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Asad Umar to chair ECC meeting today

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Asad Umar will chair the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on Tuesday.

According to reports, the ECC will give the green-light for a Rs2 per unit increase in electricity prices.

During the last meeting of ECC, it discussed a Rs2 per unit increase in electricity prices in the form of tariffs which will now be formally announced. The PML-N government had to issue a notification regarding this tariff in 2016/17 but did not due to various reasons.

Sources further said that the ECC will also direct the Ministry of Power to issue a notification in this regard.

The committee is also expected to approve the export of 0.5 million tonnes of sugar.

During the last ECC meeting on September 17, gas prices in the country were increased by up to 143 per cent.

Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar while addressing the media following the meeting had said the majority of gas consumers would be subjected to a maximum 20 per cent increase, while consumers using over 500 cubic meters would see an increase of up to 143 per cent.


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Aleem says Indian attempts to damage Pakistan

F.P. Report

Lahore: Punjab Senior Minister Aleem Khan said that Indian has made an attempt to cause damage to Pakistan through water aggression causing a danger of floods in some districts.

Reacting to the release of water by India in Pakistani rivers on Monday Punjab Senior Minister Aleem Khan has advised all concerned department to make necessary arrangements to cope with the probability of flood situation.

He added that government will fulfill all its responsibilities. All Municipalities should make foolproof arrangements in this respect in these districts.

It is recalled that India has released surplus water in the Pakistani rivers of Sutlej, Ravi and Chenab raising the levels of Rivers and causing the flood like situation at several locations. Several villages and standing crops have been inundated.



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President expects Pakistan to become polio-free by next year

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi Monday said Pakistan was expected to become polio-free country by next year as the number of cases reported had been reduced to just four this year against hundreds in the past.

Talking to media after launching three-day nationwide anti-polio campaign, he said all the vaccination teams deserved applause who had been serving to purge the country of this deadly virus despite life threat in certain areas.

He was accompanied by Minister for National Health Amir Kayani, representatives of international organizations including World Health Organization and UNICEF besides senior government officers.

The president who earlier launched the drive by administering vaccine to two children living in a slum here, also appealed the people to extend all out support to the vaccination teams so that the country could get rid of the disease.

He also urged the religious scholars to play their role to nullify the misconceptions about the polio vaccine.

He also lauded the role of armed forces and other security agencies who had been providing security cover to the vaccination teams.

In 2014, 306 cases had been reported, 54 in 2015, 20 in 2016 and 8 in 2017. In 2018, only four polio cases had so far been reported from two districts including three from Dukki area of Balochistan and one from Charsadda.

The health minister said the credit for remarkable reduction in polio cases went to the vaccination teams who had been striving to protect the children from deadly disease.

He said Pakistan was one of three polio-endemic countries in the world with Afghanistan and Nigeria being rest two states.

The president also interacted with two polio workers Muhammad Iqbal and Shahnaz and conveyed his greetings to the polio vaccinators.

Talking to APP, Coordinator National Emergency Operation Centre Dr Rana Muhammad Safdar said Pakistan was closest ever to its goal and this drive was a final push towards interruption of polio virus.

The campaign is fully synchronised with Afghanistan to ensure effective vaccination of mobile children as well.

The three-day drive would target a total of 38.6 million children aged below five including 19.22 million in Punjab, 8.88m in Sindh, 6.75 m in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (including tribal districts), 2.5m in Balochistan,  0.7m in AJK, 0.237m in GB  and 0.33m children in Islamabad.

During this campaign, Vitamin-A supplement will also be administered to around 35 million children aimed at boosting immunity against all infectious diseases including measles. A total of 260,000 personnel would strive to achieve the set targets across Pakistan.




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PHC rejects bail application of accused in Mashal lynching

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: Peshawar High Court (PHC) Monday rejected bail application of an accused in Mashal Khan lynching case. A two-member bench headed by Chief Justice rejected the bail application of accused Asad Zia, who was allegedly involved in lynching of Mashal Khan at Wali Khan University Mardan.

Barrister Amir Khan Chamkani told the court that Asad Zia was present at the time of the killing of Mashal Khan and could be seen in different videos. He said that the court had already rejected the bail applications of two accomplices of the accused. The court rejected the bail application of the accused, who was employee of the university and working as assistant at the provost office.

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Atif directs beginning of second phase of youth initiative

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: After successful holding of the first phase of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Youth Impact Challenge Programme, the KP Senior Minister Atif Khan has directed the starting f the second phase of the initiative as soon as possible.

The senior minister, who also holds the portfolio of the youth affairs’ said that extending support to youth for beginning their own business is included in the priority of the PTI government in the province.

He issued these directives during a briefing given to him regarding projects initiated under the auspices of Youth Affairs Department. The senior minister said that during the second phase, the youth selected on the basis of their business plan will be given cheques to enable them for beginning their own business without any wastage of time.

Atif Khan said that KP Youth Impact Challenge Programme is a unique initiative of the provincial government, which is based on complete transparency.

On this occasion, the Director, Youth Affairs, Asfandyar Khattak briefed the senior minister regarding ongoing and completed projects under the auspices of the department. The senior minister while directed full preparation for Youth Carnival, South Asia Youth Summit and Youth Internship Programme said that youth are the real asset of the nation and the PTI government will take all possible steps for providing them opportunities.

Besides, the activation of the hostels in Naran and Chitral, the senior minister also directed taking into possession all properties of the Departments of Sports, Tourism, Youth Affairs and Culture.


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Cairo summit stresses new partnerships to reap full potential of CPEC

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Speakers at an international summit in Cairo Monday stressed the need to create new partnerships to reap the full potential of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) launched by China in year 2013.

The two-day ‘CPEC-BRI Cairo Dialogue and Trade Summit – Building Partnership for Trade Transformation’ organised by the South Asian Strategic Stability Institute (SASSI) was attended by ministers, senior government officials, major commercial entities, leading businessmen, investors, academicians, experts and policymakers from Pakistan and Egypt.While addressing the event on the opening day, SASSI President Dr Maria Sultan said Egypt is not only the gateway to Africa but is also set to become the gateway to emerging corridors of international trade. “We are heading towards regional connectivity and building partnerships which will help our people benefit from this great economic transformation,” she said, adding that they have proposed a north-south corridor that is going to build up on the frameworks already in place through CPEC and the BRI.Other speakers maintained that the Indian Ocean has emerged as a centre for the regional trade as around 90,000 vessels in the world’s commercial fleet transport 9.84 billion tons of cargo through the ocean besides 40% of world’s oil supply that also passes through the same waters. “With 19.9% of the global trade volume passing through the Indian Ocean, the total trade passing through the ocean is 70% of the world trade in value,” they said.

The speakers said that with emergence of China as a global economic superpower, trade through the Indian Ocean is set to rise significantly in the coming decades. They said that China is working day and night to operationalise the BRI which aims at seeking regional and global connectivity through land and sea.They said Pakistan and Egypt are two important BRI members occupying key access points along the global maritime trade routes. “Suez Canal and Gwadar are expected to emerge as mega sea ports with unprecedented trade volume passing through these in the coming years,” they said. “Given the fact that the trade through the Indian Ocean is likely to rise significantly in the near future, huge benefits could be achieved through mutual collaboration and a synergistic development of policy frameworks,” they added.

The speakers said Egypt and Pakistan have enjoyed warm and cordial diplomatic relations for the past 70 years. It is the need of the hour to cement these relations and turn the diplomatic partnership into economic and strategic partnerships to tap on the opportunities provided by the CPEC and the BRI.Apart from regional connectivity, cooperation in the fields of security, counter-terrorism, hybrid security threats,  I to security, migration and cyber security are also part of the agenda during the summit.


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Visa problems of overseas will be taken up soon

F.P. Report

Islamabad: Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari on said visa problems being faced by Pakistani citizens living in Kuwait will be taken up with Kuwaiti authorities to address problems of overseas Pakistanis.

Responding to a calling attention notice in the Senate, she said Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi is going to hold a meeting with his Kuwaiti counterpart, on the sidelines of UN General Assembly session in New York, and will raise this issue with him.

The Minister said this issue will also be taken up during a two-day Pak-Kuwait Joint Ministerial Commission scheduled to be held in Islamabad on Thursday.

She said in 2011, Kuwait had unofficially banned visas to the nationals of various countries, which include Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Iran on the pretext of their alleged involvement in drug trafficking and criminal offences.

Shireen Mazari said, on the other hand, Indian citizens are getting visas in large numbers and other privileges.



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Pak-Egypt need to adopt way of mutualism: Pir Noor

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Religious Affairs, Pir Noor-ul-Haq Qadri  emphasized that Pakistan and Egypt  needed to adopt way of mutualism for getting benefit from each other  experiences.

Pakistan and Egypt share same aspirations of peace and  prosperity and face common issues, he said this while talking to  Ambassador of Egypt to Pakistan, Ahmad Muhammad Fadel Yacoub, who  called on him here.

Both sides discussed bilateral relations.

The Minister said Pakistan attached great importance to its  special relations with Egypt and desired to further expand its cooperation to all fields.

He also highlighted the enduring brotherly relations  between the two countries based on mutual trust.

Both sides expressed satisfaction over present status  of collaboration agreed to work together towards its enhancement. Exchange of Ullema delegations and increase in Quota for Pakistanis students in Jamia Al-Azhar were also assured by Egypt Ambassador.

Pir Noor said there is also an on going cooperation, both cultural and educational between two countries.

In addition to exchange of scholarship and training programme  in different fields especially three months course for Pakistani students of Madaris at Jamia Al-Azhar were also  offered.

Ambassador Fadel Yacoub invited to the Minister for doing official visit to Egypt.

Pir Noor-ul-Haq Qadri thanked the Ambassador and said that they would keep working  on strengthening bilateral relationship in all fields.

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Polish Air Force Chief visits Air Headquarter

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: On arrival, the distinguished guest was received by Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force.  A smartly turned out contingent of Pakistan Air Force presented him the Guard of Honour. Chief of Polish Air Force paid homage to the martyrs of PAF by laying floral wreath on Martyrs’ Monument. Later on, he called on Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan in his office. Both the dignitaries remained together for some time and discussed matters of professional interest.

The Chief of Polish Air Force lauded the high morale and sound professionalism of the PAF personnel. Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan appreciated the enviable relations between both the air forces and also acknowledged the key role played by pioneering Polish officers in the development and modernization of PAF in its early years.

Both the dignitaries agreed to further enhance and expand mutual collaboration and defence ties between two countries in general and air forces in particular.




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COAS tells cadets: Lead from the front

F.P. Report

ABBOTTABAD: General Qamar Javed Bajwa Chief of Army Staff (COAS) visited Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul.

COAS was briefed by the commandant Maj Gen Akhtar Nawaz Satti on various functional aspects of the Academy for professional grooming of the cadets.

Talking to the faculty and cadets COAS emphasized on striving for professional competence, leading the men from front and upholding the virtues of honour, integrity, selfless devotion and rich traditions of Pakistan Army.

General Qamar Javed Bajwa reminded them to follow the dictum, “the honour and security of the country always comes first, the honour, safety and welfare of the soldiers comes next and the comfort of officers comes last always and every time”