Posted on

US: Support for Saudi-led coalition in Yemen ‘necessary’

MOSCOW (Sputnik): US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Timothy Lenderking reaffirmed Washington’s assistance to the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen on the side of the Yemeni government, despite appeals to end support for Saudi Arabia’s actions in the war-torn country.

“Obviously there are pressures in our system… to either withdraw from the conflict or discontinue our support of the coalition, which we are strongly opposed to on the administration side… We do believe that the support for the coalition is necessary. It sends a wrong message if we discontinue our support,” US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Arabian Gulf Affairs Timothy Lenderking said on Sunday at the UAE Security Forum 2018 in Abu Dhabi, as quoted by The National newspaper.

The armed conflict in Yemen sparked in 2015 and saw the Houthis occupy vast territories in the northwest of the country.

The war and a blockade organized by the Saudi-led coalition have resulted in a catastrophic humanitarian crisis in the country, with local population suffering from famine and outbreaks of deceases.

The Yemeni government and the Houthis have been engaged in UN-mediated peace talks in Sweden since Thursday.

Posted on

Trump says Kelly will leave chief of staff job at end of year

WASHINGTON (Reuters): White House Chief of Staff John Kelly will leave his job at the end of the year, U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday, his latest staff shakeup since midterm elections a month ago cost Republicans control of the House of Representatives.

Trump, speaking to reporters as he left the White House to attend the annual football game between the Army and Navy military academies in Philadelphia, said he would name a successor for Kelly, possibly on an interim basis, in the next day or two.

“He’s a great guy,” Trump said of Kelly, who led the Department of Homeland Security before taking over as Trump’s chief of staff. “I appreciate his service very much.”

Trump has been in discussions for months with Nick Ayers, a top aide to Vice President Mike Pence, about becoming his chief of staff, a White House official told Reuters.

The president wants Ayers to do the job for two years, but Ayers is unable to make the commitment because of his family, including two young children, and has agreed to serve only until the spring of 2019, the official said.

“The president and Nick are still working on the specific terms of him taking over,” said the official, adding that Ayers was eyeing a return to Georgia and had been planning to leave Pence’s office and the White House this month.

Ayers has advised a number of high profile Republican governors and would bring a political edge to the president’s inner circle that was not integral to Kelly’s background.

A freewheeling former businessman, Trump brought Kelly in last year to restore order to his often chaotic White House, but has clashed repeatedly with the retired Marine Corps general in recent months. The two men were no longer on speaking terms, according to one source with direct knowledge of the situation.

Paul Ryan, the Republican leader in the House of Representatives, said Kelly was leaving what is “often a thankless job.”

Kelly’s impending departure is part of a broad overhaul designed to recalibrate Trump’s administration as it faces a new reality in Washington, with Democrats set to take control of the House in January and the 2020 presidential race gearing up next year.

Posted on

PM says government to protect, promote business, investment

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Prime Minister Imran Khan Sunday said that the government had come up with a positive mindset to protect and promote the business and investment besides bringing stability in the market.

In a meeting with a delegation of the office bearers and brokers of Pakistan Stock Market Exchange headed by Suleman Mehdi, the Prime Minister said he had arrived here to seek their suggestions for betterment of the national economy.

He said the foreign investors were investing their capital in the country because there existed huge potential for investment.

The delegation felicitated the Prime Minister on assumption of the office and lauded the efforts by government’s economic team for economic stability.

The delegation apprised the Prime Minister on various matters regarding the stock market and put forward the proposals for financial stability most of which were accepted by the Prime Minister.  The delegation assured that they would extend all out support to the government for its financial policies. During the meeting, they agreed to widen the tax base, promotion of IT in stock market and curb the issue of illegal payments.

The meeting was also attend by Finance Minister Asad Umar, Planning Minister Khusro Bakhtiar, Water Resources Minister Faisal Vawda, Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Zaidi, IT Minister Khalid Maqbol, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, State Minister Hammad Azhar, PM’s Adviser Dr Ishrat Hussain and Special Assistants to PM Naeemul Haq and Iftikhar Durrani. The premier also met with a delegation from the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The delegation comprised prominent businessmen including Siraj Qasim Teli, Tahir Khaliq, Haroon Agar, Shamim Firpo, and Junaid Ismail Makda.

Khan also met officials of the city’s traders association, “who discussed with him the problems they currently face”.

Posted on

NA session to start from today

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The sixth National Assembly session will commence from Monday at the Parliament House, which likely to discuss important national issues besides routine proceeding.

PML-N President and Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif was expected to attend the assembly session after the NA speaker issued the production order for the detained opposition leader.

Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaisar has directed NAB and the concerned authorities to bring Shehbaz Sharif to attend the session on a daily basis under the rules.

“Presence of Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif during the said session was necessary, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by rule 108 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of the business in the National Assembly 2007, the speaker has been pleased to summon Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif,” Qaiser stated in a production order issued by the National Assembly Secretariat.

As per the orders of the day issued by the National Assembly Secretariat, the House will discuss, questions, calling attention Notice, Introduction of bill and legislative business.

Posted on

Belgium: Right-wing party quits govt

BRUSSELS (AA): Belgium’s right-wing N-VA party, the biggest party in parliament, on Sunday announced it is quitting the ruling coalition amid a row over migration.

“I would like to state that the N-VA ministers have officially presented their resignation,” Interior Minister Jan Jambon told VRT radio.

Jambon’s move followed Saturday’s resignation of Migration Minister Theo Francken, an N-VA member whose anti-immigrant rema-rks have stirred controversy.

Prime Minister Charles Michel on Saturday confirmed that he will attend a UN conference in Morocco starting Monday to express support for the UN Global Compact for Migration.

For his part, Michel said the government will continue as a minority coalition including the liberal MR, the center-right CD&V, and the Open VLD.

Posted on

Corruption biggest impediment in country’s development: President

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: President Dr. Arif Alvi Sunday while terming the corruption as the biggest impediment in national development urged the anti-corruption institutions to plug the financial leakages to execute the dream of a pro-people Naya Pakistan.

Addressing a seminar on ‘Our Faith, Corruption Free Pakistan’ held by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to commemorate the International Anti-Corruption Day, the president said the agenda of leaving behind a country free from corruption was of vital importance.

The event was attended by Chairman NAB, Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal, Prosecutor General Accountability, Asghar Haider, Country Representative of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes Cesar Guedes besides a huge number of accountability officers from across the country.

Recalling his ant-corruption efforts throughout his life, the president said it took long to create resonance of corruption among the masses.

He viewed that no society could claim to be corruption-free as it existed everywhere

with varying levels.

He said the absence of rule of law cast negative impact on society and said the impartiality, competence and strategy were a must for the institutions mandated to eliminate corruption.

He said the carrying out investigation on the basis of one’s assets was an Islamic as well as worldwide practice to probe the white collar crimes.

The president who earlier inaugurated a commemorative postal stamp and fifty-rupee coin inscribed with anti-corruption messages, said the the non-implementation of laws begot corruption and lawlessness.

He desired a more powerful NAB and urged the institution to also excel in the prosecution to enhance the conviction rate.

The president said the corrupt people were not looked well in our society and hoped that the country would witness drastic changes if the institutions kept going after corrupt elements.

He said it was unfortunate that the people had looted and laundered billions of dollars from Pakistan where the children were begging in streets and the government was vying for funds to create a breathing space for national economy.

He was hopeful of the success of the idea of Naya Pakistan where the poor would have no worry for the education and healthcare of his family and everyone would enjoy equal employment opportunity.

The president also distributed commendation certificates among the best performing NAB officers and mementos to the guest speakers which followed the presentation of memento to him by the Chairman NAB.

Posted on

Pak desires multi-dimensional ties with neighbors: Qaiser

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Speaker National Assembly of Pakistan Asad Qaiser Sunday called for greater interaction and people-to-people contact in the region for the sake of peace and development.

He stressed the need for new synergies of parliamentary and economic cooperation among each other. He expressed these views while talking to President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Dr. Hassan Rohani.

The Speaker said that Pakistan enjoys close cordial relations with our brotherly neighbor, Iran. The shared sentiments of our friendship are deeply rooted in historical bonds spread over centuries of shared faith, culture, traditions and economic complementarities, he added.

Recalling the recent statement of the Iranian Supreme leader in support of the Kashimiris, Asad Qaiser thanked President of Iran and Iranian government for supporting the Kashmir cause.

The Kashmir issue is the long standing unresolved disputes which require resolution in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions, the Speaker said.

The President of Iran Dr. Hassan Rohani warmly welcomed the Pakistan’s Parliamentary delegation in Tehran and wished the safe stay in the beautiful capital of Iran. He stated that the Iran considered Pakistan as a very important brotherly neighboring Muslim country. “The bonds of friendship between Pakistan and Iran have been maintained irrespective of any government in power both in Iran and Pakistan due to commonality of culture. Both of nations have deep links and it go down the long history and rich civilization” the Iranian President said.

The Iranian President stressed upon the need to increase cooperation between Pakistan and Iran in the field of trade, commerce, energy and security.

While meeting with Abdul Raouf Ibrahimi Speaker of the Wolesi Jirga of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Asad Qaiser said that the new government in Pakistan is committed to robust and friendly relations with Afghanistan. Two countries are inter-linked and look towards each other with considerable expectations in many areas, he added.

Posted on

Incident in MQM’s program aimed to disturb law, order

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Adviser to Sindh government, Murtaza Wahab has said bomb blast over Mutahida Qumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) Mehfil-e-Milad is aimed to disturb Karachi’s  law and order. It may be noted several people were injured in a blast which took place in Karachi’s Gulistan-i-Jauhar area late on Saturday night, who were rushed to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) for medical treatment.

Condemning the attack, Adviser to chief minister Sindh on Information and Law, Barrister Murtaza Wahab said Sindh government will not allow anyone to disturb Karachi’s peace and terrorists involved in the incident will be brought to court of justice.

On the other hand, Mayor Karachi Waseem Akhtar has also strongly denounced the attack over party’s gathering of Mehfil-e-Milad in city’s area of Gulistan-i-Johar and vowed to foil heinous attempts aimed at disturbing city’s peace.

He said a cracker-type bomb packed in a box was hurled towards the Milad gathering, which resulted in injury of six people.

MQM-P leader Faisal Sabzwari claimed that MQM-P Convener Khalid Maqbool and Khawaja Izhar ul Hassan narrowly escaped the blast. He said several of his party workers were injured. Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and Governor Imran Ismail have taken notice of the incident.

The CM has directed the Karachi commissioner and the additional inspector general Sindh police to immediately submit him report on the incident.

Murad Shah contacted Izhar and Sabzwari on telephone and inquired about the incident. Izhar told that his driver and Khalid Maqbool’s coordinator were injured.

Imran Ismail has also sought report from the inspector general of Sindh police and directed the relevant authorities to provide the best possible treatment to the wounded.

Posted on

Railways to launch three tourist trains soon

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Railways is planning to launch three tourist trains soon with an aim to promote tourism in the country under the directives of Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed.

“The tourist trains with steam engines will be operated between Rawalpindi- Taxila, Peshawar-Attock Bridge, and Karachi-Keenjhar Lake” an official in the Ministry of Railways told APP. He said launch of these trains would help Pakistan Railways to earn extra revenue.

To a question , he said that different departments of federal and provincial government had to pay Rs 2715.41 million to Pakistan Railways on account of freight and level crossing maintenance Charges, etc. Giving details, he said Pakistan Railways has total outstanding amount against the departments of federal government is Rs 945.009 million and Rs. 1770.401 million against the provincial government departments.

He said that federal departments including Defence has to pay Rs 831.082 million on account of freight and level crossing maintenance charges, National Highway Rs 55.464 million of level crossing and maintenance authority charges, Postal Rs 19.994 million of land charges, Post Master General Rs 17.055 million of freight charges, State Bank of Pakistan Rs 12.799 million of freight charges and Controller General of Accounts, Islamabad Rs 8.615 million of pension share.

The outstanding amount against provincial department including Food, Communication and Works, Irrigation, Police and Local Government and Community Development (Municipalities TMAs, TMOs etc, he added.

He said that Pakistan Railways had to receive Rs 371.490 million from different departments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Rs 1228.872 from Punjab, Rs 146.208 million of Sindh and Rs 23.831 million from Balochistan government departments.

The official said that the provincial government departments had to pay outstanding amount on account of level crossing and maintenance charges, passion share and land charges.

Posted on

Pakistan wants political settlement of Afghan issue, says FM

F.P. Report

MULTAN: Federal Minister Sah Mehmod Quresi has said that Pakistan wants political settlement of Afghan conflict as military is not answer to the problem.

In talks with media on Sunday, he said Pakistan is committed to an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process in Afghanistan and will continue to play a positive role in bringing peace and stability in the neighboring country.

Regarding the opening of Kartarpur Corridor, the Foreign Minister said this decision was taken to facilitate the Sikh pilgrims to visit one of their holiest places. He said the goodwill gesture of Pakistan has been appreciated in the whole world.

On economic situation, the Foreign Minister said the rupee will become stable once the economic conditions are improved.

He said readjustment in currency valuation will have a positive impact on our exports. He said many economic experts were of the same opinion that devaluation of rupee will help increasing exports by staying in competition at international level.

The Minister said when the PTI government came to power, economic situation was dire and financial and trade deficits had reached at a staggering level. However, Finance Minister Asad Umar took the bull by the horns and made corrective measures to manage the finances.