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Wednesday, 13 February, 2019 I 7 Jamadi-ul-Sani, 1440 I Rs 20.00 I Vol IX No 225 I 16 Pages I Lahore Edition

govt would have offered free hajj if it had money: Pm g

ImrAN SAyS HIKe IN HAjj PrICeS due to 'PeNdINg loANS'

g

SAyS govt’S eCoNomIC StABIlISAtIoN meASureS Are SHowINg PoSItIve reSultS wItH exPortS rISINg ANd ImPortS fAllINg

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan attends inauguration ceremony of Thal Express Service and Pakistan Railways Live Tracking System.

ISLAMABAD

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Staff report

rime minister imran Khan on Tuesday tried to allay people’s concerns over the 63 per cent increase in hajj prices after the withdrawal on subsidy, saying the government would have offered free pilgrimage to people if it did not have to pay “huge loans”. The federal cabinet on February 1 ended the subsidy on the ritual in its Hajj Policy 2019. According to the new policy, the cost of performing the ritual under the government scheme had been fixed at rs456,426 (with Qurbani), against last year’s expense of rs280,000 per person. Under the Hajj Policy 2018, the cost

of hajj for individuals in the north of the country was rs280,000 and for the south, it was rs270,000. However, in the new policy, the cost of hajj for individuals in the north was fixed at rs456,426 (with Qurbani) and rs436,975 (without Qurbani), while for those in the south it is rs446,426 (with Qurbani) and rs426,975 (without Qurbani). The decision, which the government blamed on the devaluation of rupee against dollar, was severely criticised by the opposition parties in Senate and the National Assembly (NA). Addressing a gathering after inaugurating the Thal express Service and railway Live Tracking System in islamabad, the premier called out the opposition parties, saying, “These people ask why the government did not provide

a hajj subsidy or make performing the islamic ritual more affordable.” “if you had not left the country in this condition [and] if we did not have so many debts, then we would certainly send pilgrims [to hajj] for free,” he said, taking a jibe at Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan muslim LeagueNawaz (PmL-N). Though the country is mired in economic crisis and the government has approached several friendly countries and the international monetary Fund (imF) for a bailout, the premier said that in spite of a prevailing crisis, the country has a bright future. in a comment on government’s “crusade” against corruption, the Pm said that he had directed Federal minister for railways Sheikh rasheed Ahmed to send corruption cases to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). “We have witnessed wastage of money [at government level], hence we first need to curtail our own expenses,” he underlined, adding that he had directed all ministers to bring down their departmental expenditure. Pm imran said that he had curtailed expenses of the Prime minister’s House by 30 per cent. An auditor has also been employed at the Pm House tasked with suggesting measures to further reduce expenditure, he added. He stated that gas companies were at the brink of closure had the government not raised gas prices. The prime minister said that even the banks refused to grant loans to the gas sector. “Annual gas theft of around rs50 billion has been detected, which is alarming,” he said.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 02

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Pakistan, KSA to ink agreements worth $20bn: report STORY ON PAGE 11

PPP will paralyse parliament if Shehbaz is removed as PAC chairman, Shah warns STORY ON PAGE 02

NAB pleads IHC to reject Nawaz Sharif’s bail plea STORY ON PAGE 02

Gen (r) Raheel calls on PM Imran, discusses regional peace, security

STORY ON PAGE 03


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Wednesday, 13 February, 2019

NAB PleAdS IHC To rejeCT NAwAz SHArIF’S BAIl PleA T ISLAMABAD

Staff RePoRt

HE National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday pleaded the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to dismiss a petition filed by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif seeking suspension of his prison sentence in the Al-Azizia reference till the court reaches a verdict on the case. In an 18-page reply submitted to the court, NAB declared the petition redundant and stated, “In the instant matter it is admittedly and evidently submitted that the instant constitution petition is the second petition to an earlier writ petition bearing no 32 of 2019 which has been filed with identical prayer that of the instant constitution petition and after hearing arguments in the honourable court has fixed for hearing the same on 18-02-2019

Two brothers arrested on treason charges for attending PTM protest in Multan Multan police have arrested two brothers under treason charges for attending a protest on the call of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) Chairman Manzoor Pashteen at Nawan Shaher Chowk. The brothers — identified as Rawal Asad and Anas — are students at Government Emerson College and a local college, respectively. They were arrested during a raid at their residence in Multan’s Northern Bypass area. A case was registered against the two on behalf of the state under Section 153 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), 123-A, 124-A, 290, 291, Punjab Sound Systems Regulation Act 2015-16 and 16 Maintenance of Public Order (MPO). According to the first information report, “Around 30 to 35 people had gathered at Multan’s Nawan Shaher Chowk and had blocked the road, causing disruption of traffic.” “The protesters, which reportedly included the two brothers, had gathered on the call of Manzoor Pashteen and were chanting slogans against state institutions, especially the army,” the FIR said. Among those named in the FIR are Fazeel Asghar, Samiullah, Mohammad Bilal, Mohammad Nadeem, Mamoon Khan, Khalil Ahmed, Dr Saddam, Hazrat Bilal, Abdul Basit, Zabeehullah, Ismat Muslim, Nasrullah Khan, Momin Khan, Abdul Qadeer Khan, Asmatullah Kakar, Jahangir Khan, Abdul Wahid Khan, Habat Khan and Haji Rafique Kakar. NewS DeSk

along with the main appeal under section32 of NAO, 1999 instituted by the petitioner.” Quoting the provisions of Section 10 of the Civil Procedure Court,1907, the NAB response further added, “No court shall proceed with the trial of any suit in which the matter in issue is also directly and substantially in issue in a previously instituted suit between some parties, or between parties under whom they or any of them claim litigating under the same title where such a suit is pending in the same or any other court in [Pakistan] having jurisdiction to grant the relief claimed, or in any court beyond the limits of [Pakistan] established or continued by the central government and having like jurisdiction or before the [Supreme Court].” In addition, Section 9a of NAO, 1999 is also mentioned that particularly deals with public office holders and corrupt prac-

tices along with Section 9b of the same, whereby it states that “all offenses under Section 9 of the NAO are non-bailable and no court shall have the jurisdiction to grant bail even to an accused in custody.” The response offers detailed law based reasoning and quotes other cases where bails were granted to the accused if the decision on the case in question was delayed more than a certain time and remaining in custody was becoming torturous for the accused. NAB also pointed out that “before admitting an accused person to bail on the ground of hardship caused by a shocking unconscionable or inordinate delay a High Court or this court also looks for the reasons for the delay and if some significant or noticeable part of the delay is found to be attributable to the accused person then the relief of bail is withheld from him.” The response maintains that there are no unnecessary delays in the

case which may warrant the suspension of Nawaz’s sentence and hence deems that the instant constitution petition “merits dismissal”. According to the detailed document the previous writ petition did not contain the medical grounds “and thus cannot be referred to by virtue of the provisions of Order-II rule 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) 1908.” The NAB response concluded by praying the court to dismiss the petition and declared it “neither maintainable nor competent”. Earlier, Nawaz filed an application seeking the suspension of the jail sentence handed to him in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference on medical grounds. The plea, which was filed by Nawaz’s counsel Khawaja Haris, was heard by the bench on January 28. As the hearing went underway, Haris claimed that “the new medical report of his client [Nawaz Sharif] was issued on January 22”.

During proceedings, Justice Aamir asked the lawyer what was new about this plea to which he said that his client’s family was worried about his health. Haris appealed to the court to summon the reports of the medical board, complaining that test reports of the former prime minister had not been provided to them. When questioned by Justice Aamir regarding the formation of a new medical board, the lawyer responded that he has not heard anything of that sort from an authentic source, except television channels. “As per the issued report, Nawaz Sharif’s kidney was diagnosed with a third-stage disease,” Haris said while reading the report aloud. Following this, IHC summoned all medical reports of the former prime minister and adjourned the hearing.

NAB to contact Interpol for extradition of Nawaz’s sons, Dar ISLAMABAD INP

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has once again decided to contact Interpol for the extradition of incarcerated ousted premier Nawaz Sharif’s sons Hassan and Hussain, and former finance minister Ishaq Dar. The three high-profile individuals have been declared absconders by the court. According to reports, the accountability watchdog will contact Interpol via the Interior Ministry in the next few days. Hassan and Hussain Nawaz, National Assembly Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif’s son Salman Shehbaz and son-in-law Ali Imran, former finance minister Ishaq Dar and son-in-law of former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, Mustafa Amjad have been termed absconders by the court in several corruption cases. The absconders are currently residing in different foreign countries.

PPP will paralyse parliament if Shehbaz is removed as PAC chairman, Shah warns ISLAMABAD: Former opposition leader and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Khursheed Shah on Tuesday said that that party will not let the parliament function if National Assembly (NA) Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif is removed from the chairmanship of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). Responding to government’s expected move to remove Shehbaz from the PAC chairmanship in Islamabad, Shah said that if a no-confidence motion is presented against Shehbaz, then “we [PPP] won’t let the parliament function.” “PM Imran is trying to run the assembly like a container,” said the PPP leader adding that the government has unduly disturbed National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser. “A

speaker has no mandate to change any member of the PAC, but can only recommend a change at the request of the parties.” The PPP leader added that Pakistan Tehreeke-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers used to chant slogans in the parliament and stood up on tables and if the government did change its current course then the opposition will also have to undertake such actions. “The opposition parties tried to let the parliament function because of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, however, we won’t let the parliament function in a disrespectful manner,” he added. “The government has failed to serve the people, and wants to get involved in fights,” said Shah. The PPP leader also criticised PM Imran’s recent meeting with IMF chief Christine Lagarde, saying that there was no previous example found of this for “Imran did nothing but insult Pakistan.” He said that one who talked about committing suicide presented himself before the IMF. Shah further elaborated that he did not consider the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) as a member of the opposition, saying that the party had leveraged its position to blackmail the government. Staff RePoRt

Govt to receive hajj applications from Feb 25 Applications under the Government Hajj Scheme will be received between February 25 and March 4 in 14 designated banks across the country. According to the hajj policy released by the Ministry of Religious Affairs, 184,210 Pakistani pilgrims will perform the pilgrimage this year. Hajj scheme 2019 shall be implemented through government and private hajj group organisers with a ratio of 60:40, RadioPakistan reported. Hajj dues under the government scheme will be Rs436,975 for Northern region, which include Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Sialkot, Faisalabad Multan and Rahim Yar Khan, while Rs426,975 will be received for Southern region, which include Karachi, Quetta and Sukkur. Qurbani charges of Rs19,451 will be optional and there shall be no free hajj this year. The selection of Hujjaj (pilgrims) under the government scheme will be made through computerised balloting on 8th of the next month. This year, 10,000 seats would be reserved for senior citizens above the age of 80 years. Another 10,000 seats would be reserved for persons who have been unsuccessful in ballot continuously for the last three years. Under the government scheme, 1.5 per cent of the total seats will be reserved for hardship cases. NewS DeSk

Govt would have offered free hajj if it had money: PM contInueD froM pAge 01 PM Imran said that people had stopped fearing the law in the last 10 years. “NRO 1 and NRO 2 had eradicated fears of being caught for corruption,” he added. He said that with maximum facilitation for the common man as its top priority in “Naya Pakistan,” the present government was striving to upgrade the country’s train travelling system to the next level with the support of China, which had one of the best railway systems in the world. ‘GOVT’S POLICIES SHOWING RESULTS’: Separately, taking to the social media, PM Imran tweeted that the country’s

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economic stabilisation has started showing positive results for January 2019. PM Imran posted: “Our economic stabilization measures now showing positive results with exports rising & imports falling for Jan 2019 compared to Jan 2018 leading to to a $1 bn reduction in trade deficit.” In another tweet, he said that the deficit in services trade also went down by Rs800 million. “Deficit in services trade also down by 800 mn & Overseas Pakistanis’ remittances up by 12.2% July 2018 to Jan 2019 from same period a yr ago. The clear improvements in our external accounts indices prove success of our economic policies.”


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GeN (r) rAHeel CAllS oN PM IMrAN, dISCuSSeS reGIoNAl PeACe, SeCurITY ISLAMABAD

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Staff RePoRt

ORMER army chief General (r) Raheel Sharif, who is currently heading a Saudi-led 41nation Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC), called on Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday, ahead of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s twoday visit to Pakistan. During the meeting, PM Khan and Gen (r) Sharif exchanged views on regional peace and stability besides discussing matters of mutual interest. Gen Raheel also called on Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi separately and exchanged views on regional peace and stability besides other matters of mutual interest. The former Pakistan Army chief arrived in Islamabad on Sunday leading an IMCTC delegation, and has been busy meeting political and military leaderships since then. Prior to meeting the prime minister on Tuesday, he met

Foreign Minister Qureshi at the Foreign Office. Gen Raheel informed Qureshi about the measures that are being taken by the Islamic coalition against terrorism, said a statement by the Foreign Office. It added that Qureshi “lauded the efforts of the coalition force to establish peace and stability in the region”. The two also talked about the importance of regional peace and stability and other matters of mutual interest. The former army chief then met Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani at the latter’s chamber at the Parliament House. The meeting was attended by

members of Senate and IMCTC. On Monday, Gen Raheel met Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi. A press release by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said that “matters of mutual interest including regional peace and stability” were discussed during Gen Sharif’s meeting with Gen Bajwa. “COAS appreciated the efforts of Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition towards regional peace and security,” the ISPR added. Crown Prince Salman will arrive in

Islamabad on Feb 16. This will be his first visit to Pakistan after becoming the crown prince in June 2017. He will later travel to Malaysia before going to Delhi on Feb 19. His visit is being given extraordinary importance because of the investment commitments he is expected to make. Riyadh is planning to set up a massive refinery in Gwadar with an investment of $10 billion — the biggest by the kingdom in Pakistan to date. Gen (r) Raheel was made the chief of the 41-nation coalition in 2017 while the alliance was formed in 2015. The coalition was initially proposed as a platform for security cooperation among Muslim countries and included provisions for training, equipment and troops, and the involvement of religious scholars for devising a counter-terrorism narrative. Raheel Sharif’s appointment as the commander-in-chief of the Saudi-led alliance had sparked a debate over how the move will impact Pakistan’s foreign policy, and whether it was fully sanctioned by the parliament.

Govt divided over Sheikh Rasheed’s inclusion in PAC ISLAMABAD Staff RePoRt

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Raja Riaz on Tuesday said that there is no need for Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed to be a member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). While addressing the media, Riaz said, “There are PTI members who are part of the PAC and are committed to working honestly and towards the betterment of the country. They will not allow Shehbaz Sharif to do anything against the rules.” On the other hand, the Balochistan Awami Party

(BAP) decided to side with the government and asked for Shehbaz’s resignation as PAC chairman. PAC and BAP member Senator Ahmed Khan said, “Shehbaz can be removed through voting. We are supporters of the government and will stand with them.” Earlier, Sheikh Rasheed had criticised National Assembly (NA) Speaker Asad Qaiser for refusing to make him a PAC member, as he gave the parliament’s top accountability body’s chairman Shehbaz Sharif an eight-day deadline to step down from the office. Rasheed had said the NA speaker should tell reasons for not making him a member of PAC despite receiving a letter to this effect from Prime Minister

Imran Khan. He reiterated that NA Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif is not acceptable as PAC chairman at any cost. He slammed Asad Qaiser, saying the NA speaker took an illegal step by making Shehbaz as PAC chairman. “I have informed Prime Minister Imran that Shehbaz Sharif is not acceptable to me as PAC chairman,” said Rasheed. Earlier, the federal cabinet also called on Shehbaz Sharif to resign from PAC chairmanship. Following the federal cabinet meeting, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the PAC was being used to protect those being probed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

NAdrA BloCkS 10,000 CNICS oF PAkISTANIS wHo reGISTered AS AFGHAN reFuGeeS The National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) recently blocked the Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) of more than 10,000 Pakistanis who registered themselves as Afghan refugees. It was reported that the refugees are entitled to $400 by the UN High Commission for Refugees for “returning to their homeland under a voluntary repatriation scheme”. Furthermore, “NADRA has tracked cases of fake identities through its system when the people who had registered themselves as Afghan refugees came to obtain their CNICs and took action by blocking their national identity cards”. Following this, some people have contacted different courts after their CNIC’s were blocked. NewS DeSk

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ATC issues nonbailable arrest warrant for kP Info Minister Shaukat Yousafzai ISLAMABAD: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Tuesday issued non-bailable arrest warrant for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Shaukat Yousafzai for not appearing before the court for hearings of the cases pertaining to attacks on Pakistan Television (PTV) and Parliament House in 2014. The court directed authorities to arrest Yousafzai and present him in court. Meanwhile, ATC in Islamabad issued non-bailable arrest warrants for 26 Pakistan Tehreek-eInsaf (PTI) workers. The court also approved requests for exemption from hearings filed by PTI leaders Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Jahangir Khan Tareen, Asad Umar and Shafqat Mehmood. During the next hearing, the court will hear arguments on President Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan’s acquittal pleas in the cases. The hearing of the cases has been adjourned till March 28. The ATC is hearing two cases – attack on the state television building and Parliament – against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) leaders. On September 1, 2014, hundreds of men, allegedly protesters from the PTI and PAT camps, had ransacked the PTV office, Parliament premises and brutally beaten up Asmatullah Junejo, less than 24 hours into his first day on the job as SSP operations. Imran Khan, PAT chief Tahirul Qadri and several others were booked over their alleged involvement in the attack during the 2014 sit-ins in the capital. The PTI chief had pleaded the court to transfer the cases to civil court, however, the request was rejected on December 11, 2017. Staff RePoRt


04 LAHORE

AIR QUALITY INDEX

WEATHER UPDATES

151-200

WEDNESDAY

DATA BY PAQI

Wednesday, 13 February, 2019

220C 120C

THURSDAY

190C 110C

FRIDAY

190C

PLRA SeekS uPgRAdAtion of dAtA SeRveR LAHORE

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SHAHAB OMER

HE data storage capacity of Punjab Land Record Authority’s (PLRA) server has reached dangerous limits which can harm the precious data pertaining to digital land records whereas people have also been suffering from different problems at the Arazi Record Centers (ARCs) as data processing has become very slow, Pakistan Today has learnt through reliable sources. Well-maintained sources in PLRA told Pakistan Today, “The central data-

base server of PLRA has reached its maximum storage limit and has no further capacity to store data. The total capacity of the central server is 60 Terabytes (TB) while 56 TB has already been consumed whereas on average the ARCs and Registration of Deeds (RODs) are pushing 6.8 GB of data in the system per day.” Sources further added, “The IT team of PLRA have been pushing the government to provide additional resources since January 2018 and even took up bidding in April 2018. However, neither the approval nor the funds have been granted for the expansion of infrastructure under the arguments such as Tech-

nical Review Requirement, General Election Restrictions, etc. IT teams are constantly pushing this matter with management but they have not received any concrete response so far.” Sources were of the view that “CLRIMS”, the software which is using in the service centres of Punjab, has become slow and the people who visit ARCs are facing hurdles. If serious measures are not taken to upgrade the system, it can fail at any time and the data regarding land records can go to waste, sources added. While talking on the same issue, PLRA Director General Aslam Rao told

Pakistan Today, “This matter is in my knowledge and we are taking up the necessary measures. According to international standards, our database is in a critical situation. At the same time, the prime minister has given us the target to give access to commercial banks and our set targets of issuing online land registry are two months. Our server is in a very critical stage and we cannot take up new initiatives. We have talked to the chief secretary regarding this issue and we will award the contract of system upgradation within a week. I am sure this issue will be resolved within two to three months.”

CM grieved by loss of lives due to kite flying LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has expressed his strong indignation over the loss of precious human lives due to kite flying in some cities of the province. He has issued directives from Saudi Arabia to police and the administration that in case of any loss of human life resulting due to kite flying in future, the deputy commissioner and DPO of the said district will be held responsible and a case will be registered against the SHO as well. “The police and the administration should fulfil their responsibilities towards protection of life and property of the people, otherwise, stern action will be taken,” the chief minister said. STAFF REPORT

Man arrested for defaming ex-wife MULTAN: A man was arrested on Monday night for blackmailing his ex-wife with fake revenge porn videos for money and circulating them, it was reported by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). According to FIA’s cyber crime wing, the woman had registered a complaint against her ex-husband, Muhammad Naeem Ansari, accusing him of blackmailing her with photoshopped indecent videos in an attempt to extort money. She had claimed that he sent the video clips to her family and relatives when she refused to pay him anything. FIA started an investigation and arrested him after filing a first information report (FIR). STAFF REPORT

SATURDAY

210C

90C

LHC moved for ban on alcohol LAHORE STAFF REPORT

A citizen has filed a constitutional petition in the Lahore High Court (LHC) seeking a ban on the sale of liquor in Punjab. The petitioner, Nadeem Sarwar, submitted that only non-Muslims are permitted to buy liquor on their festivals under the constitution but it is being sold at hotels and shops throughout the year in connivance with government officials. He stated that even other religions don’t permit consumption of alcohol and non-Muslims are required to get a certificate from their religious leader to get liquor. The petitioner lamented that the excise department has failed to take any action in this regard and pleaded with the court to order it to stop the illegal sale of liquor. Earlier in March 2017, the Supreme Court had suspended the Sindh High Court (SHC) stay order against liquor sale in Sindh. During the course of the hearing, the bench remarked that 1989 law pertaining to sale of liquor existed and on violation of the law police can be approached. The top court termed the SHC verdict regarding ban on liquor sale and closure of shops against the law.

three declared proclaimed offenders in ashiana housing society scandal

LHC adjourns Shehbaz bail plea LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday adjourned the hearing of bail plea filed by Opposition Leader in National Assembly (NA) Shehbaz Sharif until Wednesday. A two-judge bench comprising Justice Malik Shahzad and Justice Mirza Waqas heard the bail petition on Tuesday. National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Special Prosecutor Akram Qureshi, in his arguments, said that no measures were taken out for draining out the contaminated water from the Ramzan Sugar Mills and construction of nullah cost the national exchequer Rs213 million. Upon query of the court, Qureshi said, Hamza Shehbaz is also an accused in the reference. The bureau has not issued his arrest warrants as he was cooperating with the NAB in the investigation, he added. STAFF REPORT

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LAHORE: A vendor arranges flowers at his roadside setup as demand sees an increase ahead of V-Day. ONLINE

WcLa to begin illumination of three fort monuments monuments to become part of fort’s night tours from march 23 LAHORE SHAHAB OMER

The Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) is starting the process of illuminating Makatib Khana, Haveli of Maharani Jinda and periphery of Deewan-e-Aam inside the Lahore Fort at a cost of Rs 1.8million and once the process is complete, these monuments will be made part of the attractions in ‘History by Night’ tour of WCLA, Pakistan Today has learnt. The estimated time for the illumination process to be completed is two to three weeks and the monuments will be opened for public in ‘History by Night’ tours of Lahore Fort from March 23, 2019. It is worth mentioning here that WCLA had, for the first time, illu-

minated the Huzoori Bagh, Badshahi Mosque, Samadhi of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Picture Wall, Alamgiri Gate, Summer Palace, Sheesh Mahal and Royal Ramp of the Lahore Fort and these sites were opened for the tourists at night whereas special guided tours were conducted on every Saturday. Saleem Khan, a tourist at Lahore Fort during the ‘History by Night’ tour, said, “It is amazing to see the illuminated monuments inside the Fort and it is a good image-building of the city and I think it is an excellent step towards the revival of tourism in Lahore. The illumination of other sites inside Lahore Fort will be another experience for the tourists and I am eagerly waiting for that.” Kanwal Khalid, another tourist at

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Lahore Fort said, “It will be good if the ‘dark sites’ of Lahore Fort are also illuminated as soon as possible because as we drive up from the Royal Trail of the Fort, the view of the dark laws is not aesthetically pleasing. Similarly, popular sites like Deewane-Aam and Jahangir Quadrangle should also be illuminated so we can see them at night as well.” Speaking to Pakistan Today, WCLA Director Tourism Asif Zaheer said, “As soon as the monuments inside the Lahore Fort were illuminated, we launched the ‘History by Night’ tours which instantly became a hit among the public. There are places which are yet to be illuminated and we are currently in process of illuminating them. We will open them to the public on March 23 this year. We plan to revamp the tour route and add other attractions from March 23 as it is a big day for us and we would like to do something different for the tourists.”

LAHORE: An accountability court (AC) on Tuesday declared three absconders in Ashiana Housing Society scandal as proclaimed offenders, a local news outlet reported. Nadeem Zia, Kamran Kiani and Khalid Hussain have been declared proclaimed offenders by the court as they were absconding and skipping hearing into cases despite several summons. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) also presented a report in the court about the three absconders. AC had ordered completion of the inquiry into the case on January 10. Former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif and other 18 persons nominated in the case have also been summoned by the court on February 18. The court is likely to indict nominated accused in the case in the next hearing. In the last hearing on February 7, the AC judge had expressed his resentment over the absence of Shehbaz Sharif in the hearing, saying, “Where is he, Shehbaz was supposed to be indicted in the case today.” The court stated that the police were just guardians and it was the state which was answerable on who had allowed Shehbaz Sharif to stay in Islamabad, adding that he was not granted the right to a medical so he would not appear in court. “My client is facing a problem of backbone and advised to avoid long travel,” Shehbaz’s counsel said and added that there was no such order for the indictment of his client. STAFF REPORT


Wednesday, 13 February, 2019

whAt PAkistAn will gAin from PeAce in AfghAnistAn naTional inTErEsT

P

Riaz KhOKhaR

AKISTAN’S expectations of substantial improvements in its security and trade relations with Afghanistan—and by extension with the United States—appear to be thin on the ground. For starters, Pakistan expects that its sincere efforts in facilitating the Afghan reconciliation process will bridge the trust deficit with the Afghan government. To be sure, Pakistan’s intra-regional trade is constricted by the trust deficit with its neighbors. Paring the trust deficit down with Kabul is the foremost diplomatic challenge for Islamabad. There are two major irritants in Pak-Afghan ties: Pakistan’s diplomatic support to the Taliban, the insurgents whom the Afghan army is fighting; and Pakistan’s refusal to grant transit access to Indian goods destined for Afghan markets. Even as the former irritant seems to be settled down by the ongoing reconciliation process, the latter challenge will continue to take hold of Pakistan’s trade with Afghanistan in the times to come. First, the Taliban nuisance. After Pakistan’s seriousness in facilitating the Afghanistan peace process, the perceptions in Kabul’s policy circles appears to be changing. The Afghan president’s special envoy and the chief of High Peace Council (HPC) Umar Daudzai visited Islamabad recently and appreciated the current government’s efforts for Afghanistan. He also highlighted the potential of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) in increasing bilateral trade and enhancing cultural exchange visits and people-topeople contacts. Under that framework, in June 2018, both the Afghanistan and Pakistan governments also agreed to establish liaison offices in each other’s military headquarters, ground coordination centers for better military coordination, and intelligence-sharing on cross-border flow of terrorists and drug-traffickers. However, Islamabad must remember that the attitude change in the Afghan government is the result of goodwill created by making serious ef-

forts to secure peace in the country. In order to sustain the geniality in the ties with Kabul government, Islamabad needs to pursue amicable relations across the board, i.e., showing no preference for any side in Afghanistan. It must note that seeking stability in Afghanistan through facilitating the intra-Afghan peace process is only one way. Other ways to be pursued in tandem may be: easing the visa regime, promoting Pashto music/dramas/movies/entertainment shows, medical tourism and cultural exchange programs. Unfortunately, in the last couple of years, Pakistan witnessed a sharp decline in trade with Afghanistan. This is because of the second irritant in the relationship: the India factor. Previously, on many occasions, the Afghan government threatened to close down transit routes for Pakistan’s goods destined for Central Asian markets if Pakistan did not allow transit access to Indian goods destined for Afghanistan. Pakistani policymakers took so long to take firm action on this issue that Afghan and Indian businesses shifted the transit of trade through the port of Tehran. The consequences proved terrible for the Pakistani economy. It was reported last year that the Afghan government shifted over 70 percent of its trade to Iran, India and China. Pakistan lost more than a 50 percent share in the Afghan market in the last two years, ceding the traditional markets of flour, women & men apparel and red meat to India and China. Thus, the Pak-Afghan trade was reduced from $2.7 billion in 2015 to $1.7 billion in 2017. This is alarming for Pakistani businesses, as it signifies Kabul’s reduced dependence on Pakistani ports. Other reasons for the lowered trade included strict visa policy regime, a stern border security process, regulatory duty on imports from Afghanistan, and so forth. In this context, the question of granting transit access to India also appears to have lost its merit. In the coming months, therefore, one of the biggest challenges for Islamabad will be to increase its trade volume with Afghanistan, especially since the latter

no longer relies on Pakistani ports. The next issue is Pakistan’s access to Central Asian markets through Afghanistan and vice versa. At one point, Pakistan had the opportunity to offer Afghanistan a transit corridor for its goods to India (and potentially vice-versa). This has ceased to be the case now, as mentioned above. In the future, Pakistan’s trade with Central Asia will likely be contingent upon the favorable ties with Afghanistan. That congenial factor is Pakistan’s sincerity in ensuring peace in Afghanistan through convincing the Taliban for talks with the Afghan government or the High Peace Council. Islamabad also expects that, even when U.S. troops withdraw and law and order get out of hand in Afghanistan, its border-fencing will stop cross-border terrorism and the uncontrolled movement of people towards Pakistan. Pakistan’s army recently claimed to have completed a 900 km-long border wall with Afghanistan, while the remainder of the total 2,600 km will be completed this year. Deployment of troops will also complement the border-security management process. Although these measures may check the cross-border flow of terrorists, they will also obstruct the conventional inter-cultural exchanges of people on both sides of the border. Moreover, the Kabul government has never recognized the border with Islamabad and continues to oppose the wall, which manifested itself in the cross-border skirmishes between the two armies. Thus, whether peace is restored in Afghanistan or not, the Afghan government will continue to oppose the wall and the Pakistani government may lose goodwill among the Afghan populace. Therefore, Islamabad needs to ensure that some border crossing points remain open and regularized to facilitate people-to-people contacts, trade and cultural exchanges. For this, the current government’s initiative to keep the Torkham border open is an encouraging step. Recently, U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham, during his visit to Islamabad, talked of urging the Trump administration to sign free trade agreement with

Pakistan in exchange for its help in Afghanistan. In his view, the economic engagement would markedly transform the nature of bilateral ties from the transactional to one of strategic. These claims are only his expectations rather than a policy. It is not something to count on. Frankly speaking, Washington and Islamabad share no common enemy and their interests diverge on the United States’ strategic rival—China. Still, if Pakistan pursues balance in its relations with major powers and seeks its national interest instead of being party to either side, it could attain the best of both worlds. Nonetheless, for a strategic partnership, both money and the addressable market play an important role. By having money in the bank and offering substantial market opportunities, Pakistan will be able to bolster its relationship not only with the United States, but also with all major powers in the world. In the short run, that doesn’t seem to be the case in Pakistan. Here’s the good news. After nine years, ExxonMobil, a large American oil & gas firm, along with the Italian company Eni Pakistan Limited and two Pakistani firms, have started an exploration of oil and gas reservoirs near the Karachi coast. Cargill, another U.S. company and a well-known food and agriculture producer, which looks forward to investing $200 million in the Pakistan’s agriculture and dairy industry. Whether these developments will also lead to a resumption of the United States’ military sales, military training program, and soft diplomacy in general is yet to be seen. For now, it looks more likely contingent upon Afghan peace. In the ultimate analysis, the current government’s pursuit of friendly relations with all neighbors, a nonaligned approach in interstate relations and a constructive role in regional stability will help the country meet its expectations from the ongoing Afghan peace process. Riaz Khokhar is a research assistant at the Center for International Strategic Studies (CISS), Islamabad. His areas of interest are Pakistan’s foreign policy and South Asian strategic affairs.

London gangs

counTErPunch T J COLES

London is plagued by street gangs. By the year 2016 there were an estimated 3,600 gangsters. According to government figures, these form some 225 gangs. Of these, 58 gangs are regularly active and are thought by police to be responsible for two-thirds of gang-related offences, including assault, theft, murder and, most of all, drugs. Ethnically, gangsters are mainly white, Asian, black and Eastern European. In the absence of official data, on-the-ground reports suggest that the majority of gangsters dealing in drugs, where the most violent crimes occur, are young black males, particularly Jamaican. This is not only a symptom of how successive British governments have failed young ethnic minorities, it reflects the tragic legacy of colonialism. The British Empire left Jamaica and its other regional colonies poor and devastated .One book on the topic notes that emancipation from slavery “removed the gross features of the slave system without basically upsetting the underlying classcolour differentiations.” Likewise, a London School of Economics report notes that although Jamaica’s Constitution of 1944 introduced so-called democracy, it was “overlaid onto a set of administrative structures and doctrines which had developed since the imposition of Crown

THE ALLURE OF GANG MEMBERSHIP, SAYS THE REPORT, INCLUDES THE PERCEIVED SENSE OF ‘SAFETY, PROTECTION, EXCITEMENT, FINANCIAL OPPORTUNITIES AND A SENSE OF BELONGING’ THAT GANGS APPEAR TO OFFER Colony rule in 1866.” Jamaica’s pre-Independence gangs, like The Yardies, emerged from the poverty of the 1950s. Caribbeans experienced similar hardships when they and their parents moved to the UK after the Second World War. According to the British National Archives, between 1948 and 1970, almost half a million people from the West Indies (including the Caribbean) came to Britain, many of them on government initiatives, “to run the transport system, postal service and hospitals. Other West Indians were returning soldiers who had fought for Britain during the Second World War.” Most of the immigrants settled in London. One academic paper notes that “Britain’s experience of West Indian immigration” was “traumatic … Both first and second generations in the U.K. have experienced open hostility” from media, politicians and the public. Inner city violence, including white gangs vs. black gangs, affected Liverpool in the north, Handsworth in the Midlands and, in London, Brixton, Notting Hill and Tottenham. Within a generation, poverty and discrimination in London had given rise to the gangland culture, with children growing up poor and oppressed and turning to crime for prestige and money. In 1992, the

WORLD VIEW 05

British police launched Operation Lucy to crush the gangs. Not having learned their lessons, successive governments, including the Tories under Margaret Thatcher and John Major, as well as New Labour under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, failed to address the grievances of young ethnic minority Britons–the children and grandchildren of the migrant generations– and help them integrate into society. As in previous decades, some youngsters of this neglected generation have turned to gangs for profit and protection. Britain has been condemned by the United Nations for its structural racism. Just 14% percent of British people are from ethnic minorities. Yet 26% of British prisoners are non-whites, with black offenders 53% more likely to be sent to prison than whites. By 2011, black people were, in some areas of the UK, 28 times more likely than white people to be stopped and searched by police. The children of black Caribbeans are three times more likely than white children to be permanently expelled from school. According to government figures, by 2016 the rate of employment for white Britons was 74.7%. For black Britons, however, it was 59.3%. While the rate of overall poverty for white Britons (according to the government’s questionable

A committee Atwitter over little substAnce THIS IS NOT TO SAY TWITTER, LIKE OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS, CAN’T DO MORE TO POLICE ITS CONTENT. JUST THAT THE STANDING COMMITTEE IS ASKING THE WRONG QUESTION FOR WRONG REASONS Economic TimEs The current controversy on Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s nonappearance before Parliament’s standing committee on IT is as driven by histrionics as many controversies that erupt on Twitter. Leave aside the logic of the committee’s complaints against Twitter for the moment and ask whether Dorsey’s presence at the committee’s meeting would have achieved anything other than political theatre. Standing committees in India are not empowered to take testimonies under oath, nor do they have quasi-judicial or quasi-regulatory powers. The Twitter CEO, therefore, simply could not have promised any change in its rules of business, because a standing committee is not the place for such a deliberation. The policymaking ministry, relevant regulators and courts are the forums where private companies’ business conduct should be reviewed. This, and not whether there was enough time for the Twitter CEO to fly to India, is the fundamental problem with the standing committee’s ‘summons’ to Dorsey. Grandstanding is not the only issue with the standing committee’s approach. It has decided that the appearance of many fake Twitter handles and related unsavoury social media conduct make a case for questioning the company’s internal controls. This is, to put it mildly, a strange conclusion. Twitter has hosted fakery and dangerous nonsense pretty much from the time it came up. What’s so especially appalling now compared to, say, what Twitter hosted six months or five years back? Opposition arguments that the BJP-majority committee’s argument is informed by partisan views on current social media chatter don’t seem fanciful. This is not to say Twitter, like other social media platforms, can’t do more to police its content. Just that the standing committee is asking the wrong question for wrong reasons.

measure of poverty) was 17.2%, for black Britons it was 39.9%. The percentage of white people likely to get a good degree at college is 76.3% compared to 60.3% for ethnic minorities in general. Although just 7.3% of the British population supposedly experiences “persistent poverty” (again, by the government’s dubious measure), for black and Asian households, the percentage rises to 20. Poverty, unemployment, imprisonment and general discrimination put massive strains on ethnic minority families, hence many absent fathers. Twenty-two percent of white parents are single, but 51% of black parents are single. There are few means for ethnic minority women to make a decent living. By 2011, unemployment for ethnic women was 14% compared to 6.8% for white women. These factors have merged to create a psychologically damaged demographic of socially alienated, angry youths, who believe that their only hope for respect and belonging is to join a gang. According to the Metropolitan Police’s database, by the year 2014 the average age of a London gangster was 21. The Mayor of London Office for Policing and Crime’s report on gangs notes that youths are “pulled” into joining gangs by a number of factors. Many of these factors are the same as those noted above: poverty, lack of education and employment skills, and family problems. The allure of gang membership, says the report, includes the perceived sense of “safety, protection, excitement, financial opportunities and a sense of belonging” that gangs appear to offer. Crucially, the report notes that “These young people are often the most excluded in our society, facing multiple levels of deprivations and often growing up exposed to traumatic and abusive environments.” British governments used Caribbeans and their African ancestors as slaves and then as cheap labour to rebuild post-war

Britain. Having been exploited, they and their offspring have been left to face poverty and discrimination. Another indication of how badly the system has failed these young, mainly ethnic minority males is the extent to which many believe in casting magic spells (Obeah) for self-protection. Here, the link between modern gangland violence and colonialism is apparent. According to a four-part investigation into London gangs by the International Business Times (IBT), Obeah originated in the west African Ashanti. Centuries ago, the practitioners believed that their spells could protect them. The magicians were respected and feared. The Spanish and later English slave traders brought them and their tradition to the Caribbean and thus to modern London. The IBT investigation concludes that many of today’s black London gangsters believe that Obeah will protect them from the police and bullets of rival gangs. It is significant that in the past the practitioners of Obeah “played a key role in slave rebellions and would create powders that supposedly possessed magical properties that would protect users from the white man’s weapons.” Today, the white man’s weapons are job discrimination, racism in policing, an economic system that favours wealthy and middle-class people, and the refusal of successive governments to get to the root of what drives young males to join gangs. Like so many things, London’s gang crisis is in no small part one of the tragic legacies of colonialism. Dr. T. J. Coles is director of the Plymouth Institute for Peace Research and the author of several books, including Voices for Peace (with Noam Chomsky and others) and the forthcoming Fire and Fury: How the US Isolates North Korea, Encircles China and Risks Nuclear War in Asia (both Clairview Books).


06 NEWS

Wednesday, 13 February, 2019

PM tells CDA to review highrise builDings PoliCy Imran says essentIal to amend rules and regulatIons to let Investors buIld towers In the capItal

ISLAMABAD

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RIME Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday directed the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to formulate rules and regulations for the construction of high-rise buildings in the federal capital and to convert the present buildings into high-rise edifices. The prime minister stated this while chairing a meeting about allowing high-rise buildings in the Federal Capital. The meeting was attended by Special Assistants to the PM Ali Nawaz Awan, Naeemul Haque, Secretary Civil Aviation Shah Rukh Nusrat, CDA Chairman Aamir Ahmed Ali and other officials. The prime minister was given a detailed briefing regarding the present rules and regulations about the construction of high-rise buildings in the federal capital. The prime minister said that keeping in view the increase in population in the capital, green areas must be protected while fulfilling the economic and residen-

tial requirements of the people. He said that by providing opportunities to overseas Pakistan, particularly in the real estate business, and promoting economic activities it was essential to amend required rules and regulations to provide a facility for the construction of high-rise buildings in the federal capital. The prime minister also directed the CDA to formulate future policy about constructing high-rise buildings at the areas of slums. The meeting decided that the Aviation Division and CDA in the next ten days would identify those areas where high-rise building would not be allowed, however, the numbers of such areas should be minimum. The prime minister directed the CDA to present policy, in next week, making the process of accepting design of the buildings easier and prompt and ensuring automation of the system with minimum human interference. The CDA was directed to review the policy about high-rise buildings in the next 10 days.

sukkur-multan motorway contract awarded without bidding, tendering: minister ISLAMABAD APP

Federal Minister for Communications and postal Services Murad Saeed said Tuesday that SukkurMultan Motorway project was awarded without bidding and tendering but former minister for planning and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Ahsan Iqbal instead of responding to the documented proofs of corruption against him, was trying to hide behind China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Speaking after signing of Momentum of Understanding “Meri Shahrah” for plantation of trees on the Right of Way of national highways and motorway projects, he said that Ahsan Iqbal should answer his questions about Javaid Sadiq, and his role in Sukkur-Multan Motorway project. The Minister said that the cost of Sukkur-Multan Motorway increased from 259 billion to over Rs 300 billion due to corruption and incompetence of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz government. Murad Saeed said that Javaid Sadiq was front man of Nawaz Sharif made the contract with the company working on the project and minutes of the meetings were available. He said he has documentary proofs of all the projects awarded to preferred companies without bidding at higher rates by the previous regime which will be provided to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) during the probe, which has already taken up the case. He said that the PTI government would start new road construction projects in Build-OperateTransfer (BOT) mode so that finances from the national exchequer could be used in health and education sector projects. He said that the during

previous government, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif himself was Communication Minister who got the lucrative projects awarded to firms of his choice. He said that the government would expose all those who looted the country. He said that funds of many mega development projects were shifted to Larkana and Sukkur during Pakistan People’s Party government and would soon expose the corruption scams. He said after PTI coming to power, Ministry of Communications made Rs 9.54 million worth recoveries through internal audit of its departments and proper governance. There were no reforms made yet rather, the direction of institutions was improved which helped to achieve milestone of revenue generation.Minister for Communications said that the government had promised to root out corruption from the country and so far it has made recovery worth over Rs 4 billion. Without naming anyone, he said that a PML-N

leader from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has started making hue and cry as Departmental Accounts Committee of Communications Ministry has ordered recovery of Rs 150 million from his firm. He said that he was not a traditional politician and not interested in enjoying perks and privileges and would carry his struggle for expose corruption of previous regimes. He said that as he had ordered special audit of the mega projects of the previous government, he was approached for a deal. About the inauguration of the projects started by the previous government, he said that the all these projects belonged to the state and the PTI government made arrangements for Motorway Police deployment in M-4 Gojara-Shorkot section. To a question he said that he has himself visited the rest areas of motorways and written letters to commissioners for control of overcharging on rest areas of the motorways. He said that Ministry of Climate Change and Ministry of Communications have joined hands for plantation of all national highways and motorways. He said that beautification process of the national highways was being launched. Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul said Pakistan was most vulnerable country to effects of climate change but in the past no attention was paid towards this sector. She said that now under the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, a ten billion trees plantation plan has been initiated. She said that private sector, non-governmental organizations, and civil society would be asked to sponsor these projects. She said a comprehensive plan has been prepared for plantation of suitable projects in various areas. She appealed the media to help make the project a success.

E-TICKETING

lahore sees 66% reduction in traffic rules violation LAHORE: The e-challan system in Lahore is the first initiative of its kind and it has resulted in 66 per cent reduction in traffic rules' violation in the last four months. According to a recent research, there is 25 per cent reduction in travel time of individual travelers on a daily basis, causing reduction in fuel consumption and improving the environment. On the directions of Lahore High Court and with the support of Punjab Police and other government departments, the initiative was launched. The Punjab Safe Cities Authority (PSCA) is implementing the e-challan system without any discrimination. However, medical emergency vehicles and security vehicles during authorised operations have exemption, said the PSCA Chief Operating Officer (COO) Akbar Nasir Khan. He said the PSCA believed that public safety was its highest priority. "We do not want to target any group, individual or segment of society as everybody is subject to the same law according to the constitution of Pakistan. PSCA has a secure system in all respects and we continuously make efforts to improve its performance and plug any possible operation or technical loopholes in the first-ever state of the art integrated command, control and communication centre of Punjab Police in Pakistan and in South Asia," the COO said. The only remedy to avoid penalties is to abide by the traffic rules and regulations, he added. APP

son of ex-pakistan pm suhrawardy passes away in london Rashid Suhrawardy, son of last prime minister of undivided Bengal and founder of Awami League Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, passed away on February 5, 2019, in London. Rashid was aged 78 and died of natural causes. Educated in the United Kingdom at Charterhouse School and Oxford University, Suhrawardy attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London after which he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company. One of his most notable roles was in the film “Jinnah”, in which he played the part of Pandit Nehru. Suhrawardy was unmarried and leaves no direct heirs, but his closest relatives are Begum Shahida Jamil, Begum Naz Ashraf and Princess Sarvath El Hassan. News Desk

USEFP offers fully funded scholarships for Pakistani students ISLAMABAD APP

The United States Educational Foundation in Pakistan (USEFP) invites Pakistani students to apply for the prestigious and fully funded Fulbright Student from Master’s to PhD and Fulbright-Higher Education Commission (HEC) PhD scholarships programme 2020 at top universities in the United States. The application form is available online at www.usefpakistan.org, and the application deadline is May 15, 2019, according to an official statement issued on Tuesday. Women, people with disabilities, and students from rural and underrepresented areas are highly encouraged to

apply. All disciplines are eligible except clinical medicine. Applicants studying energy, water, agriculture, public health, education, social sciences, journalism, mass communication, arts and culture management, including heritage conservation and museum studies, urban and regional planning, environmental science/studies, security/peace studies, and data science disciplines are strongly encouraged to apply. “The Fulbright Programme is a cornerstone of the strong ties between the American and Pakistani people,” Christopher Fitzgerald, Minister Counsellor for Public Affairs at the United States Mission in Pakistan, said. “Fulbright is not just an academic

scholarship – it is a programme that produces strong leaders who return to Pakistan upon completion of their studies and make a difference in improving their communities. “And because Pakistani Fulbrighters come from diverse backgrounds and re-

CMYK

gions, the impact is felt nationwide across society, spanning the nearly seven decades of Fulbright in Pakistan. “We expect the Fulbright programme to receive applications from dedicated students who seek to develop academically, participate in the opportunities the

United States offers, and who will build a more secure and prosperous Pakistan.” The Fulbright Programme in Pakistan covers travel, living stipends, health insurance, and tuition for the entire period of study. “I would like to encourage anyone who is eligible and interested in graduate education to consider applying to the prestigious Fulbright Programme. Among successful applicants, some are fresh graduates, others are working professionals, and in recent years more than half are women,” USEFP Executive Director Rita Akhtar said. “To become a Fulbrighter, it’s important to have a good academic record but it’s just as important to have a commitment to returning to Pakistan and using the degree to make a positive difference.”


Wednesday, 13 February, 2019

PAkistAn enhAnCeD woMen's PArtiCiPAtion in PeACekeePing Missions, MAleehA tells un ISLAMABAD

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AKISTAN’S Ambassador to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi said that Islamabad has “enhanced the participation of women in UN peacekeeping operations”. While speaking at the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, Lodhi said that “Pakistan is proud to have achieved the goal of deployment of 15 per cent female staff officers in its missions”. Moreover, according to a statement issued by Foreign Office, “Lodhi was referring to the fact that in less than 18 months, Pakistan has gone from zero participation of female military staff officers in peacekeeping operations to the UN prescribed benchmark of 15 per cent.” Lodhi further said, “Pakistan was deploying an engagement team consisting of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo in May 2019.” Ambassador Lodhi said that “as a leading troop contributor as well as a host state, Pakistan would

court rejects nab's remand plea, sends Kamran michael to jail KARACHI: An accountability court on Tuesday rejected the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) request for physical remand of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader and former minister for ports and shipping Senator Kamran Michael in a case related to abuse of his authority. NAB officials produced Michael before the judge in court number 3. However, he was then recommended to court number 2 where NAB’s request to grant physical remand was dismissed. The accused was later sent to jail on judicial remand. A day earlier, the NAB officials had interrogated Michael about a man named Imran Shah, who had given a statement against the former minister. On Feb 9, an accountability court of Lahore granted five days’ transit remand of Michael to NAB. The accountability watchdog had requested the court for a transit remand of five days for the former minister. The former minister is accused of illegally allotting three commercial and residential apartment plots at prime locations of KPT Cooperative Housing Society in Karachi to his favourite persons after allegedly receiving a huge bribe. stAff RePoRt

Japanese envoy-designate vows to further ties with pakistan ISLAMABAD: Ambassador Designate of Japan to Pakistan Kuninori Matsuda Tuesday expressed his resolve to further strengthen the strong bilateral ties between Japan and Pakistan as well as people-to-people relations. Kuninori Matsuda further said Pakistan and Japan always enjoyed close friendly relations, an Embassy of Japan statement said. He had joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Japan in April 1982 and later appointed as first secretary, Embassy of Japan in USA during 1996. Matsuda as an experienced diplomat also served on various positions including counsellor, Embassy of Japan in Russia, director, Overseas Public Relations Division, senior Fellow/director of Research Coordination the Japan Institute of International Affairs, director Russian Division, consul general, ConsulateGeneral of Japan in Detroit and Consulate-General of Japan in Hong-Kong and so on. APP

Cloudy weather to prevail; rain at isolated places ISLAMABAD: Met office has forecast cloudy weather conditions in upper and central parts of the country while rain thunderstorm with snowfall over the hills is expected at scattered places in Quetta, Zhob, Kalat, Malakand, Hazara, Kohat, Bannu, D I Khan, Rawalpindi divisions, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, while at isolated places in Lahore, Gujranwala, Sargodha divisions and Islamabad. According to the synoptic situations a westerly wave is affecting western parts of the country and likely to persist in upper parts till Friday. Weather remained cold and dry in most parts of the country. However, rain with snowfall over the hills occurred at isolated places in Kalat, Quetta divisions and Gilgit Baltistan. APP

continue to support efforts to strengthen peacekeeping”. It was further reported that the Pakistani envoy also referred to “United Nations Military Observer

Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) and said that Pakistan had always supported the mission in the implementation of its mandate”. “UNMOGIP has an important role to play in the maintenance of peace and security in a volatile neighbourhood and called for its strengthening and expansion to make it more effective,” Lodhi said. She further stressed that “the safety and security of peacekeepers remained urgent as threats faced by them have increased due to complex and evolving conflicts”. “Peacekeeping is already a cost-effective undertaking which draws strength from the collective political will of the international community,” she maintained. “Achieving more with less is not sustainable”. “It is time we start enabling our peacekeepers to live up to the ideals that we claim to be committed to”, Lodhi added. She further stated that there is a need to preserve the fundamentals of peacekeeping and that “the legitimacy and credibility enjoyed by UN peacekeeping operations were based on the commitment to uphold these principles”.

balochistan cm inaugurates online tax collection system QUETTA APP

Balochistan Chief Minister Jamal Kamal on Tuesday said setting up of online tax collection system was a positive initiative for up gradation of tax system in province, the process of development was dependent on financial sustainability. CM Balochistan expressed these views while addressing the inauguration ceremony of online tax collection system at Department of Excise and Taxation here today. Advisor to CM Balochistan for Excise Malik Naeem Khan Bazai, Provincial Minister for Transport Muhammad Omar Khan Jamali, Provincial Minister for Labor Sarfaraz Chakker Domki, Advisor for Sports and Culture Abdul Khaliq Hazara, Advisor for Education Mohammad Khan Lehri, Advisor for Livestock Mitha Khan Kakar, DG Excise Sohail ul Rehman Baloch and other officials were also present on this occasion. The result of administrative disorder in the last 15-20 years in Balochistan has given rise to many problems today. The present bill of pension in Balochistan is Rs. 23 billion, which will go up to Rs.200 billion in the next five years, the CM added. The CM said that there is a need for good governance in Balochistan. The annual income of Balochistan is Rs. 15 billion, our goal is to increase it by Rs. 40 billion in the

next few years, He added. “Although effective legislation and measures have been proposed in eight cabinet meetings, there’s still greater room for improvement in government departments”, the CM said. While addressing the ceremony Advisor to CM for Excise Malik Naeem Khan Bazai said that Excise Department in Balochistan has set the target of collecting tax over Rs. 2.8 billion in the current financial year. Overcoming department issues may increase the rate of revenue, he added. The Advisor said that Excise Department Balochistan collects six types of tax for provincial and federal governments. The Advisor said a link has also been set up with the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) for registration of vehicles. A smart card based on seven security features has been introduced, which will replace the registration book. “A memorandum of understating (MoU) has been signed between NADRA and Department Excise Balochistan to verify the identification of people in the procurement process of vehicles,” he said. The Advisor said that sustainable economy is imperative for collective development of the country and provinces. Balochistan will be the first province, where online taxation system would be operative for all seven days of a week and 24 hours of a day, he added.

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Senate body recommends direct budget allocation for defence production ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Defense Production Tuesday, while deliberating over the revised budget estimates for the year 2018-19 and 2019-20, stressed the need for Ministry of Defense Production to attain sustainability. The Committee held the meeting at Parliament House under the chairmanship of Senator Lt. Gen (R) Abdul Qayyum here. The Chairman Committee, said that capacity surplus must be utilized for commercial purposes and that moving towards total commercialization was the need of the day. The Committee strongly recommended direct budget allocation for the Ministry of Defence Production rather than being routed through the Ministry of Defence. Up gradation of machinery to increase output was asserted as well. The need for promotion of vendor industry and exploration of international marketing opportunities was stressed. The issues that came under review, were net purchase sales for captive and grid spill over renewable projects, budget estimates 2018-19 and 2019-2020, status of DPEs that fall under the Ministry of Defence Production. Status of the Right of First Refusal Policy and the Gwadar Shipyard Project were also discussed. With regards to Net purchase sales for captive and grid spill over renewable projects, the Committee recommended that POF and NEPRA sit together and resolve this issue and brief the Committee in the next meeting. Senators Molana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Muhammad Akram, Gul Bashra, Pervaiz Rasheed, Nauman Wazir Khattak, Shaheen Khalid Butt, Mushahid Hussain Sayed and senior officers from the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) along with all concerned attended the meeting. APP

Zardari condoles with senate deputy chairman over mother's demise ISLAMABAD: Former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday condoled with Senate Deputy Chairman Saleem Mandviwala over the demise of his mother. Zardari telephoned Mandviwala to express his grief and sorrow. He said that no loss could be greater than that of a lost parent. The former president also wished strength and fortitude for the bereaved family to bear the loss. INP

Court indicts PPP leaders Arbab, Asma Alamgir again PESHAWAR: An accountability court on Tuesday indicted Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leaders Dr Arbab Alamgir and Asma Alamgir again. The former federal minister for communications and his wife, who was a member of National Assembly (MNA), appeared before the court as it heard a case against them for accumulating assets beyond known sources of income. After hearing their arguments, the court indicted them again after removing the “foreign assets” part from their indictment. The earlier reference had mentioned that they owned foreign properties. Previously, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had filed a corruption reference against the former federal minister and his wife for allegedly accumulating assets worth Rs332 million which is disproportionate to known sources of income. The hearing was then adjourned as the court summoned three witnesses, Sher Dil, Kaleem Shehzad and Dr Rehan, at the next hearing. stAff RePoRt

PIA suspends flight operations to Mohenjo Daro LARKANA PPI

For the past two months, PIA, the national carrier, has stopped all flights to World Heritage monuments of Mohenjo Daro due to which foreign tourists who visit these historical ruins have reduced and most of them are facing acute difficulties as they reach at the site via Sukkur which takes more time than an air travel. Mohenjo Daro airport was established during the British era in 1922 and was inaugurated by renowned excavator & archaeologist Sir John Marshal when he excavated and discovered the historical monuments. Later the airport was expanded and upgraded by then Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. After the end of PPP government in 2013 and even during its own tenure, no significant development was carried out and since then this airport is constantly neglected by the Civil Aviation Authority, PIA and other relevant authorities at the federal level as it has not been maintained resulting loss of tourist visits. UNESCO declared the monuments as World

Heritage site in the 70s after which this airport was granted international status to facilitate tourists and other interested people who are fond of visiting such historical places started visiting the site which included students, teachers, archaeologists, researchers and so forth. Now the visitors have to fly to Sukkur and then come back to Mohenjo Daro by road. Presently even local people including businessmen, who want to travel through PIA to various destinations in the country, have also to go to Sukkur and catch the relevant flight. In this connection, President Larkana Chamber

of Commerce & Industry, Abdul Ghaffar Shaikh, told on Tuesday that he had written a letter to the PIA CEO Air Marshall Arshad Malik in which he had pointed out that cancelling flights to Mohenjo Daro amounts to injustice with the business community and general public as 5000-year old World Heritage site of Mohenjo Daro is known internationally and many foreigners also visit this historical place. According to relevant authorities approximately two million people visit this site annually which shows the importance of flights to this destination. He said flight schedule issued in December 2018 had no mention of PIA flights to Mohenjo Daro till March 2019. Shaikh said Prime Minister Imran Khan wanted to encourage tourism to earn foreign exchange but it showed that PIA policy was negating his genuine efforts. He said previously flights were diverted to Mohenjo Daro from Karachi due to bad weather conditions which attracted visitors in large numbers. He said CEO made a commitment that he will revise the schedule but it is yet be honoured. He demanded of the Prime Minister and other relevant higher authorities to take notice of the issue and order launching of flights without loss of further time.


08 COMMENT

Wednesday, 13 February, 2019

Crass politics

Preparing to welcome the Saudi prince Pakistan must maintain neutrality in Gulf disputes

Why would NAB act with a mala fide intent is a million dollar question

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HILe the Saudi crown prince is due this weekend, his vanguard comprising Gen (r) raheel Sharif and staff are already in Pakistan. The retired general has already called on CoAS Qamar Javed Bajwa, Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Senate chairman Sadiq Sanjrani. We are yet to know the purpose behind these meetings except that these could be a part of the Pr job the prince badly needs these days. Gen Bajwa has meanwhile lauded Sharif’s role for Middle east peace efforts though these have remained unreported in media, both national and global. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are expected to ink three major memorandums of understanding (MoUs) amounting to over $10 billion for investment in oil, renewable energy and mineral development. The Board of Investment (BoI) has avowedly taken the consent of the four provinces for signing the umbrella deal in the minerals sector. The 40 businessmen reported to be in the entourage will interact with local businessmen that could lead to signing of agreements among private sector entrepreneurs from the two countries. economic cooperation would benefit both sides and needs to be welcomed. There is however a political dimension also which Pakistan’s leadership would do well to keep in mind. The Gulf region is badly polarised. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and UAe are lined up against Qatar and Iran. The relations between Saudi Arabia and Turkey have also turned less than cordial after the Khashoggi affair. Pakistan meanwhile maintains cordial ties with all these countries. It is against its national interest to look like a partisan. Besides sharing a border with Iran, Pakistan has a long history of mutually beneficial ties with its neighbour. Pakistan receives the bulk of its gas supplies from Qatar which also host a fairly large number of Pakistani workers and professionals. There are vital and mutually beneficial military to military relations between Pakistan and Turkey. Pakistan must therefore avoid even the slightest sign of partisanship. It should act instead as an honest broker and a friend that can help them settle their disputes.

The case that won’t go away Fresh efforts to enforce SC’s 2012 verdict in Asghar Khan case

Malik MuhaMMad ashraf

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eMoCrACy as Pakistan’s system of governance was envisioned by the founding father who had an unswerving belief that it was the only system through which the country could achieve the objectives of independence and win a respectable place in the comity of nations. But unfortunately, even after 70 years of independence democratic dispensation as envisioned by Jinnah remains an elusive dream. While the intellectuals and political analysts often tend to blame the military dictators for derailing democracy and not allowing it to take root in the country, they conveniently neglect the fact that our politicians who formed representative governments interspersing the military rules and those in the opposition never made sincere efforts for strengthening democracy and bringing systemic reforms that were needed to sustain it. They have placed their own narrow political interests above the national interests and regrettably focused their energies on politics of vendetta which has consigned the country to an unending political stability. The crass politics of nineties bears testimony to this sad state of affairs. Another hallmark of the successive civilian setups has been indulgenced in reckless corruption. First a few words about political parties and their role in a democratic system. In a democratic dispensation, political parties are the entities that articulate public opinion on national issues, educate people on matters related to governance raising political conscious of the masses, provide political stability in the country, recruit and groom future leaders and formulate public policies. By competing in the elections, they provide the public with choices in governance. The presence of political parties, therefore, is indispensable for a representative system of governance called democracy. The party that wins the franchise of the people forms the government and those with

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He decision of the Supreme Court in 2012 in the case filed by late Air Marshal Asghar Khan in 1996, regarding ‘moneybags’ inducement to politicians to influence outcome of 1990 general election by a troika of the then president, army chief and DG, ISI, was late in coming but it was historic all the same. During the time the case was taken up, the first of the trio was deceased, but the latter two individuals confessed their unconstitutional action before the court, which admonished them for bringing shame upon their institution and recommended to the PPP government, which was the target of the sleazy conspiracy, to take legal action against them. Since then the case has proceeded in fits and starts, but the bottom line is that the 2012 verdict still remains unimplemented. Behind the reasons for the unfinished business are apparently the larger question of ‘priority of influence’ between the state and martial institutions, and secondly, partly also due to the above anomaly, the inability or unwillingness of the tasked investigating body, the Federal Investigating Agency, to fulfil its duty whole-heartedly in pursuance of court orders. The FIA maintains that sufficient evidence in black and white which can stand in court is not available to successfully initiate criminal prosecutions against the named politicians, most of whom deny involvement in the slush fund. ‘Signed and stamped’ receipts are obviously not forthcoming, bank officials and relevant record of long ago difficult to trace, and the names of intelligence operatives actually making payments withheld. But despite all FIA’s efforts to close the case, including a failed request to Asghar Khan’s heirs and an ‘innocent’ SoS to the threebench apex court now hearing the case for its ‘help and guidance’, the court on Monday’s hearing firmly refused to take ‘no’ for an answer any more. The ministry of defence was queried about current status of court martial proceedings, if initiated, against the guilty officers, for which the former has requested four weeks period. So, it’s back to the grindstone for FIA, and the landmark case hopefully headed towards a denouement this time. only then will the spirit of Asghar Khan be at peace.

Dedicated to the legacy of the late Hameed Nizami

Arif Nizami Editor Aziz-ud-Din Ahmad

Umar Aziz

Asher John

Joint Editor

Executive Editor

Deputy Editor

Lahore – Ph: 042-36300938, 042-36375965

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a lesser mandate adopt the role of the opposition, whose basis function is to act as a watch-dog against the government and hold it accountable for any indiscretion or deviation from its given programme or any action perceived to be inimical to the national interests. Thus, the government and the opposition in a democratic entity are two sides of the same coin wedded to the cause of promoting well-being of the people and serving the national interests with honesty of purpose. Judged on the foregoing touchstone in regards to the role of the political parties and political leaders in a democracy, the situation in our country has been absolutely dismal. The politicians refuse to learn from their past follies. The gate-crashing of Imran Khan into the corridors of power as a result of 2018 elections, which many saw as a whiff of fresh air and a symbol of change, has turned into a sour dream. Politics of vendetta is being pursued with increased intensity to target, denigrate and malign the leaders of the two big political parties in the name of sham accountability. The prime minister and his ministers are continuously rubbing in the notion of the entire political opposition being corrupt without any corruption having been established in the court of law and predicting the incarceration of certain leaders by name. And it has been happening the way they have been predicting. The question is how they know in advance which leader is going to be arrested unless they are in league with the prosecuting agency. It is perhaps pertinent to point out that the Lahore Court while granting bail to the directors of the Punjab Saaf Pani Company who were arrested just before the 2018 elections including engineer Qamrul Islam who was the PML-N candidate for one NA and two PA seats in the rawalpindi district, has ruled that NAB acted with mala fide intent and it has found no evidence of corruption in the award of contract for installation of water plants in the Bahawalpur district. Why would NAB act with a mala fide intent is a million dollar question. Without speculating on whose behalf NAB acted the way it did and continues to act, one thing stands established that it was very much part of the victimisation of leaders of the opposition parties. The arrest of Aleem Khan in the opinion of political analysts is a balancing act and it was also a ploy to get a clean chit for him from NAB. No one in his right mind can take issue with across the board accountability with sincerity of

purpose as it is an indispensable ingredient of good governance. However, the sordid reality of our politics is that politicians on both sides have myriad of skeletons in their cupboards and they can aptly be dubbed as carpet-baggers who focus on building their own fortunes through corrupt practices misusing their position of authority. There is no possibility of ever putting in place a credible mechanism of accountability without changing the prevalent system of governance which has inbuilt avenues of corruption, graft and entitlement. even if for a moment one concedes that Imran Khan sincerely wants to change the system of governance and eliminate corruption from the country, he cannot do it single handedly in view of the political ground realities. The electables who jumped on his bandwagon and the traditional fortune hunters like Sheikh rasheed and many others who have been the beneficiaries of the corrupt system of governance and joined his party in the hope of consolidating their gains would never allow him to go ahead with the reforms which he so fondly pledges to carry out from every convenient roof-top. That lobby is so strong that even a leader like Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and the military dictators who had plenipotentiary powers to effect those changes failed to break their power. Imran also needs to remember that when a crunch time comes, they invariably have been black-mailing the government in the game of numbers. The confrontation with the opposition parties would create an ambience of political instability in the country and in that event, it could also undermine the grandiose plans that Imran wants to implement to lift the economic profile of the country. The reality is that there can be no worthwhile change in the system of governance, progress towards eradication of corruption and changing the fortunes of the masses through a sustained process of development. The better course for PTI government would be to recede from the confrontation mode with the opposition parties and seek their cooperation in bringing systemic changes required for ushering in an era of good governance and plugging the avenues of corruption. remaining bogged down in the past and repeating the same mistakes would indeed be insanity in the words of einstein. Imran should not allow the political freeloaders to mislead him. Malik Muhammad Ashraf is an academic. He can be contacted at: ashpak10@gmail.com

Every child behind every door The walls of a mind are harder to breach than the walls of a city

Nazish hassaN Wazir

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ero polio transmission and health for all”, WHo DirectorGeneral Dr Tedros Adhanom coveting 2019 to mark the extermination of the polio transmission chain. After three decades of struggle to free the world of polio, Pakistan and Afghanistan stand to be the only states with prevalent polio status. The two neighbouring countries are at a pivotal point as the world steps towards achieving an inimitable global health milestone. In the face of myriad challenges, the polio eradication programmes cease to lapse and strive to ascertain a poliofree world which currently seems to be the prospect of a nearby future. For some, poliomyelitis (polio) is just another ailment — a highly contagious viral disease with the potential to paralyse, for others it is an unbendable reality. With no invented cure, prevention, euphemistically, is considered the cure. And to cure the world of this menace calls for mass immunisation with vaccination of every child behind every door. The World Health organisation, working diliKarachi – Ph: 021-35381208-9

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gently to free the world of polio with worldwide vaccination programmes, has succeeded to a significant length in its endeavours but is yet to overcome adversities in some parts of the globe owing to lack of support and concurrent resistance from certain groups. Currently, and unfortunately so, Pakistan, with a total of nine cases in 2018, still serves as a seminary for polio along with Afghanistan on the list. Both Pakistan and Afghanistan share the same problems of political instability, volatile law and order situations and moreover a parochial religious vision visà-vis polio vaccination, hampering polio drives over the years. The failure of mass vaccination coverage serves as the reason of polio prevalence in Pakistan. Initially, it could be ascribed to political instability and inaccessibility of certain areas, in particular, Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and some pockets in Balochistan. Presently, vaccine hesitancy stands as the major nocuous hinderance to polio eradication efforts by Pakistan’s expanded Programme on Immunisation (ePI). In short, the challenges jeopardising the campaign today, are more psychological than physical. The walls of a mind are harder to breach than the walls of a city. As Gil Courtemanche stated, “Propaganda is as powerful as heroin; it surreptitiously dissolves all capacity to think.” Vaccine hesitancy too has stemmed from misconceptions rooted in anti-vaccination propa-

Islamabad – Ph: 051-2204545

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ganda circulated by certain elements in the state. Disseminated as western propaganda, polio campaign not only faced a backlash at the hands of the clergy but also a Taliban-imposed ban in FATA, 2012. The success of operation Zarb-e-Azb in eliminating Taliban insurgency does not ensure the conquest of the minds that have been corrupted with antivaccination ideology seeded by the very extremist entities. Believed to cause infertility and also declared prohibited in Islam by some clergymen, many stand reluctant to get their children vaccinated. In essence, the anti-vaccination dogma is crippling, both metaphorically and physically. It is not only detrimental to the current health campaigns but also serves to discourage any future health endeavours that would require immunisation. Furthermore, lack of support and opposition of the cause has amplified the financial burden of these campaigns as well as endangering the lives of the volunteers and workers promoting it. Consequently, not only Pakistan fails to extirpate polio, but remains a ‘potential exporter’ of it; thus, compromising its image at the international front. Nonetheless, a decline in the number of cases over the years presents a promising premonition. The gist of the polio eradication programme is based on an “all or none” precept; hence, the cause has to be well supported both publicly and politically to ensure that every child gets vaccinated. The need for political advocacy is paramount as it

Web: www.pakistantoday.com.pk

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would ensure better plans and policies as well as their implementation. Bearing in mind that a scientific link between polio vaccine and infertility has not been established and Fatwa Councils across the Muslim world have declared vaccination permissible in Islam; ergo, religious scholars and clergy can promote the cause by dispelling myths regarding vaccination in their sermons. resultantly, sensitisation of the public to the need for vaccination from both political and religious fronts would result in better reception of the antipolio campaign. To sum up, the elimination of polio would be a milestone in the truest sense of the word. Not only would the world rid itself of a crippling disease but would be better equipped for future global health ventures. The manpower and resources once aligned to eliminate polio can then be utilised to serve further health causes. The accomplishment of this goal would also encourage the public to extend support to such causes and certainly pave the way for better execution of national health plans. An unprecedented challenge it may seem, but it is a history in the making and what has been done before, can be done again. The attainment of worldwide eradication of smallpox in 1979 is a beacon of hope that revives the dream to one day see the world polio-free. Nazish Hassan Wazir is a doctor and freelance writer who hails from FATA.

Email: editorial@pakistantoday.com.pk


COMMENT 09

Wednesday, 13 February, 2019

Editor’s mail

Send your letters to: Letters to Editor, Pakistan Today, 4-Shaarey Fatima Jinnah, Lahore, Pakistan. E-mail: letters@pakistantoday.com.pk Letters should be addressed to Pakistan Today exclusively

Fragile national power system oUr national power system is going from bad to worse with each passing day, week and month from technical, commercial and contractual complications of one sort or the other. In no way, it can be termed as a reliable power supply system nor its tariffs are affordable by any standards. only fools will come and invest under such circumstances, where their products cannot be competitive and the supply line cannot be smooth. For the first time in the history, the load was shed indiscriminately for hours across the country even in the months of winter when the demand is minimal, warning that the coming summer will be terrible for domestic, commercial and industrial sectors. The working of the government power sector is in shambles undoubtedly and remains out of control as the authorities have failed to put their acts together. We should be ready to witness system breakdowns, planned & unplanned load shedding, voltage and frequency fluctuations, and total blackouts. only one thing is assured that the price of electricity will be escalating continuously, circular debt will keep on rising and the economy drooping further and further. Long live the power sector. ENgr riAz BHuTTA Lahore

Wretched Syria – VII

Modi snubbed during Kashmir visit

Looking towards peace

Tariq MushTaq

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T last, the chess game of super powers is coming to an end, after a long scuffle because of foreign interference, especially of United States, Syria is now heading towards peace. America, the slayer of world peace, failed; its disastrous and ruinous wishes could not work again, but succeeded to earn billions with sales of weaponries. Now, Syrian forces will surely win and control the other areas in a short span, it’s also sure that west will stop interference; it will help Syria to rebuild at a quick pace. The illfated country requires enormous financial support and a lot of patience as it has faced massive losses in human, social, physical and financial aspect. The international community is now forced to solve the Syrian conflict’s complexity and trying to find out a road map to achieve sustainable peace. It’s not out of humanity or to help Syrians, it’s in their own interest, their “Syrian war” expenses are horribly raised, in addition, public of America and its allies is strongly opposing their war maniac attitude, because of high rate of killings of their soldiers in the battle field of Syria. As per the World Bank estimates, $180 billion investment is required just to return Syrian GDP to its pre-conflict level. This offer for reconstruction is conditional with the return of refugees and internally displaced persons to their areas or origin. A financially stable and rich country brought down to knees by the American sick minded zealots, is now looking forward towards the World Bank for its financial settlement. Number of cities have become debris, millions lost their houses, millions are displaced, millions got killed, just for one reason that Washington wanted the control of Syria without Bashar al-Assad. A happy nation was turned into a scream by the butcher, Washington. If west is really serious to provide any leverage, it can determine Syria’s settlement for future, while taking into consideration all the dynamics, but they should remember that state institutions cannot be automatically restored to their pre-2011 status. on the other side, America will try that russia and Iran

don’t remain fully aligned for the long term. Differences between russia and Iran may open up opportunities for exploring potential political transition scenarios in Syria more amenable to the US and its european allies. Bashar alAssad should be more careful than earlier, the monkeys can jump from a tree to the other. The international community’s efforts focus mainly on the balancing of power between fighting parties and on short-term stabilisation instead of negotiating an inclusive peace agreement. The policymakers, experts, academics and civil society leaders are trying to identify the main institutional and socioeconomic challenges to stabilisation in Syria, and offer recommendations in support of an inclusive peacebuilding process. Despite six years of incoherent policy, western countries can still positively shape Syria’s post-conflict settlement. This may be their last chance. Western policy towards Syria over the past six years looks largely a failure. russia, Iran and Turkey have won both diplomatic and military battles in Syria and now appear in place to shape the eventual outcome in their interests, game over for the west. Shrewd western powers, specifically US, UK and France still retain some leverage; the greatest leverage they possess is economic. They can blackmail Syria especially under the claim to tackle extremism and help alleviate the refugee crisis. russia and Iran have neither the capital to fund large-scale reconstruction efforts nor the interest in doing so. one area already allowing the US and russia to find common cause is the fight against extremist groups. It can open up for the US to return to the diplomatic table. West should learn a lesson from the past six years interference in Syria, western countries must avoid being vague about the endgame in Syria and failing to match rhetoric with action. Their demand for President Bashar al-Assad to step down was never backed by international quarters, instead it looked like a personal fray which resulted in death of millions. American president’s hands are full with blood of millions of innocent citizens, just for his ego to get the president of Syria to down. America’s support to extremist groups against Assad caused all the destruction in the area. Perhaps it was a scheme to favour Israel. At one stage in 2014, the obama administration found itself in the curious position of being more afraid of the fall of Assad than of the defeat of the rebels to which it provided support. Western countries have played a very dirty role on the face of supporting humanitarian aid, civil society, local governance

to the Syrian political opposition, which resulted in a deadly prolonged war. No doubt Assad’s victory has raised tension in the western world; they are not ready to accept that the Syrian conflict finishes with Assad in power. They have no clearly identifiable end and a lot many questions about the viability of the return of 6.3 million internally displaced Syrians to their homes and of 4.9 million who have sought refuge outside the country. In many cases, refugees and internally displaced persons already face obstacles to returning to their areas of origin, either because they have invested in new lives elsewhere or because their homes have been devastated or taken over by other groups. Inadequate support for refugees may push some of those refugees especially young people growing up without education or career prospects towards crime and extremism. At the very least, a lack of support will make them more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Since 2011, western policymakers have not only failed to bring an end to a brutal conflict but also shied away from confronting the biggest refugee crisis ever experienced, despite this, there is still an opportunity to re-shape Syria for the good, drawing on painful lessons learned from the past six years. or else, stop interference in Syria, let Assad make his efforts for peace in his country, he and his country has faced a brutal war enforced by murderer Washington and allies. Practically, russia, Iran and Turkey appear to be the participants willing and able to bring the conflict to a resolution. It will also strengthen the position of russia, not only in the region but at the international forum. The ulterior motives of Washington has killed millions of innocent citizens, millions displaced, destroyed number of cities, largest destruction after world-war-II, and disturbed the peace of the region putting Muslim world at high alert. Washington should remember; one day America will surely face the same brutality in its territory; law of averages is always there. Washington very deceitfully and treacherously managed Muslims fighting Muslims, killing each other. It’s so distressing, Muslim bloc could not realise the American intentions. Now, when Syria is heading towards peace, west should stop its interference in the region rather try to provide every possible help to restore the peace. This may be their last chance.

The international community’s efforts focus mainly on the balancing of power between fighting parties

Tariq Mushtaq is a technocrat and an international affairs analyst.

MoDI’S recent visit to Kashmir was ‘welcomed’ with complete shutdown. The visit exacerbated sombre atmosphere reminiscing Afzal Guru’s hanging (February 9, 2013). He had a joy ride in Dal Lake. Twittered taunted, he ‘waved in the boat to lake-water, empty Shikaras and Zabarwan hills’. no audience. ‘Fit to be a ‘tourism’ minister. The message was ‘quit Kashmir’. DEEBA MALik Lahore

Murder in Karachi IrSHAD ranjhani was brutally murdered by a UC Chairman raheem Shah in district Malir publicly. extreme wickedness shown by the murder who opened six bullets fires on slain Irshad ranjhani. He did not only open fires on him, he also did not allow anyone from the public who were at time, looking as spectator just because murder was loaded with weapons along with his guards. How bravely he took the law in his hands openly and nobody came forward for rescue. It is astonishing as well that firing six bullets which would have created a great sound, could not get the attention of law & enforcement agencies who are often seen after every five to ten minutes’ drive in the city for patrolling. Irony of police officials who reached the spot finally, took the slain to police station instead of rushing to nearest hospital for medical aid which could save the life of Irshad ranjhani but this was not the case. Apart from the character of Irshad ranjhani who is reportedly wanted to police for some cases but taking law in hands by killing him brutally is against the law and culprit should strictly be dealt as per law. on the other hand, media’s role was not so good which had hit the sentiments of a community as Irshad ranjhani was a political activist of a party that considered media’s role an attempt to divert the incident in another way. Media should remain neutral in all circumstances under come what may. Nobody should be allowed to take the law in hands as nobody is above law regardless of his nationality and language but at least law enforcement agencies use the law as per merits. FAiSAL ANSAr karachi

Fisherman in danger GWADAr is the international city of Pakistan but unfortunately majority of residents are facing indefinite issues in Gwadar city. Fishermen in the city, however, are protesting on the roads because of snatching their basic rights. Those all poor fishermen who catch and sell fishes in order to feed their children. Unfortunately, owing to the construction of east bay expressway the Arabian sea route is being blocked where they clasped the fishes. Similarly, all poor fishermen are being deprived from their routine practice. on other words, they are chanting in entire day because of their basic rights. Sadly, none of the concerned authorities are ready to tickle this chronic issue. If government does not let them to catch fishes and sell than government must have to promote employees. Because fishing is the only source by which fishermen are fulfilling their demands. I wholeheartedly request the government of Balochistan and Pakistan that all demand of fisherman should be fulfilled as soon as possible. AqiB DAD gwadar


10 foreign news

wednesday, 13 february, 2019

US lAwMAkerS reAch tentAtIve deAl to AvoId govt ShUtdown WASHINGTON

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AGENCIES

S congressional negotiators on Monday reached a tentative deal to try to avert another partial government shutdown on Saturday, but congressional aides said it did not contain the $5.7 billion President Donald Trump wants for a border wall. “We reached an agreement in principle” on funding border security programs through September 30, Republican Senator Richard Shelby told reporters.

“Our staffs are going to be working feverishly to put all the particulars together,” Shelby said. Neither he nor three other senior lawmakers flanking him provided any details of the tentative pact. But it was far from clear if the Republican president would embrace the agreement. His December demand for $5.7 billion this year to help pay for a wall on the US-Mexico border — rejected by congressional Democrats — triggered a 35-day partial government shutdown that ended last month without him getting wall funding. A congressional aide, who asked not

to be identified, said the outline of the deal included $1.37 billion for erecting new fencing along the southern border. That is about the same amount Congress allocated last year and far below what Trump has demanded. The aide said none of the money would be for a “wall,” which Trump has been touting since he launched his campaign for president in 2016. Democrats say the wall would be costly and ineffective. Two other congressional sources said only currently deployed designs could be used for constructing 55 miles (90 km) of additional barriers. Those de-

signs, which include “steel bollard” fencing, have been in use since before Trump became president. Shortly after the deal was reached in the US Capitol, Trump held a rally in the border city of El Paso, Texas, to argue for the wall he says can protect Americans from violent criminals, drugs and a “tremendous onslaught” of migrant caravans. Trump said he heard about progress in the talks just before he took the stage, but he too did not discuss details. “Just so you know – we’re building the wall anyway,” he said. “Maybe progress has been made – maybe not.”

Beto O’Rourke, the former Democratic congressman from Texas considering a 2020 White House run, held a counter-rally just 200 yards away and accused Trump of stoking “false fear” about immigrants and telling “lies” about O’Rourke’s hometown of El Paso. But a vocal group of conservatives influential with Trump has urged him to remain steadfast in his demand for the border wall money. In comments about the tentative congressional deal reached on Monday, Fox News commentator Sean Hannity told his viewers: “Any Republican that supports this garbage compromise, you will have to explain.”

Trump objects to measure ending US support for Saudis in Yemen war WASHINGTON AGENCIES

Death toll rises to 17 in Delhi hotel fire NEW DELHI AGENCIES

The death toll rose to 17 from a fire that tore through a hotel in New Delhi on Tuesday, a senior official said. The fire broke out before dawn at the budget Hotel Arpit Palace in a congested part of central Delhi. “We have confirmed with hospital authorities, the toll is now 17 including a child,” Sunil Choudhary, a fire brigade official, told AFP. GC Misra, the director of Delhi Fire Services, told AFP that the blaze had been brought under control and that 35 people were rescued by fire-

fighters in an hours-long operation. Images showed thick smoke and flames billowing out of the top floor of a three-storey hotel, popular with budget travellers. Accidental fires are common across India because of poor safety standards and lax enforcement of regulations. In December, six people were killed when a fire engulfed a hospital in Mumbai, the capital of western Maharashtra state. In 2017, 14 people were killed, also in Mumbai, when a huge blaze tore through a popular restaurant.

The Trump administration on Monday threatened to veto an effort in the US Congress to end US military support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in the war in Yemen, continuing a stand-off with lawmakers over policy toward the kingdom. Democrats and Republicans re-introduced the war powers resolution two weeks ago as a way to send a strong message to Riyadh both about the humanitarian disaster in Yemen and condemn the

killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The administration said the resolution was inappropriate because US forces had provided aircraft refuelling and other support in the Yemen conflict, not combat troops. It also said the measure would harm relationships in the region and hurt the US ability to prevent the spread of violent extremism. The White House has angered many members of Congress, including some of President Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans, by failing to provide a report by a Friday deadline on the murder of

US lawmaker sorry for 'anti-Semitism' tweet WASHINGTON AGENCIES

Ilhan Omar, one of the first two Muslim women in the US Congress, “unequivocally” apologized Monday after suggesting US support for Israel is fuelled by money from a pro-Israel lobby group. The Minnesota freshman has faced criticism for weeks over her positions on the Jewish state, but it boiled over late Sunday after she reacted to a Republican critic in a tweet.

“It’s all about the Benjamins baby,” Omar replied, referring to American $100 bills featuring the likeness of Benjamin Franklin. When a user asked who Omar believes is paying US politicians to support Israel, the former Somali refugee tweeted a one-word response — “AIPAC!” — referring to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The exchanges triggered an uproar, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi castigating Omar and demanding an “immediate” apology for using “anti-Semitic tropes” in

Afghanistan: 40 years of conflict KABUL AGENCIES

The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan 40 years ago kicked off decades of war that endured long after the Red Army’s retreat, which ended on February 15, 1989. Here is a timeline. 1979-1989: Soviet occupation In December 1979, at the height of the SovietUS Cold War, Moscow invades the country — which is poor and mountainous but also strategically situated — to prop up a communist regime. It faces fierce resistance from Afghan mujahideen fighters backed by the United States and others. Moscow eventually withdraws after a decade of fighting. 1992-1996: Civil war The fall of Mohammad Najibullah´s communist government in 1992 unleashes a bloody power struggle that kills nearly 100,000 people in two years and partly destroys the capital, Kabul. From 1994 the Taliban movement begin to emerge in the south. 1996-2001: Taliban in power The Taliban, led by Mullah Mohammad Omar, seize power in 1996 and install a regime based on their hardline interpretation of Shariah law. They forbid women from working, close girls´ schools, and ban music and other entertainment. Under severe United Nations sanctions, the regime becomes close to the al Qaeda network and shelters its leader, Saudi national Osama bin Laden.

Khashoggi last year at a Saudi consulate in Turkey. Khashoggi was a US resident and columnist for the Washington Post. “It’s hard to feel any affection or some obligation to a regime that does that kind of stuff,” Democratic Representative Ed Perlmutter said at a House of Representatives hearing on the resolution on Monday. The Saudis, who Trump considers an important regional partner, are leading a coalition battling Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. The war has killed tens of thousands and left millions on the brink of starvation.

2001: US-led invasion In October 2001 the United States leads an invasion of Afghanistan in retaliation for the September 11 attacks on Washington and New York blamed on al Qaeda. Washington and its NATO allies drive out the Taliban regime and bring Hamid Karzai to power, funnelling in billions of dollars of aid to rebuild the war-ravaged country. They deploy up to 150,000 soldiers to help the government assert control and bring security. The Taliban go into hiding or flee to neighbouring countries and then launch an insurgency against Kabul and NATO. 2014: NATO withdraws NATO pulls out its International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) combat troops at the end of 2014, with the Taliban insurgency raging.

Some NATO soldiers remain to carry out antiterrorist operations and train Afghan forces. The Taliban continue to make gains while carrying out major deadly attacks, as the Deash group begins to make inroads in Afghanistan in 2015. 2018-2019: Peace talks In late 2018 US President Donald Trump says he is withdrawing half of the 14,000 US soldiers stationed in Afghanistan, though officials caution they have received no order to begin drawdown plans. Washington steps up negotiations with the Taliban to end the conflict, with both the militants and US officials touting “progress” after talks culminate in a six-day meeting in Qatar in January. Afghan hopes for peace are tempered by fears the US could withdraw before a lasting deal is reached with Kabul, however. Russia and Iran also hold talks with the militants.

her tweet, and several Democrats and Republicans assailing their colleague for her language. Omar obliged, issuing a statement acknowledging that anti-Semitism is “real” and expressing gratitude to colleagues “who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes.” “We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity,” she said. “This is why I unequivocally apologize.”

Former Afghan president Sibghatullah Mojaddedi dies KABUL: Afghanistan’s first president following the withdrawal of Soviet troops from the country and the collapse in 1992 of Kabul’s pro-communist government, Sibghatullah Mojaddedi has died. He was 93. Mojaddedi, who commanded a mujahideen faction during the decade-long insurgency against the Soviet occupiers, passed away late on Monday in a Kabul hospital after a long illness. Prominent Afghans, including former president Hamid Karzai, have begun visiting the Mojaddedi family home to pay their respects. Afghanistan’s de facto Prime Minister Abdullah Abdullah extended his condolences to the respected Mojaddedi clan. “He has played a vital role in all national issues and his legacy will remain part of Afghanistan’s history,” he posted on Twitter. Presidential candidate and former national security adviser Mohammad Haneef Atmar said Mojaddedi’s passing “leaves a huge vacuum in Afghan politics and public life”. Mojaddedi’s death comes three days before the 30th anniversary of the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. The Red Army crossed the Amu Darya river into Soviet Uzbekistan on February 15, 1989, having suffered 15,000 losses. AGENCIES

Israel warns Iran this could be last anniversary JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Iran on Monday that this year could be the last time it celebrates the anniversary of its Islamic revolution if it attacks Israel. “I do not ignore the threats of the Iranian regime but neither am I intimidated by them,” Netanyahu said in a statement and video issued by his office as Iran celebrated the 40th anniversary of its revolution. “If this regime makes the awful mistake of trying to destroy Tel Aviv and Haifa, it will not succeed,” the Israeli leader said. AGENCIES


bUsiness 11

Wednesday, 13 February, 2019

CORPORATE CORNER Ecostar becomes platinum sponsor of Lahore Qalandar for PsL 2019 LAHORE: EcoStar, a renowned brand of electronics, has become platinum sponsor of Lahore Qalandars for Pakistan Super League Season 4. An MoU signing ceremony was held in this regard recently at a local hotel in Lahore. DWP Group Chief Operating Officer Rizwan Butt, Director Zaka Naseem and Lahore Qalandars Chairman Atif Rana signed the MoU. The official kit of Lahore Qalandar for PSL 2019 was also unveiled during the ceremony. This was followed by a press conference where management of both Lahore Qalandars and EcoStar answered the queries. Arif Rana paid gratitude to EcoStar for sponsoring his team for the second year in a row. PR

shell ‘Eco-marathon Asia’ returns to malaysia KARACHI: Shell has announced that Malaysia will host ‘Shell Eco-marathon Asia’ in 2019 as part of its global ‘Make the Future Live’ programme. To be held at Sepang International Circuit, Kuala Lumpur, the Asia competition comes back to where it was first held in 2010, and celebrates its 10th year of challenging bright young student minds to design and build ultra-energy-efficient cars, and then take them out on the track in competition. “Shell Malaysia is proud to host the 10th Shell Eco-marathon Asia at our home ground. It is an inspiring event that supports Shell’s vision of sustainable mobility - more energy efficient vehicles and cleaner road transport. It’s really impressive to see student teams pitting their skills against their cohorts from different countries to see who can design and build the most fuel-efficient vehicle,” explained Shell Malaysia Chairman Iain Lo. PR

ACCA’s Pakistan Leadership Conversation 2019 to commence from 18th LAHORE: Current and future issues faced by the businesses in Pakistan and the role of business leaders in shaping the economy will be the main focus at the annual conference ‘Pakistan Leadership Conversation 2019 (PLC 2019)’ announced by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, with high-profile events in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad starting from 18th February. ACCA Pakistan head Sajjeed Aslam said, “With an evolving business environment bringing a range of new challenges, the primary theme of this year’s PLC is ‘Strategic business leaders - capacity and character; to rethink and redefine the role of business leaders of the future.” PR

Pakistan National Shipping Corporation Chairman Rizwan Ahmed along with his team warmly welcomed a Dutch maritime delegation, headed by Ambassador of Netherland Mrs Gerarda Andriana Cornelia Maria Satoios-Braken. PRESS RElEASE

PAkistAN, ksA tO iNk AGREEmENts wORth $20BN: REPORt SAUDI CROWN PRINCE WILL BE THE FIRST STATE GUEST TO STAY AT A GOVT BUILDING RESERVED FOR THE PRIME MINISTER OF PAKISTAN ISLAMABAD

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STAFF REPORT

AUDI Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman is scheduled to land in Islamabad on Sunday for an overnight stay, it was learnt on Tuesday. As per reports, the crown prince would be staying in the Prime Minister’s House while other members of his huge entourage would be lodged in local hotels and the Punjab House. Sources at the Saudi Embassy in Islamabad told a private media outlet that during the visit of the Saudi prince, "Pakistan and Saudi Arabia will ink agreements worth $20 billion". "The crown prince is expected to visit in the afternoon and will return the next afternoon,” the reports said, adding that five trucks full of Prince

Mohammed bin Salman's personal amenities have already reached Islamabad. The prince's exercise equipment, furniture and other personal belongings have also reached Islamabad, while 80 containers will be shipped to Islamabad for the Royal entourage’s stay, reports said. "The vehicles to be used by the crown prince will reach here a day before his landing." They said the renovation of the official residence of the prime minister that started last week would be completed later this week for the Royal guest, adding that the crown prince would be "the first state guest to stay at a government building reserved for the prime minister of Pakistan". "Prime Minister Imran Khan will receive the guest at the airport. Army officials would be deployed at important points during the stay of Crown Prince Salman. The crown prince’s dele-

PTCL's revenue grows 8pc to Rs126.2bn in 2018 ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT

The Board of Directors of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL), the country’s leading telecom and ICT services provider, on Tuesday announced its financial results for the year ended December 31, 2018. PTCL Group's revenue for the year 2018 grew by 8pc to Rs126.2 billion as a result of positive contribution by all group companies. The group’s revenue growth in the fourth quarter accelerated to 13pc YoY. Ufone revenue increased by 13pc YoY. UBank, a microfinance banking subsidiary of PTCL, showed significant growth of 64pc in its revenue over the last year. PTCL Group’s operating profit and net profit for the year improved by 198pc and 32pc respectively. Likewise, net profit of PTCL Group went higher by 22pc compared to last year. PTCL revenue of Rs70.1 billion for the year is 0.7pc higher than last year, with quarter 4 showing an accelerated growth of 3.4pc YoY. In 2018, PTCL’s revenue registered YoY growth for the first time since 2014. In 2018, three-quarters of PTCL’s revenue base showed growth over the last year. PTCL’s flagship fixed broadband services posted revenue growth of 6.5pc over 2017. Investment in the transformation of network exchanges resulted in enhancing the customer experience by reducing network faults by 36pc and repeat faults by 50pc, along with providing higher bandwidths beyond 100Mbps, bundled with Triple Play services. To further enrich the product and services portfolio, PTCL partnered with

SAUDI DELEGATION WILL COMPRISE ABOUT 1,100 OFFICIALS AND BUSINESSMEN

the global OTT players like Netflix, STARZ Play, icflix, etc. PTCL has also been recognized by Brand Finance as the ‘Fastest Growing Brand in Pakistan’. Corporate business continued to perform strongly and showed significant growth of 13pc over last year by signing new customers in managed services and cloud infrastructure services resulting in 154pc and 188pc growth respectively in these two segments. Conversion of EVO customers to Charji/LTE yielded positive results with YoY revenue growth in double digits, however, it also resulted in higher subscriber acquisition cost as compared to last year. There is a continued decline in domestic and international voice revenues due to an increase in illegal/grey traffic termination, continued conversion of subscribers to OTT and cellular services, resulting in declining voice traffic volumes. PTCL’s operating profit for the year is lower by 9pc, compared to 2017, mainly due to an increase in operating cost on account of currency devaluation and higher subscriber acquisition cost. Further, non-operating income also declined due to reduced funds as compared to last year. Net Profit for the year is Rs7.4 billion which is 11pc lower compared to last year, driven by lower operating profit and lower non-operating income. In 2018, the financial strength of PTCL was acknowledged through an independent rating exercise as a result of which JCR-VIS has assigned PTCL a long-term rating of AAA which will enhance all stakeholders’ confidence in the long-term sustainability of the company.

gation will comprise about 1,100 officials and businessmen. He will be the guest of honour at the international investment conference scheduled to be held next week in the federal capital," the reports said. Negotiations will be held to attract Saudi investment in Bahawalpur solar plants as well as and in the power plants of Haveli Bahadur Shah and Bhikki, they said, adding that during the crown prince's visit, both sides would sign four memorandums of understanding (MoUs) worth $15 billion. "The government plans to provide 20-year tax holiday on the establishment of an oil refinery at Gwadar. A private businessmen delegation of over 40 CEOs of Aramco and other oil giants would be accompanying the crown prince in his upcoming visit," the reports claimed.

Govt officially appoints Arif Usmani as NBP CEO ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT

The government on Tuesday officially approved the appointment of Arif Usmani as the chief executive officer of the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) for a duration of three years. Usmani’s appointment as the NBP CEO had been making rounds since November last year. According to a media report, the federal cabinet was apprised on November 23rd that the NBP president is appointed by the federal government in consultation with the State Bank of Pakistan for a duration of three years. And after a brief discussion, the cabinet decided to approve the name of Arif Usmani as the CEO and president of NBP. Usmani had been serving at Mashreq Bank and his previous experience includes stints as global head of wholesale banking at Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank PJSC, managing director and country officer of Citibank NA Pakistan.

FBR abolishes 2pc customs duty on import of 200 items The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on Tuesday abolished the two per cent additional customs duty on the import of 200 items and auto parts, a local media outlet reported. According to a notification issues by the FBR, regularity duty on spare parts and raw material used in auto parts has also been removed and the decision would be applicable from March 31. The FBR officials said regularity duty on the import of raw material used in chocolate and gum has been decreased by 5 to 15pc, while the same on the import of car mats, polyester mats and 12 other items has also been slashed. Earlier on Tuesday, the FBR officials briefed the Senate regarding tax reduction in the tobacco sector. The officials said that taxes worth Rs60 billion have been removed from the tobacco sector, adding that 10 million kilograms of tobacco was imported last year while annual consumption of tobacco in the country stood at 15 million kilograms. They said that the Pakistan Tobacco Company was not involved in tax evasion. BUSINESS DESK

Asad Umar reviews proposals on Pak-Turkey economic framework ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT

Finance Minister Asad Umar on Tuesday chaired a meeting of the Committee on Pak-Turkey Strategic Economic Framework and reviewed the progress made on the formation of the proposed framework. Senior government officials, including Energy Division Minister Omar Ayub Khan, Advisor to Prime Minister on Commerce and Textile Abdul Razaq Dawood, inter-provincial coordination minister and privatization minister, attended the meeting. The Economic Affairs Division secretary on the occasion gave a detailed presentation and shared with the meeting proposals from various ministries and divisions. Important among them included proposal from the Ministry of Commerce with regard to enhancing trade through

Free Trade Agreements and easing of customs procedures by both sides. The Ministry of Textile proposed that Pakistan and Turkey should consider setting up textile and garment cities. The participants felt that Pakistan should benefit from the best practices adopted by Turkey for development of tourism industry. The finance minister observed that there existed a great scope for the development of auto sector in Pakistan with the help of Turkey. He added that the banks from both sides should be encouraged to establish branches in each other’s country to promote business linkages and facilitate financial transactions. He also viewed that collaboration between Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and Turkish Airlines may be promoted to improve communication facilities for Pakistan citizens travelling to

various destinations. The finance minister appreciated the proposal for establishment of a Credit Guarantee Fund for trade enhancement. He was informed that all provincial chief secretaries have been asked to send their proposals for the economic framework and their responses are being compiled. The EAD secretary said that through this framework, it is expected that there would be a threefold expansion in the areas of trade and economic cooperation between the two countries. Finance Minister directed that all the proposals being sent by different ministries and divisions may be consolidated on priority so that these can be shared with the Turkish side for consideration and concurrence. It may be added that establishment of the economic framework was discussed and agreed with the Turkish side during

the recent visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Turkey. It aims to enhance bilat-

eral economic cooperation with particular focus on trade.

Saudi media delegation calls on finance minister ISLAMABAD: The visiting Saudi media delegation called on Finance Minister Asad Umar on Tuesday. The finance minister welcomed the guests and shared with them the government’s ongoing drive for macroeconomic stabilization and strengthening of economy. The minister said Pakistan offered multiple opportunities to foreign investors and welcomed Saudi companies to invest in various sectors in Pakistan including petrochemicals and mining sector. He made special mention of the oil refinery project envisaged by the Saudi side in Pakistan and said it will have a lasting impact on Pakistan’s economy both in terms of investment and growth. Umar said that both countries are now focused on providing opportunities to the youth so as to enable them play a key role in the socio-economic development. He also welcomed Saudi participation in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor projects. The Saudi media delegation on the occasion shared with the minister their impressions about the visit to Pakistan and said they were eager to see the economic cooperation between the two countries develop to greater heights. STAFF REPORT


12 bUsiness Market Daily

PsX gains 269 points amid volatile trading KARACHI: After morning bumps, Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) managed to stand its ground to close Tuesday’s session in green. Indices swung in both directions until they finally picked the green path and ended the day with gains. Foreign investors continued to be net buyers on Monday with a net inflow of $1.68 million. As per latest data released by the State Bank of Pakistan, overseas Pakistani’s remitted $12.77 billion during the first seven months of the current fiscal year as compared to $11.38 billion in the same period last year (up by 12.22pc). Meanwhile, according to data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the country’s trade deficit plunged by 9.66pc from $21.32 billion in the same period last year to $19.26 billion in the current year. Moreover, exports surged by 2.24pc to $13.23 billion during the period under review from $12.94 billion in the corresponding period last year, while imports were down by 5.17pc in the first seven month of FY19 (FY18 $34.27, FY19 $32.49 billion). The KSE 100 index, which kept oscillating in both directions, touched its intraday low of 40,269.00 by midday (down by 57.53 points). The index then made a recovery and reached its day’s high of 40,637.26 (up by 310.73 points) before settling positive at 40,596.28 (up by 269.75 points). The KMI 30 index managed to gain 967.56 points to close the day at 68,352.96, while the KSE All Share index accumulated 108.87 points, ending at 29,408.12. Trading volumes improved from 134.41 million in the previous session to 165.07 million. Azgard Nine Limited (ANL -1.08pc), KElectric Limited (KEL +4.33pc) and Unity Foods Limited (UNTIY -3.24pc) were the volume leaders of the day. The stocks had 27.63 million shares, 12.7 million shares and 8.36 million shares traded respectively. Al-Ghazi Tractors Limited (AGTL -2.55pc) declared its financial performance for FY18. The company announced a final cash dividend of Rs9 in addition to Rs30 already paid. Sales surged by 2.7pc YoY while earning per share declined by 20pc YoY (FY17 Rs53.88, FY18 Rs43.31). Rafhan Maize Products Limited (RMPL 0.00pc) published its financial results for FY18. A final cash dividend of Rs125 was announced in addition to an interim dividend (Rs300) already paid. The company’s sales were up 14pc YoY, whereas earnings per share improved from Rs475.54 in the last year to Rs516.62 in the current year. STAFF REPORT

PiA losses climb to Rs 414 billion, senate body told ISLAMABAD: Senate Standing Committee on Aviation was Tuesday informed that total losses of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) had risen to Rs 414 billion, however a plan was in place to transform it into a profit-making organization. Senator Mushahidullah chaired meeting of the committee at Parliament House here during which members discussed overall performance of Pakistan International Airlines and its administrative affairs, run by a board of directors. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Air Marshal Arshad Malik briefed about his efforts to transform the airline into a profitable entity through effective marketing strategy and different measures. The committee was informed that because of the open sky policy, PIA had suffered losses and faced financial difficulties. The Senators were informed that Establishment Division had posted seven officers of Pakistan Air Force in PIA and they were working on deputation. The CEO said degrees were not verified in PIA for the last 15 years and not only employees but even some pilots, had fake degrees. The committee summoned the dismissed employees of PIA in the next meeting. Members of the committee gave suggestions to improve financial position of the airline and speedily resolve its issues. Senators Faisal Javed, Samina Saeed, Shaheen Khalid Butt, Sherry Rehman, Nouman Wazir Khattak and Manzoor Kakar besides Minister for Aviation Muhammad Mian Soomro and officials of PIA and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) took part in proceedings of the committee. APP

Wednesday, 13 February, 2019

FOC ALLOwED tO CONstRUCt 460km shEikhUPURA-NOwshERA OiL PiPELiNE ECC APPROVES ADDITIONAL GUARANTEES WORTH RS5.6BN TO PIACL ISLAMABAD

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AHMAD AHMADANI

HE Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Tuesday allowed Frontier Oil Company (FOC) - a subsidiary of Frontier Works Organization (FWO) - to construct a 460km-long Sheikhupura-Nowshera oil pipeline. The meeting, chaired by Finance Minister Asad Umar, also saved Rs120 billion of the national exchequer by cancelling a similar oil pipeline project of Inter State Gas System (ISGS). The Petroleum Division had earlier proposed the committee to approve the appointment of FOC for implementation of the oil pipeline project while ISGS be advised not to pursue the project. Both ISGS and FWO were the leading contenders to construct the pipeline from Machike (Sheikhupura) to Tarujabba (Nowshera). However, the ECC on Tuesday gave the decision in

MINISTRY OF INDUSTRIES DIRECTED TO ENSURE RECOVERY OF COTTON CESS FROM TEXTILE MILLS

favour of FWO. Following the ECC approval, Frontier Oil Company will lay an oil pipeline without the financial and sovereign guarantee of the federal government. The company will construct the oil pipeline from its own finances. As per the documents available with this scribe, the FWO, in a bid to ensure the supply of petrol and diesel from Machike to Tarujabba, had prepared an oil pipeline project and subsequently submitted an application with the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) to obtain a license. However, the ECC, led by former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, instead gave the project to ISGS despite the opposition of OGRA. Meanwhile, the ECC on Tuesday approved measures for the uplift of cotton crop in the country. The Ministry of National Food Security & Research secretary gave the meeting a detailed presentation on issues and challenges faced by the cotton sector. Cotton experts, who were specially invited to the

meeting, also gave their input with regard to the development of the important crop. The ECC decided that the Ministry of NFS&R would present, within 30 days, a plan to strengthen the research and development services for different crops with a particular focus on cotton. The ministry would also submit a plan for the revitalization of federal institutions that have been tasked with the responsibility of developing the cotton sector. The committee also directed the ministry to expedite its efforts for implementation of ‘PB Ropes technology’ to counter the pink bollworm, which impedes cotton growth. The meeting directed that the Ministry of Industries and Production would take measures for the recovery of cotton cess from textile mills so as to give impetus to cotton promotion activities, which are to be funded through the cess. Moreover, the ECC accorded approval of additional guarantees worth Rs5.6 billion to Pakistan International Airline Company Lim-

rashid khan appointed as PtCl CeO ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT

The PTCL Board of Directors in its meeting on Tuesday appointed Rashid Khan, currently the chief executive of Ufone, to the post of PTCL CEO from March 2. PTCL CEO Dr Daniel Ritz decided to leave the company owing to personal reasons upon completion of his three-year contract on March 1, 2019, in order to reunite with his family in Europe. On the occasion, Dr Ritz said, “It has been a privilege and an honour to lead PTCL and the PTCL Group through a period of significant transformation. I am proud of what we have achieved as a team and the financial results announced today with PTCL returning to top line growth for the first time after several years of revenue decline are a testimony to this.” The PTCL Board of Directors thanked Dr Ritz for his exemplary leadership in the past three years and the associated business results. They said Daniel’s decision to return to Europe to reunite with his family is understandable. Etisalat International CEO Hatem

Dowidar commented, “Daniel has taken the helm of the company at a critical time where he has succeeded in laying the foundation for a future network, providing ultra-fast broadband to many areas with the biggest network modernization of PTCL in its history. Additionally, PTCL, under his leadership, became active in cloud computing, data centres and pushed forward the ‘Digital Pakistan’ agenda”. PTCL Chairman Maroof Azfal added, “On behalf of the government, I would like to thank Daniel sincerely for his personal leadership and achievements in putting PTCL, an important national asset, back on the growth track.” It is pertinent to mention that Rashid Khan’s appointment as PTCL CEO is in addition to his role as the chief executive of Ufone. Rashid Khan remained the CEO and president of Mobilink for six years from July 2008 till August 2014. Moreover, he worked in Silicon Valley for almost 15 years for various international companies. He acquired extensive working experience in the technology sector while working at the valley. He was also awarded patents for his inventions.

ited (PIACL) for the maintenance of engines and acquisition of related spare parts to operationalize grounded planes. The step would strengthen PIACL’s route rationalization initiatives and would add to revenue generation of the national flag carrier. The Ministry of Maritime Affairs briefed the meeting about various concessions granted to the Gwadar Port and Gwadar Free Zone. The committee directed the Board of Investment, Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Law Division and the Federal Board of Revenue to review the proposals and revert to the committee. Also, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs briefed the meeting with regard to the location of any new LNG terminals in the country as well as the assessment of requirement for relocation of the existing terminals. The committee took note of the presentation and directed the relevant ministries to work out the medium to long term requirement of LNG in the country and present the same to the committee.

Diaspora bond sale rakes in $1m in less than two weeks The government has attracted $1 million from the sale of diaspora bonds in less than two weeks of its launch to boost foreign exchange reserves. Named the ‘Pakistan Banao Certificate’, around $1 million has been remitted to the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) account maintained with the National Bank of Pakistan’s (NBP) New York branch, a source aware of the inflows shared. The source shared the diaspora bond has attracted better than anticipated traction since 5,000 investors are said to have registered with the web-based portal to purchase the bond. Also, the diaspora bond is attracting demand majorly from expatriates residing in the United States and Europe. The source added that they anticipated a nice response from the Gulf countries, including the United Arab Emirates. “We’re testing appetite for this unique product from the overseas Pakistanis. We see more investment applications to be received in times to come given significant returns being offered on these certificates,” the source stated. The dollar-denominated diaspora bonds are offering higher yields compared to foreign bonds and the latest issuance is 100% guaranteed by the government. The minimum investment in PBC’s is $5,000 with no upper ceiling. It is being offered in maturities of three years and five years with yields of 6.25% and 6.75% respectively. And the six-monthly return on these diaspora bonds is set to London Interbank Offered Rate plus 400 basis points. A syndicate of six banks including National Bank of Pakistan, Habib Bank Limited (HBL), Allied Bank (ABL), JS Bank and Standard Chartered Bank are marketing the diaspora bond. SBP and NBP are handling the transaction and providing services such as collection of proceeds, distribution of period payments (profit and redemption) and managing of investors’ queries in regard to investment in the PBC’s. BUSINESS DESK

As trade deficit declines, export growth disappoints LAHORE MOHAMMAD FAROOQ

Much to the government’s relief, the trade deficit during the first seven months (July-January) of the current financial year 2018-19 contracted 9.66% to $19.3 billion compared to $21.324 billion recorded during the same period of FY18. According to data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics on Monday, the trade deficit plummeted 31.7% yearon-year (YoY) in January clocking at $2.5 billion compared to $3.6 billion in the same month last year. On a month-on-month basis (MoM), trade deficit posted an increase of 4.1% to $2.5 billion compared to $2.4 billion in December last year driven by a rise in imports MoM to $2.5 billion in January. Imports touched $4.5 billion in January, registering a decline of 19.1% YoY compared to $5.6 billion in January 2018,

which was a major contributing factor in the fall of the trade deficit in January to $2.5 billion. Interestingly, imports posted a growth of 1.3% on a MoM basis in January to $4.5 billion compared to $4.4 billion in December 2018. In the first seven months of FY19, imports contracted 5.5% to $32.5 billion compared to $34.3 billion in the same period of FY19. Correspondingly, exports posted a 2.2% increase or Rs13.2 billion during July-Jan FY19 compared to $12.9 billion in the same period of FY18. And on a MoM basis, exports contracted 1.8% to $2.0 billion in January against $2.1 billion in December last year. Despite repeated government efforts to prop up exports, the extension of subsidies to five zero-rated industries in the shape of lower gas and power tariff has failed to yield a tangible result.

However, as per the Ministry of Commerce, its interventions to effectively rein in the fast-widening trade deficit has started paying dividends. During July-January FY19, these measures have contributed to a saving of $2 billion to the national exchequer. According to Arif Habib Limited (Research), the trade deficit has declined by the most in the four years as the chart below illustrates: Seemingly, the decision to allow the rupee to depreciate by around 28% against the greenback since December 2017 hasn’t stimulated growth in exports, as anticipated. Export growth remained sluggish during July-Jan of FY19, indicating the provision of major subsidies to the sector hasn’t paid dividends in the last few years. While talking to Profit about the decline in the trade deficit, Senior Advisor Tundra Fonder A.A.H Soomro explained

that the J-curve effect theoretically takes 2-3 quarters before we’re in the upper gradient. “Primarily, our exports are primary materials without ample exportable surplus. The government has recently reduced duties on imported raw materials, offered regionally competitive gas and energy prices, that should markedly push exports into double-digits,” he added. He criticized the policy of bolstering exports via devaluation and termed it ‘foolish’ since international buyers will immediately ask for more discounts. Soomro urged the government to improve the skill-set of human capital by offering apprenticeship programs akin to those enacted by Germany and South Korea to truly enhance the knowledge-intensive manufacturing base. When asked about Pakistan’s vulnerability to acute changes in global oil

prices and the increase could impact the government’s plan to curtail the import bill and if the deferred oil payment facility may provide a cushion, Soomro said, “Deferred oil price facility is absolute in nature, not volume based. So, the increase in oil prices would definitely eat up the cushion earlier than expected.” He explained that higher oil prices equate to lower credit facility as a percentage of total oil imports. According to Soomro, if prices of Arab Light crosses $80 today, the government would be seriously cash/dollar strapped and would find it difficult to introduce pro-growth economic for next one to two years. Moreover, he believes these “external vulnerabilities” would derail the investment case and the only way out is the hard-earned globally integrated economy with a truer accumulation of forex reserves; exports, FDI and remittances.


Akbar

Amber, Amna, Sonia & Naheed

Annie, Cyna, Sana, Amna, Yumna, Aneeza, Sadaf, Ayesha, Nuria & Mehwish

conference of InSPIrATIon LAHORE: Mothering blog Scaryammi and the Central and North Punjab Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry organized a conference of inspiration at The Nishat where the key note speakers were Anjum Ahmed from Learning Alliance, motivational speaker Qasim Ali Shah; Natasha Hussain hosted the event while Sophiya Anjum was the orange carpet host.

Asma Babar, Anjum Ahmed & Naheen

Chandni Falahat

Cyna Xeeshan,Tehmina Chaudhary & Ayesha Nasir

Mahlaqa

Hanan Ansari & Sarah Ansari

Mariam Waqas

Rubia Moghees

Hanieh & Yumna

Huda

Sadia Atta

Irum Zia

Madiha Butt & Sana Waqar

Aries: Everyone needs time to rest, including you. A nod of recognition in your professional sphere shows you how hard you work to maintain your reputation. Taurus: Communing with people who are vastly different than you may be alluring and also extremely confusing. Gemini: You are dealing with glamour in the public eye. You command a certain charismatic presence that relies on someone else’s investment in you. Cancer: Wistful thoughts of escape with a beloved -- real or imagined -may occupy your thoughts today. Leo: The demons of industry have your back. You currently possess the capability to tackle detailed work that is usually too boring for you. Virgo: Harboring fantasies now doesn’t mean that you’re ready to experience them. Libra: Your momentum at work is stymied by something unexpected and unknown. Surprisingly, the cause could lie hidden somewhere in your domestic sphere. Scorpio: A pleasant encounter in your neighborhood takes you on a scenic detour. You have much more fun than you planned for now, and some work might go by the wayside. Sagittarius: You might funnel a small windfall into your domestic dreams today. Capricorn: A little gentleness goes a long way in getting your message across. Aquarius: The question of how to make more money swirls like a nebula. Oddly enough, the mystery may come from incoherence. Pisces: Someone near and dear to you lavishes you with appreciation today.

CMYK


14 SPORTS

Wednesday, 13 February, 2019

World number one osaka in shock split With coach TOKYO

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ORLD tennis number one Naomi Osaka has split from her coach Sascha Bajin just 17 days after completing back-to-back Grand Slam victories at the Australian Open. “Hey everyone, I will no longer be working together with Sascha. I thank him for his work and wish him all the best in the future,” the 21-year-old Japanese tweeted in a shock announcement. Bajin, a former hitting partner to Serena Williams, responded: “Thank you Naomi. I wish you nothing but the best as well. What a ride that was. Thank you for letting me be part of this.” Osaka, who became the first Asian to hold the top ranking after beating Czech Petra Kvitova in the Melbourne final on January 26, had worked with the German for just over a year. No reason was given for the surprise decision to part ways, but Japanese media cited Osaka’s management company IMG in reporting that there had been a breakdown in the player’s relationship with the coach since the start of the year.

According to Japan’s Nikkan Sports, some practice sessions with Bajin at the Australian Open lasted just 10 minutes and she sometimes hit without him being present. Osaka, who is scheduled to compete in Dubai next week, began sounding out potential replacements late last year, local media reported. The Japanese player captured her first Grand Slam crown by stunning Williams at last year’s US Open in a

alyssa healy and pat cummins land major australian cricket honors

final remembered as much for the American’s astonishing rant at the chair umpire following a coaching violation. Based in the United States, Osaka linked up with Bajin in late 2017 and enjoyed a breakthrough year, shooting from 72 in the world to the top of the women’s rankings. During that period she won the prestigious Indian Wells tournament before scooping her first major in New

York, while Bajin was named WTA coach of the year. Osaka’s Twitter feed lit up in response to her announcement, with several memes expressing widespread disbelief — including a shrugging Barack Obama, a confused Joey from American sitcom “Friends” and a Minions character screaming “WHAAAAT?” Osaka, who grew up in the US and speaks little Japanese, melted hearts when she fought back tears after her emotional US Open win over her idol Williams as booing echoed around the stadium. She won more fans with a nail-biting 7-6, 5-7, 6-4 win over Kvitova in the Australian Open final, after which Osaka sobbed tears of joy as the jeers were replaced by cheers. Former greats Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert have all heaped praise on the new darling of women’s tennis. “Winning back-to-back Grand Slam tournaments is a rare and special achievement, and I’m thrilled these results have propelled Naomi to the top of the women’s game,” said Evert, the first ever WTA world number one. “Her exciting brand of tennis, coupled with the dignity she displays on and off court, is a winning combina-

New Australia sports super-watchdog to target cheats

MELBOURNE

SYDNEY

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AGENCIES

Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins won the Allan Border Medal on Monday, the country’s highest cricketing honour, after a tumultuous year for the sport that was rocked by the ball-tampering scandal. The award, presented in Melbourne, has been won by Steve Smith and David Warner two times each over the previous four years. The two batsmen received a one year ban for their roles in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa and will be eligible for international selection again at the end of March. Cummins, 25, narrowly won the medal with 156 votes, beating Nathan Lyon with 150 and Aaron Finch with 146. Fellow players, the media and umpires vote for player of the year. Born in Sydney, Cummins is the third bowler, after Glenn McGrath and Mitchell Johnson, to win the award in the past two decades.

Australia on Tuesday unveiled a new national integrity body to tackle cheating and corruption in sport in the wake of a ball-tampering “sandpapergate” scandal that rocked cricket. The new watchdog, Sport Integrity Australia, will combine the powers of three existing agencies, including the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA), to better investigate doping, matchfixing, illegal betting, organised crime and corruption. “We have seen the massive fall-out from the cricket ball-tampering scandal and the loss of belief in our national cricket team and we are determined to prevent incidents like this from happening,”

Sports Minister Bridget McKenzie said in a statement. “Australian sports lovers deserve to know that the sport they watch and the teams they support are competing on a level playing field and playing fairly,” she said. The current agencies are set to receive a boost in funding before Sport Integrity Australia formally launches in two years. Canberra said it was also setting up a national sports tribunal, to be trialled over two years, to hear

Refugee footballer makes triumphant return to Australia

anti-doping rule violations and other sports disputes. The sports-mad nation was stunned when its two top Test cricketers, captain Steve Smith and Vice-captain David Warner, as well as Cameron Bancroft, were caught trying to alter the ball against South Africa in Cape Town in March. Smith and Warner were banned for a year and Bancroft for nine months. The changes follow a review into Australia´s sports integrity arrangements amid the growing commercialisation of sport and the rapid growth in sports wagering. In addition to ASADA, the new umbrella body will incorporate the National Integrity of Sport Unit and the integrity watchdog functions of the governmental Sport Australia agency.

arsenal's ramsey signs four-year Juventus deal MILAN AGENCIES

Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey has signed a four-year deal to join Juventus on a free transfer from next July, the Italian champions said on Monday. The 28-year-old Wales international will arrive in northern Italy on July 1 with his contract running until June 30, 2023. As his contract will have ended, Arsenal will not be entitled to a transfer fee. "As a result of the registration of the player, Juventus will incur additional costs of 3.7 million euros ($4.1 million), to be paid by July 10," the Serie A champions said. The move brings to an end Ramsey´s 11-year spell with the Gunners having moved from Cardiff City in 2008. Over the past decade he has played 256 Premier League games, scoring 38 top-flight goals, and winning three FA Cup and two Community Shield. He also had two loan spells at Nottingham Forest in 2010, and back at former club, Cardiff in 2011. "I wanted to issue a personal statement for all the Arsenal fans who have been extremely loyal and supportive," Ramsey wrote on Instagram. "You welcomed me as a teenager and have been there for me through all the highs and lows I have encountered during my time at the club. "It is with a heavy heart that I leave after 11 incredible years in north London. Thank you. "I will continue to give the team 100 per cent and hope to finish the season strongly, before heading on to my next chapter in Turin." Ramsey has 58 caps for Wales, scoring 14 goals, and was a part of the Welsh side that reached the Euro 2016 semi-finals. He becomes the third Welshman to play for Juventus following club legend John Charles and former European Golden Boot winner Ian Rush. Ramsey had turned down the offer of a new deal at Arsenal, with clubs including Barcelona, Real Madrid, Paris Saint Germain, Inter Milan and Bayern Munich linked with the player. "Everyone at Arsenal Football Club wishes Aaron Ramsey a happy and successful future," the London club said in a statement. "Aaron´s made a fantastic contribution to our club since joining from Cardiff City in 2008. He has always been a consummate professional and will always have a special place in the hearts and memories of Arsenal fans around the world." Juventus have an 11-point lead on top of Serie A and are on track for an eighth consecutive league title. They are through to the Champions League knock-out rounds and will play Atletico Madrid in the last 16 starting next week. Ramsey will reportedly become Juventus´ second-highest earner behind Cristiano Ronaldo earning 7 million euros ($7.8 million) a season.

England World Cup-winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks dies LONDON AGENCIES

MELBOURNE AGENCIES

Refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi made a triumphant return to Australia on Tuesday, ending a two-month ordeal that saw him jailed in Thailand and threatened with forced return to his native Bahrain. A throng of well wishers decked in #SAVEHAKEEM T-shirts cheered and sang the football anthem “You'll Never Walk Alone” as they greeted the 25year-old defender at Melbourne Airport, after an overnight flight to freedom aboard Thai Airways flight 465. “I want to thank Australia,” said a smiling Araibi, adding that “this is my country”. “I don't have citizenship yet, but my country is Australia. I will die in Australia and I love Australia,” he said. Araibi was detained on Nov 27,

2018 while on honeymoon at the request of Bahraini authorities who accuse him of offences linked to the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings. His detention sparked worldwide outcry and a protracted diplomatic dispute between Bahrain, Thailand and Australia that raised questions about the neutrality of the International Criminal Police Organisation, commonly known as Interpol, and the writ of Canberra's refugee protections. Araibi had expressed fear that he would be tortured and killed if he returned to Bahrain and supporters alleged his prosecution was politically motivated. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison led celebration of Araibi's release, saying many Australians' prayers had been answered. “We know all Australians will deeply appreciate the decision, allowing

him to return to his wife, family and friends.” Morrison thanked the Thai authorities, who had earlier left his written appeals for Araibi's return unanswered, but abruptly dropped extradition proceedings on Monday at Bahrain's request. “We have been informed that Bahrain wants to withdraw the (extradition) request... if they don't want him, we have no reason to keep him here,” Chatchom Akapin, a director-general in the Thai prosecutor's office, told AFP. The case had also become a cause celebre in the football world, with stars like Didier Drogba calling for Araibi's release and FIFA urging the Thai football authorities to intervene. The international football governing body on Monday thanked Thailand in a statement for “doing the right thing” and said it hoped the athlete “will be able to resume his footballing career soon”.

CMYK

Gordon Banks, England’s goalkeeper when they won the 1966 World Cup, has died aged 81, his former club Stoke City announced on Tuesday. Banks, who played in every game of the 1966 campaign on home soil, is probably best known for a wonder save he produced to deny Brazilian great Pele in the 1970 World Cup. His family said Banks, who lost an eye in a car crash in 1972, had passed away in his sleep. “It is with great sadness that we announce that Gordon passed away peacefully overnight,” his family said. “We are devastated to lose him but we have so many happy memories and could not have been more proud of him.” Geoff Hurst, who scored a hat-trick in the 4-2 win over West Germany in the World Cup final at Wembley, tweeted a fulsome tribute to his former team-mate. “Very sad to hear the news that Gor-

don has died. One of the very greatest,” tweeted 77-year-old Hurst. “Thinking especially of Ursula, Julia, Wendy and Robert. Sad for football, Stoke City and for England fans. Will be very sadly missed.” Banks, whose club playing career revolved largely around Stoke and Leicester City, is the latest of the 1966 team to pass away. Captain Bobby Moore, the baby of the team Alan Ball and Ray Wilson preceded him whilst several such as Nobby Stiles and Martin Peters suffer from Alzheimer’s.


SPORTS 15

Wednesday, 13 February, 2019

psl will help unearth raw talent: arthur DUBAI STAFF REPORT

Head coach Mickey Arthur has said that he is optimistic to find some raw talent from the upcoming edition of the Pakistan Cricket League (PSL). “Talented [PSL] performers will surely be considered for the ICC World Cup,” Arthur said while talking to a local media house. “PSL is a fantastic step towards the revival of international cricket in Pakistan,” Arthur said in reply to a question regarding the revival of international cricket in Pakistan. Arthur – who is also the head coach for Karachi Kings – said that his “love affair with Pakistan cricket started the first edition of PSL [in 2016]”. He hoped that “this season [PSL 4] will be a huge success like the previous [three] editions”.

Windies’ women felt ‘safe’ and ‘honoured’ while playing in pakistan KARACHI PPI

The West Indies Women toured Pakistan for a three-match Twenty20 International series against the hosts, saying it was an ‘honor’ to help Pakistan play in front of their home crowds. "It was a really great feeling. I am really glad I was a part of a team that was ready to bring cricket back to Pakistan," said Shakera Selman, the Windies pacer. "I am really honored that we helped the Pakistanis play in front of their families. I never realized it until I got there how much it would have meant to them."Her compatriot Anisa Mohammed, who had toured Pakistan back in 2003, encouraged other cricketing nations to help promote the revival of cricket in the country. "It was nice to go back to Pakistan. I had been there in 2003 and it was nice to go back," she said.

gladiators lose narine to injury ahead of psl KARACHI PPI

Quetta Gladiators have been dealt an injury blow with all-rounder Sunil Narine unavailable for the start of the HBL PSL due to a finger injury. Narine, who was part of a blockbuster pre-season trade between Quetta Gladiators and Lahore Qalandars, is nursing a finger injury which he aggravated during the recently-concluded BPL. Narine will be seeing his medical team immediately and, depending on medical advice, is expected to join the squad later on in the tournament.“We hope to have Narine with us as soon as possible because he is a true match winner,” said Quetta Gladiators coach Moin Khan.“It’s a blow just before the start of HBL PSL but we will try to cope with it. We have got the depth in our squad as there are plenty other match-winners. We wish Narine a quick recovery and hope to welcome him very soon during HBL PSL.”

pakistan super league trophy unveiled in dubai t DUBAI PPI

HE Pakistan Super League 2019 trophy was unveiled during a press conference at the Dubai International Stadium, the venue where the tournament would kick-start on Thursday with an opening match between defending champions Islamabad United and Lahore Qalandars. “The HBL PSL 2019 is set to provide incredible excitement to cricket fans all around the world; we thank our sponsors, partners, the six franchises and all stakeholders who have contributed in putting together this cricket extravaganza. We look forward to seeing a competitive tournament with a galaxy of international and Pakistan stars showcasing their talent,” said Chairman Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Ehsan Mani. Captain of the defending champions Islamabad United, Mohammad Sami on the occasion said, “It is a huge honour for me to be given this respon-

sibility to lead Islamabad United this year. I have looked at the squad and there are so many options for us. The young guys have impressed everyone in our training sessions and we are carrying on our tradition of developing the emerging talent of Pakistan. I hope I can lead this group to another HBL PSL trophy. “We are all working really hard but in the end, we just want to keep things simple, play good cricket and if we do that then the results will come on their own.” Captain of the PSL 2017 champions Daren Sammy said, “All six teams are very balanced and that is good because we will get to see quality cricket in HBL PSL once again. I have had the great honour of leading a very talented Peshawar Zalmi side for two years and, this year, we have greater depth in the squad and the experience that guys like Misbah and Pollard bring to our squad is invaluable. We always get great support from our Zalmi fans in the UAE but we are all very excited to experience the love and warmth of crowds in Karachi once

Ukrainian skier considers Pakistanis 'most hospitable, welcoming' NEWS DESK Ukrainian skier Tetyana Tikun has said that Pakistanis are the “most hospitable, welcoming and kind” people she has met, Dispatch News Desk (DND) reported. Tikun won the giant slalom and slalom (in FIS Category) in Chief of the Air Staff International Karakoram Alpine Ski Cup held at the Naltar Ski Resort in Pakistan. “To everyone who loves to travel, but is full of media stereotypes, I highly recommend them to always trust their feelings and experiences only. There’s so much of the world that you still have to see. Pakistan is one of those countries that you fall in love with at first sight,” Tikun exclaimed. She said that her love for Pakistan was forged through her interaction with the locals. She said that “they’re not spoiled with visitors, so they make sure you enjoy every

minute of your stay. Any request we had, any questions we asked, they were always there for us with a warm smile on their faces”. She said that the only disappointing thing about her trip to Pakistan was that “it only lasted eight days” and would love to come back someday. She commended the Pakistan Ski Federation and Pakistan Air Force (PAF) for their hospitality. She added that she visited Pakistan for the first time in 2017 and it was her first ever tour to any South Asian country. However, on her second visit,

Root century helps England build huge lead against West Indies ST LUCIA AGENCIES

Joe Root became the first England player to score a century during the series as the visitors strengthened their stranglehold in the third Test against West Indies on Monday. The England captain compiled a patient, unbeaten 111 in St Lucia as the visitors closed in on a consolation victory after losing the first two Tests in the three-match series. Ben Stokes was on 29 and England were 325 for four in their second innings at the close, an overall lead of 448 runs with two days remaining in Gros Islet. Root had endured a poor series with the bat, making just 55 runs in his five previous innings. But he made amends by notching up his 16th Test century with a classic drive through mid-off for four, albeit off a generous full toss from Alzarri Joseph. Root’s celebration showed just how much the innings meant to him as he punched the air, hugged teammate

again. We are Zalmis and our goal is always to win.” Karachi Kings captain Imad Wasim said, “The Karachi Kings squad has a balanced core of local players and some excellent foreign players. We are keen to do well this year and get our hands on the magnificent HBL PSL trophy. It will be a dream come true for all of us to lift the trophy in front of our home crowd on 17 March and we are going to do everything in our control to win it." Sarfaraz Ahmed who is captaining the Quetta Gladiators for the fourth successive year said, "I think we have a lot of depth in our squad this year. We have come close in the past three years but we have not been able to get the desired results. The entire Quetta Gladiators squad is determined to change that this time around. We focused on our retention list this year since we wanted consistency in developing our squad. It helps that we have senior pros like Shane Watson and Rilee Rossouw returning and they will help the young boys ease into the tournament. I am particularly excited

Stokes and then soaked up the minutelong applause from a pro-England crowd singing his name. Windies' Gabriel Warned for abusive lanGuaGe West Indies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel was warned by on-field umpires for using abusive language following interaction with England captain Joe Root during the third day of the third Test in St Lucia

on Monday, according to British media reports. According to The Guardian, Gabriel’s comments were not picked up by stump microphones but Root was heard telling the bowler: “There’s nothing wrong with being gay”. Umpires Rod Tucker and Kumar Dharmasena had a word with Gabriel soon after.

CMYK

about our young pace bowling talent and I can't wait to see Ghulam Mudassar and Mohammad Hasnain in action whenever they get a chance." Captain of the Multan Sultans Shoaib Malik said, "We have a strong squad with depth and variety, and we all are looking forward to a competitive HBLPSL Season four. Of course, our eyes are on the trophy, and we as a team have decided that the best way to get there is to only focus on one match at a time. I wish rest of the teams the very best from the Sultans." Lahore Qalandars captain Mohammad Hafeez said, “This is an exciting time for me because I am leading a very talented bunch of cricketers. We have reworked our strategy this year and we are confident that if we play our natural game, and enjoy each moment of the tournament, we will do well. We realize what our performance means to our Qalandars fans across the world and we want to make them proud of their association with us. I am confident that they will be right behind us, as always."

psl 4: sarfraz eyes title for Quetta gladiators DUBAI STAFF REPORT

she noticed “a real change took place in infrastructure”. She commented that “unlike any other competitions I’ve been a part of, these races were different because there was zero stress or worry about results” as she enjoyed “being in one of the most beautiful and underrated places on earth”.

Two-time runner-up Quetta Gladiators’ captain Sarfraz Ahmed has expressed his intentions to do the unprecedented by landing the title in the fourth edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL). While talking to a local media outlet, the national skipper said that “Gladiators have a great combination with Sohail Tanvir and Ahmed Shehzad in the squad and we are eyeing the title this [coming] edition”. “The local players have already joined the squad while the foreigners will be joining shortly,” he asserted when asked about the joining of foreign players. “Gladiators’ foreign players, except for Aussie spin-king Shane Warne, will visit Pakistan when the league will move domestic,” he added. When asked about the dressing room atmosphere, he asserted that “it is perfectly normal as he has no issue with anyone”.

Feryal Ali Gauhar becomes Pakistan soft ball’s ambassador KARACHI PPI

United Nation’s Goodwill Ambassador and former softball player Feryal Ali Gauhar has become ambassador of Pakistan softball. Softball Federation of Pakistan (SFP) President Haider Khan Lehri says Feryal’s acceptance to become ambassador of softball in Pakistan will further help in promoting and popularizing the game in the country. SFP Chairperson Tehmina Asif, renowned sports patron Sabiha Essa and Essa Laboratories CEO Farhan Essa recently met Feryal Gauhar and requested her to become the sport’s ambassador. Feryal accepted SFP official’s request and added that she has been successful only because of Pakistan, which is her identity. “If it’s through sports, my country receives recognition due to me then I will be proud of that. Becoming ambassador for Pakistan softball will be an honor for me,” Feryal said. She said that she had played softball back in her school days and at abroad as

well. She added that she had captained her school – Lahore American School for four years while she remained best player in South Asia out of six international schools. She added that she was happy to know that young girls of the country have been taking keen interest in the sport. “I wish that women, like in other sports, win laurels for the country and portray soft image of Pakistan in the game of softball as well at the international arena.”


Wednesday, 13 February, 2019

NEWS

GB GoVt seeKs Rs13 BIllIoN FoR AFFeCtees oF DIAMeR-BHAsHA DAM ISLAMABAD

t

Ghulam abbaS

HE Implementation Committee on Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dams (ICDBMD) has approved a package of Rs 13 billion for the resettlement of over 4, 000 displaced families. After reviewing progress on the hydropower project, the implementation committee set up by the Supreme Court approved the package proposed by the government of Gilgit-Baltistan for setting up a model village. In addition, every affected family of the area would be given Rs 4.7 million in case they decided against the plots in the model village.

ASKS CENTRE TO PAY PEOPLE FROM DAM FUND IF IT DOESN’T HAVE MONEY As per the sources, the Rs 13 billion package is an addition to Rs 58 billion, the amount used to acquire land for the dam. Since the proposal was made by the regional government after due deliberations and meetings with the representatives of the affectees, almost all outstanding issues related to the dam on the part of government have been resolved. However, land and territorial disputes among the dam affectees are still in local courts. The federal government has also been proposed that the Rs 13 billion

may immediately be provided to the regional government for the early settlement of the dam-related issues. “In case, the Centre finds it difficult to pay the amount before the next budget, the required amount may be provided from the [CJP-PM] dam fund,” the GB government proposed. With the approval of this package by the implementation committee, the earlier PC-I of the model village and resettlement plan will be revised, it was told. Earlier, Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) pro-

posed to build at least nine model villages to rehabilitate the people affected by the construction of Diamer-Bhasha Dam. During the meeting of the implementation committee, the GB chief secretary claimed the locals have reposed full confidence in the Resettlement Action Plan, which has paved the way for completion of land acquisition for Diamer-Basha Dam Project. The meeting held in Islamabad was presided over by WAPDA Chairman Muzammil Hussain and was attended by ICDBMD members and other officials. During the meeting, the WAPDA chairman had reiterated that the Committee would continue to serve with same zeal against all odds.

SC acquits man who spent a decade in jail Four cops martyred in ambush DERA ISMAIL KHAN: At least four policemen were martyred and a station house officer (SHO) was injured in an ambush in Maharah area of Dera Ismail Khan’s Parowa sub district on Tuesday. DI Khan District Police Officer (DPO) Dr Mohammad Iqbal told reporters that suspected terrorists targeted a police van patrolling in the area. He added that the police party retaliated but the alleged terrorists managed to flee from the scene. A search operation was launched in the area and the injured police officer was shifted to Dera Ismael Khan’s Combined Military Hospital (CMH). The ambush comes after a terrorist attack last month in Loralai area of Balochistan — 273 kilometres away from DI Khan. Nine people — five civilian employees, three policemen and a candidate — were killed and 21 others suffered injuries in suicide bombing and firing by militants when hundreds of candidates were busy in written test for recruitment in police force. According to a study, the year 2018 saw a remarkable reduction of 45 per cent in militant attacks in the country. The study conducted by Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies showed the ratio of security forces’ casualties per attack significantly increased in 2018 compared to 2017. Overall, the security situation significantly improved in the year as the number of attacks, resultant deaths as well as injuries declined by 45 per cent, 37 per cent and 49 per cent, respectively, compared to 2017. The number of suicide attacks also declined. Staff RepoRt

No Valentine’s Day, insists IHC

CJP REPRIMANDS MAGISTRATE FOR ‘NOT FOLLOWING PROCEDURE’, SUMMONS HIM ON 22ND

ISLAMABAD Staff RepoRt

The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday acquitted a man who had been convicted by the Lahore High Court (LHC) in a murder case and had been imprisoned since. In 2009, an anti-terrorism court (ATC) had ruled Asfandyar guilty of murdering a student. It was reported that he had kidnapped Butt for ransom and killed him when his family failed to pay the money. Later, LHC overturned the verdict and sentenced him to life. As a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa heard the case, he asserted that the prosecution had been unable to prove its allegations against Asfandar and reprimanded the magistrate, Kanwar Anwar Ali, for “not following the legal procedure and failing to conduct the identity parade”. Commenting that he was distressed to see such cases, Justice Khosa lamented that suspects were treated in this manner. He summoned the magistrate on February 22 for “people who are supposed to follow the law should be accountable”. Then, he mocked if people were trained before being appointed as a magistrate. As

SAYS ‘WE CAN’T IGNORE THE LAW AND SENTENCE A MAN’

Asfandyar’s lawyer conceded that “legal training is mandatory for someone to be appointed”, Justice Khosa interjected that perhaps the ATC and LHC had “failed to look at the law”. He said: “We can’t ignore the law and sentence a man.” Justice Khosa also highlighted discrepancies in witnesses’ statements referring to the number of men quoted to be seen disposing of the dead body. The chief justice then raised questions over the procedure that the police followed to determine the guilt of a suspect. He suggested that the testimonies may have been “developed” after arresting the suspect and asked how it had come to occur. Asfandyar’s legal counsel responded that people had got to know of his involvement through a “source” and found that the body had been thrown into a stream. “Everyday we see that police get to the suspect immediately. The suspect is real but all the testimonies are false,” Justice Khosa regretted. Someone has to ensure that law is being followed, he said, for where will the law go if we simply shut our eyes too. On January 31, while overturning a Peshawar High Court (PHC) verdict, the chief justice had come down hard on the practice of recording false testimonies before courts, saying that it creates hurdles for courts. “In other countries, people speak the truth and laws are debated but here, hurdles are created for courts,” he had complained. Before assuming power, Justice Khosa had repeatedly said that all judges who handed sentences on false testimonies would be held accountable. “False witnesses will soon be behind bars and the entire system will be back on the right track as soon as a couple of perjurers are sentenced to life in prison,” he had said while hinting at reforms in the criminal justice system.

Karachi is the dirtiest Pakistani city: survey KARACHI: According to a Gilani Research Foundation Survey carried out by Gallup and Gilani Pakistan, Karachi tops the list as the city that is considered the dirtiest of Pakistan. The survey included a gender-inclusive sample population from all four provinces who were asked: “In your opinion, which city of Pakistan is the dirtiest?” In response to this question, 25 per cent said Karachi, 11 per cent said Lahore, 7 per cent said Peshawar, 5 per cent said Faisalabad, 4 per cent said Shikarpur, 3 per cent each said Quetta, Sukkur, Multan and Sahiwal, 24 per cent referred to other cities of the country, 4 per cent said none, while 8 per cent did not know or did not wish to respond. The recent survey was carried out among a sample of 1142 men and women in rural and urban areas of all four provinces of the country, between January 24 and 28. The error margin is estimated to be approximately ± 2-3 per cent at the 95% confidence level. ppI

AMAN-19 concludes

KARACHI: Multinational maritime exercise AMAN-19 concluded on Tuesday as president, Sindh chief minister, the defence minister, minister of defence production, JCSC chairman, three services chief, ambassadors, defence and naval attaches and number of other guests witnessed spectacular sea manoeuvres and international fleet review in the North Arabian Sea. The exercise displayed a resolve of 46 countries under the title “Together for Peace”. Naval assets, including naval ships, helicopters, special forces elements and observers from 46 countries participated in the exercise. Upon arrival onboard Pakistan Navy Ship MOAWIN, the president was welcomed by Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi and senior naval officers. The chief guest witnessed different operational exercises, including firing by ships on pre-deployed targets, underway replenishment between ships and maritime-related manoeuvres. The fleet review also featured an impressive flypast by participating aircraft and helicopters followed by men and cheership by participating ships. Thereafter, the participating ships formed up in traditional “AMAN Formation” to signify unity and harmony to ensure peace in the maritime domain. Staff RepoRt

Taliban name negotiating team ahead of new talks with US KABUL aGeNCIeS

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Tuesday maintained its previous judgement of imposing a ban on celebrations of Valentine’s Day on February 14 across the country. The court ordered Islamabad chief commissioner to ensure implementation of court directives while taking actions against the people who celebrate this day. The order read that no arrangements could be made in any city of the country regarding Valentine’s Day. The court also ordered Pakistan Electronic Media and Regulatory Authority to ensure implementation of the decision on TV channels. It may be mentioned here that the IHC had issued verdict last year regarding the matter on a petition filed by a citizen Abdul Waheed Khan. app

The Taliban have announced a 14-member negotiating team ahead of talks this month with United States envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who has been meeting with the insurgents to try to end America’s longest war. Mullah Abbas Stanikzai heads the Taliban team announced on Tuesday, which includes five former inmates of the US prison in Guantanamo Bay, who were released in 2014 in exchange for a captured American soldier. The team also includes Anas Haqqani, the jailed younger brother of the leader

of the Haqqani network, a powerful Taliban faction. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said Haqqani, who is being held in Kabul, “should be released to start work on the negotiating team”. During a visit to the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar on Sunday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said he was offering the Taliban an office in Afghanistan because he wanted the peace talks to be held on the Afghan soil. The Afghan president has already made several attempts to engage the Taliban, but the insurgents continue to refuse to hold directs talks his government.

Published by Arif Nizami at Qandeel Printing Press, 4 Queens Road, Lahore. Ph: 042-36300938, 042-36375965. Email: newsroom@pakistantoday.com.pk

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Profile for Pakistan Today

E-Paper PDF 13th February 2019 (LHR)  

E-Paper PDF 13th February 2019 (LHR)  

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