lAwmAKer ChAnTS ‘PAKiSTAn ZindAbAd’ in lA SRINAGAR: National Conference legislator Mohammad Akbar Lone on Saturday shouted pro-Pakistan slogans in the Legislative Assembly to counter BJP lawmakers who were shouting anti-Pakistan slogans, The Deccan Herald newspaper reported. “I am a Muslim first. My sentiments were hurt when they (BJP MLAs) were shouting anti-Pakistan slogans. I couldn’t control my emotions and raised Pakistan Zindabad (long-live) slogans,” Lone told the reporters outside the House. Earlier, ruckus broke out in Assembly after Speaker Kavinder Gupta blamed Rohingya Muslims for facilitating an attack on an army camp in Jammu city, in which four people, including two children, died. Gupta later expunged his remarks after he was cornered by opposition NC and the ruling PDP members. The comment created chaos with the opposition saying the state government and the central government should be blamed for security lapses, and not any particular community. NC leader Ali Mohammed Sagar said they had been asking the government to initiate dialogue to resolve the issue politically. The ruling BJP legislators, on the other hand, raised antiPakistan slogans and alleged Pakistan was directly involved in the attack. Amid chaos, the house was adjourned. AGENCIES
‘Still firm on demand for Sanaullah’s resignation’
Spiritual leader Pir Hameeduddin Sialvi on Saturday once again denied to accept the explanation given by Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah over the latter’s statement about the Ahmadi community and said that he stands by his demand of the minister’s resignation. Sialvi, who is the custodian of Sial Sharif shrine of Sargodha, had been heading a campaign while demanding the resignation and apology from Sanaullah regarding his remarks during a TV show. On Monday, the spiritual leader had said that he was satisfied over the clarification by the law minister over the matter of Ahmadis. Sialvi also took a jibe at Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and said he was threatened by Sanaullah that if he was made to resign, he would spill the beans on the Model Town incident. Sialvi also said that he did not call Shehbaz to meet him but the chief minister called on him by himself. The spiritual leader also claimed that he had been getting threatening calls and text messages from unknown people. Commenting on the resignation of Nizam as MPA, the spiritual leader said that he had advised the former lawmaker against it. Nizamuddin on Thursday announced quitting politics days after he claimed that Sialvi’s supporters were provoked to stage a sit-in and offered resources for this purpose. Nizamuddin, in his statement, said that from now onwards Hameeduddin Sialvi will himself decide about the politics of Sial Sharif.
Sunday, 11 February, 2018
nAb wAiTS in vAin for nAwAZ To reCord STATemenTS in Two GrAfT CASeS EX-PM WAS ISSUED NOTICES TO APPEAR BEFORE NAB RAWALPINDI AND RECORD STATEMENTS IN TWO SUPPLEMENTARY REFERENCES PERTAINING TO ALAZIZIA STEEL MILLS, FLAGSHIP INVESTMENTS ISLAMABAD
EPOSED prime minister Nawaz Sharif failed to appear before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Saturday to record his statements in two supplementary references — Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship investments — that are yet to be filed in the accountability court. According to sources, the NAB
Rawalpindi Office is preparing supplementary references in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investment Ltd cases against the Sharifs. The supplementary references are likely to be filed next week in the accountability court hearing the ongoing cases against the former premier. Since Nawaz did not act on NAB’s summons, the Bureau will file the references without his statement and the court will start hearing the case. A NAB official said that if Nawaz Sharif had been out of the country, the Bureau would
ones opposing maryam must choose different path: Zafarul haq ISLAMABAD: Leader of House in Senate Raja Zafarul Haq, a senior leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N), has categorically stated that those opposing Maryam Nawaz to head the party must choose any other way. “We have no objection if Maryam Nawaz comes forward and reins in the party,” he said in an interview. He justified that criticism on judiciary’s verdict was right of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. He said that the apex court gave its verdict against Nawaz Sharif. “We have nothing left behind except contacting the masses, which is a big court,” he said, adding that PML-N has no personal enmity with the judges. Zafar said that the role of the establishment could not be ruled out in the politics of Pakistan. He said that some decisions were made with mutual consultations, which are in the national interest. He went on to say that the establishment was a part of Pakistan, adding that time has proved that the stance of Faizabad sit-in was correct and the resignation of law minister was also correct. He added that the Constitution gives authority to Kashmiris over what would be the terms and conditions for Kashmiris to live with Pakistan. Talking about the inherited politics in Pakistan, he asked, “What is the eligibility to award Pakistan Tehreek-eInsaf’s (PTI) ticket to Jahangir Tareen’s son?” He said that even the name of Tareen’s son was unheard of, adding that the eligibility criterion was “only being a son of Jahangir Tareen”. Zafar observed that the level of PTI was decreasing gradually, saying that it [PTI] will not be visible in the politics of Pakistan in future. He further added that the future of Pakistan was linked with the democracy and urged the political parties to promote democracy in their ranks. The senior PML-N leader also rejected the impression of differences in PML-N. He informed that all the party leaders were present in the parliamentary party meeting except Chaudhry Nisar. He went on to say that Senate tickets were issued with mutual consultations, adding that some people had reservations for issuing Senate tickets, which were resolved amicably. When asked whether he opposed awarding Senate ticket to Mushahid Hussain Syed, he said that Mushahid was an educated person and he has no differences with him. He said that the next general elections would be held on time. He also said that he was a senior party leader and has the right to become Senate chairman. He said that party leader Nawaz Sharif’s decision would be accepted in this regard. He also termed the participation of religious parties a good omen in the politics of Pakistan. ONlINE
TOP COURT DISPOSES OF SUO MOTU NOTICE, DIRECTS ATC TO GIVE VERDICT WITHIN SEVEN DAYS LAHORE STAFF REPORT
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Saturday wrapped up the suo motu notice on Zainab’s rape and murder as an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Lahore set February 12 for the indictment of the accused. Punjab Inspector General of Police Arif Nawaz told a three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Nisar, that the challan of the case had been submitted in the anti-terrorism court (ATC). The apex court directed the anti-terrorism court, which is conducting the trial
have first issued him a notice, reminding him to appear before the court to respond to the charges against him before the body files the references. But since he was present in Pakistan and still didn’t appear before the Bureau before the end of working hours, NAB will now file the references without the former prime minister’s statement. Nawaz was summoned by the Rawalpindi NAB headquarters that is now being headed by Irfan Mangi, a member of the Panama Papers leaks Joint Investigation Team (JIT) formed by the Supreme Court to probe corruption allegations against the Sharif family. Reports in the media that Mangi wanted to fulfill a legal requirement to get Nawaz acquainted with the evidence they had collected for supplementary references. However, it is unlikely that Nawaz will respond to any NAB summons, since he had kept away
from Lahore NAB regional headquarters when he was summoned to record his statement over a supplementary reference regarding the Avenfield Properties against him a few weeks ago. Nawaz and his family members are facing three corruption references in the accountability court — Avenfield Properties, Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Flagship Investments — in which they are accused of money laundering, tax evasion and hiding offshore assets. A supplementary reference pertaining to their Avenfield Properties has already been filed. According to sources, Nawaz believes that the matter is sub judice, therefore he is answerable to the court only. The sources further said that the NAB has also received the script of an interview of Hussain Nawaz taken by Hamid Mir, a private TV anchor, which will be made part of the interim references.
Nisar says won’t accept Maryam’s leadership FORMER INTERIOR MINISTER THREATENS TO MAKE REPORT PUBLIC IF PARTY DOESN’T CALL CEC MEETING ON DAWN LEAKS TAXILA STAFF REPORT
Former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Saturday categorically said that he cannot work under the leadership of ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz. While addressing a press conference in Taxila, Nisar said that he can only work with seniors. When questioned about his previous remark that Maryam lacked the experience to lead the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Nisar, in turn, asked whether he had said anything wrong at the time. “You tell me, can I work under children?” he said in a reference to Maryam, adding that “a person has some dignity”. When pressed again whether he would accept Maryam as the party’s new leader, Nisar said there were many senior leaders in PML-N who could be considered to lead the party. “Why are you stuck with Maryam and Hamza [Shehbaz Sharif]?” he asked a reporter, before saying, “I can work under a senior but I cannot work under a junior. I am not a political orphan that I refer to a junior as ‘sir’ and ‘madam’.” He went on to say that he has never violated the party’s code of conduct and that he wrote a letter to Nawaz Sharif to resolve the
party’s issues through a proper way. Irked by a barrage of questions about Maryam, Nisar said in a lighter vein: “Next time there is a presser here, please post a board above saying that it is forbidden to take Maryam Nawaz’s name in this [press conference].” Speaking about the confrontation with state institutions, Nisar said that there is no difference of opinion among party leaders that confrontation with the higher judiciary of the country is not a wise idea. Nisar said that differences exist within the party on the “execution” of the policy, adding: “This difference [about confrontation with the judges] has grown deeper and serious. I want to solve it through dialogue.” The senior PML-N leader stressed that he was not alone in advocating a policy free of a clash with the judiciary, saying that Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif propagate the same. Nisar said that it is common knowledge that he has been a “devil’s advocate” to his party chief Nawaz Sharif and the advice that he presented at a meeting of the federal cabinet last year is also well known. “When you launch personal attacks on judges it is wrong and I pointed that out,” Nisar said. He said he hadn’t criticised Sharif or his outspoken daughter Maryam Nawaz over their criticism of the
judiciary, before asking, “Am I being a hypocrite?” Nisar said only the upcoming general elections will decide who becomes the prime minister of the country. Speaking about Dawn leaks report, Nisar Ali Khan warned that he will make public the Dawn leaks report if the PML-N doesn’t call a Central Executive Committee meeting on the issue. Nisar also touched upon the issue of the disarray within the Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) stating that he was concerned. He hoped that the Urdu-speaking community would have clear options in the upcoming polls. Reiterating his position on former minister for information Pervaiz Rasheed, Nisar said Rasheed joined the party in the 1990s. He added that a politician is one who has contested an election, one who hasn’t contested an election can be called a flatterer, not a politician. Nisar announced during the presser that he will remain active within the party.
Pashtuns wrap up sit-in after Pm’s written assurance ISLAMABAD: The organisers of the Pashtun sit-in on Saturday agreed to wrap up the protest after receiving a written assurance from Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi that their reservations will be allayed within a period of one month. The participants—who remained pitched outside the National Press Club, Islamabad—had vowed not to budge unless their demands, including penalisation of Rao Anwar, recovery of FATA’s missing persons, probe into extra-judicial killings of Pashtuns all over the country, removal of landmines from FATA region, and end to discrimination meted out to tribal people, were met. After assurances from the PM and a signing of an agreement with the government, the sit-in culminated when Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) KP chief Amir Muqam visited venue with a written assurance from the PM. FIVE POINTS AGREEMENT: A fivepoint agreement was also signed between the government and the protesters, which reads: Naqeebullah Mehsud is the son of the whole nation, this is our duty to apprehend accused Rao Anwar as early as possible and bring him to justice. Regarding mines in South Waziristan, the concerned quarters would be directed to speed up the process of clearing of mines. The prime minister also directed the KP governor that compensation should be paid to victims of mines either died or injured. The prime minister announced that an intermediate college will be established in the name of Naqeebullah Mehsud in village Makeen, South Waziristan. The prime minister also said that genuine grievances raised by Jirga members from different quarters would also be addressed as soon as possible. The Jirga members thanked the prime minister and other members from the government side. They announced that they would immediately disperse after the assurance. Following the assurance from the PM, the leader of the sit-in, Manzoor Pashteen, announced that the organisers of the sit-in have agreed to end the 10-day long protest. He said that the Pashtuns were protesting for their legitimate demands and if the government had agreed to address these issues then there was no need to continue the sit-in. However, he warned that if the government tried to stall or any other untoward incident occurred in FATA then the protesters will resort to the holding of another protest, as the Pashtun community won’t tolerate injustices anymore. He also called out the majority of Pakistanis who stereotype Pashtuns as a violent ethnic group, saying that the Pashtuns are wrongly portrayed as violent people and added the over week-long sit-in remained peaceful despite all odds. Manzoor hoped that the government would take serious steps for resolution of their genuine demands, adding that “they had also held positive meetings with high military officials as well”. Addressing the protesters, Muqam said the Pashtuns proved that they are a peaceful nation by holding such a peaceful protest in the capital which is also a lesson for others. “I will stand by you all the time and my door is open and you can approach me anytime for your problems,” he said. Acknowledging the services of Pashtuns to the country, the provincial president of the PML-N said that Pashtuns have rendered matchless sacrifices for the country and the government will leave no stone unturned to ensure the arrest of Rao Anwar. HAMID KHAN WAZIR
SC satisfied with Punjab Police’s probe in Zainab case of Imran Ali, to give a verdict within seven days after the indictment of the accused as per the orders of the Lahore High Court (LHC). The court expressed satisfaction over the investigation into the matter and concluded the hearing after reviewing a report submitted by the Punjab IGP. ATC TO INDICT MAIN ACCUSED ON 12TH: The trial of the suspected rapist and murderer of seven-year-old Zainab and seven other girls began on Saturday. The ATC hearing was conducted inside Kot Lakhpat Jail whereby Judge Sajjad Ahmed stated that the suspect would be formally charged on February 12. Deputy prosecutor said the trial court will conduct the hearing on a dayto-day basis. Four prosecutors will plead the case on behalf of the state, he added. Earlier, the accused was produced before
the ATC on Friday as his extended physical remand expired. The prosecutor general had informed the judge that the next proceedings will take place inside the jail. The lawyer for Imran Ali, the prime accused in the rape and murder case of seven-year-old Zainab, claimed on Friday that his client could not be convicted merely on the basis of a DNA test. “DNA tests have no value in the eyes of the law. There is no other evidence against my client either,” the lawyer said during the hearing of the case at the anti-terrorism court. The lawyer went on to claim that Imran Ali is innocent, adding that “people cannot be sent to jail just because Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif wants them behind the bars”. Imran Ali, during an earlier court proceeding, had admitted to the rape and murder of Zainab.
SUSPECT A POSSIBLE SERIAL KILLER: Meanwhile, the suspected serial killer has also been nominated in the rape and murder cases of seven other children in Kasur. The investigation officer (IO) probing the cases told the ATC judge that the suspect had kidnapped, raped and killed a total of eight girls. According to details, DNA samples of Imran Ali were sent to Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) in Lahore along with 1,050 other samples that were taken over the course of investigations into the rape and murder case of minor Zainab. Report from PFSA confirmed that Imran’s DNA sample matched with the traces that were collected from the victim’s body. Furthermore, according to police, the suspect confessed to carrying out the heinous crime, and a polygraph test was
also conducted which came positive, following which the criminal has been shifted to an undisclosed location. The killer has reportedly told police that “djinn” is responsible for the rapes and murder of little girls, essentially saying that he was possessed by an entity. It was revealed that Imran was initially booked on suspicion of involvement in the rape and murder of Zainab but was later released after his DNA samples were collected by the police. It was only after PFSA confirmed the matching of the DNA samples that he was rearrested on January 20 from Pakpattan. Additionally, according to reports, Imran had shaved his beard after the incident which helped him evade arrest till now as the CCTV footage showed a man sporting a beard.
Sunday, 11 February, 2018
Inquiry incomplete against former CG who issued visas to Indians
ISLAMABAD SHAHZAD PARACHA
An inquiry against a CSP officer, Azra Jamali, for taking gifts as well as money in return of issuing visas to Indian nationals when she was serving as counsel general (CG) in Montreal, Canada, could not be completed by the inquiry officer. A complainant, Raja M Riaz Khan had alleged in his application that CG Azra Jamali issued 150 visas to Indian nationals when she was posted in Montreal as CG, and received cash money, free air tickets and other luxury items as a gift from Mohin Jeet Singh in reward. Upon receiving the complaint, the government called CG Jamali back and initiated an inquiry against her. Soon after, the prime minister on the recommendation of Establishment Division appointed Nasir Hassan Jami, a grade 21 officer of Pakistan Administrative Services (PAS), as an inquiry officer but the officer could not complete the inquiry despite a passage of one-and-a-half year. The inquiry officers held a number of meetings and recorded the statement of the complainant as well as the officer.
College to be set up after Naqeebullah Mehsood PESHAWAR STAFF REPORT
Prime Minister’s Adviser Amir Muqam has said that a college would be established after the name of Naqeebullah Mehsood in his village. He said this while addressing a protest against the killing of Mehsood held near National Press Club, Islamabad, said a press release issued here on Saturday. He said that the process to remove mines is being expedited and all those who died or were injured in mine explosion incidents would be given compensation. Muqam, on part of federal government, also assured to resolve the demands of protest participants. He said that Pakhtuns are peaceful and have rendered matchless sacrifices for the establishment of peace. “I have always supported Pakhtuns and due help would be given to them in future regarding their problems,” he said. On the occasion, Waziristan jirga and protestors also announced to end their protest.
PML-N to CoMPEtE aGaINst ‘horsE-tradErs’, says PM ABBASI INAUGURATES GAS SUPPLY PROJECT IN MIANWALI MIANWALI
RIME Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Saturday said that democracy is vital for the progress and prosperity of the country. Addressing the inaugural ceremony of a gas supply project in Mianwali, the prime minister said the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) will compete in the upcoming Senate elections against parties involved in horse-trading. “We will expose those who are doing dirty politics,” he said. “The results of General Elections 2013 are evident to everyone as the country is progressing owing to ongoing development projects undertaken by the PML-N government,” he added. “The PML-N believes in the politics of decency and serving the masses,” said the prime minister. He said that despite all challenges in-
cluding political conspiracies, the present government delivered. He said that “today gas is available to all the consumers, including the CNG users,” and added that new gas connections are also being given. Abbasi said the motorway being constructed between Hassan Abdal and Dera Ismail Khan will greatly benefit the people of Mianwali. He said it will change the destiny of the people of the area. Appearing optimistic for upcoming general elections, he vowed the ruling party will continue the ongoing progress and
economic prosperity phase. On the occasion, he said one should compare Punjab with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) to comprehend the development projects undertaken by the ruling party. The PM reiterated that Punjab under the leadership of Shehbaz Sharif has witnessed unmatched development. Earlier, the premier inaugurated gas supply project worth Rs2.30 billion in Mianwali. The project will provide gas to the people of tehsil Esa Khel and its adjoining areas. Over one hundred and eighty thousand people will benefit from it.
India’s PM Modi visits Palestine, writes history RAMALLAH AGENCIES
Narendra Modi on Saturday became the first Indian prime minister to visit the West Bank for talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as part of a Middle East tour. The visit, which comes weeks after Modi hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is seen as an Indian effort to balance its strengthening ties with the Jewish state.
Modi and his entourage flew in by helicopter from Jordan, landing near Abbas’s Ramallah headquarters, an AFP reporter said. The Indian and Palestinian leaders were set to discuss issues including information technology, health and tourism during the brief visit, after which Modi will return to Jordan. Upon arrival, Modi laid a wreath at the grave of Abbas’ predecessor, Yasser Arafat. Palestinian official Nabil Shaath said Modi and Abbas are to sign co-
operation agreements worth $50 million. In addition, a senior official told the press that Abbas will ask India’s visiting prime minister to support a multi-country sponsorship that would replace the United States as the sole mediator in future IsraeliPalestinian negotiations.
ECP puts Imran, others on notice for violating by-poll rules ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has issued a notice to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and other leaders for violating the code of conduct by participating in a bypolls rally in Lodhran’s NA-145 the other day despite a warning issued to them by the election watchdog. The notices issued to Imran Khan, other party leaders and Awami Muslim League leader Shehikh Rasheed has sought their response by February 11. On Friday, the ECP issued a notice to Ali Tareen asking him to appear before the district election commissioner, either in person or through a counsel, on February 11 as the party’s rally was within the limits of the constituency. Imran Khan, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Sheikh Rasheed and Murad Saaed addressed the rally on Friday in violation of rules, said the ECP notice and added that the address by the members of the National Assembly was a “blatant violation of the code of conduct”. According to the rules, MNAs, MPAs, and other elected officials are barred from visiting the constituency after the issuance of the election schedule. The by-poll will take place on February 12, for which ECP issued a polling scheme on Friday. According to the ECP, the constituency has a total of 431,002 registered voters, who will cast the ballot at 328 polling stations. A total of 1,043 polling booths have been set up at the stations, where 338 presiding officers and 1,043 assistant presiding officers will be on duty on voting day. The seat was vacated after PTI Secretary General Jahangir Tareen was disqualified by the Supreme Court in December 2017 for not being ‘honest’ and ‘truthful’ as per Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution. Ten candidates will contest the NA-154 by-poll, out of the which seven are independent. From PTI, Jahangir’s son Ali will be contesting the bypoll while Iqbal Shah from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Ali Beg from Pakistan People’s Party will be the other main contenders.
NWA – transforming from poppy cultivation to hub of trans-regional trade MIRANSHAH MIAN ABRAR
Once a hotbed of terrorism and a centre of poppy cultivation, North Waziristan Agency (NWA) is set to transform into a hub of regional and trans-regional trade as Ghulam Khan border crossing is about to be inaugurated next month. It merits mention here that Pakistan has constructed a three-lane highway as a new trade road with Afghanistan and the Ghulam Khan crossing would be third major trade route linking Afghanistan’s Khost with Miranshah. Miranshah is strategically located to provide a shortest link between Russia, central Asian states and warm waters of Arabian Sea through Gwadar Port. Moscow is only 4,798 kilometers from Miranshah while Dushanbe is 860 kilometers, Tashkent is 1414 kilometers and Ashqabad is 1753 kilometers, Kabul is 277 kilometers while Khost is mere 47 kilometers away from Miranshah. Ghulam Khan trade route has the capability to become a major trade link with central Asia and Russia via Afghanistan as this route passes through comparatively stable areas of Afghanistan which are
largely under control of Afghan Taliban. Passing through Khost, this route passes through areas which are away from areas like Torkhum-Kabul trade route which pass through Jalalabad’s Nangerhar district which is under influence of splinter groups of Afghan Taliban and Islamic State who are at each others throats for control of trade route. “Ghulam Khan Crossing would be third biggest trade route between Afghanistan and Pakistan after Chaman and Torkhum. Around 500 trucks of goods are transported from this crossing on a daily basis. Once the new three-lane highway opens up next month, the number would climb further,” the official added. Asked about security measures adopted at Ghulam Khan crossing, the official said state of the art gadgets were being installed at the crossing. “We have a new data centre by NADRA for identification of travelers. Moreover, scanners would be installed to scan large and small vehicles to ensure safety,” he added. He said when army arrived in Miranshah to launch Operation Zarb-eAzb, the fields were rife with poppy cultivation under the terrorists. “We destroyed all poppy fields and urged local
farmers to shift to other crops. We imparted them modern farming skills too and today we have extraordinary yields of dates, wheat, pine nuts, etc. In a bid to facilitate agriculture sector, the military officer said modern agriculture skills including tunnel framing, vertical vegetable farming, fish farming, honey bee framing etc had been introduced to help the locals shift from old ways of cultivation to modern agricultural techniques. “We have also installed a date-processing facility as farmers use to suffer due to waste of dates in past. Moreover, pine nuts processing plants have also been established to ensure local industry to grow,” he said. On the occasion, an official told only one farmer had loaded fourteen trucks of pine nuts from his fields in one day. Copper Mining has also started here as precious ore reservoirs have been identified. He said officials of Strategic Plans Division along with local authorities were working on the project to extract Copper Ore reservoirs. Oil & Gas exploration has also been launched and a survey is underway. Another senior military official told Pakistan Today during a visit to the valley here that Ghulam Khan crossing would
be the third economic route between the two countries and Miranshah would be the centre of trade. The official said that over US$ 1.7 billion have been invested so far to execute several projects reaching out and impacting lives of approximately five million people of FATA. “We have completed 550 projects only in NWA including 266 water supply schemes, 147 schools, 17 healthcare units, 67 markets, five veterinary hospitals, 13 roads, 27 mosques and eight miscellaneous projects including playgrounds and stadiums,” he said. Under development & public support initiative, the official said 768 projects had been completed while 14000 youth being employed, 5000 foreign visas being provided while 1500 vacancies had been provided in Army schools. “Under deradicalisation drive, 3080 beneficiaries had been transformed into useful citizens including 118 women,” he added. About education of FATA youth, the official said 3947 youngsters had been enrolled in various schools while 14000 youth had been employed by the armed forces. “59 cadets have been enrolled at the PMA from where they would be inducted into the army. Besides, we have also launched a de-
radicalisation initiative under which 443 militants have surrendered and joined the mainstream,” the official said. The official said over 286 water supply schemes have been installed, five vocational centres for women and three for men have been established. “We have also developed a modern Sweet Home for orphans while others would soon be established. A model village ‘Sarbakai’ has also been developed. Miranshah Bazar would also be opened in March,” he added. The officials also arranged a visit of media to the Miranshah Bazar where life had back to normal and construction process was in advance stage. “We have constructed over 500 shops in Miranshah Bazar which was once under control of the terrorists who had opened notorious an IED market. We demolished the market which was a stigma for the people of this area who used to fear of this market. Now the new market is almost complete and it would be opened next month too,” the official said. Asked who would own this market, the official said that mostly the shops were owned by locals and the same would be handed back to them once the construction work is completed.
Sunday, 11 February, 2018
no medicines available at hepatitis centres in sindh KARACHI PPI
More than 10,000 newly registered Hepatitis B & C patients have been suffering due to the unavailability of medicines at hepatitis centres throughout the province for the last three months. Sources at Hepatitis Prevention & Control Programme, Sindh said that patients throughout the province have been put on the waitlist by the doctors due to the shortage of medicines at hepatitis centres. Newly registered patients at hepatitis centres in Civil Hospital Karachi, Abbasi Shaheed Hospital, Sindh Government Qatar Hospital and Sindh Government Hospital Liaquatabad and other government hospitals have been deprived of medicines for over three months, causing great hardship for the patients. The registered patients in Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Sukkur and other districts of the province have been visiting the hepatitis centres on regular basis to get medicines for last three months but were repeatedly asked by the doctors to buy medicines from private medical stores. The shortage of medicines in hepatitis centers has badly affected the performance of the programme as treatment of hepatitis patients is very costly and the majority of the patients cannot afford the treatment of the disease. Hepatitis Prevention & Control Programme, Sindh Programme Manager Dr Khadim Qureshi said that the supply of medicines would be restored to hepatitis centres across the province within ten days. He further said that the proposal had already been sent to higher ups of the health department.
shahrukh Jatoi shifted to hospital again KARACHI STAFF REPORT
Shahrukh Jatoi was shifted to Jinnah Hospital from jail premises on Friday after complaining of back pain. The medical officer made the request citing the unavailability of proper resources to tackle the ailment within jail premises. Jatoi had previously also served most of his incarceration at JPMC citing medical issues. Earlier in February, Jatoi, along with three others, was transferred to Karachi Central Jail after being brought from Islamabad under the custody of the metropolis' police. The Supreme Court (SC) had ordered the re-arrest of Jatoi, Siraj Talpur and other convicts in Shahzeb Khan murder case. Following the court’s order, Shahrukh Jatoi and others were taken into custody from the court premises. The apex court had also ordered for the names of the accused to be placed on the exit control list (ECL). The apex court had been moved by members of the civil society against the Sindh High Court's (SHC) decision of ordering a re-trial and the removal of terrorism charges from the conviction against the accused. The apex court, instead of accepting the civil society’s appeal, took a sou motu action and nullified the SHC order. The three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, also ordered the SHC to constitute a bench to hear the appeal on merit and give a decision in two months. On December 23, 2017, Jatoi, the son of an influe tial feudal, and other defendants in Shahzeb Khan murder case were released from custody on bail after Shahzeb’s father submitted an affidavit in support of the defendant's bail application. Shahzeb was gunned down by Jatoi in a posh locality of Karachi on December 25, 2012. An ATC in 2013 had awarded death sentences to Jatoi and Siraj Talpur for the murder of Shahzeb, while life sentences were awarded to Sajjad Ali Talpur and Ghulam Murtaza Lashari.
KLF attracts thousands oF Literature Lovers on second day KARACHI
N the second day of Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) 2018 on Saturday, thousands of literature lovers thronged to the venue of the festival and actively participated in the events. People of all ages attended the festival, including avid readers, writers, academics, and literary figures from across Pakistan and the world for the second day of the festival, which began on Friday at the Beach Luxury Hotel. Oxford University Press Pakistan Managing Director and KLF Founder/Director Ameena Saiyid said that KLF is a mini-university for the youth. The day started with the session titled ‘Home Fire: Rosinka Chaudhuri in conversation with Kamila Shamsie’. Home Fire was longlisted for the prestigious Man Booker Prize and has garnered international acclaim. Centered around a BritishPakistani family torn apart by a conflicted past, this novel features themes that are very relevant today. The audience heard interesting commentary about Pakistani writing in English, the Pakistani diaspora in Britain and much more. The book launch for ‘Remnants of a Separation: A History of the Partition through Material Memory’ by Aanchal Malhotra had a panel consisting of Aanchal Malhotra, NazIkramullah Ashraf, Shahnaz Aijazuddin and Reema Abbasi with moderator Saif Mahmood. "When you are born in India or Pakistan, you cannot separate yourself from the partition," said Aanchal Malhotra. Shahnaz Aijazuddin pointed out,
"In Harry Potter, wizards use everyday objects and magic to transport them to another place. In Aanchal’s book, she has used ordinary objects to transport herself back in time." In the session ‘#MeToo: Gender issues today’, the speakers Aurélie Salvaire, Kami Chouhdry, Haris Gazdar and session moderator Bina Shah discussed the burning gender issues. At the book launch of ‘A Thousand Cups of Tea: Among Tea Lovers in Pakistan and Elsewhere in the Muslim World’, Jurgen Wasim Frembgen sat with Arfa Sayeda Zehra to discuss his book. Arfa Sayeda Zehra moderated the session. Maheen Zia, Arieb Azhar and Pervez Hoodbhoy had a healthy discussion in the session ‘EACPE Video Competition: Fostering Tolerance in Pakistan’. In the session ‘The Power of the Individual Story: Pakistani
Women’s Autobiographies’, Attiya Dawood, Azra Abbas, Samina Rahman and Kishwar Naheed sit with Kesho Scott. In the session ‘Can Art and Culture Save the City?’ Durriya Kazi, Sania Saeed, Faraz Hamidi and Yawar Jilani sat with moderator Naila Mahmood. “City making is a complex task especially if you bring culture into it. City making needs a conscience, an understanding of history,” said Yawar Jilani on architecture and public spaces. He added, "This process of engagement and dialogue. Our city has no planning authority. It’s headless. There is no institution to have dialogue or a thought process about which direction Karachi should be headed." Sania Saeed said that "I was born during the time of dictatorship so we were just thrown into democracy. We
didn’t know what to do because we were told what to do and what not to do. So we never saw political dialogue." She added, "Theatre has a respectful engagement of the presenter and audience it is non-threatening and non-confrontational and more engaging and has a longer impact and if it can be continued then it reflects more positively in people’s attitudes. However, art doesn’t come under the politicians’ radars, which has allowed us to get away with a lot of things." A short play titled ‘Chup’ which was directed by Sunil Shanker with Fawad Khan, Bakhtawar Mazhar, Kaif Ghaznavi, Sunil Shanker and Erum Bashir as the cast was presented and was much admired by the crowd. In the session, ‘Reality catches up with Satire’, Zarrar Khuhro, Fasi Zaka and Nadeem F. Paracha were the panelists and the crowd took special interest and were fully thrilled by the thought-provoking discussions. ‘Khayal: An Evening of Indian Classical Singing’ by Amit Chaudhuri, accompanied by Yousuf Kerai on the table also entertained the crowd. Documentary screening of 'Don Akhbar' and Discussion on Lyari's Local Media was well presented by Dostain Baloch, Zia Rehman, Waheed Noor with Nida Kirmani The evening ended with Arieb Azhar's Concert along with Mushaira that was attended by poets including Iftikhar Arif, Inaam Nadeem, Afzal Ahmed Syed, Ajmal Siraj, Anwar Shaoor, Aqeel Abbas Jafri, Fatema Hassan, Harris Khalique, Irfan Sattar, Khwaja Razi Haider, Kishwar Naheed, Nasira Zuberi, Peerzada Salman, Salman Sarwat, Sarwat Zehra, Shahida Hassan, Tanveer Anjum, Usama Ameer Shaikh, Waheed Noor and Zakia Ghazal
SC orders payment of KDA employees forthwith KARACHI STAFF REPORT
The Supreme Court (SC) on Saturday directed the Sindh government to release outstanding salaries of Karachi Development Authority’s (KDA) 98 employees forthwith. A two-member bench of the apex court comprising of Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Maqbool Baqar heard the petition of former KDA employees who were transferred to Malir Development Authority
(MDA) but were not paid their outstanding dues. In Saturday’s hearing, the court expressed extreme displeasure when it learned that employees were not paid their pending salaries despite its directives. “Should we freeze Sindh government’s bank account?” the judges asked. The court observed that Sindh government officials should be ashamed because the employees were deprived of their salaries for months. The Sindh advocate general said that the provincial government had
approved the summary in this regard and the dues will be released within two days. The court directed accountant general and chief secretary to ensure payment of 98 employees immediately or else strict action would be taken against them. Adjourning the matter, the court sought compliance report by Monday. Earlier, the petitioners informed the judges that KDA had transferred two land schemes to MDA along with 98 KDA employees, including officers. They said that they were
asked by MDA to rejoin KDA, their parent department, but KDA was not willing to repatriate them. They said that they were living below the subsistence level because they had not been given their salaries for the past 17 months. They also complained that their children were expelled from educational institutes because of non-payment of fee. The petitioners said several officers and others employees of KDA and MDA were still posted in different departments on deputation.
Khuhro announces Sindh Labour Policy 2018 MINISTER SAYS NEW POLICY WOULD HELP ACHIEVE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT GOALS KARACHI STAFF REPORT
Sindh Senior Minister Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, Information, Labour and Transport Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, along with the representatives of workers and employees, announced the province’s first ever tripartite labour policy on Saturday. Addressing a press conference, Nisar Ahmed Khuhro said that PPP is the only party of the country working for the protection of the rights of workers and who raised its voice for the oppressed at all levels even during dictatorial rule. He said that on February 10, 1972, former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto announced the first labour pol-
icy of the country and gave real protection to the workers but unfortunately it was not continued after his execution. The present leadership, however, followed his philosophy and announced the first ever tripartite labour policy of Sindh in true letter and spirit. Khuhro further said that the key to progress is the prosperity of the people and this can only be made possible through economic development. He further said that the reason for announcing a labour policy was to ensure that these goals are met since Sindh is an industrial hub and mega economic zone of the country. He said that Sindh has always taken initiatives in every sector and has led the other provinces in this regard. Referring to the persecution of his party’s members, he said that they have been subject to imprisonment and previously have been restricted from observing labour day but they overcame all the challenges and continued the struggle for the oppressed class of the country. Talking about the existing labour laws in the
country, he said that if the country had friendly labour laws, a fast pace could be developed for industrial progress in Sindh. He said that Sindh government was taking historical steps towards the 14 labour laws for which the labour department and its team must be appreciated. “We acknowledge the efforts of all stakeholders, workers and employers who gave a comprehensive and strong labour policy which would protect the rights of industrial, agriculture and home-based workers,” he said, “Those workers would be allowed to form unions in industrial units to resolve their issues.” He also said that the new labour policy will also curb gender discrimination. Discussing the future course of action, he said that they would work on the legislation in the policy to make any amends if required. “Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is ready to do that with the help of all stakeholders and appreciate Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and Syed Nasir Hussain Shah for provid-
ing an opportunity to announce a historical labour policy,” he said. Referring to the federal government, he condemned those who destroyed national institutions, including Pakistan Steel Mills and Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). Earlier Sindh Minister for Labour and Information Syed Nasir Hussain Shah highlighted and described the salient features of the new labour policy and said that PPP has proved that it is the only party to have taken such initiatives for the well-being of every segment of the society, especially the labourers. He added that this was the reason why they chose to announce the new labour policy on the same day former premier Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had announced the first labour policy of the country in 1972. He also thanked all the members of the tripartite committee members and offered his full support and cooperation in the future for the benefit of the people of Sindh.
06 FOREIGN NEWS
Sunday, 11 February, 2018
IMF chIeF urgeS ArAB StAteS to SlASh SpendIng
Bali volcano evacuees allowed to return home as alert level lowered JAKARTA: Thousands of people who were forced to evacuate their houses on the Indonesian island of Bali because of a rumbling volcano can now return home, authorities said Saturday as they lowered Mount Agung’s alert level. The volcano, located about 75 kilometres (46 miles) from the tourist hub in Kuta, has been periodically spewing molten clouds of ash and smoke for months, forcing more than 100,000 people to flee the area and prompting the closure of the island’s international airport. But on Saturday, Indonesia’s volcanology centre lowered Agung’s alert level from four to three, citing a decline in its activity. “The volcanic earthquakes are now… declining significantly. The deformation is deflating and getting more stable and the concentration of the volcanic gas spewing into the air is also declining,” the centre’s senior volcanologist Gede Suantika told AFP. Under the new alert level, the noentry zone has been reduced to four kilometres from Agung’s peak, an area with no residents, allowing all evacuees to return home, authorities said. “The public activities as well as the tourism in Bali have been declared safe, there is no more disturbance from Mount Agung’s activities,” Indonesia’s energy minister Ignasius Jonan said in a statement. Agung rumbled back to life last September. The volcano’s activity slowed down in late October, before the eruption threat reared its head again in November, sparking travel chaos and pounding Bali’s lucrative tourism industry and its wider economy. Currently nearly 20,000 evacuees are sheltering in 180 locations across the island. The volcano’s last eruption was in 1963, killing around 1,600 people. AGENCIES
Indonesian navy seizes tonne of crystal meth BATAM: Indonesia’s navy seized more than a tonne of crystal methamphetamine and arrested four people in a major drug bust this week, an top navy official said Saturday. A navy boat patrolling the Phillip Channel between Singapore and Batam intercepted the MV Sunrise Glory, which was flying the Singapore flag, as it entered Indonesian waters. Officials suspected it might actually be a Taiwanese fishing boat which has been targeted by the Indonesian military since December for being a part of a drug syndicate, navy deputy chief Vice Admiral Achmad Taufiqoerrochman told a press conference. The boat was flying the Singapore flag but changed it for the Indonesian one as the navy patrol approached. Officials later took the boat to Batam and raided the storage where they found the drugs hidden inside 41 rice sacks, weighing 1,029 kilograms (2,260 pounds). “Last night we discovered more than one tonne of crystal meth and the amount might increase because we have not finished checking everything,” the vice admiral said. Officials also arrested four Taiwanese crew members who claimed not to know each other. Authorities also found at least four different national flags on the boat and fake documents, prompting suspicion that the vessel was a “phantom ship” which operates under different names and changed flag according to the country’s waters it entered, he said. AGENCIES
MF chief Christine Lagarde on Saturday urged Arab countries to slash public wages and subsidies in order to rein in spending, achieve sustainable growth and create jobs. Speaking at the one-day Arab Fiscal Forum in Dubai, Lagarde welcomed “promising” reforms adopted by some Arab countries, but insisted much
more was needed to overcome daunting economic and social problems. Low oil prices are weighing on the finances of Arab oil exporters, while importers are battling with rising debt, unemployment, conflicts, terrorism and refugee inflows, the International Monetary Fund´s managing director said. Almost all Arab countries have posted budget deficits over the past few years and Arab economies grew at just 1.9 percent last year, half the global rate, according to the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF), which co-organised the event with the IMF. Yet Arab public spending remains very high, especially in oil-rich Gulf states, where government expenditures exceed 55 percent of gross domestic product, Lagarde said. She said many Arab governments had taken steps to contain spending, but the measures have often been temporary. Public spending reforms should focus on cutting costly subsidies and public wage bills whilst boosting efficiency in areas like health, education and public investment, she said. “There is really no excuse
Kim Jong Un invites South Korea’s Moon to Pyongyang
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un invited the South’s President Moon Jae-in for a summit in Pyongyang Saturday, Seoul said, even as the US warned against falling for Pyongyang’s Olympic charm offensive. The invitation, delivered by Kim’s visiting sister Kim Yo Jong, said Kim was willing to meet the South’s leader “at the earliest date possible”, said a spokesman for the presidential Blue House. An inter-Korean summit would be the third of its kind, after Kim’s father and predecessor Kim Jong Il met the South’s Kim Daejung and Roh Moo-hyun in 2000 and 2007 respectively, both of them in Pyongyang. But it could threaten to sow division between Moon, who has long argued for engagement with the nuclear-armed North to bring
it to the negotiating table, and US President Donald Trump, who last year traded personal insults and threats of war with Kim. Washington insists that Pyongyang — which is under multiple sets of UN Security Council sanctions — must show a willingness to give up its weapons before any negotiations can happen. After months of silence on whether it would even take part in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in the South, which had their opening ceremony Friday, the Games have driven a rapprochement on the peninsula, while the North’s athletes, performers and delegates have dominated the headlines. Moon met Kim Yo Jong and the North’s ceremonial head of state, the elderly Kim Yong Nam — technically the highest-level Northern official ever to go to the South — for talks and lunch at the
Blue House on Saturday in a landmark meeting. “Special envoy Kim Yo Jong delivered a personal letter” from her brother stating his desire to “improve inter-Korean relations”, said Moon’s spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom, and verbally conveyed his offer to Moon “to visit the North at his most convenient time”. Moon did not immediately accept the offer, calling instead for efforts to “create the right conditions to realise” such a visit and urging Pyongyang to actively seek dialogue with the US, he added. “It is absolutely necessary for the North and the United States to engage in talks at an early date,” he cited Moon as saying. Tensions between the two soared last year as Pyongyang launched intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) capable of reaching the US mainland and carried out by far its most powerful nuclear test to date. Analysts believe the diplomatic drive by the North — which put its ICBMs on show at a military parade in Pyongyang on Thursday — is seeking to weaken the measures against it, and could be trying to loosen the alliance between Seoul and Washington.
for the continued use of energy subsidies,” Lagarde said. “They are extremely costly — averaging 4.5 percent of GDP among oil exporters and three percent of GDP among oil importers.” All six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council and many other Arab countries have reduced energy subsidies in recent years, but their cost is still high. AMF chairman Abdulrahman al-Hamidy said the value of Arab energy subsidies dropped from $117 billion in 2015 to $98 billion last year, according to a study by his organisation. Lagarde warned that higher growth and stringent reforms were needed to create jobs for young Arabs. “Youth unemployment is the highest in the world — averaging 25 percent, and exceeding 30 percent in nine countries,” she said. “Moreover, over 27 million hopeful young people will join the workplace over the next five years.” Hamidy said Arab economies must grow at 5-6 percent annually to create the necessary jobs, adding that half of the Arab world´s estimated 400 million population is under 25 years old.
Abayas not necessary attire for Saudi women: senior cleric JEDDAH: Saudi women need not wear the abaya – the loosefitting, full-length robes symbolic of religious faith – a senior member of the top Muslim clerical body said, another indication of the Kingdom’s efforts towards modernisation. On his television programme, Sheikh Abdullah al-Mutlaq, a member of the Council of Senior Scholars, said Muslim women should dress modestly, but this did not necessitate wearing the abaya. “More than 90 per cent of pious Muslim women in the Muslim world do not wear abayas,” Sheikh Mutlaq said on Friday. “So we should not force people to wear abayas.” While not necessarily signaling a change in the law, the statement is the first of its kind from a senior religious figure. It follows the recent pattern of freedoms the Kingdom has been witnessing with the ascent of young Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to power. Only the government-appointed clerics associated with the Council of Senior Scholars are allowed to issue fatwas, or Islamic legal opinions. Their interpretations of Islamic law form the basis of Saudi Arabia’s legal system. Saudi women have started wearing more colorful abayas in recent years, the light blues and pinks in stark contrast with the traditional black. Open abayas over long skirts or jeans are also becoming more common in some parts of the country. The trend marks a major change in the last couple of years. In 2016, a Saudi woman was detained for removing her abaya on a main street in the capital of Riyadh. Local media reported that she was detained after a complaint was filed with the religious police. The kingdom has seen an expansion in women’s rights recently, such as the decision passed to allow women to attend mixed public sporting events and the announcement that Saudi Arabia would grant them the right to drive. AGENCIES
duterte warns he’ll order navy to fire if sea wealth taken MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he has no intention of going into war over territorial feuds but will order the navy to fire if other countries extract resources from waters within his country’s exclusive economic zone. The president told a news conference late Friday that the Philippines could not fight more powerful nations like the United States and China but warned that “if you get something there from the economic zone, I will order the navy to fire.” Duterte was referring to the country’s 200nautical mile exclusive economic zone, a stretch of sea where coastal states have been granted exclusive rights to exploit natural resources under a 1982 UN treaty. Duterte recently stopped all foreign scientific research missions in Benham Rise to stress Philippine sovereign rights over the off-shore region. AGENCIES
Tillerson sees tough talks with Turkey, others on Mideast trip WASHINGTON AGENCIES
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expects to have tough talks during a five-nation trip of the Middle East next week, including in Turkey, where he will urge leaders to rein in an offensive in northern Syria, US officials said. Briefing reporters on Tillerson’s February 11-16 trip to Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, and Kuwait, US officials acknowledged there would be difficult conversations at each stop. Jordanian leaders were upset when the United States recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and suspended some aid for the Palestinians. Tillerson’s trip to Cairo, where he will meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to emphasize joint security cooperation, takes place just as Egypt has launched a major military offensive against militants on the Sinai
peninsula. Egypt also faces a March 26-28 election in which Sisi has only a single, last-minute challenger who had previously said he supported the incumbent. In Kuwait, Tillerson will attend an Iraq reconstruction conference at which Washington does not plan to contribute any money. Still, he hopes to make headway toward ending a dispute between Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Kuwait has sought to broker an end to the dispute triggered when the UAE, along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt, cut off travel and trade ties with Qatar last June. They accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and their arch-rival Iran. Doha denies the charges and says the countries are trying to curtail its sovereignty. Turkey, a US ally, has launched a military air and ground operation into the Afrin region in northwest Syria targeting the Kurdish YPG
militia despite US objections. The United States and Turkey are allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Yet they have diverging interests in the Syrian civil war, with Washington focused on defeating Daesh and Ankara keen to prevent Syria’s Kurds from gaining autonomy and fueling Kurdish insurgents on Turkish soil. “We are urging them to show restraint in their operations in Afrin and to show restraint further along the line across the (border) in northern Syria,” a US State Department official told reporters in a conference call. “That’s going to be a difficult conversation.” Speaking of US-Turkish relations, he added: “Look it’s difficult. The rhetoric is hot. The Turks are angry, and this is a difficult time to do business but it’s our belief that there are still some very fundamental underlying shared interests.” The Turkish ambassador in Wash-
ington, Serdar Kilic, defended the Afrin operation, criticized the US plea to the Turks to limit the scope of the operation and called on Washington to “cease their support” of the YPG. “We are going to terminate that threat,” Kilic told reporters in Washington. On January 21, Jordan’s King Abdullah told US Vice President Mike Pence that
Washington must rebuild “trust and confidence” in a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Speaking of the trip generally, the State Department official said: ”These are really tough issues and these are going to be tough conversations. “These are some of our
closest partners but they are also partners with whom we are facing some of the toughest issues that we have to face in the region, whether its terrorism, whether it’s the future of US assistance, whether it’s the final defeat of ISIS.” In Egypt, all opposition figures thought to pose a serious challenge to Sisi have pulled out of the race, accusing the government of underhanded tactics to ensure Sisi an easy win. Sisi has said all candidates have an equal opportunity and that the election will be free and transparent. Another State Department official said Washington supported a “genuine and a credible electoral process”. “And we have noted our concerns about the reports that Egypt’s prosecutor general has launched an investigation into opposition figures ahead of the March 26th through 28th elections. These types of issues will be discussed on this visit,” the official said.
FOREIGN NEWS 07
Sunday, 11 February, 2018
ISRAELI F-16 SHOT DOWN
ISrAel downS IrAnIAn drone, StrIkeS SyrIA tanzania withdraws from un refugee programme NAIROBI: Tanzanian President John Magufuli has announced his country will pull out of the UN’s “comprehensive refugee response framework”, which provides lasting solutions for refugees, including integration into host communities. “Tanzania has decided to withdraw for reasons of security and lack of funds,” a statement said. President Magufuli announced the decision on Friday at a meeting of top diplomats in Dar es Salaam, the country’s biggest city. Tanzania informed the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in January that it was suspending the granting of citizenship to some Burundian refugees and that it would discourage new asylum applications. Tanzania has long been considered a safe haven for refugees, particularly from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. According to the Tanzanian government newspaper Daily News, Magufuli blames the international community for failing to release funds pledged to help Tanzania integrate refugees. According to UNHCR, the “comprehensive refugee response framework” approach is based on the idea that refugees should be included in their host communities. When refugees have access to education and the right to work legally, they can develop their skills and be more self-reliant, contributing to the local economy. AGENCIES
taiwan quake toll rises to 14 as bodies pulled from rubble
TAIPEI: The toll from a deadly 6.4-magnitude quake in Taiwan rose to 14 on Saturday as rescuers searching for a missing family of Chinese tourists discovered two more bodies in a partially toppled building. Scores of rescuers combed the rubble at the foot of the 12-storey Yun Tsui apartment block that was left leaning at around a 50-degree angle by the quake, complicating rescue efforts due to fears of an imminent collapse. The two bodies and the last three missing are believed to be members of a family from Beijing who arrived in Taiwan Monday, authorities said. They were staying in a second-floor room at a hotel in the building in the eastern city of Hualien when the quake hit the following night. “(We) are digging from the fourth floor down and even though the site is leaning at 45 degrees we are making an allout effort for the rescue,” the Hualien fire department said in a statement. The first body pulled from the site was identified as a 12-year-old boy and the second an adult male, meaning 11 of the 14 people killed in the quake perished in the Yun Tsui building. Rescuers also said a third body was recovered on Saturday afternoon but this has not yet been added to the official toll. Three partially collapsed buildings in Hualien were being demolished from Friday for public safety, including the local landmark Marshal Hotel where one employee was killed. Hualien, on Taiwan’s picturesque east coast, is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, but the mountains that rise up behind the city are a testament to the deadly tectonic fault lines that run through the island. The island’s worst tremor in recent decades was a 7.6-magnitude quake in September 1999 that killed around 2,400 people. That quake ushered in stricter building codes but many of Taiwan’s older buildings remain perilously vulnerable to even moderate quakes. AGENCIES
ISRAELI FORCES ATTACK SYRIAN, IRANIAN TARGETS IN FRESH STRIKE
N Israeli F-16 was downed on Saturday morning after Israel reportedly intercepted an Iranian drone launched from Syria into Israeli territory, according to different international media reports. In a statement, the Israeli Army claimed that anti-aircraft missiles from Syrian territory targeted the jet after Israel responded to the ‘infiltration’ of the drone with a strike in Syria. The two F16 pilots ejected as the plane went down in northern Israel. Following the downing of the jet, Israel responded with a fresh large-scale strike in Syria. On Saturday, the military alliance, which includes Iran and Hezbollah, warned Israel that any new act of what it called terrorism would be met with a severe and serious response. Early on Saturday, an Iranian
ROCKET SIRENS SOUND THROUGHOUT NORTHERN AREAS OF ISRAEL
drone was intercepted in Israeli airspace. Israeli Forces spokesman Brig-General Ronen Manelis said that Israel identified an Iranian drone which took off from Syrian territory. The drone was identified by IAF systems and was downed by an IAF helicopter, he said. He also said that the Iranian drone fell inside the Israeli territory and was in their possession. In response, the Israeli military struck targets in Syria. Manelis said that the targets included the trailer from which the Iranians launched the drone. “This was a surgical action deep in Syria, target destroyed,” he said. He also confirmed that sirens were activated but said civilians were not in danger. “This is a serious Iranian attack on Israeli territory,” the spokesman said. “Iran is dragging the region into a situation in which it doesn’t know how it will end. We are prepared for a variety of incidents...whoever is responsible for this incident is the one who will pay the price.” Rocket sirens sounded for a
second time following the downing of the jet. The Syrian state TV reported explosions in the Damascus area, calling them new Israeli aggression. Shortly afterwards, the Israeli military said it has carried out a fresh ‘large-scale strike’ against 12 Iranian and Syrian targets in Syria. Landings and departures were temporarily halted at Israel’s Ben-Gurion International Airport, located near the central city of Tel Aviv. An Israeli military spokesman said that Syria and Iran were ‘playing with fire’ and would pay a heavy price. In Tel Aviv, Israeli Prime Minister’s Office has instructed cabinet ministers not to speak publicly about the events on the northern border. Syrian television claimed that more than one Israeli aircraft was hit by Syria’s defence systems. Due to Syrian anti-aircraft fire, says the army, rocket sirens sounded in multiple areas of northern Israel, first in the northern Israeli town of Beit She’an and later in the surrounding areas and Golan Heights.
MOSCOW A video published online by Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny alleging that an influential Russian deputy prime minister enjoyed lavish hospitality from a billionaire tycoon went viral on Friday, receiving more than 2 million views. The video includes footage that Navalny said was shot by a woman who has written a book about seducing oligarchs. Navalny, who has been barred from running against President Vladimir Putin in next month’s election, said the video appears to show Putin’s former top foreign policy adviser Sergei Prikhodko va-
MOSCOW/TEHRAN: Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Saturday that Moscow is seriously concerned by the latest developments in Syria and calls on sides to exercise restraint and avoid an escalation of the situation. “We urge all sides to exercise restraint and to avoid any actions that could lead to an even greater complication of the situation,” the ministry said in a statement. “It is necessary to unconditionally respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and other countries in the region.” On the other hand, Iran issued its first official response to the events, with its Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejecting as ridiculous reports that Israel had intercepted an Iranian drone launched from Syria. “Reports of downing an Iranian drone flying over Israel and also Iran’s involvement in attacking an Israeli jet are so ridiculous,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said. He said that Iran only provides military advice to Syria. The statement said that Israel claims the drone entered Israeli airspace are a lie, adding that the drones were being used to combat the Islamic State. A senior official was quoted in the statement, saying he does not believe matters would develop into a regional war. Brigadier General Hossein Salami, deputy head of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards Corps, declined to comment on the drone incident. “We cannot confirm this report on the drone because Israelis are liars... if Syrians confirm it, Iran will confirm it as well,” he said. AGENCIES
Daesh fighters move to Syria’s Idlib, clash with factions: sources
Daesh fighters battled Syrian insurgents in the northwestern province of Idlib on Saturday, a monitoring group and a rebel commander said, accusing pro-government forces of opening a corridor for the jihadists to reach the region.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said government forces had allowed Daesh fighters to leave a besieged pocket of territory at the intersection of Aleppo, Idlib, and Hama provinces, and then go to southern Idlib. A military news outlet run by Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which is fighting on the side of the Syrian
government, reported gains by the army and its allies against Daesh in that pocket but made no mention of the jihadists being allowed to leave. A commander in the alliance fighting alongside Syria’s army said the Daesh militants left the enclave. “The pocket is finished. A crossing was opened till they exited, and then it was closed,” the commander said. The Syrian army could not be reached for comment. A Syrian military statement said troops and allied forces had gained control of several towns in rural parts of Hama, Idlib, and Aleppo provinces. “The strategic importance of this achievement is that it ends the presence of the terrorist Daesh organization in both Aleppo and Hama provinces,” the statement said. The advance also secures sup-
Kremlin critic says top Russian official vacationed with tycoon AGENCIES
IRAN SAYS ISRAEL’S DRONE CLAIMS ‘RIDICULOUS’
cationing on the yacht of 50-year-old Oleg Deripaska, an aluminium magnate. Both Deripaska and Prikhodko, who rarely makes comments to the media, denied the allegations. “The political loser has once again tried to organise a provocation,” Prikhodko said in a statement to business newspaper RBC. He said he should respond to the accusations “like a man, but we will stay within the legal framework”. A spokesman for Deripaska’s Basic Element industrial group said the allegations “have no relation to reality”. “We would like to warn media from spreading these false accusations,” the spokesman said in a statement. Deripaska’s Instagram account said: “I will
defend my honour and dignity in court.” Video footage apparently shows the magnate, who controls Russian aluminium giant Rusal, and a man who appears to be Prikhodko on a yacht together, looking relaxed. The two men at one point are heard talking about strained US-Russia relations. Navalny claims Prikhodko and Deripaska sailed together on Deripaska’s luxury yacht off the coast of Norway in 2016. Prikhodko now serves as deputy prime minister and government chief of staff. He was an aide to Boris Yeltsin and then to Putin until 2012. The 61-year-old is considered to be one of the main architects of Russia’s foreign policy. Deripaska was once an associate of US President Donald
Trump’s former campaign director Paul Manafort. Prikhodko called Deripaska “my friend” and added that he did not know Manafort personally, according to RBC. He said he would not sue Navalny. “It’s enough that other people will do it,” he added. Navalny said that by using photos that the woman posted on her Instagram feed and other open sources he had identified the vessel as Deripaska’s yacht the Elden. The Kremlin critic also accused the state official of owning luxurious apartments in Moscow and a mansion outside the Russian capital. The video, which was posted on YouTube on Thursday, had been viewed more than 2 million times by Friday evening.
ply routes between Hama and Aleppo and links them to the southeast desert near the Iraqi border, it said. The military said it had destroyed militant targets, and made no mention of a corridor letting Daesh fighters depart. “The regime started the operation against this pocket seven days (ago). Suddenly they were able to take 80 villages and towns after giving them a corridor,” said Rami Abdulrahman, director of the Observatory, a Britain-based war monitoring group. Hasan Haj Ali, commander of the Free Idlib Army rebel group, confirmed the report. Ali said his fighters were taking part in clashes against some 200 Daesh fighters who had arrived in southern Idlib early on Friday.
Sunday, 11 February, 2018
Will NAB come up to expectations? Need to go beyond targeting a government
The Politics of pipeline diplomacy Attaining considerable influence in Afghanistan is tied to Pakistan’s economic interests in the region
ATionAL Accountability Bureau (nAB) had gone into hibernation under its previous DG and thus lost the people’s confidence. Justice (rtd) Javed iqbal however hit the ground running as DG nAB. in January nAB took up chiniot mineral resources misappropriation case which had been closed by his predecessor. Punjab chief secretary was directed to provide the record of multan metro Project and four of the 56 public limited companies established by the provincial government. The ruling party meanwhile had started having second thoughts about the appointment. There were reports of the government considering changing the nAB law to reduce its chief’s powers. it suddenly dawned on Punjab chief minister that nAB is a corruption ridden institution. Fed up with the inefficiency of institutions like FiA ad FBR people have now started building expectations around the nAB. on Friday national Assembly standing committee on Finance decided to send to nAB the case of illegal investments of over $8 billion by Pakistanis in Dubai. The same day an islamabad High court bench directed the Bureau to proceed against Pervez musharraf’s alleged corruption during his tenure as President. While nAB already has enough on its plate, more demands of the sort are likely to follow. The question is whether the Bureau has the necessary expertise and resources to fulfil the expectations? The JiT constituted to probe the Panamagate case managed to prepare a formidable dossier because it comprised experts drawn from a number key departments. Even then it might not have succeeded if the probe did not have the mandate of the sc or had not been conducted under the constant supervision of the apex court. Will nAB enjoy a similar cooperation and support from important institutions while it probes the Dubai investments and musharraf’s corruption? As things stand nawaz sharif has refused to appear before nAB which is preparing two supplementary references against him and according to DG nAB several Punjab government departments are not cooperating with the Bureau. one expects the Bureau not to confine itself to probing just one administration but to take up mega cases of corruption irrespective of the identity, class or section of society the criminals belong to.
conomics plays an essential role in defining the geopolitical pursuits of the nation-states. in recent years, the central Asian abundant energy resources, largely untapped, have triggered a race amongst the big powers for gas and oil pipelines in and around the region. in Afghanistan the ‘new great game’ or sometimes called ‘pipeline diplomacy’ regarding the control of energy resources in central Asia and its routes is shaping up. Pakistan’s interest in central Asia sharply increased after the soviet Union collapse – as it perceived a strategic opportunity there. General naseerullah Babar, who was central in Pakistan’s attempts to navigate these newly available potential economic opportunities, while negating the military dimension of ‘strategic depth’, said in an interview ‘the talk about strategic depth is nonsense…. We realised that Afghanistan is a perfect corridor for goods from central Asia. Those countries needed an Asian outlet, especially for oil and gas. We wanted to take advantage of that. Pakistan’s geo-economic significance stems from its position at the junction of “three Asia’s” – West, central, and south. moreover, Pakistan and Afghanistan’s geostrategic location between the energy loaded economies of the middle East and central Asia,
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Umair Jamal is a graduate of the School of Government and International Affairs, Durham University. He is a research fellow with the Centre for Governance and Policy. He regularly writes for various media outlets. He can be contacted on Twitter: @UJAmaLs.
No longer committed to a two-state solution?
Dedicated to the legacy of the late Hameed Nizami
serves Pakistan’s interests in making it more attractive to key states and major energy companies alike, and it is more likely that they would favour energy routes that pass through Pakistan.’ in the similar vein, some have argued that Pakistan may now have a good strategic reason to maintain a porous border with Afghanistan rather than to press for the recognition of the Durand line as an international frontier that would constrain Pakistan’s scope for interference in Afghanistan Affairs. Arguably from this perspective, Pakistan not only hopes to attain deep space in Afghanistan but also aims to stretch it down to central Asia. From Pakistan’s perspective, Afghanistan is a space that Pakistan seeks to control, or at least to decisively influence, as a guarantor of its vital strategic interests. moreover, this underlying economic competition helps us understand Pakistan’s internal security dilemmas and external threats and how and why Pakistan sees Afghanistan important in its overall security calculation. on the whole, Pakistan seeks a strong hand in Afghanistan, in order to exclude or minimise indian influence, to ensure Afghanistan doesn’t contest its border with Pakistan and to ensure Afghanistan (and india) doesn’t succeed in its secessionist movements, which might lead to the loss of further Pakistani territory, or perhaps even imperil the state of Pakistan itself. moreover, an understanding of these issues provides insights into Pakistani actions over recent decades and into Pakistan’s choice of partners as it has sought to reach inside Afghanistan. nevertheless, the politics of growing regional pipeline diplomacy and global power politics in Afghanistan will shape the future of geopolitics not only in south Asia but also in West and central Asia and Pakistan sees it a vital interest.
The US’ enablement jeopardises Israel’s future
To what end?
HERE is rarely a shortage of depressing events in Pakistan ranging from the surreal to downright nauseating. Given the freedom our media now enjoys these issues are covered and analysed in great detail and more often than not sensationalised to get the required ratings and viewership. international holidays like Valentine’s Day therefore offer some respite from that sort of content as channels cover the annual event in Pakistan quite extensively. Last year iHc judge shaukat Aziz siddiqui imposed a ban on celebrating and airing any content related to the international holiday on television. it was based on a petition stating that the holiday spreads “immorality, nudity and indecency” in the country. no final verdict has been issued in this regard. This year PEmRA has upheld the same order. Does it even fall within the ambit of the iHc or PEmRA to determine whether something is islamic or un-islamic? Do the iHc and PEmRA have nothing better to do than directing their efforts towards addressing the supposed threat cupid poses to the moral fabric of society? Perhaps anchors passing off fiction as fact on prime time TV shows to defame people in order to settle personal scores is not much of a priority for PEmRA – something that its code of conduct explicitly restricts. The iHc’s morality radar works fine when it comes to soft targets like Valentine’s Day but misses the plethora of reports about madrassas being infested by sexual abuse of minors. such holidays also provide small businesses like flower/gift shops the opportunity to earn a much needed extra buck. We are fast becoming a severely repressive society where the simple exchange of flowers, cards and gifts to show affection to a loved one is misconstrued as a depraved act not in keeping with some self-serving definition and interpretation of culture and religion the more extreme elements in our society have come up with. We are fast approaching a point where state sponsored interference with individual liberty becomes the norm and that is truly a dangerous road to be on.
and the energy keen growing economies of india and china naturally trigger some great potential drivers in economic development in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Gwadar port, which is on the cusp of south, West and central Asia, is important in this context. Pakistan’s land mass and Gwadar port are the most suitable gateways to connect energy-hungry india and china, and arguably the naturally available routes to extract oil and gas from central Asia. The project of TurkmenistanAfghanistan-Pakistan-india (TAPi) pipeline, if materialised, would go through Afghanistan and Pakistan before reaching india or china, if it joins in future. Historically, instability in Afghanistan and hostile relations between Pakistan and india has kept india reluctant from going through with this project. While there is the potential of large economic dividends, there is also some great deal of friction around competing energy supply routes. on the regional level, while india and china are potential rivals for control of energy resources in central Asia, china’s investment in Gwadar port is compelling india to look for other potential alternative routes to avoid Pakistan. iranian port of ‘chabahar’ is a part of this india’s calculation. in this context, Pakistan sees itself as a central player in what goes on in Afghanistan in the future. And perhaps, it would be plausible to argue that with india’s fast-growing economy, which is in dire need of energy resources, Pakistan might be interested in spoiling india’s economic plans by choking it in Afghanistan, the only suitable route. Perhaps, by doing this Pakistan might be looking for some concessions in the Kashmir dispute, which seems impossible. some have argued that ‘Afghanistan is no longer a corner where nodes of terrorist networks can be hidden. it is a strategically situated route for the transport of central Asian oil’ and a place of strategic importance for the regional players. in the post 9/11 milieu Pakistan has lost its strategic mileage in Afghanistan, while india has increased its influence. in this context, some have argued that ‘instability in Afghanistan
as they believe it to be the conduit for the return of the messiah. They represent a significant voting block (72 million registered voters), without which no one is assured of winning the presidency. neither the Republicans nor the Democrats could outright win control over the House and the senate without the support of the evangelicals’ rank and file. moreover, the Us and israel have developed over the past five decades wide-ranging collaboration on several fronts: close strategic cooperation to ensure israel’s security while furthering the Us’ economic and strategic interest in the region; intelligence sharing; military coordination; and extensive collaboration in the fields of science and technology, among many others. Added to that is the shared social and political values buttressed by America’s moral commitment to israel’s survival, as well as the traditional support of the American Jewish community, many of whom enjoy noteworthy influence on members of the House and the senate through financial contributions to their political campaigns. Finally, the Us and israel both identify iran as a major destabilising regional power, sharing a resolve to prevent it from realising its nuclear and regional ambitions. This explains why Us support of israel continues unabated, despite their differences in connection with the israeli-Palestinian conflict. The most glaring example is the israeli settlements, which successive administrations characterised as a major obstacle to peace, but failed to exert any pressure on israel to stop building new and expanding existing settlements. The advent of the new administration made matters worse. Even though Trump wants to facilitate an israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, he neither supports nor objects to a
Dr alon Ben-meir
HE United states has been and remains the staunchest supporter of israel, and its unqualified support will cause significant damage to israel’s future wellbeing. The Us’ continued political, military and economic backing has enabled israel in the past to maintain the occupation and create new political and physical conditions in the West Bank that have severely undermined, if not destroyed, the prospect of a two-state solution. Every israeli government, regardless of its political composition, took the Us’ support for granted, believing that no American administration would take any punitive action even if israel acted contrary to the Us position regarding the israeli-Palestinian conflict. This gave successive israeli governments the freedom to formulate and act on policies in the West Bank with impunity. Even President obama, who exerted some pressure on netanyahu’s government to halt the expansion of settlements, ended up providing israel with $38 billion for military assistance over ten years with no strings attached. There are several reasons behind the Us’ unhindered support of israel. of paramount importance is the political support of the evangelicals, who are staunch supporters of israel
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two-state solution and has left it up to israel and the Palestinian Authority to decide which way to go. This sent a clear signal to the netanyahu government that the Us is no longer committed to a two-state solution, leaving him to gradually undermine any prospect left to that end. Trump’s other terrible mistake was not demanding any concession from netanyahu in return for the Us’ recognition of Jerusalem as israel’s capital, which could have resuscitated the peace process and helped him “negotiate the deal of the century” that he wished for. For netanyahu, the Us’ recognition of Jerusalem was an unparalleled historic fulfilment of the israelis’ dream. Even though Trump left open the question of Jerusalem’s final borders, many israelis and Palestinians alike view his recognition as another nail in the coffin of a two-state solution. moreover, Trump’s decision to freeze financial aid to UnRWA was short-sighted and played directly into netanyahu’s hand—losing much of the Us’ leverage to pressure the PA to return to the negotiating table. Thus, instead of utilising the recognition of Jerusalem to advance the peace, Trump alienated the Palestinians while further enabling netanyahu to stay his course. The American unwillingness to force israel to change direction not only undermined the prospect of a two-state solution, but thrust israel into a precarious existence. As such, a growing number of Jews in and outside israel have become disillusioned about israel’s future and its reason for being. israel is progressively becoming a hard-core nationalist state, with the orthodox Jews and settlers gaining ever more influence in all government and private institutions. For israelis, American political, economic, and military support is all that matters. The failure of succes-
sive American administrations to use these levers to compel israel to change its policy toward the Palestinians only emboldens the israelis to pursue territorial expansionism without fearing any punitive action from its most critical benefactor. moreover, even though the Us has had a fairly clear framework for a peace agreement in mind, it has irresponsibly allowed the israelis to change the territorial and political dynamic in the West Bank without modifying its policy toward israel to correspond to its general framework for a two-state solution. Given the fact that only the Us can exact the necessary concessions needed to make peace, it has enabled israel to pursue an ill-fated policy toward the Palestinians. By its unwillingness to exert pressure to stop the settlements enterprise, it scuttled any prospect of reaching a peace agreement. sadly, the Us’ domestic political considerations, compounded by the current missassessment of the Trump administration regarding the importance of israeli-Palestinian peace to regional stability, will continue to override a sound policy toward israel to save it from its self-destruction. Three more years of misguided political backing by the Trump administration could inflict a fatal blow to israel, rendering the country neither Jewish nor democratic. Those israelis who are cheering Trump’s rise to power should be careful what they wish for. Further enablement of israel by the Us will be the kiss of death to an israeli-Palestinian peace and will make israel a pariah state surrounded by walls and fences, constantly threatened and living by the gun. Dr Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Centre for Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies. email@example.com
Sunday, 11 February, 2018
COMMENT 09 Editor’s mail
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Failing ratio in schools, colleges, and universities Part-1 Reasons and solutions while the Hssc showed a total passing rate of at gas stations, call centres, local restaurants and 74.33. As compared to the results of past years, many other such places just to make a little money this result proved to be much better. But still, so that they can afford the educational expenses. more than 25% students failed to make it to col- That leads to their failure in colleges and universities as it divides their atlege or university. tention. such students do As students reach for not get much time to study higher education and or to sleep as they attend some professional declasses in the morning and gree, these figures bework in evening shifts. come much worse. in However, the overall Thus, even after trying 2013, the University of Karachi announced the passing percentage of SSC hard to make ends meet, in the end, they fail to come result of Bcom exam that was almost 79.49 while the up with positive results. was quite disturbing. Lack of interest only 16 per cent students HSSC showed a total it is human nature that were able to pass the passing rate of 74.33. As one does not perform well exam that is considered Waqas a Khan when the task is not of his very simple. students, compared to the results of or her interest. so how do who succeed in graduato one can deny the importance of ed- ing and getting a profeswe expect children to sucpast years, this result ucation. Especially in the modern sional degree and how ceed with flying colours proved to be much better. world of today, to cope with the fast well they perform further when they are forced to do advancing nations, education is the is a different story. The something which they do key. in Pakistan, the education sector css exam result of 2016 not want to do? This probis the most talked about. Almost every govern- was yet another devastatlem mainly arises at the ment pays a lot of attention to this sector, but ing blow to Pakistan’s higher level of studies bestill, the situation does not change significantly. educational standards. cause elementary schoolDoes that mean we are not working in the right only 2 per cent of students who appeared in the ing is almost uniform and has little or nothing to do direction? The answer is Yes! There are a lot of central superior services of Pakistan (css) with one’s interests and passions. However, when factors that are being neglected. merely talking exam passed. The results revealed that a remark- it comes to college or professional studies where a about education does not change the situation. able 98 per cent of students failed to clear the student is given an option to choose from different some underlying factors need to be addressed. written test which left the observers in awe. This fields, their attention matters a lot. What one needs to answer is why so many stu- is an alarming situation that raises a lot of quesUnfortunately, in our society, students are dents enter into educational institutions but fail tions on the quality of education in the country. forced to follow the path mapped by their parents to come out as successful individuals to conApart from the failing ratio, some other or the norms of the community. All parents want tribute to the society. statistics related to education are also alarming. their children to either become a doctor or engimany children enter schools, colleges, and in the first place, according to the ministry of neer. When students are forced to study someuniversities with very high hopes. But soon they Education, the dropout ratio in Pakistan in thing they have no interest in, they show poor get slapped in the face by reality. As soon as they 2007-2008 was 41% at primary school level. results, and that’s one of the reasons why stucome into any educational institution, they realise That means, almost half of the students fail to dents fail in college and universities. that turning dreams into Role of health reach high school level. reality is not that easy. it To perform well in school, college or univerThere are numerous is not a bed of roses inreasons behind high sity, a student must have a sound mind and a stead it’s a path of thorns. ratio of failing students. sound body. This factor is mostly neglected by They get carried away by some of them are dis- most of the people, but it plays an important role a lot of factors and end up in the academic performance of a student. A stucussed below: Poor health leads to high failing and drop out. But Financial Problems dent cannot bear the academic pressure if he or we can’t just blame chilone of the biggest she is not mentally and physically fit. Even minor absentee rate which in turn dren for such situations. reasons why students deficiencies can hinder them from achieving their leads to a poor academic The reasons behind their fail in school, colleges goals. Poor health leads to high absentee rate failure should be recogand universities are eco- which in turn leads to a poor academic performperformance by a student. nised and addressed in a nomic problems that ance by a student. How is a student supposed to How is a student supposed they and their families perform well in school if he or she is visiting a manner that no student fails ever again. face. cost of getting an doctor most of the time? Thus, failure of a student to perform well in school if Statistical Evidence education is very high. is directly proportional to his or her health. According to the stasimilarly, mental illness affects education a Although the law states he or she is visiting a tistical data prepared by that every child must get lot. According to some statistics, one in five studoctor most of the time? Federal Board of interfree and compulsory dents experience mental illness. mental Health mediate and secondary basic education the real- Disorders can affect classroom learning and social Education in 2016, more ity is altogether oppo- interactions, both of which are critical to the sucthan 170 thousand stusite. Parents who can’t cess of students. such issues if left unattended lead dents appeared in the even afford to feed their to the failure of students since it becomes near imsecondary school Level children three times a possible for a student to keep up with his studies. (ssc) exam, and more than a million students day find it impossible to educate their children. appeared in Higher secondary school level Due to such financial issues, today 22 million Waqas A khan is a PhD scholar and a (Hssc) exam. it shows that the number of stu- children are out of school in Pakistan. And even Fellow of International Centre for Journalists in dents enrolled in schools and colleges all over if they make it to schools, they have to work Washington, DC, USA. He can be reached on Pakistan is quite enough. However, the overall part-time to pay for their educational expenses. Twitter at: @wakhanlive, and on his website: passing percentage of ssc was almost 79.49 Thousands of students can be found working www.khanwaqas.com
GiVEn the stifling patriarchal society we live in, there are a multitude of issues women face daily. i know and can say in advance that talking about issues related to women, specifically pertaining to equal wages and opportunities, discrimination, and most importantly sexual abuse and assault not only infuriates most of the population, rather such issues are cast by the wayside by not only men but repudiated by an overwhelming majority of women as well. The stigma of being adulterated and besmirched is way too much for us to swallow. issues and matters related to child abuse, sexual abuse, rape and molestation are always overlooked as most people quaver at the thought of discussing and confronting such issues. The sad truth is that such matters in our country are treated as taboo and are mostly brushed aside as people prefer to remain reticent. such problems are not highlighted in public forums and discussions nor are they part of the curriculum in schools. What we need is to start a vigorous dialogue about matters which are latently simmering and will ultimately create catastrophic reverberations in terms of an inert society devoid of a basic moral fibre. Looking at the news, you see yourself bombarded with dreary incidents of prepubescent girls being abducted, raped and murdered and criminals absconding after committing heinous crimes and homicidal incidents so horrid that you prefer not watching the news at all. As cliché as it may sound and as polarising the topic may be, we need to incessantly talk about such matters to change the ethos of a society which is on the brink of moral demise. We need to herald in the change ourselves. since the government hardly takes affirmative and concrete steps to ensure minorities and women and children are protected from atrocities, the most rudimentary step is to start disseminating information and facts about such issues that raise awareness. The world is changing, for even the most powerful who are now facing the throes of accountability. The best example is that of the media mogul and film magnate, Harvey Weinstein who has been indicted and arraigned on various counts of abuse and unwarranted advances on a bevy of influential Hollywood actresses. The bellicose rhetoric of Donald Trump and his apparent misogynistic tendencies only became mainstream news during the presidential race and when he ultimately became the president. considering how apparent these problems are in first world countries we can only imagine the abysmal situation here in Pakistan. These problems aside, women face a plethora of problems in terms of harassment, lack of encouragement, educational opportunities, working/employment opportunity in terms of permission, etc. While managing household women have to juggle multiple responsibilities here in Pakistan. matters concerning women should be discussed just so that the population gains empathy, which we severely lack. Although the situation is improving, we’re still a long way to go. Let us just stand with our women as equals and not relegate them as mere caricatures who are not taken seriously. For this we men need to support the women out there because without our support and men providing an impetus for change, it will take far longer than necessary. Let us remove the stigma of feminism because the first step to moving towards a solution is accepting the problem. For us to move forward we need to move on from labels and embrace humanity and tolerance. SYED FAkHIr ALI Lahore
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FoR other parties, it is rather clear who will become the prime minister if they are elected into power. not so much for the League. sure, shehbaz sharif might have been tapped to become the next prime minister but the prime minister of hearts has been giving mixed signals of late. Emboldened by the recent spate of successful rallies, one in the heart of the PTi’s Peshawar, sharif is heard talking about plans of amending the constitution (if the numbers permit) if the courts don’t oblige and become the premiere for the fourth time. meanwhile, heir-apparent maryam nawaz is also giving prime ministerial looks of late. Then, there is the current prime minister, who has launched a #metoo of his own, by saying that the party will decide who the prime minister is going to be after the elections. ********* TALK of imran Khan’s wedding seems to have cooled off in the aftermath of the negative fallout amongst the party’s circles. For the party’s urban elite followers, the whole peer business is a bit archaic. And for the party’s followers within interior i sindh and Punjab, the ideas of marrying ones peer is most distasteful, to say the least. Talk within the party circles: if he does marry his peerni, the slot of his spiritual leader would be open. Whoever would the next one be?
10 BUSINESS pakistan needs easier, faster trade, investment process: British envoy KARACHI APP
British Deputy High Commissioner Steve Crossman has emphasised on taking more steps to increase trade between Pakistan and Britain, which at present is very low against the potential, at $ 2.6 billion last year. There is need to build our trade capacity and the Pakistani government should make trade and investment processes easier and faster, he said while talking to the media at a farewell dinner hosted by Mundia Group of Industries on Friday. The reception was attended by prominent business, political and social figures who were welcomed by Mundia Group Chairman M Illyas Mundia. The British Deputy High Commissioner said the trade between the two countries was good but it could be much better. There were many constraints, like Pakistan’s negative image, the difficult licensing process for foreign companies and complex taxation procedures. The law and order situation in Pakistan also needs further improvement. “People want to invest in SMEs here in Pakistan; however it takes months to start a business due to slow and complex processes of completing formalities. Thus their investment is stuck,” he mentioned adding that unnecessary delays also created space for corruption. He said over 100 British companies were operating and doing well in Pakistan and hinted that more companies might join soon if the investment and trade environment was made attractive. He said the United Kingdom wants a prosperous and stable Pakistan. Around 1.2 million Pakistanis live in the UK and contribute to the British economy. He said that the people of Pakistani origin had even become members of the UK parliament.
salamair initiates flights to multan
Sunday, February 11, 2018
War on terror costs 5.5 times more than Us sUpport: pasha KARACHI
OTED economist Dr Hafiz Pasha said on Saturday that the gap between the rich and the poor has widened by onethird in the last few years. Speaking at the launch of three economy-related books at the Karachi Literature Festival (KLF), Pasha said the gap between the two classes has substantially gone up in the last 15 years and now stands at 12 to one. Sharing his research outcomes that constitute the first volume of his latest book on low growth and rising inequality, he said the two major factors that constrained growth in the last 15 years were the war on terror and electricity shortages. Using a new methodology to estimate the direct and indirect cost of the war on terror, Pasha estimated the cost at $ 180 billion, adding that it is ‘much higher’ than the figure of $ 123 billion reported by the government. “It is costing Pakistan $ 11-12 billion a year,” he said, noting that the cost is 5.5 times higher than the financial support received from the United States. Based on a scientific survey of 1,000 industrial, commercial, agricul-
DR ISHRAT SAYS, DESPITE FREQUENT ACTS OF TERRORISM, PAKISTAN RECORDED GROWTH RATES OF 6.5-7pc DURING 2002-07 tural and domestic users, Pasha said the annual cost of load-shedding for 201516 was Rs 1.575 trillion. “It is a tragedy because this could have been avoided altogether,” he said, adding that exports amounting to $ 3.5 billion were affected and over a million jobs were lost as a result of power shortages. As for employment generation, he said the economy has been adding up to 700,000 jobs every year as opposed to 1.5-1.7 million people that join the workforce annually. “We are adding less than 50 per cent of the number of jobs that are required to absorb new entrants annually,” he said. According to his research, the level of unemployment in the ‘educated’ workforce is three times higher than the national level. “One in every six graduates is unemployed,” he said, adding that 4 million male youths are sitting ‘idle’. His team also conducted an exercise to estimate the growth rates of provincial economies. Despite the
impact of the war on terror, KhyberPakhtunkhwa is the fastest-growing provincial economy in the country. This is partly because its residents receive 30-35 per cent of total foreign and domestic remittances, he said. Its growth rate has steadily been above 5 per cent for the last 16 years as opposed to the national average of 4.5 per cent. Speaking on the occasion, Sustainable Development Policy Institute Deputy Executive Director Dr Vaqar Ahmed highlighted the missing link between fiscal and trade policies. Referring to the ‘anti-export bias’ of the fiscal policy, he said manufacturing enterprises have to pay 56 kinds of taxes and comply with 13 separate institutions to operate in Pakistan. “The regulatory burden is too heavy,” he said. At the launch of his book in a separate session, State Bank of Pakistan former governor Dr Ishrat Hussain said too many myths exist about the economy in the minds of the general public. His lat-
Newbie Serene Air makes some hay as AirBlue planes undergo maintenance KARACHI FAROOQ BALOCH
MULTAN STAFF REPORT
Securing final clearances from the Pakistani aviation authorities, SalamAir, Oman’s first budget airline is scheduled to operate three direct flights to Multan starting February 9, 2018. As SalamAir’s 3rd destination in Pakistan, Multan will complement the airline’s current flights to Sialkot and Karachi. The new route will also further increase connectivity between the two countries, as well as the region. The weekly flights are set to take-off at 23:55 from Muscat, arriving in Multan at 3:30. The return flights will depart from Multan at 4:50 arriving in Muscat at 6:35. SalamAir CEO Captain Mohamed Ahmed said: “The addition of Multan to our destinations will allow us to better serve our guests, and cater to rising number of business and leisure travellers. The Pakistani community makes up about 13 per cent of the local expatriates working in Oman, it is, therefore, no surprise that this route has been one of the highest in demand. We have worked very hard with the authorities to ensure that our flight timings will allow our guests to conveniently connect to other destinations including Dubai, Doha, Jeddah and Salalah via Muscat.” He said that SalamAir has become the preferred airline for Pakistanis travelling for Umrah. In just a few months, the airline has flown over 30,000 passengers to and from Pakistan and that is only the beginning. The CEO went on to explain that SalamAir is exploring other underserved destinations in Pakistan including Islamabad, Lahore and Faisalabad, as well as increasing its flight frequencies on current routes. Since its launch, SalamAir has been committed to connecting the region by adopting an ‘only pay for what you need’ low-cost business model. As its destination network continues to expand, the airline will remain focused on following its customer-centric philosophy, serving the needs its guests on popular short to medium-haul routes. With the addition of Multan, SalamAir’s network today also includes Muscat, Salalah, Suhar, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Multan, Karachi and Sialkot. SalamAir has partnered up with Gerry’s Group as their local partners and representatives in Pakistan to ensure smooth progression and growth as per the airline’s vision.
est work titled Governing the Ungovernable busts those myths by using empirical evidence. Dr Ishrat said that for example, the general perception is that poor economic growth is a direct result of the fact that Pakistan is a fragile state ravaged by frequent acts of terrorism. However, Hussain refutes this view by asserting that terrorism is a post-2001 phenomenon. “The rot started around 1990 when there was no terrorism,” he said, adding that the country recorded growth rates of 6.5-7 per cent in 2002-07 despite frequent acts of terrorism. He also refuted the generally held views about the hyped role of foreign assistance flows, US support for military dictators, the adverse impact of global politics and overemphasis on the garrison-state narrative by using official statistics. Strengthening institutions can improve governance indicators and curtail the rising inequality and slow economic growth, he said. He called on policymakers to bring reforms in 24 key institutions of national importance to create ‘islands of excellence’, which will then have a spillover effect on the rest of the economy.
AirBlue’s flight operations remained disturbed last week after two of its planes were taken off the fleet on technical grounds, leaving passengers with fewer options to fly and competition with additional customer demand and a chance to make some hay in the process. Many customers are experiencing Serene Air for the first time because of a lack of choice as AirBlue, last week, reduced operations on key routes of Lahore and Islamabad. This additional demand also gave the newbie Serene Air some cushion to sell tickets at higher prices due to higher occupancy rates and make some hay in an otherwise competitive aviation market, Pakistan Today has learnt. “Yes, some of their [AirBlue’s] traffic load is coming to us. This was obvious because they suspended several flights on the same routes where we operate,” said a sales official from Serene Air, which commenced operations in January 2017. “We are a new airline with new aircrafts and quality service, which helps,” he said. Earlier, AirBlue had to ground two of its planes for maintenance and suspend some flights, reducing its
local operations between Karachi and Islamabad from two daily flights to only two per week. On Karachi-Lahore route, the number of flights was halved to only one flight per day. “Some security checks are being performed on our planes, including three which are newly bought,” a customer relations officer said, adding the operations will be normal after February 15. With three daily flights to Islamabad and two to Lahore, Serene Air stepped in to cash in on the opportunity as the state-owned PIA, which offers more flights in these routes, remained mostly sold-out, restricting competition for the additional traffic mainly to Serene and Shaheen. Smallest of the top three domestic operators, AirBlue has 14 per cent share in the country’s domestic passenger market as of June 30,
2016, according to Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) – the sector’s regulatory body. The state-owned PIA led the market with 62 per cent share followed by Shaheen Air that accounted for nearly a quarter of the pie in the same period. Maintenance due to a bird hit or other accidents is a normal practice in the aviation sector, which follows rigorous safety standards because of the nature of its operations. For example, Serene Air, too, grounded one of its planes immediately after it had met a small accident at Islamabad Airport in February last year. However, the development at AirBlue comes at a time when the passenger traffic is increasing and the size of the market is growing at a rate higher than the international average. In other words, if one operator misses on the opportunity, oth-
ers will cash in because of growing competition, and the latest news on aviation front suggests the competition will only intensify. The International Air Transport Association (IATA), a global trade association with 280 airlines under its umbrella, forecasts Pakistan’s aviation industry to grow by up to 9 per cent, per year through 2020 – enough to lure five new airlines that are said to be in the process to commence operations in Pakistan this year. As per recent news, the increased competition in the sector has kept prices under check, which is why more people are opting for air travel. On the other hand, airlines are expanding their fleet and operations to cater to the increasing demand. With AirBlue likely to take another week before going back to full capacity, competition is likely to make most of the opportunity. “We are working on it [fixing the planes] and operations will normalize in a week or so, depending upon clearance from the regulator,” AirBlue Managing Director (MD) Junaid Khan told Pakistan Today. The MD said, “Once the planes are fixed, the airline will seek approval from the regulator and they will be added back to the fleet.”
LCCI, Pak embassy to set up display centre in Malaysia LAHORE STAFF REPORT
The Pakistani embassy in Malaysia, in collaboration with the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), will establish a buying house and display centre for Pakistani products in Kualalumpur to show customers the best quality of Pakistani products. The decision was made at a meeting between Pakistani High Commissioner in Malaysia Nafees Zikaria and LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid in the embassy of Pakistan, Kualalumpur. Members of the LCCI delegation Shahid Nazir, Awais Saeed Piracha, Muhammad Wasim, Haseeb Khawar,
Shabbir Bhatti, Malik Muhammad Islam, Muhammad Farooq, Mian Faisal Majeed and Muhammad Arshad Bhatti were also present in the meeting, according to LCCI spokesman here Saturday. Pakistani High Commissioner in Malaysia Nafees Zikaria said that Pakistani embassy would take all possible measures to introduce Pakistani products to Malaysians. He urged the LCCI members to avail the opportunity and grab the attention of foreign buyers through the display centre to be set up by the embassy of Pakistan in Kualalumpur and the LCCI. He also lauded the untiring and sincere efforts of LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid and other members
of the delegation for the external trade of the country. LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid said that display centre for Pakistani products in Kualalumpur will be beneficial for both country and the business community. He said that boost in export is a must to bring precious foreign exchange in the country. He added that in present global scenario, marketing is the most effective tool to increase the businesses whether these are large or small. He said that lack of proper marketing is also one of the major reasons of limited Pakistani exports, but the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry is striving to remove the obstacle. Malik Tahir Javaid urged the busi-
nessmen to contact the LCCI to avail the opportunity of display centre for Pakistani products in Kualalumpur. Lahore Chamber President also urged the Pakistani entrepreneurs to concentrate on branding because consumers always prefer branded products. He said that branding transforms an ordinary product into special one and also removes all the ambiguities from the minds of the buyers thus a huge amount of foreign exchange can be earned by focusing on branding as Pakistani products are best of the best in the world. Malik Tahir Javaid thanked Pakistani High Commissioner in Malaysia Nafees Zikaria for accepting the LCCI idea of display centre.
Sunday, February 11, 2018
LAHORE: After successful participation at the Real Estate Property Expo Karachi, Eighteen exhibits at Zameen Expo, Lahore. Picture shows Eighteen Senior Director Uzair Adil alongside other senior officials. PRESS RELEASE
Pakistan Sieger Show 2018, ‘Pakistan's National Championship of German Shepherd Dogs’ LAHORE: The Aleem Dar Cricket Stadium, Bahria Town, Lahore was the venue for the biggest German Shepherd dog show in Pakistan. The “Pakistan Sieger Show - 2018” allowed the residents of Lahore, a rare opportunity to see some of the best German Shepherd Dogs from across Pakistan gathered to compete in different categories. This was the National Championship show at the culmination of the winter season 2017/18 during which time, other shows had been organised all over Pakistan under the umbrella of the GSDCP. The participating dogs at the event were judged by the internationally renowned judge, WUSV board member and GSDCP President Imran Husain, who is one of the world's foremost authorities in the iconic German Shepherd Dog (GSD). The event started at 11:00 am at the stadium in Bahria Town and saw massive participation by people from across Pakistan. The finest German Shepherd dogs from across Pakistan put up a scintillating show for the audiences and the owners got a chance to flaunt their dog training and grooming. The participants competed in Minor Puppy, Puppy, Junior, Youth and Open categories which were determined on the basis of the dog’s ages. PRESS RELEASE
Donor agencies allegeDly BriBe govt high Ups to enforce secret agenDa ISLAMABAD
HE leading donor agencies are sending high officials on foreign tours in order to safeguard and promote their vested agenda in the country irrespective of its implications on the country’s financial health, Pakistan Today has learnt reliably. Recently, the high ups of Asian Development Bank (ADB) offered a oneweek study tour of Spain to six different DESCOs officers for Advanced Metering Infrastructure project. Allegedly officers from Lahore Electric Supply Company Limited (LESCO), Islamabad Electric Supply Company Limited (IESCO), Hyderabad Electric Supply Company Limited (HESCO) and Peshawar Electric Supply Company Limited (PESCO) namely Imran Mahmood, Aamir Yaseen, Nasir Rahif, Mohsin Raza Gilani, Saeed Ahmed Dawach and Tahir Moeen have been
Pakistan’s leading biscuit manufacturer EBM launches ‘Peek Freans Cake Up’ KARACHI: Peek Freans’ iconic Pied Piper has become a household name over the years. After almost five decades, several bestselling products and millions of satisfied cravings, Pakistan’s leading biscuit manufacturer, English Biscuit Manufacturers (Private) Limited (EBM) steps into a new food category as they launch their latest brand ‘Peek Freans Cake Up’, a centre-filled wholesome cupcake range with real goodness inside. Peek Freans Cake Up comes in four real and diverse flavours; Chocolate, Strawberry, Caramel and Double Chocolate. These deliciously soft, moist and fresh cupcakes come with a twist — a luscious centrefilled surprise comprising of real fillings of strawberry pulp, caramel and cocoa. At this occasion, EBM Managing Director and CEO Dr Zeelaf Munir said “for over 50 years we have served the nation by giving them nutritious wholesome biscuits. Head of Marketing Ayesha Janjua said, “Real ingredients lead to a real taste - the universal truth that lies at the heart of our unique and freshly baked cupcakes. Therefore our brand message, “real goodness inside” champions the use of real and fine ingredients and takes Peek Freans Cake Up a step ahead. PRESS RELEASE
LAHORE: OneApple introduced its newly designed desktop computer and All-in-One PC which attracted and impressed the public at the Dawn Lifestyle Expo. Onlookers were very pleased to witness the progress of the first IT industry in Pakistan in such a short span. OneApple CEO and Regional Head Syed Tahir Rizvi and Sales and Marketing Director Saeed Ismail were also present at the expo. PRESS RELEASE
Moreover, the World Bank officials took Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government officials to the USA just to pave way for the approval of a project related to the linkage of Islamabad and KPK via a tunnel. An official of a donor agency on the condition of anonymity told Pakistan Today that everyone knows why donor agencies take officers on foreign trips. It is a routine matter for these agencies because they have to get certain projects approved. Sources further added that officials, who have visited different countries on donor’s expense sometimes, propose projects that not only have negative implications on the local industry and the society as a whole but seem to endanger national interests. Sources said that the approval of advanced metering project will damage the local metering industry. Pakistan Today made repeated attempts to contact ADB media coordinator but was unable to get an official comment on the matter.
Mishal, WEF to conduct executive opinion survey in Pakistan ISLAMABAD
LAHORE: Women attend and admire jewellery exhibition organised by Faisal Jewellers. PRESS RELEASE
sponsored for the international tour by ADB. Officers told that the purpose of this tour was to make collect and establish a positive opinion on the above mentioned project as it entails a huge amount of investment worth $ 990 million, however, the tour has since been cancelled after the Ministry of Power did not approve the trip. According to rules, government officials have to take permission from its ministry while visiting a foreign country. Officers further told that it has become a routine practice in Pakistan as ADB, World Bank and others offer fully funded study tours to government officials and in return expect their agendas to be fulfilled. Sources familiar with the situation said that in the past only multinational organisations used such tactics however now donors themselves are doing this. In another case, officials of a Chinese company reportedly visited the metrological department high ups just to approve the strengthening of the early warning system.
The World Economic Forum in partnership with Mishal Pakistan is set to conduct the Executive Opinion Survey 2018 in Pakistan in the beginning in February 2018 to measure Pakistan's global competitiveness ranking for the fiscal year 2018-2019. The survey is aimed at gathering valuable information on a broad range of variables for which hard data sources are scarce, a press release issued here said. During the survey, highlevel business executives operating in Pakistan will be surveyed to capture their opinion on the business environment
in which they operate. The executive opinion survey the “voice of the business community” would provide the key ingredient that turns the report into a representative annual measure of a nation’s economic environment and its ability to achieve sustained growth. It is pertinent to mention here that the Global Competitiveness Report has been the World Economic Forum’s flagship publication since 1979 and is widely recognised as the world’s leading cross-country comparison of factors affecting economic competitiveness and growth. Mishal Pakistan Chief Executive Officer Amir Jahangir said that it is extremely impor-
tant that each executive respondent completes the survey as valuable input is crucial to generating key data on influencing Pakistan’s index reflecting the information communication technology, technological readiness, business dynamism and innovation capacity. Last year a total of 526 respondents from the business community were reached out through the annual executive opinion survey, whereas 236 respondents were selected from 2016 and 290 in 2017, he said, adding that the World Economic Forum reached out to more than 12,755 business leaders globally and Pakistan had the third largest sample size in the world after China and Mexico in 2017.
11 exhibitors participating from Pakistan in Ambiente Fair KARACHI STAFF REPORT
More than 11 Pakistani exhibitors will be displaying their products at the Ambiente Fair that is being held from February 9-13 in Frankfurt, Germany. From Pakistan, 11 exhibitors are participating, out of which 7 exhibitors are participating under the TDAP pavilion in Halls 10.0 and 10.3. Exhibitors from Pakistan are not only showcasing huge quantity but also high-quality products in these halls like Pakistan Souvenirs, Sharp Edge, Anaya Salt, Civil Metal Works, Fatima Enterprises and Tariq Glass Etc. Pakistani exhibitors are offering a wide range of products covering interior decoration items, handicrafts, kitchen accessories and other consumer products. Fatima Enterprises Director Khalid Rasheed said, “The response from visitors is positive. We are hoping for lucrative orders from trade buyers. We are so proud to showcase our products in Ambiente while representing Pakistan.” Civil Metal Works Owner
Hasham said, “Ambiente has provided us exposure to meet genuine buyers. It is a good experience to visit the fair and we are hopeful that we will get an excellent response from international trade buyers.” Compared to previous fairs this year the fair has observed a strong increase in the number of exhibitors and visitors from around the world. Ambiente started with a clear increase in the number of global buyers and exhibitors who displayed new and high quality of products. Ambiente is by far the most international event of its kind. This year, around 4,441 companies are exhibiting with increasing number of visitors each day. The next Ambiente will be held in 2019, whereas another Ambiente will also be held in India on June 27, 2018. The Ambiente events offer an array of valuable inspirations with topics including the latest fashions in the design world, latest trends, guidance on creating the right product mix, POS design and the latest developments in the online sphere while uncovering great ideas at a series of special presentations, exhibitions and competitions.
As a partner institute, Mishal is working on measuring Pakistan’s performance on multiple international indices and reports including the Global Competitiveness Index/Report, Global Gender Gap Index, Global Enabling Trade Index, Global Information Technology Report - Network Readiness Index, Financial Development Index and the Global Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index. The Executive Opinion Survey feeds into the Global Competitiveness Report, which is an annual assessment of the factors driving countries’ productivity and prosperity. The report for 2018-2019 is expected to be issued in the Q3 of 2018.
ptcl co-sponsors 6th national Disabled t20 cricket championship 2018 KARACHI STAFF REPORT
Pakistan Telecommunications Company Limited (PTCL) has announced co-sponsoring of the 6th National Disabled T20 Cricket Championship 2018 at a press briefing, which was chaired by Pakistan Team former captain and Pakistan Disabled Cricket Association (PDCA) President Rashid Latif, PCB General Manager Domestic Shafiq Ahmed, along with PTCL’s EVP Marketing and Communications Syed Shahzad Shah at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium. Other key representatives included Ortho workshop ICRC representative Mohammad Yonus, PTCL Head of Corporate Communication Fariha Shah, PDCA Secretary Amiruddin Ansari and Director Sabih Azhar. Eight teams from Azad Kashmir, Islamabad, Lahore, FATA, Sialkot, Rawalpindi, Abbottabad and Peshawar will be participating in the tournament. PTCL’s EVP Marketing and Communications Syed Shahzad Shah on the occasion said, “PTCL is proud to partner in the noble cause of promoting cricket among the talented players of our country. These special players need our full support to become part of a healthy society.”
Sunday, 11 February, 2018
Your attraction to someone special makes it difficult to express your desires because you're afraid of being rejected. You could grow overly concerned that your needs aren't supported by the current dynamics, leading you to bury your worries.
Don't try to rationalize your desires; you don't have to justify your personal tastes to anyone. It's time to live your own life now without worrying about the expectations of others. Follow your heart and don't look back.
Your antennas are raised and you're scanning reality for something exciting to do but it's time to act responsibly if you want to achieve tangible results. You won't be satisfied for long if you just run off to the next event, so stop and face the music now.
Your emotional sensitivity contributes to the turmoil, but losing your temper now seems like the only way to clear the air of unexpressed emotions. Nevertheless, a smarter strategy is to express your frustrations before they grow too potent.
An act of generosity reveals more than you intend today, especially if you're feeling more secretive than usual. Unfortunately, your magnanimous gesture won't likely express your true emotions now.
You aren't the least bit interested in burdening any of your friends with your problems today. However, it's healthier to let them know the issues that have been on your mind, rather than keeping everything to yourself.
Although you prefer being the cool-headed one that others can count on, you currently lack your usual objectivity. You wish you could hide your reactions, but you care so much about your work now that your emotions are quite obvious to everyone.
Although your longterm goals are coming back into sharp focus now, the road to your future is being blocked by the past. Old fears may resurface today when you realize that nothing can change until you begin to shift your own attitude.
Waves of uncertainty flow through your life today, reminding you to stop running around long enough to process your unresolved emotions. But you could worry that others will question your effectiveness if you're not performing miracles at work.
You're ready to run; nevertheless, keep your heart and mind open to what you're being shown now rather than exhausting yourself resisting an important lesson. You might be surprised by what you learn if you stay put and ride out the storm.
Your current optimism collides with reality today because you aren't ready to face a lingering issue head-on. The subjective Cancer Moon's visit to your 6th House of Employment challenges you to stay objective at work because you have specific opinions about almost everything.
You may be worried about the wisdom of a recent choice, but you're also hopeful that your life is on the upswing. Fortunately, you can be very patient now, even if your emotions are all over the place.
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DOwn 1 see 12 2 revoke — annul (6) 3 gentle utterance to attract attention (4) 4 mozart opera (4,3,5) 5 spanish moss — traveller's joy — bad red salmon (anag) (3,4,5) 6 on it clothes get pressed (7,5) 7 distance of approximately 2,000 yards at sea (8,4) 12,1 life's little pleasures! (8,8) 15 in quick tempo (6) 18 watering holes — units in musical scores (4)
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chess ahead attack audience aunts award barge bashful bonus cargo central chill climb cloud coat comic compensation cynical decade distant
economy elect froze humid ignite lace paint patch pins script sear short shower spade spank stiff storm today track
white tO PLAY AND MAte iN three MOVes 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
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sUdokU crossword solution sudoku solution
1.Be7 Bxe7 2.Rxe5 Qh6 3.Rxe7 Qf6 chess solution
how to play fill in all the squares in the grid so that each row, column and each of the squares contains all the digits. the object is to insert the numbers in the boxes to satisfy only one condition: each row, column and 3x3 box must contain the digits 1 through 9 exactly once.
sunday, 11 February, 2018
#MeToo fasHIon sHow opens wITH angeL wIng ModeLs, pIg-faced Men NEW YORK
fashion show inspired by the #MeToo social media campaign aimed at exposing sexual misconduct across the US opened Friday in New York with models sporting angel wings handcuffed to men in pig masks. Dressed in a floor-length black and white gown with leather trim and wings at her shoulders, Cheyenne Jacobs, 22, stopped at the end of the runway to declare herself a survivor of sexual abuse,
giving the audience a brief account of being sexually assaulted in high school and raped in college. “I would like to take this moment as a stand of my healing, how far I’ve grown and also to say that this is not only a movement, not just stories, but we’re real people who have gone through real things,” she said. The #MeToo Fashion Show during New York Fashion Week was the brainchild of Myriam Chalek, creative director of fashion website American Wardrobe. “I don’t think this fashion show is going to change things overnight, but if it
can be a step further then I guess I’ve done my part. A woman who has been empowered is a woman who is unstoppable,” Chalek told Reuters in an interview. To the pace of trendy music, women from several walks of life — some smiling and others more serious — first strutted down a runway to display their designer clothes, then reappeared handcuffed to male models wearing pink pig masks. Among them was Alicia Kozakiewicz, 29, who was abducted in 2002 near her home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, by a man who contacted her online, a case that made international headlines
as one of the first such kidnappings of the internet age. Walking confidently down the runway in a black leather hood and dress cinched at the waist with a corset, Kozakiewicz paused to explain how she overcame victim-blaming, even by her family, and became a motivational speaker and aspiring actor. ”The me-too movement is not about man-hating; it is not about fighting violence with violence,” said Kozakiewicz. “It is, however, empowering women and girls to live in a world free of fear so that they can be safe from sexual assault and
Budding actor Amar Khan talks upoming film 'Bellapur Ki Dayan' ISLAMABAD AGENCIES
It's alive! Tom Hardy waxwork with beating heart unveiled in London LONDONL: Madame Tussauds' waxwork museum is offering fans of actor Tom Hardy a new and unusual chance to get close to their idol - launching a waxwork figure of the actor with a beating heart, that visitors can pose with and even cuddle. The figure depicts Hardy seated on a couch, his arm resting on the back, to allow visitors to get close enough to feel or listen to its heartbeat. The museum said in a statement that it features a beating heart and a “soft, warm torso.” The museum, which has branches around the world, allows visitors to touch the waxwork replicas of celebrities, occasionally leading to excessive familiarity. The New York branch of the attraction had to retire its figure of Canadian singer Justin Bieber in 2014 due to it being excessively groped by fans, local media reported. AGENCIES
Amar Khan, the daughter of veteran actor Fareeha Jabeen, is a fierce persona who’s ready to bring something very invigorating and fresh to the fore. A film graduate, Khan has had an excessive amount of theatre to her credit; which also include Shakespearean plays. The budding actor opens up about her eccentric choice of characters and what she has in store next. Though the second choice for both her series’ endeavours thus far, Amar takes the lead in Adnan Siddiqui’s period production Ghughi, set in the 1940s and adapted from an Amrita Pritam novel. She plays a Hindu woman who rises like flame, becoming an epitome of strength and courage. Khan has just begun shooting for her next, Bellapur Ki Dayan. Co-starring Adnan Siddiqui, indus-
try veteran Shakeel, Sarah Khan, Irfan Khoosat and Osama Tahir, the Saife Hasan directorial happens to be the production house’s very first horror-supernatural venture. “I was shooting the last spell of Ghughi and the pictures of the serial were already out when Saife had the producers call me. I got to know it was a very ambitious and experimental project, so I went in and met with the director who told me that he saw a dayan in me,” Amar said, followed by genuine chuckles. “He told me he saw something very satanic in my eyes and that’s how the journey started.” Nonetheless, no mainstream actor, let alone a newcomer thriving to carve her own niche, would willingly attempt the role of an unlikable witch. One imagines a blotted-look of curled hair and loud makeup with blood seeping through the tooth-gum, however; it was pleasantly surprising to know Amar does nothing overtly dramatised to fit the bill of the sorceress of sorts.
Fahad Mustafa, Mehwish Hayat-starrer 'Load Wedding' to release on Eidul Azha KARACHI AGENCIES
Ladies and gentleman, bring out your calendars and save the date for the biggest wedding of the year! Yup… Nabeel Qureshi and Fizza Ali Meerza’s next venture – Load Wedding – is all set to release around Eidul Azha, later this year. The film will feature Fahad Mustafa and Mehwish Hayat as its lead pair. It seems like the on-screen couple from Qureshi and Meerza’s last project Actor In Law has now become the secret ingredient to their recipe for success. The announcement of Load Wedding comes in with a different flavour as well. A couple of motichoor ladoos packed in a very mehndi-style basket left us thinking that it could very easily
be a wedding invite. What gave it away was the little note dangling from the hem, that read the name of the movie.
The tiny card read, “Save the date. Preparations for the most talked about wedding with a desi tadka have officially begun! Load Wedding coming
to your cinemas on Eidul Azha, 2018.” In early January, the invites premiere invites for Parchi broke the norm of plain poster-like pamphlets. Gun cutouts with the date, time and venue gelled perfectly well with the theme of the movie. Load Weddinghas taken that tactic in one step further. Now that’s one way to up your game in the movie business. Qureshi and Meerza have always managed to send a message across with some comic dialogues – highlighting the issues in the society. Their debut, Na Maloom Afraad followed by Actor In Law was a clever, yet playful take on words. Load Wedding does the same, hinting at the issue of load shedding that have kept the country in darkness for a really long time. Or it could be showing the dark side of weddings in Pakistan – who knows?
sexual harassment.” While the show featured American Wardrobe fashions, Chalek said the event was nonprofit. Since October, hundreds of women have accused powerful men in business, politics, media, and entertainment of sex abuse, joining the #MeToo social media movement that has shone a light on sexual assault and harassment in U.S. life. In the fashion world, sexual abuse allegations have also come from men. The New York Times reported last month that more than two dozen male models and assistants who worked with high-powered fashion photographers Bruce Weber and Mario Testino say they were subjected by them to molestation, sexual advances, and unnecessary nudity. Lawyers for both photographers told The Times they denied the allegations, which nevertheless prompted the magazine company, Conde Nast, to suspend its work with them. Reuters could not independently confirm any of the accusations.
angelina Jolie proves she is no regular mother
Angelina Jolie may be raising her daughters under a global spotlight but she makes it a point to constantly reiterate that there’s a lot more to life than a red carpet. In a recent interview with Elle magazine, the Hollywood starlet and humanitarian said she encourages her children to follow in her footsteps by pursuing a life of service and solidarity. “I tell my daughters, ‘What sets you apart is what you are willing to do for others,'” Jolie told Wmagazine. She continued, “Anyone can put on a dress and makeup. It’s your mind that will define you. Find out who you are, what you think, and what you stand for. And fight for others to have those same freedoms. A life of service is worth living.” Jolie shared this advice during a joint interview with former American Secretary of State John Kerry, wherein the duo deliberated upon women’s rights, sexual violence, climate change, war, and the importance of International Women’s Day (March 8). The actor also gave readers and fans some insight into what prompted her calling as a humanitarian. “I was quite anti-politics when I was young,” she shared. “I started working on human-rights issues and meeting refugees and survivors mostly because I wanted to learn. I also had this romantic idea that I would get my boots on and be a humanitarian.” “But at a certain point, you realise that’s not enough,” added the Maleficent star. “You have to find the root of the problem. And that, so often brings you back to the law and politics. For instance, I kept meeting refugees who were survivors of systematic rape. Yet there were virtually no convictions so fired me up to start working with governments and lawmakers. When it comes down to it, we still treat violence against women as a lesser crime.” Jolie and Kerry agreed that laws and misconceptions around the world will have to be corrected in order for this mindset to be countered.
Sunday, 11 February, 2018
HOt teA ASSOCiAted WitH HiGHer CAnCer riSk fOr SmOkerS, drinkerS BEIJING
RINKING scalding hot tea is associated with an increased risk of oesophagal tumours in people who also smoke and drink alcohol, two habits that already make many cancers more likely, a Chinese study suggests. Among Chinese adults who drank at least one beer, cocktail or glass of wine daily, those who also consumed burning hot tea every day were 5 times more likely to develop oesophagal cancer than people who drank tea at any temperature less than once a week, the study found. For current smokers, drinking scalding hot tea every day was associated with roughly twice the risk of oesophagal cancer as consuming tea less than weekly. “Keeping away from both tobacco and excessive alcohol use is the most important means for oesophagal cancer prevention,” said study co-author Dr Jun Lv of Peking University Health Science Center in China. “Under this increased risk of oesophagal cancer from smoking and drinking alcohol, if people like drinking very hot tea, the risk of developing
cancer will be synergistically higher,” Lv said by email. But by itself, drinking hot tea doesn’t increase cancer risk, Lv said. While some prior research has suggested tea may help protect against tumours in the digestive tract, other studies have shown repeated consumption of very hot food or drink might damage the oesophagus and help tumours take hold, the researchers note. For the current study, researchers examined data on 456,155 adults ages
Google Assistant one step closer to marrying Chrome OS, report says
30 to 79 who completed questionnaires about their smoking, alcohol and tea habits. At the start of the study, none of the participants had cancer. Researchers followed half of the participants for at least 9 years. During the study, 1,731 people developed oesophagal tumours. People who drank scalding hot tea consumed excessive amounts of alcohol and also smoked had more than five times the risk of oesophagal cancer than individuals who didn’t do any
of these things. The study wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how the temperature of tea might impact the risk of oesophagal tumours. Another limitation is that study participants reported on their own smoking and drinking habits, and their reports could be unreliable. Researchers also only had data on tea consumption from one point in time, when people joined the study, making it impossible to know how changing habits might have impacted the cancer risk. “People probably do not estimate their tea temperature perfectly, and this is one of the main limitations of the study,” said Neal Freedman, author of an accompanying editorial and a researcher with the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. “Drinking tea at a lower temperature should not be considered as a replacement for smoking cessation and limiting alcohol intake,” Freedman said by email. “Nevertheless, accumulating data suggest that drinking very hot tea may also increase the risk of oesophagal cancer, and it may be prudent for people who drink very hot beverages to wait until it cools down a bit before drinking, whether or not they also smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol.”
How virtual reality may help to treat fear, paranoid thoughts NEWS DESK
NEWS DESK Currently, the only Chromebook that supports Google Assistant is the recent Pixelbook. But that could change in the near future, as Google is reportedly closer to adding baking support for the service right into Chrome OS. That means many Chromebooks could have access to the digital assistant in the near future, including the use of “OK Google” verbal commands. The XDA Developers forum recently found new evidence of Google Assistant in the Chrome OS code, spotting a comment that states “add Assistant feature flags changes accordingly.” It follows two other Google Assistant appearances in Chrome OS in 2017, which added Google Assistant settings to the user interface, and a related settings command. According to the clues uncovered by the forum, Google Assistant will be present within the operating system, but not necessarily an active feature. It will be disabled by default, and Chromebook manufacturers will determine if Google Assistant will be an active feature. Presumably, Chromebook owners won’t have the ability to manually toggle on the Google Assistant feature. Based on the notes, Chrome OS will provide manufacturers with an additional setting for toggling on and off the Google Assistant hot-word listening feature. Theoretically, Chromebooks with built-in microphones that are plugged into an electrical outlet should easily support on-demand voice demands. But manufacturers could disable the feature to conserve power when Chromebooks switch to battery use. Then again, notes show that manufacturers could assign Google Assistant to a button, thus it’s not always listening.
A new study has discovered that adding virtual reality cognitive behavioral therapy to the standard treatment for psychotic disorders is safe and can reduce paranoia and anxiety. In a paper published in The Lancet Psychiatry, the researchers state that to their knowledge, theirs is the first randomized controlled trial of virtual reality (VR)-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that has attempted to improve social functioning and decrease paranoid thoughts in people with psychotic disorders. "The addition," explains lead author Roos M. C. A. Pot-Kolder, from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in the Netherlands, "of virtual reality CBT to standard treatment reduced paranoid feelings, anxiety, and use of safety behaviors in social situations, compared with standard treatment alone." The study compared two groups of similar people with psychotic disorder: one (the intervention group) received the usual treatment plus VR CBT, and the other (the "waiting list control group") continued to receive the usual treatment. The usual treatment consisted of taking antipsychotic medication, having regular contact with a psychiatrist, and receiving support from a psychiatric nurse to improve functioning in social and community settings, daily activities, and self-care. Although the study’s results are promising, its scope did not include looking at the long-term effects of VR CBT and more research is needed
before the treatment could be considered for widespread clinical use. The researchers also urge that further studies should now compare the "treatment effects and cost-effectiveness" of VR CBT with those of standard CBT, as their study could not rule out that the beneficial effects might have come from just having an additional treatment. Alternative thoughts and behaviors CBT is a widely studied and commonly used psychotherapy type that combines cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy. Its methods vary according to the illness or problem being treated. The underlying principle of CBT is the same as that of all psychotherapies — that is, that feelings, thoughts, and behaviors are interlinked and influence well-being. The main difference between CBT and traditional forms of psychotherapy, such as psychoanalysis, is that CBT focuses primarily on current problems and how to solve them and less on trying to understand the past.
Woman creates femaleonly resort island ARCHIPELAGO AGENCIES
When former consultant Kristina Roth was taking a restorative vacation in Calabasas, California she noticed the effect men had on the good vibes when they arrived. “When there was a cute guy, women would put on lipstick,” Roth said while speaking to The New York Post. Later at Ranch Malibu, Roth had similar feelings and she felt that the men’s company seemed to mess with the relaxing vibes. That is when the idea for a vacation destination exclusively for females hit her and she decided to bring this idea to life. The women-only, health-focused destination, opening soon off the coast of Finland, invites female guests to book days, weeks or even month long stays minus the men. “The idea [at SuperShe island] is to focus on yourself; don’t try to get your hormones up,” Roth said. Roth decided on Finland after falling in love with a local. “His parents own an island on the archipelago, and he kept telling me, the island next door is for sale,” she said. “I said, I’m not interested, I just bought a beautiful piece of land in Turks and Caicos — I’m really not interested.” But once she saw the place, she fell in love with the wooded utopia. Despite the seemingly exclusionary approach, Roth said that she “loves men” and could even open the island to male guests in the future. But for now, a representative for SuperShe told The Independent: “Women need time to spend with other women” where they can “nurture each other’s dreams and desires.” Activities on the island can include yoga, meditation, healthy eating, cooking classes and fitness classes.
Human eggs grown to full maturity in lab LONDON AGENCIES
Scientists have succeeded for the first time in growing human eggs in a laboratory from the earliest stages in ovarian tissue all the way to full maturity – a scientific step that had previously been taken in mice. Publishing their result in the journal Molecular Human Reproduction, scientists from Britain and the United States said it could one day help in developing regenerative medicine therapies and new infertility treatments. In previous studies, scientists had developed mouse eggs in a laboratory to the stage where they produced live offspring and had also matured human eggs from a relatively late stage of development. This latest work, by scientists at two research hospitals in Edinburgh and the Center for Human Reproduction in New York, is the first time human eggs have been developed outside the human body from their earliest stage to full maturity. “Being able to fully develop human eggs in the lab could widen the scope of available fertility treatments. We are now working on optimising the conditions that support egg development in this way and studying how healthy they are,” said Evelyn Telfer, who co-led the work. Independent experts not directly involved in this work praised it as important but also cautioned that there is much more to do before lab-grown human eggs could be safely be made ready for fertilisation with sperm. “This early data suggests this may well be feasible in the future,” said Ali Abbara, a senior clinical lecturer in Endocrinology at Imperial College London.
Turkey launches domestic rival to WhatsApp, raises security concerns ANKARA AGENCIES
Turkey has launched a domestic messaging app to rival Facebook’s popular WhatsApp Messenger service, raising concerns among government critics that Ankara could use the new platform to tighten surveillance and bolster an 18month-old crackdown. The app, called PttMessenger after Turkey’s Post and Telegraph General Directorate (PTT), was introduced in a limited roll-out to state institutions and some private companies this week. It is expected to be publicly available in six months. PttMessenger will provide a “system safer than WhatsApp”, government spokesman Bekir Bozdag told a news conference. “Since no data is stored with the host, it will be impossible to access these data. A system safer than WhatsApp has been developed.”
Critics cast doubt on the suggestion PttMessenger data could not be retrieved, fearing it will give authorities greater ability to monitor dissent, pointing to the widespread crackdown that was launched after a failed military coup in July 2016. They cite concerns that Ptt might eventually become mandatory downloads
for devices used by these institutions, and eventually for the personal electronic devices of employees. “An app designed with government support, especially if that government is Turkey, where there are serious violations of fundamental rights and freedoms, should make potential users think not
three, but five times about using it,” said Yaman Akdeniz, a law professor at Istanbul Bilgi University. There is no evidence showing PttMessenger is more secure than WhatsApp, Akdeniz said, adding that having a “domestic and national” messaging app would make it easier for communication logs to be retrieved by Turkish law enforcement. The Turkish PTT was not immediately available for comment. More than 50,000 people have been jailed in the aftermath of the failed coup and 150,000 sacked or suspended from their jobs. Rights groups and some of Turkey’s Western allies say that President Tayyip Erdogan is using the coup as a pretext to quash dissent. Turkey says the measures are necessary given the security threats it faces. The crackdown picked up pace after the start of a military incursion into Syria last month, with authorities detaining some 600 people so far for protesting the
incursion or criticizing it on social media. Erdogan has also promised to strip the word “Turkish” from the name of the national medical association after it opposed the military campaign. This week a draft law was submitted to parliament to expand the powers of the radio and television watchdog to include overseeing online content providers, a move the main opposition described as digital censorship. “The goal is to record who every citizen is speaking to and what they are saying,” said Filiz Kerestecioglu, a lawmaker for the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), many of whose prominent members have been jailed. An estimated 40 percent of the Turkish population were active WhatsApp users as of December 2016, according to research firm Statista. That was more than double the United States, at 18 percent, but behind several other emerging markets, including Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.
Sunday, 11 February, 2018
daNaNjaya taKes five as sri LaNKa cLiNch series SRI LANKA 222 (MENDIS 68, ROSHEN 56, RAZZAK 4-63, TAIJUL 4-83) AND 226 (ROSHEN 70*, TAIJUL 4-76) BEAT BANGLADESH 110 (DANANJAYA 3-20, LAKMAL 3-25) AND 123 (DANANJAYA 5-24, HERATH 4-49) BY 215 RUNS dHaka
ANGLADESH plunged, Sri Lanka’s spinners soared and the Mirpur Test tore to its conclusion midway through day three, the visitors triumphing by 215 runs. Debutant Akila Dananjaya was prime destroyer. He scythed rapidly through the Bangladesh lower-middle order, taking 5 for 24 to make it eight wickets on debut - the best performance by a Sri Lankan on debut. The charge to victory was also sweet for Rangana Herath, who claimed 4 for 49 and in doing so, became the most successful left-arm bowler in Test history. After even Sri Lanka’s lower order had batted with a little mettle, the rate of Bangladesh’s demise in this Test will irk
the hosts. Only four batsmen made it into double figures, and no one batted for longer than 51 deliveries. The pitch was as treacherous as ever, but chances were too freely given. Perhaps, chasing a highly improbable 339, and with little chance of saving the game, the futility of their situation contributed to their meekness. It took Sri Lanka fewer than 30 overs to clean the opposition up. This was Bangladesh’s first series defeat at home since 2015 - the absence of Shakib Al Hasan keenly felt. The selection of Dananjaya - out of all Sri Lanka’s teams until seven months ago, and considered a limited-overs specialist in any case - has proved to be a spectacular move in this Test. Though he bowled only 15 overs in the game (fewer than either of the senior spinners), the overspin he puts on the ball made him a menacing
prospect. Repeatedly he had balls leap up off a length, and one such ball struck Liton Das in the glove, and was caught at short leg. Sabbir Rahman was also caught off his glove; Mahmudullah edged another Dananjaya delivery that jumped at him; and Mehidy Hasan nicked a straighter delivery. Wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella helped Dananjaya along to his maiden five-wicket haul. He pulled off a fast
stumping of Abdur Razzak when the batsman had merely overbalanced. Dananjaya’s 8 for 44 comprise the best debut figures for a Sri Lanka bowler. While Dananjaya took care of the lower half of the Bangladesh batting order, Herath’s best work had come earlier on. One ball after he had been tonked for six by Imrul Kayes, he sent a slider at the batsman, and had him edg-
ing behind. Mominul Haque - again Bangladesh’s best batsman - was given a light working over, and eventually nicked Herath to Dickwella as well. The wicket that sealed the match was also Herath’s. Taijul Islam aimed a gigantic heave over cow corner, but Danushka Gunathilaka was at the boundary to take an outstanding overhead catch. Bangladesh had lost their last five wickets in the space of 33 balls. The visitors’ lead had been 312 even at the beginning of the day - much more than necessary, as it would turn out - but their batting in the first 50 minutes of the day was more indication that this Sri Lanka Test side is rediscovering a little of its old grit. Roshen Silva, the newest member of the top order, added 12 to his overnight score, while Suranga Lakmal, living a little more dangerously, struck boundaries to help swell Sri Lanka’s lead by 26. Only one Bangladesh partnership - the 46-run second-wicket association between Mominul and Kayes - was better than this 36-run stand between Roshen and Lakmal. That Chandika Hathurusingha, their coach only four months ago, helped plan their own downfall in this series, will of course sting.
ICC considers alternative venues for 2021 Champions Trophy India could potentially lose out on hosting two of the biggest global tournaments - the 2021 Champions Trophy and the 2023 World Cup - in the next five years because of an ongoing tax issue. The BCCI is not at fault; instead it is the Indian government’s stance of not approving a tax exemption to the ICC that has given rise to the global governing body’s “concerns”. Fearing revenue losses of at least $100 million, on Friday, the ICC board directed its management to look out for alternative venues, beginning with the Champions Trophy, if the issue is not resolved. Although the Champions Trophy is still three years away, the ICC board has been stung by the experiences of the 2016 World T20 (hosted by India), for which tax exemption has not yet been approved. Because of that, the ICC has suffered a revenue shortfall of $20-30 million - in 2016, it is understood Star
Masood, Azam hundreds help Islamabad edge Rawalpindi in run-fest
India, which owns the media rights for ICC events, paid 10% tax to the Indian government and recovered that amount by deducting from its payment to the ICC. Two years on, and despite constant reminders by the ICC and the BCCI, the Indian government has not budged in providing those exemptions. Despite the BCCI’s attempts at facilitation, the ICC board remains wary of exposing itself to what some officials calculate could be losses of $100-125 million if the Indian government fails to provide tax exemption for the Champions Trophy and the 2023 World Cup. That hits Full Members the hardest, because revenue from ICC events is distributed among all participating countries. “The Board expressed their concern around the absence of a tax exemption from the Indian Government for ICC events held in India despite ongoing efforts from both the ICC and
BCCI to secure the exemption which is standard practice for major sporting events around the world,” the ICC said in a media release, after the board meeting in Dubai on Friday. “The Board agreed that ICC management, supported by the BCCI will continue the dialogue with the Indian Government but in the meantime directed ICC management to explore alternative host countries in a similar time zone for the ICC Champions Trophy 2021.” ICC’s chief executive officer, David Richardson, and management have been asked to explore alternative venues in the same time zone as India - which brings Sri Lanka and Bangladesh into the picture. But that decision is still some time away - any alternative venue will only be finalised in the next 12-16 months. A final decision on whether India will host the Champions Trophy will be taken by the end of 2019. sports Desk
Manchester United’s Zlatan returns to training
In a high-scoring semi-final, Islamabad’s 380 for 2 proved just enough for Rawalpindi, beating them by 13 runs to progress to the semi-final of the Regional One-Day Cup. Rawalpindi won the toss and bowled first. They might have been made to regret their decision as Islamabad piled on a mammoth total. Shan Masood and Babar Azam both scored centuries - 182 not out and 136 respectively - in a partnership worth 283 runs. All of Rawlpindi’s bowlers went at over six an over and managed just two wickets in the 50 overs. Masood hit 20 fours and a six in his innings. However, Rawalpindi weren’t demoralised even as the top three fell within the first 15 overs. Just when it seemed Islamabad might canter to a win, Iftikhar Ahmed and Saud Shakeel fought back fiercely, putting on 146 for the fourth wicket. Iftikhar motored along to a century as Shakeel (70) and wicketkeeper Umari Masood (50 not out) gave him able support. However, the target was just a bit too far out of reach, and Islamabad never quite let the game get away from them. In the end, they clinched a 13-run win even as Rawalpindi put on a gallant 367.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is nearing a return to fitness as Manchester United seek to strengthen their grip on second place in the Premier League when they visit Newcastle on Sunday. The former Paris Saint-Germain striker has struggled to get back to his best since suffering cruciate knee ligament damage during a Europa League victory over Anderlecht last April. He made his comeback in the reverse fixture against Newcastle at Old Trafford in November, a match that Jose Mourinho’s side won 4-1, but has not played since late December due to concerns over his knee. “Zlatan started training with the team two days ago,” Mourinho said on Friday. “So he has been two days with the group and is improving.” Mourinho would be extremely cautious about throwing him straight back into action on Sunday, although his squad is otherwise in reasonably good health. Defenders Eric Bailly and Daley Blind are both expected to return from ankle injuries before the end of February, although midfielder Marouane Fellaini will not make his comeback until March as he recovers from knee surgery. Last month’s defeat to Tottenham
is the only blemish on United’s 2018 to date, with no goals conceded in their other six league and cup games so far this year, all of which have been won. A 2-0 victory over Huddersfield last week, in which new signing Alexis Sanchez was outstanding, helped
United make minor inroads into Manchester City’s colossal lead, although the gap was still 13 points going into this weekend’s fixtures. Making up that ground in 12 matches is a near-impossible task but full-back Antonio Valencia has made it clear that United must keep up the fight, even if only to delay the inevitable. Valencia referred to the remarkable title race of 2012, when United led by eight points with six games left but ended up losing the title to Manchester City on the final day. “We need to keep going,” he said. “A few years ago, we lost a title when we were eight points ahead and there were only a few games left. Now, we have a lot more games to play and we need to keep fighting.” United’s best hope of a trophy this season is probably the FA Cup, in which United will visit Huddersfield for a fifth-round tie later this month, while they play Sevilla in the last-16 of the Champions League. Islam Slimani is set to make his Newcastle debut on loan from Leicester after the Algeria forward recovered from a thigh problem. Rafa Benitez’s side are in danger of an immediate return to the Championship following an eight-game run in the league since their last home win at the end of October.
North’s ‘army of beauties’ seduces as KoreaNs suffer hocKey rout Seoul Agencies
North Korea’s cheerleaders serenaded South Korean fans with tender love songs Saturday as a joint Korean ice hockey team’s emotional Olympic debut ended in tears before the sister of Kim Jong Un. The first Kim dynasty member to visit the south since the 1950-53 Korean War, Kim Yo Jong sat alongside South Korean President Moon Jae-in as the Koreans suffered an 8-0 shutout by Switzerland in Pyeongchang. The result mattered less than the political symbolism, however, as around 200 of North Korea’s famed “army of beauties” charmed a crowd of 3,600 besotted locals with nostalgic oldies — and even broke out a Mexican wave. The powerful Kim sister also attended Friday’s opening ceremony, but before the hockey match there were none of the flag-burning protests against the North’s Olympic presence that had marked the previous few days. Outside, many locals, bundled up against the cold, wore the joint team’s jersey with “KOREA” emblazoned across their chests and waved mini unification flags — a pale blue silhouette of the Korean peninsula. After delivering an invitation for Moon to visit Pyongyang earlier on Saturday, Kim arrived dressed in a black furcollared coat and took her seat next to North Korea’s ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam, with Olympic chief Thomas Bach also present. The Kim sister put her hands to her mouth in the first period when North Korean forward Jong Su Hyon went close. But a first-period treble from Alina Muller set the tone and effectively dashed any hopes of a homemade fairytale. Decked out in red tracksuits and woolly hats, North Korea’s cheerleaders sang “uri nun, hana da” (we are one) and clapped in perfect unison as local hip hop artists rapped on a stage behind them and K-Pop blared over the loudspeakers in a stark clash of cultures.
SporTS Sunday, 11 February, 2018
PSL 3RD EDITION
AbidA Perveen, derulo to Perform At oPening ceremony SECURITY EXPERT IN KARACHI TO ASSESS SECURITY SITUATION FOR PSL FINAL LAHORE
OPULAR Sufi singer Abida Parveen and American pop star Jason Derulo will perform at the glittering opening ceremony of the third edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL), said a Pakistan Cricket Board statement on Saturday. However, Abida Parveen headlines the glitzy opening ceremony that will kick off the PSL in Dubai on February 22, confirmed a Pakistan Cricket Board statement on Saturday, adding that the ceremony will be followed by the opening match between defending Peshawar Zalmi and new entrants Multan Sultans. Also enthralling fans at the ceremony will be local heart-throbs Ali Zafar and Shehzad Roy, the press release pertaining to the artists’ line-up stated. An impressive display of fireworks will accompany the entertainment acts of the ceremony that will commence at 8pm PST at the Dubai International Stadium. A total of 34 matches will be
played across different venues in Dubai, Sharjah and Lahore. The final is to be held in Karachi on March 25, according to the PSL schedule. During the season, all teams will play against each other twice before the top four teams qualify for the play-off stage. Last year, the PSL Season 2 final was held at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium amid tight security. KARACHI UNDER INSPECTION FOR PSL FINAL: A security consultant tasked by the International Cricket Council (ICC), Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA) and various international cricket boards has also arrived in Karachi to review security arrangements in the city for proposed final match of the PSL. Reg Dickason of Eastern Star International, a security firm that gives advice to the ICC, FICA and various boards, was received in Karachi by the lower-tier PCB officials. Dickason was roped in by the PCB in an attempt to regain the international community’s confidence in security arrangements in Pakistan. He was also involved in security arrangements for World XI team’s recent visit to Lahore.
Indra Nooyi becomes ICC’s first independent woman director Indra Nooyi, the PepsiCo chairman and CEO, has been appointed to the ICC board as its first independent female director. Nooyi, whose appointment was unanimously confirmed in a meeting on Friday, will join the board in June 2018. Last year, the ICC had approved a wide list of changes to its governance structure, including the expansion of its Board to 17 directors: 12 Full Members, three Associates, the ICC chairman, and an independent director who must be a woman. In November 2017, the ICC opened the recruitment process for the post. “I love the game of cricket,” Nooyi said. “I played it as a teenager and in college, and to this day, I cherish the lessons the game taught me about teamwork, integrity, respect, and healthy competition. I am thrilled to join the ICC as the first person to be appointed to this role. And I look for-
ward to working with my colleagues on the board, ICC’s incredible partners, and cricketers around the world to grow our sport responsibly and give our fans a new reason to follow every
ball and shot.” “We are delighted to welcome Indra to the ICC. Adding another independent director - particularly a female - is such an important step forward in improving our gover-
nance,” the ICC chairman Shashank Manohar said. “To have someone of Indra’s calibre is fantastic news for the global game - she is frequently recognized as one of the most influential people in business today, running one of the world’s biggest corporations. “We undertook a global search looking for the right candidate who would complement the existing skills and experience already on our Board. A cricket enthusiast with experience in the commercial sector and independent of the ICC, any Member or state or associated organization were the primary criteria and in Indra we have found an exceptional new colleague and we look forward to working with her in the future.” The independent director will be appointed for a two-year term, and may be reappointed for two further terms with a maximum six-year consecutive period of service.
Serena Williams ready for comeback at fed cup ASHEVILLE: Serena Williams returns to tennis after a year-long absence on Saturday, with all eyes on the former world number one as she sets out on her quest to reclaim her position at the pinnacle of her sport. The 36-year-old superstar has not played a competitive match since winning the last of her 23 Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open last year, where she was in the early stages of pregnancy. Since giving birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia in September, Williams has played only once, in an exhibition match in Abu Dhabi in December, where she lost to French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko. Williams had initially targeted last month’s Australian Open for a comeback, but abandoned that ambitious goal after declaring she was not “where I personally want to be”. Instead, she will get her first taste of competitive tennis when the United States kick off the defence of their Fed Cup crown against the Netherlands at Asheville, North Carolina. Williams heads a powerful US team that includes her elder sister, and eighth-ranked, Venus, world number 17 CoCo Vandeweghe as well as world number 62 Lauren Davis. The tie opens with two singles rubbers on Saturday followed by reverse singles on Sunday, with doubles as the fifth rubber if required. US captain Kathy Rinaldi said the Fed Cup was the perfect venue for Williams to launch her comeback. “She’s been out, becoming a new mom, and she’s looking to get back into playing,” Rinaldi said. “We saw her play an exhibition at the end of last year, but this is a great way for her to start the year and get a couple matches or a match behind her. “She enjoys Fed Cup, and Serena and Venus have been extremely supportive, and it happened to be a good fit. It’s an honour to have them on the team. We had a great team last year at every tie and again this year starting off.” Williams will use the match as preparation for her full-fledged return to the WTA circuit at the March 5-18 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells before heading to Florida for the Miami Open. Williams will be bidding to emulate Margaret Court, Evonne Goolagong and Kim Clijsters, who all won Grand Slam titles after having children, when she returns to the circuit. She is currently one title short of matching Court’s all-time record for Slam singles titles of 24 — a mark she is determined to better. “Maybe this goes without saying, but it needs to be said in a powerful way: I absolutely want more Grand Slams,” she told Vogue in an interview last month. “I’m well aware of the record books, unfortunately. It’s not a secret that I have my sights on 25.”Williams, who married Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian in November, said being a mother may boost her quest, believing that it has given her a more relaxed perspective on her profession. “Actually, I think having a baby might help. When I’m too anxious, I lose matches, and I feel like a lot of that anxiety disappeared when Olympia was born,” Williams said. “Knowing I’ve got this beautiful baby to go home to makes me feel like I don’t have to play another match. I don’t need the money or the titles or the prestige. I want them, but I don’t need them. That’s a different feeling for me.” AGENCIES
Another easy win sends Australia to T20 series final MELBOURNE AGENCIES
Australia cruised to a seven-wicket victory over England with more than five overs to spare to remain unbeaten after three games in the triangular Twenty20 series in Melbourne on Saturday. The Australians restricted England to 137 for seven off their 20 overs with paceman Kane Richardson taking three wickets and then the home team knocked up the runs off just 14.3 overs. A matchwinning partnership of 65 between Glenn Maxwell (39) and D’Arcy Short (36 not out), plus cameos from Chris Lynn (31) and Aaron Finch (20 not out from five balls), got Australia comfortably home. The win ensured Australia will play in the tri-series final in Auckland on February 21 with preliminary matches now switching to New Zealand. The game-defining sequence came when Maxwell and Short accelerated the score from 65 for two at the end of the
ninth over to 104 for two after the 11th, 39 runs flowing over just two overs. “Our players have been in tremendous form coming off the Big Bash League and they are playing with freedom and they’re playing fearless,” Australia skipper David Warner said. “The bowlers executed their game beautifully and the way the batters finished it off was absolutely clinical.” But Warner’s form is again in the spotlight after his relentless playing schedule. This time he lasted just four balls, nicking a David Willey outswinger on two. Warner is the only member of the Test side to have played for Australia in every format this summer and has struggled for form in the ODIs and T20s. He is expected to travel with the T20 side to New Zealand before heading straight to South Africa for the first of four Tests. It was a second drubbing for England after going down by five wickets to Australia in Hobart on Wednesday. “It was another poor performance for
us,” stand-in captain Jos Buttler said. “We didn’t quite soak up the pressure early on with the bat losing early wickets to back it up for the end and none of us kicked on. Again the power of Australia proved too much.” Buttler was deputising for injured skipper Eoin Morgan, who missed the match after straining his right groin during training on Friday. Pacemen Kane Richardson and Billy Stanlake claimed five wickets between them after Australia was sent into bat. England were reeling at 34 for three in the fourth over when David Warner ran out Dawid Malan with a brilliant direct hit. James Vince was skittled by a slower ball from Andrew Tye before Buttler (46) and Sam Billings (29) steadied the ship. Billings struck the only six of England’s innings when he smashed Ashton Agar over long on in the 14th over, but he fell to Stanlake with Warner taking the first of two catches at mid-off. Stanlake (2-28) and Richardson (333) did the damage for Australia.
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