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Fawad Chaudhry says considerably brought down PM House expenses

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said on Sunday that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf led government brought down the expenses of the Prime Minister House from around Rs1 billion to mere lakhs (under one million rupees).

The information minister was holding a press conference, where he said that when former prime minister Nawaz Sharif left the office, there was a debt of Rs28,000 crore.

“When people do not have money to buy medicines then how can a prime minister live lavishly?” said Fawad Chaudhry.

He further said that the government is proceeding with good intentions and the army and judiciary are at its back.

“Our politics will be criticised and praised much at the same time,” said Fawad Chaudhry.

The PTI leader said that auctioning the PM House buffaloes was a decision to make sure the message is conveyed to the public regarding austerity measures of the government.

Eight buffaloes, allegedly bought to cater to the ‘gastronomic requirements’ of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, were sold for Rs2.3 million in an auction at the PM House on Thursday.

Prices for the five calves and three buffaloes were paid in cash.

Two of the four calves were purchased by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) worker Fakhar Warraich for Rs215,000 and Rs270,000. A citizen of Talagang purchased the third calf for Rs182,000.

Suspect involved in stealing Kuwaiti’s delegation member’s purse suspended

Fawad Chaudhry said that the federal government has suspended Zarrar Haider, who was accused of stealing the purse of Kuwaiti delegation.

The Cabinet Secretariat issued a notification suspending the suspect and began further investigation, said Fawad Chaudhry.

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Shabbir Iqbal wins CNS Open Golf Championship

KARACHI (Monitoring Desk): Pakistan’s seasoned golfer Shabbir Iqbal added another title to his tally on Sunday by winning the 23rd CNS Open Golf Championship in Karachi, with a score of -16 in the four-day championship.

Shabbir who took the initial lead with the score of under 4 in first round kept the lead throughout the tournament by playing a poised and mistake-free golf. He looked on top of his form on the last day of the championship and played another under 6 to complete the four-day championship in 272 strokes, 16 under par.

Mohammad Ashfaq of Airmen Golf Club, who finished second in the professional category, was six strokes behind the eventual champion Shabbir. Ansar Mahmood, who hit the hole in one on day championship, made a comeback on last day by completing the round in 68 strokes to finish the championship at the score of 5-under-par and finish at the jointly-third position.

Hamza Amin, who couldn’t keep the momentum on the final day of the championship, was also on the third position along with Ansar with the score of 5-under. In Amateurs category, Captain Shahid Masood of Karachi Golf Club won in net with a score of 282 net while Ashiq Hussain won the gross with a score of 292 gross.

Imdad Hussain of Lahore Garrison Golf Club won the Senior professionals while Asghar Ali and Mohammad Akram finished as runners-up in the category. Asad Khan of PAF won Junior professionals while Syed Bilal Hussain was runner-up in juniors category. Aania Farooq won ladies grass while Tabassum Sharif won the ladies net.

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Hamilton wins in Russia to go 50 points clear

SOCHI (Agencies): Valtteri Bottas moved aside to let Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton win the Russian Grand Prix and surge 50 points clear in the Formula One championship on Sunday with five races remaining.

The victory was a landmark 70th for the Briton, who is well on his way to a fifth title and is now 21 wins behind the all-time record of 91 held by seven times champion Michael Schumacher.

Hamilton’s closest rival Sebastian Vettel finished third for Ferrari with Bottas, who led from pole position but was told to let Hamilton through after 25 of the 53 laps, securing the Mercedes one-two.

In a race with little other drama, Max Verstappen celebrated his 21st birthday in style by steering his Red Bull from the back to the front, dropping back to fifth after finally pitting with 10 laps to go.

Mercedes remain unbeaten in Russia, Sunday being their fifth win in Sochi since the Olympic Park circuit first appeared on the calendar in 2014. Hamilton has now won eight races this season.

The Briton, who pulled off an impressive overtake on Vettel for fourth after he dropped behind the German at the pitstops, stayed in the car for some time after he parked up at the finish.

He then went over to thank Bottas and commiserate. At the podium ceremonies, with Russian president Vladimir Putin doing the honours, Hamilton manoeuvred the Finn onto the top step alongside him.

“It’s actually quite a difficult day,” explained the Briton. “He was a real gentleman to let me by. Usually I’d be elated but I can understand how difficult it was for Valtteri.”

The Finn, without a win this season, had asked the team over the radio, more in hope than expectation, in the closing laps whether the order might change back.

“Is this how we are going to finish the race?” he asked, before the answer came back in the affirmative.

“Valtteri this is Toto. Difficult day for you and a difficult day for us,” said team boss Toto Wolff, whose finger had been captured by the world television feed hovering over the ‘tactics’ button before the order was given.

“Let’s discuss it afterwards when we come together and we’ll explain things.”

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Pakistan’s Bilal wins inaugural ACBS 10-Red championship

KARACHI (Monitoring Desk): Pakistan’s Muhammad Bilal became the inaugural winner of the 1st Asian Confederation of Billiards and Snooker (ACBS) Asian Tour 10-Red in Doha on Saturday night as he defeated former professional player from Ireland, Brendan O’Donoghue, in the final.

Bilal, who has never played professional snooker before had a rather easy day on the table as he brought O’Donoghue down 6-1, taking the first frame 46-42 with a break of 46, only losing the second frame 36-48, but then finding the focus to bring down his Irish opponent in the best-of-11 frame final.

He walked past his opponent collecting the remaining frames 47-1 with a break of 46, 67-01 with a break of 42, 54-23, 55-0 with a break of 55 and 59-04 with his break of 42 to win the final.

This was the first time the Asian Confederation of Billiards and Snooker (ACBS) have organised the tour which had the former professional players. Pakistan had three players in the tour: Haris Tahir, Bilal and Babar Masih.

Bilal reached the final after defeating Hong Kong’s Chrung Ka Wai 5-4 in the semi-final and O’Donoghue crushed India’s Pankaj Advani 5-0 to make is way to the final.

Earlier Pakistani players showed brilliant performance in Doha at the Asian Team Championship, where Babar along with former IBSF World Championship Muhamamd Asif won the title with Bilal and Majid Ali taking bronze.

In the individual Asian 6-Red Championships, Bilal finished with a silver whereas Babar lost in the semi-finals but got a bronze and a place at the Asian tour.

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Bowlers, Klaasen take South Africa to five-wicket win

KIMBERLEY (Agencies): It was the discovery of diamonds that originally sparked a 19th century rush to Kimberley by hopeful prospectors, and in recent years visiting batsmen have dreamt of striking riches of runs on a pitch that tends to be as flat as the N12 highway that leads to the city. But a fresh pitch played completely out of character to enliven what had threatened to become a dreadfully one-sided contest when Zimbabwe were bowled out for 117 – their lowest ever total against South Africa – this morning, and it was the bowlers on both sides who prospered.

South Africa slipped to 58 for 4 on a surface that made strokeplay very difficult and were thankful for Heinrich Klaasen’s 44 as their largely untested middle-order wobbled. A spirited performance from Zimbabwe’s bowlers ensured that South Africa were made to toil for the result, but the total was never going to be quite enough to force an upset. Overcoming a few nervous moments, stand-in captain JP Duminy guided his team to a five-wicket win to go 1-0 up in the three-match series.

So quickly had Zimbabwe folded this morning that there were murmurings of a potential pre-lunch finish by the television commentators, with the recent change in the playing conditions to avoid unnecessary stalling of a result by the arrival of a scheduled interval brought into the discussion. Specifically, Shaun Pollock wondered if South Africa could get within 25 runs of Zimbabwe’s total before lunch which, according to the new playing conditions, would have meant the teams would have stayed on until a result was achieved.

As it happened, when the lunch interval arrived it was the South Africa who were in danger of buckling under pressure, and they were happy to leave the field to lift the lid on what had become a cauldron of unlikely tension. South Africa’s batsmen had come out swinging at Zimbabwe, but Dean Elgar was too early into his leg-side biff and flapped a leading edge to third man in the fourth over before Reeza Hendricks was beaten by a delivery from Wellington Masakadza that hung in the stiff breeze, drifting in and then fizzing past a defensive poke to rattle the stumps.

With that, South Africa were 25 for 2, and as the interval neared nerves started to fray just a little. Aiden Markram flashed at a lifter outside off to be easily caught by Craig Ervine at slip, only for replays to show that Tendai Chatara had overstepped. Markram gained a second life, but was clearly flustered and five deliveries later, he lifted a drive straight to Elton Chigumbura at mid-off. All of a sudden, South Africa were three down moments before lunch with a debutant on strike. It took four deliveries for Christiaan Jonker to lay bat on ball, and though he did enough to get through to lunch, Zimbabwe had been noticeably lifted by the early strikes.

The pitch, which led to Zimbabwe’s downfall in the morning, was also key to their revival. If anything, a spongy surface eliciting tennis-ball bounce suited the Zimbabwe attack even more than it did the South Africa one. Where Zimbabwe’s response to conditions with the bat had been tentative, South Africa’s batsmen looked to play their shots regardless.

Jonker followed the top order’s lead, playing plenty of shots, but he had only six runs to his name when he swung across the line at the day’s other debutant, Brandon Mavuta, to give the legspinner his maiden ODI wicket. South Africa were 58 for 4 in the 15th over when he was dismissed, and it seemed that their overtly aggressive approach might not be best suited to a track that made attacking anything pitched on a good length a dangerous choice.

Zimbabwe, however, struggled to find that length consistently. Klaasen seized on anything short, pulling Jarvis repeatedly to midwicket and cracking consecutive long hops from Wellington out of the ground to motor into the 40s. He fell six runs short of what would have been a maiden ODI fifty, leaving it to Duminy to take South Africa stumbling over the line to a five-wicket win. Duminy played and missed at three in a row in Jarvis’ sixth over, but collected a brace of boundaries off Mavuta and sealed the result in the 27th over with an unbroken 23-run stand with Wiaan Mulder.

The game might have been much closer had Zimbabwe managed to ring a little more out of their batsmen. Five of the top six were caught in the slips, tentative footwork and uncertainty outside off quickly unravelling against the extra bounce off the track. There was also a slice of bad luck for Zimbabwe as Ervine was given out caught-behind off Mulder when it appeared he hadn’t hit it, the sound of bat hitting pad misleading the umpire. But the DRS isn’t being used in this series, and Zimbabwe would have had no grounds for complaining about any of their other dismissals as South Africa turned in a disciplined performance and were duly rewarded.

Kagiso Rabada bowled a little inside himself but still snapped up two middle-order wickets, including the big one of Brendan Taylor. Andile Phehlukwayo also struck vital blows, picking up Hamilton Masakadza and Sean Williams in consecutive overs, while Imran Tahir’s variations helped deal with the lower order. Lungi Ngidi, however, was the pick of the attack.

Ngidi started the morning by having Solomon Mire caught by Hendricks at slip – one of three catches Hendricks took in the position – and then returned to bully Jarvis from the crease with a lifter that hurried the batsman. He then quickly wrapped up the innings when Chigumbura chipped an offcutter to mid-on. Chigumbura top-scored with 27 out of Zimbabwe’s 117 in 34.1 overs. That was never going to be enough to overcome South Africa’s middle order, even one short of international experience.

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Cristiano Ronaldo denies rape claim as ‘fake news’

MADRID (Agencies): Cristiano Ronaldo has dismissed as “fake news” accusations by a US woman who alleges she was raped by the Portuguese footballer in 2009.

In an Instagram video, Ronaldo said: “They want to promote [themselves] by [using] my name. It’s normal.”

Ronaldo’s lawyers say they will sue Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine, which originally reported the allegations.

The magazine wrote that Kathryn Mayorga had claimed Ronaldo, 33, raped her in a hotel room in Las Vegas.

Ms Mayorga, 34, is reported to have filed a rape report with Las Vegas police shortly after the alleged incident.

In 2010, she reportedly reached an out-of-court settlement with Ronaldo involving a $375,000 (£288,000) payment for agreeing never to go public with the allegations.

Her lawyers are now seeking to declare the non-disclosure agreement void.

In a statement, Ronaldo’s lawyer Christian Schertz said “the reporting in Spiegel is blatantly illegal”.

He added that he had been instructed to seek compensation for “moral damages” over “probably one of the most serious violations of personal rights in recent years”.

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New Zealand beat Argentina to win sixth Rugby Championship

BUENOS AIRES (Agencies): New Zealand won the Rugby Championship for the sixth time by beating Argentina 35-17 in Buenos Aires on Saturday as they put a stunning home defeat by South Africa behind them.

The All Blacks led 21-3 at half-time before a sell-out 50,000 crowd and scored first in the second half through substitute Patrick Tuipulotu.

Victory gave New Zealand an uncatchable seven-point advantage over South Africa ahead of their showdown in Pretoria next Saturday. New Zealand have 21 points, South Africa 14, Argentina eight and Australia five with one round remaining in the southern hemisphere championship.

A shock 36-34 triumph in Wellington this month gave South Africa a glimmer of hope that they could overtake New Zealand and win the competition a first time. But they failed to secure a bonus point as they ground out a 23-12 win over struggling Australia in Port Elizabeth earlier on Saturday.

That result left the All Blacks needing a win to secure the title and they outscored the Pumas by five tries to two to collect a bonus point as well. No All Black was happier than fly-half Beauden Barrett who was successful with all four of his conversion attempts after missing four of six against the Springboks.

Argentina were first to score with star fly-half Nicolas Sanchez slotting an easy penalty after six minutes at the Estadio Jose Amalfitani. But New Zealand reacted swiftly to falling behind and within two minutes were ahead as winger Rieko Ioane scored the first of his two tries. Fellow winger Waisake Naholo came into midfield and played a key role in a move continued by Ben Smith before Ioane cut inside to score and Barrett converted.

– Sonny Bill binned –

Sanchez seemed certain to cut the gap to a single point from a close-range penalty but, to the amazement of the crowd, fluffed it. Naholo changed from creator to scorer on 17 minutes, stretching to dot the ball down on the line after the scrummaging weakness of the Pumas was laid bare.

Barrett added the extra points and the world champions were 14-3 ahead midway through the half. Ioane struck again with 30 minutes gone, scoring a try that infuriated the home crowd. Codie Taylor appeared to knock the head of Bautista Delguy, but big-screen replays showed the New Zealander had been pushed first by an Argentine. French referee Mathieu Raynal correctly awarded a try and Barrett converted from the touchline.

In-form Delguy was forced to retire after the accidental blow and Sebastian Cancelliere took his place on the right wing. Argentina finished the first half strongly after All Black Sonny Bill Williams was sin-binned, but could not translate territory and possession into points and the All Blacks led 21-3 at half-time.

Sanchez wasted an early second-half chance to reduce the deficit when his penalty intended for unmarked winger Matias Moroni fell short and into the welcome hands of Naholo instead. The Pumas were being let down at the set pieces with the All Blacks making life miserable for the South Americans at the scrums.

Both teams scored two tries during the second half with Tuipulotu and Anton Lienert-Brown crossing for New Zealand and Barrett and Richie Mo’unga converting. Tomas Cubelli and Emiliano Boffelli were the Argentine scorers and Sanchez added the conversions.

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Pakistan courageously highlighted Kashmir dispute at UNGA: Gilani

SRINAGAR  (Monitoring Desk): All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) chairman Syed Ali Gilani has said that Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mehmood Qureshi has courageously highlighted the Kashmir dispute at the United Nations General Assembly and proved to be a friend and well-wisher of Kashmir.

Syed Ali Gilani in a statement issued in Srinagar said that Shah Mehmood Qureshi had once again reiterated Pakistan’s stance that unless the core issue of Kashmir was resolved as per its historical perspective and according to the wishes of Kashmir, dance of death and destruction will have no end.

Reacting to the UNGA speech by Indian Foreign Minister, Sushma Swaraj, Syed Ali Gilani said that it was full of lies, deceit, arrogance and persistent denial of basic and ground realities.

He said, “We are neither surprised nor did we expect anything substantial to be delivered there. Because most people under the toxic influence of power and might, fail to accept truth.”

He said that it was due to the arrogant mindset that India preferred to be in denial mode since the tragedy of Kashmir was born in 1947. Claiming to be the largest democracy with multi cultural society and a fast growing economic hub, it can’t dare to accept the bare and internationally recognized issue only because they believe that they can crush the genuine people’s movement with their military might.

Gilani said lies even repeated for centuries and by the whole world they still remain lies.

The APHC Chairman said that it was expected from India to be in the cocoon of its denial, but ‘we were really surprised that this was deviation from the universally accepted and recognized issue was softly and quietly tolerated, without causing any repels in the conscious and commitment of those sitting and listening in this august house’.

“They very well knew that 18 resolutions presently lying in this office clearly and loudly contradict the gentle lady delivering the sermon on the podium. By doing so, India has not only once again rubbed salt on our wounds, but has put a big question mark on the authenticity and effectiveness of this world forum whose relevance and authority has already faded from past few decades,” Syed Ali Gilani added.

Speaking on the Indo-Pak tension, he said non-resolution of Kashmir is bone of contention between the two nuclear powers and if UN fails to play its role in resolving the grave human issue not only Indo-Pak subcontinent but global peace and stability is under sever threat.

Highlighting the need for a peaceful settlement of Kashmir dispute, he said the coercive measures, killings, detentions and suppressions will yield nothing, instead will lead to devastation.

Terming down the unrealistic and arrogant approach of Indian leadership, Gilani said, “Suppression and oppression won’t deter us from pursuing our mission of right to self-determination.”

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Citizenship dialogue held in Kabul to solve problems

KABUL (TOLONews): Officials from security departments and Kabul Municipality as well as Kabul residents on Sunday attended a the “Citizenship Dialogue” event to find discuss challenges in the city and find solutions for them.

The city with around five million population is faced with security problems, lack of water, poor transportation, lack of standard roads and many other issues, some participants of the event said.

The event was the first ever in Kabul which was welcomed by residents.

Addressing the event, Kabul residents listed the city’s problems and some recommendations to relevant government officials.

The officials at the event promised to address the problems raised by the residents.

“Government and people’s relations is a mutual relationship and the responsibilities also belong to both sides,” said Ahmad Shoaib Rahim, acting Kabul Mayor.

Kabul Police Chief Sayed Mohammad Roshandil said he will increase green zones in Kabul and will install more CCTV cameras in the city to improve security in Afghanistan’s capital.

He said more trainings will be provided for police force members to enable them to act more professionally in addressing security concerns.

“Efforts are underway for making security plan and the plans that help police force members in maintaining security, having good control on their weapons, having good tactics and communications,” Roshandil said.

Massoud Andarabi, Security Officer at Kabul Police Headquarters, called on the residents to cooperate with government forces in security of the city.

“Let’s come together and work with us on Kabul security plan,” said Andarabi.

Kabul residents’ suggestions will be discussed in a meeting led by President Ashraf Ghani at the Presidential Palace on Monday where mayors from 34 provinces will be present.

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Khost director performs Hajj 15 times at govt expense

KHOST CITY (Pajhwok): One person has been heading the Hajj and Islamic Affairs Department of southeastern Khost province over the past one and a half decades.

Mualvi Izharuddin, the Khost Hajj and Islamic Affairs director, in an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News said it was transparency in his leadership and good behavior with people that he remained on his position for a long time.

“Six or seven Hajj and Islamic affairs ministers came and gone during my stay in office. Some of the ministers did not know me but they fell in love with my after realizing our services,” he said.

He added that except this year, he had traveled to Saudi Arabia for offering Hajj every year.

Izharuddin performed the annual hajj pilgrimage every year except this year with 10 to 14 officials of his department and some ulema and all their expenses were paid from the government budget.

When asked if their repeated hajj performance violated other other people’s rights, he said: “The Hajj and Islamic Affairs ministry sent 250 ulema and officials to Saudi Arabia for this year’s Hajj, 12 of the officials were from Khost, it is not a privilege, it is a responsibility to guide pilgrims.”

Nasaruddin Dariz, publications in charge at the Ministry of Hajj and Islamic Affairs (MoHIA), also appreciated the performance of Mualvi Izharuddin and said he was an active man and free of corruption.

He said the ministry was satisfied with his activities and he always provided good services to pilgrims.

However, Dariz said heads of revenue departments were replaced after each five years and of other departments after each seven years according to the president’s order.

He said posts of Hajj and Islamic affairs departments of 10 provinces including Khost would be re-announced in near future.

Meanwhile, a number of civil society activists said no director of a government department has the right to stay in office beyond three years according to the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission (IARCSC).

Asadullah Nawrozi, a civil society activist, told Pajhwok that the Hajj and Islamic affairs officials did not discharge their responsibilities according to their jobs and there were many other problems in the department.

“One of the important jobs of this department is ‘enjoining good and forbidding wrong’ but they have failed to implement this Islamic requisite, we ask the central government to bring reforms in this department and appoint qualified people,” he said.

Khost Ulema Council head, Shah Mohammad, said that most of Khost Islamic scholars were satisfied with the performance of the Hajj and Islamic affairs department of the province.

“We are satisfied with the current Hajj and Islamic affairs director because he sent us to the Hajj, I think the ministry sends him to offer pilgrimage every year, he does not do it with his personal will,” he said.

Meanwhile, Khost governor’s spokesman, Talib Mangal, said except the director, all other officials of the Hajj and Islamic Affairs department had to pass a test before traveling to Saudi Arabia for Hajj.

“The Ministry of Hajj and Islamic Affairs takes an exam from a number of Islamic scholars before tasking them with training other pilgrims to perform Hajj,” he said.

A government official, who wished to go unnamed, said Mualvi Izharuddin took charge as the Khost Hajj and Islamic Affairs department after the fall of Taliban regime during then new government under former president, Hamid Karzai.

According to a presidential order, departmental posts should be reintroduced once after each five years, but Khost Hajj and Islamic Affairs department is among 15 other government organs in the province that are headed by one person for more than seven years.

Pajhwok contacted the provincial council head and members for comment on the issue, but they said they could not comment because they had no information about it.