Periscope on Pakistan

  • Labour woes

    THE ILO has launched its Better Work Programme in Pakistan for improving working conditions in the textile industry and ensuring compliance with international labour laws to help local companies compete globally. The programme will also help ensure that local textile companies provide a safe and healthy environment for their workers and allow the strengthening of labour unions and workers’ organisations within the industry. Around 4.2m people are employed in the garments, textiles and footwear sector, according to an ILO report for 2014-2015. The textile sector as a whole contributes 8.5pc to GDP and accounts for 70pc of total exports. However, according to Human Rights Watch, most workers ...Read More

  • State of justice

    The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf came to power essentially on a slogan of promoting justice for all regardless of class or status. Prime Minister Imran Khan has repeatedly been citing examples from the State of Madina and saying that his ‘Naya Pakistan’ will soon be converted into a republic along these lines. So what are we then to make of the judgment handed down by an ATC in Lahore which acquitted all six personnel of the Counter Terrorism Department of Police in the Sahiwal encounter case that shook the nation in January this year? The case involved the shooting of four persons travelling in a car from Lahore to Sahiwal by CTD officials who stopped the vehicle. The driver Zeeshan, his neigh...Read More

  • Justice Denied

    After witnessing the gruesome murder of their family members and waiting 10 long months for trial, the family of the victims in the Sahiwal encounter has accepted the court’s decision to acquit all suspects in the case giving them the benefit of the doubt. This case was brought to the limelight by social media and protocols of security officials were questioned as the loss of civilian lives based on lack of information should be challenged. This case was managed by the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) in Lahore and they named a sub-inspector as an in-charge of the Sahiwal operation to save senior officials. There was no questioning about this move or who ordered this operation in the firs...Read More

  • The mysterious blacklist

    On October 18, 2019 news broke that Steven Butler, the Asia Programme coordinator of the Committee to Protect Journalist’s (CPJ) was barred from entering Pakistan by immigration authorities. The CPJ had only come to my personal attention recently as it repeatedly exposed the abuses being suffered by journalists in Indian Occupied Kashmir since the latest curfew was imposed. Therefore, I was even more alarmed that authorities had taken such an action which would erode Pakistan’s own credibility regarding freedom of press. As reported, the reason for refusal of entry was the infamously secret blacklist maintained by the Ministry of Interior. All we know is that Mr Butler had landed in Lahor...Read More

  • A Surveillance State

    The government of Pakistan is keen on monitoring online traffic. Despite many criticisms of the regime established under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016, the government, it seems, is adamant to carry on as it wishes. The government not amending the said act reveals that it wants to exploit the loopholes in the law to its advantage against any criticism of its policies and actions. The latest news that the government is working with Sandvine to monitor the internet traffic informs one about the true intentions of the government. That government wants to gag dissent in the country is now an open secret. And the track record of the said firm is controversial. How can the gover...Read More

  • Online surveillance

    A NEW report on Pakistan’s internet surveillance, published by investigative agency Coda, has once again sounded the alarm on the long-standing issue of the state spying on its citizens. This is a matter of concern even if the PTA has sought to dismiss fears of an invasion of privacy.The Coda investigation revealed that the government has acquired a “web monitoring system” from Canada-based company Sandvine. The system would allow for monitoring and analysis of all internet traffic moving into and out of the country using a method called Deep Packet Inspection, which would allow for both broad and targeted surveillance of internet activity.According to Coda, the Pakistan firm Inbox Business...Read More

  • A deafening silence

    IMAGINE a scenario in which a Western country locks up hundreds of thousands of Muslims in internment camps. Here, they are ‘re-educated’ to adopt liberal values that include a change of language and lifestyle. Had such a deliberate effort to brainwash an entire Muslim community been attempted, there would be riots and protests across the Islamic world. Embassies of the country responsible for this outrage would be attacked, and its businesses boycotted. We know from experience that this sequence of events is pretty much standard operating procedure whenever real or perceived acts of state-organised violence against Muslims take place. So why the deafening silence across the Islamic worl...Read More

  • Pakistan unlikely to meet debt reduction targets

    ISLAMABAD: The government may not achieve most of its targets set in the medium-term debt reduction strategy due to current high public debt levels amid addition of $14 billion to the external public debt in current fiscal year, said the Ministry of Finance on Friday. However, it emphasised that the country would make significant progress on achieving the targets set for the 2019-24 period, including putting the country’s debt on a downward path. Headed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s former finance minister Asad Umar, the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance took a briefing on the government’s debt management strategy. “We may not be able to meet all the medium-term debt ...Read More

  • HRCP condemns use of water cannons against teachers

    The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Friday condemned the use of force by police, including water cannons, to disperse a peaceful protest by teachers at D-Chowk in the federal capital a few days ago. “A state that fails to respect teachers’ right to a decent livelihood will end up failing its people,” the commission said in a statement on Friday. HRCP’s fact-finding team was told that a large police contingent had raided the protest camp set up by the teachers and arrested over 200 protestors, including women and, allegedly, their accompanying children. The protestors, most of whom teach at remote schools under the Basic Education Community System (BECS), were protesting the...Read More

  • ‘Every third cop guilty of misuse of authority’

    LAHORE: The internal accountability mechanism of Punjab police is in a shambles as it has failed to curb the number of violations by members of the force. Every third member of the police department has been found guilty of corruption, misuse of authority and other illegalities every year, an analysis of five years of data revealed. Even with the rate of punishment, the action proved ineffective when it came to reforming the approach of members of the force. This has been proven by the fact that the proportion of police officials punished remains unchanged over the passage of time. Data showed that, on average, that 60,000 policemen were given punishments every year. At least, 301,757 pol...Read More

  • US ‘concerned’ as Pakistan activist says father detained

    Washington: Washington said it was “concerned” late Thursday by reports that the father of a Pakistani activist who fled the country has himself been detained, the latest incident to fuel fears of a clampdown on dissent. Alice Wells, assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, tweeted her concern over “reports of the continued harassment of Gulalai Ismail’s family, and her father’s detention today”. She said the US called on Pakistan to “uphold citizens’ rights to peaceful assembly, expression, and due process”. Wells tweeted after Ismail -- a women’s rights activist who fled to the US and is seeking asylum -- said her father Mohammad Ismail had been taken away by unknown me...Read More

  • Assault on politics

    The battle lines are drawn and as was much predicted and assumed, the government has decided to take a hardline stance against “Maulana’s untimely assault on Pakistani politics”. At the heart of Maulana’s current political predicament is his enlarged and inflamed ego which in recent days has consistently stood at cross-purpose with Pakistan’s current and very critical interests. But this won’t bother Maulana. He only wants to showcase not only to the Pakistani establishment but the entire world that he cannot be politically sidelined and all roads leading to any political reform, engagement or change would have to lead through him and not around him. Unless the government’s negotiating team...Read More

  • The wrong example

    There are too many weapons in civilian hands in Pakistan. We have known this for some time. A survey in 2018 by an international organization monitoring guns and gun control notes that there are at least 43.9 million small arms in civilian hands in Pakistan. This puts Pakistan 4th on the list of countries with the largest ownership of weapons. Unsurprisingly, the US tops this list by a huge margin. The question of whose hands these guns are in is also significant. A declaration of assets by parliamentarians has shown that 99 have declared ownership of weapons, often sophisticated automatic guns. Asif Ali Zardari has stated he owns weapons worth over Rs16 million. Similar declarations have b...Read More

  • What psychological impact is sexual harassment having on Pakistan’s students?

    In light of the recent case of harassment that has emerged at the University of Balochistan, it is vital that we do not shy away from discussing the psychological impact such incidents have on students. As someone who has previously been associated with the academia, it is worrying to see the apathy with which such occurrences are treated and how often teachers accused of harassment are simply not held responsible for their actions. This lack of accountability was the very reason why I left a teaching position about half a decade ago. During my time as an instructor, an entire classroom of students once wrote an application demanding for an inquiry into the conduct of a male lecturer. This...Read More

  • Police Goes Scot Free

    As if the injustice of the Sahiwal encounter verdict wasn’t enough, an antiterrorism court in Karachi on Friday awarded 27 years’ imprisonment to a robber over the killing of a female medical student during an exchange of fire with police – in an incident where the killing bullet wasn’t even fired by the robber. We can see for ourselves the stark difference between the application of justice when the person on trial is the common man and not a member of the state apparatus itself. In the Sahiwal encounter trial, the witnesses refused to testify, the victim’s family was convinced to accept a settlement and the prosecution team failed, or was unwilling, to prosecute. In contrast, in Karach...Read More

  • What ails Pakistan:

    While the powers that be and politicians fight for the control of the state, there are festering wounds in our body politic that remain unaddressed. Real issues are persistently ignored and swept under the carpet with devastating results. On Friday yet another Ahmadi “place of worship” was desecrated by the state in Bahawalpur. Countless individuals remain behind bars on blasphemy charges including the young professor Junaid Hafeez. Countless young women from minority communities will continue to converted forcibly to Islam in Sindh. The Federal Capital will see yet another Dharna where inevitably religion will be misused. Fundamental rights such as freedom of religion and freedom of expre...Read More

  • Azadi March Kicks Off

    The political landscape of the country is in turmoil with former Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif’s ailment and the Azadi March setting into motion. The government has constantly been negotiating with the Rahbar Committee made in charge of the decisions regarding Azadi March by Jamiat Ulema-e Islam Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman. Despite claims of non-negotiation the government and the Rahbar Committee have been able to strike a deal regarding the political procession entering Islamabad. The aim of the opposition initially was to enter the Red Zone, however, the government has been able to push them to consider non-entry into the area and opting for another venue instead. This ...Read More

  • Are Imran Khan’s Days Counted?

    In May 1988, then Prime Minister of Pakistan Mohammad Khan Junejo visited some South East Asian countries where he very confidently told his hosts that democracy had come to stay in his country. Back home, before he could step out from his PIA plane, he was served with a sack order from then Army Chief-cum-President Gen Ziaul Haq. Zia adopted this crude method to humiliate his own hand-picked Prime Minister perhaps to convey a message to the people at home and abroad that the position of a Pakistani Prime Minister should not be taken for granted. Between the sacking of Junejo and his death in an air crash on August 17, 1988, Ziaul Haq ruled Pakistan without a Prime Minister unconstitutional...Read More

  • Pakistan forms a new unholy alliance

    Pakistan, Turkey and Malaysia have formed an unofficial alliance which they hope will be backed, at least tacitly, by some rich Muslim nations as they step up maligning of India and its Kashmir policy. The potential of this unholy alliance to cause any noticeable harm to India may be limited but their effort can add to irritants that India faces on the global stage. Turkey and Malaysia have just provided the badly needed life-line to Pakistan at the Paris meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and thwarted the chance of Pakistan sliding from the grey list to the black list despite Pakistan’s failure to end terror financing and money laundering by terrorists. Of course, the ...Read More

  • Moving towards a failing state?

    With my stars under the clouds following cardio-spasm and hospitalisation for ten days earlier this month, notwithstanding the nigh class Medicare under NHS, extensive tests etc-the crux of the advice given to me was to keep away from stress. My dearest Aseefa Bhutto’s message of prayers and good wishes, in her profound concern about my health her advice is ‘don’t worry what’s happening in Pakistan, craziness all day and every day, but we are fighting on’. I was asked to report back to her my progress and to take second opinion in view of my multiple ailments. I could not really keep away from WhatsApp despite best of advice from friends since recuperating in bed I could not do anything el...Read More

  • Attack on artistic freedom

    THE public opening of the Karachi Biennale 2019 on Sunday was marred by controversy when unknown men forced the partial closure of one of the installations at Frere Hall. In hindsight, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise. The ‘offending’ exhibit by Adeela Suleman was a requiem for the hundreds of victims of alleged ‘encounter specialist’ Rao Anwar. Evidently, the disgraced former SSP still enjoys the support and protection of certain quarters capable of acting secretly and with impunity. Instead, the evening ended with a hapless KMC official attempting to defend the indefensible before a press conference held by members of civil society in protest. Worse still, by yesterday morning, the re...Read More

  • Invalidating opinion

    Through an unusual notification, two days back the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority issued an order to television channels instructing them that any anchorperson who regularly hosts his or her own show cannot appear as an ‘expert’ in another programme. This obviously raised a number of questions and was immediately questioned by journalists as well as politicians, including some of the PTI’s own leaders. The problem that arises from this is how to define an ‘expert’. Also, while Pemra said that the job of a television show host is to moderate between guests in an unbiased fashion, it is not clear why giving his or her opinion in another show would prevent him/her from performi...Read More

  • FATF Offers another Lifeline to Pakistan

    Though not unexpected, the decision of the Paris based Financial Action Task Force, FATF,the UN Watchdog on terrorism financing and money laundering, to keep on hold the listing of Pakistan on its blacklist is deplorable. As a country that deliberately ducks implementation of the action plan that the FATF had given it last year, Pakistan has got a lifeline. It does not deserve such leniency. In fact it needs exemplary chastisement at a global forum for its steadfast refusal to renounce terror as an instrument of state policy. But from what transpired at the end of Paris plenary on October 18Pakistan hasgot away with a warning, thanks tothe stonewalling tactics adopted by China as also Tu...Read More

  • Pakistan’s religious extremism is taking a toll on its minorities

    While Pakistan continues to bemoan the alleged suppression of human rights of minorities in other countries, it is actually the minorities on its own soil who continue to suffer the worst fate of their lives. Not just the Muslim minorities like Hazaras and Ahmedis but also the Hindus, Sikhs and Christians who in recent decades have increasingly faced systemic discrimination at the hands of the administration and the society, particularly as the project of Islamisation gathered roots in the country. Statistics themselves tell the story. In 1947, when Pakistan was created by dividing India, minorities comprised 23% of Pakistan’s population. But at present, after decades of mistreatment and d...Read More

  • Supreme Court asks Centre to clarify on restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir

    Jammu: The new Union Territories will come into existence from October 31. Meanwhile, the apex court also allowed Jammu and Kashmir High Court Chief Justice Geeta Mittal to file an additional report on the access of the judiciary by people in the region in the wake of abrogation of Article 370. The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the central government that how long it intends to continue with the restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370 in the region in August. "How many days you want restrictions? It`s already two months now. You have to come clear on this and you have to find out other methods," said a three-judge bench headed by Justice NV Ramana. "Yo...Read More

  • Crime Branch Jammu arrested retired veterinary Doctor for cheating youth by offering jobs

    Jammu, Oct 24      Crime Branch Jammu arrested RehmatUllahKhora, S/o HabibUllahKhora R/o BhalwanMohalla, Doda from Srinagar City in case FIR No. 14/2019 u/s 420,120-B/ RPC P/S Crime Branch, Jammu for cheating and defrauding the complainant by way of luring him of an offer of a job in J&K Bank for an amount of Rs. 6.20 lacs. The accused is a retired veterinary doctor from Animal Husbandry Department and an accomplice in the case along with the other co-accused Sajjad Ahmad Nazar S/O Abdul Gafar R/O Kishatwar. Sajad was arrested from Kishatwar& was bailed out from judicial custody. Taking advantage of the prevailing situation in Kashmir Valley the accused was hiding in Srinagar to avoid his ...Read More

  • Jammu University organized Yoga Camp

    JAMMU, OCT 23: The Yoga Camp in the Sports Fest-2019 organised by the Directorate of Sports and Physical education university of Jammu at University Sports Stadium w.e.f. 22nd to 24th October, 2019 was inaugurated by Dr. Jatinder Khajuria, Registrar, Cluster university of Jammu being the Chief Guest of the event which was attended by large number of students from the University and its affiliated colleges besides the staff of the university and people from the civil society. Prof. Mubarak Singh was the Special Guest on the occasion. In his welcome address, Dr. Daud Iqbal Baba, Director Sports and Physical Education, University of Jammu briefed about the importance and organisation of the ...Read More

  • Railway Station Jammu sercurity reviewed ahead Pooja holitadays

    JAMMU, OCT 23: Ahead of the forthcoming Diwali festival and Pooja holidays Smt. Anita Pawar, SDPO GRP Jammu reviewed the security arrangements of Railway station Jammu. She toured the entire railway station Jammu and was accompanied by Inspector Vinod Kumar SHO P/S GRP Jammu and other officers of GRP/RPF/ITBP. Dog squad was used to carry out extensive search operation within Railway station premises. During these festive days, large number of passengers are expected to throng Railway station Jammu. She issued on the spot directions to GRP officials to remain extra vigilant and alert so as to thwart any nefarious designs of anti-national elements. She extensively checked the GRP deploym...Read More

  • Clear warning: FATF statement

    Pakistan has been accorded a final four-month extension during the plenary session of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) held in Paris from 16 to 18 October to comply with the 40-odd agreed recommendations. The deadline is based on the evaluation analyses on Pakistan's level of compliance and the level of effectiveness of Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Funding of Terrorism (AML/CFT) 229-page report prepared by Asia-Pacific Group (APG). The 22nd APG meeting was held in Canberra from 18 to 23 August and the Pakistani delegation was led by the Governor State Bank of Pakistan. The review period (February to October 2018) did not cover the areas in which the Government of Pakistan made...Read More

  • The government joins religious bigots against Ahmadis

    The writer is based in Canada and studies religion, culture and global justice Like any other part of the world, religion holds great importance in Pakistan, particularly for “Muslims.” To Muslims, not only their own religion but that of others (Ahmadis, in particular) is very important. Where “Muslims” defend their own religion, they also defend that of Ahmadis too and do not let them ‘deviate’ from their religion. They make use of blasphemy law, street power, “mob justice,” social pressure, religious bigotry, fanaticism, even rumours to take strength to keep Ahmadis confined within their religious bonds “to establish rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of ...Read More

  • Young, poor Baloch

    TALK of crisis is commonplace in Pakistan, the combination of a sensationalist news cycle and incessant political intrigue serving up almost daily speculation about existential wars against neighbouring countries, the next political opponent of the government to be jailed for ‘corruption’, the potential of azadi marches to precipitate regime change and much more. A wholly organic crisis, in contrast, is one with deep, societal roots, which gestates and festers over time, and which, unidentified and unaddressed, eventually makes the wrangling within ruling class circles look like child’s play. One such long-term crisis has at least found some space in the news cycle recently — that of our m...Read More

  • University scandal

    THE sexual harassment and blackmailing scandal that has erupted at the University of Balochistan may well have jeopardised the education of thousands of young women in the province. The fact that the privacy and safety of students at a well-regarded institution is being taken so lightly by the varsity administration raises concerns about the credibility of other universities in the country as well. If the Balochistan government was trying to advance the cause of women’s education in the province before, it has an even greater responsibility to do so now. If it does not investigate the scandal in a transparent manner and award exemplary punishment to the perpetrators, irrespective of their c...Read More

  • Balochistan University students continue protest against campus harassment

    QUETTA: Various student organisations on Thursday staged a protest demonstration outside the Quetta Press Club against alleged harassment and blackmailing of students by some staff members of the University of Balochistan (UoB). Organised under the banner of Students Educational Alliance, the leaders leading the protest said the UoB vice-chancellor was responsible for the entire scandal as, according to them, the VC was “head of the blackmailers and saviour of the culprits”. Students also continued their protest at the UoB for the fourth consecutive day and marched through the campus to mount pressure on the authorities to punish the culprits. A day earlier, the UoB’s Academic Staff Asso...Read More

  • Is Pakistan more corrupt than before?

    ISLAMABAD: Two of the eight international organisations, which contribute in the assessment of Transparency International’s annual global report on corruption, in their 2019 reports have already assessed Pakistan as more corrupt than before. These reports have raised many eyebrows here amid fears that it may lead to Pakistan losing its position in the next annual Transparency’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) report which is expected to be released from Berlin in February 2020. According to a source who is associated with an organisation working to check corruption, the recent World Economic Forum’s report about rise in corruption in Pakistan will be considered by the Transparency Intern...Read More

  • Targeted killings in Karachi

    OVER the past few years, the law-and-order situation in Karachi appears to have improved drastically. When compared to its blood-soaked past, Pakistan’s economic powerhouse is now deemed a much safer and more livable city. Violence had become intertwined with the city’s identity, and most of its young residents had grown up only witnessing rampant terrorism, sectarianism, kidnappings, robberies and extortion, as powerful and often politically backed criminals operated with impunity on the city’s streets. But despite some improvements, the challenges regarding law enforcement, extremism and rising inequality are far from over. More worryingly, certain crimes seem to be on the rise again. Jus...Read More

  • PM Imran warns against crossing LoC for Kashmir jihad

    Published: September 19, 2019 LANDI KOTAL: Prime Minister Imran Khan warned against any emotional attempt from the people to cross the Line of Control (LoC) from Pakistan, saying on Wednesday any such attempt would, in fact, affect the struggle of the people in Indian Occupied Kashmir. Talking to the reporters after inaugurating the Integrated Transit Trade Management System at Torkham on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, the prime minister reiterated that he would continue to raise the Kashmir issue at every international forum. Any bid to “wage jihad in Kashmir” would be an act of extreme enmity towards the Kashmiris, he said, adding: “Anyone, who thinks that he will cross the borde...Read More

  • Pakistan participates in week-long military exercise in Russia: ISPR

    Published: September 17, 2019 Pakistan is participating in a week-long multinational military exercise along with military contingents from other Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states. The military exercise, TSENTR (Centre) 2019, is being held near the southwest Russian city of Orenburg, said a statement from the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR). The military’s media wing said: “Apart from host Russia, military contingents from all SCO member states including Pakistan are taking part in this international exercise.” Participating countries include India, China, Kazakhstan and others. The opening ceremony of the military drill was attended by senior military offi...Read More

  • PAC panel seeks details of big defaulters from SNGPL

    Published: August 30, 2019 ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) sub-committee has sought details of industrial and commercial defaulters of over Rs10 million from the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL). The decision was taken during a meeting chaired by Senator Sherry Rehman at the Parliament House on Thursday. The SNGPL has been directed to submit all details of industrial and commercial consumers who have not paid their bills. The subcommittee also discussed the matter regarding the purchase of 80 Kanal land costing Rs50.25 million at Moza Moharian Islamabad by the Federal Urdu University; however, the land was not handed over to the university. The audit offi...Read More

  • Kashmir suffers under violent Indian army crackdown: BBC

    Published: August 30, 2019 Occupational forces have been accused of violence against civilians in occupied Kashmir in the wake of the Indian government’s decision to revoke the region’s special status, The British broadcaster interviewed several villagers who said that they were brutalised with sticks, cables and given electric shocks as a form of torture, and revealed their injuries. The Indian army claimed that the accusations put forth were “baseless and unsubstantiated”. State-sponsored violence witnessed a spike in occupied Kashmir following the revocation of Article 370 on August 5 – terminating the valley’s autonomous status. Additionally, the Indian government deployed tens ...Read More

  • Will protect rights of minorities: PM Imran

    Published: July 29, 2019 ISLAMABAD : Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday reiterated his government’s resolve to protect the rights of minorities. Addressing a ceremony, PM Imran said that the minorities of Pakistan will be protected and their places of worship will be looked after. “Hindu temples and Sikh Gurdwaras will be restored and protected,” said the premier. The prime minister also spoke against radicals and said Islam does not ask for the forced conversion of minorities. “The mindsets of these radicals should be changed. Islam is a religion of peace, not compulsion. Those who convert others by force do not know Islam at all,” said the premier. He furthered his speech with...Read More

  • Hafiz Saeed's judicial remand extended by 14 days

    Published: July 24, 2019 GUJRANWALA: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) on Wednesday extended Hafiz Saeed’s judicial remand for 14 more days, Express News reported. Chief of the proscribed Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) was earlier sent on a seven-day judicial remand after his arrest by security forces in Gujranwala. The court has further ordered the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) to present a challan at the next hearing. The JuD leader was reportedly travelling between Gujranwala and Lahore when he was intercepted by Punjab Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) and arrested. The move came after the CTD, in a major crackdown against terror financing, registered 23 cases against Saeed and 12 aide...Read More

  • Pakistan summons Indian diplomat over LoC ceasefire violations

    Published: July 24, 2019 The Indian Deputy High Commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia was summoned by Foreign Office Spokesperson Mohammad Faisal on Wednesday over incidents of unprovoked firing by the Indian forces along the Line of Control (LoC). The FO official also stressed upon the Indian diplomat to ensure that New Delhi follows the 2003 Ceasefire Agreement between the two countries in letter and spirit and maintain peace on the LoC and Working Boundary. On July 22 – in the Bangsar Sector along the LOC – a 12-year-old boy Mohammad Riaz was martyred and 18-year-old Zabeeullah was critically injured. The next day – in Hotspring, Jandrot and Banchirian Sectors along the LoC – Jan Bibi was ...Read More

  • Flip-side of Imran Khan’s StatueDiplomacy

    The puppet prime minister, Imran Khan, and his Khaki mentors have gone berserk with their new found love for the Sikhs, though the miniscule minority has steadfastly refused to be assimilated into the mainstream of Pakistan society for the past seventy years.A manifestation of the fixation with the Sikhs is inauguration of the statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh inside the Lahore Fort. Statues are un-Islamic certainly in a nation that was createdas the home for the Muslims of the sub-continent, where even today, Muslim families refuse to share drinking water with non-Muslims. The Blasphemy case ofAasia Bibi, the Christian labourer, has brought out this truism clearly. Ranjit Singh rule of ...Read More

  • Pakistan to witness partial lunar eclipse today

    Published: July 16, 2019 A partial lunar eclipse, starting on Tuesday night and ending early Wednesday morning, will be visible in Pakistan, according to the Climate Data Processing Centre (CDPC). The CDPC predicts that the lunar eclipse will begin on July 16 at 11:44 pm and end at 1:02 am on July 17. A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly behind Earth and into its shadow. This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and the Moon are exactly or very closely aligned, with Earth between the other two. A lunar eclipse can occur only on the night of a full moon. People in Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America and Antarctica will also witness the year’s lunar eclipse. Ea...Read More

  • Imran needs new PR

    Published: July 16, 2019 In August 2018, Imran Khan assumed Office of the Prime Minister, with the promise of creating ‘Naya Pakistan’. Jubilant followers, wishing for a change in Pakistan’s dynastic musical chair politics, termed it as the start of a new era, signifying accountability, good governance and end of corruption. Social media was rife with memes, slandering the politicians of ‘old Pakistan’. Promises made in the PTI manifesto and the ‘100-Days Plan’ were endorsed and taskforces were set up with great enthusiasm. Imran’s maiden speech was widely hailed and hope and optimism ran high. But only eleven months down the road, Imran and his team have become the subject of the very ...Read More

  • Pre-qualification of contractors for NPHS starts

    Published: July 8, 2019 LAHORE: Following successful completion of application registration, the government has initiated process for pre-qualification of contractors for Prime Minister’s Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme, an affordable housing project of five million units. An official of the Punjab Housing and Town Planning Agency (PHATA) told The Express Tribune that tenders have already been floated for pre-qualification of contractors for construction of houses and allied infrastructure. In the first phase, the government has announced to roll out the NPHS in Lodhran, Chishtian, Rena Khurd while the project will be launched in Bhakkar, Layyah and Khushab during the second phase for w...Read More

  • 242 Pakistanis in Saudi jails as they can’t pay fines

    Published: July 5, 2019 ISLAMABAD: Around 114 Pakistanis are languishing in jail in Riyadh and 128 in Jeddah because they are unable to pay fines ranging between Rs8,000 and Rs2.2 million and overall 3,000 are imprisoned in Saudi Arabia for various criminal offences, the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights was told on Thursday. Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Additional Secretary (Middle East) Nadeem Khan informed the committee that Mureed Abbas, a Pakistani who was in a Saudi prison for the last three years over non-payment of fine, went to kingdom to work as a driver and had an accident for which he was imprisoned and fined. His sponsor had made a claim of 27,000 Saudi riyals. ...Read More

  • Pakistan, Russia hold 4th round of bilateral political consultation

    Published: July 5, 2019 The 4th round of Bilateral Political Consultations between Pakistan and Russia was held in Moscow July 2, a press release by Foreign Office (FO) stated. Additional Secretary (Europe) Zaheer A Janjua and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation I V Morgulov led their respective delegations. The two sides held a comprehensive review of the bilateral relations and identified areas for further cooperation in political, economic, trade, investment, defence, energy, agriculture, education, culture and tourism. Janjua also briefed the Russian delegation on the political and economic developments in Pakistan, inviting Russian companies to benefit fr...Read More

  • Hamza Shehbaz sent on 14-day judicial remand

    Published: July 5, 2019 LAHORE : An accountability court on Friday sent Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice-president Hamza Shehbaz on a 14-day judicial remand in the Ramzan Sugar Mills corruption case and possessing assets beyond known means of income, Express News reported. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) officials shall present the PMLN leader in court after the remand expires. In June, the accountability court extended Hamza’s physical remand after an initial 15-day remand following his arrest a day earlier. The PML-N leader has been under NAB investigation in cases involving Ramzan Sugar Mills, Saaf Pani project and assets beyond known means of income. Leader o...Read More

  • Twitterati herald BLA terror listing as 'diplomatic coup' for Islamabad

    Published: July 3, 2019 After Washington branded the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) aterrorist outfit, Twitter users saw the move as a huge win in diplomacy for Islamabad. The announcement comes weeks before Prime Minister Imran Khan’s maiden visit to the United States. The BLA has been behind a number of terrorist attacks in Balochistan. Pakistan has long considered the outfit as terrorist organisation and repeatedly urged the US to do the same. Suhasini Haidar, the national editor and diplomatic affairs editor of the Indian news publication The Hindu, questioned whether the move is “preparation for Premier Imran’s visit to Washington amid talks with Afghanistan.” Senator Sarfraz...Read More

  • Mohmand tribal elders threaten to boycott provincial elections

    Published: June 18, 2019 SHABQADAR: A jirga of tribal elders in Mohmand has threatened to boycott the upcoming provincial assembly elections in the district, adding that they have already challenged the merger in the court. This was stated by jirga members including Malak Nadar Manan, Malak Ziarat Gul, Malak Sahibdad, Malak Ayaz Khan, Malak Atta Ullah, Malak Nasrat Khan, and tribal elders from other clans who held the jirga at the Mohmand Press Club on Monday. They reiterated claims that the merger of the erstwhile federally administered tribal areas (Fata) with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) was a forced one and that neither were the tribal elders ever consulted nor were the tribesmen tak...Read More

  • After arrests in corruption cases, next step is to recover looted money: Fawad

    Published: June 11, 2019 Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry said sending the supremos of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) to prison for their alleged corruption was an important chapter of the electoral promises Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) made during its election campaign. The minister took to Twitter on Tuesday and said, “The heads of the parties who embezzled billions of rupees have reached prison. This is not an ordinary thing.” According to Fawad, the next step should be to recover the money that was sent out of the country. Former president Asif Ali Zardari was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on...Read More

  • Shehbaz writes letter to PM Imran over ECP appointments

    Published: June 11, 2019 Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif sent revised names to Prime Minister Imran Khan for appointing the members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), In a letter written to the premier, Shehbaz recommended names of senior lawyer Khalid Javed, Justice (retd) Abdul Rasul Memon and Justice (retd) Noorul Haq Qureshi from Sindh. From Balochistan, Shehbaz recommended Salahuddin Mengal, Shah Muhammad Jatoi and Rauf Atta. “To select members, mutual and detailed consultation is needed over every candidate. To reach a consensus, realistic, sincere and serious consultation should be done. Without realistic consultation, the constituti...Read More

  • Pakistan yet to respond to India's request for airspace access for Modi: FO

    Published: June 11, 2019 Pakistan is yet to respond to the request made by New Delhi to let Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aircraft fly over its airspace to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan where he has to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit on June 13-14. Speaking to The Express Tribune, Foreign Office Spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said “Pakistan has not yet granted permission to let Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aircraft fly over its airspace.” His comments follow reports from Indian media that Islamabad had, in principle, granted permission to let Modi’s aircraft fly over Pakistani airspace. “The Indian government will be conveyed about the decision once t...Read More

  • Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Idrees Zaman arrives in Pakistan

    Published: June 10, 2019 ISLAMABAD: Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Idrees Zaman and a high-level Afghan delegation arrived in Pakistan on Monday to be a part of the first review session of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) in Islamabad. Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood will lead the Pakistan delegation while Zaman will lead the Afghan side. The Islamabad session will provide the two sides with an opportunity to review progress made under this framework since the inaugural session and to exchange views on further collaboration in agreed areas of cooperation. The APAPPS was established in May last year to provide a comprehensive and structured fram...Read More

  • Petition seeking Dawar, Wazir's disqualification filed before ECP

    Published: June 10, 2019 ISLAMABAD: A petition seeking disqualification Mohsin Javed Dawar and Ali Wazir was filed before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday. Dawar and Wazir were elected members National Assembly from North Waziristan IX (NA-48) and South Waziristan II (NA-50) respectively. The legislators are also members of the Manzoor Pashteen-led Pashtoon Tahaffuz Movement (PTM). The petitioner also filed a stay application until the disqualification matter is decided. The application demands that the ECP “restrain” Dawar and Wazir from attending their offices, public offices or NA meetings. The petitioner accused the lawmakers of “betraying the mother nation.” ...Read More

  • Pakistan announces five-year visa for US citizens

    Published: June 3, 2019 ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has announced five-year visa for American businessmen and tourists in a move that is hoped to be reciprocated by the United States that in March this year reduced visa validity for Pakistanis from five years to 12 months. “The five-year visa will benefit the investors and tourists of both countries. The visa policy is according to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision to improve tourism and business,” said a Foreign Office official, who wished not to be named. “It may be reciprocated by the US,” he added. The US on March 5 reduced visa validity for Pakistani citizens from five years to one-year. It also announced not to allow journalists and med...Read More

  • Pakistan advised to remain neutral in US-Iran standoff

    Published: June 4, 2019 With tensions between the US and Iran intensifying again amid war drums beating in the Gulf region, Islamabad has been advised to remain neutral to the conflict and avoid jumping into the middle of ‘someone else’s war’. This was advised during a brainstorming session at the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS). Foreign policy experts including IPS Executive President Khalid Rahman, Ambassador (retired) Tajammul Altaf, Air Commodore (retired) Khalid Iqbal and Maritime Study Forum (MSF) President Dr Syed Mohammed Anwar among other analysts and researchers. They noted that despite having brotherly ties with Iran since its independence, Pakistan has not been able to pr...Read More

  • Ehsaas programme: PM Imran directs special aide to accommodate those with disabilities

    Published: June 4, 2019 ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed his special assistant on social protection and poverty eradication to bring present and future policy action under the purview of the Ehsas programme on priority basis in order to streamline the government’s welfare initiatives. The premier, while chairing a cabinet meeting in the federal capital on Monday, also directed the social security division to play a central role in the coordination between federal and provincial institutions on welfare issues. Ehsas, which means compassion, was launched by the prime minister in March this year with the objectives to reduce inequality, invest in people, and lift laggin...Read More

  • Iranian FM Javad Zarif to visit Pakistan tomorrow

    Published: May 22, 2019 ISLAMABAD: Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif is expected to arrive in Islamabad tomorrow on a two-day official visit. The visit is a first amid rising tensions between Iran and the United States. Diplomatic officials suggested that Zarif is expected to meet his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi. FM Qureshi and his Iranian counterpart are likely to discuss regional stability, border security and bilateral trade. The two foreign ministers will also deliberate on the two-day Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit scheduled to take place in Saudi Arabia from May 30 to 31. During the two-day trip, Iranian FM is also expected to meet Prime Mi...Read More