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Mr Trump: Fight the Heroin in Afghanistan

Comment By: Jalil Afridi

WASHINGTON: According to the US government health departments, police departments from across the country and the American media outlets, almost sixty thousand US citizens died from drugs over doze in year 2016. Out of this figure, more than fifteen thousand American citizens died from Heroin over doze and eighty five percent of Heroin in America comes from Afghanistan.

This means that seven hundred times more Americans have been killed in just one year by Heroin in comparison to the US soldiers who have died in Afghanistan since 2001. The US government in last seventeen years has spent more than seven billion dollars on stopping Heroin from Afghanistan whereas more than five billion US dollars every year are earned by mostly the Taliban in Afghanistan from this illicit and deadly drug. I was expecting President Trump to speak about Heroin trade from Afghanistan in detail especially keeping in view that he mentions Opioids deaths in almost all his political rallies across the country.

Many journalists and observers like myself believe that the fight against Taliban can never be won unless the Heroin producing crop, Poppy is not eliminated for good in Afghanistan. Five billion US dollars is a huge sum to land in the hands of Taliban each year. It is financial capability which empowers Taliban to buy sophisticated weapons each year which are then used against innocent Afghan citizens, Pakistanis and US military in Afghanistan.

India’s biggest concerns about not involving too heavily in Afghanistan with regard to trade is also because it does not want anymore Heroin to land on its soil and no matter how much President Trump insist India to involve itself economically in Afghanistan, it will not do so because India is well aware that both Taliban and Heroin can play devastating role in its existence. It is because of these two factors, Heroin and Taliban that China has also kept round the clock strict vigilance with its border with Afghanistan.

Till this date not a single big drug dealer has been arrested in Afghanistan on charges of Heroin smuggling, whereas there is no secret that former Afghan Defence Minister, Rashid Dostum has been declared one of the biggest Heroin smugglers in the world. His name was also among the top smugglers of Heroin in Drugs Enforcement Agency of America. The killing of the brother of former Afghan President, Hamid Karzai was widely believed to be due to Heroin business as well. There are many other famous individuals of Afghanistan, who are also involved in this heinous crime. These individuals not only roam around freely in fancy cars in Afghanistan but they also own big corporate franchise in Afghanistan.

President Trump did mention the corruption in Afghanistan during his first address to the nation but he failed to mention that corruption in Afghanistan was mostly done by the same individuals who are involved in Heroin trade. Shouldn’t these drug dealers be called “thugs” and “loosers”.? These thugs and loosers are causing more deaths to American civilians than the American soldiers.

India can never replace Pakistan in Afghanistan and it is purely because of the common culture, language and religion that the citizens of both of these countries share. Pakistan should not have any problem with India as long it invests in the development of Afghanistan but the ground reality is that India is involved in using Afghan soil for nefarious activities in Pakistan and many locals across the Durand Line between the two countries are aware of this reality. These activities of India are no longer hidden.

On the other hand, one can only wonder what Pakistan could gain by destabilizing Afghanistan. A prosperous and peaceful Afghanistan is of the most importance to Pakistan. Pakistan should remove each and every individual or group that is involved in attacks inside Afghanistan and in the long run it will prove to be most beneficial for the sovereignty and future of Pakistan.

American government along with Afghan authorities and Pakistan should work on a mechanism to cut those hands which provide financial backing to the terrorists, be it the Taliban or any other terrorist’s organization. The people of Pakistan and Afghanistan have suffered agonies beyond imagination since last seventeen years. It is time now that all of these three countries work with each other in cordial and meaningful dialogue process. And these dialogues should include the subject of removing poppy cultivation from Afghanistan.

America should provide the latest technology and other means to combat the fight against Heroin. This fight might mean a small thing to many but in long run it will be prove to be one of the greatest moves to save the lives of the people of Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States.

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Imran Khan lauds KP govt. role in fight against timber mafia

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan has lauded the role of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government in the fight against timber mafia.

He stated this while addressing an event on KP’s ‘Billion Tree Tsunami’ project in the federal capital.

“When we came into power in 2013, about 200 billion trees were being cut in KP. To make matters worse, the politicians and forest department officials were involved in the destruction of the environment,” he said. “Previous governments have destroyed the future of young Pakistanis,” he remarked.

He hailed the role of Chief Minister KP Pervaiz Khattak in fighting the timber mafia. “I appreciate Pervaiz Khattak’s role in arranging funds for the forest department.”

Planting one billion trees was quite an arduous task for us, added Imran. He remarked that Pervaiz continued with his efforts even though five employees of the forest department were killed and others were injured.

Speaking in reference to environmental problems, Imran said that “no one cares about the environment. “We have never thought about protecting our environment,” he remarked, adding that he noticed the environmental issues as he used to go for trekking and realized that the number of trees were decreasing day-by-day.

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Ghani welcomes Trump’s strategy on Afghanistan; Abdullah terms it a chance for Taliban not invitation

KABUL (TOLONews): Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday welcomed the announcement of the new US strategy on Afghanistan, saying that the decision unveils an enduring commitment by United States as a key partner of the Afghan government.

“I am grateful to President Trump and the American people for this affirmation of support for our efforts to achieve self-reliance and for our joint struggle to rid the region from the threat of terrorism,” Ghani said in a statement issued by Presidential Palace hours after Trump’s strategy announcement.

“The new strategy will increase the capacity in the Resolute Support mission,” Ghani said in the statement. “It will particularly lay emphasis on enhancing the Afghan air power, doubling the size of the Afghan Special Force and deepening NATO’s ability to train, advice and assist Afghan security forces.”

“Following this strategy towards stability allows the region to work together in achieving mutual goals of peace and prosperity, and provide a clear pathway for the regional countries to end support for non-state actors,” Ghani added.

“The strength of our security forces should show the Taliban and others cannot win a military victory. The objective of peace is paramount. Peace remains our priority,” he added.

The Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, at a press conference Tuesday said the Afghan government’s message to the Taliban and their supporters is that the new strategy is not an invitation to peace but a chance to strengthen the peace process.

Abdullah said: “Our message to our neighbors is that the new US policy is a chance for them (Pakistan) to utilize and benefit from this opportunity.”

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Govt announces to amend articles 62, 63 after Nawaz’s disqualification

ISLAMABAD (NNI): National Assembly session on Tuesday witnessed an announcement from the federal government to introduce constitutional amendment in articles 62 and 63.

Law Minister Zahid Hamid said duration of disqualification has not been mentioned in Article 62, adding that they will believe it should be less than five years. He announced to take the constitutional amendment in the committee for further discussion.

It should be mentioned that Supreme Court ruled disqualification orders and sacked premier Nawaz Sharif in Panama case in the light of Article 62 (1) (f).

Previously, he talked about the election reforms, saying 300 biometric machines and 400 electronic voting machines have been brought and they will be experimented in by-elections. The successful experiment will ensure the reforms, he added.

The bill for electoral reforms was approved while opposition party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) walked out of the parliament in protest of exclusion of their recommendations in the bill. Talking to media, PTI leader Shafqat Mahmood said they walked out of National Assembly because their suggestions were not included.

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Zil-Hajj moon not sighted, Eid-ul-Azha on Sept 2

F.P. Report

KARACHI: The Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee said on Tuesday that the Zil-Hajj moon was not sighted and Eid-ul-Azha will fall on September 2.

The month of Zil-Hajj will now start on August 24.

Earlier, the committee met at the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) in the metropolis.

The meeting was chaired by Committee Chairman Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman.

Zonal committees have also met in Lahore and Islamabad. In Lahore, the moon sighting meeting was chaired by Punjab Auqaf Director General Tahir Bukhari.

The PMD had also predicted slim chances of sighting of the new moon today, August 22 (Ziquad 29, 1438 AH).

According to climate record, the weather is expected to be partly cloudy/cloudy in most parts of the country today.

Eid-ul-Azha, therefore, is predicted to be observed across the country on September 2.

The Zil-Hajj crescent was not sighted on Monday evening in Saudi Arabia, which means Eid-ul-Azha will be on September 1 (Friday) this year, Arab media reported.

The Supreme Court in Saudi Arabia will meet again today to issue a decision regarding the moon sighting. Based on the sighting of the moon, the month of Zil-Hajj in Saudi Arabia will begin on Wednesday, August 23.

August 31 will be the Day of Arafah, and September 1 will be the first day of Eid-ul-Azha in Saudi Arabia.

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MQM-P postponed conference after major political parties refused to show up

Naimat Khan

KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) on Tuesday postponed a Multi-Party Conference scheduled to be held in connection with “Day of Deliverance” after major political parties refused to attend it without citing any major reason.

Dr Farooq Sattar, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan’s Chief, said that by opting to skip the conference these political parties, including Pakistan Peoples Party, Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz, Pakistan Muslim League Function and Pakistan Muslim League-Q, have endorsed the anti-Pakistan rhetoric of Altaf Hussain.

“The conference was summoned for a big purpose and we had done our best efforts to make it successful. Most of the parties had confirmed their presence but they didn’t show up due to which the multi-Parties conference had to be converted in a news conference,” Sattar informed reporters.

The sad aspect, Farooq Sattar said, was that they knew about the decision of political parties through news channels, which is highly regrettable.

“We rejected the London but these political parties have endorsed the London,” Sattar said, adding for peace his party visited Haqqiqi office after 25 years whereas the office of arch rival, the Pak Sarzameen Party, was also visited in order to invite them in conference,” Sattar added.

“Last year we were on the footpath outside Karachi Press Club. On August 22, 2016 we demonstrated our solidarity with Pakistan — its security, Constitution and state — and we made an announcement to this effect on August 23, 2016,” Sattar said

The Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) and Mohajir Qaumi Movement – two contenders of the MQM-P in its race for grabbing Mohajir vote bank – on Monday accepted the Farooq Sattar-led party’s invitation for a All-parties’ conference to be held on August 22 — which MQM has termed its ‘Day of Deliverance’.

Earlier this week, MQM-P had decided to hold the conference to discuss “conspiracies against the solidarity of Pakistan, elimination of corruption and empowerment of local governments”.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Jamaat-i-Islami, Awami National Party, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, All Pakistan Muslim League and Pakistan Peoples Party had been invited to attend.

However, on Tuesday morning, almost all of these parties stated that they would not be attending the MPC. “Did the other political parties not appreciate our initiative? They could have attended the conference today and made it a success,” Sattar said.

The parties that had turned down the invite include Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Jamat-e-Islami, Pakistan Muslim League factions (PML-N, PML-F), Sunni Tehreek, Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl and others.

Following news of the boycotts, an MQM-P official said the party tried to initiate a political discussion and it’s the personal decision of the parties whether to attend or boycott.

The APC marks a year’s passing since MQM founder’s controversial anti-state comments in a speech at Karachi Press Club. Following the incident and subsequent violence, the party disassociated itself from its founder to create its own faction with senior leader Dr Farooq Sattar as its leader.

A day after the incident, Sattar had reiterated that MQM will operate from Pakistan and that all the party’s decisions will now be taken from its leadership based in the country.

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Kulsoom Nawaz diagnosed with throat cancer: British doctor

LONDON (INP): Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, wife of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, has been diagnosed with throat cancer, doctors in the United Kingdom told Geo News on Tuesday.

According to British doctors treating the former premier’s wife, her cancer can be treated.

Kulsoom’s treatment will begin in a few days, sources told Geo News.

Maryam Nawaz, daughter of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, will run the election campaign in Begum Kulsoom’s absence.

Sources added that the PML-N will be running the campaign on a daily basis and Maryam would be available for campaigning activities as and when needed.

The Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) candidate for NA-120 won’t participate in the initial campaigns for the constituency, as per some sources.

Kulsoom filed nomination papers for NA-120 after the seat fell vacant following her husband Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification to hold office by the Supreme Court on July 28.

Nomination papers of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz accepted for NA-120 by-election.

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PM Abbasi meets Nawaz Sharif in Lahore

F.P. Report

LAHORE: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Tuesday held a meeting with ousted PM Nawaz Sharif at the latter’s Jati Umra residence in Lahore.

According to the party spokesman, overall situation of the country and development projects were discussed in the meeting.

Reports said upcoming by-election in Lahore’s NA-120, where Nawaz Sharif’s wife Kulsoom Nawaz in PML-N candidate, was also discussed in the meeting.

Earlier, Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif welcomed Khaqan Abbasi at Lahore airport.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi today had a meeting with former Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif at Jati Umra Lahore.

Chief Minister Punjab Mohammad Shahbaz Sharif and Finance Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar were also present during the meeting.

Wide-ranging issues of national importance and overall situation was discussed during the meeting.

Efforts of the government to continue developmental agenda also came under discussion. Prime Minister also briefed the meeting about his recent interactions with parliamentarians and members of the Party.

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China defends ally Pakistan after Trump criticism

BEIJING (NNI): China defended its ally Pakistan on Tuesday after U.S. President Donald Trump said the United States could no longer be silent about Pakistan’s “safe havens” for militants and warned it had much to lose by continuing to “harbour terrorists”.

Asked about Trump’s speech, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Pakistan was on the front line in the struggle against terrorism and had made “great sacrifices” and “important contributions” in the fight.

It may be noted that Donald Trump on Monday committed the United States to an open-ended conflict in Afghanistan, signalling he would dispatch more troops to America’s longest war and vowing a fight to win.

“We believe that the international community should fully recognise Pakistan’s anti-terrorism,” she told a daily news briefing.

The US President also insisted that others, the Afghan government, Pakistan, India and NATO allies, step up their own commitment to resolving the 16-year conflict, but he saved his sharpest words for Pakistan.

Senior U.S. officials also warned security assistance for Pakistan could be reduced unless the nuclear-armed nation cooperated more in preventing militants from using safe havens on its soil.

“We are happy to see Pakistan and the United States carry out anti-terror cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, and work together for security and stability in the region and world,” Hua Chunying said.

China and Pakistan consider each other “all-weather friends” and have close diplomatic, economic and security ties.

China has its own security concerns in the region, in particular any links between militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan and Islamist groups China blames for violence in its far western region of Xinjiang.

“We hope the relevant U.S. policies can help promote the security, stability and development of Afghanistan and the region,” Hua said.

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JI observe protest for the implementation of Fata Reforms

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: Central Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami Siraj-ul-Haq on Tuesday asked federal government not to further delay the implementation of FATA reforms and immediately take practical steps to resolve this long awaited demand of tribal people otherwise they would march Islamabad After Eid-ul-Azha to forcefully implement FATA reforms.

He was addressing a grand protest sit-in in front of Governor House to stress government for taking steps to complete the reforms agenda and merge Federally Administered tribal area in FATA. Jamaat-e-Islami Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ameer Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, Jamaat-e-Islami FATA Ameer Sardar Khan, former MNA from Bajaur and JI leader Haroon Rasheed were present on the occasion.

Large number of tribal elders hailing from Khyber Agency, Mohmand Agency and Kurram agency also rushed in front of Governor House and blocked main Sher Shah Suri road for traffic. The tribal leaders chanted full throated slogans against FCR and against federal government.

Siraj-ul-Haq said that they would not accept any further division of Pakhtuns and want to merge FATA in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He said that the Jamat-e-Islami will keep up its struggle to remove the sense of deprivation of tribal people and would abolish the black law of FCR.

Regarding Pakistan Muslim League (N) government intention to amend article 62 and 63 of the constitution, Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer said that they would opposed any amendment and would launch movement to retain it as the basic part of the constitution to deal every corrupt person whether he is politician,  judge or army General.

He said that the brave people of FATA fought several battles against the British imperialism in the past but despite of this they were kept in dark and deprived of their basic rights. He said that no one could stop people of FATA to play role in national development.

He also demanded re-launching of census in FATA as the actual population of FATA have not been brought on the records and several times their population was recorded low as compare to actual data.

JI FATA Leader Sardar Khan said that they have launched an awareness campaign in FATA to motivate the public for grand march toward Islamabad. He said that for the last seven decades the people of tribal areas have been kept deprived of their constitutional and legal rights and now they would cross all limits to achieve their goals.

 

He said that they will stand should to shoulder with their Ameer Siraj-ul-Haq to launched grand march toward Islamabad if their demand were not fulfilled up to Eid-ul-Azha. JI KP Ameer Mushtaq Ahmad Khan and former MNA Haroon Rasheed also addressed the protest sit-in. Heavy contingent of police were deployed to thwart any untoward incident in front of Governor House.