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Pakistan beats Thailand to enter Group I

ISLAMABAD (Monitoring Desk): History repeats itself as the longest serving player of Pakistan tennis Aqeel Khan once again helped the country beat Thailand’s Kittiphong Wachiramanowong 3-2 in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group-II Final second reverse singles match here at Pakistan Sports Complex grass courts on Sunday.

Aqeel once again proved that he is the real hero of the country as he has proved his mettle when it mattered the most as winning the reverse singles against Thai player was must to win the Davis Cup final and in case of Aqeel’s failure, Pakistan couldn’t move into the Group-I, but credit goes to Aqeel who not only saved the country’s honour but also helped it enter the next stage with great honour.

Earlier, Aqeel did this wonder in 15 years back against China, 14 years back against South Korea and 13 years back against New Zealand and now, he has done it again against Thailand in 5-setter tough game. With this heroic of Aqeel, Pakistan is now back to group I once again.

After Aisam’s first reverse singles 2-3 defeat against Thailand’s Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul, the crowd was not in a mood to witness another defeat on the special day for Pakistan, as they came in huge numbers to support the national team and want Pakistan win the tie.

It was do-or-die for the hosts, as Aqeel had to win, because earlier due non-playing captain M Khalid’s poor planning and coward approach, Pakistan lost the doubles match. Khalid opted to give rest to Aisam/Aqeel and instead picked Shahzad/Abid to carry the day.

The move badly flopped and Pakistan was almost on the brink of losing the final, before Aqeel prevailed and ensured host nation ends on winning note.

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Imad Wasim retains top spot in ICC T20I ranking

LAHORE (NNI): All rounder Imad Wasim retained top spot among bowlers, while Team Pakistan ranked second in the latest ICC rankings issued for T20I.

Meanwhile, Middle order batsman Babar Azam moves up to career-best sixth position in T20I rankings. The 22-year-old has risen 21 spots after his player of the series performance helped complete a 2-1 victory over the World XI in the Independence Cup series played at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.

In the latest rankings update, which also takes into account performances in Saturday’s one-off T20I in Durham which the Windies won against England by 21 runs, Shoaib Malik was another Pakistan batsman to gain as his 94 runs in the Lahore series saw him gain four slots to reach 30th position.

Pakistan leg-spinner Shadab Khan has gained 32 places to reach 66th rank among bowlers.

T20I Team Ranking

1 New Zealand 125
2 Pakistan 121
3 West Indies 120 (+3)
4 England 119 (-4)
5 India 116
6 South Africa 110
7 Australia 110
8 Sri Lanka 93
9 Afghanistan 86
10 Bangladesh 78
11 Scotland 67
12 Zimbabwe 65
13 UAE 52
14 Netherlands 49
15 Hong Kong 46
16 PNG 39
17 Oman 38
18 Ireland 36

Bowlers (top 10)

Ranking for T20i (bowlers)

1) Imad Wasim Pak
2) Jasprit Bumrah Ind
3) Imran Tahir SA
4) Rashid Khan Afg
5) M. Rahman Ban
6) Samuel Badree WI
7) James Faulkner Aus
8) Sunil Narine WI
9) Shakib Al Hasan Ban
10) R. Ashwin Ind.

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Rain and evictions add to Rohingya misery

UKHIA (AFP): Heavy monsoon rain heaped new misery Sunday on hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingya stuck in makeshift camps in Bangladesh after fleeing violence in Myanmar, as authorities started a drive to force them to a new site.

With food and water shortages already making life tough, torrential rain brought back swamp-like conditions to many parts of the border town of Cox´s Bazar which have become a magnet for the Rohingya.

About 7.7 centimetres (three inches) of rain fell in 24 hours and more is predicted over the next two days, the Bangladesh Weather Department said.

Bangladesh authorities, who have already issued travel restrictions on the Rohingya, launched an operation late Saturday to get tens of thousands out of roadside camps and hillside shanties into a giant new camp.

The United Nations says 409,000 Rohingyas have now overwhelmed Cox´s Bazar since August 25 when the military in Buddhist-majority Myanmar launched operations in Rakhine state.

As existing camps are already full with 300,000 Rohingya fleeing earlier violence, many of the Rohingya have been forced to live in the open air or under flimsy plastic sheets.

Police toured streets with loudspeakers ordering exhausted families to go to the Balukhali camp in Cox´s Bazar, which is being cleared to build new shelters.

“We are shifting them from the roadsides where many of them have been staying,” Khaled Mahmud, a government spokesman for Cox´s Bazar district told AFP.

Mahmud said gradually all the new Rohingya would be taken to Balukhali to bring order to the chaotic aid operation.

´Disaster unfolding´

On Saturday, Bangladesh police issued tough new orders banning the Rohingya from moving out of designated areas. The order even prevented them from taking shelter with friends and relatives.

Checkpoints have been set up at key transit points.

With thousands more Rohingya arriving each day, Bangladesh authorities fear the refugees could swamp other towns and cities across the country.

But the United Nations is already warning of intolerable conditions in the camps around Cox´s Bazar.

The rain “has doubled their misery”, said Mohammed Kai-Kislu, police chief at Ukhia near Cox´s Bazar, the new home for many Rohingya.

Aid workers said thousands of Rohingya were drenched by the return of the monsoon after a respite of a few days.

Arfa Begum and seven of her family tried to hide under rubber trees near the Balukhali settlement where they arrived five days earlier.

“They evicted us from the rubber plantation,” she said, referring to the police and border guards forcing the refugees out of makeshift shelters.

“It took hours to find a safe place. We were drenched,” she told AFP.

Faced with a spreading mudbath, the Rohingya have started building bamboo carpets to get over flooded land.

A human rights expert in Cox´s Bazar urged the government to shut local schools for three days to allow the Rohingya to camp in them.

“It is another disaster unfolding. Thousands of Rohingya had no place to hide when the rain came,” Nur Khan Liton, who headed Bangladeshi rights group Ain O Salish Kendra, told AFP.

He said moving the Rohingya from roadsides and open spaces should be halted as it was compounding their troubles.

Suu Kyi to give speech

Conditions deteriorated for the Rohingya in what could be a key week in the crisis.

Myanmar´s de-facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi is to give a nationally televised speech on the Rohingya case on Tuesday.

The Nobel peace laureate, much criticised around the world for not condemning the violence against the Rohingya, must address the global outrage while not angering the military, which maintains huge power.

General Min Aung Hlaing, Myanmar´s globe-trotting army chief, called for a “united” stance in handling the crisis but gave no sign of concessions.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has arrived at the UN General Assembly in New York to press for greater help coping with the refugees and put more pressure on Myanmar over the case.

She is to address the UN assembly on Thursday.

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India Prime Minister Modi inaugurates controversial dam project

MUMBAI (Reuters): Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated India’s biggest dam on Sunday, ignoring warnings from environment groups that hundreds of thousands of people will lose their livelihoods.

The controversial Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada river in the country’s western state of Gujarat that will provide power and water to three big states was dedicated to the people of India by Narendra Modi.

The project has been beset by controversies since the laying of the foundation stone by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1961. The construction of the project began in 1987.

The dam is the second biggest dam in the world after the Grand Coulee Dam in the United States.

Ahead of the inauguration Modi said in a tweet, “This project will benefit lakhs of farmers and help fulfill people’s aspirations.” (1 lakh = 100,000)

The dam is expected to provide water to 9,000 villages and the power generated from the dam would be shared among three states – Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

The Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), led by social activist Medha Patkar, has been protesting against the project, raising several environmental concerns.

Construction on the dam had been suspended in 1996 following a stay by the Supreme Court which allowed work to resume, four years later, but with conditions.

Patkar and her supporters started the protest against the inauguration of the dam on Saturday and the opening of its gates which would raise the level of water and risk displacing several villages.

“Today is a very sad day for India, and for one of our biggest peoples’ movements and struggle – the Narmada Bacchao Andolan,” Ravi Chellam, executive director at Greenpeace India said in a statement.

“The Sardar Sarovar Project… signals ruin not development for tens of thousands of unsuspecting, hapless and poor farmers,” Chellam added.

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Four killed in Afghan market explosion

KHOST (AFP): Four people were killed and 14 others wounded in an explosion at a mobile phone market in southeastern Afghanistan on Sunday, officials said, in the latest attack to hit the war-weary country.

The deadly blast comes as the Afghan government considers a plan to arm 20,000 civilians to fight the Taliban and other insurgent groups which have gained ground since US-led NATO combat troops left in 2014.

“The blast happened at around noon in a market where people go to download music and videos to their mobile phones,” Khost provincial police chief Faizullah Khairat told AFP.

He said the explosion was caused by a “remote-controlled bomb”.

Khost health department director Habib Shah Ansari confirmed four people had been killed and said “over a dozen wounded” had been taken to hospitals in the provincial capital of the same name.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack but the volatile province bordering Pakistan is contested by the Taliban.

Music was one of the many forms of entertainment banned during the Taliban´s 1996-2001 rule and the militants have previously attacked such markets.

The province has come under attack by the Taliban in recent months.

As Ramadan began on May 27, a Taliban car bomber targeted a CIA-funded Afghan militia group, leaving 13 people dead and six injured in Khost.

It was the deadliest Ramadan since the US-led invasion in 2001 with over 200 killed and hundreds wounded, according to an AFP count based on official figures, underscoring the deteriorating security situation.

Afghan security forces have been struggling to beat back a resurgent Taliban, which last month vowed to make Afghanistan a “graveyard” for foreign forces after US President Donald Trump made an open-ended commitment to keep American boots on the ground.

As it searches for a security quick fix, the Afghan government is considering a proposal to train and arm civilians to defend territories where Islamic militants have been driven out.

The plan has sparked concern the local forces could become another thuggish militia and end up terrorising and abusing the people they are supposed to defend.

In Afghanistan, militias — private armies and government-backed armed groups — have a long and chequered history and many Afghans are wary of them.

“The Afghan government´s expansion of irregular forces could have enormously dangerous consequences for civilians,” said Patricia Gossman, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch.

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Nawaz doesn’t know how to govern country, says Zardari

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari Sunday said that neither did Nawaz Sharif know how to govern the country in the past, nor has he learnt now.

Addressing party workers here, the former president said his party will stabilise the country and make it stand on its feet again.

Criticising technocrats in the country, he said they had not been blessed with intellect, adding, “This is a country, not a public limited company”.

“Difficulties do encounter countries, but they get back on their feet,” Zardari said.

He claimed that PPP would form its government in the province and bring its own chief minister, however, there’s a lot to be done in KP.

The PPP co-chairman said KP has huge reservoirs of gas, oil and water, adding, “One needs to initiate work on them”.

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Voters went missing from NA-120 constituency, claims Nawaz

LONDON (Monitoring Desk): Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Sunday claimed he has received complaints from the NA-120 constituency and alleged that some voters went missing from the constituency in the run-up to the by-polls.

Nawaz’s claim was not echoed by PML-N leaders in Lahore. Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique had called for an extension in polling time citing high security, traffic and Sunday being a holiday as reasons for many people not being able to cast their votes on time.

Responding to a question regarding the election campaign in the constituency, the former prime minister said he was satisfied with the way the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz’s (PML-N) election campaign was managed.

“The party ran a very effective campaign in the NA-120 constituency,” Nawaz said while talking to the media in London. “The nation was very receptive [of our campaign] for which I am very grateful.”

Nawaz’ daughter, Maryam Nawaz, handled the NA-120 campaign while her mother and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz candidate for the by-poll, Kulsoom Nawaz, undergoes treatment for lymphoma in London.

The former premier is visiting London to meet his wife, Kulsoom Nawaz.

“Kulsoom’s treatment is underway and another surgery is planned in the coming days,” Nawaz said.

In response to a question about his meeting with the Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Nawaz said the two leaders discussed ‘national and international issues’ in the meeting that took place today in London.  A total of 44 candidates will contested the NA-120 by-poll.

The Election Commission of Pakistan established 220 polling stations and 573 polling booths to facilitate the constituency’s 321,786 registered voters.

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Gwadar port lucrative for Tajikistan’s import, export: Mamnoon

ASHGABAT (APP): President Mamnoon Hussain on Sunday said Pakistan offered excellent opportunities to Tajikistan for its imports and exports through Gwadar port and invited the country to benefit from the trade route of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The President in a meeting with Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon hoped that the legal process for Tajikistan’s entry into Quadrilateral Traffic-in-Transit Agreement (QTTA) would provide the Central Asian country a legal framework to access Pakistani seaports through CPEC, a press note released by Awan-e-Sadr said.

The QTTA is a transit trade deal between China, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan with a road project under the umbrella of CPEC. The two leaders who met here in the Turkmenistan’s capital on the sidelines of 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) discussed cooperation in energy sector, regional connectivity and trade.

President Mamnoon said Pakistan attached great priority to the timely completion of CASA-1000 (Central Asia South Asia) by 2018 and looked forward to importing electricity from Tajikistan. He called for expediting the implementation phase of CASA-1000 and initiating physical work on the flagship project for its timely completion. President Mamnoon Hussain said Pakistan attached great importance to its relations with the Central Asian countries particularly Tajikistan as the two countries enjoyed fraternal ties, shared common goals of peace and prosperity for their peoples and the region as a whole.

He stressed the need to finalize the Bilateral Transit Trade Agreement, which he said would create a win-win situation by creating road links between Pakistan and Tajikistan. President Mamnoon said bilateral trade between Pakistan and Tajikistan was highest among the Central Asian countries and emphasized on tapping its true potential. He mentioned that three Pakistani Trade Exhibitions had been organized in Dushanbe since October 2015 besides holding of two business forums, the latest one in May 2017.

President Mamnoon apprised his Tajik counterpart that Pakistan was holding tenth Edition of Expo Pakistan this November and suggested that Tajikistan could send a trade delegation to Expo Pakistan, to which President Emomali Rahmon agreed to. He said Tajikistan was a gateway to Central Asian countries and emphasized that establishment of air and road links would promote bilateral trade and tourism. He said resumption of direct air link between two countries in May 2016 was a big step forward and stressed the need for resumption of flights by Tajikistan’s Somon Air which had suspended within three months of its launch.

President Emomali said Tajikistan and Pakistan were celebrating 25 years of their diplomatic relations and mentioned that the bilateral accords signed in last four years had enriched the legal framework of relations. He agreed to give directive to his government for resumption of Somon Air flights to Pakistan.

He thanked Pakistan for providing counter-terrorism training to Tajikistan’s defence, security and police officials that helped improve their professional capacity. He said though the trade volume between Pakistan and Tajikistan was highest among all Central Asian states, however emphasized to further boost it.

President Emomali extended an invitation to President Mamnoon to visit Tajikistan in future, which was accepted by him. Minister of State for Petroleum Jam Kamal and Pakistan’s ambassador to Turkmenistan Murad Ashraf Jamal were present in the meeting.

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No political crisis in Pakistan: PM Abbasi

LONDON (APP): Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Sunday rejected assertion that there is a political crisis in Pakistan saying that conspiracies being hatched against his government will not work.

The Prime Minster is visiting London at the time where he convened a one-on-one meeting with ousted premier Nawaz Sharif.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that conspiracies are hatched all along a tenure of a government and there was nothing different in present times.

To a question about NA-120 by-polls, premier Abbasi said that he was in a meeting with Nawaz Sharif and is not informed about it as yet.

However, he said that he would talk about the elections developments soon.

Foreign minister Khawaja Asif, finance minister Ishaq Dar and speaker National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq attended the meeting.

PM Abbasi will be participating in the United Nations General Assembly session on September 18 in the New York City.

The Annual gathering of the 193-member body will give Pakistan an opportunity to engage multilaterally and bilaterally to advance its priorities in diverse areas.

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Motorbike Ambulance service launched in 9 major cities of Punjab

F.P. Report

LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif says new opportunities and avenues have been opened for investment and entrepreneurship due to enhancement of cooperation between the two countries.

He was talking to Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Rajab Akdghan during meeting in Istanbul.

Shahbaz Sharif said that Punjab government is starting Motorbike Ambulance service in nine cities of the province in collaboration with the Turkish health ministry.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister said that it is our responsibility to help our brothers in Pakistan in the hour of difficulty. The Chief Minister is now reached Lahore after completing his visit.