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US lacks appreciation of Pakistan’s counter-terror efforts, says Fatemi

Mon, 05/02/2016 - 06:58

Special Assistant to the prime minister Tariq Fatemi highlighted on Monday the United States’ lack of “sufficient appreciation for Pakistan’s whole-hearted efforts” against counter-terrorism.

A two-member Professional Staff delegation of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) of the US Congress called on Fatemi, said a Foreign Office statement.

The adviser asserted the US should appreciate Pakistan’s efforts in challenging the complex issues faced by the country.

The meeting comes just days after the United States halted financial aid to Pakistan for procurement of its eight F-16 fighter jets.

‘US halts financial aid to Pakistan aimed at procurement of F-16s’

Topics concerning reduction in US defence and civilian assistance to Pakistan, and Congressional hold on some already approved funds were also deliberated upon.

Fatemi said Pakistan, under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, had taken a clear lead in strengthening its relations with neighbouring countries, with the objective to achieve regional stability and peace through enhanced economic linkages, connectivity and cooperation.

“Pakistan has shown utmost sincerity, in difficult circumstances, in taking action against all terror outfits in the country, for improvement of its relations with India, as well as to contribute positively in the ongoing peace process in Afghanistan.”

It is Obama’s job to convince Congress on F-16s sale: Fatemi

The delegation was also briefed about Pakistan’s continued and sincere efforts, together with the US, China and Afghanistan to promote peace in Afghanistan through an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led process.

The delegation noted that the US recognised Pakistan’s efforts in addressing various challenges, according to the Foreign Office.

It reiterated the steps taken by the US to strengthen Pakistan’s capacity in its counter-terrorism efforts, through continued provision of military equipment and assistance with approval of the US Congress – a testimony to the strength of Pakistan-US bilateral relations.

The post US lacks appreciation of Pakistan’s counter-terror efforts, says Fatemi appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

Baghdad car bomb against Shia pilgrims kills 14

Mon, 05/02/2016 - 06:39

BAGHDAD: A car bomb targeting Shia pilgrims killed at least 14 people in southern Baghdad on Monday, security and medical sources said.

An Iraqi security command said a suicide bomber detonated the explosives-rigged vehicle, while other officials said it was a car bomb.
At least 14 people were killed and at least 41 others wounded, security and medical officials said.

Turmoil in Iraq: Blast along Baghdad shrine route kills 23

They said several women and children were among the victims.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosion, but such attacks are usually carried out by the Islamic State group.

IS perpetrated a similar attack against pilgrims on the outskirts of Baghdad on Saturday, killing at least 23 people.

Many of the main thoroughfares in the city are closed in the days leading up to the annual commemoration of Imam Musa Kadhim’s death, an important date in the Shia Muslim calendar.

Bombing against pilgrims kills 23 in Iraq as hundreds protest

Kadhim, the seventh of 12 imams revered in Shia Islam, died in 799 AD. The pilgrimage to his shrine in northern Baghdad has in recent years turned into a huge event that brings the capital to a standstill for days.

The main commemoration at the shrine in Baghdad’s Kadhimiya neighbourhood will take place on Tuesday.

The post Baghdad car bomb against Shia pilgrims kills 14 appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

England tour: Shehzad, Umar Akmal dropped over disciplinary issues

Mon, 05/02/2016 - 06:24

Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Akmal and Shahid Afridi will not be part of a 35-man camp for England tour, newly-appointed chief selector Inzamamul Haq announced on Monday.

“Shehzad and Umar don’t have enough performances and lack discipline,” said Inzamam. “Wherever there will be a disciplinary problem, we will take a step. And you should expect this selection committee to be a little stern on discipline.”

Theatre scandal: ‘Umar Akmal most likely to be cleared’

Inzamam, while explaining his decision to exclude Afridi, said: “Pakistan will play only six T20Is in the coming 14 months so we are thinking of trying new players. Meanwhile, Afridi will also take some rest and if he performs after that, the doors of selection are always open.”

Afridi supported chief selector’s decision to give a “chance” to youngsters and hoped to improve his form for prospective comeback.

Appreciate the approach by selection committee. Happy that youngsters are getting a chance1/2

— Shahid Afridi (@SAfridiOfficial) May 2, 2016

I am going to play county cricket this season and will IA try to prove my fitness & form and make a comeback.

— Shahid Afridi (@SAfridiOfficial) May 2, 2016

Shehzad thanks Younus after leading K-P to Pakistan Cup trophy

The 46-year-old also explained the non-selection of his nephew Imamul Haq by saying: “His domestic record was not that good so I didn’t select him. Neither will I favour anyone nor do injustice; this is how things should be done.”

The chief selector, while replying to a query, said that Salman Butt and Muhammad Asif will be given a fair chance once they play a complete four-day season.

Support for Ajmal during Pakistan Cup merely academic

“Salman hasn’t played much cricket,” said Inzamam. “He should participate in a full four-day season. We haven’t ignored him. We are checking him. Same is for Asif.”

The training camp for the England tour will begin on May 14 and go on till June 4 ahead of the tour which starts in July.

Inzamam further said the training camp will be followed by a 10 to 15 day break. The players will then participate in a skill camp which will take place two weeks before the tour to England where Pakistan will play the first Test match on June 14.

Here is the list of the 35 players

Opening batsmen: Muhammad Hafeez*, Sami Aslam, Iftikhar Ahmed, Azhar Ali, Sharjeel Khan, Khurram Manzoor, Shan Masood

Middle order batsmen: Younus Khan, Misbahul Haq, Asad Shafiq, Shoaib Malik, Babar Azam, Harris Sohail*, Khalid Latif, Fawad Alam, Akbarur Rahman, Asif Zakir

All rounders: Anwar Ali, Bilawal Bhatti

Fast-bowlers: Mohammad Amir, Rahat Ali*, Imran Khan, Sohail Khan, Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, Hasan Ali

Wicketkeepers: Sarfraz Ahmed, Muhammad Rizwan, Adnan Akmal

Spinners: Yasir Shah, Zulfiqar Babar, Muhammad Ashgar, Imad Wasim*, Bilal Asif, Zohaib Khan

*Subject to Fitness

Here is the complete press conference

The post England tour: Shehzad, Umar Akmal dropped over disciplinary issues appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

Wenger owes no one an apology

Mon, 05/02/2016 - 06:24

The curse of short-termism, which has plagued modern football, struck once again when hundreds of angry Arsenal supporters held up placards in the match against Norwich City, which the Gunners won 1-0, asking for the removal of manager Arsene Wenger, who is in his 20th year in charge of the North London club.

‘Time for change. Arsenal is stale, fresh approach needed’ was the message that some of the fans wanted to relay and while the discontent of the thousands of Arsenal supporters over not winning the Premier League title in 12 years is understandable, the actions of this disgruntled minority does not make sense.

‘World’s best’ Carroll leaves Arsenal fearing failure

It’s not as if Arsenal are dangling in the bottom three, fighting for their place in the Premier League. It’s not as if the club has gone bankrupt and has to sell off their best players in order to make ends meet. It’s not all doom and gloom that these supporters are trying to project.

In fact, Arsenal have never been this good, in terms of finances and stability, than in the last two decades — they are solid financially; have managed to keep their key players over the past few years and are once again most likely to make it to Champions League — a task not as easy as it may sound.

While some may argue that Wenger’s lack of transfer market activity is the reason for their inability to successfully challenge for major honours — and to a certain extent they are right — the fact is that Wenger has single-handedly built a brand, a philosophy; and that cannot be measured tangibly.

Villa relegated as Sunderland, Newcastle boost survival hopes

His contribution to the world of football and to Arsenal, in particular, is unfathomable.

The Frenchman was forced to apologise to the fans for Arsenal’s poor run this season, but should he be the one apologising? Or should the players take some blame as well?

Time and again this season Arsenal’s players have failed to rise to the occasion. Time and again they have failed to click in crucial moments and time and again they have let their manager down rather than the other way around.

Supporters say that Arsenal needed an in-form goalscorer this season; a 20-plus goal man. Yes, Arsenal certainly needed that. But Wenger was trying to show some faith in French forward Olivier Giroud. And if a manager wants to trust a player, you cannot hold that against him.

Yes Wenger made an error when he did not spend big in the transfer market, but were there any proven strikers available last summer?

Wenger tried to sign French forward Karim Benzema but that deal never worked out because Real Madrid would have never let go of their star forward, especially with no other strikers as back-up.

Wenger’s biggest criticism, as former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho points out in every opportunity he has gotten, is that he gets to keep his job despite not winning any major trophy — a luxury not many managers enjoy.

But he isn’t afforded this luxury without reason.

Wenger oversaw one of the most difficult periods in Arsenal’s history and still managed to keep the club in the Champions League despite the exodus of key players — Robin van Persie, Cesc Fabregas, Thierry Henry, who either were searching for a higher payday or more trophies.

When such important players leave, it becomes highly impossible to find suitable replacement, especially when those players were almost about to either reach their prime or were in the best form of their lives.

What Wenger has achieved during his reign is exemplary. What Wenger has managed during his time is unique. And what Wenger is trying to do is get Arsenal back in the hunt for major trophies.

He will succeed, as he has shown in previous years, but for that he needs time. And while thousands voice their support for the Frenchman when the mutinous minority try to disrespect him, patience must certainly be running thin at the Emirates.

Wenger needs to get more out of his players, yes. He needs to do it soon, yes. But he surely doesn’t need to apologise to anyone.

The post Wenger owes no one an apology appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

Saudi Binladin Group lays off 77,000 workers: report

Mon, 05/02/2016 - 06:14

RIYADH: One of Saudi Arabia’s most powerful firms, the Saudi Binladin Group, has laid off 77,000 foreign workers, a Saudi daily reported on Monday, citing an anonymous company official.

The report is the latest over the past few days alleging tens of thousands of layoffs, unpaid salaries and unrest by employees of the firm which built some of the Gulf country’s landmarks.

Saudi king sanctions Binladin Group after deadly crane collapse

Sources in March told AFP that delayed receipts from the government, whose oil revenues collapsed over the past two years, have left employees of the kingdom’s construction giants struggling to survive while they await their salaries.

However, Saudi Binladin Group was also sanctioned by the government after a deadly crane accident at one of its projects last September.

The firm could not immediately comment but asked AFP to submit questions in writing.

The company official cited by Al-Watan daily said that as of Sunday 77,000 Binladin Group workers had received exit visas to leave the country.

He added that they were among 200,000 expatriates employed by the company, one of the largest builders in the world.

In addition, 12,000 out of the 17,000 Saudis working for the firm as engineers, administrators and inspectors were also expected to be let go, the source said.

Shock as ‘embarrassed’ Saudi Arabia targets mighty Binladin group

On Friday, Al-Watan reported that 50,000 of the group’s staff were refusing to leave the country while their salaries remained unpaid after more than four months.

Another newspaper, Arab News, on Sunday cited employees of Saudi Binladin Group as confirming “massive layoffs”.

An Arab News report on Monday blamed “unpaid workers” for torching several Binladin Group buses in the city of Makkah over the weekend.

After decades of thriving on lucrative government contracts, the company faced unprecedented scrutiny after one of its cranes working on a major expansion of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, Islam’s holiest site, toppled in September.

At least 109 people including foreign pilgrims died, leading King Salman to exclude the firm from new public contracts.

The post Saudi Binladin Group lays off 77,000 workers: report appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

Pervaiz Rashid refuses to say Middlesex. Here’s why

Mon, 05/02/2016 - 06:04

Pervaiz Rashid, the country’s information minister, in an attempt to make jibes at Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan pointed out that his children lived in area which he would not name. The area happens to be Middlesex, a county in England.

“I won’t take the name of the area because if a Muslim takes the name, they have to perform wuzoo (ablution),” Rashid said matter-of-factly during a press conference on Sunday.

Media talk: Rashid accuses Imran’s close aides of getting loan waived

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader insisted that Imran should be asked what the name of the place is. “If Khan Sahib takes its name, even he would have to perform wuzoo again, if he believes in performing it,” he added.

Earlier on Sunday, the PTI chief addressed a rally outside the Punjab Assembly in Lahore saying that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would not only ‘go home’ but would also have to serve a jail term if proven guilty of corruption in the Panama Papers probe.

“Mian Sahib, you said you will ‘go home’ if proven guilty by an inquiry commission. However, you will not only go home but will have to go to jail if corruption charges are proven,” Imran said.

PM must quit, go to jail, if proven guilty: Imran

Panama Papers, a trove of leaked documents, revealed last month that the prime ministers’ three children were among dozens of influential people from across the globe who had stashed away their money in offshore companies.

Hitting out at Prime Minister Nawaz, Imran asked the premier to respond to people’s questions about his assets. “This is all very easy. Just declare all your assets and the people will be satisfied. All it will take is a 30-minute press conference,” he said.

“In a democracy, a leader has to be accountable to people. “First of all your accountability will be done,” Imran said, addressing the prime minister. “After your accountability, anyone, including me and my party members, can be held accountable,” he added.

The post Pervaiz Rashid refuses to say Middlesex. Here’s why appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

Won’t do another TV show after ‘Quantico’: Priyanka Chopra

Mon, 05/02/2016 - 05:58

Priyanka Chopra has had a more than packed schedule since the start of her show Quantico, and now the Bollywood diva is ready to give up TV to concentrate on movies instead, after the show is over.

Pinkvilla reports the actor as saying, “One thing, however, is clear, after Quantico I won’t be doing another TV show.”

PHOTO: PUBLICITY

PeeCee also opened up about her hectic schedule, future plans and her much-needed vacation.

According to Pinkvilla, Priyanka had been offered the role of Amrita Pritam in the Sahir biopic, which is being produced by her Bajirao Mastani director Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

Priyanka stated, “If he comes to me with something there’s no question of saying no.”

Priyanka invited to annual White House Correspondents’ dinner

The Bajirao Mastani actor has taken up several projects simultaneously in India and the US over the last year, and is ready for a vacation.

“Over the last one year I have been filming Bajirao MastaniGangaajal and now Baywatch along with Quantico. It’s been difficult. I have been flying down to India for a day and back. After all the hard work and long hours I need a family vacation. I will be flying back next month and will be home for a month-and-a-half before I return in July for the second season of Quantico. That’s when I will decide what films to take on.”

Pretty in pink: Priyanka Chopra has fun on set with ‘Baywatch’ crew

PHOTO: INSTAGRAM

When asked about her role as an antagonist in Baywatch, Priyanka said, “People were expecting me to play the heroine in my first Hollywood film but I don’t like being conventional. It’s fun taking on all the six lifeguards, the entire Baywatch team.”

Baywatch is famous for lifeguards running in a red swimsuit, but since Priyanka isn’t on the lifeguards’ team, she won’t be sporting the same outfit. “Since I am not one of the lifeguards I won’t be wearing the red swimsuit. Whether I wear a swimsuit or not is something you will have to wait and watch,” she revealed.

There were speculations that the actor had distanced herself from B-town due to her unforgiving schedule, but Priyanka dismissed such claims with the reassurance, “Hindi films are in my blood and my soul, I can never be distanced from them.”

PHOTO: TUMBLR

The post Won’t do another TV show after ‘Quantico’: Priyanka Chopra appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

Dutch ‘horror dentist’ sent to jail for eight years in France

Mon, 05/02/2016 - 05:51

A Dutchman dubbed the ‘horror dentist’ by French media was sentenced to eight years in jail on Tuesday for mutilating patients’ mouths and defrauding social security services.

Italy busts fake champagne makers with thousands of ‘Moet’ bottles

The verdict was delivered by a court in Nevers, in central France, where local media relayed gory tales, some from old-aged pensioners who spoke of having as many as eight teeth pulled out in one sitting, infections and bills of tens of thousands of euros.

China orders probe after polluting factory fined just $90

“This is a massive relief. We must be very careful from now on when we get practitioners from abroad,” said Nicole Martin, the head of a group of patients who took legal action against Mark Van Nierop, who had fled to Canada but was extradited back to France.

The post Dutch ‘horror dentist’ sent to jail for eight years in France appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Categories: Pakistan & World News

IPL 2016 roundup: Harbhajan, Rayudu clash as Mumbai closes gap on Gujrat

Mon, 05/02/2016 - 05:43

The ninth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) saw its third week come to an end during which the cricketing extravaganza saw 257 fours and 93 sixes in just nine T20 matches.

Here is complete review of the third week of the cash-rich T20 league.

Best batsman: Chris Morris

PHOTO COURTESY: BCCI

The best batting performance of the week came from South African all-rounder Chris Morris, who is more renowned for his bowling than for his power hitting.

IPL 2016 round up: Sun rises for Hyderabad in week two

Morris came in to bat against league-toppers Gujrat Lions when Delhi Daredevils were in all sorts of trouble after losing four wickets for 57 while chasing 172. They needed another 115 runs in 56 balls at nearly 12 runs per over.

The 29-year-old along with fellow compatriot JP Duminy took his team closer to the target, but were unfortunate to not get the team past the finishing line.

The all-rounder scored a stunning 82 not-out off just 37 balls with the help of four boundaries and eight sixes, at a strike rate of over 250.

IPL 2016 roundup: People cannot stop watching this stunning tag-team catch

Even though his team did not manage to win the match, but for his astonishing single-handed effort, where he nearly took his side over the line, he was awarded man-of-the-match.

Best bowler: Axar Patel

PHOTO: AFP

The bowling performance of the week came from Kings XI Punjab’s left-arm spinning all-rounder Axar Patel, who bowled an amazing spell against table-leaders Gujrat on Sunday at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Rajkot.

Defending a par total of 154, Punjab were up against one of the best batting lineup in the tournament. However, an impeccably accurate bowling performance from the Indian left-arm spinner helped his team earn a precious win, which was their second in the tournament.

Steve Smith out of IPL with wrist injury

The 22-year-old picked three key wickets in the seventh over of the Gurjat innings of explosive opener Dwayne Smith, wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik and World T20 winning all-rounder Dwayne Bravo to pretty much seal the deal for Murali Vijay’s team.

He also went on to complete his hat-trick in his next over, which is also the first of this tournament, when he accounted for all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja as he was trying to cut but only managed an edge to the keeper.

Punjab will be hoping that Patel will keep up his good form for them to savour a chance to enter the playoffs.

Shehzad thanks Younus after leading K-P to Pakistan Cup trophy

Here is the celebration of Axar Patel after grabbing the first hat-trick of the IPL 2016

Best team: Mumbai Indians

PHOTO COURTESY: BCCI

The best team of the week is Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai Indians. The team managed to win all of their three matches in the week to rise to the second spot behind Gujrat.

Rohit Sharma’s men first defeated Kings XI Punjab comfortably by 25 runs on Monday. Mumbai then went on to beat Kolkata Knight Riders after chasing down a target of 174 with ease, thanks to some responsible batting from the captain himself.

Cricket India: Windies to resume ties with Test series

In the last match of the week, the defending champions went on to comfortably beat the new boys Rising Pune Supergiants by eight wickets, once again thanks to some incredible batting performance from their star captain.

Reel of the week: Harbhajan, Rayudu spat

PHOTO COURTESY: BCCI

Mumbai Indians teammates Harbhajan Singh and Ambati Rayudu were engaged in a heated conversation in a match against Rising Pune Supergiants on Sunday.

During Harbhajans second over in the first innings, Saurabh Tiwary hit the veteran off-spinner for a four by finding a gap between two fielders at deep midwicket and long-on.

Rayudu, who was came running in from deep midwicket, tried to dive to his right in attempt to stop the ball but pushed it past Southee who was running in from long on.

Following the boundary, Harbhajan yelled at Rayudu who reacted with equal anguish. Both players started walking towards each other but the veteran off-spinner acted calmly and pacified Rayudu who kept seething and went back to his position.

This is how it all happened

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Iran and South Korea set to triple trade to $18 bn

Mon, 05/02/2016 - 05:41

TEHRAN: Iran and South Korea have decided to triple their annual trade volume to $18 billion, President Hassan Rouhani announced on Monday after meeting his South Korean counterpart Park Geun-Hye.

“The two sides decided to increase by three times the current trade volume of around $6 billion (5.2 billion euros) to $18 billion,” Rouhani said in a joint televised press conference.

Pakistan prepares for Rouhani’s visit as illicit trade continues

“We also spoke about tourism, direct flights between Seoul and Tehran, and Korean investment in Iranian tourism infrastructure, including building hotels,” he added.

Park is the first South Korean president to visit Iran since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1962, and as Seoul seeks new markets to turn around a lengthy decline in export revenues.

Her three-day visit comes just months after a historic nuclear deal with world powers lifted sanctions crippling Iran’s economy in exchange for limits on its nuclear programme.

Park, who is accompanied by several ministers and a 230-strong business delegation, will also be received by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The two countries have pledged to develop their relations in the energy sector.

Sanctions uncertainty hinders investor return to Iran

“We will expand relations in energy projects and infrastructure… and in oil, gas, railways and ports,” Park said.

Tehran hopes this month to increase its oil exports to Seoul to 400,000 barrels per day from a current 100,000 bpd, according to Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh.

The two governments signed 19 cooperation documents in the presence of the presidents, and further memorandums of understanding were due to be signed by the private sector, Rouhani said.

Talks also included discussions about the situation on the divided Korean peninsula amid fears that Pyongyang is preparing to conduct a fifth nuclear test.

Trade with Iran: SBP reviews progress made by banks

“The security of the Korean peninsula and security of the Middle East are very important to us,” Rouhani said.

“We seek peace and stability in the Korean peninsula and categorically oppose building any weapons of mass destruction.”

Park said she “explained South Korea’s opinion on… nuclear disarmament of North Korea… and requested Iranian cooperation”.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

PAC meeting: Probe ordered into phone purchase by ministry

Thu, 04/28/2016 - 20:04
ISLAMABAD: 

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Thursday ordered an inquiry into the unauthorised purchase of mobile handsets worth Rs90 million by the Ministry of Religious Affairs four years ago.

The phones were purchased for pilgrims in 2012 when Syed Khursheed Shah was the minister.

The transaction was reportedly carried out with undue haste while disregarding PPRA rules. Currently, at least 8,900 phones worth Rs8.9 million from that lot are currently lying in a store at the Haji Camp in Islamabad.

The issue had first surfaced during a discussion on the Audit Report of Ministry of Religious Affairs for 2013-14. Auditors had pointed out that expenditure for purchasing phones for pilgrims was not covered under the Pilgrim Welfare Fund Rules 1990 nor was concurrence of Ministry of Finance sought for the order. Further, the sets were purchased without open competition.

Such was the haphazardness of the purchase that the process was initiated once Hajj flights had commenced, which meant that by the time stock was available, those who had departed for the pilgrimage before September 26, 2012, were not provided a phone, hence the excess unused stock lying in an Islamabad store.

“Audit is of the view the procurement of mobile phone sets was irregular and unauthorised and undue favour was extended to the supplier (Ufone),” observed the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP).

As if to emphasise on the wastefulness of the measure, Awami Muslim League (AML) Chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed pointed out that every pilgrim usually owns and carries their personal phones during the pilgrimage and hence there was no need for such initiative. He proposed the committee to refer the matter to either NAB or FIA.

Shah, who is currently representing the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) as Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and is also the PAC chairman, did not attend Thursday’s meeting. Instead, it was chaired by his PPP colleague Syed Naveed Qamar.

Qamar directed Ministry of Religious Affairs and Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) to jointly investigate the matter and submit a report on the matter in one month.

However, Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho opposed the move suggesting that a departmental inquiry should be conducted instead.

Meanwhile, the committee looked into accounts of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to review delayed procurement of tents and a loss of Rs11.85 million suffered due to non-imposition of penalty for late delivery of ration packs and tents.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 29th,  2016.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Warning to voters: Don’t let all of Sindh turn into Thar, says PTI

Thu, 04/28/2016 - 20:00

HYDERABAD: Activists of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) swarmed into Nawabshah on Thursday at the start of a rally marking the third day of its movement against graft.

Addressing the large crowd gathered at Shiraz Chowk, one of the biggest public squares in the district, the PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi ramped up pressure on the government. He also addressed two news conferences in Sakrand and Nawabshah.

Qureshi supported the Sindh government’s stance against the discriminatory policies of the centre and assured to fight the province’s case in Islamabad and Punjab. He warned the people that if they once again failed to prudently exercise their right of vote, the province will turn into a place like Tharparkar.

“We have set out [on this campaign] not to derail democracy but to derail corruption,” said Qureshi responding to detractors’ criticism of the PTI’s anti-graft movement.

Corruption has weakened the country to the level that the federal government couldn’t even dare to meet India’s gaze while they raised shallow slogans of Kashmir becoming another Pakistan, he asserted. “The government is obtaining foreign loans to repay the existing ones.”

He said the PTI’s campaign in Sindh has received huge response from Karachi to Nawabshah. “Thousands of people have gathered here at Shiraz Chowk in this searing summer heat. It’s a sign that people of Sindh also want a change, which only the PTI can provide, in the corridors of power.”

The PTI is striving for a corruption-free and truly democratic political dispensation, said MNA Arif Alvi. He blamed the ruling leadership for the plight of poor people.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 29th,  2016.

 

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Regional branch: McDonald’s opens its doors to Quetta

Thu, 04/28/2016 - 20:00

QUETTA: Balochistan foodies finally got a chance to enjoy the global taste of McDonald’s in their hometown Quetta as the international chain’s regional office was inaugurated in the provincial capital. The burger and fast food chain linked Quetta 17 years after McDonald’s first restaurant opened its door to the people of Pakistan in September 1998 in Lahore.

McDonald’s is the first international fast food chain to register its footprint in Balochistan.

A regional branch of McDonald’s was inaugurated the other day by Director McDonald’s Jameel Mughal amidst a colourful ceremony enjoyed by a number of families and particularly the children. McDonald’s Country Operation Manager Tariq Butt, Brand Extension Consultant Saad Azhar Khan, Operation Consultant Abdul Nasir, Quetta Resturant Manager Umair Riaz  and Salman Jameel, owner of the shopping mall where the restaurant is located, were present.

Salman Jameel said that opening of the McDonald’s indicates that the situation has improved in Quetta. He said the restaurant will provide a family-friendly ambiance allowing the local people to take out their near and dear ones for casual dining.

He said that such restaurants should be opened in Quetta so that the masses are given an opportunity to enjoy good food which they would enjoy in other cities.

As per local tradition, the guests were presented sweets following the inauguration. Jameel Mughal said that McDonald’s stood for family values and will provide a good family atmosphere for its patrons.

He said it was the first restaurant and more would be opened in the future, adding that hopefully people would be attracted to it.

The people of Balochistan are about to get a taste of global burger brand right at their doorsteps. Umair Riaz said that McDonald’s recognition was the quality of its products.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 29th, 2016.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Panama leaks: Govt ready to enact new laws, says AGP

Thu, 04/28/2016 - 19:57

ISLAMABAD: The top state prosecutor has said the government is willing to formulate new laws in larger public interest amid the controversy surrounding the offshore holdings of influential Pakistanis.

The statement from Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Ashtar Ausaf came on Thursday after his meeting with Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Ali Zafar.

Talking to reporters later, the recently appointed prosecutor said there were no major differences between the terms of reference (ToRs) proposed by the government and the SCBA.

The AGP also urged all political parties to shun differences and focus on the country’s development, adding the government was ready to legislate on eradicating corruption.

The SCBA president believed AGP Ashtar could play a pivotal role in resolving differences among the parties on the Panama leaks issue.

The lawyers’ body has been vociferously protesting against the government since the Panama Papers named the children of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for owning offshore assets in international tax havens.

The bar association has already rejected the terms of reference (ToRs) of the inquiry commission announced by the government to probe the offshore accounts of Pakistanis under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1956.

A day earlier, Zafar had met some lawmakers of the Pakistan Peoples Party and agreed to call for a powerful inquiry commission under a special law or ordinance.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 29th,  2016.

 

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Karachi lives again

Thu, 04/28/2016 - 19:56

It is a well-known assumption that a nation’s wellbeing is corroborated by the happiness of its population.

In fact, according to the UN-sponsored study quoted by the Press Trust of India, Pakistan is a much happier nation than its neighbouring countries such as India and Bangladesh. The study quoted the recently published report by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, in which Pakistan ranked 81st in the World Happiness Report.

While I may not be able to say much about Pakistan but as a Karachiite the recent security improvements have definitely led to a better, much relaxed, environment. And this is well reflected by the number of  events that are taking place in the metropolis, week after week.

Remembering the times when going out of the house in the city instilled fear about the uncertainty of the events that may take place followed by constant stress, these festivities are a much relief. From the food festivals to the lawn launches, it would be fair to denote that Karachi has started living again. With that it has been helping its residents to relive, come out of their comfort zones and explore the adventures it has to offer.

Even though, many would argue that the country as a whole is experiencing instability but with lesser political influence in the city the locals are able to feel content in their surroundings. And as many of us are aware that Karachi is the business hub which attracts millions to its workforce and generates a lot of economic activity, the calm and composed environment only provides opportunities for people coming in from every nook of the nation.

This only makes things better and for once makes lives for many, like myself, easier to live in a place that was once known as one of the most dangerous cities of the world.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 29th,  2016.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Air prowess: Vast exposure for JF-17 in Morocco air show

Thu, 04/28/2016 - 19:55
ISLAMABAD: 

Pakistan’s JF-17 got vast exposure in an air show held at the Menara Air Force base in Morocco on Thursday.

Some 56 countries are participating in the air show with forty air chiefs attending, mostly from Africa and the Middle East, offering Pakistan’s JF-17 enormous exposure in the African continent for the first time.

A JF-17 business division team led by Air Vice Marshal Arshad Mehmood Malik held an impressive presentation of the equipment and services offered by the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) at the international air show, said a message received here.

This was the first presentation by the team in Africa and was arranged by the Embassy of Pakistan, Rabat.

The JF-17 team is visiting Morocco on the invitation of Pakistan’s ambassador to Morocco Nadir Chaudhri.

In his comprehensive presentation entitled ‘Cutting Edge Capabilities at Affordable Cost’ AVM Malik highlighted the products offered by the PAC, including the JF-17 Thunder fighter jet and maintenance facilities, particularly for Mirage fighter jets.

Talking to the media, Ambassador Nadir Chaudhri said the JF-17 project was initiated by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and it is his priority that it is showcased around the world. “This project is the pride of Pakistan” he added.

AVM Malik paid rich tributes to the ambassador for inviting the PAC team to Morocco.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 29th,  2016.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Jhal Magsi elections: PML-N candidate leads by 11,000 votes

Thu, 04/28/2016 - 19:53
QUETTA: 

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz candidate Khalid Khan Magsi widened his lead over PTI rival Sardar Yar Muhammad Rind by 11,000 votes in Thursday’s by-polls for the Jhal Magsi constituency of NA-267, according to unofficial results.

Magsi racked up 27,392 votes against PTI Sardar Yar Muhammad Rind’s 16,262 votes, according to the votes counted in 120 of the total 165 polling stations.

In compliance with the Supreme Court’s order, polling was held in the presence of the Pakistan Army personnel, police and paramilitary forces. Polling began at 8am and continued until 5pm.

The presence of around 5,000 law enforcement agencies ensured that no untoward incident took place during the day. However, the media representatives were not allowed to enter the polling stations despite having special cards.

The counting of votes started after 5pm. Earlier results obtained from 75 polling stations out of 165 showed that PML-N candidate Khalid Khan Magsi was ahead by over 3,700 votes. The earlier count showed PTI candidate Sardar Yar Muhammad Rind with 9,886 votes and Khalid Magsi polling 13,583 votes.

Magsi was well ahead from Jhal Magsi, Gandawa, Mach, and Mithidi polling stations, while the PTI candidate was leading from Dhadar polling stations.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 29th,  2016.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Clemency denied: Two convicts hanged in Haripur

Thu, 04/28/2016 - 19:53
HARIPUR: 

Two condemned prisoners were sent to the gallows early Thursday morning after their appeals for mercy were turned down.

Jail officials told The Express Tribune that one of the executed prisoners, Ali Raza Khanzada, a resident of Charsada, had been behind bars since 2004 after committing a murder.

The second prisoner Farhad Said Muhammad, also from Charsada, had gunned down two persons in 1997. Both inmates were hanged at 5:30am.

Their appeals for amnesty to the president were also rejected, after which black warrants for their execution were issued by the K-P home department last week.

The condemned prisoners were allowed to have final meetings with their respective families on April 27.

Jail doctors Judicial Magistrate Asim Riaz, and other jail authorities were present at the hanging. The bodies were later handed over to legal heirs.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 29th,  2016.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Weapons sale: US administration supports F-16s for Pakistan, says Official

Thu, 04/28/2016 - 19:53

Pakistan on Thursday rejected criticism of US’ sale of F-16 fighter jets to Islamabad noting how Washington itself supports the move.

“The US administration has stated it supports the sale of F-16s to Pakistan,” a statement from Nadeem Hotiana, a spokesperson for the Pakistani embassy in Washington, said on Thursday.

“This [sale] is in line with bilateral counterterrorism cooperation that both sides have pursued for mutual benefit.”

Hotiana’s comments came a day after some US lawmakers expressed concerns over the Obama administration’s decision to sell eight F-16 jets to Pakistan, claiming that the aircraft could be used against India instead of terrorists and urged the White House to review its decision.

But Hotiana dispelled these notions, pointing towards their use in the ongoing operation against terrorists in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

“F-16s provide precision strike capability to Pakistan’s ongoing campaign against militancy and have proven to be an effective platform during Operation Zarb-e-Azb.”

He added that Pakistan believes threat from terrorist networks requires continued capacity building and that “both governments continue to work together towards this objective through a range of measures including sale of these aircraft.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 29th,  2016.

 

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Categories: Pakistan & World News

Election forecast: ‘PML-N to form govt in AJK’

Thu, 04/28/2016 - 19:52

BAGH: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) will form its government in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) after victory in the upcoming legislative assembly elections, claimed Adviser to PM on Political Affairs Dr Asif Kirmani on Thursday. Addressing the PML-N workers, Kirmani said the people of Kashmir have been exploited for past six and a half decades. He accused the PPP government in AJK of corruption.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 29th,  2016.

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Categories: Pakistan & World News