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Friday, 15 March, 2019 I 7 Rajab, 1440 I Rs 17.00 I Vol IX No 255 I 16 Pages I Karachi Edition

Pakistan oPens its doors to world with new visa regime g

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pm imran says new visa regime is manifestatiOn Of cOuntry’s imprOved security situatiOn

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57% Pakistanis repose trust in PM Imran: poll

Online visa facility will help tOurists Obtain visas frOm cOmfOrt Of their hOmes

afridi says natiOnals Of 96 cOuntries will be granted multiple visas within 24 hOurs Of applying

STORY ON PAGE 07

pm opposes punjab mps’ move to boost pay in time of austerity STORY ON PAGE 03

ISLAMABAD staff report

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rime minister imran Khan on Thursday said his government was rolling out a new visa regime to facilitate tourism in the country as well as attract foreign investment. According to Pakistan Tehreek-e-insaf’s official Twitter account, the new e-visa scheme will facilitate visitors from 175 countries. “A new e-visa scheme is being introduced to facilitate visitors from 175 countries. This newly launched policy will open Pakistan’s doors to the world, making it more accessible to tourists and investors from across the globe. #DiscoverPakistan” The introduction of the online facility would help tourists obtain visas to Pakistan without having to visit an embassy or consulate. Addressing a ceremony to roll out the government’s new visa policy, Pm imran said Pak-

istan opening its doors to the world is a manifestation of the new confidence that the security situation has drastically changed and Pakistan now is secure. The premier said the issuing of online visa is a major step towards bringing real change as it will open the country to the outside world, including foreign investors. He said the mindset regarding allowing foreigners into the country needs to be changed in order to portray a positive image of Pakistan to the world. imran said the foreign missions in Pakistan will be activated to play a vibrant role in promoting tourism of the country in the world. regarding ties with neighboring countries, he said Pakistan wants good relations will all the regional countries, including india. The prime minister said that his government was working to promote beach tourism in the country by taking advantage of the unexplored long coastal belt of Pakistan. The Pm said Gilgit-Baltistan is twice the

size of Switzerland and there are still many unexplored areas in the area, adding that a task force would be formed to make sure proper facilities are provided to the tourists. He said the skiing resorts of Pakistan are unique in the world due to their topography. The prime minister said religious tourism is another major area that needs to be explored. He said religious sites of Buddhism, Sikhism, Hinduism in the country can attract a large number of visitors from across the world. imran said ancient civilizations of the country will be introduced to the world with the promotion of tourism.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 03

india, somalia remain in pakistan’s ‘b’ visa category STORY ON PAGE 02

Bilawal wants govt to let go of ‘black sheep’

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China defends position on Masood Azhar

STORY ON BACK PAGE

india restricts release of ‘captain marvel’ in pakistan STORY ON PAGE 03

JIT gets go ahead to grill Nawaz in Model Town case

ppp chief says presence Of three ministers whO suppOrt banned Outfits raises questiOns On pti’s ability tO curb militancy STORY ON PAGE 02

STORIES ON PAGE 02

‘this too shall pass,’ nawaz tells family

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CMYK

02 NEWS

Friday, 15 March, 2019

BIlawal waNTs govT To leT go of ‘Black sheeP’ KARACHI

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Staff RepoRt

AKISTAN People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Thursday lambasted the government for its proximity towards banned outfits in the country as he accused three federal ministers of having “close ties” with these organisations. The PPP chief made this statement in the wake of a government crackdown on militant outfits. He said he wouldn’t trust the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s efforts to curb militancy unless these ministers resign. “Everyone knows that three ministers in the cabinet have a long history with banned outfits. Until you remove them, we will keep on doubting you,” he said. “We doubt your intentions because you were allied with proscribed organisations in the elections,” said Bilawal, referring to the electoral alliance of PTI with some of the banned outfits. “One minister’s video went viral on social media. He can be seen assuring them [leaders of a proscribed party] that ‘we will not take action against you until our government is in place. Folks

with this mentality should not be in the ‘Naya Pakistan’ cabinet.” The viral video Bilawal is referring is most likely the one which features Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Khan Afridi giving assurances to the leaders of the MML – the political façade of the Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaatud Dawa (JuD). “The other minister made inductions into the PTI from UN-banned organisations like HuM (Harkatul Mujahideen alIslami) during the elections. He then said on the floor of the House that ‘If you are speaking against banned outfits and the National Action Plan then that is against the country’s interest.” “The third one not only has a long history of being associated with banned outfits, but he has also helped run militant outfits and training camps,” the PPP leader alleged. “What message are we sending to the world, that banned organisations have immunity? How is it that you can renounce the punishment for late Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari over a phone call? But you cannot take action against terrorists who kill children in my country and who spread terror in other nations.” Bilawal said, during a fiery press conference targeting the prime minister. “Just look at the benami accounts case.

It is nothing but political engineering,” he said. “What was the purpose of taking a suo motu notice of the case during elections?” He remarked that an FIR was registered in the case and the banking court was hearing it. “How can you say that the case was slacking?” Earlier in the day, State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan had urged “Bilawal to provide proof, if he has any, against the ministers”. Leveling allegations without proof is an unreasonable act,” said Ali Mohammad Khan. “Evidence should be presented so that the Prime Minister can take action and sack the said ministers if the allegations are proven.” It is worth mentioning that the current state policy, according to the National Action Plan (NAP) and National Internal Security Policy (NISP), is to ‘mainstream’ militant groups by creating economic, social and political incentives to encourage them to give up violence and integrate them in the nation. This policy was unequivocally opposed by Bilawal in the National Assembly last week. “What message are we sending to the world? That banned organisations have immunity? How is it that you can pronounce the punishment for late Be-

nazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari over a phone call? But you cannot take action against terrorists who kill children in my country and who spread terror in other nations.” Bilawal said, directly addressing Prime Minister Imran. This is not the first time the PPP chairman has put forth these allegations. Bilawal has previously accused the Pakistan Tehreek-Insaf (PTI) government of victimising opposition parties but not taking action against banned organisations, which was against the spirit of NAP. He then posted a critical tweet, calling the PM a “coward” for not taking appropriate action. The criticism came as the state speeds up its cases against the PPP’s senior leadership for its alleged involvement in a multi-billion rupee fake bank accounts scandal. The fake accounts were used to launder money for senior PPP leaders, including Bilawal’s father Asif Ali Zardari and aunt Faryal Talpur, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) believes. Also, the debate on action against proscribed organisations comes roughly a week after the government took 44 under-observation members of proscribed organisations, including Mufti Abdul Raoof and Hammad Azhar (no relation to the Minister of State for Revenue) — the brother and son of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) leader Masood Azhar, respectively — in “preventive detention” for investigation. The crackdown has acquired a renewed urgency as a Financial Action Task Force review looms of measures Pakistan is taking to counter money laundering and terror financing.

SC grills govt, DHA over failure to conduct audit Two killed in Panjgur market blast At least two persons were killed with several injured in a cracker blast that took place in Balochistan’s Panjgur district on Thursday. According to initial inputs, the incident occurred at Chitkan Market of Panjgur, a west Balochistan which is 518.9km away from provincial capital Quetta. Explosive material was placed in a motorcycle, reports said and added that the blast damaged several nearby vehicles and buildings. The people killed were reportedly in a car that was damaged and caught fire after the blast. Security forces immediately cordoned off the area and initiated a search operation to secure the site. Rescue teams shifted the dead and injured to a hospital for treatment. NewS DeSk

JUDGE ASKS WHETHER DHA IS GOVERNMENT WITHIN GOVERNMENT QUESTIONS WHY DOES JUDICIARY HAVE ‘TO DO EVERYTHING AND PASS ALL THE ORDERS’ ISLAMABAD Staff RepoRt

The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday grilled the federal government and the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) for their failure to conduct an audit of the housing authority in connection to a case pertaining to the transfer of land. A three-member bench, under Justice Ahmed’s stewardship, was hearing the case taken up by the apex court in Sep 2015 wherein it declared DHA’s claim that their accounts could not be scrutinised “unjustified”, and ordered the auditor general of Pakistan (AGP) to audit DHA’s accounts. The order was issued during the hearing of a case involving the pos-

session of 156 kanals of land, which DHA Lahore had termed ‘Phase 7’ despite the fact that the individual from whom it purportedly ‘purchased’ the land for Rs920 million never owned the property. At Thursday’s hearing, Justice Qazi Faez Essa said DHA could be held in contempt of court over its refusal to get audited. “What problem does DHA have with the audit?” the

judge asked. Justice Essa asked if “the court needs to teach the law to the government and that it should tell the court in writing if it was ignorant of the law. Justice Ahmed questioned the government’s writ, saying, “It seems as if DHA is a government within the government.” He expressed his displeasure over the indifference of the executive towards the case. “Why does the judiciary have to do everything and pass all the orders?” he questioned. “Is the judiciary an alternative to the government? Has the government been handed over to the Supreme Court?” he asked in exasperation. The DHA counsel asked the court for some time to prepare his client’s case. Subsequently, the case was adjourned for two weeks. NewS DeSk

JIT gets go ahead to grill Nawaz in Model Town case ISLAMABAD: An accountability court on Thursday gave go ahead to a joint investigation team (JIT) to question incarcerated former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in connection with the Model Town massacre of 2014. Deputy Superintendent of Punjab Police Mohammad Iqbal had filed an application before Accountability Judge Arshad Malik seeking his permission to interrogate the Pakistan Muslim LeagueNawaz (PML-N) supremo in Kot Lakhpat Jail. Nawaz is currently serving his sevenyear sentence after being convicted in the Al-Azizia reference. The JIT was bound to seek Judge Malik’s permission before questioning Nawaz because he had convicted the former premier in the reference. National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Prosecutor Mirza Usman opposed the JIT’s application, suggesting that the investigation officer should instead approach the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to obtain such permission. Following brief arguments, Judge Malik discarded NAB’s objection and allowed the JIT to interrogate Nawaz. On June 17, 2014, 14 people were killed and 100 others injured after police launched an assault on Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) supporters gathered outside the residence of its leader, Tahirul Qadri, in Model Town, Lahore. A subsequent judicial inquiry report on the incident pointed fingers at then Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah and the Punjab police for what had transpired that day. In Sep 2018, a Lahore High Court (LHC) full bench had rejected two sets of appeals challenging a trial court’s decision to not summon 12 people, including Nawaz and Shehbaz Sharif, in connection to the complaint moved by PAT. In Jan 2019, the Punjab government had reconstituted a new five-member Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe the 2014 Model Town incident. Staff RepoRt

Nawaz tells family ‘difficult time will pass’ Refusing the provincial government’s offer to pay for medical treatment in the country, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday conveyed to his family that “difficult time will pass”, asking them to “have faith”. Nawaz Sharif’s family members including his mother Shamim Begum, daughter Maryam Nawaz, younger brother Shehbaz Sharif and nephew Hamza Shehbaz met the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo at Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail to inquire about his health. Nawaz’s family reportedly voiced concerns over the ex-PM’s “gradual weight loss day-by-day” who he is serving a seven-year sentence in Al-Azizia reference. The former premier again refused to be shifted to a hospital, insisting to remain in the correctional facility, reports said. Shehbaz implored his elder brother to get hospitalised for his own good, according to reports which added that Nawaz refused to do so. The ex-PM’s daughter Maryam Nawaz also urged her father to get treatment at a medical facility, to which Nawaz reportedly asked her to stay “strong in this difficult time”. Maryam earlier tweeted that her father had suffered from chest pain throughout the night owing to stress. NewS DeSk

India, Somalia remain in Pakistan’s ‘B’ visa category ISLAMABAD ShahzaD paRacha

Pakistan has removed Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nigeria, and Palestine from B-list countries in line with its new visa regime, whereas India and Somalia remain on the list. The list had earlier comprised six countries. Other than this, Israel, Armenia, and Taiwan are not on any list as Pakistan does not recognise them as sovereign nations.

While Afghanistan also fails to make it any list, happening since 2006. Pakistan has also added 28 more countries in the business visa list (BVL) after the commerce ministry had proposed to increase the list from 68 to 96 countries. Pakistan has kept those countries in the visa list to whom exports exceed 10 million dollars. The countries include Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Benin,

Brazil, Chile and others. As per the existing visa policy, the government can issue ‘fiveyear multiple double entry visa(s)’ to foreigners wishing to visit the country for business or leisure. The businessmen must possess a recommendation letter from their respective chambers of commerce and industry and an invitation letter from the business organisations duly recommended by the concerned trade organisations. The Pakistan missions abroad are au-

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thorised to grant ‘3-month tourist visa(s)’ and for this, the government has included 24 countries. Similarly, the ministry of foreign affairs can issue gratis visa/accreditation card for the tenure of the diplomatic assignment under the diplomatic visa category, but only authorised slots would be granted diplomatic visa and for additional slots, security clearance shall be mandatory. Under the family visa category, the embassy is authorized to

issue the ‘five year validity and one year stay multiple entry visa’ for foreigners of Pakistani origin and their foreign family members which shall be processed within seven to ten working days. Furthermore, 2-year study visas shall be granted to foreign students, this is partially done in order to facilitate the 3000 Afghani students who are to be granted scholarships by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) for their capacity building.


CMYK Friday, 15 March, 2019

NEWS

03

PM oPPoses PuNJaB MPs’ Move To BoosT Pay IN TIMe of ausTerITy LAHoRe

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Staff RepoRt

RKED by the Punjab Assembly’s decision to increase salaries and fringe benefits of MPAs, ministers and especially the chief minister, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday directed Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar not to approve the legislation forwarded to him by the Punjab government, Pakistan Today has learnt. Taking to Twitter earlier in the day, the prime minister said: “I am extremely disappointed by decision of Punjab Assembly to raise pays and privileges of MPAs, ministers and especially the chief minister.” PM Imran further said that such measures may have been justified once “prosperity returns to Pakistan … but now, when we do not have resources to provide basic amenities to all our people, this is untenable.” I am extremely disappointed by decision of Punjab Assembly to raise pays

& privileges of MPAs, Ministers & esp CM. Once prosperity returns to Pak such a move cld be justified, but now, when we do not have resources to provide basic amenities to all our people, this is untenable — Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) March 14, 2019 On Wednesday, the Punjab Assembly unanimously passed — within five minutes – a bill raising the salaries and fringe benefits of all assembly members, including the chief minister, ministers, speaker and deputy speaker. After the passage of the bill, the speaker’s salary has jumped from Rs37,000 to Rs200,000 per month and his deputy would now get Rs185,000 instead of Rs35,000 and so would be cabinet members and advisers. The members of Punjab Assembly (MPAs) are now entitled to Rs80,000 per month rather than Rs18,000 and their utility bills entitlement has gone up to Rs200,000 instead of earlier Rs120,000. This fiscal adjustment, naturally, had no one to oppose in the House and the bill was passed with a few minutes.

Interestingly, if the legislation is approved, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar’s salary will surpass the monthly official income of the prime minister. According to the salary slip, PM Imran’s disposable income amounts to approximately Rs0.19m while his basic salary stands at Rs0.10m. He receives Rs21,456 as ad hoc relief allowance; the guest allowance is Rs50,000 while the ad hoc relief is Rs12,110. Rs4,595 in lieu of tax are deducted from his salary. On the other hand, Chief Minister Buzdar’s income will amount to Rs0.35m. ‘HOLD THE SUMMARY’: According to sources, Prime Minister Imran has directed Governor Sarwar to hold the summary sent to him for approval. The premier has directed to re-introduce the bill in the Punjab Assembly and immediate review on life-time facilities to the provincial lawmakers. Sources said that PM Imran opposed the Punjab government’s decision for allotment of a lifetime residence to the chief minister. The

Pakistan, India agree to work expeditiously on Kartarpur corridor ISLAMABAD Staff RepoRt

Amid soaring tensions in the aftermath of the Pulwama bombing, Pakistan and India have agreed to work expeditiously to complete operationalisation of the Kartarpur corridor after both sides held a meeting at Attari on Thursday. The talks were aimed at sorting out modalities for the opening of the corridor between Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan and Gurdwara Baba Nanak in India for the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak in December this year. Both sides held detailed and constructive discussions on various aspects and provisions of the proposed agreement on the visa-free corridor, reaching a significant understanding on most issues, barring a few technicalities. Foreign Office Spokesman Dr

PM Imran to visit Bajaur agency today ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit Bajaur Agency on Friday. PM’s Special Adviser Iftikhar Durrani in a video message said, “The federal government is standing with its tribal brothers.” “PM will visit Bajur agency where he will address to people of the area and will make important announcements,” he added. This will be PM Imran’s first visit to the tribal areas after their merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. On May 28, 2018, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly passed the landmark 31st amendment bill with a two-thirds majority to merge Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with KP. The bill, presented by KP Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Imtiaz Shahid Qureshi, after detailed discussion in the extraordinary session of the provincial assembly, got 92 votes in favour out of the required 83 for a two-thirds majority, and seven were cast against it. While expressing views on the amendment bill, MPAs from Malakand Division reminded that the bill had led to abolishing of Article 247, which also caused erasing of some privileges and incentives for the people of Provincially Administrative Tribal Areas (PATA). They asked the chief minister to take up the matter with the federal government as PATA was also badly affected by terrorism in the recent past like FATA. These relaxations and incentives included Shariah Regulations 2009 and exemption from every sort of taxes. INp

Muhammad Faisal, who led the Pakistani delegation, told reporters that the meeting was held in a very cordial environment. He termed the meeting itself an achievement, noting that the two countries had issued a joint statement after a gap of several years. He recalled that the two countries had last agreed on a joint statement in 2015. Reading out the statement, he said, “Both sides held detailed and constructive discussions on various aspects and provisions of the proposed agreement and agreed to work towards expeditiously operationalising the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor.” “Both sides also held expert-level discussions between technical experts on the alignment and other details of the proposed corridor,” he said. He added that the two sides have also agreed to hold the next meeting

at Wagah on April 2, 2019, which will be preceded by a meeting of technical experts on March 19, 2019 at proposed zero points to finalise the alignment of the corridor. Talking to media at Wagah before crossing over to Attari, the FO spokesman said the decision to hold the meeting with the Indian side was in line with Pakistan’s sincere efforts to de-escalate the situation for regional peace and stability. He expressed hope that the initiative of Prime Minister Imran Khan would not only facilitate Sikhs, especially from India, but in the current vitiated situation it could be a step forward in a right direction from conflict to cooperation, animosity to peace, and enmity to friendship. It may be mentioned here India had refused visas to Pakistani journalists to cover the meeting unlike the groundbreaking ceremony — held in

premier has suggested limiting the duration up to three months, sources added. PM SHOULD HAVE BEEN TAKEN INTO CONFIDENCE: Explaining the Punjab government’s position, Punjab Information Minister Syed Sumsam Bukhari told reporters that the government should have taken the prime minister into confidence on the salary raise issue. “The bill was passed with consensus of the House. It will now be sent to the Punjab governor for approval. However, if the governor returns the legislation as per the PM’s directive, it will be forwarded to the standing committee concerned for further deliberation,” he said. Earlier, Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry also commented on the situation via Twitter and said that its seems that the Punjab government is unaware of the prime minister and the government’s austerity policies, “otherwise such sham exercises of awarding huge benefits to themselves would not have happened.” The information minister’s

Pakistan on Nov 28 — wherein at least 30 Indian reporters were present to cover the event. The groundbreaking ceremony of the corridor in Pakistan was performed last year on Nov 28. In January, Pakistan had shared its draft of Kartarpur Corridor Accord with India and invited its delegation for a visit for negotiating the document, which would govern operations of the corridor meant to provide visafree access to Indian Sikh pilgrims to the Gurdwara in Kartarpur Sahib (Narowal district). The corridor is planned to be opened for Sikh pilgrims this year in commemoration of the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism. Pakistan and India are going through a rough patch in their relationship after 44 Indian troops were killed in suicide bombing in Pulwama district of held-Kashmir. Following the bombing, India launched airstrike inside Pakistani territory followed by Pakistani airstrike in occupied Kashmir, shooting down an Indian jet and capturing the pilot. Pakistan’s decision to release the pilot and international pressure eventually led to a de-escalation.

India restricts release of ‘Captain Marvel’ in Pakistan DISNEY INDIA REFUSES TO SELL DISTRIBUTION RIGHTS TO PAKISTAN AMID TENSIONS LAHoRe YouSaf NIzamI

Marvel’s much awaited ‘Captain Marvel’ will not be releasing in Pakistan, informed sources told Pakistan Today on Thursday. The primary reason being cited by various exhibitors (local cinemas) is escalation of tensions with India. Marvel is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. Disney’s regional offices are based in India. Sources claim that Eveready Pictures, the main distributor for Walt Disney Pictures in Pakistan, has been unable to negotiate with representatives of Disney India to secure distribution rights for ‘Captain Marvel’. “Disney India has simply refused to sell the distribution right to the movie. It was supposed to release last week,” a source said. Exhibitors are now worried that future Marvel/Disney titles might also meet a similar fate.

“We are already facing a drastic fall in revenue due to the ban on Indian films. If big ticket titles from Marvel also stop showing here, cinemas will start closing down,” Shan Lashari, the owner of Sozo World cinema, told Pakistan Today. Another cinema owner suggested that the Indian issue is just part of the problem; distributors here having learnt from the failure of ‘Wonder Woman’ on Pakistani screens (released in 2017) did not push too hard for ‘Captain Marvel’ which is also a female protagonist standalone film. Avengers: Endgame which marks the conclusion of Marvel Universe’s third phase is set for release in April and is a highly antic-

ipated movie in Pakistan, especially for content-starved exhibitors who know how well Marvel films do at the box office here. Therefore in order to ensure its release, local exhibitors and distributors have bypassed Disney India and lodged multiple complaints with Walt Disney in the US. Hoping that the situation improves, Ali Chaudhry, owner of IMAX cinema, said, “We are confident that Disney will see the importance of its footprint in Pakistan and although small, Pakistan’s contribution to its bottom line cannot be ignored. Future IMAX titles like Captain Marvel and other Disney films will release here.” Multiple phone calls were made to Disney India for comment but there was no response. Emails for the same bounced back. Following the Pulwama attack on February 14, IAF (Indian Air Force) jets violated Pakistani airspace into Balakot to strike alleged militant hideouts. PAF (Pakistan Air Force) subsequently responded to Indian aggression resulting in a dogfight that saw an Indian MiG-21 being downed and its pilot taken prisoner only to be released three days later as a goodwill gesture. Relations with India are at its lowest point in recent history as a result.

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statement, however, was in direct contrast with his earlier views on the subject. Prior to the prime minister expressing his disappointment, Chaudhry had appeared to favour the pay raise. “I think their [Punjab lawmakers] salaries were really low,” he said. “It was Rs80,000, which they’ve now raised to Rs150,000. If you don’t do this then the middle class will never be able to contest elections.” Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari also criticised the action taken by Punjab government. “Punjab legislature directly contravenes Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s policy of austerity and costcutting. [This is ] shameful behavior in these financially critical times!”

Three children return to Pakistan after being released by saudi arabia Three Pakistani children, who were held captive in a prison in Saudi Arabia for over two years, returned home on Thursday. The children – identified as Ayan, Mannan and Bushra – were arrested by the Saudi authorities after their parents were found guilty in a drugs case. The family reportedly went to Saudi Arabia in 2016. Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari had taken notice of the matter and tasked managing director overseas Pakistanis and community welfare attache to the Kingdom for the release of the children. The three children were confined in a welfare protection jail. Last month, Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his gratitude to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman for issuing prompt directives for the release of about 2,000 Pakistanis jailed in Saudi Arabia. In a statement prior to departure of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman at Nur Khan Air Base, he said he felt immense pleasure over Crown Prince’s remarks in which he had declared himself “as ambassador of Pakistan in Saudi Arabia”. NewS DeSk

Pakistan opens its doors to world with new visa regime ContInueD fRoM pAge 01 He said Peshawar — a crown jewel of ancient Bactria kingdom– is one of the oldest cities and the government would develop its historical part with the help of Germany. He said all the tourist sights and attractions will be properly advertised on a dedicated website. PSL TO BE HELD IN PAKISTAN: The prime minister also lauded the role of security agencies for their sacrifices to make Pakistan a secure and peaceful country, expressing optimism that the next Pakistan Super League (PSL) tournament will be held in Pakistan. “Pakistan is a secure country today. The next season of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) will be held in its entirety in Pakistan instead of Dubai,” he said resolutely. “I know how boring it used to be to play in front of empty stands,” he told the audience recalling his days as a cricketer. “Today I especially congratulate the Interior Ministry and Foreign Office. People don’t realise that this is a very big change today,” he said, before going on to quote the Chinese proverb: “To take a 1,000-mile journey you have to take the first step.” Earlier, Minister of Foreign Affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the launching of online visa facility is a major step towards Naya Pakistan. He said the decision made under the chairmanship of prime minister is a reflection that Pakistan is opening its doors to the world. He said Pakistan is more peaceful and stable country thanks to sacrifices rendered by armed forces and people of Pakistan. Earlier, highlighting major features of the new visa policy, Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Khan Afridi said multiple visas to nationals of 96 countries will be granted within 24 hours of applying. He said citizens of 175 countries can apply for online visa while people from 50 countries will be granted visa on arrival. Afridi said that initially citizens of five countries, including the UK, Turkey, Malaysia, UAE and China will be granted online visas in the pilot project. He said foreign nationals of Indian origin will also be allowed to avail the facility of visa on arrival for religious tourism. The minister said average visa fee has been reduced from 22 to 65 per cent. He said nationals of UAE, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain among others will be given multiple visas.


04 KARACHI

Friday, 15 March 2019

WEATHER UPDATES FRIDAY

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SUNDAY

270C 170C

MONDAY

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Suspects flees apex court after bail plea rejection KARACHI STAFF REPORT

KARACHI: Rescue workers fight a fire that had erupted at warehouse in Sher Shah Colony. ONlINE

SHC gRANtS BAil to ex-lg miNSteR SHoRo till mAy 15 KARACHI

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STAFF REPORT

INDH High Court (SHC) on Thursday granted a bail to former local government minister Jam Khan Shoro in a corruption case till 15 May and ordered him to submit a surety of Rs 0.5 million. A two-member bench of the SHC heard the bail plea filed by Shoro who appeared before the court in a corruption case. The bench asked Shoro’s counsel what are your demands and does National Accountability Bureau (NAB) want to arrest Shoro? The counsel told the court that yesterday, NAB officials attempted to arrest Shoro. He said no any call-up notice was received by NAB pertaining to the arrest.

According to the NAB prosecutor, NAB had inquired Shoro of illegal allotment of land in Jamshoro. The counsel said that NAB had written a letter to immigration that Shoro to be arrested. The bench remarked that did Shoro wanted to go abroad? The court also asked the NAB about time required for completing inquiry against Shoro. The NAB prosecutor said that inquiry would be completed in eight weeks. The court, later, adjourned the hearing till 15 May. However, NAB on Thursday again issued arrest warrants for Shoro in illegal allotment case. As per details, the anti-corruption watchdog has also written a letter to the Islamabad director general of immigration and requested him to prevent the former minister from going abroad. The anti-graft body had initiated a probe against the Sindh local government minister in October 2017

for allegedly occupying government land. According to NAB officials, the former minister is facing inquiries in three different cases. One of the cases against the former provincial local government minister pertains to illegal allotment of 62 government plots in Karachi’s Gulistan-e-Jauhar area. Former Karachi Development Authority (KDA) director general Nasir Abbas has also been arrested in the same case. NAB said illegal allotment of plots caused the national exchequer a loss of Rs 180 million. The minister is also facing charges of encroaching 262 acres of land in Thatta and setting up of a petrol station on land designated for a water hydrant in Hyderabad’s Qasimabad area. Shoro is currently the MPA from PS-62 Hyderabad-I and was elected on the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) ticket

Three bodies recovered from Hub Dam KARACHI: The bodies of three youths, who were drowned while taking bath in Hub Dam, were recovered on Thursday. According to rescue sources, three drowned bodies identified as Waseem, aged 28 Alam, 17 and Abid 24 were recovered from Hub Dam. The three youths were said to be close friend and belonging to Karachi’s Gadap Town area. Police and rescue officials shifted the bodies to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital for medico legal formalities. STAFF REPORT

SHC annoyed at NAB for failing to explain land transfer case history KARACHI STAFF REPORT

Chief Justice of Sindh High Court (SHC) Ahmed Ali M Shaikh expressed annoyance at National Accountability Bureau (NAB) director for not knowing the history of a land transfer case. The SHC chief justice was hearing a case relating to the transfer of 134 acres of land in Thatta district. He also annoyed at NAB director for not submitting a copy of applicant’s complaint against the accused, Irshad Shah and Nazeer Shah. “If no one had filed a complaint against Irshad Shah and Nazeer Shah, then who initiated the investigation against them,” CJ Sheikh, adding “Will NAB start an investigation if anyone files a fake complaint against its directors or investigating officers?” He said how we distinguish NAB’s Investigation Officer to be truthful? “Please tell us about the case and which land about you are talking,” he asked NAB Director Tariq Khan but the director was failed to explain the case before the court. The chief justice expressed his anger and remarked: “What is your duty? Do you come to court to rest?” The judge asked for the original complaint in the case but NAB failed to submit it. The court then summoned the entire records of the land since 1990 and adjourned the hearing till April 9.

An accused escaped from the Supreme Court’s Karachi registry premises on Thursday after the apex court rejected his pre-arrest bail plea. The accused has been continuously getting the bails since last seven years in a murder case. A two-member bench of the SC Karachi registry, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa, heard the bail plea of the accused, Pir Irshad Ali Shah, but rejected it after which the accused fled the court premises. “The accused was getting continuous pre-arrest bails in the murder case since past seven years,” Justice Khosa remarked. “It was a shock for me that an accused has been getting the bails for the past seven years.” He remarked that can anyone justify him granting of the bails for seven years? The message should go to the Sindh High Court (SHC) and trial court as well, he said. The additional prosecutor general told the court that the suspect had killed a man in 2012 and injured another person. CJP said: “There is no justification to keep suspect on interim bails in murder case for long time.” Additional prosecutor general told the court that a case had been lodged against accused at the Hyderabad police station. The suspect’s lawyer said his client and victim had a fight over a piece of land.

NAB names Rauf Siddiqui in illegal appointments case KARACHI INP

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Thursday named former provincial minister and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leader Rauf Siddiqui in a case pertaining to illegal appointments. NAB presented its inquiry report before Sindh High Court (SHC) Chief Justice Ali Ahmad Sheikh in which it named the MQM-P leader and others in a case pertaining to illegal appointments in Sindh Small Industries Corporation. NAB prosecutor told the court that the anti-graft body has evidence against the MQM-P leader and a letter has been written to NAB headquarters for filing a reference against him. To this, the court ordered the accountability watchdog to present its report on May 2. It merits a mention that Siddiqui has also been indicted in a case pertaining to the deadly 2012 Baldia Factory fire, on the orders of an anti-terrorism court (ATC).

Sindh govt sets up 27 consumer courts KARACHI STAFF REPORT

Adviser to Chief Minister Sindh for Information, Law and Anticorruption Barrister Murtaza Wahab while addressing a seminar on World Consumers' Rights Day at local hotel on Thursday said that protection of consumers' rights was responsibility of government adding that Sindh government has established 27 consumer courts recently throughout the province. He said that though it was a bit late but soon magistrate and required would be posted in these courts to fictionalized them completely. He said that after completion of the process these courts would be useful for redressal of consumers' complaints. He said that complaints regarding food products and health related items would be given preference in these courts. He said that Sindh government was trying it's best to make these courts completely useful for the citizens so that gap between manufacturers and customers could be abolished. He said that they were ready to introduce reforms for safe guarding the rights of consumers and invited civil society to point out flaws in this regard. The adviser was of view that in spite of new legislation, it was imperative to implement existing laws. He said that civil society has to play its role and every member of society should contribute in this regard as it was our combined responsibility.

Later talking to media, the advisor said that PPP in Sindh was being targeted for political victimization by the NAB. He said that Jam Khan Shoro was a respectable member of Sindh Assembly and getting bail was his right. According to advisor accountability should be across the board not on the aspiration of rulers. To a question, he said that all genuine demands of teachers would be accepted and they should remain in coordina-

CMYK

tion with relevant administration. He added ' Sindh government belongs to people and all the genuine grievances of teachers would be addressed ". To a question regarding names of federal minister who were associated with banned outfits, the adviser said that hint was enough for the sensible, but he added you were all aware of the role of Shehryar Afridi, Asad Umar and Shaikh Rashid added that their videos were circulating.


WORLD VIEW 05

Friday, 15 March, 2019

Is an afghan peace deal fInally wIthIn grasp? THE PATH TO PEACE IS STILL LONG AND TEDIOUS, BUT TODAY AFGHANS HAVE MORE REASON TO BE HOPEFUL THAN EVER BEFORE

aL Jazeera

a

aHMed rasHId

FTER 16 days of talks in the Qatari capital Doha, US and Taliban negotiators have wrapped up their longest round of negotiations on March 12, signalling concrete progress towards a peace deal to end the 17-yearold war in Afghanistan. Following the marathon talks, both Taliban and US representatives voiced optimism about the future of negotiations and announced that they already produced a “draft” agreement on two key issues - the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s pledge to cut ties with al-Qaeda and other terror groups. However, the sides also acknowledged that sig-

nificant progress needs to be made on other thorny issues before the clenching of a peace deal that could end the conflict for good. “Peace requires agreement on four issues: counterterrorism assurances, troop withdrawal, intraAfghan dialogue, and a comprehensive ceasefire,” said the US principle negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad, as he left Doha for Washington. “When the agreement in draft about a withdrawal timeline and effective counterterrorism measures is finalised, the Taliban and other Afghans, including the government, will begin intra-Afghan negotiations on a political settlement and comprehensive ceasefire.” Neither the finalisation of the draft agreements, nor the negotiations on a political settlement and ceasefire are expected to be straightforward - and there will undoubtedly be many other great hurdles that would need to be overcome on the path to sustainable peace in Afghanistan. However, the progress made in Doha this week is still significant for several reasons. The announcement of draft

deals on two key issues signals both the US administration and the Taliban’s intention to continue with the negotiations until a mutually acceptable deal is reached. Earlier, there were fears that Taliban hardliners, who claim they are about to declare total victory in the Afghan war, would sabotage the talks and force the group to pull out without signing a deal. There were also fears that the slow pace of negotiations would cause US President Donald Trump to become impatient and pull out US troops from Afghanistan without signing an agreement. Neither of those worst-case scenarios appears likely now. “The conditions for peace have improved,” Khalilzad said on Twitter. “It’s clear all sides want to end the war. Despite ups and downs, we kept things on track and made real strides,” the Afghan-born US diplomat added. Both sides are now clearly locked into taking the negotiations further. WHAT NEXT? Negotiations between the US and the Taliban have long been focusing on the establishment of a withdrawal timeline and counterter-

ror measures. Now that draft agreements on both issues have reportedly been achieved, the talks will be moving on to a new - and arguably more crucial - phase focusing on inter-Afghan dialogue and ceasefire. This phase of the negotiations will undoubtedly be the most vital for the Afghans, as they are anxious for a ceasefire that could bring an end to the decades-long bloodshed and suffering in their country. Even on the very same day the Americans and the Taliban concluded with “success” the latest round of negotiations in Doha, 20 Afghan soldiers were killed, 10 wounded and another 20 captured by the Taliban in Badghis province in western Afghanistan. This and other similar attacks led to fears that the Taliban will announce a spring offensive in order to maintain pressure on Kabul and the Americans, increasing the urgency of a ceasefire for all parties involved in the conflict. The start of intra-Afghan negotiations is an equally critical issue for the future of Afghanistan that is expected to be tackled in the next phase of negotiations. The frustration within the

Afghan government over the Taliban’s refusal to hold talks with it is growing by the day. Prominent opposition leaders, such as former President Hamid Karzai, are also pressuring the government by promoting at home and abroad the idea that no possible rapprochement between the central government and the Taliban can be possible as long as President Ashraf Ghani remains in power. The Taliban added fuel to such ideas by meeting Afghan opposition politicians and some members of civil society in Moscow in February. Following the success of that meeting, there had been reports that the Taliban is planning to hold a similar meeting in Doha in April. All this indicates that the Taliban’s strategy is to bypass Ghani, refuse to accept the legitimacy of his government and instead negotiate with a hodgepodge of Afghan political figures who are themselves divided and do not have a common strategy. This is not at all surprising, as playing divide and rule has been a consistent strategy of the group since its emergence in 1993. This puts the Americans, who accept the Kabul government as the legitimate representative of the country and deem its presence in peace talks essential, in a difficult position. They have previously urged Ghani to put together a negotiating team to meet the Taliban. So

far, the president has failed to do so. And there is not even a hint that the Taliban has any intention to meet any team put together by Ghani. Much now rests on Khalilzad’s shoulders. While the Americans cannot force the Taliban to talk to Ghani and his government, the fact that negotiations are moving forward means there is more chance than ever before for a dialogue to start between these two major actors of the Afghan conflict. Moreover, Khalilzad and Mullah Ghani Barader, the Taliban deputy, have struck a close rapport, which will certainly help future talks. This month’s talks in Doha may have failed to produce the long-awaited Afghan peace deal, however, they paved the way for the peace efforts to proceed. After producing draft agreements on issues like troop withdrawal and counter-terror measures, the parties to the conflict finally seem ready to discuss trickier issues such as a ceasefire and the start of an intra-Afghan dialogue on a political settlement. The path to peace is still long and tedious, but it seems today the Afghan people have more reason to be hopeful than ever before. Ahmed Rashid is a journalist and the author of five books on Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia.

Vanquishing toxic political correctness

Should Justin Trudeau resign?

IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN WHETHER TRUMP FATIGUE OR ANTI-TRUMP FATIGUE WILL PREVAIL OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS

CALLING FOR THE RESIGNATION OF A PRIME MINISTER HINTS AT A POISONOUS ATTITUDE THAT THREATENS TO DISTORT SYSTEM

Washington times Gary anderson

The title of Victor Davis Hanson’s new book “The Case for Trump,” might give some readers the impression that it is a whitewash or a dogged defence of the subject. Instead it is a well-researched explanation of how Mr Trump beat all odds to win the presidency, and also an account of his first two years in office. Mr Hanson makes no excuses for President Trump’s many flaws as a human being, but he also details how many of these human shortcomings have actually been weaponised against his numerous enemies. The author peers through the chaos of controversies, investigations and allegations — many of them self-inflicted — to rationally examine what Mr Trump has actually accomplished in his first two years in office. The results at the halfway point are impressive, far exceeding those of his last four predecessors. Mr Hanson has done what his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, her apologists and Democratic Party strategists have not done; he has dissected Mr Trump’s campaign and shows that — rather than a run of improbable good luck — Mr Trump shrewdly analysed the possibilities of America’s redblue divide and exploited them in a way that none of his opponents in either party grasped. Donald Trump also realised that in the key battleground states — particularly Ohio, Michigan and Florida — there was more red than blue outside of the major urban areas. Accordingly, Mr Trump devised a formula for exploiting those huge red blobs in the purple mix and turning them into an Electoral College victory. Elites of the bi-coastal blue voting bloc of solidly liberal urban centres believed that the rubes and “deplorables” who made up much of rural America and the smokestack communities left behind by globalisation didn’t count while Mr Trump realised that they rep-

resented an untapped source of votes. Democrats largely ignored the demographic or despised it; establishment Republican candidates had fundamentally misread it for the last five election cycles. Mr Trump’s experience in the competitive world of reality TV made him much more attuned to the market. Establishment Republicans either assumed that many would not vote or that those who did would follow the tired conservative-Republican mantra of lower taxes, smaller government and support for the military. Candidate Trump would support these traditional conservative positions, but he had discovered the red meat that would really fire up what would become his base. People who had variously felt ignored, despised or taken for granted wanted revenge. Mr Trump based his campaign on two things. First, he was not Hillary Clinton. Second, he would relentlessly attack those people and things that the voters he was courting resented. Globalisation, deadbeat allies and elites within the revolving door of the Washington establishment all became targets; this message resonated. Mr Trump took no prisoners among his opponents, Democrat or Republican; when attacked, he hit back hard and never apologised. Establishment opponents were overwhelmed in the same

manner as indigenous natives facing machine guns in the wars of colonisation in the 19th century. Mr Hanson is a renowned historian and author of historical fiction; consequently, some of the analogies that he draws on may be somewhat foreign to readers not familiar with classical Greek or Roman literature. But the analogy that Mr Hanson makes that will resonate with all is his comparison of Mr Trump to toxic chemotherapy designed to kill the cancerous effects of the political correctness, progressive executive activism and the “blame America” attitudes of the Obama administration. The author argues that Mr Trump’s diagnosis and treatment strategy is correct, and this reviewer agrees. Mr Hanson correctly notes that Mr Trump’s first two years in office — though disruptive — have been remarkably effective in reversing many of the largely unlegislated initiatives of Mr Obama’s presidency. The president’s enemies are an impressive mix of the elites of the deep state, legacy media, Hollywood luminaries and “never Trump” Republican operatives. His most dangerous foes are the members of the deep state in government. The revelation that Mr Trump’s own deputy attorney general was seriously discussing a non-military coup with the acting FBI director came after the book went to press, but it only serves to reinforce Mr Hanson’s observation that the deep state will not go quietly into the night. Mr Hanson points out that Donald Trump is often his own worst enemy, but that his real enemies pose the true threat to American democracy as we think we know it. It remains to be seen whether Trump fatigue or antiTrump fatigue will prevail over the next few years. In the words of the president, “we’ll see.” Gary Anderson lectures on Alternative Analysis at the George Washington University’s Elliott School for International Affairs.

gLoBe anD maiL anGeLa WrIGHT

The ongoing SNC-Lavalin affair continues to consume Ottawa and beyond – and it’s caused opposition leaders, pundits and Canadians alike to call for heads to roll, including that of the Prime Minister himself. Last week’s testimony by Gerald Butts, Justin Trudeau’s former principal secretary, and Michael Wernick, the Clerk of the Privy Council, did little to abate the growing chorus for resignation and caucus departures. And Mr Trudeau’s later statement, lacking any sign of contrition, failed to brush them off. This is a classic instinct, after all: when highprofile political scandals erupt, the reaction quickly devolves to seeking immediate retribution. However, it’s not up to Canadians – or to the opposition, either – to determine whether the Prime Minister should resign, or whether Jody Wilson-Raybould or Jane Philpott, who resigned from their cabinet posts, should leave the Liberal caucus. And to believe otherwise would lay bare a lack of understanding of how Canada’s democracy works. Lost in much of the debate has been serious consideration around who chooses the prime minister, and how this impacts the appropriateness for us to opine about whether the prime minister should resign or former cabinet ministers should leave caucus. The prime minister is simply the leader of the political party with the most seats; we do not elect them directly. And the current Prime Minister can only be removed if he is deposed as leader of the Liberal party or if he chooses to leave office. As

long as Mr Trudeau has the support of Liberal caucus members and the confidence that he can weather through this affair, he should stay. Without any evidence of his involvement in illegal activity, it’s difficult to argue that a prime minister with the support of his caucus should be removed seven months before an election, if for no other reason than that this can set a dangerous precedent. Australian political parties have a tradition of allowing leaders to be defeated by caucus members, but this high tolerance for leadership-overthrow-bycaucus has produced six prime ministers in the last 11 years, with no elected prime minister surviving an entire three-year term. If Canadians continue to insist a sitting prime minister be deposed without grievous circumstances, it could lead Canada down a similar path of political instability. Certainly, relationships between caucus members and their leaders can be contentious. Anyone who has ever worked in politics knows that caucus members don’t necessarily agree with or even support the candidate who becomes leader. Conservative MP Michael Chong attempted to make this relationship less fraught with his Reform Act, first introduced in 2013, which was meant to strengthen the role of MPs and remove the concentration of power from a party leader. While there are good reasons for a politician to be kicked out of caucus – in cases where reprehensible behaviour such as sexual misconduct must be quickly disavowed – neither Ms Philpott nor Ms Wilson-Raybould behaved in such a way as to bring disrepute to the party or the government. Both were right to leave cabinet if they couldn’t in good conscience continue to abide by the cabinet convention of appearing to publicly agree. Asking Liberal caucus members who no longer support Mr

Trudeau after this affair to leave caucus is as ludicrous as it would have been to ask Ontario PC MPPs to leave the party after Doug Ford was chosen leader. After all, Mr Ford received nearly no public support from any of the sitting MPPs, and little support from nominated candidates. There are many practical reasons why an unhappy backbencher would stay in caucus, too. When a politician leaves caucus, they also leave the party. This means they must set up a new electoral district association with people equally willing to leave the party and find new staff, as most political staffers prefer to stay with caucus members. The absence of dedicated research staff makes fulfilling one’s duties in the legislature difficult to balance with constituents’ needs. Even though the SNCLavalin affair has wider repercussions for the country, decisions about who should resign are internal matters or personal matters. It’s not up to the opposition or even Canadians to determine who should serve as the leader of a political party or who should sit in that party’s caucus. And calling for the resignation of a prime minister hints at a poisonous attitude that threatens to distort our Westminster-style system: that we head to the ballot box to elect our leaders directly, rather than raising them up through votes for a local politician. Ironically, it is this very thinking – and the according centralisation of power in leaders’ offices across Canada – that arguably got Mr Trudeau in this position in the first place. So, if Canadians want to send a message, they have only one recourse: voting for a different candidate for MP in the upcoming election. It’s the way the system works. Angela Wright is a writer, political analyst and former Conservative political staffer at the House of Commons.


06 NEWS

Friday, 15 March, 2019

LHC adjourns bail pleas of Khawaja brothers till April 1 LAHORE APP

RAWALPINDI: Gypsy kids scavenging for useful items from trash from Nullah Lai at Ganjmandi area. online

ECO secretary general lauds Pakistan’s role for regional development ISLAMABAD APP

Economic Cooperation Organization’s (ECO) Secretary General Dr. Hadi Soleimanpour, who is on his maiden visit to Pakistan, on Thursday called on Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi at his office in Islamabad. Matters of mutual interests, economic progress, trade, development and other issues were came under discussion in the meeting. Talking to the foreign minister, ECO Secretary General Dr. Hadi Soleimanpour lauded the role of Pakistan for regional progress and development. Apprising the foreign minister about the motto of the organization, he said that ECO help boost economic ties among different countries to increase economic activities in the region. The ECO sectary general assured the foreign minister about the body’s complete cooperation. Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that Pakistan was the founding member of the body and added that Islamabad was acting upon an agenda of economic stability and progress. Earlier, to beef up trade and investment in the region that falls under ECO, President Dr. Arif Alvi had called for further strengthening transport and communication infrastructure. Talking to Secretary General to ECO Dr. Hadi Soleimanpour in Islamabad on Thursday, he had said this region has the potential and capacity to function as a bridge between North and South as well as Europe and Asia, Radio Pakistan reported.

NAB BOArd APPrOvES TwO NEw iNquiriES, THrEE rEfErENCES ISLAMABAD

T

StAff RePoRt

HE National Accountability Bureau (NAB) executive board on Thursday approved the launch of two fresh inquiries and three references. According to a press statement, the board chaired by NAB Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal, approved a probe against Ghulam Mohammad, former secretary of the Balochistan communication and works department, and other officials and contractors. The NAB’s top brass also approved an investigation against Asghar Shaikh, former director general of the Larkana Development Authority and others. NAB has also decided to file a reference against Haji Gulbar Khan, former health minister of GilgitBaltistan, Zamurd Khan, former conservator Gilgit forest department, Haji Naseeb Khan, Abdul

Samad, Mohammad Qasim and others. They are accused of abusing their powers and illegally issuing passes to seven contractors for cutting and transporting trees, causing a loss of almost Rs45.73 million rupees to the national exchequer. In addition, NAB will file a corruption reference against Mehtab Ahmed Khan, former adviser to the prime minister on aviation, Irfan Illahi, former secretary of aviation division, Musharraf Rasool, former chairman of Pakistan International Airlines, Mohammad Ali Taba and others for abusing their powers and appointing Rasool as head of the national flag carrier airline, causing

heavy losses to the treasury. The appointment has already been declared illegal. NAB also decided to file a reference against Kamran Ali Qureshi, former chairman of the Capital Development Authority (CDA), Asad Munir, former member estate CDA, Khalid Mahmood, former director estate CDA, and others for allegedly abusing their powers to restore a plot in F11, Islamabad while violating rules and regulations. The executive board also allowed to investigate Speaker Sindh Assembly Agha Siraj Durrani, Mayor Karachi Waseem Akhtar, former federal minister Liaquat Ali Jatoi and Nawab Mohammad Yousuf Talpur for suspected money transfers, along with already continuing investigations. The accountability watchdog, however, decided to close inquiry against former Sindh minister for Zakat and Ushr Dost Mohammad Sammon and others over lack for evidence.

A Lahore High Court (LHC) division bench Thursday adjourned hearing of bail petitions, filed by former railways minister Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother former provincial minister Khawaja Salman Rafique in Paragon City case, till April 1. The bench comprising Justice Malik Shahzad Ahmad Khan and Justice Mirza Viqas Rauf heard the post arrest bail petitions filed by Khawaja brothers. During the proceedings, the bench was apprised that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had filed its reply to the bail petitions. However, Advocate Amjad Pervaiz on behalf of Khawaja brothers sought time for submitting arguments, saying that the NAB had not provided him a copy of its reply yet. At this, the bench directed the NAB prosecutor for providing a copy to the counsel and adjourned further hearing till April 1. The court directed counsel of parties to advance their arguments on the next hearing. The brothers had submitted that they were arrested in connection with Paragon scam, though they extended full cooperation to NAB authorities in investigation and produced all relevant record. They submitted that they did not have any link with Paragon and all charges levelled against them were baseless. They pleaded with the court to grant benefit of bail to them as investigations had been completed in the case and no more confinement was required.

Agha Siraj finds another way to evade NAB questioning KARACHI inP

Another production order was issued on Thursday to enable Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani to chair a meeting of the provincial legislature's business advisory committee. The new production order for Durrani was issued after the previous one ceased to have effect owing to adjournment of the assembly session till March21. The meeting, which is scheduled to be held on Friday at 11:00 am, will be attended by representatives of all parliamentary parties, a private television channel reported. During the hearing of assets beyond means case on March 11, the NAB prosecutor had complained to an accountability court that the bureau had hardly two days to carry out investigation against the speaker as he attended the Sindh Assembly sessions daily. "Durrani spends little time in NAB custody." He, therefore, had pleaded with the judge to extend his physical remand so that the bureau could complete its investigation. Granting NAB's plea, the accountability court had extended the physical remand of the speaker until March 21.

SC directs Punjab chief secy to look into regularisation of encroachments upon school plot ISLAMABAD StAff RePoRt

The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday heard a case pertaining to regularisation of encroachments upon a girls' school in Gujranwala, and directed Punjab's Chief Secretary Yousaf Naseem Khokher to "solve the problem by tomorrow". At the onset of the hearing, the threemember bench asked why encroachments upon a property that had been donated to the education department were regularised. He inquired how a kachi abadi was able to develop on a trust land. "Regularising trust land is illegal," remarked Justice Gulzar Ahmed, who was part of the bench that heard the case. During the hearing, Additional Advocate General Faisal Chaudhry told the court that the government was ready to grant alternate land to the provincial education department. Justice Ahmed asked the reason behind granting a plot that was 13 kilometres away from the original location of the school. "Why is the government giving us a lolly pop?" the judge asked. "Why don't

you shift the katchi abadi? How will kids go 13 kilometres away?" He demanded to know what action the authorities had taken against officials who were involved in illegal activities. Justice Ahmed warned the chief secretary to "solve the problem or face the consequences". "Why is he [chief secretary] on this post if he cannot even solve a minor issue?" the judge said. The hearing of the case was adjourned until tomorrow. In a separate case pertaining to degrees issued by Al Khair University, Justice Ahmed remarked that the education sector was being ruined. "[The number of] universities is growing like mushrooms," Justice Ahmed, who was part of the bench hearing the case, said. "Why doesn't the government look into these matters?" Yesterday, a petition had been filed in the top court saying that the appellant was unable to find a job as companies did not accept his degree that had been obtained by Al Khair University in Sindh. Justice Ahmed directed the attorney general and Higher Education Commission to submit a response on the matter

within 15 days and added that "Al Khair was doing the same thing as Axact". He said that degrees were being "sold" and "a generation has been ru-

ined". "One generation has been ruined and the next one is in line," he regretted. The judge said that the matter could not be solved by being brought before the

courts. "What can NAB (National Accountability Bureau) and FIA (Federal Investigation Agency) do [about this]?" The hearing was adjourned until 15 days.


Friday, 15 March, 2019

SC OrdErS rEMOvAL Of KHOKHAr BrOTHErS’ NAMES frOM NO-fLy LiST

NEWS

ALL INSTITUTIONS SHOULD FUNCTION IN THEIR OWN SPHERE, SAYS JUSTICE MANZOOR MALIK LAHORE

T

the suo motu action was taken. “Those blessed with authority by God should use it with caution,” he remarked. Justice Mansoor Ali Shah said that the court can’t go beyond its jurisdiction. “All institutions should function in their own sphere,” he added. Justice Malik told Amna Imran Khan, the director general of the Lahore Development Authority, to desist from using the court to get the case referred to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). “Do your own work and let the apex court discharge its duty,” he added. The court asked if the LDA and Member Board of Revenue Tariq Najeeb, present in the court, had taken any action against the accused before the suo motu notice. To which, the revenue official replied that they had compiled reports that held Khokhar guilty. “Then take action as per the law,” Justice Malik responded, and added that judges aren’t prosecutors, neither can they investigate. The apex court also di-

StAff RePoRt

HE Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday concluded a suo motu notice against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Afzal Khokhar and his brother Saiful Malook Khokhar, and ordered the authorities concerned to remove their names from the Exit Control List (ECL). A three-member bench comprising Justice Manzoor Malik, Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and Justice Mansoor Ali Shah issued the orders at the SC’s Lahore Registry. Former chief justice Saqib Nisar had taken a suo motu notice and issued orders to put the names of the two on the ECL after a complaint was made against them by overseas Pakistanis who had accused the two of illegally occupying their land. Justice Manzoor Malik in his remarks said that the bench does not have information about the circumstances in which

Eu appreciates islamabad's 'important contributions' for Afghan peace ISLAMABAD: European Union Special Envoy for Afghanistan Roland Kobia appreciated Islamabad’s “important contributions” to push for peace in the region. The envoy, who is on a two-day visit to the country, called on Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua at the Foreign Office on Thursday. The two leaders exchanged views on the ongoing efforts for peace in Afghanistan, said a press statement issued by the FO. Janjua reiterated Pakistan’s “continued commitment to peace in the region and a peaceful neighbourhood”. Stressing that “peace and stability in Afghanistan was crucial for Pakistan”, he added Islamabad facilitated talks between the United States and the Taliban in “good faith and as part of shared responsibility”. The foreign secretary also hoped that the “talks would lead to intraAfghan dialogue”. Acknowledging the EU’s role in the efforts, the foreign secretary underscored the importance of working with the EU to push for peace in the war-torn country. StAff RePoRt

rected the conclusion of cases against the Khokhar brothers in the Anti-Corruption Establishment as per the law. The LDA director general said that anti-corruption officials were harassing her. “You have the law, take the legal course, don’t include us,” Justice Shah responded.

On Dec 25, 2018, Afzal Khokhar was arrested outside the Lahore registry. He was granted post-arrest bail by a judicial magistrate at Model Town courts the next day. On December 28, 2018, the SC had ordered the ACE to complete its investigation against the Khokhar brothers and

Judicial reforms necessary, says info minister ISLAMABAD APP

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Thursday underscored the need for judicial reforms and said that it will be the biggest service that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government can provide for the people. Addressing a gathering at the Islamabad High Court Bar Association, Chaudhry said that lawyers are a necessary cog for any reforms in the judiciary and that without them there can be no change. “Law reforms will help the economy and will also create better opportunities for lawyers. A master plan is being concocted and after the approval from Prime Minister Imran Khan, a high rise building will be dedicated to law offices. This will be a new dimension in litigation,” he said. The information minister highlighted the importance of bar associations and said they will also be

taken on board or the reforms. “We have to take a look at the procedure for inducting judges to the high courts,” he said. He emphasised the need for creating a judicial system that is equal for the rich and the poor. Taking a hit at the current system he said that when a rich person is jailed, his cell is like a five-star hotel. He also said that it should not just seem like justice is served, it should actually be served otherwise Pakistan will not move forward. He also took a hit at the country’s media organisations, saying libel cases have become a joke as they do not have any effect on the offenders and said that defamation laws should be looked into. “Two separate judges should be assigned to each district to deal primarily with the media and defamation laws,” said the information minister. Defending the prime minister, Chaudhary said although no one is perfect, Imran has the best of inten-

tions for the country and there can be nobody better than him to govern it. “Whether or not you like the prime minister, his intentions for the country cannot be doubted, he wants to make life better for Pakistan’s people,” said Chaudhry. He cited the recent unrest with India and said that just because the government and the Pakistan Army were on the same page the crisis was averted. He also spoke about Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and deemed their claims of victimisation false. “During Nawaz Sharif’s tenure, they registered cases against PPP and during PPP’s tenure they registered cases against the PML-N. PTI has not registered a single case against the parties,” Chaudhry said. He promised a prominent difference in Pakistan and highlighted how in the last eight to nine months of governance there have been no government scandals.

57 per cent people in Pakistan approve good rating to PM Imran Khan ISLAMABAD StAff RePoRt

A combined 57 per cent of respondents, in a new nationwide poll of Pakistanis by the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Center for Insights in Survey Research believe that Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan is doing a “very good job” while 56 per cent has given approval to the government policies. The survey results, announced on March 14, reveal strong approval ratings for the new government and repose confidence in the July 2018 elections. According to the survey, the respondents expressed their concern over the state of the economy, but at the same time, 17 per cent said Prime Minister Imran Khan was doing a “good job” while 40 per cent agreed with his policies. “Poor economic conditions are a significant source of concern for Pakistanis,” said Johanna Kao, IRI Regional Director for Asia. “Despite Pakistan’s economic

challenges, confidence in the new government and the prime minister is high. Pakistanis seem to be willing to give the government time to deliver on its campaign promises, which will require difficult economic reforms to revitalize the country’s struggling economy.” A plurality of respondents; 40 per cent said they were willing to give

the government one year; 26 per cent said two years, and 14 per cent said that the prime minister had started delivering on his campaign promises. “The survey suggests that the government’s performance will be judged primarily on its ability to address pressing economic concerns,” said Johanna Kao. Inflation was singled out as the

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most important problem in Pakistan by 39 per cent, followed by poverty, as pointed by 18 per cent and unemployment as mentioned by 15 per cent. Nearly 77 per cent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 35 see lack of jobs as the biggest challenge facing young people in Pakistan. The poll also indicates high levels of confidence in the results of the July 2018 national elections. A clear majority (84 per cent) say that the results are either “very accurate” (46 per cent) or “somewhat accurate” (38 per cent). A combined 83 per cent believe that the election was either “completely free and fair” (50 per cent) or “mostly free and fair” (33 per cent). According to IRI, this survey was conducted on behalf of the Center for Insights in Survey Research. Data was collected between November 1 and November 22, 2018 through in-home, in-person interviews. The sample consisted of 3,991 respondents aged 18 and older, and is representative of voting-age adults nationally. The margin of error was 1.6 per cent.

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to register a case against all those Revenue Department officials who were involved in allowing consolidation of the disputed land. According to the ACE report submitted in court on Jan 6, 2019, the Khokhars had occupied 40 kanals of state land and paid only one of the 10 people from whom they had purchased the land. The report added that Khokhar Palace was then built on joint lands forcibly taken from various people. “The Khokhar brothers have received bail till your retirement,” Asghar had told Justice Nisar, who was set to retire on Jan 17. The then chief justice had warned that the court would do away with the Khokhars’ joint lands. “Empty Khokhar palace and pack up your things,” he had thundered. “I will not let such thuggish behaviour take place in Pakistan.” The former chief justice had suggested that an educational institute be set up in place of Khokhar Palace similar to that being introduced at PM House. Justice Nisar had observed that the Khokhar brothers appeared to exert an extraordinary amount of control in the area. “A fly cannot fly there without their approval,” he said. “Such people have destroyed Pakistan.” The top judge had said that the ACE should register cases and take action as per the law. During the hearing, the lawyer for the Khokhar brothers had said they were innocent and because of land-grabbing culture, all allegations were being placed on them. “The land-grabbing culture was introduced by the Khokhar brothers,” the top judge had responded.

PPP flays fawad for ‘mainstreaming of banned outfits’ remarks ISLAMABAD online

PPP’s leader Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar has said that the statement of information minister regarding provision of loans and employment to leaders banned organizations is against national interest . Khokhar , who is also the spokesman to the Chairman Pakistan People’s Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, said in his statement issued on Thursday that the admittance of information minister is the reflection of PM Imran Khan's claim that he does not recognize any National Action Plan. He said that when there is a need to eliminate the nurseries of extremism and terrorism, the government is planning on mainstreaming banned organizations. The issue regarding bringing the banned outfits into mainstream should be discussed in the Parliament. “Who would guarantee that these people who have been breaking the law for a long time will not do the same again. There is no such thing as good or bad Taliban”, Senator added. He said that the nation paid heavy cost due to shying away such important decisions from the Parliament in the past.

PM says political interference in universities won’t be tolerated ISLAMABAD APP

Prime Minister Imran Khan has shown serious concern over reports of political interference in higher education sector of the country. In a discussion with Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman Dr Tariq Banuri, the prime minister directed the HEC to identify all such practices and has assured his all-out support to curb this menace and make systems completely transparent at all levels of higher education sector. Banuri thanked the PM for his support and assured him that HEC will continue to play an affirmative role for increasing access to higher education, improve its quality and ensure its relevance to socio-economic needs of the country. It is pertinent to mention here that the HEC chairman had expressed serious concern over the rising political interference in higher education sector on Wednesday and PM instantly took notice of the issue and directed that no such political interference would be tolerated.


08 COMMENT

Friday, 15 March, 2019

Proud to be Paindu

India fails to isolate Pakistan Modi’s aggressive policies have brought Kashmir to world focus

Why do we respect power and distrust ourselves?

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NCe again, China has blocked the proposal to put Jaish-e-Muhammad leader Masood azhar’s name on the UN list of global terrorists. In 2016 the move had come in the wake of the pathankot terrorist attack and in 2017 months after the Uri attack .This time the move was made after the pulwama attack. In 2016 and 2017 two attempts were made each year by India, supported by the Usa, UK and France, with China blocking them repeatedly. In 2016 the position taken by Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong was that India was trying to politicize the issue to make political gains in the name of counter-terrorism. In 2017 China maintained India had produced no solid evidence. On both occasions Beijing had suggested that the issue be resolved through pak-India talks. This year China has taken a more comprehensive stand with important connotations. at a prèss briefing in Beijing early this month, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang maintained that there were complex factors underlying the emergence of terrorism, and to eradicate terrorism there was a need to treat both symptoms and root causes. This required more time for deliberations. On Thursday, Kang stressed the need to focus on the Kashmir issue that had been left over by history between India and pakistan and hoped that the two countries would engage in friendly dialogue and consultation to resolve this and other outstanding issues. There is a growing perception that Indian adventurism at Balakot and the quick response from pakistan led many countries to conclude that incidents of the sort could lead to a nuclear confrontation unless pakistan and India resolved their differences. This led to quiet diplomacy bringing the Usa, russia, China and the Gulf states to persuade both sides to end hostilities and move forward to settle their disputes. as all knew what the core issue was, for the time being at least the Kashmir issue was internationalised. The blocking of the proposal is a setback for India. It has deprived the BJp government of a diplomatic victory. If the proposal was adopted, the BJp would have used it as an evidence of prime Minister Narendra Modi’s political acumen. With China putting it on hold, the Indian Foreign Ministry has expressed disappointment.

Faraz TalaT

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erhaps my reliance on anecdotal evidence should not be unconditionally trusted, but has anyone else felt an unmistakable lack of love from the pakistani diaspora in Western countries? Why is one more likely to be on the receiving end of haughtiness rather than respect or sympathy, even when we are half their identity? Britishpakistani? american-pakistani? The easiest way to understand this phenomenon for an upper or upper-middleclass pakistani, is to examine one’s own feelings towards his fellow paindus– a commonly-used slur for locals who lack a certain level of sophistication. Imagine yourself returning to your homeland from the United Kingdom, through a connecting flight at Dubai. at Dubai International airport, in a glistening duty-free paradise, you find yourself surrounded suddenly by a large group of very desi-looking pakistanis: a large mass of bearded, kurta-clad men floundering about with women in various grades of purdah. They’re lugging worn suitcases that are probably too large to hand-carry onto planes without a spat with the cabin crew, and

shopping bags filled with kids’ clothing. They huddle at the ends of escalators, looking upon them with bewilderment, paralyzed by self-doubt over their ability to hop on and off the moving staircase without tripping. at the departure gate, you find yourself being smothered by a sea of brown bodies clamouring to board the aircraft. You know well enough that the staff is calling only for passengers seated in zone D to ensure orderly boarding, but the paindus you’re traveling with just don’t get it. The feeling that arises ranges from low-key annoyance to utter disgust where one considers yelling instructions at the desi crowd. These feelings are somewhat understandable, but mustn’t come and go unexamined; because these are the same feelings that the Western-pakistani diaspora often harbors towards its desi, er, less ‘assimilated’, counterparts. If we find a British person in Islamabad eating roghni naan with a knife and fork, how likely are we to lose our temper? Isn’t it more probable that we ignore this error, or laughingly but politely explain to the visitor how to eat properly? One recalls a set of cutesy videos of american nationals in pakistan trying local fruits like falsay; picking awkwardly at them with their spoons and asking whether they’re supposed to eat the stones. We are not in the habit of extending the same courtesy to our own people. If there’s anything we’ve learned from 150 years of colonial rule followed by an undying neocolonial order, is that we are not the centre of things. The centre is not required to know the margins, but the margins is obliged to know the centre. a British person can be excused for not understanding the customs of Basant or eid Milad-ul-Nabi, but what ignorant fool has the nerve to not know Christmas? elderly brown women hesitate to step onto an escalator; not because they are inherently unintelligent, but because this technology is unfamiliar

to them. are they allowed to not know the workings of an escalator? Could we forgive them for not having the privileges of a frequent flier, and missing out on the opportunities to learn ways of a foreign, technologically-advanced system? Is a brown man at starbucks permitted to not know the difference between a latte and a cappuccino, like a white man who cannot tell the difference between korma and karahi? No. Because the margin is expected to adapt to the centre, but the centre needn’t adapt to the margins. This is why you may expect to be shamed for not speaking english correctly, but needn’t worry about not knowing punjabi while living in a punjabi city. This is not the beginning of a soliloquy about the glory of Islamic or eastern customs versus the decadence of Western culture. It’s about wondering why we’re so easily mortified by not knowing the ways of London, paris, or New York. It’s about asking why we are so embarrassed of our kin who cannot imitate foreign customs and navigate their technologically-advanced spaces as well as we do. We look up to power, and we look down at those who don’t have it. “stupid people,” we mutter. stupidity, we forget, is not the absence of knowledge. You are not stupid for not knowing how to speak Cantonese. That is the natural result of lacking the opportunity, or perhaps the need, to acquire that sort of knowledge. We must find the compassion to excuse ourselves, and our people, for not knowing things beyond what they’ve been exposed to. We must stop apologizing on behalf of our people for their inability to pronounce ‘biscuit’ correctly. Let’s spare ourselves the frustration of believing that our kin is inherently barbarous or genetically unintelligent, and see them as who they are: people who have been robbed of their opportunities to learn through centuries of oppression. Before we take pride in knowing the etiquette of standing on the right side of the escalator, so those in a rush can pass us by from the left, we must acknowledge the privilege that the ‘paindus’ never had. Faraz Talat is a medical doctor from Rawalpindi and an ardent traveller who writes frequently about science, social politics and international relations.

4th reprieve for Masood Azhar

Talks on Kartarpur India missing the point

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he Indo-pakistan talks, which began on Thursday at atari, on the draft of the agreement for the celebration of Guru Nanak’s 500th death anniversary ay Kartarpur would have been worth watching, but they gained heightened significance because of the recent Indo-pak confrontation over the pulwama attack. pakistan and India came to the brink of war with each other, and India had vowed that it would not have any talks with pakistan until it had obtained satisfaction for the attack. That the talks took place at all was thus a signal success, and gave a further indication that the intervention of such outside powers as the Usa, China, russia, saudi arabia and the Uae, had borne fruit, and the war clouds were being dispelled. It was thus encouraging for those favouring peace that the head of the pakistan delegation, commenting after returning from the talks, characterised them as ‘powerful’, and said that they had been positive. They were not final, though, and there remain some differences on the draft, necessitating another round of talks on april 2 in India. at the same time, though India would not like to alienate the sikh community, which is the country’s second biggest minority, by a breakdown in the talks, the BJp government stopped short of only that, placing as many hurdles in the talks. at the outset, the holding of the talks at atari, while pakistan had wanted them held in New Delhi, was an indication of how the Indian side wanted to downplay them. The same mentality that whipped up war hysteria in India after pulwama was also uncomfortable with the holding of the talks. Only the thought that 300,000 yatris were expected to visit Kartarpur at the commemoration seemed to have let the talks go ahead. however, while pakistan had issued visas promptly to Indian journalists who wanted to cover the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor by prime Minister Imran Khan last November, India denied visas to the pakistani journalists who wanted to accompany the pakistani delegation to atari. India’s failure to realise that the Kartarpur Corridor is a more important step for pakistan is probably typical. pakistan is bending over backwards to provide a corridor which will be used by the citizen of another country (pakistani sikhs, already few in number, can already come and go there freely), but India is still trying to be obdurate.

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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SulTan M Hali

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aIsh-e-MUhaMMaD chief Masood azhar has received a reprieve for the fourth time from being branded a global terrorist by the UN security Council. In a note sent to it, China said it needed more time to examine the sanctions request targeting azhar. Beijing had reminded the UNsC earlier this week that “a responsible solution” to the listing issue could come only through discussions. It had urged the international community to also focus on the Kashmir dispute while making such demands. “China’s position on the designation of a terrorist by the 1267 sanctions Committee is consistent and clear,” Masood azhar’s name came into prominence in 1999 when Indian airlines Flight 814 was hijacked en route from Kathmandu to New Delhi. after flying to various locations, including amritsar, Lahore and Dubai, the hijacked aircraft ultimately landed in Kandahar in afghanistan, which was under Taliban rule. The hijackers demanded the release of three pakistani prisoners languishing in Indian jails, Mushtaq ahmad Zargar, ahmed Omar saeed sheikh and Masood azhar. after negotiations, India released the three prisoners in exchange for its aircraft and passengers. Later, ahmed Omar saeed sheikh was involved in the murder of american-Israeli journalist Daniel pearl of the Wall Street Journal at Karachi. sheikh, a British national of pakistani origin, was apprehended and sentenced to death for pearl’s abduction and murder. Masood azhar, shortly after his release, made a public address to an estimated 10,000 people in Karachi. he proclaimed, “I have come here because this is my duty to tell you that Muslims should not rest in peace until we have destroyed India,” vowing to liberate the Kashmir region from Indian rule. Masood azhar went on to establish Jaish-eMohammad or the “army of Mohammad”. The group’s primary motive is to liberate Kashmir from India. since its inception in 2000, the outfit has allegedly carried out several attacks in Indian Occupied Kashmir. It projects Kashmir as a “gateway” to entire India, whose Muslims are also deemed to need liberation. The JeM has been banned in pakistan since 2002, but has resurfaced under other names. The group has been considered responsible for several terror attacks: the 2001 attack on the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly, the 2001 Indian parliament attack, the 2016 pathankot airbase attack, the 2016 attack on the Indian conKarachi – Ph: 021-35381208-9

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sulate in Mazar-i-sharif, the 2016 Uri attack, and the 2019 pulwama attack, each of which has had strategic consequences for Indo-pakistan relations. In December 2001, after the attack on Indian parliament in New Delhi, India amassed its forces along pakistan’s international borders and was poised for an attack. pakistan redeployed its forces in a defensive posture to thwart any adventurism on the part of India. Both forces remained eyeball to eyeball for 10 months, and even a spark could have ignited the fuse for a mortal conflict between the two nuclear-armed states. India blinked first and withdrew its forces after the Usa convinced India to do so since the NaTO forces were locked in a battle over afghanistan, following 9/11. pakistan was a strategic ally of the Usa and NaTO did not seek any disturbance in its afghan operations which necessitated pakistan’s wholehearted participation. JeM has been designated as a terrorist organization by pakistan, russia, australia, Canada, India, Uae, UK, the Usa and the United Nations. In February 2019, the group took responsibility for a suicide bombing attack on a security convoy in the pulwama district of Indian Occupied Kashmir that killed over 40 security personnel, called one of the largest attacks in recent years. India accused pakistan of sponsoring the attack and retaliated by a surgical strike in the wee hours of 26 February 2019 when a dozen Indian air Force Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft targeted Balakot in Khyber pakhtunkhwa, violating pakistan’s sovereignty. No damage resulted but India claimed that it decimated a JeM training camp, killing 350 militants. pakistan air Force struck back on 27 February in a counter attack. In the melee that followed, two IaF fighters, one MiG-21 and one sU-30 were shot down by the paF. The MiG-21 pilot, Wing Commander abhinandan, was captured alive but later returned by pakistan. India continues to seethe and grumble at its embarrassment. Its media is conjuring lies with fabricated evidence that its Balakot strike was a success and its pilots shot down a paF F-16. In reality both countries are locked in a tense battle because India is having its general elections in april-May. The ruling Bharatiya Janata party (BJp) is facing defeat, so it would rather beat war drums against pakistan and bring the region to the brink of a nuclear war only to ensure its victory at the polls. The case of Masood azhar is curious. India has made four attempts in the past 10 years to have Masood azhar branded a terrorist and a ban placed on him. In 2009 and 2016, India moved the UN’s sanctions Committee to ban azhar, also the al-

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Web: www.pakistantoday.com.pk

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leged mastermind of attack on the air base in pathankot in January 2016. India was joined by the p3 nations– the Usa, the UK and France– in the 2016 proposal. In 2017 also, these p3 countries moved a similar proposal at the UN. however, China, using its veto power, has always blocked the proposal from being adopted by the UN. Now India has cajoled and urged France to propose a ban to be placed on Masood azhar. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang, during his regular press Conference on 11 March 2019, was asked about his views regarding Masood azhar’s case coming up in UN security Council’s 1267 Committee again on March 13. The questioner asked if there was an appeal by India that all the permanent members of the UNsC should declare Masood azhar a terrorist this time in light of the recent tensions between India and pakistan. Can a decision of China be expected this time? The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson responded that the UN security Council and its subsidiary bodies have strict stipulations for their relevant operation. The quoted reports talk about how the relevant discussions went inside the UN subsidiary body, which is quite dubious. he regretted that no judgment should be based on the information gathered through an inappropriate channel. The spokesperson stressed China’s position on the listing of terrorist organizations and individuals in the UN security Council 1267 Committee on many occasions, and said that China had all along participated in relevant discussions in a responsible manner and in strict accordance with the rules of procedure and provisions of the 1267 Committee. “China will continue to communicate and work with relevant parties in a responsible manner so as to properly resolve this matter. Only by deciding through responsible and serious discussions can we resolve the issue in a sustainable manner.” If India believes that it can have people branded as terrorists at its whim, then it is sadly mistaken. If the stipulated conditions for being labeled as a global terrorist are clear then the most deserving case is current Indian prime Minister Narendra Modi, the “Butcher of Gujarat”, and the person responsible for the death of over 350 Kashmiris and blinding of 3600 Kashmiri children. It is high time pakistan tabled such a motion at the UNsC. Sultan M Hali is a retired Group Captain and author of the book Defence & Diplomacy. Currently he is a columnist, analyst and TV talk show host.

Email: editorial@pakistantoday.com.pk


COMMENT 09

Friday, 15 March, 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.

Polio menace pOLIO is a crippling disease. It has been wiped out in all over the world except pakistan and some other countries. it poses serious threats to young generation of a nation as it paralyzes them. pakistan has been a laughing stock in international community due to its failure in upröoting the menace of polio. recently, some cases of polio were detected in pakistan . the concerned authority should put all out efforts to tackle the disease of polio so that a soft image of pakistan be depicted in the world. SHaiMa NaSiR aLi absor, Turbat

Paramedical strike higher authorities must take serious action against both sides continue to dispute among Civil hospital management and paramedical staff. strike of paramedical staff of Mirpurkhas Civil hospital continued on fourth consecutive day here on Thursday to protest against their transfers, misbehavior of civil administration. They boycotted their duties; as a result in wards as well as in emergency ward health process delivery system was disturbed while the doctors were present at their duties and they also performed work of paramedical staff. emergency operations in Gyne and other wards were suspended due to protest of the para medical staff. I appeal to the higher authorities play your role in restoring all the hospital services immediately due to human sympathy due to this strike poor patient have a lot of difficulties. MuHaMMaD NaSiR iqbaL Mirpurkhas

Pak-India tension

The Israel nexus Israel is just part of a much wider game HaSSan YOuSaF SHaH

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T’s a complicated multidimensional situation facing pakistan with multiple possibilities, of which very few lead pakistan out of the mess. so what is “it” that follows after the India-pakistan standoff? It is important to first look at the twin suicide attacks, one in sistan, Iran and the other in pulwama, which left pakistan in a diplomatically vulnerable position. The shock of the lives lost and the public outcry in Iran and India respectively was strong. The intensity of the attacks was conveyed by respective neighbours and pakistan’s Foreign Office was working feverishly to rescue pakistan from falling into a diplomatic collapse; while the pakistani leadership was preparing itself for the much anticipated visit of saudi Crown prince Mohammad Bin salman. Both were left stunned to reflect on what actually had happened. Only few weeks earlier, pakistan was intensely engaged in the Taliban-Us negotiations with the saudis in the backdrop. Were these events part of a greater plan? Or did they form a pattern leading to a shift in the regional politics? Let the dots reveal the connections. 3 Is –Iran, IndIa, and perhaps Israel? Is there a deeper connectIon at work? India is strengthening its relationship with Israel and the Usa on many issues, including defence, terrorism, and perhaps against the pakistan-China-russia alignment. however, the attack has certainly brought Iran amd India closer on the diplomatic end, if not defense and terrorism. Iran, which is on the other end of the spectrum, has had strained relations with the Usa and none with the Israel, but with this incident Iran has been drawn closer to India on the issue of terrorism. Can India bring Iran closer to Israel on extremism, or the Taliban? It is a very difficult equation to balance indeed, but will there be change in the long term?

elements destabilizing the region, CpeC, BrI or any of its other strategic plans. pakistan in long term will find that any acute change from China’s socio-economic line will only isolate pakistan more. In short, pakistan has to weigh every action, move, and alignment it takes today, even in the short term, whether it is aligned with regional dynamics, and Chinese consideration in mind. else easily pakistan may find itself flying off the cliff. The situation could not have been more disturbing, that the unfortunate incidents happened right before the strategically awaited saudi royal visit which had been hallmarked by saudi investment, strategic partnership, defense ties, and venture into CpeC. saudi arabia too would be embarrassingly worried about the state of affairs in pakistan around her borders, especially since the next stop on the trip was India.

Pakistan will be under pressure to act and that too as per the “prerequisite” set around it by Iran, China, Russia and perhaps the USA as well

economIcs always In any equatIon pakistan, recently at the brink of an economic collapse, had barely managed to survive, when the escalation with India again threatens to take it back into a bigger financial crisis. pakistan, which barely won a few billion dollars from friends, can find these precious dollar “support” and investments, “evaporate” in case of an escalation with India or even a standoff at the borders. Will it have repercussions? Who would benefit if pakistan undergoes a financial crisis due to escalation? again is there a long term prospective on this one too? Did India get pakistan off its economic recovery track by its sabre-rattling?

Pakistan, recently at the brink of an economic collapse, had barely managed to survive, when the escalation with India again threatens to take it back into a bigger financial crisis

r e g I o n a l polItIco-economIc realIgnment In a regional scene, complex politico-economic interests are also remerging. China has condemned the terror attacks, and does not approve of extremist

saudi investment, that too in CpeC. The reason for India and Iran not liking the above to happen may be different, but pakistan, Gwadar, CpeC, saudi arabia, has given India and Iran reasons to come closer while the suicide attacks provided the missing motivation. however the most significant development was perhaps pakistan’s successfully handling Taliban-Us negotiations which may have left India and Iran feeling at a disadvantage. This perception may be misplaced but it will now draw the new regional power flux with pakistan emerging a clear winner. The Usa and the Taliban may converge their energies against Iran, a perception which according to some analysts is perhaps making Iran extremely wary.

the cpec dImensIon post-attack scenes across Iran were far more intense than those in India. public opinion is different in the two countries as well. India has a different strategy for the same objective. Iran and India are not going to be happy with the saudi visit or the CpeC project, or these two ending up together:

aFter the surgIcal strIkes ? The twin suicide attacks happening at a strategic time, around certain events, was not a onetime random event; rather a significant plan to shift geopolitical powers in the region. so what is next awaiting pakistan? There may be border incursions in pakistan from afghanistan, and extreme anti-pakistan elements in the tribal areas may resurface. There will be “players” who would infuse such a feeling amongst local tribesmen. according to some analysts perhaps pTM in KpK and BLa in Balochistan may rise again to agitate against pakistan. Who will be motivating them and will they be interlinked? But there is one certainty that pakistan will be under pressure to act and that too as per the “prerequisite” set around it by Iran, China, russia and perhaps the Usa as well. Iran will exert its pressure for pakistan to take some “concrete” steps which will be apparent in the coming days. Is it a possibility that perhaps Iran may conduct its own border operations. On the other hand India will exert pressure through global and regional players, especially around the Financial action Task Force. FaTF is another point where pakistan has been, and will be, vulnerable and current geopolitics will be played around this point. India will also exploit the current escalation to embarrass pakistan in front of saudi arabia and the Usa, and seek serious actions particularly on JeM and concessions in other areas, such as high-ranking Indian spy Kulbhushan Yadav. Hassan Yousaf Shah is a lawyer. He can be reached at hyshah1@gmail.com. He is on Twitter at hyshah1

ThOUGh tension between India and pakistan has somewhat eased and ambassadors of the two countries resumed their duties, yet the cloud of doubts and suspicion still hover over border. There is an old saying that one becomes more insecure when he presumes himself to be well guarded. We need to be prepared and alert to face any internal or external threat to our beloved country. The politicians ought to shun their past animosities and present differences to create rock like unity in the national interest. RaJa SHaFaaTuLLaH islamabad

Poor condition of roads aLMOsT all the roads in the city are mined. It has created a serious condition. It is the cause of many accidents in the city. It also causes severe damages to the running vehicles. poor drainage system is also responsible for damaging to the roads. It is a well-expressed fact that the people of Karachi pay a huge amount of vehicle tax. hence it is the fundamental right of the citizens to have better roads for their vehicles. This problem has reached at its extreme and is, consequently, creating panic among citizens. I hope that the concerned authorities must look into the matter seriously and must take some prompt and necessary action to overcome this problem. aLiza SHaFi Karachi

Cancer awareness IN asia, pakistan has the largest rate of breast cancer. It is the second leading cause of death among women. estimated 83,000 cases being annually reported in our country and over 40,000 deaths cause by it which is alarmingly fast. 1 in 9 pakistani women developed breast cancer at some stage of their life. It is creating stern social and economic issue in pakistan. In most of the rural areas of pakistan this topic is uncommunicative because of our traditional culture and gender prejudice. Most of the women reluctant to go for any kind of breast examination. The major cause of breast cancer are obesity, lack of knowledge, un-awareness and unhygienic circumstances during breastfeeding. as compared to other types of cancer, breast cancer has over 90pc chances of complete cure but early diagnosis in the prevention. The way to diagnosis breast cancer is by screening mammograms and breast self-examination. The government, mass media and concerned health authorities should take a step and to pay attention to this deadly disease. It is important to increase awareness and help to educate people regarding symptoms and treatment also give training of breast selfexamination (Bse) cause it is cheaper than mammogram. This may help to avid the prevalence of the disease. MaRia SHoKET islamabad

War memes? War Between India and pakistan is one of the serious issues now a days which can conclude in very destructive manner. But sadly when I open social media,war memes and jokes are circulating by some people as this is not their problem and they are not concerned to it.It is very easy to share a joke while being comforted in your cozy beds or to criticise the forces without having a pint of knowledge. The number of lives being affected by this situation and it is nothing to joke about. We should be sensible, and supportive to our country and pray for our soldiers who are fighting for the prosperity of our country. War is not a joke. aSHNa azHaR Karachi


10 FOREIGN NEWS

Friday, 15 March, 2019

PAleSTInIAn PReSIdenT SlAMS US foR dRoPPIng ‘occUPIed’ In RePoRT

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spokesman for Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has criticised the United States move to no longer refer to the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights as occupied territories in its annual human rights report. Nabil Abu Rudeineh called it “a continuation of the hostile approach of the American administration toward our Palestinian

people and… contrary to all UN resolutions”. In a statement carried by official Palestinian news agency WAFA late on Wednesday, he said the change was part of US President Donald Trump’s plan to “liquidate” the Palestinian cause. Trump is expected to unveil his long-awaited plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace in the coming months, even though the Palestinian leadership has frozen contact with Washington over Trump’s 2017 declaration

of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Palestinians believe the upcoming plan will be blatantly biased in favour of Israel. In its latest human rights report published on Wednesday, the US referred to the Golan Heights as “Israeli-controlled” as opposed to “Israeli-occupied”. Another semantic change that appeared in last year’s report showed up again this year, with a section titled “Israel, Golan

Heights, West Bank and Gaza,” instead of its previous “Israel and the Occupied Territories” heading. The US State Department insisted the different wording did not mean a change in policy. Israel occupied the Golan Heights, West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Six-Day War. It later an-

nexed the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem in moves never recognised by the international community. It has withdrawn from the Gaza Strip, but has fought three wars with Palestinian militants there and maintains a blockade of the territory. Israel’s occupation of the West Bank continues. Agencies

Diehard Syria jihadists go down all guns blazing Turkey, Russia eye closer coordination on Syria ISTANBUL: Turkey and Russia are discussing a ‘coordination centre’ to better manage their operations in Syria’s rebel-controlled Idlib province, Turkey’s defence minister said. Regime ally Russia and Turkey, which supports rebels, have been on opposite sides in the Syrian war. But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russia’s Vladimir Putin have been working closely to end the fighting. A Russian-Turkish deal for a demilitarised zone last year protected the Idlib rebel bastion. The two countries and Ankara are already preparing joint patrols around the northwestern Syrian region. “We are working on a joint coordination centre,” Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said after a meeting on Wednesday, according to a ministry statement on Thursday. His remarks came as Russian jets carried out air strikes in Idlib on Wednesday, the first such attacks since the Turkish-Russian deal was signed in September as a way to prevent major bloodshed. At least 13 civilians, including six infants were killed in the raids, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor that relies on sources inside Syria. Earlier this month, Turkey said its forces and Russians would begin ground patrols around Idlib province as part of their ceasefire deal. Idlib is controlled by Hayat Tahrir al Sham (HTS), a group led by Syria’s former al Qaeda affiliate. Agencies

BAGHOUZ Agencies

Their last Syrian bastion is levelled and burned, they are using rifles to battle warplanes and tanks, but the hardline jihadists holding out in Baghouz are still putting up a fight. Defeat is guaranteed, but a few diehard Islamic State fighters defending the last tiny, smouldering vestige of their once-sprawling “caliphate” are refusing to surrender. The Syrian Democratic Forces, the Kurdish-led outfit which has spearheaded the fight with backing from the US-led coalition against IS, say their assault is in its final hours. IS fighters are now cornered on a palm-lined bend of the Euphrates near Syria’s border with Iraq, but they are still on the offensive. “They attacked on two axes, from the Euphrates river, and from the hill,” an SDF commander who gave his name as Sheikh Al-Jabal says from the roof of a nearby villa used as a military position. He points to the banks of the river behind the IS encampment, about a kilometre (half a mile) away, but the view is obscured by the thick black smoke billowing out of the ruins of Baghouz. A wasteland strewn with the charred carcasses of vans, cars and water tankers lies beyond the SDF’s positions, marking the edge of the handful of acres ruled by IS. Nobody seems to know how many fighters are left inside the shrinking pocket.

Despite thousands of people surrendering in recent weeks, the tiny hamlet of Baghouz has released a seemingly never-ending flow of civilians and fighters. On Wednesday, after the SDF announced that another 3,000 IS members had surrendered, another contingent launched at least two counter-attacks. “They are using tunnels, they have experienced snipers,” Sheikh Al-Jabal says, a walkie-talkie in one hand and another clipped to his belt. Behind him, a huge black cloud caused by air strikes on IS ammunition depots darkens the sky and engulfs the little riverside village. The fires still rage hours after the strikes, fanned by the dusty desert wind. “IS had conquered vast territories in Syria and Iraq,” the commander explains, referring to the

jihadist’s lightning cross-border assault in the summer of 2014. “They seized ammunition and weapons from the army and all of this ended up being transferred to their last bastion,” he adds. “To this moment, they are refusing to let go of their dream of a state.” Baghouz is the last of a string of farming villages dotting the banks of the river. All lie in ruins, their streets made unusable by huge craters and unexploded ordnance. “Chickens for sale”, “Ice factory”: a few wall inscriptions bear witness to daily life in what was once the very heart of the jihadists’ proto-state. The past few days have followed a set pattern: the SDF on the ground and its coalition allies in the sky unleash their superior firepower on the jihadist stronghold.

Agencies

In the world’s coldest capital, many burn coal and plastic just to survive temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees — but warmth comes at a price: deadly pollution makes Ulaanbataar’s air too toxic for children to breathe, leaving parents little choice but to evacuate them to the countryside. This exodus is a stark warning of the future for urban areas in much of Asia, where scenes of citizens in antipollution masks against a backdrop of brown skies are becoming routine,

rather than apocalyptic. Ulaanbaatar is one of the most polluted cities on the planet, alongside New Delhi, Dhaka, Kabul, and Beijing. It regularly exceeds World Health Organisation recommendations for air quality even as experts warn of disastrous consequences, particularly for children, including stunted development, chronic illness, and in some cases death. Erdene-Bat Naranchimeg watched helplessly as her daughter Amina battled illness virtually from birth, her immune system handicapped by the smog-choked air in Mongolia’s capital. “We would constantly be in

and out of the hospital,” Naranchimeg told AFP, adding that Amina contracted pneumonia twice at the age of two, requiring several rounds of antibiotics. This is not a unique case in a city where winter temperatures plunge towards uninhabitable, particularly in the districts that rural workers moved to in search of a better life. Here row upon row of the traditional tents — known as gers — are warmed by coal, or any other flammable material available. The resulting thick black smoke shoots out in plumes, blanketing surrounding areas in a film of smog that makes visibility so poor it can be hard to see even a few metres ahead. Hospitals are packed and young children are vulnerable, common colds can quickly escalate into life-threatening illness. The situation was so bad that doctors told Naranchimeg the only solution was to send her little girl to the clean air of the countryside. Now aged five, Amina is thriving. She lives with her grandparents in Bornuur Sum, a village 135 kilometres away from the capital. “She hasn’t been sick since she started living here,” said Naranchimeg, who makes the threehour round trip to see Amina every week. “It was very difficult in the first

DUBAI: At least four people were killed and five others injured on Thursday in a gas pipeline explosion in southwest Iran, the Iranian Students News Agency ISNA reported. “Gas leakage from a pipeline that linked the gas network from Mahshahr city to Ahvaz city, caused the blast,” ISNA quoted local official Kiamars Hajizadeh as saying. “At least four people, including one child and a woman, were killed in the blast and five people were wounded.”Iran’s state TV reported that five cars in the area had caught fire. “Fire fighters and ambulances have been dispatched to the area,” state TV reported.Poor safety measures and Iran’s aging infrastructures have been blamed by some authorities for blasts in the past. Agencies

Mumbai bridge collapse kills five

Toxic air tears apart families in Mongolia ULAANBAATAR

At least four killed in Iran gas pipeline explosion

few months,” she said. “We used to cry when we talked on the phone.” But like many parents in Ulaanbaatar, she felt the move was the only way to protect her child. The levels of PM2.5 — tiny and harmful particles — in Ulaanbaatar reached 3,320 in January, 133 times what the World Health Organisation (WHO) considers safe. The effects are terrible for adults but children are even more at risk, in part because they breathe faster, taking in more air and pollutants. As they are smaller, children are also closer to the ground, where some pollutants concentrate, and their stilldeveloping lungs, brains, and other key organs are more vulnerable to damage. Effects to prolonged exposure range from persistent infections and asthma to slowed lung and brain development. The risks apply in utero, too, because gases and fine particles can enter a mother’s bloodstream and placenta, causing miscarriage, birth defects and low birth weights, which can also affect a child for the rest of their lives. Researchers are now investigating whether pollution, like exposure to tobacco smoke, has health effects that could even be passed down to the next generation.

MUMBAI: Five people were killed and dozens injured when a footbridge collapsed near Mumbai’s main train station on Thursday, the latest accident to highlight creaking infrastructure in India’s financial capital. The bridge, which was under repair according to multiple Indian media reports, gave way around 7.30 pm (1400 GMT) as rush hour commuters made their way into Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. “Twenty-eight people were injured when the bridge collapsed. Four of those taken to hospitals have succumbed to their injuries,” Tanaji Kamble, a spokesperson for the local civic authority’s disaster management cell, told AFP. India’s National Disaster Response Force said it had sent a team to the site over fears that people may be trapped under rubble. The accident comes almost two years after 23 people died in a crush on a narrow overcrowded footbridge at Prabhadevi station in the centre of the city in September 2017. Agencies

Venezuela accuses US of ‘terrorist attack’ on oil facility CARACAS: A “terrorist attack” ruptured storage tanks at a heavy oil processing plant in eastern Venezuela, Oil Minister Manuel Quevedo said on Thursday, blaming the United States and opposition chief Juan Guaido. No casualties were reported in the incident that occurred late Wednesday at the Petro San Felix facility located on the outskirts of the Venezuelan city of Barcelona in which three tanks caught fire. Quevedo blamed Guaido, the head of Venezuela’s opposition-ruled legislature and self-proclaimed interim president backed by 50 countries, accusing him of collusion with the United States. Agencies


BUSINESS 11

Friday, 15 March, 2019

CORPORATE CORNER

ISLAMABAD: PTCL and Ufone Group Chief Strategy Officer Moqeemul Haque and edotco Pakistan Managing Director Arif Hussain sign a telecom infrastructure partnership during a ceremony held at PTCL headquarters in Islamabad. PR

KARACHI: TPL Insurance and TPL Life have collaborated with Soneri Bank to offer innovative insurance products to customers. TRP Life CEO Faisal Abbasi, Soneri Bank Executive Director Amin Feerasta and TPL Insurance CEO Muhammad Aminuddin pose for a group photo with their teams after the signing ceremony. PR

KARACHI: Flava (flavoured milk) by Foods recently brought joy and happiness to children from TCF, taking them along to witness an exhilarating match between the teams of Islamabad United and Lahore Qalandars. PR

'DesPIte fAcILItIes, 70Pc zeRO-RAteD sectORs nOt cOntRIButIng tO exPORts' ISLAMABAD

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GHULAM ABBAS

S many as 70pc of the zero-rated industries are not contributing to exports despite the fact that the past two governments had extended facilities to five specified export-oriented sectors through relaxation in taxes and provision of electricity and gas on a priority basis. This was revealed by Pakistan Tehreek-eInsaf MNA Khurram Shahzad during a meeting of National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Commerce and Textile on Thursday. The MNA claimed that around 60pc to 70pc of the industries belonging to the zero-rated regime are not exporting their products despite enjoying the facilities for around 10 years, adding that the government should review the zero-rated industries, which included textile, leather, carpets, surgical and sports goods. Commerce Secretary Muhammad Younus Dagha said that assessment as to how the zerorating facility has helped the specified industries is needed in order to decide about future support to the sectors. The committee meeting was chaired by Pakistan Peoples’ Party MNA Syed Naveed Qamar. During the meeting, the committee constituted a sub-committee to look into the affairs of protesting employees of State Life Insurance Corporation (SLIC). Earlier, Younus Dagha briefed the committee about the agitation/strike

Pakistan, FAO collaborate to promote livestock, dairy sectors ISLAMABAD APP

ISLAMABAD: Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) Chief Executive Helen Brand (OBE) receives a memento from PM’s Task Force on IT and Telcom member Zouhair Khaliq during her visit the National Incubation Centre. NIC project director Parvez Abbasi, ACCA Pakistan head Sajeed Aslam are also present on the occasion. PR

resorted to by the employees. According to him, SLIC has been on a continuous decline, which was also noticed by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP). "After scrutiny into the matter, the 4 tier structure for SLIC was reduced to 3 tier. The cadre of sales officer was promoted as sales manager. This step, despite offering promotion as well as higher commission rate, was unacceptable to a number of sales officers who started agitation," he informed. "They filed 10 cases in different courts. Presently, most of them have forsaken the agitation/strike and have resumed work." Meanwhile, Explaining reasons behind a decline in exports, the Commerce Division shared that Pakistan’s exports increased at the annual growth rate of 5.1pc whereas its regional competitors registered a growth rate of 16% during the period 1991-2018. Highlighting the main impediments, the division said higher cost of doing business, energy costs, low productivity and higher imports tariffs on inputs have badly affected the country's exports. "In order to boost export, the current government has taken a number of steps including revision of exports enhancement package; decrease in gas tariffs for LNG for Punjab at par with other provinces, revision of imports and exports regulations and PM’s Export Package Schemes," it added. The Trade Development Authority of Pak-

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Ministry of National Food Security and Research on Thursday joined hands to take concrete measures against the reemergence of deadly “Renderpest” virus to promote the livestock and dairy sectors of the country. In this regard, both the organisations have signed 'Global Renderpest post eradication and security project', which aims to strengthen the post eradication surveillance system with coherent and persistent efforts to educate the farmers, besides initiating awareness campaign among the farmers. Under the agreement, FAO would provide financial and technical assistance and share the lat-

est international experiences and expertise with Pakistan for strengthening the post eradication efforts to develop a strong surveillance system against the reemergence of the virus. Under the programme, awareness about the virus would be realised, field extensions of the provincial governments would be trained which would further educate and train the farmers of remote and rural areas across the country. The deadly virus had destroyed the livestock and about 50,000 animals were died in Northern areas of the country and efforts were started in collaboration with FAO and other international organization to make the country render pest free. Due to the continued efforts of the government and other stakeholders, in 2007 Pakistan was declared a render pest free country and after that no outbreak of the disease was recorded.

SBP reserves increase by $6.4m, stand at 8.12bn BUSINESS DESK KARACHI: Hamdard University Chancellor and Hamdard Foundation Pakistan President Sadia Rashid presents ‘Aks e Mohar e Nabvi (PBUH)’ to Sindh Health Care Commission CEO Dr Minhaj Qudwai. PR

The foreign exchange reserves held by the central bank increased 0.08pc on a weekly basis, according to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Thursday. On March 8, the foreign currency reserves held by the SBP were recorded at $8,122.9 mil-

lion, up $6.4 million compared with $8,116.5 million in the previous week. The SBP cited no reason for the increase in its report. Overall, the liquid foreign currency reserves, held by the country, including net reserves held by banks other than the SBP, stood at $14,965.9 million. Net reserves held by banks amounted to $6,843 million.

Ministry directed to operationalise third LNG terminal by winter 2020 ISLAMABAD AHMAD AHMADANI

The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has directed the Ministry of Maritime Affairs to take all necessary steps for establishment and operationalisation of 3rd Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal by winter 2020. According to sources, the committee directed the ministry to expedite the feasibility study for identification of a suitable LNG zone at the Karachi ports for the establishment of new LNG terminals.

They said the said study would also look into all aspects of land-based LNG terminals viz-e-viz floating storage regasification unit (FSRU). The ECC further stated that the government would not provide any financial and off-take guarantee for future LNG terminals, they added. Sources informed that the ECC, while considering a summary, dated 4th March 2019, submitted by Ministry of Maritime Affairs regarding setting up of an additional LNG terminal at Port Qasim, directed the ministry to explore possibility of establishment of additional

LNG terminals at the main channel, i-e existing site of LNG terminals, along with identification of the cost required for dredging and widening of the main channel. They said that the committee also directed the Petroleum Division to submit a summary on Re-gasified Liquefied Natural Gas (RLNG) pipeline project to the ECC in its next meeting. Sources earlier told this scribe that despite concerns presented by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Port Qasim Authority regarding issues arising from the construction of LNG terminals at Port Qasim, the PTI government is all

set to get construct new LNG terminal in the main channel at Port Qasim. They said that the Ministry of Maritime Affairs had earlier declared the construction of the existing LNG terminals, Engro and Pakistan Gas Port Consortium (PGPC), as wrong, causing heavy losses to the national exchequer. The permission to construct these two LNG terminals was awarded allegedly to benefit the Engro and the PGPC, while shipping firms were receiving exorbitant demurrage charges, thus wasting the precious remittances, sources added.

istan (TDAP) on the occasion gave a comprehensive presentation encompassing its mandate, exports performance, major activities, challenges and new initiatives. Its mandate covers 10 major areas; policy and planning, product development and diversification, awareness and capacity building, reaseach and development, support services etc. The TDAP officials said although Pakistan exports decreased in the past, but during the period from 2016-2018, exports witnessed an increase from $20.4 billion to $32.2 billion. The said the major challenges in exports included missing the export culture of multinationals, lack of export-oriented FDI in Pakistan, no legal cover for product innovation, informal sector, low value addition, creation of knowledge-based economy, lack of focus on services sector etc. In order to meet these challenges, TDAP’s way forward included expansion of the trade infrastructure, setting up of Expo Centers in Islamabad, Quetta, Peshawar, Look-Africa Plan, increase in subsidy level for non-traditional markets to 80pc for participation in international exhibitions and establishment of export promotion committee. The meeting was also attended by MNAs Ali Khan Jadoon, Nawab Sher, Raza Nasrullah, Ahmed Hussain Deharr, Mian Muhammad Shafiq, Wajiha Akram, Sajida Begum, Farukh Khan, Rana Tanveer Hussain, Tahira Aurangzeb, Syed Javed Ali Shah Jillani, and senior officers from the Commerce Division, SLIC and TDAP.

Interloop raises Rs5.02bn through largest private sector IPO BUSINESS DESK Interloop Limited successfully raised Rs5.02 5 billion through the largest private sector Initial Public Offering (IPO), placing it amongst the top 50 companies listed on the Pakistan Stock Exchange by market capitalization. The two-day book building process was oversubscribed by 1.37 times with price closing at Rs46.10 per share. The total demand received was Rs6,727 million against total issue size of Rs4,905 million. Arif Habib Limited is the consultant for this IPO. Interloop is one of the world’s largest hosiery manufacturers and has an annual turnover in excess of Rs30 billion. Pakistan’s seventh largest exporter generates approximately 90pc of its revenue through exports. This IPO received widespread participation from investment community ranging from major commercial banks, insurance companies, local and foreign institutions, asset management companies, TREC holders and high net worth individuals. The general public will be offered shares on 21st and 22nd March at a price of Rs46.10 per share.

Bank AL Habib announces current plus account BUSINESS DESK Bank AL Habib Current Plus Account is a current account that meets all business and individual needs. The account, with no minimum balance requirement, offers various free facilities including personalized cheque book, pay orders (banker’s cheques), ATM/Debit Card, Internet banking & online banking at any Bank AL Habib branch in Pakistan. This account also provides SMS alert facility. At present, Bank AL Habib has a network of more than 720 branches & subbranches in 270 cities including offshore branches in Bahrain, Malaysia, Seychelles and the Karachi Export Processing Zone. The bank also has representative offices in Dubai (UAE), Istanbul (Turkey), Beijing (China) and Nairobi (Kenya).


12 BUSINESS

Friday, 15 March, 2019

PM APPROves fORMAtIOn Of tOuRIsM cOORDInAtIOn BOARD ZULFIQAR BUKHARI WILL SERVE AS THE BOARD’S CHAIRMAN AND JOINT SECRETARY OF THE CABINET DIVISION BOARD

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BUSINESS DESK

N view of the national tourism policy to facilitate coordination between the federal and provincial governments, Prime Minister Imran Khan has given approval for the formation of the National Tourism Coordination Board (NTCB), a private media outlet reported. A formal notification in this regard has also been issued by the cabinet di-

govt urged to stop undue raids at business premises

vision according to which Zulfiqar Bukhari will serve as the board’s chairman and joint secretary of the cabinet division board. Nine working groups have also been set up for the NTCB. In addition to facilitating coordination between provincial, federal and international institutions, the NTCB will engage in the marketing and promotion of tourism and tourist destinations in the country. The board will be responsible for ensuring coordination between the economic affairs division, the investment board and other institutions for investment in the tourism sector. It will also assist provinces to establish regulatory framework for ensuring quality standards of hoteling and accommodation for tourists. The board will also extend coordination for representing Pakistan at in-

ternational exhibitions and serve as a platform for formulating provincial strategies for tourism. Imran vows measures to boost ecofriendly tourism in Pakistan Among its many responsibilities is to look at the technical aspects of the tourism sector including visa policy and issuance of no objection certificates (NOCs) and related rules and regulations. As per the notification, nine working groups have been set up to assist the board including one for culture, heritage and artifacts. The other working groups pertain to ecotourism, branding and marketing, regulatory and policy framework, religious tourism, investment promotion, infrastructure and facilities, adventure tourism and the Trans-Himalayan jeep rally. The board is also vested with the

authority to appoint members to the working group. The notification states that the chairman of the investment board and secretary of interprovincial coordination have been included as members of the board while others include joint secretaries of foreign ministry, aviation division, interior ministry, defence ministry and information ministry. It adds that provincial ministers or secretaries and representatives from tourism operators, agencies and hotel associations in all four provinces and Azad and Jammu Kashmir as well as Gilgit-Baltistan are also part of the board while private members including Kamran Lashari, Ali Asghar, Aftabur Rehman Rana, Sirajul Malik, Samina Baig, Behram Avari, Muhammad Ayub Baloch, Yasir Rafiq and Zulfiqar Ali are also part of the board.

Minister stresses need for enhanced connectivity between ECO member states

LAHORE

ISLAMABAD

STAFF REPORT

STAFF REPORT

The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has urged the government to constitute a committee, comprising representatives from public and private sectors, to sort out the issues pertaining to “undue raids at business premises and the subsequent harassment of the taxpayers”. In a statement on Thursday, LCCI President Almas Hyder said that the proposed committee should have representatives of the chambers, bar associations, financial market and industrial associations, and Federal Board Revenue (FBR), as this is the only way to resolve this grave issue of the business community. “The businessmen want to pay taxes but the method adopted by the tax officials is not encouraging,” the LCCI president stated, adding that disrespect to businessmen is not acceptable at any cost, as they are the backbone of the economy. He said the government must rescue the traders, as they are now taking to the streets against the rude attitude of the tax department officials, who are misusing their discretionary powers badly by conducting raids without keeping in view the effects of such actions on the economy. “The government should understand that protests and strikes always hit the economic activities hard, therefore, the raids should be stopped immediately in the larger interest of the economy,” he added. The LCCI president alleged that Section 38-B of Sales Tax Act, 1990, is being misused by the tax officials. “How those outside the tax net will come into the tax ambit if the existing taxpayers are being disregarded?” the LCCI president questioned. “If there is an urgent need to ascertain the sales tax liability of any particular business unit, the FBR officials should take association concerned or the Lahore chamber on board first.”

Planning, Development and Reform Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar has said that the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) offers a great potential to enhance regional integration and connectivity as well as to increase trade and commerce among member states. The minister was talking to ECO Secretary General Hadi Soleimanpour, who called on him in Islamabad on Thursday. Planning Secretary Zafar Hasan and senior officials were also present in the meeting. The minister underlined the need for creating a mechanism to enhance regional trade and to identify new areas for future cooperation. The minister called for focusing on strengthening coastal, rail and road con-

nectivity as well as facilitation of trade and investment for increased regional commerce activities. He said that ECO Vision-2025 is an excellent framework and the impetus provided by Islamabad Declaration in 2017 will help translate and realize the objectives of ECO. During the meeting, ECO trade agreement was discussed in detail and it was emphasized that the trade potential needs to be fully exploited by overcoming trade barriers for mutual benefit of member states. The minister also apprised about the functions of Planning Commission. The ECO secretary general on the occasion said that Pakistan is a vibrant member and expressed optimism that the regional bloc will attain all its objectives through mutual cooperation among all member states. ‘Infrastructural development’: Meanwhile, President Dr Arif Alvi

stressed the need to further strengthen transport and communication infrastructure, facilitate trade and investment and identify important sectoral priorities of the ECO for development and growth in the region. In a meeting with ECO Secretary General Dr Hadi Soleimanpour on Thursday, he said Pakistan was upgrading its rail and road infrastructure in order to facilitate smooth flow of goods to its neighbours and to galvanize trade opportunities within the ECO region. The president also highlighted that Pakistan would continue to contribute to ECO’s efforts to provide assistance to Afghanistan and was presently the highest donor to ECO’s initiative for reconstruction of Afghanistan. Appreciating Pakistan’s important role as a member state in ECO, Dr Hadi said, “Pakistan has always been an active member of ECO and cornerstone of peace and cooperation in the region.”

MARKET DAILY

stock market sheds 120 points amid rangebound trading KARACHI STAFF REPORT

Investors of the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) witnessed a nervous session where the indices traded within a narrow range while volumes declined further. Foreign investors continued to follow their selling trend on Wednesday and offloaded equities worth a net of $1.73 million. As per reports, Pakistan has not been successful in securing $3.2 billion oil on deferred payments facility from the United Arab Emirates, which may have an impact on the country’s foreign currency reserves. The finance minister also told a news agency that the oil facility might not materialise. Moreover, International Monetary Fund (IMF) representative Teresa Daban Sanchez, during her visit to Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI), said that negotiations with Pakistan are heading towards a successful programme. The KSE 100 index travelled north to reach an intraday high of 38,999.39 after gathering 70.46 points. The index then lost its momentum and drove in reverse direction, touching an intraday low of 38,751.60 (down by 177.33 points). It finally closed lower by 120.32 points at 38,808.61. The KMI 30 index declined by 425.78 points to settle at 63,907.82, whereas the KSE All Share index was down by 89.71 points, ending at 28,437.39. The advancers to decliners ratio stood at 110 to 193. The overall market volumes declined from 93.54 million in the previous session to 85.87 million. The Bank of Punjab (BOP -0.28pc), Unity Foods Limited (UNITY +7.59pc) and Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDC -1.43pc) led the volume chart. The scripts had exchanged 18.46 million shares, 11.78 million shares and 4.72 million shares respectively. The cement sector lost 1.76pc from its cumulative market capitalization. D G Khan Cement Company Limited (DGKC) was down by 2.00pc, Maple Leaf Cement Factory Limited (MLCF) by -2.27pc, Lucky Cement Limited (LUCK) by -1.56pc and Bestway Cement Limited (BWCL) by -2.18pc.

PM’s new visa regime to help uplift tourism, exports: PFC ISLAMABAD APP

Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC) has hailed Prime Minister Imran Khan's new visa regime and expressed hope that the new policy would attract foreign investors and tourists, besides giving impetus to the economic growth of the country on a long-term basis. "The influx of tourists would facilitate the hotel industry, which would subsequently provide many opportunities to the country's furniture sector," said PFC Chief Executive Mian Kashif Ashfaq in a statement on Thursday. He said despite huge potential, the tourism sector contributes only 3pc of the GDP, which is approximately $8 billion, adding that the industry is expected to grow to $10 billion by 2025. "Malaysia only has beach tourism and its industry

comprises of $20 billion, while Turkey, with beach and historical sites, generates $40 billion through tourism," he stated. "In comparison, Pakistan possesses a 700km coastal belt, ancient civilization such as Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, ancient civilized cities, including Lahore, Multan and Peshawar." He said the government's initiative of opening Kartarpur border would surely uplift the tourism industry, adding that these places can be developed to promote historical, religious tourism. "Pakistan is home to the world's most beautiful and scenic mountains located in Gilgit-Baltistan, Swat and Chitral, where adventurous tourism could be promoted," he said. “Visit Pakistan campaign would not only promote the soft image of Pakistan internationally but would help the country attract tourists from across the globe.” Ashfaq said that the furniture sector would also

benefit from the new visa policy as the influx of foreign investors and buyers would enable the local manufacturers to market their products to a wider audience. He said 'multiple business visa' to the businessmen of 96 countries within 24 hours is another good omen for the country's economy. “Pakistani furniture makers have a tremendous opportunity to capture the international market and compete with Indian manufacturers in terms of furniture exports,” he stated. “The government should give furniture and interior decoration the status of ‘industry’ besides announcing a package of incentives to local manufacturers so that they could enhance the volume of their exports to gain their significant share in international market.” He said PFC has already invited furniture manufacturers to support and find solutions to the pressing issues that hinder sustainability and growth.

Car manufacturers paid Rs2bn to consumers in one year, NA told ISLAMABAD SHAHZAD PARACHA

The car manufacturers have paid around Rs2 billion to consumers in the last one year owing to late delivery of vehicles. This was stated by the representatives of Honda and Toyota during a meeting of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance, which was held under the chair of MNA Faizullah on Thursday. The committee discussed in detail matters pertaining to charging of extra money from the consumers in the name of “own money” as well as late delivery of vehicles by the local manufacturers and assemblers. The Ministry of Industry and Produc-

tion joint secretary said the committee has been receiving complaints regarding late delivery of vehicles and that it is considering various options to curb this practice. "The auto policy bounds the manufacturers to provide vehicles within two months from the time of booking and if they failed to hand over the vehicle, then, according to the policy, manufacturers have to pay money up to @KIBOR+2," the ministry noted. A Federal Board of Revenue (administration) member disclosed that a Karachi-based dealer had booked 10,000 vehicles from a manufacturer during the last five years. "After collecting the required data, we have sent the notices to them. FBR's intelligence and investiga-

tion unit would give a detailed briefing in this regard in the next meeting,” he added. The representatives of Honda and Toyota informed the committee that they have paid around Rs2 billion to consumers on late delivery of vehicles. "We actually had an enormous clientele last year which is why we could not deliver the cars on time. We have enhanced our production capacity and our back orders have now reduced to 4,000. We can deliver the vehicles on 25 days production capacity,” they stated. The representatives said investors are creating an artificial shortage in the market only to benefit from the premium (own money) system. "We are working hard to get rid of the premium system

and in this regard, we are also investing money on awareness campaigns and workshops.” The committee chairman lamented that the quality of cars is deteriorating with the passage of time, adding that companies are not following the safety standards that are in place in the developed world. BenamI property and offshore accounts: The committee also discussed the matter of benami properties and offshore accounts. The FBR officials told the committee that they have completed the investigation against 400 people involved in Panama case but are unable to find the embezzled money. The department has provincially filed 15 cases worth Rs6.5

billion and the names in these cases have been kept secret. Committee member Ayesha Ghous Pashas asked the FBR officials about the other people listed in corruption cases as “we only receive information about the cases of politicians”. Refusing to share the details, the FBR chairman said the department has identified 8,000 people with benami transactions and it will confiscate the accounts if ownership of these accounts is not proved. The committee chairman expressed dismay over the briefing of the tax department, saying that he will summon a special meeting and call the representatives of other institutions who are investigating the cases.


Meet the SiSter duo behind PakSitan’S leading FeMale FitneSS MoveMent:

Mahlaqa and noor

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#FitaMMi By yumna Rehman

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ITaMMI is a joined campaign being run by aimFit Official, the most progressive and fastest growing name in fitness in Pakistan and Scaryammi, an innovative and exciting parenting/ mommy blog which has started to create waves by providing a virtual and on-ground community for mothers. The #Fitammi campaign is an initiative aimed to help mothers all over the country and across the world put their fitness first. "Studies after studies have shown that when women become mothers, they end up putting themselves second or third or last," said

ayesha Nasir, The Original Scaryammi and founder of the group Scaryammi. "Women need to prioritise their health and fitness because only healthy and fit moms can bring up healthy and happy kids." The need to emphasise on fitness has become a matter of great national urgency because the in-

Women need to include some kind of exercise or fitness routine into their daily lives," says Dr Shehla Akram, consultant nutritionist and doctor.

creasing rates of obesity in children as well as the early onset of diseases such as Diabetes and high Blood Pressure points to how unhealthy lifestyles and eating habits is creat-

ing a situation of crisis. "Women need to include some kind of exercise or fitness routine into their daily lives," says Dr Shehla akram, consultant nutritionist and doctor. "Every day I see women suffering health wise because they are not putting their health first." The concept behind #fitammi is also to make exercise fun. "One of the reasons so many women and especially mothers are not showing up to gyms and for workouts is because the exercise is not fun," said Mahlaqa Shaukat, CEO of aimFit. "at aimFit we have turned workouts into something exciting, thrilling and just plain fun. The era of boring workouts is over." aimFit offers a huge variety of workouts ranging from dance fitness classes to yoga flow to classes that focus on cardio and weights to a class focussed on helping women work with weights. "The aim at aimFit is always to make working out and being fit fun," said Noor ul hira Shaukat, the COO of aimFit. "That's why #fitammi will work. Because it's fun."

ahlaqa and Noor Shaukat, the two sisters behind aimFit returned to Pakistan with a mission. after studying at Oxford University, Mahlaqa and Noor decided that launching successful careers in london was no great feat. almost every Oxbridge graduate is able to grab a job and work for a prestigious firm in England. What is far less common is a celebrated graduate from one of the world's top universities returning to lahore, Pakistan, with a very clear mission: to make Pakistan fit and to launch an entire business based on encouraging women to move, burn calories and dance it off. "It was a revolutionary idea 4 years ago," said Mahlaqa Shaukat, the tech savvy, soft spoken CEO of aimFit, who held the first ever Dancefit class in her house. "at that time the idea of building a business based on fitness and that too women's fitness didn't seem probable." Noor Shaukat, the younger of the two, who is currently juggling mothering a 6 month old with work says fitness has always been a part of her and Mahlaqa's lives. "We came to fitness pretty early and rather young," she said. "Our household was always about clean eating and a good

fitness regime." Today both Noor and Mahlaqa are very different from the young graduates who launched aimFit 4 years ago. Today they are both married and mothers to a toddler in case of Mahlaqa and an infant for Noor. To make matters more complicated in their case, neither of the two live in lahore. Shattering all preconceived notions, both sisters have built an institution where all senior management is under women. Fitness for women, by women. For Mahlaqa and Noor Shaukat, aimFit is a lot more than just a business. It's a true family enterprise where their parents are the cheerleaders and the two sisters are the operational and creative face of the business. Their mission is to make Pakistani women the fittest in the world, focusing on all stages of a woman's life teenage years, early adulthood, motherhood, middle age and old age. Their firm belief is that more than anything women need to invest in their health and wellbeing for the future of Pakistan. an enlightened woman can change the course of her future generations. The first step towards enlightenment is simple - Just show up for a class and leave the rest to aimFit.

IDEAS PRET SHOWCASED THEIR FLORAL RAJ COLLECTION AT FPW Karachi: Ideas Pret, one of Pakistan’s leading high street brands, showcased their The Floral Raj collection at FPW on 13th March in Karachi. The Floral Raj is the latest collection from their Bespoke line, comprising of hand-worked luxury separates in pure silks, chiffon, cotton and organza. This formal collection consists of luxury eveningwear separates in a range of contemporary silhouettes. The collection moves from a subtle palette of dusky rose, ecru and white to soft and deep greys accented with gold and touches of jewel tones. The Floral Raj is based around the theme of Victorian Glasshouses meets Mughal art. The Victorian era was a time of great exuberance, exploration and experimentation. Victorian glasshouses brought hothouse luxuries into the realm of the affordable. Similarly Ideas Pret brings high fashion within the reach of a wider audience. The design team used linear architectural elements, Mughal figures and floral motifs to translate this concept into a wearable collection that is effortlessly stylish. The collection combines intricate embroidery and signature prints that draw inspiration from Mughal minia-

tures and linear architectural elements that represent Victorian glasshouses. Bugle beads, sequins pearls, and resham embellish detailed digital prints and textured or structured fabrics. Ideas Pret presented modern wraps, jackets,

statement destructured pants and stylized kaftans that are steeped in local craftsmanship and emulate the vibrance of the Victorian era. From peplums and corseted tops to voluminous sleeves, the

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silhouettes were redolent of the style of the period. Elegant east/west fusion silhouettes were delicately embellished in streamlined, chic pieces that can be mixed and matched in myriad ways. Perfect for the modern woman who appreciates the craft and heritage of the subcontinent. This bespoke Ideas Pret collection showcased both the embroidery techniques of their formal collections and the exceptional digital printing that is the hallmark of their everyday pret. The Floral Empire collection is part of the Bespoke line that will be available at flagship stores in selected locations across Pakistan, on an order-only basis. Founded in 2003, the Ideas by Gul ahmed is a premium pret retailer best known for their elaborate digital prints and exceptional quality. The pret label exclusively uses the unique fabric of their renowned parent brand, Gul ahmed and offers a range of pret ranging from daywear to formals. One of the first high street brands to offer the convenience of pret, Ideas by Gul ahmed is a household name in Pakistan. The brand has over 70 stores all over the country, located in prime shopping locations in most major towns and cities in Pakistan.


14 SPORTS

Friday, 15 March, 2019

Messi Mission on course after Masterclass against lyon BARCELONA

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IONEL Messi pledged at the start of the season to bring "that beautiful cup" back to the Camp Nou and on the evidence of Wednesday night, few would bet against him. Barcelona's 5-1 thrashing of Lyon in their Champions League last 16 second leg, a score that overlooked a nervy spell in the second half when the visitors were a goal from going through, in the end, was all about him. Messi scored twice, including once from the penalty spot, although it was no ordinary spot-kick, instead a delightful chip that hung in the air and plopped perfectly down the middle. There was a pair of assists too, for Gerard Pique and Ousmane Dembele, during a three-goal flurry in the final 12 minutes, with Messi leaving Lyon defenders sprawled to add a second of his own. "Almost everything went through Messi," said Lyon coach Bruno Genesio, whose team had held Barcelona to a 0-0 draw in the first leg. "When he is at that kind of level he is almost unstoppable. We did what we could." They restricted him to two goals, one short of Cristiano Ronaldo's hattrick that had sent Juventus through and Atletico Madrid crashing out in Turin

on Tuesday. Messi paid tribute. "Cristiano had a magical night," he said. The talk has been of a changing of the guard, after Real Madrid's European hegemony was ended by Ajax, and a new era, with Spain having only one side in the Champions League quarterfinals for the first time since 2010. But Messi and Ronaldo remain constant, the former now on 108 goals in the competition, behind the latter's imperious 124. Each still has the power to settle a tie on their own and those most ardent

in the debate about who is greater might be hoping for a Barca-Juve showdown when the draw for the quarter-finals is made on Friday. 'HE ALWAYS SURPRISES US': "Big players like Leo and Cristiano, they give you so much," said Pique. "Not just in results. Having Leo on your team makes you feel like you can face anything." Certainly, Barca will be amongst the two or three opponents that clubs will be keenest to avoid, with only Manchester City and perhaps Juve, because of Ronaldo, carrying the same sense of power and momentum.

Ernesto Valverde's team are not without weaknesses. Their defence, as proven against Lyon, is always susceptible while teams like Real Betis, Sevilla and Levante have laid a template for success in recent months, using speed on the counter-attack. But with a seven-point lead in La Liga, Valverde can afford to keep his players fresh while last year's collapse against Roma in the Champions League quarter-finals should mean complacency is out of the question. For Barcelona, domestic dominance has become the norm, meaning the Champions League is what will define their season, however unfair that assessment might be. "From all over Spain, this team is given little credit for what we do," said Jordi Alba on Wednesday. "The team has been consistent in all the competitions but the Champions League is decided by fine margins. We will try to do better." Messi perhaps feels that urge more than most and the 31-year-old, who has won the competition four times but only once since 2011, is playing like a man on a mission. "We are all extremely focused for this competition and Leo too," Valverde said. "He played an incredible match, extraordinary. He made assists, scored goals, won the ball back. "We are used to him, but somehow he always surprises us."

real Madrid secure 50 million-euro Militao from Porto MADRID AGENCIES

Real Madrid have clinched a deal to sign the Brazilian defender Eder Militao, 21, from Portuguese champions FC Porto from next season, the two clubs announced on Thursday. The centre-back is the Spanish giants' first signing since Zinedine Zidane returned to the club as coach for a second spell this week. Real said Militao would join on a four-year deal until 2025. Meanwhile, in a statement to the Portuguese stock exchange, Porto said Real had agreed to pay the player's release clause of 50 million euros ($56.5m), "effective at the end of the season". That will mean a significant profit for Porto on a player they signed last year from Sao Paulo in his homeland. Militao, who can also play at right-back and has been capped once by Brazil, reinforces a Real defence that has often been diminished by injuries this season. He is likely to be followed by several more new arrivals before the start of next season as Real prepare to rebuild following what has been a disappointing campaign.

'Dexit' worries in German football as Bayern complete Europe exit MUNICH AGENCIES

ronaldo football's greatest header: ex-ireland striker cascarino LONDON AGENCIES

Portugal and Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo is the greatest header in the history of football with an extraordinary range, according to former Ireland striker Tony Cascarino. Ronaldo, who has netted 123 headed goals in his career, scored with two headers to help Juventus come from behind and eliminate Atletico Madrid 3-2 on aggregate in the Champions League last-16 on Tuesday. Cascarino, who scored 103 goals in his career, many of which were towering headers, explained in his column in The Times how Ronaldo has converted himself from a tricky winger to a forward who excelled at headers inside the box. “Ronaldo is a class above anyone who has ever played the game. The range of headers he can score is extraordinary,” Cascarino wrote. “You’ll see flicked headers from a standing position, powerful leaps with power and precision, flicks at a near post after running across a defender... There are so many different varieties and he is brilliant at all of them.” Cascarino was most impressed with Ronaldo’s second goal against Atletico when he directed a header goalwards even though he was on the way down when he headed the ball. “(He) was almost falling to the ground when he connected with Joao Cancelo’s cross and thumped a header that Jan Oblak failed to keep out,” he said. “He was on the way down from his jump and still created so much power with his header.” Cascarino credits Ronaldo’s height, technique and physique which allows him to make a running jump that is 78 cm high, seven cm higher than the average basketball player in the NBA. “His body shape has changed a lot over the years and he has clearly spent a lot of time working on his upper body strength. This allows him to lift himself into the air... When he’s in the air, he’s not coming down quickly,” Cascarino added.

Michael Ballack says Bayern Munich's exit from the Champions League -- meaning not a single Bundesliga club survived the last 16 -- mirrors deeper problems within German football. "We (the German national team) went out of the World Cup early, were relegated in the League of Nations and the Champions League has ended for all German sides in the round of 16," the former Germany captain told Sky. "It's a clue we're not doing everything right, we must not try to explain that away with excuses." For the first time since 2006, there will be no German club in the quarter-finals and for the first time since 2011, Bayern have failed to advance past the Champions League's last 16. "A perfect Dexit" commented broadcaster RTL. The combination of Deutschland and exit sums up the national mood after Bayern -- the last German hope in the Champions League -- bowed out with a 31 defeat to Liverpool. A hard truth for a proud footballing nation is that in three last-16 matches between Premier League and Bundesliga clubs, English teams won every one. Bayern's 3-1 loss to Liverpool over two-legs, Dortmund's 4-0 defeat to Tottenham and Schalke's 102 mauling against Manchester City, including a 7-0 away thrashing at the Etihad on Tuesday, handed English teams a 17-3 aggregate victory over six games. Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp how-

ever rejected the notion that Premier League clubs are superior to Bundesliga sides after the Reds' convincing win in Munich on Wednesday. "Not all teams are better in the Premier League than in the Bundesliga," said Klopp. "But there are six, seven teams that would play in every league in the world, so that makes it a bit special." Klopp insisted that Schalke's 7-0 hammering by City "is not a barometer", that Dortmund had chances against Spurs despite their clear defeat, and that Bayern "could have gone through" after earning a goalless first leg at Anfield. "We are not better than Bayern, we are just difficult to play," he said. Despite Klopp's generous appraisal, Bayern's exit follows a declining trend, first signalled in 2017 when,

for the first time since 2004-05, no German sides made the Champions League or Europa League semifinals. Germany's top-selling newspaper Bild, like Ballack, linked Bayern's early exit in the knock-out stages to the national team's crash from first to 16th in the FIFA rankings over the last 12 months. "The fact is: German football is second rate internationally, 2020 must be better," the tabloid said. "As a reminder, in 2013 Bayern won the Champions League and in 2014, we became world champions. "In 2018, Germany flies out of the World Cup for the first time in the group stages and in 2019, there is no German club in the Champions League quarter-finals." The comment by Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge that "money does not score goals" has stirred debate in Germany. Debate rages over the "50+1" rule, which prevents a wealthy investor taking over a German club, making it impossible for Bundesliga sides to recruit bigmoney foreign backers. Germany's Under-17 and Under-19 teams no longer shine in international youth tournaments. 'HARD TO FIND TOP TALENT': The trend of young talented English players, starved of first-team football in the Premier League, being recruited by German clubs also hints at declining standards in Bundesliga academies. Dortmund's director of sport Michael Zorc feels English clubs have stolen a march.

'Resilience and fight': Australia target World Cup win after stunning India NEW DELHI AGENCIES

Buoyed by their come-from-behind oneday series triumph in India, skipper Aaron Finch believes resurgent Australia have the blueprint in place to win the upcoming World Cup. Despite missing banned batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner, Australia bounced back from a 0-2 deficit to clinch the series with a comfortable 35-run win in the final ODI in New Delhi on Wednesday. It was Australia's first ODI series win in India since 2009, when a Ricky Ponting-led side won a seven-match series 4-2, and follows humbling home Test and ODI series defeats against the same

opposition. "It's unbelievable, the resilience and fight that we showed," Finch said. "Being down 2-0 it would have been easy to roll over. Those small moments in the game, to just let them drift away and India win the series. "But the fight that we showed, we've had our backs against the wall for quite a while now so I'm really proud of the group." Australian cricket has suffered a torrid year since Smith, Warner and Cameron Bancroft were banned for balltampering during a Test last March, an incident that prompted a national outcry. Australia's Test series defeat in December to January was their first to India on home soil, and they also went down 2-1 to the visitors in a three-match ODI

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series. "People have written us off for quite a while now," said Finch. "We always knew that the plans and the style that we wanted to play are all there (and) can win us the World Cup," he added. LANGER'S SELECTION HEADACHE: Opener Usman Khawaja's second century of the series guided Australia to 272 for nine on Wednesday, a total their bowlers defended by dismissing India for 237. The left-handed batsman accumulated 383 runs in the five ODI games to top the series run chart ahead of India skipper Virat Kohli. Khawaja, who was named man of the series, said it was a sweet revenge after the home ODIs defeat to India early

this year. "It's huge. Just winning a series in India is huge. It's a tough place to come and play cricket, against a very good side," Khawaja said. "They beat us in Australia, so to come back from those first couple of losses and win three in a row to win the series is a great feeling." Adam Zampa took three wickets to lead Australia's bowling at Delhi's Feroz Shah Kotla ground. Pacemen Pat Cummins, Jhye Richardson and Marcus Stoinis also claimed two each. Ashley Turner, who made his ODI debut in the opening match of the series, hit a match-winning blitz of 84 not out in the fourth game to make a case for the World Cup squad.


SPORTS 15

Friday, 15 March, 2019

laMicHHane reflects on 'lifetiMe exPerience' in Pakistan

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FTER topping the bowling charts for Lahore Qalandars with 11 scalps at 17.18, Nepal legspinner Sandeep Lamichhane said that the challenge of bowling spin to subcontinental batsmen was his biggest takeaway from PSL 4. Lahore finished at the bottom of the table, with just three wins from 10 matches, but Lamichhane enjoyed a good season individually. His wicket-tally was the joint-highest, along with right-arm medium-pacer Haris Rauf, who had played three matches more. Lamichhane’s performance included a T20 career-best 4/10 against Quetta Gladiators in Dubai, where he ripped through the middle order to send Quetta packing for 106. “It’s always challenging to play T20 cricket, and more than that, batsmen in the subcontinent play spin well, so it was a double challenge,” he said. “I have to learn a lot of things to come good.” Lamichhane went on to call his week-long stay in Pakistan a “lifetime experience” and hoped that he would one day be able to return to the country as part of the Nepal team. International cricket has largely been at a standstill in Pakistan since 2009, with the country having hosted just 12 matches in the interim. “It was lovely to be here (in Karachi). I enjoyed my visit and would wait for another trip, whether for the PSL or with the Nepal team. It was a lifetime experience,” Lamichhane said. “I can’t wait to come back to Pakistan with the Nepal cricket team as I am sure more cricket will

gladiators’ fawad to undergo gum surgery SPORTS DESK

come to Pakistan. The fans were very passionate and deserved more cricket. We all felt at home and it’s really great news for Pakistan that we have played PSL matches here in Karachi.” Lamichhane hoped to be able to carry his form in domestic T20 cricket onto the international stage. Lamichhane is still fresh at the international level, but

has shown plenty of promise in his still infant career. His 15 ODI wickets have come at an average of 14.80 and he strikes once every 18 balls in T20Is. “I am sure Nepal is on their way to bigger cricket and I want to play my part in that,” he said. “I am doing the hard work and hope rewards will come with hard work.”

Quetta Gladiators bowler Fawad Ahmed will undergo a gum surgery as he was smashed in the face by a returning straight drive from Imamul Haq in the qualifier match against Peshawar Zalmi on Wednesday. Gladiators qualified for the final of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) for the third time in four years after beating Peshawar Zalmi by 10 runs in front of a packed National Stadium Karachi crowd. Their victory, however, was somewhat marred by Fawad’s injury as he had to be taken to a hospital for treatment after losing his front tooth. The Pakistan-born Australian cricketer will be implanted with a new tooth and is expected to recover in time for the final on March 17. “Fawad is to undergo gum surgery around his front teeth. He lost his tooth last night (new tooth being implanted). @TeamQuetta is confident that he will play the final on March 17,” ESPNcricinfo journalist Umar Farooq Kalson tweeted.

Watson on batting form, last over, PSL atmosphere SPORTS DESK

LAHORE: R Omer Ashfaq, captain of ABL B City Region, receives trophy from Allied Bank B CEO Mr Tahir Hassan Qureshi at the occasion of Allied Family Festival Cricket Tournament. PR

Former Australia all-rounder and World Cup winner Shane Watson is an excited man, having guided his Quetta Gladiators to the final of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) he hopes the elusive title comes their way. Watson smashed a cracking 71 with five boundaries and half a dozen sixes off just 43 balls to steer his team to an imposing 186 for six before he defended 21 in the last over to give his team a 10-run win over arch-rivals Peshawar Zalmi in the Qualifier on Wednesday. “It is really exciting,” said Watson. “That was something you had wished before the start of the tournament, you always wanted to get through to the final and give yourself a chance of winning the title.” Quetta have been on the losing side in the final twice, losing to Islamabad United in 2016 and to Peshawar in 2017. Watson said the group of players were skillful

and that made the final spot possible. “For me, it’s no surprise that we have been able to make it to the final because we have some matchwinners in the team,” said Watson, who leads the run-chart with 423 runs in 11 matches. Umar Akmal (277), Rilee Rossouw (256 in 11 matches) and Ahmed Shehzad (253 in seven matches) are the other batsmen who are supporting the batting. Watson, who had not bowled since last year’s IPL in India, said the decision to bowl the last over came off well. “I think it was more Sarfaraz’s decision than mine,” said Watson of the last over. “I have not bowled for a few months. I had strained my calf and that was the reason I was not bowling and concentrating on my batting towards the end of my career. “It worked up very well. You don’t have such nights when things go your way. Sohail Tanvir and Dwayne Bravo bowled well and it came down to me. It worked out well, but I am not sure that I will bowl another over again.”

The city of lights has lit up with PSL KARACHI AGENCIES

Psl closing ceremony to pay tribute to nazia Hassan LAHORE STAFF REPORT

Singer Zoheb Hassan, brother of late Pakistani pop queen Nazia Hassan, has confirmed that the closing ceremony of the fourth and on-going season of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), which is scheduled to be held on March 17, will feature the duo’s hits like Disco Deewane and Dosti. The former pop star took to Twitter on Tuesday to make the announcement. Earlier, a controversy had arisen when CokeStudio fame singer Aima Baig sang Disco Deewane at the PSL opening ceremony on February 14 and Zoheb quickly observed that the track was used without his prior permission. The former pop star also took to social media to accuse the PSL administration of copyright infringement. However, later on, Zoheb ironed out the issue with the PSL administration.

The official capacity of the National Stadium is around 32,400. Since the Pakistan-leg matches of the Pakistan Super League 2019 have moved to Karachi, the glamorous city of lights, five matches have been played and each match has seen almost a fullhouse. Same is the story for the remaining three matches, including the 17 March final (Eliminator 2, 15 March and Final sold-out). What a great story it is for the game, a proud nation, and the league, which has become one of the most followed leagues in the world in a very short span of time. The Pakistan-leg matches started on Saturday and even on working days of Monday and Wednesday, people thronged the stadium and created a buzz which has matched last year’s final in the city of the Father of the Nation. The Government of Sindh had declared the PSL days as “Festival of cricket” and as soon as the teams started to descend on the city from March 6, the festival began. All the teams have been warmly greeted and well looked after, something which has been acknowledged, applauded and appreciated by all the players. “I love cricket”, was the theme of these matches with walls and hoardings spreading the message throughout the nook and corner of the city. Life-size

cut-outs of most of the famous cricketers from all six teams adorned the city, leading up to the National Stadium. The refurbished National Stadium stands have given a wonderful look with some parts filled with the supporters of one team and the other with the rival teams, supporters have chanted slogans to back their players and teams all in an incredibly friendly manner. The spectators, dressed in all sorts of stunning and attractive attires, have been dancing to the rocking music tunes and enjoying to the core, and time and again reflecting their love for cricket, peace, solidarity and one sport one nation philosophy. “I am hugely impressed with the

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changes at the National Stadium,” PCB Managing Director Wasim Khan said, adding“The fans are symbolic of the vibrancy and passion of the real Pakistan - they are the lifeblood of the game. They have turned up in their thousands from all over the country, to support their teams. There is no clearer message to the world with regards to what the PSL and cricket in general means to the nation.” “This is highly enjoyable,” said Sameena Ahmed, a student of near-by Economics College who had come with her parents. “I went to see Shahid Afridi’s match and had a lifetime experience when he came close to our stand and I got a selfie with him. These are wonderful moments of our lives as

cricket has come back to our city in a big way.” When action began on Saturday evening, the crowd at the National Stadium was at its feet and got their money’s worth when South Africa’s Cameroon Delport hit the second century of the season four off just 49 balls. The local boy Asif Ali further enthralled the crowd with a quickfire 17ball half-century during his knock of 55 not out laced with half a dozen sixes. The buzz on Sunday was even more enchanting as local team Karachi Kings outlasted Quetta Gladiators by one-run in a last-ball thriller. Fans were on the edges of their seats, chanting “Karachi, Karachi” in a cacophony with high-pitch music creating an atmosphere which people had not witnessed for years. It reached a crescendo when fast bowler Usman Shinwari defended three off the last ball. Home team's one-runwin was celebrated throughout the city as if they had won the league. All the 43 foreign players who are in Karachi were amazed, if not spellbound. “It was amazing,” said Karachi's vice-captain Colin Ingram. “I have not seen such scenes before and enjoyed the moment to the hilt.” Australia’s all-rounder Shane Watson must have realized what he had missed by not coming to Pakistan for the last two PSL seasons in 2017 and 2018. This time around, he changed his mind and admitted he was caught up in the love of the game.


Friday, 15 March, 2019

NEWS ispr dG advises citizens against wearing military gear at psL The Pakistani military’s chief spokesman has advised spectators against donning military gear at Sunday’s final of the 2019 Pakistan Super League (PSL). In a tweet on Thursday, Major General Asif Ghafoor, the director general of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), noted that Pakistani fans wanted to show up at the PSL finale wearing military-style caps and shirts. This would be seen as a response to the Indian cricket team’s move to wear camouflage caps in a recent ODI against Australia, which Pakistan has vehemently criticised. But Maj Gen Ghafoor reminded such citizens that “Sports are beyond politics”. “Pak Armed Forces humbly acknowledge your love [and] support,” he wrote, adding that the bond between the people and armed forces of the country was “beyond such gestures alone”. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had lodged a protest with the International Cricket Council (ICC) after the Indian cricket team last week wore camouflage caps during their third ODI match against Australia “as [a] mark of tribute to the loss of lives in Pulwama terror attack and the armed forces”. sPORTs Desk

saudi rejects call for int’l probe of Khashoggi murder Saudi Arabia on Thursday reiterated its rejection of calls for an international, independent investigation into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, insisting it was well equipped to bring the perpetrators to justice. The head of a Saudi delegation speaking before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva insisted that his country was taking all the “measures required for us to resolve this heinous crime”. Bandar Al-Aiban, who heads Saudi Arabia’s human rights commission, stressed though that any calls to “internationalise” the investigation “amount to an interference in our domestic affairs”. Aiban was in Geneva presenting his country’s response to a review of its rights record before the council last November, during which it faced a barrage of criticism from countries over the Khashoggi murder. His presentation came after 36 countries last week issued a joint statement demanding justice following the killing, in an unprecedented rebuke of the oil-rich kingdom at the rights council. Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor and critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. Saudi Arabia initially said it had no knowledge of his fate. It has since blamed rogue agents for Khashoggi’s death and the kingdom’s public prosecutor has charged 11 people over his murder. Agencies

facebook suffers biggest outage in years, triggers moans and soul searching SILICon VALLEY Agencies

Facebook grappled Thursday with a widespread outage, forcing millions of people to taste life without the world’s largest social media platform. It was probably the last thing Facebook needed as it stumbles from problem to problem, including outrage over its use of customers’ private data. The outage began Wednesday afternoon and triggered a flood of gripes on downdetector.com, which tracks trouble accessing online pages, and on rival Twitter. A Downdetector map late Wednesday showed Facebook service troubles persisting in parts of Australia, Asia, Europe, South America and North America. As of early Thursday, the problem remained in parts of Europe and Asia, although moaning from America and elsewhere kept coming. “You guys should look in the mirror at yourselves and hear how you sound,” a person with the handle Johanna wrote on Downdetector around 0745 GMT. “You make it sound as if it’s the end of the world just because you can’t be on Facebook.

ChinA defends position on MAsood AzhAr BEIJInG

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HINA on Thursday defended its position on the issue of Masood Azhar, urging the relevant parties to get it resolved through dialogue and consultation in order to avoid further complication in the matter. On China’s move placing a technical suspension on the application of the United Nations Security Council’s 1267 Committee to Masood, a spokesperson of the Chinese foreign ministry said, “The 1267 Committee has clear rules on the listing procedures of terrorist organisations or individuals.” “The Chinese side is conducting a comprehensive and in-depth evaluation of the listed applications submitted by the countries concerned, and it will take more time, so it proposes a technical suspension.” “This is in line with the rules of procedure of the 1267 Committee. China hopes that the relevant actions

of the 1267 Committee will help the countries concerned to resolve the issue through dialogue and consultation and avoid adding complicated factors to regional peace and stability,” the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said. The spokesperson clarified that

in the 1267 Committee, the Chinese side suspended the listing of Masood, aiming to gain more time for the committee’s research and the next parties to negotiate and create a good atmosphere. In the long run, it will help ease regional tensions and maintain regional stability.

Mullah Baradar optimistic about peace, tries to reassure Afghans KABUL Agencies

The Taliban political chief, who headed the delegation during the most recent round of peace talks with the United States, said on Thursday that he was optimistic and assured Afghans that they had no reason to fear a settlement. The latest round of talks in Qatar lasted 16 days and finished on Tuesday, with officials from both sides saying that progress had been made, but there was no agreement on when foreign troops might be withdrawn. “We are very hopeful for the peace talks, because the latest round had some good dialogues which paved the way to more progress regarding peace in the future,” Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar said in an eight-minute audiotape of an interview conducted by the Taliban and posted online. Making his first public comments since his release last year from a Pakistan prison, Baradar sought to reassure Afghans who have worried that

peace with the Taliban could herald the return of its hardline values. “If (Afghans) think of us like brothers I trust in God that all the problems will be solved,” Baradar said, speaking in Pashto. “I ask all our countrymen to be sure there is no need to worry. Everyone will be treated very well,” he added. During their time in power from 1996-2001, the Taliban banned music and girls’ education and carried out public executions in Kabul’s football stadium. Fatefully, they also allowed Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda to establish a base in the country. The Taliban’s role in Afghanistan after a possible peace settlement has not been defined and the group has refused to meet with the government led by President Ashraf Ghani, regarding it as illegitimate. At the end of the latest round of talks, US negotiators said progress was made over the eventual withdrawal of foreign troops, and on assurances from the Taliban that they would not allow their homeland to be used again by foreign militant groups to mount terrorist attacks in other countries.

British MPs vote overwhelmingly against 2nd Brexit referendum London Agencies

MPs have voted by 412 to 202 for Prime Minister Theresa May to ask the EU for a delay to Brexit. It means the UK may not now leave on 29 March as previously planned. Mrs May says Brexit could be delayed by three months, to 30 June, if MPs back her withdrawal deal in a vote next week. If they reject her deal again then she says she will seek a longer extension - but any delay has to be agreed by the 27 other EU member states. A spokesman for the European Commission said extending Article 50, the mechanism taking the UK

out of the EU on 29 March, would need the "unanimous agreement" of all states. And it would be for the leaders of those states "to consider such a request, giving priority to the need to ensure the functioning of the EU institutions and taking into account the reasons for and duration of a possible extension". Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was "in constant contact with all leaders," the spokesman added. MPs earlier rejected an attempt to secure another Brexit referendum by 334 votes to 85. And they also rejected a cross-party plan to allow MPs to take control of the Brexit process to hold a series of votes on the next steps by the narrow margin of two votes.

Asif Ali takes United to second PSL eliminator Hard-hitting batsman Asif Ali took Islamabad United to victory in the first eliminator of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) season four against Karachi Kings on Thursday at the National Stadium Karachi. Ali struck a 10-ball 24 to see his team home. There were useful contributions from Hussain Talat (32), Cameron Delport (38) and Alex Hales (41), but the joy of taking one's team across the line belonged to Asif. His pivotal role during the death overs while facing Muhammad Aamir, Usman Khan Shinwari and Aamir Yameen proved decisive in the game.

United successfully chased down a target of 162 set by Imad Waseem-led Karachi Kings in the last over. Kings' Umer Khan took 2-16 in the losing cause. Fast bowling sensation Muhammad Musa with his three-for-42 restricted the feared Karachi Kings batting attack to 161 in the must-win match. Kings started with a fiery start courtesy knocks by Babar Azam (42) and Colin Munro (32). But all it required was a breakthrough by Musa who took Munro's wicket to halt the building momentum. Livingstone and Ingram provided

brief middle-order support but were soon taken down by Shadab Khan and Musa respectively. The in-form batsman Ingram scored 23 off 16 before leaving the crease. Faheem Ashraf picked two wickets in the death overs to ensure no substantive resistance emerges from the lower-order. Rumman Raees and Shadab Khan picked one wicket each. United will now face Peshawar Zalmi in the second eliminator on March 15 (Friday). The winner of this match will face Quetta Gladiators in the final on March 17 (Sunday). sPORTs

Published by Arif Nizami at Plot No 79, Sector 24, Korangi Industrial Area Karachi. Ph: 021-35381208-9. Email: newsroom@pakistantoday.com.pk

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The statement said, “A solution that is acceptable to all parties is a fundamentally sustainable solution. China is willing to continue to strengthen communication and coordination with relevant parties including India and properly handle this issue.” China said it will continue to communicate and coordinate with relevant parties in a constructive and responsible manner and properly handle this issue. On Wednesday, China put on hold a request by Britain, France and the United States to add Jaish-eMohammad (JeM) leader Masood Azhar to the UN terror blacklist, diplomats said. It was the third time that the UN Security Council was considering a resolution to put Azhar on the UN sanctions blacklist, which would subject him to a global travel ban and assets freeze. Before this, China has twice blocked — in 2016 and 2017 — attempts to impose sanctions on the JeM chief. The group itself was added to the terror list in 2001.

'31 al Qaeda militants' killed in Afghanistan airstrikes GHAZnI Agencies

Thirty-one militants, many of them believed to have been Al-Qaeda fighters, have been killed in airstrikes in southeastern Afghanistan, officials said Thursday. The strikes were carried out in Ghazni province late Wednesday, where the defence ministry said they targeted a “base” belonging to the militants. “Qari Aref, one of the facilitators (for Al-Qaeda) was transferring these 31 terrorists, including nine suicide bombers, in several cars when targeted by airstrikes and eliminated,” the ministry said. It described the fighters as all belonging to the Middle Eastern militant group, although a spokesperson for the Ghazni governor said fighters from the Talibanaffiliated Haqqani network were also present. The defence ministry did not specify who carried out the airstrikes. Only Afghan and US forces in Afghanistan conduct airstrikes. The Ghazni governor’s spokesperson, Mohammed Aref Noori, said the strikes had been carried out by US forces, but there was no immediate confirmation of his claim. Al-Qaeda is still believed to be active in parts Afghanistan and Pakistan, where some of its surviving leadership such as Ayman al-Zawahiri are thought to be hiding. While still regarded as a threat by Afghan and US officials, the group has not been able to conduct major attacks in Afghanistan or repeat the spectacular success of the September 11, 2001 attacks by hijacked airliners on New York and Washington.

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