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Friday, 17 May, 2019 I 11 Ramzan-ul-Mubarak, 1440 I Rs 17.00 I Vol IX No 318 I 16 Pages I Karachi Edition

Our hands were tied, gOvt says On iMF deal g


Pm’S finAnce AdviSer SAyS foreign excHAnge reServeS HAd fAllen below $10bn So govt HAd to borrow from imf


HAfeez SAyS fund will give PAkiStAn $6bn on low-intereSt rAte, wHile $2-3bn will be borrowed from Adb, wb

fIqAH-e-HAnfIA lAHoRe seHR: 3:31 AM IftAR: 6:54 PM

IslAMAbAd seHR: 3:28 AM IftAR: 7:04 PM

KARACHI seHR: 4:21 AM IftAR: 7:11 PM

fIqAH-e-jAfARIA lAHoRe seHR: 3:21 AM IftAR: 7:14 PM

SAyS budget will be Announced by Second week of June

IslAMAbAd seHR: 3:18 AM IftAR: 7:14 PM

KARACHI seHR: 4:11 AM IftAR: 7:21 PM

dollar touches all-time high of rs148 STORY ON BACK PAGE

After PPP, PML-N also set to launch anti-govt movement g

ouSted Pm nAwAz SHArif tellS PArty leAderS to PlAn StrAtegy for ProteStS AgAinSt riSing inflAtion After eidul fitr

KARACHI: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Hafeez Sheikh addresses a press conference at Governor House. p i d




he government had no other option but to take few “important and tough decisions” to improve the economy after Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves fell below $10 billion, said Prime Minister’s Adviser on Finance Abdul hafeez Sheikh on Thursday. Addressing a press conference, the newlyinducted finance adviser said the government’s decision to strike a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was also a part of the difficult decisions, taken to rescue the economy. The adviser said through this agreement Pakistan will get six billion dollars on low interest rate from the IMF while we would also

get two to three billion dollars from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. “The economic growth is meagre compared to inflation,” he admitted, adding that the government was trying to increase employment opportunities and wages for the employed class. Talking about the impending budget announcement, he said: “The budget has been made bearing in mind the difficulties being faced by the people and the government would try to put the least amount of burden in terms of taxation [on poor] as well as curb expenditure.” The finance adviser said that the government would allocate around Rs 800 billion for the development programmes in the next budget while the allocation for social security program will be increased to Rs 180 billion which is Rs 100 billion at present.

“No new taxes worth mentioning are being added, the federal budget will be announced by June’s second week,” said Sheikh. Sheikh added that they were trying to make the country more viable to new business opportunities and investments, adding losses to the economy can be minimised by curbing expenditures. “People are well aware of our will and determination,” Sheikh opined.


imf bailout package — rescue or trap for Pakistan? STORY ON BACK PAGE

Nine suspected militants killed in Mastung

zardari says won’t appear before nAb again STORIES ON PAGES 02 & 03

Renowned artist Jamil Naqsh passes away STORY ON BACK PAGE more stories on page 02

lHc acquits 2 men convicted for lynching kot radha kishan christian couple

At least 20 injured in blast inside Sadiqabad bank STORIES ON BACK PAGE CMYK

Azad Kashmir student martyred in unprovoked cross-border firing by India

Friday, 17 May, 2019





ORMER president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday told accountability officials that the bank accounts being termed fake by them were actually ‘business’ accounts and that “everyone in Pakistan has black money”. The PPP supremo reportedly said this during his investigation in the Harish and Company probe, which is one of the three references related to the mega money laundering and fake bank accounts case. According to informed sources, Zardari got agitated during his one-and-a-half hour-long questioning and reportedly told National Accountability Bureau (NAB) officials led by NAB Rawalpindi Director General Irfan Mangi that this would be his

last appearance before the anti-graft body. “This will be my last appearance before NAB. Either NAB will be left standing or Pakistan’s economy,” Zardari was quoted as having said during his questioning. The PPP supremo went on to claim that “everyone in the country holds business accounts and has black money”. The sources claimed that the PPP chief was given a questionnaire regarding three ongoing corruption investigations against him and summoned him again on May 23. During questioning, Zardari was asked about the funds handed over to Harish & Company for a water project allegedly used to meet the expenses of Naudero House. He was also grilled about suspicious transactions involving Rs8 billion. The NAB team also asked him about the alleged payment of Rs1 billion for the Opal 225 property. Talking to reporters after the investigation, Zardari’s lawyer

pM approves rs100 billion for youth programme Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday approved Rs100 billion for ‘Kamyab Jawan Programme’ in a meeting with Special Assistant on Youth Affairs Usman Dar. During the meeting, the prime minister said the program will generate opportunities to empower youth and employments and the government will make all-out efforts for welfare of the young generation as its role cannot be neglected for the development of the country. “Millions of youth will get benefit and it will help them to fulfill their dreams,” said Usman Dar. Dar said that the project was devised in view of development of youth and PM Khan has issued directives for its early initiation. He added that the program will be formally launched after its final approval from the federal cabinet. Skilled youth will be given loans through start-up programmes according to the initiative which also includes economic empowerment, internships and green youth movement. NEWS DESK

aJK student martyred in unprovoked cross-border firing by India A young student lost his life in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Wednesday in an unprovoked ceasefire violation from across the Line of Control (LoC) by Indian forces. Umar Subhani, a 20-year-old BSc student, was said to be preparing iftar in the courtyard of his house in Danna Baroh village when Indian troops shot him with small arms fire, said Mubashar Mushtaq, a disaster management officer in Bhimber district. Danna Baroh village is situated in close proximity to the LoC in Samahni subdivision of Bhimber district. On Tuesday, India requested Pakistan Army to stop artillery firing along the LoC after continuous warmongering following the Pulwama attack. As per details, during the recent tensions, Pakistan Army inflicted heavy losses to India. Sources said that 34 Indian armed forces personnel had been killed on February 28 in an exchange of artillery and India had to change their gun positions. NEWS DESK

Indian troops martyr five in occupied Kashmir SRINAGAR: Indian troops on Thursday martyred five Kashmiri youth in Pulwama and Baramulla districts of the occupied Kashmir. The troops also destroyed a residential house during a cordon and search operation (CASO) in Dalipora area of Pulwama district. Earlier, one Indian soldier was killed and two others were critically injured in an attack by unidentified attackers in the same locality. The operation was going on till the last report came in. Following the killing of the youth, massive clashes between protesters and Indian forces’ personnel were reported from the area. APP


Farooq H Naek said his client had nothing to do with Harish & Company and he was summoned by NAB even though his name was not even mentioned in its reference. Speaking about the Park Lane Estate inquiry, Naek said Zardari was neither its director nor its shareholder. “The Park Lane Estate mortgaged its own property and obtained a loan,” he added. The lawyer maintained that Zardari was not even aware that the directors of the Park Lane Estate had mortgaged its property and came to know about it through the joint investigation team’s report. In fact, he added, the former president had moved the court against the directors. “This [implicating Zardari] is nothing but political victimisation.” Naek said NAB had not handed over any questionnaire to his client. “It’s easy to level allegations but difficult to prove them,” he remarked. Speaking on the Opal 225 property, the lawyer said his

client was neither a director nor a shareholder and the project was executed through a civil agreement. He also said Zardari was falsely accused of receiving Rs30 million through a fake account. According to Naek, no questionnaire had been handed to Zardari. On Wednesday, IHC granted interim bail to former president Asif Ali Zardari in six corruption cases that are being probed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) besides extending his bail in Park Lane and fake accounts cases till June 12 and May 22. According to reports, the high court granted him interim bail in the money laundering case until May 30 and while his bail against the surety bond of Rs 500,000 in Opal 225 property was approved till June 12. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman, who is accused of taking vehicles from Tosha Khana and paying their import duties from fake accounts,

LHC acquits two men convicted for lynching Kot Radha Kishan Christian couple LaHore STAFF REPORT

The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday acquitted two men convicted for the 2014 burning alive of a Christian couple in Kot Radha Kishan. Shahzad and Shama Masih were burned alive in a brick kiln by a frenzied lynch mob ─ incited by announcements made from mosques in the area ─ ranging between 400-1,000 people for their alleged role in the desecration of the Holy Quran in Nov 2014. Both husband and wife were brick kiln workers, and the woman, a mother of three, was pregnant at the time. Police had registered a case against 660 villagers after the incident. In 2015, an anti-terrorism court had indicted 106 suspected in the lynching. In Nov 2016,

the ATC sentenced five men ─ identified as Mehdi Khan, Riaz Kambo, Irfan Shakoor, Muhammad Hanif, and local prayer leader Hafiz Ishtiaq ─ to two counts of death for their involvement in the burning alive of the couple. Eight others were also charged with involvement in the lynching and sentenced to two years each in prison. Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan headed a twojudge bench hearing appeals filed by Muhammad Hanif and Hafiz Ishtiaq against the ATC’s 2016 verdict. The appeals of three other convicts — Mehdi Khan, Riaz Kamboh and Irfan Shakoor — were dismissed by the court, which upheld their death sentences. The lawyer for the convicts appealed to the court against the punishment handed to them by the ATC, saying that

the court had given its verdict without taking the law into consideration. He said that all the convicts had been nominated at a later stage in the case and pleaded for their acquittal. The state prosecutor argued that there was solid evidence against all the convicts and requested the court to scrap the appeal. The court subsequently acquitted two of the convicts, while upholding the ATC’s earlier verdict on the appeals of three of the convicts. A detailed judgement in the case is awaited. A mob of around 400 people lynched Shahzad and Shama for their alleged role in desecrating the Holy Quran in November 2014. Both husband and wife were brick kiln workers from Chak-59 of Kot Radha Kishan, a town in Kasur district. The woman, mother of three, was pregnant.

was also granted interim bail in the case till June 20. In a probe pertaining to suspicious transactions, Zardari’s interim bail was extended until May 21. In a probe pertaining to Harish and Company, the court adjourned the hearing until May 30. THE CASE: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is investigating more than 30 people in relation to money laundering from fictitious accounts, including Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur. Zardari’s close aide Hussain Lawai was arrested in July 2018 in connection with the probe. The former president’s other close aide and Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed a close aide and Omni Group chairman and his son, Abdul Ghani, were arrested by FIA in August 2018. Several ‘benami’ accounts at multiple private banks were opened in 2013, 2014 and 2015 from where transactions worth billions of rupees were made, according to sources.

Our hands were tied, govt says on IMF deal Continued from page 01 He blamed previous governments for the precarious economic situation, saying when the Pakistan Tehreeke-Insaf (PTI) came to power the country was reeling under the “debt of Rs 31,000 billion, including external debt of Rs 97 billion”. Touching upon the appointment of Reza Baqir as the new the State Bank governor, the adviser said he was a well-recognised economist. MEETING WITH BUSINESSMEN: In a separate meeting with businessmen and traders in Karachi, he tried to take the nation into confidence over the imminent hike in power and gas tariffs, saying the hike won’t affect 40 per cent of the consumers. “A user consuming 300 or less units will not be affected by any new taxes that might be imposed,” said the adviser in allusion to hike in power prices. Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Shabbar Zaidi and Sindh Governor Imran Ismail were also present on the occasion. He said the government was looking to borrow $2-3 billion from the World Bank and Asian development bank in addition to the $6bn IMF bailout package. Hafeez Shaikh has said the country’s economy would be improved after implementation of the IMF programme. On this occasion, FBR chief Zaidi said that the amnesty scheme was fully supported by the business community who declared it to be the in the best interest of the country. Clarifying his stance on the KASB merger case, which also implicates him, the chairman claimed that he was not named in the case at all.

HIV outbreak sparks panic in Larkana’s Ratodero ratodero AGENCIES

Parents nervously watch as their children wait to be tested for HIV in a Ratodero near Larkana district, where hundreds of people have been allegedly infected by a doctor using a contaminated syringe. Health officials say more than 400 people, many of them children, have tested HIV positive in recent weeks as experts warn of a surge in infection rates across country, due to the use of unsanitary equipment and rampant malpractice — often at the hands of quack doctors. Anger and fear continue to swell in the desperately poor village hit hard by the epidemic, which authorities say could be linked to either gross negligence or malicious intent by a local pediatrician. “They are coming by the dozens,” says a doctor at the makeshift clinic, beset by

a lack of equipment and personnel to treat the surging number of patients. Mukhtar Pervez waits anxiously to have her daughter tested, worrying a recent fever may be linked to the outbreak. For others, their worst fears have already become a reality. Nisar Ahmed arrived at the clinic in a furious search for medicine after his one-year-old daughter tested positive three days earlier. “I curse [the doctor] who has caused all these children to be infected,” he says angrily. Nearby Imam Zadi accompanies five of her children to be examined after her grandson tested positive. “The entire family is so upset,” she says. Others worry their children’s futures have been irreparably harmed after contracting HIV, especially in a country whose masses of rural poor have little understanding of the disease or access to treatment. “Who is she going to play with? And when she’s


grown up, who would want to marry her?” asks a tearful mother from a nearby village, who asked not to named, of her four-year-old daughter who just tested positive. With about 20,000 new HIV infections reported in 2017 alone, Pakistan currently has the second fastest growing HIV rates across Asia, according to the UN. “According to some government reports, around 600,000 quack doctors are operating across the country and around 270,000 are practicing in the province of Sindh,” said UNAIDS in a statement. Provincial health officials have also noted that patients are at particular risk of contracting diseases or viruses at these clinics, where injections are often pushed as a primary treatment option. “For the sake of saving money, these quacks will inject multiple patients with a single syringe. This could be the main cause of the spread

of HIV cases,” said Sikandar Memon, provincial programme manager of the Sindh Aids Control Programme. The large number of unqualified doctors along with the “reuse of syringes, unsafe blood transfusions, and other unsafe medical practices” have all led to the spike in HIV cases in recent years, explains Bushra Jamil, an expert on infectious diseases at the Aga Khan University in Karachi. “Rampant medical malpractices without any effective checks and balances are causing repeated outbreaks in Pakistan,” said Jamil. Authorities investigating the outbreak in Sindh say the accused doctor has also tested positive for HIV. From a ramshackle jail cell in the nearby city of Ratodero, he denied the charges and accusations he knowingly injected his patients with the virus, while complaining of being incarcerated with common criminals.

Friday, 17 May, 2019





USTED prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday gave the goahead to his party’s leaders and supporters to launch an anti-government movement over rising inflation and devaluation of the rupee against the US dollar after Eidul Fitr, a day after former president Asif Zardari announced a similar movement against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government. According to reports, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo gave the directions during a meeting with party leaders who called on him at the Kot Lakhpat Jail where he is serv-

ing a seven-year jail term in the AlAzizia case. Informed sources said that Nawaz directed the PML-N leadership to convene a meeting to work out a strategy in this regard. Sources said that Nawaz Sharif will be given a briefing on the nature of the agitation drive by party leaders during their next meeting with him. PML-N stalwart and former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has been tasked to convene meetings of the party’s central and provincial leadership. Talking to the party leaders, Sharif said the PML-N will no longer remain silent over soaring inflation. “The government’s attitude towards the people is unacceptable at any cost,” he said. He said he became worried after going through news reports

about inflation and the appreciation of the dollar against the rupee. Sharif also felicitated the newly-appointed party leaders and directed the party’s central and provincial leaders to become a voice of the people reeling under skyrocketing prices of essential items and inflation. He said the incumbent government has no intention to give any relief to the masses. Unfortunately, foreign currency is unavailable in the open market, he lamented, adding that the previous PML-N government had stablised the rupee-dollar parity and brought the country on a path of progress. In a tweet after meeting with her father, Maryam Nawaz said Nawaz Sharif is “leader of the masses.” She said the PML-N supremo was “more con-

cerned about the rapid economic deterioration & the common man’s ordeal than his frail health.” “PML-N must respond to the aspirations of the masses, stand with them & become their voice,” Maryam quoted him as having said. Earlier, upon arrival at Kot Lakhpat jail, she tweeted: “Entering Kotlakhpat jail to meet MNS. Will convey your good wishes & prayers Insha’Allah. God bless you all.” On Wednesday, former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Zardari had said that his party is planning to launch an organised movement against the PTI government over rising inflation after Eidul Fitr. “The National Accountability Bureau and the economy cannot run together,” said the former president while speaking to reporters outside the Islamabad High Court. In a comment on PTI’s amnesty scheme, the ex-president said it was no different than past schemes.


As tensions between Iran and the United States continue to increase, Pakistan has asked the United States and Iran to show restraint and resolve their issues through negotiations. Commenting on the US-Iran tensions at his weekly news briefing on Thursday, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said the recent developments in the Persian Gulf were “disturbing”. He said the US decision to deploy aircraft carrier and bombers added to the tension and the existing precarious security situation in the Middle East, warning any miscalculated move can transmute into a large scale conflict. Condemning the Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir, the spokesperson said the region has been turned into a military camp where people are under siege facing injustice, harassment and barbarism. He said India should stop misleading inter-


national community on Kashmir dispute and accept the ground realities and aspirations of the people of Kashmir. He said India cannot crush the freedom movement through its hostilities. He also expressed concerns over illegal detention of Hurriyat leaders and demanded their release at the earliest. When asked about Samjhauta Express incident, the spokesperson said that Pakistan has raised this issue at all the important forums and also protested with India over the release of the culprits. He said about forty-two Pakistani people were martyred in the incident. The spokesperson said Pakistan is ready to hold dialogue with India on all issues including the core dispute of Jammu and Kashmir. He said the UAE government has decided to release 572 Pakistani prisoners languishing in their jails. He said our mission in the UAE is in touch with the UAE authorities in order to expedite their release and deportation. Responding to a question, the spokesperson said we will also

Quetta blast toll reaches five QUETTA: The death toll of Satellite Town blast in Quetta has reached five after another wounded cop succumbed to his injuries on Thursday. The deceased police official identified as Malik Abid who was under medical treatment in Civil Hospital. Earlier on the night of May 13, an explosion ripped through a mini market in Satellite town area of the city. Since the advent of the holy month of Ramzan, it was the fourth incident of violence in the country. On May 11, three police persons and three terrorists were killed during an attack on the Pearl Continental Hotel. On May 8, five policemen were martyred in what officials described as a suicide bombing targeting an Elite Force van detailed to the security of the Data Darbar shrine in Lahore. On the same day, three people, including a tribal leader named Wali Khan Achakzai, were killed in a blast in Qilla Abdullah. STAFF REPORT

hear good news regarding the release of Pakistani prisoners in Saudi jails very soon. He said fifty Pakistanis were deported from the United States yesterday through a chartered flight. To another question, Dr Muhammad Faisal said that Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi is scheduled to pay a two day visit to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan from 21st of this month to participate in the SCO meeting of Council of Foreign Ministers. He said the meeting will provide an opportunity to Pakistan to highlight its interest in the regional peace and stability. He said Prime Minister Imran Khan was expected to participate in the SCO Heads of State Meeting being held on 13th and 14th of next month in Bishkek. When asked about the return of Afghan refugees, Dr Muhammad Faisal admitted that the pace of repatriation slowed down due to various reasons. He, however, said Pakistan is engaged with Afghanistan to ensure dignified and voluntary return of the refugees.

SC summons Sindh chief secretary in Nai Gaj Dam hearing ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT

The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday summoned the chief secretary of Sindh on May 23 in a hearing pertaining to the construction of Nai Gaj dam. A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Azmat Saeed issued orders to record statement of the chief secretary regarding construction of the dam project in district Dadu of Sindh. The court in March had ordered immediate construction of Nai Gaj dam and directed the federal and provincial gov-

ernments to ensure timely provision of funds to the Water & Power Development Authority (WAPDA) for the purpose and asked the planning division and secretary irrigation Sindh to submit a compliance report. In April hearing, additional advocate general Sindh while objecting to Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec’s) decision regarding the project said that the provincial government could not pay the 50 percent cost of the project. However, the government had consensus on Water and Power Development Authority’s proposal pertaining to the construction of dam.


SC directs Rao Anwar to file ECL plea afresh ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday directed Rao Anwar, a former senior official of Sindh police and a key suspect in the Naqeebullah Mehsud killing case, to file a review petition afresh, challenging its verdict that rejected his plea for removal of his name from the Exit Control List (ECL). A bench of the apex court headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial directed Anwar’s lawyer to file a review petition afresh, attaching a relevant court order. There is a procedure for having a name removed from the no-fly list, the judge explained, questioning the former police officer’s lawyer to explain as to why his client wants to go abroad. The lawyer says that there is no inquiry pending against the former cop but news reports say otherwise, Justice Bandial remarked. On Jan 10, a three-judge SC bench headed by then chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar had dismissed former SSP Malir Anwar’s plea seeking the removal of his name from the ECL. Anwar, who retired from police service on Jan 1, is facing trial for allegedly killing four men, including South Waziristan youngster Naqeebullah Mehsud, in a fake encounter last year. A bench of the apex court headed by the chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar had rejected the former cop’s plea. “We cannot strike his name off the ECL,” asserted the then top judge. He expressed displeasure over the provision of facilities to the accused and asked how did he get acquitted? When Justice Nisar was told that the former SSP-Malir was out on bail, he then questioned, “If he was released on bail why was he given passport?” Anwar’s lawyer told the judges that his client’s passport was already in authorities’ possession. “His family lives abroad and he wants to meet them as well as perform Umrah. The chief justice rejected his request, saying his family be asked to return to the country to live with him. “He has killed a young boy. Rao Anwar will stay in Pakistan until the trial is over.” The former SSP in the petition said that he wished to perform Umrah and meet his family but cannot fly out of the country owing to his name placed on the no-fly list. He assured that he will continue attending the trial regularly. “My movement abroad will not cause any hindrance, delay, or impediment in the proceedings of the court,” he argued. “Mere registration of an FIR or a pending criminal trial is not a valid reason to put the accused person in the ECL.” The former SSP Malir along with DSP Qamar Ahmed Shaikh, and several other officials were booked for killing four men, including Mehsud, in a fake encounter in Shah Latif town on Jan 13, 2018. The Supreme Court had taken suo motu notice of the incident after a protest by the civil society and outrage over social media. Anwar was arrested in March 2018 when he appeared before the Supreme Court after over a month of hiding. He spent more than three months in prison before an anti-terrorism court released him on bail. STAFF REPORT

Two more Hindu girls ‘willfully’ convert to Islam ISLAMABAD: After Ghotki girls, two more Hindu girls of Sindh province have approached the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to seek security after converting to Islam and marrying Muslim boys “willfully”. The petitions stated that Dua Fatima (Samrin) and Ghulam Ayesha (Priya Kumari) had married Afaq Ali and Ali Murrad, respectively, and converted to Islam of their free will. Dua Fatima, reportedly a student of intermediate in Sukkur, stated in her plea that she was “impressed” with Islamic teachings and had renounced her Hindu faith willfully. Ghulam Ayesha reportedly belongs to Khairpur, Sindh. The petitioner girls claimed that they had embraced Islam publicly and feared reprisal from their respective families and members of the community. The petitioners prayed the court to direct the respondents to restrain from harassing and threatening the applicants and interfering into petitioners’ “right to life with liberty to profess religion to her choice and her marriage as guaranteed by the Constitution”. The petitioners prayed the court to issue directives to security institutions for ensuring protection of their lives. The interior secretary, IGP Islamabad, girls’ father and PPP’s MPA have been nominated as respondents in the case. APP

PAF to receive final Block II JF-17 aircraft by June NEWS DESK The final three Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) JF-17 Thunder Block II multi-role combat aircraft are set to be delivered to the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) by late June, Jane’s Defence Weekly reported. The aircraft are part of an order placed by PAF in late 2017 for an additional 12 platforms that are currently on the Aircraft Manufacturing Factory’s (AMF) final assembly line at PAC Kamra. Production of the Block III variant is

expected to begin later this year , PAF Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan told Jane’s, adding that the air force “will make a decision on one of the two new Chinese AESA [airborne electronically scanned-array] radars we are currently evaluating for these aircraft”. He noted that, although supportability and cost will be factors in the decision, the service hopes to have the aircraft operating with the new radar by March 2020. The Nanjing Research Institute of Electronics Technology’s KLJ-7A radar

is being marketed by China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC) with air-cooling and liquid-cooling options. The second contender is Leihua Electronic Technology Research Institute (LETRI), which offers an air-cooling AESA radar known as the LKF601E. Meanwhile, the Aircraft Repair Factory (ARF) at PAC Kamra recently completed its first 1,000th-hour inspection on a JF-17. This comes after PAC Kamra and China’s Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (CAC), which co-developed the


fighter, worked on two JF-17s each to develop the working procedures. The PAF has also taken over Islamabad’s Benazir Bhutto International Airport, located on the outskirts of Rawalpindi. PAF’s Base Nur Khan, which had previously shared the runway and taxiways with the airport, is now responsible for the large passenger terminal and the adjacent ramp where the airliners once parked. The large apron is now home to No 10 Squadron’s four Il-78 multirole tanker transport aircraft, which can now

taxi to the runway without having to manoeuvre around the PAF’s other aircraft. In the near future the PAF’s passenger terminal, which is currently housed inside a small building in the base’s complex, will also be relocated. There are several shelter areas at the airport that are used for drills or high levels of alert. During the recent stand-off with India, known locally as Operation ‘Swift Retort’, a detachment of PAF JF17 Thunder fighter aircraft were deployed to the base to defend Islamabad.




Friday, 17 May, 2019











Shah SeekS electricity duty payment in Sindh govt account KARACHI



INDH Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said here on Thursday that power distribution companies were collecting electricity duty from consumers on behalf of the Sindh government but they were not transferring the amount to the provincial government in this head; therefore, he directed energy department to evolve a mechanism for direct deposit of the electricity duty in provincial government account. This he said while presiding over a meeting regarding payment of electricity

bills to power distribution companies (DISCOs) and collect electricity duty from them [DISCOs) as they are collecting it on behalf the provincial government. The meeting was attended by Energy Minister Imtiaz Shaikh, Advisor to CM Murtaza Wahab, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, Principal Secretary to CM Sajid Jamal Abro, Secretary Finance Najam Shah, Secretary Energy Musadiq Khan and other officers concerned. The chief minister said that the DISCOS such as KE, HESCO and SEPCO were collecting electricity duty from domestic and commercial consumers at the rate of 1.5 percent and 2 percent of the electricity bills respectively but the

amount was not returned to the provincial government. He said that according to a rough estimate, around Rs 3 billion electricity duty was being collected by the KE annually. “The HESCO and SEPCO are also collecting but they did not despot this amount in the Sindh government’s account.” Shah directed Minister Energy to constitute a committee under Secretary Energy to reconcile the figures of electricity duty with DESCOs and direct them to deposit the amount in Sindh government account. He also directed the minister energy to meet Governor State Bank and get a system evolved under which payment of electricity duty is

made, so that electricity bills might be deposited directly in the provincial government’s account. Payment of power bills: The chief minister was told that there was a KMC electricity bill worth Rs 580 million which the provincial government had to pay. The chief minister directed the energy minister to get the bill reconciled first and then pay in installments. Shah said that all KE bills pertaining to all departments, KWSB, autonomous and semi-autonomous organisations, DMCS, local bodies and all other officers should be rigorously reconciled by the energy department and thereafter should be paid.

Blockage on Amir Khusro Road: SHC issues notices to govt, others KARACHI STAFF REPORT

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday issued notices to Sindh government, Director General (DG) Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA), Karachi Development Authority (KDA), Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) and private construction company on a plea against the blockage of Amir Khusro Road. A SHC bench heard the plea and directed the responsible officials to submit their reply until 28 May. Nasir Khan, a petitioner, stated that a private construction firm was using residential scheme for commercial purpose on Amir Khusro Road. His counsel told the court that blockages had been made on the road and a school had been formed in a residential bungalow. “Atmosphere of residential area of KDA Scheme 1 is being ruined,” he informed the bench. He said that they had submitted a complaint in relevant departments, but they were avoiding conducting an inquiry. He told the court that blockages had also been made on the road as a result, people were facing difficulties. Later, the court adjourned the hearing till May 28.

Illegal hydrant demolished, six held in Karachi KARACHI INP

The Karachi Water and Sewerage Board staffers raided and demolished an illegal hydrant in the metropolis and arrested six culprits here on Thursday. According to details, the KWSB on a tip-off conducted a raid in Azam Basti Mehmoodabad area of Karachi during which an illegal water hydrant was unearthed. The KSWB staffers demolished the hydrant, arrested six involved in stealing water from government’s water supply line through seven illegal connections and stocking it in underground water tanks. The stocked water was later sold through water tankers. The detainees were being interrogated after registering a case against them.

KARACHI: A massive traffic jam was observed on Faisal Avenue just before iftar in the metropolis on Thursday. ONLINE

Customs seize consignment carrying 50kg heroin at airport KARACHI STAFF REPORT

A customs department team on Thursday seized a consignment carrying 50 kilograms of heroin at the Karachi airport. As per the deputy commissioner customs, the heroin was concealed in the consignment carrying ladies handbag and shoes.

The consignment was booked by a resident of Karachi’s university road namely Aftab Alam for London. According to officials, the value of the drugs was worth of $50 million in the international market. Back in the month of April, the customs team raided the office of General Post Office and seized a parcel with a heroin concealed in it.

According to officials, the parcel was about to be sent to Spain. A man named Farmanullah had submitted the parcel from Peshawar, and it had to be delivered to recipient Javed Williams in Spain. The sender had concealed a quantity of heroin in a flower vase. The customs team had seized the parcel and issued orders to arrest the sender immediately.

SHC chief justice criticises NAB’s performance KARACHI STAFF REPORT

The chief justice of the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday expressed his concerns on the performance of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in ongoing graft cases. As per details, SHC heard corruption cases against the accused Shafqat Ali Shah, Hameed Ullah and others. The court during the hearing expressed anger towards Director NAB Karachi and questioned that what are the measures which were taken against the accused suspects? However, the anti-graft body’s investigation officer failed to provide any suitable answer before the court. The court by expressing anger on investigation officer said that if the bank accounts are empty why you don’t seize the properties of the accused. The court over the failure of NAB’s investigation officer to submit a reasonable reply summoned Director NAB Karachi Shehzad Imtiaz on the rostrum. The court, question Shehzad that who prepares a call-up notice. To which, the director replied that it is being prepared by the investigation officers of the case. At which, the court in its remarks asked that do you know how to prepare it. The court, however, astonished that NAB’s director doesn’t even prepare a call-up notice. The court in its remarks said that you are working within the bureau since past 16 years and do not even know how to prepare a call-up notice and ordered him to prepare a call-up notice in the courtroom and asked him to show only a single call-up notice of Karachi that consists all of the charges of the accused. The court, later on, by ordering the NAB to prepare themselves for the court on next hearing adjourned the case’s hearing till May 30.

Malir Development Authority’s low-cost housing scheme for 20,000 plots put in ‘cold storage’ KARACHI AFTAB CHANNA

The residential schemes at Taiser Town launched by the Malir Development Authority (MDA) to give at least 20,000 plots of various categories to poor people has once again put in the cold storage as the rates for the plots are likely to be increased, Pakistan Today has learnt. According to sources, the MDA has announced a new low-cost housing project on the northern bypass which seemed to be an attractive opportunity for the lower middle- and lower-income strata of Karachi.

The new scheme offers different sizes of residential plots as low as PKR 1,000 per square yard. The booking however was subject to success in computerized ballot that will be held after the application were received and processed. Taiser Town scheme 45 is located near Fazaia Housing Scheme phaseI on Northern Bypass. It is a developing scheme where a large number of housing projects are already developing including Motor City Karachi. The government is planning to establish wholesale markets in the neighborhood in order to facilitate

residents of this area. The buyer purchased the application form from braches of Silk Bank across the country along with down payment and processing fee. The down payment is refundable in case of failure in the ballot however processing fee is non-refundable. Refund amount can be received from the same branch of Silk Bank where the application form is submitted. The booking amount is payable at the time of application and the processing fee for 80 sq yard and 120 sq yards is PKR 1,000 while 240 sq yards and 400 sq yards plots incur PKR 2,000 processing fee.

The sources disclosed that as many as 176,000 applications have been received against total plots of 20,000 and the balloting for the scheme was supposed to be held on April 23, 2019. Sources said that the authorities did not expect such a huge response from the people after the form were submitted the MDA authorities planned to revise the rates for the plots citing that the land cost more than the amount offered. The governing body of the MDA has been authorized to revise the plot rates as per the market value of the property and the new dates for the balloting would be announced, sources added.

Free education, reforms: SHC directs parties to present report on May 24 KARACHI STAFF REPORT

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday directed provincial education secretary and petitioner to present report on the progress of free education facility and educational reforms in Sindh. The high court was hearing petitions seeking details of free educa-

tion facility and other reformations in education sectors in the province. Provincial education secretary Qazi Shahid Pervaiz appeared in the hearing and pleaded the court that he wants to hold a session with the petitioner. The official said, “We want to tell the petitioner about all of our efforts for education. We will provide all details about expenditures of the edu-

cation department.” The high court accepted the plea and ordered the petitioner and education secretary to sit together to find out resolution of the matter. SHC judge directed parties to present report on May 24. During the hearing, Pervaiz apprised SHC that Global Partnership for Education (GPE) had announced $100 million grant while the Sindh


government will present its proposal before the global organisation in Nepal on May 27. He expressed hopes that the provincial government will get bigger share. The official said that the authorities have prepared a plan which would be presented in the upcoming conference. Pervaiz further detailed that $50 million was granted by European

Union (EU) and $100 million funds will be provided by Japanese ambassador. He added that Sindh is the only province which spends 28 per cent of its budget on education. The government has allocated Rs1 billion for purchases of new furniture for schools, he concluded. Later, the hearing was adjourned and SHC judge directed parties to present report on May 24.

Friday, 17 May, 2019

TADP fAils Due To negligence of heAlThcAre DePArTmenT LAHORE



HE project of the provision of a 3 kW hybrid solar system to healthcare institutions of tribal areas of district Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur has failed due to the incompetence of the healthcare department, Pakistan Today learnt reliably. According to reliable sources, the project titled ‘The Tribal Area Development Project (TADP) Provision of 3 KW Hybrid Solar System to Healthcare Institutions’ was started with an aim to install the solar panel systems in healthcare institutions, livestock department and Border Military Police (BMP) check posts of the tribal areas of DG Khan and Rajanpur. According to the plan, 13 Solar Panels of 3000 Watts had to be installed for healthcare institutions including 10 panels in DG Khan and three in Rajanpur, 63 of 100 Watts for BMP check posts including 49 in DG Khan and 14 in Rajanpur and 13 panels of 3000 Watts for livestock department including 10 in DG Khan and three in Rajanpur were in the plan. Sources further said that the project management unit of TDAP was the executing agency of the project; however, all the solar panel systems were installed in 2016 whereas, at some locations, the base of solar plants was not properly provided. Similarly, due to the negligence of the concerned department, the placement of solar panels was also improper and at the majority of

centers, the solar plants failed due to high wind speed. Sources further told that the project was initially approved at cost of Rs3, 381 million on July 7, 2009, but after that, it was revised three times by the Provincial Development Working Party (PDWP). The project comprised mainly of three principal components which were physical infrastructure, community development and social infrastructure development, institutional support and consultancies. The directorate general monitoring and evaluation has recently issued a monitoring report on the same project which states, “The installation of solar panel project was started on July 10, 2014, and completed on January 15, 2016. All twenty-six panels were purchased and installed at the particular sites.

It was observed that initially, the project was very good. TADP installed solar panels and trained the users but operation and maintenance were at the end of the health department. After a few months nobody was there to look after the plates and batteries of solar panel and at the end batteries along with solar plants were damaged”. The report further states, “In Fort Munro, healthcare centre the base of solar plants were broken and panels were stolen. These solar plants were installed around four years ago and at that time TADP had trained the positioned staff but after their departure, new staff members were not trained accordingly to operate a solar system”. “Another major reason for the failure of this scheme was that the healthcare department did not re-

lease the funds for maintenance/purchase of batteries. Therefore, the scheme was failed due to improper operation and maintenance,” it reveals. “Theft in the area is becoming the new burning issue as from different healthcare sectors solar plats were stolen by local community people and due to BMP law in force system, it is not possible to arrest the culprits especially in Rajanpur and Fort Munro areas. Exhausted law enforcement agencies and their control over the culprits involved in the theft. Also, government and law and force department should provide a secure and safe environment to the working team to successfully operate and maintain the project and also recover the theft amount and machinery from culprits”, the report concluded.

Govt's economic experts to restore investors trust, says Qureshi MULTAN APP

Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Thursday that the government had formed an experienced team of economic experts which would surely restore trust of investors and bring about an overall improvement in the national economy. Talking to the media here, Qureshi said the country's economic condition was a challenge for the government and the PTI accepted it with a commitment to bring about an improvement in it. He said that restoration of investors trust was necessary to give a much needed boost to economy, adding that the team formed by the government had a capacity to restore investors' confidence. He said that Shabbar Zaidi was a tax expert and never remained a part of any government in the past.

He added that Prime Minister Imran Khan had asked him (Shabbar Zaidi) for his services to increase tax collection and revenue generation. He said that the government had positive expectations from Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and Salman Shah as they both were experts in their fields. To a question, Qureshi said that fluctuation in dollar prices was being monitored by the State Bank of Pakistan and there was no interference of the finance ministry in it. He said that a trade war between America and China was not only affecting the country's market but it was also influencing markets of other countries. To another question, he said that Jahangir Khan Tareen was in full support of establishment of South

Punjab, adding that some elements were spreading disinformation to create confusion. He said that Federal Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema had his own point of view on the issue, however, efforts would be made to convince him too. Qureshi said that establishment of South Punjab as a separate province was a part of the PTI's manifesto. The foreign minister said that if the PMLN and the PPP thought that protest would be in the country's favour at this time then they were welcome. However, he added, these parties criticised the PTI's protest and alleged that it would derail democracy and also affected the country's economy in the past. To a question about conflict between America and Iran, FM Qureshi said that Pakistan was in

support of sustainable peace in the region, adding that Pakistan was also expecting dialogues with the new government of India to resolve all issues. He said National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was an independent institution and it was working under the law. He questioned that why the parties, which were now criticizing the NAB, did not change law when they were in power. He said that the government announced Local Government Act 2019 after a procedure, adding that local body elections would be held in three steps, including Punchayat councils, tehsil councils and urban councils. Answering a question, FM Qureshi said that situation had improved in Balochistan, however, some elements were attempting to harm peace but these elements would be defeated.



corruption-free Pakistan would pave way for investment: Alvi LAHORE STAFF REPORT

President Dr Arif Alvi on Thursday said that a corruptionfree Pakistan would bring in a greater inflow of investment in the country, paving way for prosperity. He said this during an exclusive interview with veteran journalist, senior analyst and Pakistan Today Editor Arif Nizami on Thursday. The president said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has been given the mandate to rid the country of corruption and for this purpose the government is making all efforts to eradicate this menace from the country. He said that corruption is deep-rooted into the social fabric of the country which often scares away investors because they do not want to lose the money they invest in the country. “We have learned that to deal with corruption, not only do we need good moral leadership and a government capable of good governance, but we also need proper legal bodies to act against corruption,” he added. The president also said that National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal held a detailed meeting with him where he assured him that no political pressure would be exerted on the anti-graft body from the President House. Speaking about his role as the president, Dr Alvi said that he wants to play a neutral role which is why he resigned from his party position. “I do not want there to be any conflict of interest,” he concluded.

‘Pakistan airspace restrictions extended till May 30' ISLAMABAD AGENCIES

Pakistan has extended airspace restrictions until the end of May, a civil aviation official said on Thursday, forcing foreign carriers to take costly detours since the country’s standoff with rival India. Pakistan closed its airspace in February after a suicide bombing in Indian-occupied Kashmir sparked tensions between the neighbours. Following the attack, both countries carried out aerial bombing missions on each other’s soil and their warplanes also fought a dogfight over Kashmir. Partial operations at Pakistani airports resumed after the crisis eased, but foreign carriers using Indian airspace could not fly over Pakistan. The restrictions mainly affected flights from Europe to Southeast Asia. “The airspace will be restricted until May 30 and then we will reassess,” Mustafa Baig, a spokesman for Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority, told Reuters. He did not give a reason for the extension. Pakistan lies in the middle of a vital aviation corridor and the airspace restrictions impact hundreds of commercial and cargo flights each day, adding flight time for passengers and fuel costs for airlines.

PM orders payment of media dues before Eid ISLAMABAD APP

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday directed the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to take measures for the payment of arrears to the print and electronic media organisations before Eid. Chairing a meeting to discuss the payment of dues to print and electronic media, the prime minister asked the information ministry to hold consultations with the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) and the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) on the subject. During the meeting, the prime minister was briefed on the issues pertaining to the media industry. The meeting also discussed in detail the matters related to the PBA and APNS. The prime minister directed the minister to personally monitor the process. He said the government fully believed in the constitutional and fundamental right to freedom of speech. The promotion of free and responsible journalism was inevitable for strengthening democracy, he added. The prime minister said the government was cognizant of the challenges faced by the people associated with the media industry and that the resolution of those issues was its priority.

Afridi for acceleration of Afghan refugee repatriation process ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT

Minister for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) Shehryar Khan Afridi Thursday urged the world community to help the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other stakeholders to accelerate the sluggish pace of voluntary repatriation of Afghan refugees. Talking to a delegation of UNHCR led by Ruvendrini Menikdiwela, Country Representative of UNHCR-Pakistan, the minister lauded the role of UNHCR and other donors towards the Afghan refugees

and humanitarian matters. He informed the UNHCR country director that the government was currently implementing a comprehensive policy on voluntary repatriation and management of Afghan nationals that was approved by the federal cabinet in September 2018. “Pakistan considers voluntary repatriation as the most preferred viable solution for the refugees and is adhering to the principles of voluntarism and gradualism. We need to push this process hard. Pakistan over the past forty years has hosted the

Afghan refugees well and this hospitality is unprecedented in human history,” the minister said. Expressing concerns over the slow pace of repatriation, he said that only 1528 registered refugees voluntarily had repatriated during year 2018 where the same sluggish trend is being noticed during this year as only 877 individuals have returned from March 1 to May 10, 2019. The minister recommended that the UNHCR may use its offices to approach the donors for the enhancement of repatriation grant.

“In 2016 along with other reasons, the increase of repatriation grant from $200 to $400 was a major factor of mass repatriation as over 381,000 registered refugees returned to their country. The positive impact of this increased cash amount has been acknowledged by all including the beneficiaries,” the minister noted. The minister informed the delegation that the validity of POR cards for Afghan Refugees and tripartite agreement are going to be expired on June 30, 2019. He said the Ministry of SAFRON in consultation with all stake-

holders will submit summary to the Federal Cabinet for further extension. However, he added, concrete and robust action to enhance the repatriation is required during the current year. The minister apprised that for opening bank account of registered Afghan refugees as per PM’s directive, all operational modalities have been finalized among SAFRON, State Bank of Pakistan & NADRA. The SBP has circulated guidelines and banks are working on the mechanism to be evolved by all them throughout the country, he added.

Friday, 17 May, 2019


US ambaSSador SayS ISrael IS ‘on the SIde of God’ Amidst trUmp AdministrAtion flAme-throwing, top experts worry AboUt the Ability of the mAin mUltilAterAl institUtions sAfegUArding the globAl economy new York tiMes


david M halbfinger

HE United States ambassador to Israel, a driving force in crafting the Trump administration’s longawaited proposal to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, declared Tuesday that Israel was “on the side of God.” Speaking at a celebration sponsored by an American evangelical group to mark the anniversary of the move of the United States embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, Ambassador David M. Friedman said that Israel was gaining strength for two reasons. First, he said, the relationship between the two countries was growing “stronger and stronger and stronger.” “And the second is that Israel has one secret weapon that not too many countries have,” Mr. Friedman added. “Israel is on the side of God, and we don’t underestimate that.” The remark reflected a common belief among evangelical Christians, but was also the latest sign of an anything but evenhanded approach to the conflict by the Trump administration. In addition to moving the embassy to Jerusalem, a move seen as partial to Israel in the dispute over the city’s sovereignty, the administration has made deep cuts in aid to the Palestinians and stopped refer-

ring to the West Bank as “occupied.” Mr. Friedman seemed to acknowledge as much moments later, rattling off a litany of other moves the administration has made that broke with precedent in Israel’s favor, including punishing the Palestinians by closing their diplomatic mission in Washington and merging the formerly independent Jerusalem consulate, which had exclusively dealt with the Palestinians, with the embassy. Still, the remark set off new howls of criticism, with Palestinians complaining that Mr. Friedman was representing the interests of Israel’s right-wing government more than those of the United States. Even one of Mr. Friedman’s predecessors called the statement out of bounds. “As the ambassador of the far-right Orthodox Jewish community in the United States, Friedman’s comment makes sense,” said Daniel C. Kurtzer, who was Washington’s ambassador in Israel under both Republican and Democratic presidents. “As the supposed ambassador of the United States government and all its people, it is an extremely inappropriate comment.” “Where does that place the rest of the world?” said Hanan Ashrawi, a veteran Palestinian negotiator and member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee. “I can’t believe it. I can’t believe this extreme fundamentalist ideologue is an ambassador.” Ms. Ashrawi — who said that on Monday she had been denied a visa to the

Ambassador David M Friedman, standing next to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, spoke at an event commemorating the anniversary of the United States Embassy move to Jerusalem.

United States for the first time — noted that the event at which Mr. Friedman had made the remark, with its echoes of religious warfare, was held in a hotel a stone’s throw from the walls of the Old City, where Crusaders and Muslims had slaughtered one another for centuries. “The last time we had people thinking that way in Palestine was in the Middle Ages, and look at what happened,” Ms. Ashrawi said. Saeb Erekat, the P.L.O.’s longtime chief negotiator, questioned the propriety of referring to God as a weapon at all.

“What ambassador Friedman is telling Palestinians, Christians and Muslims,” he wrote on Twitter, was “that God is against them (or that they’re enemies of God). This was never an American position.” No one has accused Mr. Friedman, who was Mr. Trump’s longtime bankruptcy lawyer, of impartiality in his post, or even of the studied neutrality of career diplomats. Before being appointed he was a prominent supporter of and major donor to the Israeli settlement enterprise in the occupied West Bank, which most of the world considers illegal under interna-

taking the Us and iran off collision course A series of escAlAtions in both word And deed hAve rAised feArs of Us-irAniAn militAry confrontAtion, either direct or by proxy. it is Urgent thAt cooler heAds prevAil – in eUropeAn cApitAls As in tehrAn And wAshington – to heAd off the threAt of A disAstroUs wAr internAtionAl Crisis Group For the past year, relations between the U.S. and Iran have brought to mind a slow-motion train wreck. Of late, the pace has dangerously accelerated, and tensions could soon lead to a catastrophic collision. A crash is not inevitable, but it could well occur – deliberately or as a product of miscalculation – unless both parties and outside actors take urgent steps to slow way down or switch to another track. On 12 May, four oil tankers off the coast of Fujaira, a port in the United Arab Emirates on the Gulf of Oman, were hit by apparent sabotage. Two days later, drones attacked two oil pumping stations along the East-West pipeline in Saudi Arabia between the capital Riyadh and the port city of Yanbu. These two separate events may or may not be linked, may or may not involve Iran, and may or may not provoke a response. But, coming against a backdrop of significant escalation between Washington and Tehran, they represent ominous warning signs. In the past few weeks, the Trump administration has doubled down on its efforts to strangle Iran’s economy. Not content with having unilaterally withdrawn from the 2015 nuclear deal, it is now pushing to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero. It has designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organisation. It has also started to flex its military muscle by deploying warships, bomber jets and missile defence batteries to the Middle East to counter unspecified “Iranian threats”. Tehran has not remained passive. It has labelled U.S. forces in the region as terrorists; downgraded its compliance with the nuclear deal, warning of further steps unless the deal’s remaining parties deliver tangible economic benefits; threatened to shut the Strait of Hormuz, a chokepoint for the global oil and gas trade; and pledged to retaliate against any attack upon its assets or interests. Without offering proof, U.S. officials claim that Iran has also given licence to its regional proxies to target U.S. interests, suggesting that such an attack could occur in Iraq or one of the Gulf monarchies allied to Washington. In a worrying move,

on 15 May it ordered the departure of nonessential U.S. personnel from Iraq. All this ratcheting-up of tension was entirely predictable, and most of it is entirely provoked by the U.S. With Iran having increasingly less to lose as a result of U.S. sanctions, which are eating away at its already weak economy, it was virtually bound to become less risk-averse in the nuclear realm and more aggressive in the region. For months now, the more hardline elements of the Islamic Republic have been urging the leadership to impose a cost on the U.S. in order to deter it from stepping up sanctions and to show that, if the U.S. could hurt Iran, so too could Tehran wound Washington. Perhaps these actions are a prelude to negotiations: the U.S. is exerting “maximum pressure”, it says, to bring a more compliant Iran back to the table; in like manner, should Tehran conclude that it has no choice but to reach a new deal with Washington in order to relieve unsustainable economic strain, it will want to enter such talks with a stronger hand. Resuming its nuclear activities, making its presence felt in the region, and disrupting Saudi or Emirati oil exports could all be ways of enhancing its bargaining power. But if these manoeuvres are a diplomatic game, it is a dangerous one: either side could misinterpret the other’s intentions. Any Iranian move could easily lead to U.S. and/or Israeli strikes which, in turn, could lead to an Iranian counter-response. Or vice versa. Escalation comes easily; deescalation is a much taller order, especially in the absence of direct channels of communication that can pre-empt misunderstandings or miscalculations. In short, whether or not Tehran was directly or indirectly behind the recent attacks (the Huthis in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attacks in Saudi Arabia; the earlier offshore incident has gone unclaimed; Iran has denied any connection to the incidents and called for an investigation), and whether or not Washington is manufacturing accusations to justify a spike in military activity, all the ingredients for an escalation are present. Even assuming that neither side seeks war, growing friction at all the flashpoints between the two sides mean that intentions

may not suffice to prevent it. The consequences could be calamitous for states and peoples in the immediate region, but also for the international economy, given its high dependence on the free flow of oil from the Gulf. It is not too late to avert this outcome. Key to de-escalation will be the ability of the remaining parties to the nuclear deal to give Iran an economic reprieve. In particular, Europe could shed its reluctance to indirectly import Iranian oil in partnership with Russia and China. If Russia swaps oil with Iran and China continues to import Iranian crude, the transactions would generate credit that the parties could inject into Europe’s special purpose financial vehicle (Instex), allowing Iran to engage in trade with these countries without access to the U.S.- dominated global financial system. These countries could also provide Iran with development aid to repair and renew its infrastructure. With Europe demonstrating willingness to go the extra mile, Iran should reciprocate by returning into full compliance with the nuclear deal. It also should exhibit restraint on the regional front and refrain from steps – direct or taken through partners – that could provoke its foes. As for President Donald Trump, he faces a choice. Everything about his 2016 presidential campaign pointed in the direction of avoiding another costly and unnecessary military entanglement in the Middle East. So, too, does much about the vows he has made to his constituency since entering office. But everything about his administration’s policy toward Iran points in a strikingly different direction: toward war, by design or mistake. He says he wants the U.S. and Iran to talk. Yet he should know that the Islamic Republic will not start a dialogue if it feels it has a gun to its head; it will respond to perceived aggression in like manner, and that response could in turn engender an uncontrollable downward spiral. A back-channel dialogue eventually may be possible, but for that the U.S. ought to tone down its rhetoric and offer the Iranian leadership an offramp, for example by signalling its preparedness to put aside its maximalist demands and to find a mutually acceptable compromise. President Trump might think that time is on his side, as sanctions continue to take their toll on the Iranian economy. But the wait-and-see period may have reached the end of its natural life. A crisis that he may not want but that some of his advisers may not mind lies just around the corner. It is past time for cooler heads to prevail and for all to move decisively to take the trains off collision course.

tional law. He can also seem to invite charges that he is overly close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel: Opening his remarks Tuesday night, he acknowledged Mr. Netanyahu’s presence and joked that it had been mere days since they had seen each other, adding, “It’s been difficult to be apart from you for so long.” In his speech, Mr. Friedman made light of predictions of violence over the move of the embassy to Jerusalem a year ago. “In the entire city of Jerusalem that day, I don’t think more than 20 people got up to protest,” he said. “I think more people were unhappy about the food they were eating in various restaurants than they were about the move of the embassy to Jerusalem.” He acknowledged that “there was violence that day in Gaza” — where Israeli soldiers killed about 60 Palestinians demonstrating along the border fence — but said it had “nothing to do with the opening of the embassy.” In fact, the protests in Gaza had been mounted that day specifically with the intent of overshadowing the embassy ceremony. Mr. Friedman also said that if he had his way, the United States would continue to push the envelope in its support for Israel. “I don’t believe in enough,” he said. In a riff about the ancient Jewish Temple, which many right-wing Jews want to rebuild atop the Temple Mount, Mr. Friedman, an Orthodox Jew, noted that inside it was an altar built on a ramp. To achieve a certain level of holiness, he said, “you have to keep pushing forward; there are consequences to stopping.” He added: “We need to keep moving forward, keep moving up the ramp.”

A war between the US and Iran is unlikely

Al-Quds Al-ArAbi/ Middle eAst Monitor MohaMMad ayesh

Some Gulf States like to hide behind the US and Israel and claim that Washington and Tel Aviv can confront the threat to the region posed by Iran. They cite the fact that the US rescued them from Iraqi militarism in the 1990s. However, the truth of the matter is that the US will not fight Iran this time, and the government in Tehran does not actually pose a threat to the region at all. The whole “Iranian threat” theory is false. Nevertheless, we have not witnessed such tension in the Gulf in years. The mysterious Fujairah incident and the attack on two Saudi oil tankers this week could make matters worse. The US is moving its navy, but that does not mean that war is imminent or that this tension will develop into a direct military confrontation between Tehran and Washington. The US will not wage war on Iran and will not allow any military engagement with it by other forces in the region, because Washington cannot and does not want to fight a war with Iran. There are a number of reasons for this. For a start, the US has been winding its forces down in the Middle East, not increasing their presence (despite the latest reports that it is “reviewing” plans to send more troops there), ever since the pull-out from Iraq with significant losses. It had a debt of $6.7 trillion at the time of its 2003 invasion and emerged after ten years with the largest debt in history, exceeding $17 trillion. This is in addition to the failure of the American project in Iraq despite years of occupation.

Furthermore, a military confrontation in the Gulf means that oil prices will rise to record levels, beyond the $100 a barrel barrier. This will not be accepted by Washington; President Donald Trump did all he could late last year to ensure a drop in prices. It should be noted here that the US is the largest consumer and the largest importer of oil in the world, which means that war with Iran will have two major bills to pay in military terms and on the economic front. Iran also possesses an advanced arsenal capable of turning the region upside down. Hence, a direct and open military confrontation with Tehran will affect many other countries in the region. Neither the US nor the countries themselves are likely to accept this. Finally, the question remains: what does the US want to achieve from this escalation with Iran? The answer is that the Trump administration, which bases its decisions on business rather than politics, most likely wants to blackmail the Arab Gulf States by announcing that the Iranian threat is escalating and America is the only one confronting it. As such, the gains that these countries will receive from increased oil prices will push them towards the US in one way or another. This will allow America to benefit both from the increase and decline in oil prices. The bottom line is that the US will not and cannot fight a war with Iran because such a war will pose a threat to the world oil market. It may also change the regional map. Moreover, it cannot possible end in big gains for the Americans, whereas keeping their differences at a rhetorical and political level has the potential to provide many benefits for the US. It is unlikely, therefore, that the crisis will develop beyond this. Mohammad Ayesh is an Arab journalist currently based in London.

Friday, 17 May, 2019


iran SayS exerCiSing reStraint deSpite 'unaCCeptaBle' eSCalation oF uS SanCtionS



RAn is committed to its obligations under an international nuclear deal despite the United States withdrawal from the landmark agreement, its foreign minister said on Thursday, calling the reimposition of the US sanctions “unacceptable”. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made the comments in a meeting with his Japanese counterpart in Tokyo as tensions rise in the Middle East, fuelling concern that the US and Iran are heading for conflict. Iran is exercising “maximum restraint in spite of the fact the US withdrew from [the] JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) last May”, Zarif said at the beginning of his meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono. He was referring to plan of action signed in 2015 by the US, Iran and other countries, under which Iran curbed its uranium enrichment capacity and won sanctions relief in return. US President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement last year and is ratcheting up sanctions on Iran, aiming to strangle its economy by ending its international sales of crude oil. Japan was a major buyer of Iranian oil for decades before the sanctions. An attack on four oil tankers in the Gulf on Sunday, for which no one has claimed responsibility, and Saudi Arabia’s announcement on Tuesday that armed

iran planS no ChangeS to nuClear CentriFugeS, iaea tieS DUBAI: Iran has no plans to launch centrifuge machines able to enrich uranium at higher capacity or to alter its relations with the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the spokesman for its civilian nuclear agency was quoted as saying on Thursday. Last week, Iran notified China, France, Germany, Russia and Britain that would scale back some commitments under its 2015 nuclear deal, a year after the United States withdrew from the pact and reimposed sanctions on Tehran. Iran’s initial moves, involving the stockpiling of some nuclear materials, did not appear to violate the deal’s terms. But Iran warned that unless the other signatories to the deal protect Iran’s economy from U.S. sanctions within 60 days, Tehran would start refining uranium to a fissile purity above that deemed suitable for fuelling civilian power plants. “We do not currently have any plan to increase capacity and production process by changing the capacity of centrifuges,” Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, told the semi-official news agency ISNA. “Increasing the capacity and production process is being carried out with the same number of already installed centrifuges in Natanz (enrichment plant),” Kamalvandi said. Regarding enhanced monitoring of Iranian nuclear sites by the IAEA under the deal, “in some stages, and to carry out some technical work, the IAEA needs to be informed in advance, which has been done and is being done,” ISNA quoted him as saying. AGENCIES

drones hit two of its oil pumping stations have compounded worries about war. The United States withdrew staff from its embassy in Iraq on Wednesday out of apparent concern about threats from Iran, with US sources saying they believe Iran encouraged the attacks on the oil tankers. Trump is sending an aircraft carrier group, B-52 bombers and Patriot missiles to the Middle East to counter what

Britain's May to set out departure timetable in early June: 1922 Committee LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May and a powerful committee of Conservative lawmakers will meet after her latest attempt to pass her Brexit deal in early June to agree the timetable for her departure, the committee’s chair said on Thursday. “The prime minister is determined to secure our departure from the European Union and is devoting her efforts to securing the second reading of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill in the week commencing 3rd June 2019 and the passage of that Bill and the consequent departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union by the summer,” Graham Brady, chair of the Conservative 1922 Committee, said in a statement following a meeting with May. “We have agreed that she and I will meet following the second reading of the Bill to agree a timetable for the election of a new leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party.” AGENCIES

the US calls a heightened threat from Iran to US soldiers and interests in the region. “We believe that escalation by the US is unacceptable and uncalled for,” Zarif told Kono in front of reporters before they met privately. nevertheless, Iran has relaxed restrictions on its nuclear programme and threatened action that could breach the nuclear deal, although the initial moves do not appear to violate the agreement.

“I’m concerned that the situation in the Middle East is becoming very tense,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Zarif in a later meeting. Kono said it was essential to maintain the nuclear agreement and urged Iran to keep implementing it, echoing other countries. Asian shippers and refiners have put ships heading to the Middle East on alert and are expecting a possible rise in marine insurance premiums after the attacks on the Saudi oil tankers and pipeline facilities, industry sources said on Tuesday. Lawmakers from both parties in Congress demanded more information on the White House’s claims of rising threats in the Middle East, warning President Donald Trump off a dangerous escalation with Iran. The top leaders in Congress the socalled Gang of Eight are to receive a classified briefing from the administration on Thursday. But House Speaker nancy Pelosi said the White House has resisted a wider presentation for all lawmakers, part of what Democrats say is a pattern of stonewalling. Pelosi said Trump has “no business” moving toward a Middle East confrontation without approval from Congress. “We have to avoid any war with Iran,” she told fellow Democrats in a meeting, according to a person in the room who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss comments from the private gathering.

Five killed in Shanghai Building CollapSe SHANGHAI AGENCIES

Five people were killed on Thursday when the roof of a Shanghai commercial building caved in upon construction workers who were renovating it, the city government said. The accident occurred at around 11:30am (0330 GMT) in a central Shanghai neighbourhood, trapping around 20 people, according to fire rescue officials. Official sources provided differing tallies of the numbers of people pulled out of the rubble throughout the day, but both the city government and the national emergency ministry now quote a death toll of five. A verified social media account run by China’s emergency ministry showed pictures of rescue personnel digging bloodied and dust-coated workers out from amid piles of rubble, toppled concrete pillars and shattered wooden beams. Authorities did not give details on the severity of the injuries suffered by survivors. Police quickly sealed off the area with a huge security presence, preventing journalists from getting close. The building had previously been used as a dealership for Mercedes-Benz cars, the fire rescue bureau said. It was being redeveloped as a mixed-use arts and innovation site, according to Chinese media reports. A local resident said she was taking a nap when her bed

suddenly began shaking, as if in an earthquake had struck. She then heard a loud bang. “I thought it was an explosion at first,” said the woman, who declined to give her name or to comment further. Chinese media reports said the structure was around 3,000 square metres (32,000 square feet) in area. Aerial pictures on social media appeared to indicate that the roof of about half of the building collapsed. China has seen numerous building collapses in recent years, typically blamed on the country’s rapid growth leading to corner-cutting on construction, and the flouting of safety rules. At least 20 people were killed in 2016 when a series of crudely-constructed multi-storey buildings that were packed with migrant workers collapsed in the eastern city of Wenzhou.

hardliners target iran's president as uS pressure grows GENEVA: Growing US pressure on Iran has weakened pragmatic President Hassan Rouhani and made his hardline rivals more assertive at home and abroad, recent developments show. When he succeeded firebrand leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2013, Rouhani was seen as an establishment figure who would do little to end Iran’s long standoff with the West. Two years later, his administration signed the nuclear deal with six world powers that spurred hopes for wider political change. Rouhani’s authority is now waning: his brother, a key adviser on the 2015 deal, has been sentenced to jail on unspecified corruption charges, a hardline rival heads the judiciary and his government is under fire for responding too softly to U.S. President Donald Trump’s sanctions squeeze. Trump has said lifting sanctions in return for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program did not stop Tehran meddling in neighboring states or developing ballistic missile capabilities and Rouhani’s outreach to the West was a fig leaf. Yet the U.S. pullout from the nuclear deal a year ago and subsequent attempts to end Iran’s oil exports have led to a sharp increase in regional tension: the U.S. military said on Tuesday it was braced for “possibly imminent threats to U.S. forces” from Iranbacked forces in neighboring Iraq. Rouhani has urged opposing factions to work together and noted limits on his power in a country where an elected government operates under clerical rule and alongside powerful security forces and an influential judiciary. “How much authority the government has in the areas that are being questioned must be examined,” the presidency’s website quoted Rouhani as saying on Saturday, an apparent attempt to fend off public anger at plummeting living standards. Ebrahim Raisi, who became head of the judiciary in March and is a contender to succeed Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, retorted that all branches of government had sufficient authority to carry out their duties. Local media interpreted the statement as a direct rebuke from Raisi, who ran against Rouhani in the 2017 presidential election. ‘OFFENSIVENESS AND ARROGANCE’: Rouhani has two years until his term ends, but if he is seen by Iranians as responsible for their problems, his successor is more likely to take a hard line with the West, some analysts say. “[Hardliners] couldn’t ask for a better ally than the Trump administration,” said Ali Vaez, director of the Iran project at the Crisis Group. When Rouhani announced last week that Iran would roll back some of its commitments under the international nuclear deal a year after Trump withdrew, the hardline daily Kayhan newspaper called the move “late and minimal”. “If Mr. Rouhani’s government had reacted reciprocally from the beginning to the broken promises of America and Europe, they (the Americans and Europeans) would not have reached this level of offensiveness and arrogance,” an article in the newspaper said on Thursday. Restrictions on social media, championed by hardline officials and clerics, are putting further political pressure on Rouhani, who promised in his 2017 and 2013 election campaigns to lift such curbs. AGENCIES

Migrants sleep on ground, rig awnings at Texas Border Patrol station MCALLEN AGENCIES

Reuters photos taken on Wednesday show adults and children outside the U.S. Border Patrol station for migrants in McAllen, Texas, sleeping on the ground and rigging up makeshift awnings with reflective blankets to shelter from the sun. The photos, taken from a helicopter, also show people sleeping in a shaded area of a parking lot and crowded around a military tent. The ground temperature was about 89 Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) when the pictures were taken around midday. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spokesman Richard Pauza referred to testimony by U.S. Border Patrol chief Carla Provost when asked for comment. The Border Patrol is the law enforcement arm of the CBP. During her May 8 testimony to a U.S. Senate committee, Provost said the

agency faced an “unprecedented border security and humanitarian crisis” as Central American migrant families headed north and apprehension numbers went “off the charts.” US border officers apprehended nearly 99,000 people crossing the U.S. southern border in April, the highest monthly figure since 2007, Provost said. EMERGENCY FUNDING: According to the Border Patrol website, McAllen Station is responsible for patrolling a 53mile (85 km) section of the Rio Grande that runs along the U.S.-Mexican border. “From what we’ve seen at McAllen, people are sleeping on rocks and stones, and without shelter,” said Erika Andiola, chief advocacy officer at the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), which provides legal services to migrants. The Border Patrol did not immediately respond to a specific question on

why migrants were being held in makeshift conditions by the McAllen Border Patrol station. The Trump administration on May 1 asked Congress for $4.5 billion in immediate emergency funding, saying a surge in Central American children and families claiming asylum at the U.S. southern border had drained government resources. The money would come on top of the funding President Donald Trump has redirected to make good on a central pledge of his 2016 election campaign – to build a border wall – ahead of his looming 2020 presidential race. The emergency funding request would represent a 44% increase in spending for programs that house, feed, transport and oversee record numbers of Central American families seeking asylum, fleeing poverty and violence in their home countries, and straining capacity at migrant shelters in border cities.

This month, the federal government spent $37 million erecting two new temporary shelters in El Paso and Donna, Texas to deal with the crisis. A number

of small border towns have declared emergencies in hopes of receiving government assistance to deal with migrants being diverted to their communities.

Friday, 17 May, 2019


Making local bodies useful

NAB laws need to be changed And NAB made non-partisan

The PTI must avoid the temptation to rely too much on local bodies


FTEr about 100 days in NAB custody, a chastened PTI leader Aleem Khan underlined the injustice being committed to those arrested under NAB’s black laws. he severely criticized the authority given to the Bureau to arrest anyone without credible investigation and decide later what cases are to be filed against him. Aleem Khan also said he would call upon his government to change the law. The same day PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari appeared before the IhC and was told that NAB had so far filed five interim references against him in an accountability court in the fake accounts case besides issuing call-up notices to him, his sister Faryal Talpur and close aides in 36 inquiries. By preparing so many cases, NAB can keep the accused in custody under present laws for years without proving even a single case, unless courts intervene. Under NAB laws an accused can be called for interrogation in one case and arrested in an altogether different case. This has forced the accused to seek prearrest bail when called by the accountability body for interrogation. musharraf’s military regime created the Draconian NAB law as an instrument for political engineering. The aim was not to end corruption but to use the law to change the loyalties of his opponents and punish those who dared to challenge him. Allowing the Bureau an indefinite time period for investigation by filing several cases against an accused under arrest is in violation of natural justice. The NAB chairman has also been given the arbitrary powers to get an accused arrested at any stage of the inquiry or investigation, and detained in the custody of NAB for three months. The top leadership of the PmL-N and the PPP is the main target of NAB. Driven to desperation, both parties are now preparing to take to the streets. The revival of a no-holds-barred confrontation can lead to chaos, wreck the economy and pose threat to the very system. Time for the PTI government to allay the tensions, by entering into meaningful talks with the opposition to jointly make an accountability law which is both effective and in consonance with the natural justice.

Falling rupee What are the IMF’s conditions?


hE rupee fell in the open market on Wednesday to new lows against the dollar, and was arrested only when an Exchange Companies Association of Pakistan delegation met the Prime minister. The slide continued on Thursday, with the interbank rate hitting rs148, before closing for the day at rs 147.25. It seems that the market was not satisfied by the setting up of a two-man committee to control the situation in the kerb market, consisting of Pm’s Finance Adviser Dr hafeez Sheikh and new SBP Governor Ali Baqir. The ECAP delegation had explained to the Pm that the fall of the rupee was because of speculative activity. This would be because it was thought that the value of the rupee agreed with the ImF had not yet been reached, and it would be profitable to hold dollars bought at a lower price, to sell when that figure was reached. To end the speculation, all the government had to do was announce that it had reached no figure with the ImF. That, for reasons best known to itself, it has failed to do. Instead, it has set up a high-powered committee to consider whether the present limit of $10,000 on cash that can be taken abroad, should be lowered to $3,000. This is pursuant to the ECAP delegation’s complaint that cash foreign exchange was smuggled into the country through the Afghan transit trade. This was because Afghan traders were allowed to bring in cash and deposit it in banks here, at a time when there had been no bank branches. Now there were, so the permission served no purpose but to allow smuggling, or currency trade. The government, in principle, should face a choice of exercising policy options to halt the crisis, or otherwise. however, now its hands are tied by its agreement with the ImF. Perhaps it should have been alerted at the time it was making the agreement that the ImF was particularly sensitive to how it managed its exchange rate, and a sticking point was its insistence that Pakistan switch to a free float. The present crisis, before that free float has been implemented, is a bad sign, and the government should take seriously the concerns the ECAP delegation expressed about what could happen to the rupee after the tough taxation measures expected from the coming Budget.

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


at Penpoint M.a. NIaZI


hAT the PTI would dissolve the local councils in Punjab and hold fresh elections was perhaps inevitable, because of their use as a grassroots organisation by the PmL-N. This explains the interest in them shown by the PTI. That the PTI sees the local councils as important is probably unsurprising, because they serve as local party organisations for the PmL-N, this is not merely because the PmL-N lacks local organisations, as because the local councillors always support the party in office in the province, and thus always join the ruling party. This fostering role might help explain why the PPP attitude to local councils has been not to touch them with a barge-pole. The PPP never conducted local body polls in the Punjab in any of its tenures, whether during the 1970s or in 1993-6. The first time around it preferred to appoint administrators to run the local councils under the aegis of the provincial government, thus keeping it a source of provincial patronage. The second time the local councils had their tenure consumed by a lengthy court case resulting from the provincial government’s dismissal of the local bodies, and the need for legislation on the subject. Local bodies and their elections were introduced by the British in 1872. Local bodies were not only carefully controlled, with the DC being always elected Chairman of the District Board, but they were also seen as nurseries of democracy. The theory was that British democracy had developed from local councils, and thus so would Indian. however, Indians proved contrary in nature, and well before (the raj thought) they were ready, they used the higher assemblies, mainly the provincial ones, to demand self-government, and then independence and partition. When Pakistan came into being, local councils had not yet developed into models of democracy. The problem with this was that it was not clear who was responsible for what. Local councils established schools and dispensaries, there-

fore putting themselves in competition with the provincial governments. These were ‘provincialised’ by the first PPP government, being taken over and handed to the provincial governments. Politicians viewed local councils as the first rung of electoral politics, and it used to be a natural transition from local councils to legislatures. A common taunt has been that a particular individual would be unable to win a councillorship, let alone the national or provincial seat he was aspiring to. Another phenomenon was that families that could, got a member elected to a local council and later argued for that person getting a legislature’s ticket. Combined with the fact that most development contracts were handled by local councils, legislators started resenting councillors. The Ayub regime used councillors extensively, and made them the basis of its Basic Democracies system. Councillors were also basic democrats, and electors for provincial legislators, the National Assembly and the President. Local body elections were first held, and the councillors elected ratified the 1962 Constitution in a referendum. The Yahya martial law did not bother with local bodies, holding only national and provincial direct elections. East Pakistan seceded, the PPP kept the local bodies in abeyance, and it was left to another military ruler, Zia-ul-haq, to use them for his own ends, to supplant the legislatures. Because the 1985 elections were partyless, a lot of councillors were elected. It was perhaps appropriate that the new Punjab Speaker was Chairman of a district council, manzoor Wattoo. The Chief minister, mian Nawaz Sharif, had not been a local councillor, but his becoming Pm can be seen as paralleling that move upwards. Wattoo himself was to become a chief minister, and his predecessor, Ghulam haider Wyne, too had cut his teeth in a local body, the mian Channu municipal Committee. Wattoo’s successor, mian Shehbaz Sharif, had never been a councillor, but his first political office had been as President of the PmL Lahore metropolitan Corporation. musharraf’s Punjab Chief minister, had been Chairman of the Gujrat District Council, while the present Cm, Usman Buzdar, had been tehsil nazim of Taunsa Sharif. The impact of all of those councillors being elected was that when the PmL was picking can-

didates in 1988, then 1990, and onwards to today, candidates would appear at parliamentary board meetings along with councillors, who would be a sort of guarantee that they would turn out the vote in their ward. one result of all this was that legislators, who were either councillors, relatives or allies of councillors, took a greater interest than ever before in the sort of small projects that councillors were supposed to take an interest in. Another was the strengthening of biradari bonds and loyalties, and the consequent weakening of party ideologies. This led to a sort of de-politicisation of the political process. The musharraf martial law tried to reverse that, ignoring the fact that it had been introduced by a previous martial law, Zia’s. It is possible to see something of the Ayub era as musharraf tried to make local councils the basis of governance. The concept emerged of district governments, with the DC’s powers transferred to an indirectly elected district nazim. The new local councils carry over some of those ideas. First of all, they will control education and health. That is indeed a reminder of the district governments, which had 10 devolved departments. however, the police is not being put under the local councils, as before. The districtgovernment idea was to keep local politicians stay at the local level, and not aspire to provincial or federal power, which would be exercised by wise people, not politicians. Keeping the lower tier elected on partyless basis will keep local body elections as violent as before. The PTI might learn from the PPP’s experience of how local councils are to be integrated. The PTI will find it useful to fob off workers and disappointed provincial and national aspirants with local body tickets. Though the local bodies may be elected independently, they will all naturally fall into the lap of the government. Its dependence on local councils ultimately kept the PmL-N unfit for opposition. It remains to be seen whether the PTI manages to escape the temptations they offer. Initially at least, it does not seem to realise that British local bodies delivered because there was no tinkering or experimentation. here, immediate results are needed. M.A. Niazi is a member of the staff.

China-US trade end of all wars? Even after the trade war ends, the conflict will continue Hafsa MaHtab


rom “Cooperating rivals” to “Competing rivals”…the China-US relationship has varied, as China’s emergence as a superpower after the USA, challenges the unipolarity of the USA and is seen as a threat to US interests generally and to the Trump Administration particularly. Despite having different political systems, strategic interests, and cultural traditions, both the countries remained largely cooperative, for the past four decades. China and the USA can be referred to as ‘Cooperating rivals’ in this period. on the global value chain, they were in different positions and the competitive aspect of their economies was not as prominent. Win-win economic engagement was an important cornerstone for their continuous cooperation. Besides having geopolitical and ideological differences, both the parties were coherent and practical. In order to develop, China needed US cooperation to enter the US-dominated global free trade system and markets, while on the other hand the USA attached significant importance to the business opportunities the Chinese market afforded. So why have both states begun to view each other today as ‘competing rivals’ rather than ‘cooperating rivals’? The changes in US domestic politics and significant shifts in the US perception of the world is closely related to the cause of this rivalry. China has been officially identified as a “major strateKarachi – Ph: 021-35381208-9


gic rival” by the US National Security Strategy and National Defence Strategy. This is not the outcome of a desire on the part of President Donald Trump nor his “hawkish” advisers. In fact, it is a strategic judgment the US government and public have made after careful consideration of the facts, which will not change in the short term. Since January 2018, China and the USA have engaged in a trade war which involves the mutual placement of tariffs. Trump had declared the campaign to fix what he called China’s longtime abuse of the broken international system and unfair practices. China and the USA have both already imposed tariffs on steel, aluminum and some agricultural goods, and have embarked on a full-scale trade war. Trump has slapped tariffs on $50 billion worth of imports from China, as the economic policies of Beijing has resulted in the loss of US jobs. Also, Trump has criticised the growing trade deficit between both the countries. The US trade gap with China indicates that Americans use more Chinese products than vice versa. Even though the US economy remains healthy, the trade war has cast a shadow over the global economy and upsets financial markets. Both US and international firms have said they are being harmed. The ImF warned a full-blown trade war would weaken the global economy. Considering the impact of escalating trade war, both China and the USA appear closer than ever to an accord that would end their trade war. Will they reach an agreement?

Islamabad – Ph: 051-2204545


Nothing can be predicted as there and Communism, want to dominate are many hurdles in this way. If the the world. As China is focusing to agreement take place, will it lead to promote the communist ideology stable trade phase between the two around the world. In the past the superpowers? Will this trade agree- USA has been containing those ment lead towards cooperation? powers who tried to dominate the The answer is “No”, it is just one world, and it will do the same to resist China rising as a global power. step in the relationship. It would be wrong to consider The trade agreement has certain factors, the most likely component that any trade agreement between China and is a pardon the USA on tariffs will lessen that would the tensions. only ease In fact, apart short-term from trade, US trade China and deficits China and the USA will the USA through compete for international will comChina’s pete for inpromise to investment, economic ternational purchase mutual dependence, and investment, more US economic goods. But technological dominance mutual dethe question pendence, is, will and technoChina-US logical trade end all dominance. w a r s ? The effects China and the USA will have many more bat- of China’s Belt and road Initiative, tles to fight when the trade war its role in the International monetary ends. Negotiators are focused on re- Fund and efforts to divide European solving a long-running tariff dispute Union will further increase tensions. Now the question arises that but the conflict between Washington and Beijing extends far beyond whether China and the USA will sales of soybeans and aluminium. continue to cooperate in near future Tensions have broadened to include after trade agreement? This is just the technological, political, ideological beginning of new phase in trade dispute. No one can imagine the “end of and military dimensions. The two largest economies in all wars” with China-US trade, as the world battle for ideological, tech- both are involved in a competition nological and economic dominance, for dominance and perfectionism. and trade agreement will not end Hafsa Mahtab is a freelance these battles. Both the powers having different ideologies, Capitalism columnist.




Friday, 17 May, 2019

COMMENT 09 Editor’s mail

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

State subsidies

Indian Naval sub Arihant’s tragedy

sultaN MeHMood HalI


NDIAN armed forces are prone to accidents, but their navy has suffered more than its fair share of disasters. An article in India Today reported that since 1990, the Indian Navy (IN) has lost one warship in peacetime every five years. Since 2004, it has lost one naval combatant every two years. While peacetime losses of warships are not uncommon, the magazine mentioned that few global navies have such a dubious record. IN spokespersons have rationalised that these accidents, which have been attributed to ageing ships in need of maintenance (refit/repairs delayed in spite of laid down rules for refit cycles), delayed acquisitions by the ministry of Defence, and human error. Captains of erring ships are dismissed from their command following an enquiry. The accident on board the submarine INS Sindhuratna led to the resignation of the then IN Chief Adm DK Joshi on 26 February 2014, who assumed moral responsibility for the loss. The list of Indian Naval losses is pretty long but since this article is about the ill-fated INS Arihant, some accidents pertaining to Indian Navy submarines are listed below. In January 2008, INS Sindhughosh, a Kilo-class submarine, collided with a foreign merchant vessel, mV Leeds Castle, while trying to surface in waters north of mumbai. The submarine was taking part in fleet-level war games, when the accident occurred. on 30 August 2010, INS Shankush, a Shisumar-class submarine developed technical difficulties while on a planned exercise off mumbai. While effecting repairs, the submarine’s maintenance team was washed overboard due to rough sea state. on August 2013, blasts ripped through the torpedo compartment of the submarine INS Sindurakshak while it was berthed at the naval dockyard off the mumbai coast. Fifteen sailors and three officers were killed. other sources state that a small explosion occurred around midnight which then triggered the two larger explosions. The disaster was thought to be the Indian Navy’s worst since the sinking

of the frigate, INS Khukri, by a Pakistani submarine, PNS Hangor, during the 1971 war. on 26 February 2014, INS Sindhuratna, a Kilo-class submarine, had a fire detected on board when trials were being conducted which resulted in smoke leading to suffocation and death of two officers. Seven sailors were reported injured and were airlifted to the naval base hospital in mumbai. INS Arihant, India’s first indigenous nuclear submarine, was launched amidst fanfare, chest-thumping and belligerence in August 2016. The launch coincided with the 10th anniversary of the conclusion of the Kargil War. The successful launch after sea trials, made India the sixth country in the world to put a nuclear-armed submarine into operation. That was considered a milestone in the history of the Indian Navy’s development. Unfortunately, it met with a serious accident shortly after launch, although the news of the loss was kept under the lid. The Arihant-class submarines are nuclearpowered ballistic missile submarines built under the Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project. They are the first nuclear submarines designed and built by India. The submarines are 112 m (367 ft) long with a beam of 11 m (36 ft), a draught of 10 m (33 ft), displacement of 6,000 tonnes (5,900 long tons; 6,600 short tons) and a diving depth of 300m (980 ft). The complement is about 95, including officers and sailors. The subs are powered by a single seven-blade propeller powered by an 83 mW (111,000 hp) pressurised water reactor and can achieve a maximum speed of 12–15 knots (22–28 km/h) when surfaced and 24 knots (44 km/h) when submerged. The submarines have four launch tubes in their hump and can carry up to 12 K-15 Sagarika missiles with one warhead each (with a range of 750 km or 470 mi) or 4 K-4 missiles (with a range of 3,500 km or 2,200 mi). The submarines are similar to the Akulaclass submarine of russia. The Indian Navy trained on INS Chakra, an Akula-class submarine leased from russia in 2012. India’s first nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine has been grounded for over two years after it flooded with seawater and almost sank in January 2017. Disaster struck, when only a few days after launch, the $2.9 Billion nuclear submarine INS Arihant was badly damaged because one of a submariner’s worst nightmares occurred: someone forgot to close a hatch. Water flooded into the propulsion compartment of the vessel and decommissioned the crown jewel of the IN. Two years down the line, the sub is still undergoing extensive repairs, including water being pumped out of the vessel and pipes being replaced. The pressurised water coolant pipes have been corroded by the salt water flooding. According to the Indian daily, The Hindu, the Arihant’s absence first drew attention after it failed to make an appearance at the Doklam border standoff in the summer of 2017, which involved hundreds of Chinese and Indian military personnel. Indian forces were at the brink of war with China but had to blink first and withdraw their forces from the disputed region. The INS Arighant, India’s second Ari-

hant-class submarine, was launched in November 2018 but is currently at trial stage. The question arises that if Arihant was the pride of Indian Navy, it must have been staffed by its top-of-the-line sailors and officers, yet a human error of the gravity of leaving a hatch open, caused the IN such grief and embarrassment. Various analysts, including Li Jie of the Global Times, have now examined the case and concluded that inadequate management, indiscipline and slackness among officers and soldiers of the Indian Navy, are responsible for the various catastrophes that have hit IN the near past. As a national strategic weapon, the nuclear submarine requires careful maintenance, strict management and operation. however, the sailors on the vessel failed to take good care of it. India has long dreamed of becoming a military power. It hopes to acquire more core defence technologies as soon as possible. however, most of India’s weapons are purchased from major military powers including russia, France, the UK and the USA. The sources of India’s weaponry and equipment are complicated. Norms and technical standards that various countries follow to make weapons, are different. Coupled with the fact that India is also developing indigenous weapons, it is fair to conclude that the country’s arsenal is a hodgepodge. In the meantime, Indian soldiers, who are not well-educated, lack necessary knowledge to operate imported advanced weaponry. What they can depend on, is just outdated experience and knowledge. This may be how accidents on INS Arihant happened. Improvement in military technology does not come about overnight. It is a long process that is not solely a military issue, but also related to a country’s comprehensive strength, level of technology, manufacturing capability and quality of personnel. But the Indian military has been overanxious for quick results in recent years and has paid too much attention to dealing with China and Pakistan. This will inevitably lead to adverse consequences. India wants its masses to believe that in November 2018, Arihant completed its first deterrent patrol but a report published by The Hindu, claiming that INS Arihant was still lying idle almost a year after the incident, had caused a storm of controversy because it came at a time when another nuclear submarine leased from russia is already undergoing critical repairs following a serious accident in August last year. The sonar of the nuclear submarine Chakra (Akula-2 class) was reportedly damaged and two panels were dislodged during the accident. If India wants to fulfil its ambitions of developing a bluewater navy, it will have to shed its arrogance and pay attention to the basics of educating its personnel and learning to master the intricate art of managing a force comprising weapon systems of diverse origins. Sultan Mehmood Hali is a retired Group Captain and author of the book Defence & Diplomacy. Currently he is a columnist, analyst and TV talk show host.

NEWS reports suggest that ImF wants withdrawal of extravagant subsidies so as to increase revenues and curtail expenditure. It is unfortunate that it took the ImF to seek curtailing abuse of state resources by powerful vested interests and increase revenues etc. When the state offers any commodity, services, utilities, land etc to citizens below price it cost to national exchequer, this constitutes what is called State Subsidy. Almost every state is under constitutional obligation to provide subsidised education, health, security of life and basic necessities of life to its deprived citizens. In order to discourage use of private transportation and protect environment, states offer citizens subsidy on public transportation. Similarly states impose prohibitively heavy taxation on sale of tobacco products, which has been established as primary cause for cancer, and hence discourage this addiction. revenues raised from taxation on tobacco is utilised to subsidise treatment of cancer. States offer poor citizens and those employed by it, subsidy on sale of one plot to build house for personal use only during their whole tenure. The unfortunate reality is that modern democratic welfare state concept of Quaid e Azam, was replaced by convoluted security state concept after his death. Today we have been reduced to a state plagued by terrorism and extremism that poses a threat to life and property of citizens. Inspite of financial constraints the paid civil and uniformed elite in nexus with corrupt politicians continues in unchecked plunder and are biggest obstacle in documenting the economy. State employees in addition to salaries, subsidised housing facilities, health etc get handsome pension benefits, yet their insatiable greed for multiple allotment of real estate plots has become so rampant that even forest land, border and coastal belt and amenity plots are not safe. ALI M TArIq Lahore

Exercise restraint I think the world order and the world equation are just heading for great paradigmatic and hegemonic change with the countries like the USA, russia, North Korea, Japan often calling for meeting among their respective friendly nations. The recent russia-North Korea summit is one example against the backdrop of America just watching singlehanded such sudden happenings in the world. Not only have I been a great fan of America but also, I am now a big admirer of the US President Donald Trump. Unfortunately trapped under unnecessary criticism from within the country, mr Trump sometimes gets stuck while taking decisions to resolve the world conflicts. Even the Emperor needs a word of support to execute his duties. Similarly, proper support should be given to the American regime in order to have the clear outlook on the world issues. Talking is the best way forward to resolve the issues. In my native areas like Tuticorin, Korkai, Tiruchendur, Tirunelveli, Palayamkottai, Nagercoil, marthandam, Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu, the people [after having worked hard on the agricultural farm] usually have a talk on issues affecting them and the areas. If not to take risks to find solutions to the issues, then who is gonna do so? Countries like North Korea should try to have a rethink on nuclear issues and should come forward, not necessarily to find quick solutions [quick fixes] but just to talk about such serious issues so that the situation will become less tense in the best interests of the world community. P SENTHIL SArAVANA DurAI Mumbai

Kashmir issue AFTEr the creation of Pakistan in 1947, our senior political leaders failed to agree upon a constitution for more than ten years. They seemed busier in conspiracies for gaining power. on the other hand, India not only wrote a constitution, but also quickly occupied states such as hyderabad, Junagarh and Kashmir without consent of the residents. repeated attempts by our rulers to hold dialogue with Indian government for the solution of Kashmir failed. In response to a journalist’s question regarding reluctance of Indian to talk with Pakistan, mr Nehru tauntingly replied that he was confused who he should talk to as Pakistan changed more leaders than he changed his “dothis”? Seventy-two years have gone by and the situation is still not much different. Baring the resistance movement of people of occupied Kashmir, the issue has not moved an inch at the United Nations or in the bilateral talks between the two countries. While the BJP. Government is reluctant to hold talks in line with the principle of might is right, our leaders are still busy in leg pulling and conspiracies finding no time to take up the issue at international or bilateral levels. MuHAMMAD NATIq Karachi

Helping the poor ThE recent increase in the international prices of food commodities has had a significant impact on Pakistan’s poor people. About half of the country’s population lives in a condition of food insecurity. And many more are at risk. So, it’s our duty to join our hands with welfare organisations and help them in feeding poor of our country. As the holy month is about to start, we all should help them. SyED MuDAbIr MEHDI Karachi

Friday, 17 May, 2019


US pUllS Staff from Iraq amId ConCErnS ovEr Iran BAGHDAD



ASHINGTON ordered the departure of nonemergency American employees from its diplomatic missions in Iraq on Wednesday in another apparent show of concern about what it describes as threats from Iran. Helicopters took off throughout the day from the vast embassy compound near the Tigris River, carrying staff out, according to an Iraqi source and a diplomatic source inside Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone. The Iraqi source said US staff were headed for a military base at Baghdad airport. US President Donald Trump’s administration is applying new sanctions pressure on Tehran and says it is sending additional forces to the Middle East to counter what it

calls a heightened threat from Iran to US soldiers and interests in the region. Iran calls that “psychological warfare”, and a British commander cast doubt on US military concerns about threats to its roughly 5,000 soldiers in Iraq, who have been helping Iraqi security forces fight Daesh extremists. The US State Department said employees at both the US embassy in Baghdad and its consulate in Erbil, capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, were being pulled out immediately due to safety concerns. It was unclear how many personnel were affected, and there was no word on any specific threat. Visa services were suspended at the heavily-fortified US missions. “Ensuring the safety of US government personnel and citizens is our highest priority … and we want to reduce the risk of harm,” a State Department spokesman said. Also on Wednesday, Germany, which has 160 soldiers in Iraq, and the Netherlands, which has 169 mil-

itary and civilian personnel, suspended military training operations, citing increasing regional tensions. The Dutch embassy in Baghdad said on its Twitter account that it remained open. The French army had no plans to suspend military training activities in Iraq, a source close to the defense ministry said. ‘DANGEROUS SITUATION’: Both the United States and Iran have said they do not want war, and Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said Tuesday he had indications “things will end well” despite the rhetoric. Iraq is one of the only countries that has close relations with both the US and Iran. It has said it will keep strong ties with Iran, and also with both the US and regional Arab neighbors, some of whom, such as Saudi Arabia, consider Tehran arch-rival. The US, which occupied Iraq from 2003-2011 after invading to topple dictator Saddam Hussein, sent troops back there in 2014 to help fight Daesh. Iran has

close ties to powerful Iraqi political parties and supports powerful militia groups. “I think we are now in a quite dangerous situation where a miscalculation by either side could lead us into conflict,” US Senator Chris Coons, a Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told CNN in an interview on Wednesday. KIRKUK ATTACK: The State Department reissued a travel advisory for Iraq saying US citizens were at high risk of violence and kidnapping. “Anti-US sectarian militias may also threaten US citizens

India's Muslims fear for their future under Narendra Modi AGENCIES

venezuela says talking with 'democratic' opposition in norway GENEVA: Talks are underway in Norway between Venezuela’s government and “democratic” opponents, an envoy said on Thursday, in a possible search for a mediated solution following a failed uprising against President Nicolas Maduro. “Yes, there are talks between the Bolivarian government and the democratic sectors of the opposition,” Venezuela’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Jorge Valero, told reporters, denouncing U.S. interference. Calling Maduro a dictator, U.S. President Donald Trump has tightened sanctions against his government and spearheaded international recognition of opposition leader Juan Guaido who in January invoked the constitution to assume the interim presidency. “The Venezuelan government is a dialogue-loving government,” Valero added, calling Trump a war criminal. “Unfortunately, there’s also an opposition that is warmongering, terrorist and fascist … simply puppets of the U.S. empire.” Guaido, who calls Maduro’s 2018 re-election fraudulent, called for Venezuela’s military to rise up on April 30, but his push quickly petered out and the military’s top brass has since then sworn allegiance to Maduro. Norway’s Foreign Ministry said its norm was not to comment on possible roles in ongoing or potential peace talks. “Norway follows the situation in Venezuela with great concern. We strongly encourage the parties to find a political and peaceful solution in order to avoid further escalation,” a ministry spokeswoman said. Many Venezuelan opposition supporters are skeptical about mediation talks, given that past rounds have failed, divided the opposition and, in their view, merely bought time for Maduro to consolidate power and quash street protests. Valero gave no more specific details about the Norway talks. Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez and Miranda state governor Hector Rodriguez of the ruling Socialist Party both traveled to Oslo, according to opposition sources. Opposition legislator Stalin Gonzalez, along with political advisers Gerardo Blyde and Fernando Martinez have also gone, they said. Norway has a tradition of conflict mediation, including assistance with Colombia’s 2016 peace deal between the government and FARC rebels. AGENCIES

With an increase in hate crimes against Muslims in India in recent years, some fear the world’s largest democracy is becoming dangerously intolerant under the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), reported BBC‘s Rajini Vaidyanathan. It happened just days before the first phase of voting in the Indian elections. A Muslim trader in the north-eastern state of Assam was leaving work when he was accosted by a mob. Shaukat Ali was surrounded by the group, forced to kneel in sludge as he was attacked. “Are you Bangladeshi?” one man shouted, questioning his Indian citizenship. “Why did you sell beef here?” asked another as he jabbed his finger at Mr. Ali. Instead of stepping in to help, the crowds that gathered filmed the incident on their mobile phones. ‘AN ATTACK ON MY ENTIRE FAITH’: A month later and Mr. Ali is still struggling to walk. I met him at his home, a short drive from the market, surrounded by lush verdant countryside and rice fields. As the 48-year-old sat cross-

legged on his bed, his eyes filled with tears as he recounted the horror of what happened. “They beat me with a stick, they kicked me in the face,” he said, showing me the injuries to his rib cage and his head. For decades his family has served beef curry from their small food stall – but never before had they faced such trouble. Some states have made it illegal to sell beef because Hindus consider the cow sacred – but it is legal to sell it in Assam. Shaukat Ali wasn’t just injured physically – he was stripped of his dignity. The mob made the devout Muslim eat pork, forcing him to chew it and then gulp it down. “I have no reason to live now, ” he said as he broke down, “This was an attack on my entire faith.” On the day we met, dozens of members of the local Muslim community had gathered at his house to check on Mr. Ali. As they listened to his story, some started to cry as they wondered if they were now vulnerable too. As the world’s largest democracy goes to the polls, questions are being raised about how inclusive India is to its large Muslim minority population of 172 million.

Shaukat Ali is the latest victim of an increasing number of attacks perpetrated on those selling or suspected of selling beef. A February 2019 report from Human Rights Watch found that between May 2015 and December 2018, at least 44 people – 36 of them Muslims – were killed across 12 Indian states. Around 280 people were injured in more than 100 incidents across 20 states over the same period. In her annual report, United Nations Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet raised concerns over “increasing harassment and targeting of minorities – in particular, Muslims and people from historically disadvantaged and marginalized groups, such as Dalits (formerly known as untouchables).” Religious violence claiming victims of all faiths has been an unwelcome mainstay of this country’s history since its inception. But there’s a real concern that those who wield power in today’s India are embracing a culture of impunity. One of the most chilling examples was what happened in the aftermath of one of the most gruesome gang rapes in India in recent years.

Merkel dismisses speculation she could move to big EU job BERLIN AGENCIES

Germany’s Angela Merkel reaffirmed on Thursday that she would leave politics after serving out her fourth term as chancellor, dismissing speculation that she could take a big European Union job in Brussels. “I am not available for any further political office, regardless of where it is – including in Europe,” the 64year-old Merkel told a joint news conference with visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Speculation about Merkel’s future swirled in Berlin after she told Thursday’s edition of the Sueddeutsche newspaper: “Many people are concerned about Europe – including myself. This means I feel even more duty-bound to join others in making sure that Europe has a future.” She made clear at the news conference that she saw it as her responsibility in her role as chancellor to promote a “good, functional Europe given the situation we have and the polarization”. Anti-establishment, eurosceptic parties around the bloc see the May 23-26 European Parliament elections as a potentially defining moment and hope that a strong showing will bolster their efforts to slow European integration and return more power to national capitals. Merkel has loomed large on the European stage since 2005, helping guide the EU through the euro zone crisis and opening Germany’s doors to migrants fleeing war in the Middle East in 2015, a move that still divides the bloc and Germany. Europe’s longest-

serving leader, Merkel announced last October that her fourth term as chancellor would be her last and that she would not seek any political post after her term ends, beginning a stage-managed gradual exit from politics. In December, she then handed over the leadership of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) to heir apparent Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. Earlier this week, Merkel said politicians should not hang on in office “until nobody wants to see you anymore”. Kramp-Karrenbauer, sometimes dubbed “mini-Merkel”, said in comments published earlier this week that she had no ambition to succeed Merkel as chancellor until 2021, which is when the current German legislative term is due to expire. “The chancellor and the government are elected for a full term and citizens are right to expect that they take this mandate seriously,” Kramp-Karrenbauer told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper in an interview.

and Western companies throughout Iraq,” it said. Four Iraqi federal police officers were killed in Wednesday in an armed attack on their military vehicle 40 km southwest of the disputed oil-city Kirkuk, according to a local security source. Kirkuk has been the target of repeated guerilla-style attacks by Daesh, despite Iraq having declared victory over the group in December 2017. The militants were defeated by Iraqi Security Forces, who were backed by both the US-led coalition and Iran-backed militias.

India's Election Commission curtails campaign in West Bengal after violence India’s Election Commission cut off campaigning early in the eastern state of West Bengal after days of clashes in the final stretch of the country’s marathon elections, a drastic and unprecedented action in the world’s largest democracy. The three-member body said in the order on Thursday that “growing incidents of disruption and violence” were creating a “fear psychosis” among voters, and ordered campaigning to cease by 10pm on Thursday, a day before it had been scheduled to end. Normally campaigns run up to 48 hours before polls open, according to Indian law. On Tuesday, rival political supporters fought with sticks and rocks during a rally for India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, which is trying to wrest seats from Trinamool Congress, a powerful regional party that currently governs West Bengal. Violence was also reported in the state during last Sunday’s polls. AGENCIES

China formally arrests two Canadians on state secrets charges BEIJING: Chinese authorities have formally arrested on state secrets charges two Canadians detained last year, the government said on Thursday, drawing condemnation from Canada in a case that is likely to further increase tension between Ottawa and Beijing. Businessman Michael Spavor, who worked with North Korea, and former diplomat Michael Kovrig were picked up separately in December, shortly after Canada arrested Huawei Technologies Co Ltd Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, who faces extradition to the United States. China has repeatedly demanded Meng be released, and has reacted angrily to extradition proceedings against her in a Canadian court. “According to Chinese prosecutors’ approval, Michael Kovrig, due to being suspected of crimes of gathering state secrets and intelligence for foreign (forces), and Michael Spavor, for being suspected of crimes of stealing and illegally providing state secrets for foreign (forces), have in recent days been approved for arrest according to law,” foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a daily news briefing. The measures were in accordance with the law, Lu said, and Beijing hoped Canada “will not make irresponsible remarks” about law enforcement and judicial proceedings in China. Canada’s government denounced the move. “Canada strongly condemns their arbitrary arrest as we condemned their arbitrary detention on Dec. 10. We reiterate our demand that China immediately release Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor,” Canada’s foreign ministry said. Canadian diplomats have made recent consular visits to them both, it added, declining to provide further details for privacy reasons. AGENCIES

Friday, 17 May, 2019

BUSINESS 11 CORPORATE CORNER PPFA gets recognised for its services towards financial inclusion LAHORE: Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) has won the prestigious CIS Islamic Banking and Finance Award for being the best contributor to the Islamic finance industry in a ceremony held recently in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. PPAF was selected for successfully implementing the Interest Free Loan Programme across Pakistan. While receiving the award, PPAF Interest Free Loan Programme General Manager Farid Sabir shared that as of April 2019, PPAF has provided 524,470 interest free loans to the needful, 67pc being women clients. He said that PPAF is implementing the IFL through its 26 partner organizations in 442 union councils of 45 districts of Pakistan. “An amount of Rs12.9 billion has been disbursed with the average loan size of Rs24,596. The programme has benefitted more than half a million directly while 3 million people have benefited indirectly from the programme. PR

NSP holds workshop to highlight malnutrition issues across Pakistan KARACHI: The Nutrition Support Programme (NSP) recently held an inter-provincial progress review workshop at a local hotel. The workshop provided a unique opportunity to nutrition champions and implementers to exchange best practices, success stories, bottlenecks, lessons learned and create a way forward to further strengthen the implementation of nutrition intervention across Pakistan. The chief guest at the workshop was Minister Azra Palijo. NSP Director Dr Waqar Memon, in his opening remarks, mentioned that NSP aims to reduce the prevalence of acute malnutrition among children aged between 6 to 59 months and anemia in women of reproductive age along with improving the Infant Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices in children up to two years old. “This would be achieved by raising community awareness and facilitybased interventions coupled with a mass media behavior change through short documentaries, dramas, TV commercials and many other creative means.” PR

PSO extends support to Banjosa Valley Public School The groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the new building of Banjosa Valley Public School took place in Kashmir. PSO CSR Trust Chairman Yacoob Suttar, the chief guest at the event, along with other members, was welcomed by Kashmir Education Foundation Trust Chairman Dr Zafar Iqbal Qadir. Expressing his views on the occasion, Yacoob Suttar said, “I am pleased to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the KEFT’s Banjosa Valley Public School’s new building. PSO believes that education is a birthright of every individual in the society. The company realizes its responsibility in this domain and conscientiously works towards the betterment of society in many different spheres. PSO has time and again reached out to those in far-flung areas bringing to them basic human rights such as health and education.” PR

TCS announces two senior appointments KARACHI: The TCS Group, the country’s largest logistics services infrastructure, has announced two senior level appointments which are part of the company’s ambitious growth plans. On the occasion of its 36th anniversary, the company appointed Muhammad Harris Jamali as the Group Head of Strategy and Faizan Siddiqi as the Chief Operating Officer and Head of Digital Transformation. While these two are group holding company appointments, the operating companies, TCS (Pvt) Ltd and TCS Logistics (Pvt) Ltd will continue to function under the leadership of Salman Akram who has been with TCS for the past 15 years progressing from Head of Sales to his current position as CEO of the two main operating companies of the group. PR

Keeping up with the spirit of Ramzan, Bahria Dastarkhawan has been actively involved in distributing essential food items to the poor and needy across the country . PRESS RELEASE




HE Pakistani delegation has presented its implementation report to the Asia-Pacific Joint Group (APG) at a face-to-face meeting in Guangzhou, China, with officials of the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) regional affiliate. It was reported on Thursday that the 10member delegation, led by Finance and Revenue Secretary Mohammad Younas Dagha, has informed the APG about Pakistan's measures to stop terror financing and money laundering. The delegation apprised the APG about measures taken at airports and land & sea border check-posts to curtail currency smuggling. The delegation also informed the group about Pakistan's efforts to curtail activities of banned terrorist outfits and stop monetary transactions linked to them.

THE 10-MEMBER DELEGATION INFORMS APG ABOUT PAKISTAN'S MEASURES TO STOP TERROR FINANCING AND MONEY LAUNDERING The delegation includes officials form the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU), Ministry of Interior, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). Pakistan has already submitted a report in-

forming the APG of the actions it has taken against proscribed organisations and to strengthen its systems in order to block the flow of funds that may be used in terrorist activities. In October, the FATF Asia Pacific Group had demanded more action from Pakistan to put an end to money laundering and financial assistance to terrorists. Following a meeting in Paris in June last year, the Paris-based organisation formally included Pakistan on its "grey list" of countries with inadequate controls over curbing money laundering and terrorism financing. The organisation can make recommendations to any of the countries that have signed a membership charter, as well as other nations, but it has no power to impose sanctions. According to officials, Pakistan had until May to ensure implementation on the measures laid down by FATF.

China warns US move against Huawei could hurt trade talks WASHINGTON/BEIJING The Trump administration’s decision to sanction and potentially cripple Chinese telecoms giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd garnered a sharp rebuke on Thursday from Beijing, which warned that the move could damage trade talks. Shares of Huawei’s US suppliers also fell on fears the huge customer of US chips, software and other components would be forced to stop purchases after the US Commerce Department banned it from buying US technology without special approval. Huawei said in a statement that losing access to US suppliers “will do significant economic harm to the American companies” and affect “tens of thousands of American jobs.” “Huawei will seek remedies immediately and find a resolution to this matter,” the company said. The US crackdown, announced on Wednesday, was the latest shot fired in an escalating US-China trade war that is rattling financial markets and threatening to derail a slowing global economy. Chinese officials said US aggressiveness could hurt the trade talks, which appeared to have hit an impasse in the past week as the United States hiked tariffs on Chinese goods and Beijing retaliated with higher duties on US products. Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng stressed that the United States should avoid further damaging Sino-US trade relations. “China will take all the necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights of Chinese firms,” Gao told reporters. China’s Foreign Ministry also announced the formal arrest of two Canadian citizens who were detained shortly after Canada arrested Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in December. Meng faces extradition to the United States on charges that she conspired to defraud global banks about Huawei’s relationship with a company operating in Iran. She and the company deny the charges. While Canada says China has made no specific link between the detentions of the two men and Meng's arrest, experts and former diplomats say they have no doubt it is using their cases to pressure Canada. POLITICAL SUPPORT: On Wednesday, the Commerce Department said it was adding Huawei

and 70 affiliates to its "Entity List," which bars them from buying components and technology from US firms without government approval. The sanctions have not yet gone into effect. Lawmakers in the US Congress have long feared Huawei’s equipment could be used by the Chinese government to spy on Americans, and the Trump administration’s move has won bipartisan support in Congress. Senator Roger Wicker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, said on Wednesday it was “a necessary step to prevent the use of communications equipment that poses a threat to the United States.” Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat and vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, backed the executive order banning US telecommunications firms from buying from Huawei, as did other Democrats. Warner called the decision “a needed step” but expressed concern about the prospect of other nations rebuffing US efforts to convince them to not use Huawei equipment for 5G, the next generation of wireless. Warner also expressed concern about how the move would affect small U.S. rural carriers, who have relied on the cheaper Chinese equipment maker. He called a plan to replace the equipment “a potentially multi-billion dollar effort.” ECONOMIC FALLOUT: Chipmakers Qualcomm Inc and Xilinx Inc were down between 3pc to just over 4pc on Thursday and were the biggest drags on the Philadelphia SE Semiconductor Index. Shares of optical components maker NeoPhotonics Corp fell the most and were down 14.7pc. Other suppliers like Analog Devices and Finisar Corp were both down about 2pc while Skyworks Solutions was down 4.4pc, Qorvo 5pc, laser sensor maker Lumentum Holdings was down 7.7pc, and memory chipmaker Micron Technology 2.1pc. As signs emerge that consumers could feel the weight of the trade war with China, Walmart said US prices will rise due to higher tariffs on Chinese goods even as the world’s largest retailer reported its best comparable sales growth for the first quarter in nine years. AGENCIES

NDRMF to support Islamic Relief Pakistan with Rs127.6m ISLAMABAD: The National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF) will fund Rs127.6 million to Islamic Relief Pakistan (IRP) for their project titled ‘Resilience and Adoptive Population in Disaster (RAPID)’. The said financial support will be extended to the respective entities as grant financing. The grant implementation agreement between NDRMF and IRP were signed on Thursday. RAPID is designed to better protect and enhance resilience with the outcome of communities and vulnerable groups unable to maintain normal pace of life and secure assets in phase of climate inductive disaster. It involves construction of flood protection structures, water conservation structures and retrofitting of public facilities (School/Health facilities). In addition, the project focuses on interventions including installation of early warning systems, Community Based Disaster Risk Management (CBDRM), School Based Disaster Risk Management (SBDRM) and School Based First Aid Trainings. PR

SBP reserves fall 1.5pc, stand at $8.84bn NEWS DESK: The foreign exchange reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan declined 1.5pc on a weekly basis, according to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Thursday. On May 10th, the foreign currency reserves held by the SBP were recorded at $8,845.6 million, down $138.5 million as compared to $8,984.1 million in the previous week. The decrease was attributed to external debt servicing and other official payments, the statement added. Overall, the country’s liquid foreign currency reserves, including net reserves held by banks other than the SBP, stood at $15,894.4 million. Net reserves held by banks amounted to $7,048.8 million.

TESCO pays Rs3.4bn tax to FBR despite exemption ISLAMABAD: Tribal Areas Electricity Supply Company (TESCO) paid an amount of Rs3.4 billion to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) without putting a burden on the domestic and commercial consumers. TESCO Chief Executive Officer Shafiqul Hassan told APP on Thursday that the government was committed to providing relief to the people of tribal areas and therefore refrained from billing the domestic consumers, besides ensuring regular power supply to the industries. He said TESCO paid the tax for the period of April 2013 to March 2019 despite the fact that “tribal areas were exempted from taxation”. “The accounts of TESCO remained inactive in 2013, 2015 and 2016 due to which tax amount had to be paid,” he added. Hassan informed that the statutory regulatory orders 1212(I)/2018 and 1213(I)/2018 gave exemption from federal taxes to erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Provincially Administered Tribal Areas. He further said that electricity to domestic users was provided from the government subsidy, which was given to provide relief to the people of tribal areas. APP

Court extends suspect’s remand in Karkey rental power case BUSINESS DESK An accountability court on Thursday extended the physical remand of a major suspect, Laeeq Ahmed Sheikh, until May 20th in the Karkey Rental Power Projects (RPPs) case, a private media outlet reported. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) officials produced the suspect before Accountability Judge Muhammad Arshad Malik on expiry of his physical remand and demanded an extension for further investigation. The judge reserved his verdict on the bureau’s plea to extend the suspect’s remand after hearing the arguments of the NAB prosecutor and defence counsel. In the previous hearing, the NAB lawyer had informed the judge that Shiekh, the director of Cannock Global Enterprises Limited (CGEL), was only

playing delaying tactics and was not cooperating with the bureau in its investigation in the case. The investigation officer in the case stated that no property belonging to Sheikh was frozen yet, adding that he denied owning a firm during the investigation. Advocate Khawaja Haris contended that his client owned many companies, arguing that NAB “brings a new firm to light on each hearing and demands an extension in his remand on the pretext of probing into it. Laeeq Ahmed Sheikh was arrested over his alleged involvement in corruption and misuse of authority in award of RPP’s contract to Karkey Karandenis Electric Uratim of Turkey. He has also been accused of laundering illegal of accused Raja Babar Ali Zulqarnain.

Friday, 17 May, 2019





I PSX sheds 320 points as investors react to rupee devaluation KARACHI STAF REPORT

After ending the previous session with decent gains, the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) was back in the grip of bears on Thursday. The indices plunged following news of Pak rupee dropping to its all-time low of Rs148.50 against US dollar in the interbank market. The latest devaluation caused renewed selling as investors reacted with panic to the development. Losing 716.80 points, the KSE 100 index benchmark nosedived to its intraday low of 33,574.85. It ended lower by 320.53 points at 33,971.12. The KMI 30 index declined by 486.38 points or 0.90pc to close at 53,806.29, while the KSE All Share index depreciated by 207.97 points, ending at 25,077.44. The advancers to decliners ratio stood at 51 to 245. The overall trading volumes declined further from 110.88 million in the last session to 108.58 million. K-Electric Limited (KEL 5.21pc), Pakistan International Bulk Terminal Limited (PIBTL -8.01pc) and Unity Foods Limited (UNITY 9.31pc) led the volume chart. The scripts had traded 14.60 million shares, 6.91 million shares and 6.50 million shares respectively. On the economic front, Pakistan's trade deficit surged by 22pc to $2.66 billion in April 2019 as compared to $2.18 billion in the same period last year. The increase was mainly due to a rise in imports, which went up by 14.39pc to $4.75 billion in April as compared to $4.16 billion in March. Exports also improved by 5.81pc from $1.98 billion in the preceding month to $2.09 billion. Furthermore, the monetary policy is expected to be announced on Monday through a press release, according to a notification issued by the State Bank of Pakistan. In the previous monetary policy, the interest rate was increased by 50 basis points to 10.75pc.

‘Details of offshore drilling to be announced within a week’


N an effort to increase the tax revenue in line with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) requirements, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government, apart from introducing new taxes, is likely to end tax exemptions to salaried individuals earning Rs400,001 to Rs1.2 million per annum. According to sources, the Ministry of Finance, while preparing the next budget, is considering to re-impose the income tax slabs of 2017-18 that included income tax rates from 2pc to 35pc plus a fixed amount of tax. In case the tax slabs are reversed, the government will be collecting an additional revenue of Rs100 billion, which was lost due to exemptions introduced by the previous government in April 2018. While presenting the last budget, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government had introduced income tax exemptions to those earning Rs400,001 to Rs1.2 million per annum. However, it later added a fixed amount of Rs1,000 for individuals earning Rs400,001 to Rs800,000 and Rs2,000 for the annual income of Rs800,001 to Rs1.2 million per


annum. The fixed tax of Rs1,000 and Rs2,000 was introduced to avoid reducing the number of filers (1.26 million). By increasing the income tax exemption slab from Rs400,000 to Rs1.2 million per annum, the previous government had eroded 521,597 income tax return filers from the tax base, a 42pc of the existing tax base, according to the calculations of the Federal Board of Revenue. The PTI government, later, through a supplementary budget in September 2018, had maintained the exemptions for individuals drawing a yearly income of

Rs400,001 to Rs1.2 million while introducing some changes in the remaining slabs of income tax. According to sources, the finance ministry has started consultation to reintroduce the previous income tax range of 2pc to 15pc for individuals of Rs400,001 to Rs1.2 million per annum income, as it may add over Rs35 billion to the FBR's tax revenue. In case the previous income tax regime is restored, the income tax rates for people earning from Rs1.2 million to Rs2.4 million would be 10pc to 17.5pc in addition to a fixed amount. The tax for this slab was re-

duced by the previous government to 5pc, causing a reduction of over Rs20 billion in the FBR's income. In the previous tax slab, the tax for the income category of Rs2.4 million to Rs4.8 million was in the range of 17.5pc to 27.5pc, in addition to a fixed amount of tax. The PML-N government in its last budget had reduced the tax for this slab to only 10pc. As per the tax slab of 2017-18, for those earning over Rs4.8 million annually, the income tax rate was in the range of 27.5pc to 35pc plus Rs6 million tax for the highest slab. The tax for this slab was reduced by the previous government to only 15pc, causing a hit of around Rs40 billion to FBR. It may be recalled that prior to the Finance Act, 2018, the minimum threshold of taxable income for individuals was Rs400,000, whereas the maximum tax rate was 30pc and 35pc for salaried and nonsalaried individuals respectively. Through the finance act, rates for both salaried and non-salaried individuals were unified and the minimum threshold of taxable income was increased to Rs1,200,000. However, a nominal tax rate of Rs1,000 was imposed on income between Rs400,000 to Rs800,000 and Rs2,000 on income between Rs800,000 to Rs1,200,000.

Asia’s worst performing currency takes another hit BUSINESS DESK Pakistani Rupee (PKR) weakened to a record in an apparent devaluation, four days after the South Asian nation secured a bailout from the International Monetary Fund that investors speculate includes tough conditions to reform the economy. The rupee dropped 3.6pc, the most in more than five months, to 146.52 a dollar at close on Thursday, according to central bank data. The currency has plunged more than 20pc in the past year, making it the worst performer in a basket of 13 currencies in Asia compiled by

Bloomberg. The rupee level reflects demand and supply conditions in the foreign exchange market, Pakistan’s central bank spokesman Abid Qamar said in a statement on Thursday, adding that it will help in “correcting market imbalances”. The nation had previously said the IMF had not sought to set a level for the currency. “A market-determined exchange rate’’ will help the economy, the multilateral lender had said in a statement May 12. The nation’s central bank had devalued the currency five times last year and raised

interest rates by 475 basis points as it sought to contain the financial blowouts from Pakistan’s twin current-account and budget deficits. The rupee devaluation is “an IMF condition and they seem serious about it,” said Asad Sayeed, a director at the Karachi-based consultancy Collective for Social Science Research. “It’s an open market policy. It appears they have decided to adopt it.” Pakistan clinched the IMF loan after almost a six-month delay that prompted rating companies to downgrade the nation’s credit score earlier this year. In the process,

Prime Minister Imran Khan fired key members of his economic team, including the finance minister and central bank governor, and pledged to carry out deep structural reforms. Other than the rupee devaluation, “you now have no choice,” said Mushtaq Khan, former chief economist at Bank Alfalah Ltd, who now runs an independent consultancy. “International investors are cautiously optimistic that, under the current economic leadership, this time could be different,” said Bilal Khan, senior economist at Standard Chartered Bank in Dubai.

BUSINESS DESK Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Zaidi has said that the details regarding the discovery of oil and gas at Kekra-1 well would be announced within a week, a private media outlet reported. “There are only 26 metres more to go in the search for oil and gas,” Ali Zaidi said, adding that the team working on offshore drilling along the coast of Karachi has found pressure signals after drilling up to 5,474 metres. He said the drilling work had not been completed yet and it would continue till 5,500 metres. “The oil reservoir is most probably releasing the pressure from different points, which is a good sign,” he said in a statement. The minister said blowout preventer caps had been installed at pressure signals, adding that the drilling has restarted after pressure testing. The maritime affairs minister admitted the drilling work was supposed to be completed in 60 days, but it had reached 120 days now. “Only few days are remaining and the final result will come out in a week,” he maintained. Earlier, it was reported that testing had started to gauge the quantity of oil and gas at Kekra-I drilling site.

Stung by US sanction threats, EU seeks ways to boost the euro BRUSSELS AGENCIES

The European Union is seeking new ways to widen use of the euro and counter the dollar’s global dominance, top EU officials said on Thursday, as the bloc tries to salvage Iran’s nuclear deal by helping companies bypass US sanctions. Fears they will be hit with sanctions have pushed European corporations to suspend their dealings with Iran after Washington pulled out of the nuclear accord last year. The EU has tried to defend the pact signed with world powers in 2015 by offering firms alternative ways to trade with oil-rich Iran. Because the dollar is the world’s dominant

currency, European officials and businessmen are aware that financial threats by the United States cannot be overlooked, even when they rest on controversial legal grounds. “You simply don’t want to take the risk,” said a manager at a top European company. Companies that trade with Iran risk being shut out from the US market and could lose access to credit. Banks, insurers and other financial operators that provide support to firms breaching sanctions also face fines. The effectiveness of US sanctions is increased by the dollar’s global dominance. Beyond immediate but limited moves to challenge Washington’s boycott of the Iran deal, such as plans to set up a barter-based trade channel, INSTEX, EU officials are taking a long view

and pondering how help the euro challenge the dollar’s position. “A stronger international role for the euro is a key priority,” France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told a conference in Brussels, saying US policy toward Iran had triggered renewed efforts in that direction. “I don’t want our companies to suffer from American decisions that we do not share,” Le Maire told the conference of European financial experts. The dollar is dominant in most sectors of the global monetary system, accounting for about a 60pc of foreign reserves, sovereign debt issuance and international loans to corporations. The euro takes roughly a 20pc share of those markets.

Karachi water supply, Yellow Line projects recommended to ECNEC ISLAMABAD STAFF REPORT

The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) on Thursday accorded approval to one project worth Rs385 million and recommended four projects worth Rs123.6 billion to the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) for consideration. The CDWP meeting was held under the chairmanship of Planning Commission Deputy Chairman and Planning Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar. Planning Secretary Zafar Hasan and senior officials from the federal and provincial governments were also present on the occasion.

Projects related to transport & communication, physical planning & housing, governance, food & agriculture and health were presented in the meeting. The Sindh government presented a project titled ‘Karachi Urban Mobility Project (Yellow Line). The Rs61.4 billion project was recommended to ECNEC for consideration. The planning minister said that the incumbent government is committed to developing Karachi, adding that the completion of the project would provide modern travelling facilities to the people of the city. He said that the project is closely aligned to the federal government’s manifesto of urban development

and green growth. Another important project of the Sindh government titled ‘Karachi Water & Sewerage Services Improvement Project (KWSSIP) Phase-1’ was also recommended to ECNEC for consideration. The Rs14.7 billion project would improve the capacity of Karachi Water & Sewerage Board with regard to providing better water and sanitation services to the residents of Karachi and to carry out its routine activities of development, operation and management of wastewater treatment infrastructure. The second project related to transport titled ‘Construction of Expressway on East Bay of Gwadar Port (Revised)’

was presented by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs. The Rs17.3 billion project was referred to ECNEC for consideration. The project envisages construction of 18.98km four-lane expressway with embankment for six lanes integrating Gwadar Port with the Makran Coastal Highway as well as with its free zone and future container terminals. The length of the offshore section of the expressway is 4.34km while that of the on-shore section is 14.641km. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government presented a project titled ‘KP Irrigated Agriculture Improvement Project’, which was recommended to ECNEC for consideration. The Rs30 billion project

aims to improve the performance/functionality of the farm level irrigation delivery system and reduce water waste. Moreover, the Ministry of National Health, Services, Regulation & Coordination presented a project titled ‘Upgradation of Gastroenterology Department/Replacement of Equipment for advanced Liver and GI diseases, PIMS, Islamabad. The Rs385 million project was accorded approval by the CDWP. Two position papers ‘Construction of Delay Action Dams in Balochistan-Package III’ and ‘Lahore Garment City’ worth Rs716.63 million were also considered on the occasion.

KahaniSaaz Start their inningS with Changezi Mohabbat



InALLY the wait is over! KahaniSaaz, a filmmaking startup, is releasing it’s first short film titled ‘Changezi Mohabbat’ on 17th May (today) on it’s YouTube Channel at 8:00 pm. The story ‘a bitter sweet love affair’ as the tag line says in the promo, is about a couple who refuse to acknowledge their love for each other. How easy it is to overcome your urge to love someone? The promo and poster gives a vintage feel and the story seems to be set in the 70s or 80s. The cast and crew includes new and emerging artists full of talent only lacking opportunity. Lead role is played by Areej Zia and Saad Hussain, apiring actors and this will be their debut film. Produced by co-founder naveed Akbar and directed by co-founder Fatima Asad. This is her first work professionally. KahaniSaaz has been making people curious since their launch event ‘Qissa-eKahanisaaz’ held at Olomopolo on 19th April where they prmiered the promos of their shortfilms. Their work was well recievd by the audience leaving them eager to watch their films upon release. “Striving to present the Pakistani media with some unique content and exhibiting fresh talents, the team of KahaniSaaz truly deserves appreciation as a result of their unmatchable potential and hard work,� said Amna Riaz, a clinical psychologist and a student of UCP, who was present at Qissa-e-Kahanisaaz and enjoyed all the promos and the theatrical performances by the team. “It has been an amazing experience with the most down to earth artists I have ever known. KahaniSaaz is a channel providing people with pure and marvellous artistic skills with their talents. So for all the people out there waiting for some actual entertaining content, do follow and subscribe KahaniSaaz on YouTube.� she added. The company has made six short films so far which will be released every month on it’s YouTube channel named ‘KahaniSaaz’.

The generes range from philosophy to comedy. Many more are under production including music videos. “KahaniSaaz is a place where intellect meets talent and excellence meets new standards.� says naveed Akbar, co-founder of KahaniSaaz. “We want to represent the thoughts and psyche of a common man through our work,� he adds. The foundation was laid after naveed Akbar, an actor, writer and director, conducted an acting workshop at Olomopolo where he discovered some hidden talent of Pakistan that was full of potential. It only lacked the opportunity. After a gap of one year, he along with his two students, Fatima Asad and Affan-ul-Haq,

joined together to tell stories through short films and music videos. Then naveed and Fatima continued with the ventured that had started. Laeeq Ahmed, a friend of naveed who had been working with him previously, became their backbone, assisting them in artwork and production management. They were further joined by other amazing writers, musicians and actors in their journey. Fatima Asad, co-founder and director at KahaniSaaz is confident that the film will receive a positive response from the viewers. “Our work speaks for itself,� she says, “ We are focusing on the audience that has been neglected by the entertainment industry of Pakistan so far. Either you see oppressed women buried in a bottomless pit of abuse and violence or you see meaningless stuff going viral. But we at KahaniSaaz have something unique to give to the audience,� she adds. The team is detremined to set new standards in the entertainment industry. Quality and meaningful entertainment is something that they refuse to compromise on. The promo of Changezi Mohabbat, released on 10th May, seemed promising and is a proof of their detrtmination.

Reema Khan Comes on Board with the DSF as their Brand Ambassador to Support victims of intentional acid and kerosene oil burn attacks Karachi: Depilex Smileagain Foundation (DSF) has taken on board the multi-talented and globally renowned veteran and film actress, Reema Khan as their Goodwill Ambassador to support its patients and to shed light on this heinous crime. Reema Khan will be seen endorsing the work of Masarrat Misbah to empower women who have gone through the trauma of an acid attack and require reconstructive surgery, psychosocial support and skill training to help them become self-sufficient members of society. Her main aim

would be to spread awareness about the crime and the need for stronger legislation specific to this issue. The Depilex Smileagain Foundation (DSF) was conceptualized in 2003 as a support and assistance group for women who are victims of domestic violence, with special emphasis in the area of deliberate acid and kerosene burning. They have many registered acid burnt victims with them who require assistance and deserve the support of such organizations. Their work is not just humbling, but is inspiring others to join their cause as well.

Shahid Kapoor unveils his wax statue De De Pyaar De box oďŹƒce prediction: Ajay Deepika Padukone arrives for at Madame Tussauds Singapore Devgn film to earn Rs 12-13 crore on Day 1 Cannes Film Festival Shahid Kapoor on Thursday unveiled his wax statue at the Madame Tussauds museum in Singapore. The statue bears an uncanny resemblance to the actor. Shahid had earlier shared a picture of himself holding a plastic eyeball and wrote along, “7 days from now, I will be unveiling my first & only wax figure at @MTsSingapore ! Stay Tuned! #shahidkapoor #MadametussaudsSG #MTSG #ShahidMTSG.â€? Madame Tussauds SG’s Twitter page also shared another photo of the actor and wrote, “Did you know that more than 200 measurements were taken during sitting to ensure the portrayal? Do not forget to join our once-in-a-lifetime contest, meeting Shahid Kapoor in person, which ends today!â€? Shahid Kapoor’s Padmaavat co-star Deepika Padukone had recently unveiled her statue at the museum. Other stars like Priyanka Chopra, Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Salman Khan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Varun Dhawan, Katrina Kaif and Hrithik Roshan also have their wax statue installed at the museum.

Ajay Devgn, Tabu and Rakul Preet Singh starrer De De Pyaar De releases this Friday. After an average response to last week’s release Student of the Year 2, film trade analysts expect the Luv Ranjan production to be a saviour at the ticket counters. Girish Johar feels De De Pyaar De has all the elements to have a good start at the theaters. “The buzz around the film is pretty much strong as the trailer has been loved by everyone. It is a very vibrant, colourful and peppy film. The cast is also good. It is a light entertainer and the songs have also been received well. I think it is set up for a good start,� Johar said. He continued, “This will be the first choice of the moviegoers. The audience for the film is wider than the previous week’s release Student Of The Year 2. It attracts the youth and family alike. Ajay Devgn is a well-established superstar and the expectations are high. The feel of the film is also quite positive.� The makers of De De Pyaar De held paid previews of the film a day prior to its release and this hints at the confidence of the producers.


Deepika Padukone will be soon walking the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival. The actor represents an international beauty brand at the festival. Deepika Padukone has landed at the French Riviera for the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. The actor will walk the red carpet as a part of an international beauty brand. Deepika posted a video of her arrival on Instagram. In the video, Deepika talks about her red carpet appearance. She posted the video with the caption, “Here we go‌ #Cannes2019â€? She had earlier posted a picture of her boarding pass with the caption, “& then this‌had to be done!Here we Go‌đ&#x;š˛â€ŚOoops‌.â€? Deepika Padukone has been a regular at the Cannes Film Festival for a few years now. The actor has been lauded for her red carpet appearances.

Friday, 17 May, 2019


Man City RefeRRed to Uefa finanCial body in faiR play pRob London



ANCHESTER City said Thursday they were "disappointed" but "not surprised" after being referred to UEFA's adjudicatory chamber for alleged breaches of financial fair play rules. In 2014, the Premier League champions were fined ÂŁ49 million ($63 million) and subjected to squad, wage and spending caps in a settlement agreed with football's European governing body following a previous breach of the rules. UEFA began a new probe after further allegations were made in German publication Der Spiegel last year.

The reports alleged that City, bankrolled by Sheikh Mansour, a member of Abu Dhabi's royal family, had set up sponsorship deals to circumvent regulations limiting how much money owners can put into a club. City could reportedly face a season-long ban from the Champions League if they are found to have breached the regulations but it is not known if chief investigator Yves Leterme supports such a penalty. UEFA introduced the Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules to prevent clubs that qualify for its competitions from spending beyond their means and avert what then-president Michael Platini called "financial doping" within the game. "The Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) chief investigator, after having

consulted with the other members of the independent investigatory chamber of the CFCB, has decided to refer Manchester City FC to the CFCB adjudicatory chamber following the conclusion of his investigation," UEFA said in a statement on Friday. "The CFCB investigatory chamber had opened an investigation into Manchester City FC on 7 March 2019 for potential breaches of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations that were made public in various media outlets." The club immediately responded, saying in a statement the accusation of financial irregularities "remains entirely false". "The decision (to refer the case) contains mistakes, misinterpretations and confusions fundamentally borne out of a basic lack of due process and there re-

main significant unresolved matters raised by Manchester City FC as part of what the club has found to be a wholly unsatisfactory, curtailed, and hostile process," the club added. sEriaL WiNNErs: City were bought by Sheikh Mansour in 2008 and the club have since been transformed into serial winners after decades of under-achievement. A win against Watford in Saturday's FA Cup final would secure the first domestic treble in English football history after the club, managed by Pep Guardiola, won the League Cup earlier this season and retained their Premier League title.

The Premier League said in March it was investigating financial matters and academy player recruitment at City. Qatari-backed Paris Saint-Germain have faced a similar UEFA probe over the 400 million euros ($449 million) spent to sign Brazilian forward Neymar and France striker Kylian Mbappe. But in March, the Court of Arbitration for Sport backed the French club against UEFA. CAS upheld PSG's appeal against a decision by UEFA to reopen a probe into the club's compliance with FFP regulations. UEFA had originally cleared PSG of wrongdoing.

Osaka into third round as Italian Open resumes after washout Paris Agencies

fedeReR eaSeS into thiRd RoUnd in RoMe Rome: World number three Roger Federer eased into the third round of the WTA and ATP Italian Open on Thursday with a straight sets win over Portugal's Joao Sousa. Federer won through 6-4, 6-3 against the 72ndranked Sousa and will play Croatian 13th seed Borna Coric later in the day for a place in the quarter-finals after rain delays wiped out play on Wednesday. Federer, a four-time finalist in Rome, returns to Italy after skipping the clay season for the last two years as he concentrated on his grass game. Agencies

nadal CRUSheS ChaRdy to ReaCh RoMe thiRd RoUnd

World number one Naomi Osaka eased into the third round of the WTA and ATP Italian Open on Thursday with a straight set win over Dominika Cibulkova under the sunshine in Rome after the previous day's play was washed out. The 21-year-old Osaka was first up after wintery conditions in the Italian capital wiped out an entire day's play with competitors now having to play two matches on Thursday. The two-time Grand Slam winner won through 6-3, 6-3 in 1hr 42min for her fourth win in as many games against the 33rd-ranked Slovak who she also beat last week in Madrid. The Japanese star fought back after losing her serve early in the first set, saving four break points in the second, hitting 44 winners and 12 aces, despite 25 unforced errors. Osaka, who broke through by winning the US Open and Australian Open titles last year, reaches the third round in Rome for the first time in three appear-

Mihaela Buzarnescu later on Thursday for a place in the quarter-finals. Former French Open winner Garbine Muguruza needed three sets to get past American Danielle Collins 6-4, 46, 6-2. The Spanish former world num-

China to host 2023 Asian Cup after Korea withdraw bid Beijing Agencies

Rome: Defending champion Rafael Nadal lost just one game as he crushed France's Jeremy Chardy in straight sets to advance to the third round of the Italian Open on Thursday. The eight-time Rome champion won 60, 6-1 and next meets Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili, the 14th seed, later in the day for a place in the quarter-finals after rain delays wiped out play on Wednesday in the joint ATP and WTA tournament. Agencies

ances. But she needs to make the quarter-finals at least if she wants to hold her world number one ranking. Next up for the Japanese player on the red clay of the Foro Italico is either Germany's Julia Goerges or Romania's

South Korea have abandoned their bid to stage football's Asian Cup in 2023, authorities said, leaving the sole other bidders China with a free run to become hosts. The Korea Football Association (KFA) said in a statement it had pulled

out to "strategically focus" on a joint bid with North Korea to host the Women's World Cup in the same year. The KFA announced the joint bid in March, but diplomatic contacts between Pyongyang and Seoul have since dwindled with North Korea-US nuclear talks deadlocked. "For the Women's World Cup, FIFA and the South Korean govern-

pSG and United eyeinG lewandowSki tRanSfeR munich: Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski has received offers from both Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United, according to a report in German football magazine Kicker on Thursday.Kicker reported that Lewandowski, whose current deal at Bayern runs until 2021, was unhappy with the club's plan to extend his contract by a single year, suggesting the player wanted a longer deal. Agencies


ment will provide active support so that the joint hosting by South and North Koreas can be materialised," the KFA's head Chun Han-jin said in the statement late Wednesday. Seoul's Asian Cup withdrawal means that China should on June 4 be confirmed by the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) as hosts of the nations championship finals for the second time. China staged the tournament in 2004 when the hosts lost 3-1 to Japan in the Beijing final. The KFA announced Seoul's bid to host the 24-nation 2023 edition two years ago, saying it hoped to "host the most prestigious football tournament in Asia" 63 years after holding it for the first time in 1960. Thailand and Indonesia had also previously expressed interest in hosting the 2023 event, but dropped their bids earlier. This year's tournament in the UAE was expanded to 24 nations for the first time with Qatar winning the final 3-1 against Japan.

ber one, now ranked 19th, next plays Belarus Victoria Azarenka who ousted two-time defending champion Elina Svitolina in the second round. Sixth seed Kiki Bertens also needed three sets to get past American Amanda Anisimova 6-2, 4-6, 7-5, with France's Kristina Mladenovic seeing off Swiss Belinda Bencic 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 to set up a meeting with eighth-seed Ashleigh Barty of Australia. Roger Federer took to the Central Court just after Osaka to make his return to the Italian Open in a second-round match against Portugal's Joao Sousa. The winner will then play Croatian 13th seed Borna Coric later in the day. Federer, a four-time finalist in Rome, returns to Italy after skipping the clay season for the last two years as he concentrated on his grass game. Last week's winner in Madrid Novak Djokovic and reigning Rome champion Rafael Nadal also have to be crammed into a packed programme with 55 singles and doubles matches scheduled Thursday.

Shoulder injury rules Sharapova out of Roland Garros

Paris: Maria Sharapova has pulled out of this year's French Open with a shoulder injury, the two-time former Roland Garros winner announced on Wednesday. Sharapova, 32, a five-time Grand Slam champion, has not played since pulling out of a tournament in her native Russia at the end of January. "Sometimes the right decisions aren't always the easiest ones," she said in a post on her Instagram account. "In better news, I have returned to the practice court, and slowly building the strength back in my shoulder," she added with a picture of her lifting the Roland Garros trophy in 2014. In February the world number 35 said she had undergone a small procedure to fix a long-standing shoulder problem. The former world number one had missed out on a place in the Australian Open quarter-finals in January. Sharapova has been struggling back to top fitness since watching from the sidelines during her 15-month doping ban that ended in 2017. This year's French Open will run from May 26 until June 9, with Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep as defending champions. Agencies

Friday, 17 May, 2019

pakiStan one of the faVoURiteS foR woRld CUp 2019, belieVeS GanGUly


news desk

ORMER India captain Sourav Ganguly thinks that Pakistan will enter World Cup 2019 as one of the favourites as they have remarkable record playing in England, especially during ICC events, reported NDTV. That is the reason why he picked Pakistan alongside India, hosts England and Australia to reach the semifinal of the marquee tournament. England has always been a happy hunting ground for Pakistan during world tournaments. Their recent success in the multi-nation tournament in England came when they defeated India in the final of 2017 Champions Trophy. “Pakistan’s record in world tournaments in England is remarkable. They won the Champions Trophy two years ago, they won the 2009 World T20 in England,” Ganguly told PTI on the sidelines of a promotional programme. Ganguly also cited the recent example of Pakistan’s second ODI against England, in which they almost chased down a mammoth 374 before going down by only 12 runs. “Pakistan always play well in England. You see the last game in England. England got 374 and Pakistan just lost

by 12 runs. They also beat England in England in Test matches there because of their bowling lineup.” Ganguly, however, was quick to add that Virat Kohli’s men should not be wary of Pakistan and they would prove to be strong contenders. “I don’t believe in records. Both of them will have to play well on that particular day. India will be a very good side. They will be very hard to beat. Team which has the likes of Kohli, Rohit, Shikhar Dhawan can’t be weak.” Royal Challengers Bangalore’s re-

peated failures in the Indian Premier League have put the spotlight on Kohli’s leadership skills but Ganguly said Indian captaincy is a different ball game. He insisted that Virat Kohli’s IPL captaincy will not have an impact in the World Cup as he enjoys a good record as an ODI skipper. “Don’t compare Virat Kohli’s IPL captaincy record with that of India. His captaincy records for India is very good actually. He’s got him in his team as the vice-captain. Dhoni is there. So, he’s well supported,” said Ganguly.

Starting as one of the favourites, India would be under tremendous pressure but Ganguly felt it would bring out the best from Kohli and Co. “So, it’s good that India is under pressure, every other team in the World Cup will be under pressure. You don’t want to turn up like a Nepal or an Ireland where the entire world thinks that you’re not going to win. “You rather turn up like an India or an Australia or an England where everybody says this team is going to win the World Cup. So Virat, probably being the best player of the world at the moment, is as much under pressure as anybody else and that will be good for him because he will turn up, work hard, he will be pumped and get India going.” Ganguly said it would be an interesting World Cup as all 10 teams will play each other before the best four qualify for the knockouts. “It’s a great World Cup because all 10 teams play against each other and the best four qualify. There are strong teams and you realise England, Pakistan, West Indies all can win. “So it’s good that India is under pressure because it will help them perform and it’s going to be exciting 55 days of cricket,” Ganguly said.

Eoin Morgan cops one-ODI suspension for slow over-rate konta rallies past Stephens to set up Venus clash in Rome romE: Britain's Johanna Konta set up a third round clash with Venus Williams on Thursday after coming from a set down to beat American Sloane Stephens at the Italian Open. Konta, 27, won 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 6-1 against the seventh-seeded Stephens who reached the semi-finals in Madrid last week. Konta, ranked 42, next meets Williams, the 1999 Rome winner, who was handed a third round ticket after sister Serena pulled out before they were due to meet when her knee injury flared up. Konta threw away a 4-0 lead in the first set, losing a tie-break, but regained the momentum in the following two to book her ticket to the third round for a fourth straight year after two and a half hours on court at the Foro Italico. She plays former world number one Williams later on Thursday with competitors doubling up after play was wiped out on Wednesday because of unseasonal rain in Rome. Agencies

BristoL Agencies

England, 2-0 up in the five-match ODI series against Pakistan after three games, will be without Eoin Morgan when they take the field at Trent Bridge to try and wrap up the series, after their captain was suspended for one match for the team's slow over-rate in the third ODI in Bristol. After batting first in Bristol,

Pakistan finished on 358 for 9 and England crossed the mark with 31 balls remaining for a six-wicket win. After the game, England were deemed to be two overs short after time allowances were taken into consideration, and match referee Richie Richardson, in accordance with Article 2.22.1 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players, imposed the sanction. Morgan had been found guilty of a similar offence during the Barbados

ODI against West Indies on February 22, and since this was the second such infraction within a 12-month period, he had to accept the ban as well as a fine of 40% of his match fee. The other members of the playing XI had to cough up 20% of their fees too. Jonny Bairstow, the Man of the Match for his 93-ball 128 in the chase, was also pulled up after the match. Paul Reiffel and Michael Gough, the on-field umpires for the game, and Chris Gaffaney, the third umpire, charged him with misconduct. Bairstow, after he was dismissed in the 29th over of the England innings, struck the stumps with his bat, and therefore breached Article 2.2 of the ICC Code, which relates to "abuse of cricket equipment or clothing, ground equipment or fixtures and fittings during an international match". One demerit point has been added to Bairstow's disciplinary record - it was his first offence since the introduction of the revised Code in September 2016. The fourth ODI will be played on Friday, and the final game is scheduled for Headingley on May 19.


Shakib al haSan RetiReS hURt with SUSpeCted Side StRain Dhaka: Shakib Al Hasan retired hurt during the course of Bangladesh's chase in the final league fixture against Ireland after hurting his left side. The injury, suspected to be a side strain, took him off the field after he had faced 51 balls for his half-century. The incident occurred at the end of the 36th over of Bangladesh's chase. Only an over earlier, he was holding his left side in pain. Physio Thihan Chandramohan spent several minutes trying to relieve him of the pain, before Shakib decided to continue batting. Then as he resumed, he felt the pain as he pulled a short ball off Joshua Little. However, he decided to retire hurt in the next over. The gravity of his injury isn't yet ascertained and it is likely that the Bangladesh Cricket Board will throw light after receiving an update from the physio. The decision was a wise one, considering Bangladesh are in their final stretches of preparation for the World Cup. As such, Shakib has dealt with multiple finger injuries in recent times, the one last September nearly derailing his career as the finger contracted an infection. Shakib then broke his finger during the BPL final in February, which forced him to miss the New Zealand tour. Bangladesh are already through to the tri-series final against West Indies on May 17. Agencies

MohaMMad aMiR, aSif ali to be inClUded in pakiStan’S woRld CUp SqUad: RepoRtS LahoRe: Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmad, Chief Selector Inzamamul Haq and Head Coach Micky Arthur have decided to include fast bowler Mohammad Amir and hard-hitting batsman Asif Ali in World Cup squad of Pakistan cricket team. According to media reports, struggling all-rounder Faheem Ashraf and newly-selected opener Abid Ali will make way for both players. The 15-member squad will be announced May 23, a deadline set by International Cricket Council (ICC). The World Cup will start on May 30 in England and Wales. Pakistan will play its first match against West Indies on May 31. Asif Ali impressed the team management with 51 off 36 and 52 off 43 in the second and third One Day International (ODI) against England respectively. This performance cemented his place in the World Cup squad. Meanwhile, Mohammad Amir is recovering from suspected chickenpox and is undergoing treatment in London. The left-arm pacer is not in the form since his matchwinning performance against India in ICC Champions Trophy final in 2017. Since then, he has only bagged five wickets in his 14 international appearances. Agencies

Pakistan women register comfortable victory in opening T20I over SA sPorts desk The professional performance saw Pakistan complete a seven-wicket victory over South Arica in Pretoria, reported ICC. After a back-and-forth three-match ODI series that started with a convincing win apiece and ended with a thrilling tie, Pakistan put in a superb team performance to take the first T20I of the five-match series in South Africa. Having won the toss and elected to field, Pakistan got to off to a near-perfect start. Sana Mir (3/14), fresh from becoming the leading wicket-taker among spinners in women’s ODI history on Sunday, dismissed both of South Africa’s openers in the first over of the game. First, Lizelle Lee was trapped in front for nought before Tazmin Brits edged the penultimate ball of the over to Sidra Nawaz behind the stumps. At 1/2 at the end of the first over, South Africa were chasing the game after just six balls. Wickets continued to fall at regular intervals as Pakistan’s attack did well to put a squeeze on the South Africa line-up. At 61/6 at the end of the 14th over, South Africa were in real danger of not reaching three fig-

ures. With their prospects looking bleak, Chloe Tryon (43) and Shabnim Ismail (20) launched a late innings counter-attack to carry their side to a defendable total of 119/7 at the end of their 20 overs. Pakistan’s chase started in similar circumstances to South Africa’s innings with Javeria Rauf falling to Kapp in the first over. Her fellow opener, Umaima Sohial, fell shortly after in the sixth over with the score still on just 29. Behind the required run-rate and having lost two early wickets, the game was very much in the balance. Then came a true captain’s knock from Bismah Maroof (53*), ably supported, and possibly even bettered, by Nida Dar (53). In difficult circumstances against a high-quality attack, Dar took the initiative to South Africa, not letting any of their bowlers really settle. When she was dismissed for a 37-ball 53 in the 17thover , the game was as good as over, with Pakistan needing just two runs to win. Those last two runs took slightly longer to come by than Pakistan would have expected, but Pakistan ultimately sealed a handsome victory by seven wickets with two overs to spare. The next T20I takes places in Pietermaritzburg this Saturday.


Friday, 17 May, 2019


Dollar touches alltime high of rs148 KARACHI



HE US dollar touched an alltime high of Rs148 in the interbank market on Thursday morning, a day after bouncing back to Rs144 in the open market. The greenback gained by Rs5.61 – approximately 4 percent – to be sold for Rs147 in the interbank market. It is currently being bought for Rs146 in the interbank market. The latest depreciation in the rupee comes following Pakistan’s agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a $6 billion bailout on Sunday. The dollar climbed to an all-time high of Rs146.25 in the open market on Wednesday, before bouncing back to Rs144. Following Wednesday’s hike, Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered authorities to take action against foreign exchange companies selling the dollar at higher rates. OPP EXPRESSES RESERVATION: Commenting on the recent surge in dollar price, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)

leader Ahsan Iqbal said that the current government seems to think of rupee devaluation as a football which just keeps on getting kicked. The former interior minister said that the PML-N will give a tough time to the government over its ‘anti-poor’ economic policies. Pakistan People’s Party leader Sherry Rehman also lashed out on the rupee devaluation and called it another failed tactic of the ‘revolutionary government’. “Dollar has reached an all-time high in the country’s economic history. It is the second time a surge has been witnessed. The revolutionary government is breaking its own records of failure,” Sherry said. She said that the federal government’s ‘anti-public’ decisions have made it miserable for an ordinary citizen to survive. “I hope that Prime Minister Imran Khan will take notice of the issue after viewing the issue on television,” the PPP leader said. IMF DEAL AND MONEY DEVALUATION: Pakistan’s $6 billion bailout agreement with the IMF, signed on Sunday, has met with serious criticism, as investors and analysts have expressed serious doubts over the reported

Another polio case surfaces in Karachi KARACHI STAFF REPORT

A polio case was detected in Gulshan-eIqbal area of Karachi on Thursday, bringing the total number of children affected by the crippling disease to three in Sindh province in 2019. Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) for Polio in Sindh also confirmed that the third polio case was reported from Gulshan-e-Iqbal town of Karachi. So far, a total of three children have been affected by the virus in Sindh province out of which two were reported from Karachi and one from Larkana. A six-month boy, Abdul Nasir, who was a constant refusal about polio vacci-

nation, has fallen victim to the poliovirus in Gulshan-e-Iqbal’s UC 12 in Karachi. The families’ refusal from administering anti-polio vaccines not only put their children in danger of getting polio, but also to others. EOC Coordinator said refusals against vaccination had led to another polio case in Pakistan. According to the child’s father, grandmother and uncle, the child developed a low-grade fever on 28 April 2019 and went for the consultation to MAMJI Hospital in Gulberg. Fever was followed by weakness of both lower limbs on April 29. Sindh has three polio cases in 2019, one from Larkana and two from Karachi. The countrywide polio cases count is now 17 this year.

Nine suspected militants killed in Mastung QUETTA STAFF REPORT At least nine suspected militants were killed while four security forces were injured in an operation conducted by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) in Balochistan’s Mastung district. According to media reports, the CTD and other law enforcement agencies raided a suspected militant hideout on an intelligence tip off, resulting in an exchange of fire between the reported militants and the law enforcers. The counter-terrorism force claimed to have recovered a huge cache of arms and ammunition from the militants’ possession. After the successful completion of the search operation, the dead bodies were shifted to Quetta’s Civil Hospital for identification. Balochistan —long been plagued by an insurgency and targetted killings – is reeling under a fresh wave of terrorism, as Baloch insurgents and other religious outfits have ratchet up attacks in the restive province, targetting LEAs and minority Shias, respectively. In May alone, the province faced at least five terror attacks, including an attack on non-native labourers working in Dera Murad Jamali. On May 9 –the same day a blast had rocked Lahore— three people, including a tribal elder, were killed in Qila Abdullah blast. On May 10, two miners and three Frontier Corps personnel were killed in an attack and a subsequent landmine blast in the Khost area of Harnai district. On May 11, militants belonging to the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) stormed a five-star hotel in Gwadar, leaving five people, including a navy soldier, dead. The operation to clear the hotel took one day. The attack was targeted at Chinese investors allegedly present at the hotel.

conditions of the deal. “Fears of further devaluation as a result of the agreement with the IMF have depressed the currency market and the rupee may lose more against the greenback in the coming days,” Exchange Companies Association of Pakistan (ECAP) Secretary General Zafar Paracha told a private media outlet. Yawaruz Zaman, head of Research at Shajar Capital in Karachi, also agreed that the investors have taken the IMF conditions negatively, “especially with regard to the free float of the rupee against the dollar and increasing the interest rate”. The currency market has been witnessing an acute shortage of US dollars for the last few days. “I have been struggling to purchase dollars for the last two days. Currency dealers are either saying they don’t have the currency or they can only give up to a certain amount,” said local businessman Amir Shah, who says the dollar has gone “scarce” amid rupee’s free float. “I could only manage to get $1,000 yesterday and $500 today after spending hours on the roads,” he said.

At least 20 injured in blast inside Sadiqabad bank SADIQABAD STAFF REPORT

At least 20 people were injured in an explosion inside a bank building in Sadiqabad on Thursday. According to details, the security forces and rescue teams reached the explosion site and launched a search operation while the injured were shifted to a nearby hospital. The nature of the blast is being ascertained, the officials told reporters. Earlier on May 9, 13 people, including five policemen, were killed and 25 others were injured in a bomb blast targetting a vehicle of the Elite Force outside Lahore’s Data Darbar. Martyred police officers include head constables Shahid Nazir, Muhammad Sohail, and Constable Muhammad Saleem. The attack occurred near the entrance gate for women visitors to Data Darbar. It was a suicide attack which targetted the police vehicle parked outside the shrine, confirmed Police Inspector General Arif Nawaz Khan.

Renowned artist Jamil Naqsh passes away LONDON INP

Iconic Pakistani artist Jamil Naqsh passed away on Thursday in a hospital in London. He was 80. The family confirmed the news of his passing away. “He passed away this morning at 5:30 am at St Marys Hospital where was admitted four days ago,” the family said. He had been admitted to the hospital after being infected with pneumonia. Jamil Naqsh was known for his calligraphy and figurative paintings. After creating innumerous masterpieces in this world for over six decades, he has returned back to his Creator.

Naqsh leaves behind an illustrious career in the field of Fine Arts and will be known as one of the pioneers in redefining Abstract, Still-Life, Calligraphy and many other genres. He will not only be remembered by his family but will also go down in history as a ‘Relentless Painter’ who opted for reclusiveness to focus on his work over the other joys of life. Known as one of the greatest artists of his generation, Jamil Naqsh was a celebrated artist, famous for his calligraphy, pigeons and figurative paintings. He was was born in Kairana, India in 1939 after which he moved to Pakistan.

Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of ordering drone attack on oil pipeline RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s deputy defence minister on Thursday accused Iran of ordering an attack on Saudi oil pumping stations that Yemen’s Houthi militia has claimed responsibility for. The attack “proves that these militias are merely a tool that Iran’s regime uses to implement its expansionist agenda,” tweeted Prince Khalid bin Salman, a son of King Salman. “The terrorist acts, ordered by the regime in Tehran, and carried out by the Houthis, are tightening the noose around the

ongoing political efforts.” The Houthis, which have been battling a Saudi-led military coalition for four years, said they carried out Tuesday’s drone strikes against the East-West pipeline, which caused a fire but Riyadh said did not disrupt output or exports. The head of the Houthis’ Supreme Revolutionary Committee denied that Iran directed the strike and said the movement manufactures its drones locally. Tehran also denies providing arms to the Houthis. AGENCIES

IMF bailout package — rescue or trap for Pakistan? Pakistan sealed a $6 billion bailout deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last week to shore up its fragile public finances and underpin its slowing economy, but the programme is unlikely to achieve stabilisation amid sacrificed growth, according to economists. The experts also fear that the threeyear structural adjustment programme, which is expected to be formally approved by the Fund’s executive board in July, will further add to rising inflation and utility tariffs. This will be the IMF’s 13th structural adjustment programme for Pakistan since 1988. “The basic focus of this programme [in line with previous programmes] is stabilisation now and growth later. But history tells us that at the end of these programmes, Pakistan’s average growth rate remained the lowest in South Asia since 1988,” Shahid Hasan Siddiqui, a Karachi-based economist, told Anadolu Agency. “This is because of the artificial stabilisations that eventually disturbed the growth rate,” Siddiqui said. He said another key condition of the latest IMF programme was to reduce the budget deficit by meeting tax collection targets, which seemed to be difficult to achieve for various political reasons. To bridge this gap, he observed, the cash-strapped government would go for indirect taxes and raising utility tariffs, which would directly im-

pact the general public. Under the agreement, the government will no longer control the value of the dollar against the rupee. Instead, it will be dealt with by the open market. Also, the government will start withdrawing exemptions offered on various taxes amounting to around Rs350 billion in the 2019-20 budget. “Rupee devaluation will certainly increase the country’s exports and reduce the rising imports. But a hike in power and gas tariffs will increase the cost of production and ultimately neutralise the devaluation benefit. “The currency devaluation will also increase the cost of raw materials which Pakistan imports for its export output,” Siddiqui added. Analysts view the rising imports as a major threat to the country’s $300 billion economy. Pakistan’s an-

nual imports currently total around $60 billion compared to a mere $24 billion worth of exports. TEMPORARY RELIEF: Kaiser Bengali, a former government economic adviser, views the IMF package as a temporary relief to the country’s tottering economy. “The IMF package means nothing more than some time to fill the balance-of-payments gap. It’s just breathing space,” Bengali told Anadolu Agency. He observed that despite the latest IMF loan, which is insufficient to meet the country’s actual requirements, Pakistan had to go to the commercial market to borrow shortterm and expensive loans, which he said would further deepen the dollar deficit. “This [dollar deficit] will further push Pakistan to look to the IMF,” he said. Bengali linked the proposed IMF

package to talks between Islamabad and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global terror financing watchdog. The FATF has already placed Pakistan on its grey list for not taking enough measures to curb terror financing and money laundering. Now, the FATF meeting is continuing in China with Turkey, the United States, United Kingdom, China, India and others participating. “I believe the IMF has brought Pakistan to this stage deliberately. Now both the IMF and FATF will force Pakistan to carry out multiple drastic structural economic reforms, mainly related to terrorism financing,” he contended. Farrukh Saleem, an Islamabad-based economist, shared a similar view. “This package is yet to be approved. It will only be approved if Pakistan meets some key IMF conditions, mainly related to cooperation with the FATF and the forthcoming budget,” Saleem told Anadolu Agency. Grappling with a colossal $18 billion current account deficit, Islamabad’s current external debt stands at nearly $100 billion — the bulk of it borrowed from the World Bank, IMF, Asian Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, the US, China, France and other countries. Recently, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also announced bailout packages of $6 billion each for Pakistan. AGENCIES

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