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PM, Nigerian President discuss bilateral ties; cooperation in diverse areas

ISLTANBUL (NNI): Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari met here Saturday on the sidelines of 9th D-8 Summit hosted by Turkey in this historic city.

During the meeting, the two leaders discussed bilateral relations, prospects of enhancing cooperation in diverse areas as well as other matters of mutual interest.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told the President of Nigeria that Pakistan can provide cooperation in sectors including health, infrastructure, education and human resource management. “There is a lot of trade potential between the two countries that can be utilized for the benefit of the people of Pakistan and Nigeria”, added the Prime Minister.

Besides, he said that Pakistan has focused on bridging the energy deficit and has been able to establish power projects in a short span.

The Prime Minister stated that Pakistan and Nigeria face similar challenges and can help each other through sharing of expertise. The Prime Minister further apprised the Nigerian President about the gains made by Pakistan in anti-terrorism operations and stated that Pakistan has made huge sacrifices.

The Prime Minister emphasized on holding the Joint Ministerial Commission meetings between Nigeria and Pakistan at the earliest and invited the President to visit Pakistan.

Nigerian President appreciated the high standards of training provided to Military Officials of Nigeria in Pakistan and expressed the hope to further expand bilateral relations.

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Resolution of Palestinian issue essential for global peace, security: Maleeha Lodhi

NEW YORK (APP): Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Maleeha Lodhi said Pakistan has told the UN that the resolution of the Palestinian issue was a fundamental pre-condition for regional as well as global peace and security.

Speaking in the Security Council debate on the Middle East, Pakistan’s Ambassador to UN, Maleeha Lodhi said that lack of progress on the Palestinian issue has not only betrayed the hopes and aspirations of generations of Palestinians but has also sowed the seeds of endless hostility and discord in the region, said a press release.

“A viable, independent and contiguous State of Palestine on the basis of internationally agreed parameters, the pre-1967 borders and with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, is the only sustainable guarantee for enduring peace in the Middle East”, she stressed.

On the fiftieth anniversary of the illegal occupation of their homeland, Ambassador Lodhi said, the aspirations of the Palestinian people to live a life of freedom and dignity, still remains a distant and elusive ideal. She pointed out to the 15-member Council that discussions on the situation in the Middle East invariably become a somber reminder of the specter of violence and conflict that has afflicted millions across the region. “And nothing epitomizes this more than the plight of the Palestinian people”, she added.

Pakistan, she said welcomed the political reconciliation forged between Fatah and Hamas in Cairo last week as a ‘landmark achievement’ and called upon the international community to renew its resolve to sustain this positive momentum. While congratulating the Palestinians on this singular achievement, she said that this development by itself was not enough to tip the scales of justice in favor of the long-suffering Palestinians.

“As a first step, the illegal and oppressive siege of Gaza by Israel must be lifted”, she insisted. The Pakistani envoy lashed out at Israel’s illegal policy of constructing settlements in occupied territories and the systematic practice of dispossessing Palestinians of their homes and displacing them from their lands and livelihoods, in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Ambassador Lodhi warned the Council that any unilateral attempts by Israel to alter or re-engineer the existing status quo in the old city of Jerusalem, was an unacceptable provocation for billions of Muslims around the world, and it must cease.

“Creating alternative ‘facts on the ground’ cannot change historic realities or nuetralise the legal rights of people living under foreign occupation, in Palestine, and elsewhere”, she said. Noting that challenges confronting the Middle East were myriad and complex and were also often mutually reinforcing and interlinked, Ambassador Lodhi called for greater cooperation and coordination between the regional states.

Pakistan reaffirmed its unequivocal support to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the brotherly people of Iraq. “We are convinced that a solution to Iraq’s problems must be found within a united and inclusive Iraqi state, recognizing and reconciling the interests of all Iraqi people”, she said. On the situation in Syria, Pakistan proposed a Syrian-led and Syrian-driven process of political reconciliation as the only pathway to lasting peace in that country. “The intra-Syrian talks are pivotal towards this end. We hope that the parties will show the necessary flexibility and compromise to bridge their differences” Dr. Lodhi added.

On the situation in Yemen, she called for a surge in diplomacy as well as humanitarian support to the millions of people in need across that country. She concluded by saying that the international community’s shared ideal of world peace should begin from the Middle East, quoting the UN Secretary General, who in his address to the General Assembly this year said: ‘We are a world in pieces. We need to be a world at peace.’

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Hatice Karahan

Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey… The Developing Eight, also known as D-8, created by these emerging economies, are gathering at a summit in Istanbul today. The 20-year efforts to boost cooperation are aimed at strengthening the presence of these countries in the world’s economy. Indeed, 2016 data reveals that the D-8 currently accounts for only 5 percent of the global GDP.

Indonesia and Turkey constitute half of D-8 GDP

Moreover, Indonesia and Turkey, the two largest countries in the group, constitute almost half of this economic volume, with the former having $932 billion, and the latter having $858 billion in GDP.

While Nigeria and Iran have roughly $400 billion each, they are followed by Egypt with $336 billion, Malaysia with $296 billion, Pakistan with $284 billion and Bangladesh with $221 billion.

Additionally, although all the members are in a developing status, they actually have quite different economic profiles in both economic size and welfare.

Welfare gap” While Turkey has the highest income per capita, other countries in the group have less than $10,000 – which is roughly below the world average.

The most prosperous economy among the remaining seven is Malaysia with $9,500 income per capita. While Iran is barely at $5,000, Egypt and Indonesia are still around $3,500. Nigeria, Pakistan and Bangladesh are the economies with the lowest income per capita in the group.

As can be seen, there is a wide gap among D-8 members.

Young unemployment alarm” D-8 economies, which have to boost the income and life standards of their people, have different unemployment rates that they are struggling with.

While Malaysia, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Pakistan have relatively lower single-digit unemployment rates, other members have higher rates than Turkey, which is hovering at lower double-digit figures.

The alarming part is that young unemployment is quite disconnected from general unemployment in almost all countries.

While young unemployment rates hover between 20 percent and 30 percent in some members, they are over 30 percent in Egypt – a social problem which needs to be solved.

Even Malaysia, with an average 3.4 percent in unemployment, has double digits when it comes to its young population.

In this context, given the population dynamics of these economies, it is necessary for them to write strong stories of growth.

Strong growth: At this point, it would do well to take a look at the recent growth performance of all the members.

As it is known, Turkey slowed down as a result of the occurrences in 2016 and it has gained momentum again this year.

As it is, we are constantly talking about this in detail. In other D-8 economies, there are still discrepant situations.

For instance, Indonesia has been following a stable and robust course in this area for a long time.

It is not easy to achieve 5 percent in growth successively.

It is noteworthy that Bangladesh has unperturbedly increased its growth from 6 percent to 7 percent.

Likewise, Pakistan has been increasingly developing in this period, with an increased growth of 5.7 percent in 2016.

On the other hand, Malaysia has declined to 4 percent from 6 percent in the last few years.

Also, Egypt has a moderate performance going between 3 percent and 4 percent.

There are also two countries that have suffered oil losses like Nigeria and Iran in recent years.

While Iran considerably recovered in 2016 with the removal of sanctions, Nigeria, it seems, will recover slowly.

This organization, founded in 1997 with the Istanbul Declaration, needs investments, productivity growth, competitive environments and thus reforms in order to sustainably strengthen their economies.

In this context, while each country tries to design the most appropriate economic policies for itself, sincere and effective international collaborations undoubtedly have critical importance.

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Trust deficit

During the weekly briefing, the spokesperson of foreign office, said that the recent engagements between the officials of Pakistan and USA has been productive for bilateral relationship. He said these developments from both sides have yielded positive results especially owing to the visit of US delegation to Pakistan and the meeting between PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and US Vice President Mike Pence. He said the recovery of abducted American couple is an example of trust and cooperation between these two countries. He also appreciated the statement of US President Donald Trump in which he indicated that relations with Pakistan have started to get better.

The positive signals that emanated from Washington after the recovery of Abducted American couple was a momentary gesture and it should not be clubbed with other development indicating the sign of improvement in Pak-US relations. Perhaps the foreign office has overlooked the CIA Director Mike Pompeo mischievous statement in which he claimed that US-Canadian hostages kidnapped by militants in Afghanistan were kept in Pakistan for five years. It imply that terrorists safe heavens still exist in the tribal areas of Pakistan, whereas the hostages were kept in Afghanistan and US forces failed to secure their release despite their military might and latest warfare technologies. It was the US who provided the intelligence about the likely shifting of these hostages to a location in Kurram Agency No sooner did the militants entered Pakistan’s territory with hostages; our security forces promptly went into commando action and secured the safe release of the abducted Canadian-American couple along with their children. The couple had been kidnapped in Afghanistan in 2012 and remained in the captivity of militants there for five years during which their children were conceived and born.

US officials speaking on the condition of anonymity have said there was no indication that the hostages had been in Afghanistan in the days before they were freed. The officials said the United States believed the hostages were probably held by Haqqani militant group in or near it’s headquarter in northwestern Pakistan the entire time. This sort of twisted logic reveals that trust deficit is still deep in Pak-US relations.

According to a report published in Hindustan Times, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will embark on a crucial trip to Pakistan and India next week. His inaugural visit is viewed as a reaffirmation of Trump’s administration strategy towards South Asia. In Islamabad he will meets senior Pakistan leaders to discuss President Donald trump South Asian policy. Before his upcoming visit to the federal capital, what does this blame game signify? Does it means to pressurize Pakistan government to dictate the terms which may run contrary to our national interest? Why the American leadership is not convinced about the fact that after the completion of military operation Zarb Azb in FATA, no safe heavens or sleeper cells exist in Pakistan. In this multi polar world, gone are the days of American tactics of arm twisting and stick poking. Pakistan will no longer bow to the intimidation and baseless allegation of the US. This attitude of ungratefulness from the US will not be tolerated anymore as Pakistan is sovereign state and is capable to tackle any internal or external threats. America must accept their failures in Afghanistan and refrain from dumping them at the doorsteps of Pakistan. Our country has been successfully performing its role on war on terror and it is now for the US and its western allies to contribute their fare share in this long drawn war.

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PPP rejects VIP accountability of Sharif family: Zardari

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: President Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarian (PPPP) Asif Ali Zardari has said that ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family are going through VIP accountability where they appearance before the NAB court with the security of 3000 police officials and a caravan of 40 vehicles.

In a statement issued here on Friday, Asif Ali Zardari said that PPP will not accept such kind of accountability. He said that the accountability should be conducted like our accountability was conducted during Nawaz Sharif’s government in 1990s.

He said that if a reference is initiated against PPP leadership the bail of the person takes two and half years whereas Sharif family is granted bail in one day. Our people used to get arrested and then they used to be sent to jails.

In Nawaz Sharif’s case, cases have been initiated on the orders of the Supreme Court but Nawaz Sharif and all his family members are roaming free, he said adding that Nawaz Sharif should remember accountability of 1990s.

The PPPP President said that Nawaz Sharif is still minting money on each ship of LNG and getting commission of four million on each ship. He said that the pipeline project from Iran has been cancelled by Sharif family despite Pakistani people would have got cheap guest through that project. Nawaz Sharif has sacrificed Pakistani interest for his own financial gain through commission.

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Pakistan beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets in fourth ODI

SHARJAH (Monitoring Desk): If the purpose of a series is to find out which of two teams is the superior one, then this ODI felt nothing more than a rhetorical question. To have to play it at all was the equivalent of insisting upon an answer to the aforementioned rhetorical question. The problem with that is the answer is hardly ever surprising. That was emphatically the case with the fourth ODI between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in Sharjah, which Sarfraz Ahmed’s men won by seven wickets with 11 overs to spare. Four down, one to go.

This time Sri Lanka, who won the toss and batted, turned up the most abject performance of the series, losing seven wickets for 99 before recovering slightly to finish with 173. That was thanks to Lahiru Thirimanne, the visitors’ only batsman, apart from the captain, who emerges from this series with any credit. He made 62 off 94 balls, including four fours. The target was far too comfortable for Pakistan, despite early hiccups that had left them at 58 for 3, with half-centuries from Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik guiding them home.

No matter what they try, it doesn’t seem to work for Sri Lanka. They made three changes to their XI and batted with an unmistakable air of freedom, having already conceded the series. Yet they careened to 173 all out in 43.4 overs. Pakistan’s bowlers put in an excellent collective performance – three of them took at least two wickets each – to establish the hosts’ dominance at the half-way mark.

It began when captain Upul Tharanga was bowled for a duck, debutant Usman Khan producing a wonder ball that ripped through the gap between bat and pad. Niroshan Dickwella then began to attack the opening bowlers, carting Usman for consecutive fours and hitting Junaid Khan for six over fine leg. The wicketkeeper-batsman was taking risks, though, and he pushed it a bit too far when he tried to go over the infield on the off side, cover point taking a simple catch.

Inevitably, the run rate began to slow down with Dinesh Chandimal and Thirimanne at the crease; the two batsmen have the lowest and fifth lowest ODI strike rates respectively this year. It was – unforgivably – a run out that broke the partnership, Chandimal the casualty. That brought the highly-regarded debutant Sadeera Samarawickmara to the crease, but he only lasted two balls, Imad Wasim beating him with the angle as the ball broke the stumps.

Shadab Khan soon joined the party, removing Seekkuge Prasanna and Thisara Perera off successive balls to leave Sri Lanka seven down before they had reached three figures. Akila Dananjaya, who has been stoic in the lower order, hung around with Thirimanne as they attempted to reach what might be a competitive score. The last three wickets did add 74, but in the end, it merely saved Sri Lanka some extra embarrassment rather than having any impact on the scoreline.

Chasing a smaller target than they had done in the third ODI, Pakistan might have felt comfortable with the straightforward task at hand. However, they were nowhere near as assured to start off on Friday, although the Sri Lankan bowlers were partly responsible for that. Fast bowler Lahiru Gamage was successful coming round the wicket to Imam-ul-Haq, trapping last game’s centurion plumb in front in the second over.

Zaman’s dismissal was more disappointing. He got yet another start before falling in exactly the same fashion as he had in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. He charged at the spinner – Dananjaya this time – and failed to get anywhere near the pitch of the ball, and was utterly beaten by the spin. Dickwella completed a simple stumping.

Seekkuge Prasanna removed Hafeez shortly after, though it was more down to a poor shot by the batsman. He failed to control a sweep shot off a wrong’un, the ball ballooning straight to deep square leg. Pakistan were 58 for 3, the match still salvageable for Upul Tharanga’s men.

From thereon, it could have turned into one of those awkward low-scoring thrillers that chasing sides find so horrible, but the combination of youth and experience got Pakistan out of a hole. Apart from a dropped catch that gave Shoaib Malik a reprieve, the veteran added an unbroken 119 with Babar with Babar that carried the side home. After a lengthy spell where they consolidated, they swatted the bowlers away towards the end, the last 26 runs coming off two overs. It was far too comfortable, as much of this series has been for Sarfraz’s men.

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Hasan Ali moved up to top of ICC ODI rankings

LAHORE (APP): South Africa batsman AB de Villiers has once again grabbed the top position in the ICC ODI players rankings while Pakistan’s Hasan Ali has emerged as a new number one among bowlers in the latest ranking updates carried out on Friday.

An astonishing knock of 176 by de Villiers in the second ODI against Bangladesh in Paarl, which consisted of 15 fours and seven sixes and came off only 104 balls, has also helped South Africa edge India at the top of the ICC team rankings by taking a 2-0 winning lead in the three-match series, said the information made available by the ICC here on Friday.

The latest rankings, which take into account the first two matches of the South Africa-Bangladesh series and the first three matches of the ongoing Pakistan-Sri Lanka series in the United Arab Emirates, sees de Villiers climb to the top of the ODI table for the 14th time in his career.

De Villiers, who has leapfrogged Australian David Warner and India captain Virat Kohli, had first attained top position on 30 May 2010 and the number of days he has spent at the top is second most after retired Windies great Vivian Richards. De Villiers has now been at the top for 2,124 days while Richards was number one for 2,306 days.

Other batsmen to move up include Pakistan’s Babar Azam (up two places to a career-best fourth position), the South African pair of Quinton de Kock (up three places to fifth) and Hashim Amla (up two places to ninth), and Bangladesh’s Mushfiqur Rahim (up five places to 18th).

Among bowlers, Hasan Ali’s haul of five for 34 in the third ODI against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi, which his team won by seven wickets for a decisive 3-0 lead in the five-match series, has given the pace bowler a big boost in ranking points.

The 23-year-old, who has taken nine wickets in the series so far, has moved up six places to become the fifth bowler at the top of the ODI rankings this year after Trent Boult, Imran Tahir, Kagiso Rabada and Josh Hazlewood.

Outside of the top 20, Sri Lanka’s Suranga Lakmal (up three places to 36th), South Africa’s Andile Phehlukwayo (up 30 places to 52nd) and Bangladesh’s Rubel Hossain (up seven places to 61st) are the other bowlers to move northwards.

Pakistan’s Mohammad Hafeez is back as the top all-rounder, edging Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan. Hafeez, who first attained top ranking in January 2013, has reached the top spot for the ninth time.

Meanwhile, India will be looking to wrest back the top spot in the team rankings when they take on New Zealand in an upcoming three-match series.

South Africa and India are both on 120 points with South Africa ahead on decimal points. South Africa can reach 121 points if they complete a 3-0 series win over Bangladesh but India will overtake them if they win the opening match against New Zealand, to be played the same day as the last South Africa-Bangladesh match, on 22 October. If India win that match, they too will be on 121 points but ahead in decimal-point calculation.

However, India will have to win the series against New Zealand 3-0 to retain the top spot should South Africa win the last match against Bangladesh.

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NAB chairman slams Shehbaz over corruption allegations

ISLAMABAD (Monitoring Desk): Chairman National Accountability Bureau Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal slammed Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif over latter’s comments regarding corruption in the organisation.

“People who call NAB corrupt have finally opened their eyes to corruption. Why couldn’t they see the corruption when they were in power,” he remarked while speaking to media after taking a round of NAB Headquarters on Friday.

“What’s the point of calling NAB corrupt when its chairman has taken charge?” He asked.

NAB has played an integral role in the elimination of corruption from the country, the chairman remarked. “Zero tolerance policy will be implemented towards corrupt officers and officials.”

“No officer including me is above the law,” he said, adding NAB is on a mission to obliterate corruption from the country.

Speaking about the organisation, he said that promotions will be on the basis of merit, seniority and performance. “No one will be treated unjustly.”

After the indictment of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (r) Safdar on Thursday, Shehbaz had remarked that NAB was the most corrupt institute of the country.

NAB is being used for political reasons, he claimed, adding that the accountability bureau was inactive during the regime of former president Pervez Musharraf.

“What was NAB doing during the tenure of Musharraf?” he asked. “They ask me to hold people to account when it is their job to do so,” he added.ISLAMABAD: Chairman National Accountability Bureau Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal slammed Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif over latter’s comments regarding corruption in the organisation.

“People who call NAB corrupt have finally opened their eyes to corruption. Why couldn’t they see the corruption when they were in power,” he remarked while speaking to media after taking a round of NAB Headquarters on Friday.

“What’s the point of calling NAB corrupt when its chairman has taken charge?” He asked.

NAB has played an integral role in the elimination of corruption from the country, the chairman remarked. “Zero tolerance policy will be implemented towards corrupt officers and officials.” “No officer including me is above the law,” he said, adding NAB is on a mission to obliterate corruption from the country.

Speaking about the organisation, he said that promotions will be on the basis of merit, seniority and performance. “No one will be treated unjustly.”

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Shehbaz, Chaudhry Nisar review country’s political situation

F.P. Report

LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif met with former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar on Friday.

Shehbaz Sharif met with Nisar at his residence, sources revealed, adding that the two leaders exchange views of country’s political situation as well as issues pertaining to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

Sources informed Geo News that CM Punjab has been holding multiple meetings with PML-N’s top leaders such as Saad Rafique, Ahsan Iqbal and Rana Sanaullah since last week.

Shehbaz wants to ensure that there is no clash between institutions and is trying to ensure that MPAs and MNAs don’t confront institutions, according to sources

Moreover, sources claim that some politicians from south Punjab are trying to make their own bloc and Shehbaz is also holding talks with them to convince them otherwise.

The politician is trying to stave off internal clashes between parliamentarians, sources add.

Shehbaz also met with a non-political important person, claim sources.

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Commitment to fight terrorists down absolutely clear: Air Chief

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: “Our commitment to fight the terrorists down to the last man is absolutely clear”, said the Air Chief, while addressing the concluding session of International Seminar on Air Power (ISAP) at Air Headquarters, Islamabad Friday.

Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force was the chief guest at the concluding session of the two days seminar conducted under the auspices of the Pakistan Air Force. Speakers and observers from 18 allied countries participated in the seminar and presented their views on the Emerging Trends in Airpower.

Addressing the session, the Air Chief thanked the participants for their contribution in making the seminar a great success. He highlighted the effectiveness of airpower in addressing the sub-conventional threat, which had emerged out as an important point in the seminar.

He commented upon the valuable experience PAF has gained in sub-conventional domain during various operations including Zarb-e-Azb and Rad-ul-Fasad, while fighting alongside the sister services. In this context, he also offered training support to the allied air forces in the newly established Airpower Centre of Excellence.

Senior serving and retired PAF Officers, Pakistan based foreign Defence/ Air Attaches, Defence Analysts and selected Academia notables from various institutions of Islamabad attended the Seminar.