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Updated: 2 days 6 hours ago

Irfan Pathan’s wife ‘exposing’ arms photo causes internet frenzy

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 13:47

Indian all-rounder cricketer Irfan Pathan on Monday posted a picture with his wife Safa Baig on Facebook which created a heating debate among his fans.

The photo portrays the couple as they are sitting in a car happily. The caption reads: “This girl is trouble” accompanied the picture alongside the hashtags #love and #wifey.

It seemed like a generic post of a couple being cute, until people started commenting negatively on how Baig who is a model by profession,  is ‘exposing’ her arms in the picture. Yes, her arms.

This wasn’t even a few comments but a chain of hate-laden remarks tinged with tones of policing the woman for being ‘unislamic’.

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Pakistani women who have been body-shamed

The backlash, however, did not end there. People also seemed to raise concern about the fact that Baig was wearing nail polish. This proceeded to turn into a frenzy of arguments on the post, regarding how a woman should and should not dress in public.

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To shut his critics up, the star cricketer tweeted:

Kuch to log kahenge logo ka kaam hai kehna but always #love #travel pic.twitter.com/aERzXr0g2j

— Irfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) July 17, 2017

In all this hatred, however, there were also some people who defended Pathan’s wife and called out the people who were posting hate comments.

Women are trolled all the time, it has nothing to do with Ramazan: Richa Chadha

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As absurd as it seems, this isn’t the first time a woman has been policed and shamed for wearing certain kinds of clothes that do not allegedly measure up to the standards of these people who then proceed to tell the woman what or what not to wear on a public post.

A couple of months ago, Priyanka Chopra was shamed for showing her legs during her meeting with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In addition to that, Dangal actress Fatima Sana Shaikh was also shamed for wearing a swimsuit during the month of Ramazan.

The post Irfan Pathan’s wife ‘exposing’ arms photo causes internet frenzy appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

US sanctions Iran over missiles, despite nukes compliance

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 13:04

WASHINGTON: The US slapped fresh sanctions on Iran Tuesday over its ballistic missile programme, just hours after Washington admitted the Islamic Republic was complying with a landmark nuclear deal signed two years ago.

Iran’s parliament retaliated by voting for extra funding for the missile programme, a move that speaker Ali Larijani said would show the Americans that Iran “will resist them with all its power.”

The heightened tensions came after President Donald Trump was forced to back off from a key campaign promise to withdraw from a 2015 nuclear accord with Tehran, which eased sanctions in return for limiting its ability to produce material for atomic weapons.

Trump had described it as “the worst deal ever” and accused Iran of continuing to back terrorism in the Middle East. But on Monday the White House admitted that the Islamic Republic was sticking to the nukes agreement.

It noted, however, that while Iran might be meeting its requirements on paper, it was unquestionably in default of the spirit” of the accord.

In announcing the new sanctions against 18 individuals and entities in Iran, the State Department said it “remains deeply concerned about Iran’s malign activities across the Middle East which undermine regional stability, security, and prosperity.”

US sending mixed messages on Iran nuclear deal: Zarif

It cited Iran’s support for Hezbollah, Hamas, the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Huthi rebels in Yemen fighting a US-backed coalition led by Saudi Arabia.

In addition to earmarking an additional $260 million for its ballistic missile Iran’s parliament retaliated by voting for extra funding for the missile programme, Iran’s parliament also agreed Tuesday to allot a similar amount to the Revolutionary Guards’ foreign operations wing, the Quds Force, accused by Washington of fomenting unrest across the region.

The Pentagon has also repeatedly voiced concern over a string of high-profile incidents in waters off Iran involving Iranian vessels.

It has accused the Revolutionary Guards of conducting risky maneuvers around US warships in the Gulf, some of which resulted in the Americans firing warning shots.

“These sanctions target procurement of advanced military hardware, such as fast attack boats and unmanned aerial vehicles, and send a strong signal that the United States cannot and will not tolerate Iran’s provocative and destabilising behavior,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Washington is also concerned about the fate of Xiyue Wang, a 37-year-old Chinese-American researcher at Princeton University who was recently sentenced to 10 years in Iranian prison.

Iran pushback

While the US complained about Iran’s defiance of the spirit of the nuclear accord, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said he would make his own complaints about US non-compliance when representatives of the five nuclear powers — China, Russia, France, Britain, the United States — plus Germany meet in Vienna on Friday to take stock of the deal.

Zarif accused the Trump administration of failing to lift sanctions in line with the deal.

US-China citizen given 10 years for espionage in Iran: media

He said he had no communication with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in stark contrast to his predecessor John Kerry, with whom Zarif negotiated the groundbreaking nuclear deal.

“It doesn’t mean there can’t be. The possibilities for engagement… have always been open,” said Zarif in New York, where he was attending a UN forum on development.

He said he was willing to discuss Wang’s case “on humanitarian grounds” but stressed that Iran’s courts were independenpent of the government.

Trump and his top security officials have always taken a tough line on Iran: his defense secretary, Jim Mattis, fought Iranian-backed militias during the US occupation of Iraq while serving as a Marine general, and memories are still fresh of Hezbollah’s attack on the Marine Corps barracks in Lebanon in 1983.

The post US sanctions Iran over missiles, despite nukes compliance appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

LHC scraps PEMRA’s ban on airing of Indian dramas

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 12:59

LAHORE: Noting that “the world has become a global village”, the Lahore High Court (LHC) lifted on Tuesday a ban on the airing of Indian drama serials imposed by the broadcast media watchdog last year.

Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah passed the order after hearing arguments on a petition filed by a local media company praying that the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority’s (Pemra) prohibition be set aside.

Through its counsel Advocate Asma Jehangir, the petitioner, Leo Communications, owner of the entertainment channel Filmazia, contended that while Indian drama series were banned in the country, Bollywood movies were being widely exhibited.

PEMRA puts blanket ban on airing of Indian content in Pakistan

The petitioner said Pemra had granted a licence to the company for 15 years to operate a cable channel. Under the licence conditions, the channel was allowed to broadcast 10 per cent foreign content, including that of India.

The channel became very popular, however, without any prior notice Pemra issued a circular on October 19, 2016 and banned all Indian content on cable channels in Pakistan, the petitioner further said, adding that Pemra’s ban caused serious damage to the company because it had done substantial investment in purchasing Indian content.
Pemra’s counsel argued that the ban was placed on Indian content because Pakistani movies and dramas were banned in India. To this, the court observed that Indian programming could be censored if it contained immoral or anti-Pakistan content.

PEMRA to suspend channels airing Indian content

The high court also asked Pemra’s counsel to present a copy of the notification, if any, about the restriction on the airing of Pakistani content in India.

The court also wondered that if there was content in Indian broadcast shows or movies that was spoiling Pakistani culture and tradition or having a bad impact on the youth, why did Pemra choose not to mention it in its reply to the court.

Stating that Pemra should review its policy because the world had become a global village and “how long could we continue putting bans”, the court disposed of the petition and allowed the airing of Indian content in the country.

The post LHC scraps PEMRA’s ban on airing of Indian dramas appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

Market watch: Relief rally at PSX as KSE-100 gains 2.5%

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 12:31

KARACHI: Major sectors led the way as stocks rebounded on the back of strong local institutional investor interest, a relief rally coming after a bloodbath in the past couple of weeks.

The index started on a positive note and maintained its momentum to finally breach the 45,000 mark, a whole week after the JIT submitted its report on the Panama case to the Supreme Court.

Volume of shares traded also doubled to 158 million as stock accumulation due to selling pressure in the last few days came into play. Individual investors, however, still remained on the side-lines due to lack of clarity on the political landscape.

At close, the benchmark KSE 100-share Index finished with an increase of 1,113.15 points, to end at 45,636.36.

KSE-100 ends positive, but volume lowest in 3 years

Elixir Securities, in its report, said that institutional cherry-picking helped KSE-100 index to surge by as much as 2.5% and settle over 45,600 level.

“Stocks opened on a positive note yet traded lacklustre in the early hours. However, activity in Index names started to pick up as the day progressed on buying interest reportedly from local institutional investors,” the report said.

“All major sectors including financials, cements, oils and fertilisers garnered interest. Major positive contribution to the benchmark Index came from United Bank UBL 3.4%, Lucky Cements 3.4%, Oil & Gas Development Company OGDC 3.4%, Engro Corp 3.3% and Hub Power 2.8%.

“For the Supreme Court, it was again a busy day as it resumed hearing of First family’s case and news flow suggested that the outcome on on-going proceedings will likely come sooner than expected.

Weekly review: KSE-100 Index loses 885 points, down 1.96%

“Despite today’s recovery, we don’t expect Index to see any major upside in days ahead as on-going political crisis will continue to keep gains in check,” the report added.

JS Global analyst Maaz Mulla echoed a similar sentiment, attributing recovery to attractive valuations of the KSE-100 Index stocks.

“Volumes also improved and stood at 158 million shares as compared to 75 million shares in the previous trading session,” he said.

“TRG (+5%) from the technology sector led the volumes with 11 million shares being traded during the day. UBL (+3.42%), ABL (+2.31%) and MCB (+2.33%) were the major gainers from the commercial banking sector, cumulatively contributing +113 points to the market Index.

“SSGC (+3.85%) from the utilities sector saw significant gains to close in the green zone on back of news that SSGC is set to complete the 24-inch diameter gas pipeline from Shikarpur to Jacobabad in Sindh by the end of next month.

“After weeks of speculation and volatility in the market resulting from events on the political front, market has reached to attractive levels. Many stocks offered at rates lower than their intrinsic values have encouraged investors into stock accumulation.

KSE-100 ends with 554-point gain amid low turnover

“We expect market to continue its positive momentum, however we recommend investors to reduce their short term positions on expectations of profit booking at these levels,” he added.

Overall, trading volumes rose to 158 million shares compared with Monday’s tally of 75 million.

Shares of 373 companies were traded. At the end of the day, value of 307 stocks closed higher, 56 declined while 10 remained unchanged. The value of shares traded during the day was Rs9 billion.

TRG Pak was the volume leader with 11.2 million shares, gaining Rs1.79 to close at Rs37.79. It was followed by K-Electric with 8.9 million shares, gaining Rs0.08 to close at Rs6.69 and Aisha Steel Mill with 7.19 million shares, gaining Rs0.59 to close at Rs19.51.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs131 million during the trading session, according to data compiled by the National Clearing Company of Pakistan Limited.

The post Market watch: Relief rally at PSX as KSE-100 gains 2.5% appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

Court dismisses PTI plea to disqualify Shehbaz Sharif

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 12:30

LAHORE: A court dismissed on Tuesday a petition filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman seeking the Punjab chief minister’s disqualification for “violating his oath and setting up an illegal business”.

Lahore High Court’s Justice Shahid Karim announced the verdict after PTI chief Imran Khan’s counsel Advocate Babar Awan finished presenting his argument.

At the start of the proceedings, Justice Karim had asked the PTI counsel to explain whether any court had declared the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report on Panama Papers case effective or not.

He was also reminded that the LHC had dismissed the petition against Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s personal business.

PTI seeks Shehbaz’s disqualification

Awan said the court was right in its observation but the chief minister had concealed facts in his nomination papers.

He added that besides the exposures in the JIT report, Shehbaz’s influence as the chief minister in the setting up and relocation of certain sugar mills was also quite clear.

Therefore, he pleaded , that Sharif should be disqualified.

After hearing Awan’s arguments, Justice Karim reserved the verdict and later announced the dismissal of the petition.

Awan had also mentioned PTI leader Jahangir Khan Tareen’s petition against the Punjab government for allowing the shifting and relocation of sugar mills. He pointed out the LHC’s observation in that case that the government had crafted a policy to benefit selected sugar mills.

Ready for a disqualification reference, CM Shehbaz tells Imran

Tareen in his petition had alleged that the Punjab chief minister had misused his powers by allowing his relatives and others to set up new sugar mills and their relocation to South Punjab through an illegal notification.

Earlier, the PTI chairman had said Shehbaz was ruling Punjab for about nine years and despite being the custodian of all fiscal resources and assets of the province, he was acting contrary to it.

Justifying the submission of his petition before the court, Imran said the PTI had also moved a reference in the Punjab Assembly for Shehbaz’s disqualification but Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan had dismissed it.

The post Court dismisses PTI plea to disqualify Shehbaz Sharif appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

Saudi police arrest woman for wearing miniskirt in video

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 12:09

RIYADH: Saudi police said Tuesday they were questioning a woman who appeared in an online video in a miniskirt and crop top walking through a historic site in the ultraconservative kingdom.

A series of videos, initially posted over the weekend to the Snapchat account of Model Khulood, show a young woman in a high-waisted miniskirt walking through a fort in Ushaiqer, outside the capital Riyadh, playing with sand in the dunes and turning towards the camera for a close-up, her long hair uncovered.

The videos have since been uploaded to YouTube and tweeted by different users.

Saudi media, including the main dailies Sabq and Okaz, on Tuesday quoted a spokesman for police in Riyadh as saying the woman was being questioned and had confessed to visiting the site with her male guardian.

Saudi Arabia’s guardianship system mandates accompaniment by or written permission from a male relative — usually a father, husband or brother — for women to study, work or travel.

The woman denied that she had uploaded the clips and that the Snapchat account was hers, the spokesman said.

The case has now been referred to the public prosecutor’s office, which will decide whether to prosecute the woman.

The local government of Riyadh had issued a memo saying authorities were searching for the woman who had been “walking around… in indecent clothing”.

The snaps have sparked heated debate, with social media users in the region and beyond weighing in on questions of gender and rights in the kingdom, where women are required to wear long black abaya robes and cover their hair in public.

Saudi girl draws ire after posting video of herself wearing miniskirt in public

Many have come to the defence of the young woman, pointing out the privileges afforded to Western women by Saudi authorities. US First Lady Melania Trump and Ivanka Trump, daughter of the president, did not cover their hair when they visited Saudi Arabia in May.

“If it were Trump’s daughter, we would have braced ourselves for the flood of compliments and love poems,” read one tweet.

“Problem solved,” tweeted Shahd bint Fahd alongside a picture of the model with Ivanka Trump’s face superimposed over the original.

Others expressed outrage and derided those speaking out in support of the model.

“These are the demands of the liberal ignorant community: a naked woman, a co-ed movie theatre, and music and dance. That’s progress to them! Not health care and not education,” read one tweet.

The post Saudi police arrest woman for wearing miniskirt in video appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

Only two proper U-turns in Islamabad: traffic police

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 11:53

ISLAMABAD: There are only two U-turns in the capital that are designed as per traffic rules, which is why there’s a rise in road accidents in the federal capital, the Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) have revealed.

Traffic SSP Malik Matloob told The Express Tribune on Tuesday that the capital city had 381 U-turns in all. “[However], there are only two U-turns, which are actually designed according to the road traffic engineering standards… the rest are all blind U-turns.”

He was referring to the two ‘fish belly U-turns’ recently built at Zero Point and Sector F-7 U-turn on Faisal Avenue.

The Traffic SSP said that they were designed by the ITP and then put in place by the Capital Development Authority.

A total of 79 road accidents were reported in 2016, while 123 in 2015.

ITP provides road safety tips 

He said the ITP, despite its limited resources was doing its best to regulate traffic in the capital, however, the road infrastructure development was lagging behind with the growing burden on the city’s roads.

“The road furniture we have today is more or less the same that we had in 1992 with no new roads having been built since the development of the Islamabad Expressway and the IJP Road in 2005.”

“When these two roads were built [in 2005], the total influx of traffic into Islamabad was between 20,000-22,000 vehicles per day,” he said.

In contrast, today 0.575 million vehicles enter the capital every day,” he added.

“Most of the traffic accidents were reported from the Islamabad Expressway and the IJP Road which connect Punjab, Khyber- Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Jammu and Kashmir,” Matloob added.

The SSP said that the Expressway was highway in only, since it had no service road and entrances to a number of housing societies were directly located on it.

“If there are 31 housing societies located on the Expressway from Faizabad to Rawat without a service road, then traffic police cannot be blamed [for traffic issues],” he said.

The Expressway, he added, was under-construction at many places and would remain so for the next 18 months.

The post Only two proper U-turns in Islamabad: traffic police appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

K-P govt announces Rs30,000 every month for selected artistes and singers

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 11:52

PESHAWAR: The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government announced on Tuesday a monthly stipend of Rs30,000 for selected talented artistes and singers of the province.

“The government is making efforts to revive cultural activities in the province by facilitating artistes in producing quality work,” said Ajmal Khan, the head of the Directorate of Culture, Peshawar.

Funds were allocated for this project in the 2016-17 budget. The move aims at assisting artistes, singers, poets and painters, whose work has suffered greatly because of the militancy in the province.

Creative grants: K-P funds artists to promote local culture

“These remunerations will play a positive role in supporting and honing the talent in the province” said Khan.

This will be the second phase of the stipends similar to the previous year when the provincial government provided stipends to 500 artists.

The beneficiaries were selected through a committee comprising senior artists, singers and writers from different parts of the province.

The K-P government has to re-start the project as a large number of artists are approaching the directorate of culture for financial assistance.

Stipend: Artists, singers to be given Rs30,000 per month

“The criterion for the stipends does not require the artists to be poor but those artists will be provided who have produced quality work in their field of arts and literature” said Khan.

He added, “The construction of cultural complexes in each division of the province and art academy in Peshawar will soon be completed to provide artistes with more venues to perform at.”

Endowment fund for the welfare of artists; writers and artisans will also be set up.

Besides the monthly stipends, the directorate will also give away Rs300,000 each to the best drama artiste, writer and singer of the year.

The post K-P govt announces Rs30,000 every month for selected artistes and singers appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

Trump blames Democrats for failure of bill to replace Obamacare

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 11:46

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump blamed Democrats and a few holdouts in his own party Tuesday for the collapse of the latest Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare — one of Trump’s key campaign pledges.

A Republican drive in the Senate to come up with a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act fell apart Monday when two more Republican senators came out against their party’s legislation.

That made for a total of four holdouts — the party has 52 seats in the 100-member legislature — and effectively doomed the legislation.

Members of US Congress use Game of Thrones to take a jab at Trump

The collapse is a stinging blow to Trump and Republicans who have vowed for seven years that they would quickly dump former president Barack Obama’s signature health care reform as soon as they could.

“We were let down by all of the Democrats and a few Republicans. Most Republicans were loyal, terrific & worked really hard. We will return!” Trump said in a tweet Tuesday morning.

We were let down by all of the Democrats and a few Republicans. Most Republicans were loyal, terrific & worked really hard. We will return!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2017

“As I have always said, let ObamaCare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan. Stay tuned!,” he added.

As I have always said, let ObamaCare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan. Stay tuned!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2017

Actually, Trump has consistently advocated repealing and replacing Obamacare at the same time, rather than doing it in stages, and has said it could be done quickly.

The post Trump blames Democrats for failure of bill to replace Obamacare appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

Smriti Irani of Kyunke Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi-fame is India’s new info minister

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 11:37

India’s actor-turned-politician Smriti Zubin Irani was appointed the country’s new information and broadcasting minister, Variety reported on Tuesday.

Irani is already in the cabinet as the union minister of textiles and the information and broadcasting is an additional portfolio.

She is the fourth information and broadcasting minister in three years under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Was denied job for not having good personality: Indian minister

The cabinet reshuffle was necessitated by the decision of outgoing minister Venkaiah Naidu to stand as a candidate for India’s vice presidency.

Irani was a finalist at the Miss India pageant in 1998. She then became a television actress and was best known for her lead role in the soap “Kyunke Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi.”

The Ekta Kapoor-produced show on Star Plus made her a household name across India and won her five best actress prizes at the Indian Television Academy awards.

The post Smriti Irani of Kyunke Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi-fame is India’s new info minister appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

Project Ghazi release postponed on premiere night

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 15:28

KARACHI: Pakistan’s first superhero film Project Ghazi had its premiere on July 13. The Humayun Saeed, Syra Shahroz and Sheheryar Munawar starrer appeared to be harshly received from the audience as it suffered from several technical issues, particularly the sound.

Sources confirmed to The Express Tribune that the film will not be releasing on July 14, as previously planned. Producers were not willing to delay the release but it was upon Saeed’s insistence that the release was called off.

Will the Ghazis return victorious? Sheheryar Munawar thinks so

Producer Syed Ali Raza confirmed, saying, “We cannot say much right now but yes, Project Ghazi release will not release on July 14 as planned. There are some technical issues to be fixed. We cannot state the future release date at the moment but we will announce very soon.”

Official distributors of the film, Distribution Club are planning to comply by the producers’ decision.

“As distributors, we had to preview the film but we, unfortunately, couldn’t. As far as the release is concerned, the producers have the final call. They have commented that it won’t release as planned so I’m pretty sure it won’t, ” Sabina Islam of Distribution Club told The Express Tribune.

The decision was not welcomed by the cinema owners as they are concerned about their scheduled shows and the tickets that have already been sold.

 

NOTE: The Express Tribune will review the final cut that will be released in cinemas

The post Project Ghazi release postponed on premiere night appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

No one will be allowed to derail democracy, says Achakzai

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 15:03

QUETTA: Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai has reiterated his party’s unconditional support to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, saying no one would be allowed to derail democracy in the country in the name of accountability.

“Just targeting one person [PM Nawaz] and his family in the name of Panama leaks have no justification and it is a conspiracy against democracy and democratic institutions,” Achakzai said while addressing a news conference in Quetta on Thursday.

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing offshore assets of the Sharif family indicted Premier Nawaz in its July 10th report submitted to the Supreme Court, saying “he is in possession of assets beyond known sources of income”.

PM refuses to resign on demand of ‘conspirators’

Achakzai said his party had formed an alliance with the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) for the sake of democracy and it never supported undemocratic forces in the country for the last 60 years.

He sees hatching a conspiracy in the garb of investigation against the ruling family to close the chapter of democracy in the country. However, he warned that “PkMAP will not tolerate such attempt and resist it with full force”.

The PkMAP leader went on to say that he is not against the accountability but want that there should be no discrimination and investigation into corruption should be carried out against all those who had committed corruption.

Calibri in spotlight as ‘Fontgate’ could leave Pakistan sans Sharif

“Accountability also should be carried out against all those who broke the Constitution and disgraced parliament if investigation is continue against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif,” he added.

In the present situation, Achakzai said, no one is popular than Mian Nawaz Sharif and his party was supporting him for strengthening the democracy and rule of Constitution. “Millions of people will take to streets across the country as it happened in Turkey last year if the Constitution is touched or any attempt to do wrong with it.”

Replying to a question, Achakzai said corruption is biggest issue of Pakistan and there is need to convene a roundtable conference and joint session of parliament to discuss the issue to find out the suitable solution to root out the festering practice from our society.

PM should shun his traditional attitude: Khursheed

In a veiled reference to the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the PkMAP chief questioned why investigation was not initiated against those who disgraced parliament by breaking its walls during the 126-day sit-ins in the Red Zone of Islamabad. “Why the authorities are not initiated probe into those sit-ins.”

Pakistan, Achakzai said, could not emerge as an Asian tiger and the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects could be implementing until peace is not restored across the country.

The post No one will be allowed to derail democracy, says Achakzai appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

Experts warn India may be able to use water as weapon of war against Pakistan

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 14:54

ISLAMABAD: As India continues to build dams and hydropower projects in pursuit of acquiring capability to manipulate the flow of water, experts have warned that New Delhi may be able to use water as a weapon of war against Pakistan.

They expressed these concerns at a seminar on “Water Security and Emerging Threats in Pakistan” organised by the Centre for Global and Strategic Studies (CGSS) on Thursday.

The seminar brought together water experts, climatologists, specialists, government representative, students from across the country and individuals from public and private entities.

In his opening remarks at the event, Chairman CGSS Lt-Gen (retd) Muhammad Zahirul Islam said, “Water was once our biggest asset – the blood to the agricultural backbone of our economy – [but] now it is our biggest threats.”

Delhi returns to the table after water war threats

He added, “Our dams remain empty, and there is less and less clean water to drink each year” and “this shows the amount of mismanagement and ignorance we show to this vital commodity”.

The CGSS chairman called India the biggest threat to Pakistan’s water security.

Former WAPDA chairman Shamsul Mulk presented a paper on “Political, Economic and Social Issues faced by Pakistan in Securing Water Resources”, and highlighted the importance of water resources management.

Describing proper management as mandatory, he spoke about the loopholes in the bureaucracy, hampering the implementation of various projects, and stressed the need for reforms.

Chairman Gomal Damaan Area Water Partnership Brigadier (retd) Muhammad Aslam delivered a speech on “Realistic Appraisal of Indus water Treaty”.

He said that India’s Kishanganga Hydel Project could interfere with Neelum-Jhelum Power Plant.  “India, an upper riparian, is not doing responsible watershed management,” he stressed.

Pakistan, India resume talks to bridge differences over Indus Waters Treaty

Vice President CGSS Babur Suhail spoke about “Growing Indian Threats to Cut Water Supply: Analysis of IWT”.

He shed light on the IWT (Indus Water Treaty), its implications for Pakistan and India as well as water terrorism and threatening statements by India to turn Pakistan into a water-scarce country.

He stated that right after the independence, there was friction on water sharing between Pakistan and India. He said the IWT is based on ‘division’ instead of ‘sharing’.

Chairman, Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) Muhammad Ashraf presented his views on water management loopholes and elaborated the essence of water for human life.

He also discussed the impact of mismanagement of water resources and its repercussions on the economy.

Further highlighting the impacts of mismanagement of water, he briefed that ground water depletion is a major cause of loss of water in Pakistan. Notably, he also gave certain precautions and offered recommendations for effective water storage in Pakistan.

The post Experts warn India may be able to use water as weapon of war against Pakistan appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

PM seeks ‘urgent contact’ with UAE counterpart

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 14:10

ISLAMABAD: Facing mounting pressure following the damning report by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the Panamagate case, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has reportedly sought an urgent telephonic contact with the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid al Makhtoum.

This was revealed in a letter purportedly written by Foreign Office to the Embassy of UAE in Islamabad seeking an ‘urgent arrangement’ for telephonic contact between the two leaders.

Calibri in spotlight as ‘Fontgate’ could leave Pakistan sans Sharif

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan presents its compliments to the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Islamabad and has the honour to inform that H E Prime Minister of Pakistan wishes to urgently speak to H E Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Makhtoum, the vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE over the telephone,” reads the letter a copy of which was available with The Express Tribune.

The letter dated 12 July also said the Embassy of Pakistan in Abu Dhabi had already contacted the UAE authorities in this regard. However, the assistance of the esteemed Embassy was solicited for the earlier confirmation of a convenient time slot to make this telephone call today (Wednesday).

“Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the esteemed Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Islamabad the assurances of its highest consideration,” the letter further said.

The letter also gave the official telephone numbers of the Prime Minister office on which the UAE leader could contact Nawaz Sharif.

The letter did not elaborate as to what exactly prompted the prime minister to seek urgent contact with the UAE leader. However, speculations were rife that the urgent contact was sought in the backdrop of findings of the JIT.

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In its findings, the JIT also linked the Prime Minister with one of the offshore companies in Dubai. The confirmation of Nawaz Sharif’s link to that company came from the UAE authorities through the mutual legal assistance.

It was also not clear that whether any telephonic contact was established between the Prime Minister and the UAE leader till filing of this report.

The authenticity of the letter, however, could not be verified as foreign office spokesperson was not available for the reaction despite repeated attempts.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

JIT says Dar used NBP president’s accounts for illegal money transfer

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 13:18

ISLAMABAD: The Panamagate Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has found that there was a nexus between Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and National Bank of Pakistan President Saeed Ahmad – as the latter used his various bank accounts to provide illegal financial benefits to the former, as well as the Sharif family.

According to the Volume-II of the JIT report in Panamagate case, the NBP president claimed before the JIT that Dar used his bank account for conducting transactions – an assertion that Dar refuted before the JIT during his appearance on July 3.

Separate appearances of Ahmad and Dar before the JIT had pitched one-time business partners and long-time friends against each other.

While Ahmad still holds the post of NBP president, his name has been placed on the exit control list by the JIT.

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“From the analysis of the accounts of Saeed Ahmad and movement of funds in his various accounts, it can be concluded that he used his various accounts for movement of funds for illegal benefit of Ishaq Dar and the Sharif family,” the JIT concluded on the basis of bank records of these transactions.

“I was approached by Ishaq Dar to open a bank account in the Emirates Bank (Lahore branch), which was to be used to facilitate the business of Hajveri Modarba through securing loans for onward lending to its clients,” Ahmad told the JIT .

He further stated, “I opened my account on the directions of Ishaq Dar in the Emirates Bank and handed over the cheque book to Mr Naeem, who was an employee of the Hajveri Modaraba, to operate my account on the instructions of Ishaq Dar for the benefit of the company as I was residing in London.”

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Ahmad said that since he was not operating the account, he did not have knowledge about the transactions that were carried out.

“His [Ahmad’s] statement, when analyzed against the available record, is found to be preposterous and absolutely false,” according to the JIT.

“Amount of around $6.765 million was transferred abroad from his [Ahmad’s] account at Emirates Bank through Foreign Telegraphic Transfers,” JIT wrote while analysing the bank record of that period.

The JIT further wrote that between 1996 and 1998, average balance in Ahmad’s Emirates Bank International account remained around $7 million to $8 million that peaked to $11.7 million in October 1997.

The finance minister, however, denied before the JIT that he was controlling Ahmad’s bank account in Emirates Bank.

“It seems improbable that he [Ahmad] would give me the attorney to operate the account, as being the chief executive, I had a lot of other business matters to deal with,” Dar told the JIT.

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JIT’s analysis part of the report stated that Ahmad remained closely associated with Dar and the Hajveri Group, owned by the finance minister. During the 1990s, Ahmad had 50,000 shares of M/s Hajveri Modaraba Management Private Limited, it added.

Analysis of the statement given by the NBP president showed that he “failed to explain as to why deposits in his private account were being used as collateral for subsequent loans to the companies and individuals”.

Ahmad even refused to acknowledge his signatures on the account opening forms of various accounts used in shady and fraudulent transactions, stated the JIT.

“I had only opened an account in Emirates Bank, Gulburg branch, Lahore, whereas I have no knowledge of the other three accounts as I never opened or operated them,” said Ahmad while testifying before the JIT.

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He added it was correct that his national identity card and passport were used to open the three accounts, but someone had used his documents to pen these fake accounts through “fraud and forgery”.

“I totally disown these accounts and banking transaction made therein,” he added.

The JIT noted that as per assessment of available documents and record, Ahmad’s five accounts in different banks were used for movement of funds associated with fake accounts of the Qazi family, fake accounts opened by Javed Kayani and accounts of Mosa Ghani and Mukhtar Husain. Mosa Ghani is Dar’s wife’s nephew.

It added that the first such account was opened in the Bank of America in 1991 and an amount of $1.12 million was received in this account mostly through Foreign Telegraphic Transfers. This amount was used to extend loan to Dar against the lien on this deposit.

In June 1992, the available amount in this account was withdrawn and Dollar Bearer Certificates were credited into the newly opened account of Mosa Ghani.

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An amount of $4.2 million was transferred from Mosa Ghani and members of the Qazi family to Ahmad’s accounts maintained with Atlas BOT Investment Bank.

The JIT analysis further revealed that receipt of funds from the fraudulently-opened Qazi family accounts by the NBP president reflects that either he himself was the beneficial owner, or he was receiving funds from fake accounts on behalf of someone, or he knew about the actual beneficial owner.

It further wrote that as per NAB reference 5/2000 and statements of various money changers and bankers recorded by the National Accountability Bureau, most of this amount was brought back into the account of Hudabiya Paper Mills.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Political stability vital for development: Ahsan Iqbal

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 13:17

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal stressed that political stability was vital for sustainable development.

Addressing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor International Logistic Forum being held in Islamabad on Thursday, the minister said that fast development could not be materialised in Pakistan due to lack of political stability and consistency of policies.

“Equal development of all the provinces and backward areas is a guarantee to country’s prosperity and progress,” Ahsan underscored adding that Pakistan has paid a heavy price for political instability in the past.

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The minister said that the PML-N-led government believes in augmenting the development activities in the country and has started many projects in this regard.

“Gwadar Port project remained suspended owing to political instability in the country and the incumbent government has revived this project,” he said.

Ahsan said the government has also completed a number of infrastructure projects to ensure swift and durable progress in the country. He said an important highway linking Gwadar to Quetta has been completed.

The government has also started work on Karachi-Peshawar motorway and construction of Multan-Sukkur highway will be completed by the end of next year under CPEC, he said.

Ahsan added that a new motorway from Burhan to DI Khan on the western route of the CPEC is also under construction.

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The minister said that the government has also successfully revived Pakistan Railways.

“Pakistan’s economy will get a competitive position after strengthening the logistic sector”, he underscored adding that nine special economic zones under CPEC were being established with the cooperation of provinces.

He said relocation of Chinese industry to Pakistan will create hundreds of jobs for country’s youth.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

NATO warns Russia to honour war games promises

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 11:43

BRUSSELS: NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Thursday welcomed Russian reassurances about a major upcoming military exercise that has deeply worried the allies, but warned Moscow must live up to its commitments.

Speaking after a “frank” meeting between Russia’s NATO ambassador and envoys from the 28-nation alliance, Stoltenberg said both sides had discussed ways to avoid dangerous misunderstandings over issues such as exercises.

Russia had in particular provided numbers of its soldiers, planes and ships involved in the Zapad (“West”) war games in Russia and Belarus in September, Stoltenberg said.

“It was significant that at today’s meeting, we exchanged advance briefings on upcoming exercises,” Stoltenberg said, adding that NATO had also briefed on its Trident Javelin exercises.

“I am encouraged by this progress.”

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But he warned that “from previous experience, we have every reason to believe it may be substantially more troops participating than the officially reported numbers.”

Rules for military exercises in Europe known as the Vienna Document set thresholds for the number of troops allowed to take part in exercises before the opposing side is allowed to demand a mandatory inspection.

Exercises involving 13,000 or more troops are subject to mandatory inspections. With exercises involving 9,000 or more soldiers, the other side must be notified.

“We call on Russia to adhere to the Vienna Document,” which is negotiated under the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Stoltenberg said.

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Many NATO allies, especially those such as the Baltic states and Poland once ruled from Moscow, are deeply suspicious of Russia, fearing a repeat of its intervention in Ukraine under the cover of a military exercise.

They say Russia has carried out exercises involving many more troops — reports cite figures of up to 100,000 — but formally splitting them up in such a way as to get around the rules.

Stoltenberg said the Russian officials gave figures but declined to make them public, saying it was up to Moscow to do so.

Stoltenberg said Trident Javelin is in contrast only a “command post” exercise, involving 5,000 personnel in preparation for next year’s much larger Trident Juncture manoeuvres with around 30,000 troops.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

US charges 412 people for health fraud, opioid scams

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 11:13

WASHINGTON DC: US authorities announced charges Thursday against more than 400 people, many of them doctors and nurses, over health care scams worth $1.3 billion including the wrongful prescription and distribution of opioids.

The Justice Department called it the largest ever enforcement action of its kind and said 120 of the 412 defendants had been charged with opioid-related crimes.

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Providing details on some of the scams, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said a rehab clinic in Palm Beach, Florida, for instance, allegedly recruited opioid addicts with gift cards, visits to strip clubs and even drugs. This allowed the clinic to bill for more than $58 million in false treatment and tests, said Sessions.

And a clinic in Houston allegedly sold prescriptions for opioids in exchange for cash, with one doctor there giving out prescriptions for more than two million doses, Sessions said.

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“While today is a historic day, the department’s work is certainly not finished. In fact, it is just beginning,” Sessions said.

The barely controlled pumping of hundreds of millions of doses of opioids into US communities during the past decade is blamed for a sharp surge in addiction and overdose deaths which totaled an estimated 60,000 last year.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

New Delhi rejects China’s mediation offer to ease Indo-Pak tensions

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 11:07

In what could be seen as a virtual snub to China for offering to mediate in the long-pending India-Pakistan issue, including Kashmir, the Modi government said on Thursday its stand of bilaterally resolving all matters with Pakistan, including Kashmir, had not changed, The Hindu reported.

An External Affairs Ministry spokesperson told reporters that the central issue between Islamabad and New Delhi was “cross-border terrorism perpetrated on India”.

Terrorism was impacting peace and stability in the entire region, he added.

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The spokesperson came out with the remarks when asked about China expressing its willingness to play a “constructive role” over Kashmir. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang made the comment earlier in the day.

On the standoff between the armies of India and China in the Dokalam area, he said diplomatic channels would continue to be used for a resolution of the issue.

Asked about China’s comment that there was no “bilateral meeting” between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, he said: “There was a conversation between them. There was a range of issues that was the subject matter of the conversation.”

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

China’s Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo dies aged 61

Thu, 07/13/2017 - 11:02

SHENYANG: China’s Nobel laureate Liu died Thursday while still in custody following a battle with cancer, authorities said, after officials ignored international pleas to let him spend his final days free and abroad.

The prominent democracy advocate died aged 61, more than a month after he was transferred from prison to a heavily-guarded hospital to be treated for late-stage liver cancer.

The legal bureau in the northeastern city of Shenyang said on its website that Xiaobo died three days after going into intensive care at the First Hospital of China Medical University.

The writer’s death silences a government critic who had been a thorn in the side of the authorities for decades and became a symbol of Beijing’s growing crackdown on dissenting voices.

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Xiaobo’s death puts China in dubious company as he became the first Nobel Peace Prize laureate to die in custody since German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky, who passed away in a hospital while held by the Nazis in 1938.

International human rights groups, Western governments and local activists had urged authorities to free him and grant his final wish to be treated abroad.

Germany had offered to treat Xiaobo, calling for a “signal of humanity” from China. The United States also said it was willing to take him in.

But officials insisted that was receiving treatment from top Chinese doctors since being granted medical parole following his diagnosis in late May.

In response to calls to allow him to leave China, the foreign ministry repeatedly said other countries should not interfere in China’s internal affairs.

In early July, Chinese doctors said he was not healthy enough to be sent abroad for treatment, a position that was contradicted by US and German medical experts invited by the hospital to examine Xiaobo’s condition. The physicians offered to treat the laureate at hospitals in their home countries.

Human rights groups decried the way the government treated Xiaobo, accusing authorities of manipulating information about his health and refusing to let him leave because they were afraid he would use the freedom to denounce China’s one-party Communist regime.

As a gaunt Xiaobo lay in his sickbed, a video was leaked showing the Western doctors praising their Chinese counterparts — a scene that was denounced as “grotesque propaganda” by Human Rights Watch.
The German embassy said the video seemed to show that security organs were “steering the process, not medical experts”.

Liu was arrested in 2008 after co-writing Charter 08, a bold petition that called for the protection of basic human rights and reform of China’s political system.

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He was sentenced to 11 years in prison in December 2009 for “subversion”. At the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo in 2010 he was represented by an empty chair.

He is also known for his role in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing.

His wife, Liu Xia, was placed under house arrest in 2010, but she was allowed to see him at the hospital. Her fate will now worry human rights groups, which had urged the government to free her alongside Xiaobo.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News