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Passing out parade of 136th PMA Long Course held in Kakul

KAKUL (NNI): Passing out parade of 136th PMA Long Course, Graduate Course 36th, Technical Graduate Course 29th and Integrated Course 55 was held at Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul on Saturday.

Cadets from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Turkmenistan and Libya were also among the passed out courses. General Sir Nicholas Patrick Carter, Chief of General Staff (CGS) UK Army was the chief guest on the occasion.

The CGS UK Army reviewed the parade and gave awards to distinguished cadets and addressed the parade . The coveted Sword of Honour was awarded to Company Senior under Officer Abdul Hanan Mustafa of 136th Long Course.

The President’s Gold Medal was awarded to Company Senior under Officer Muhammad Iqbal of 136th Long Course, the Overseas Gold Medal to Gentleman Cadet Hudayberenov Eresh from Turkmenistan of 136th Long Course, the Chief of Army Staff Cane to Gentleman Cadet Muhammad Arslan Yousaf of Graduate Course 36th and Company Junior under Officer Saad Hamid of Technical Graduate Course 29th and the Commandant’s Cane for the best cadet was awarded to Gentleman Cadet Taimoor Azam Khan of Integrated Course 55.

Major General Abdullah Dogar, Commandant Pakistan Military Academy was also present on the saluting dais. A large number of senior serving and retired armed forces personnel and parents and relatives of passing out cadets witnessed the parade.

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Pak security situation improved after successful military operations: Ahsan

WASHINGTON (APP): Minister for Interior Ahsan Iqbal says security situation has improved considerably after successful military operations in the tribal areas and other parts of the country.

He was addressing a gathering at the Embassy Forum, organized by Pakistan Embassy, in Washington.

The Minister said the country has reversed the tide of terrorism through the valiant efforts of Pakistan’s security forces and determination of the entire nation. He said Pakistan has made remarkable progress in the macroeconomic sector through prudent fiscal policies, which have resulted in economic growth rate of over 5.3 percent per annum.

In his remarks, the Minister shared the remarkable progress made by Pakistan in the macroeconomic sector through prudent fiscal policies which have resulted in economic growth rate of over 5.3 percent per annum. Major economic projects were under way, such as the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that would generate business opportunities for foreign investors in coming years.

The security situation has improved considerably after successful military operations in the tribal areas as well as other parts of the country. Through the valiant efforts of Pakistan’s security forces and the determination of the entire nation, the country had reversed the tide of terrorism which had gripped it five years ago.

He also shared the various measures taken by the government including energy projects that will add 10,000 MW to the national energy supply. He was hopeful that power shortages could be fully overcome in the near future. By redressing the energy shortfall, the Government was keen to boost economic productivity.

The Minister also shared initiatives taken by the government to enhance education, empower women, improve healthcare and reduce poverty in Pakistan. He also sought support for the US-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor.

On Pak-US relations, the Minister expressed the hope that both countries would continue to work together in future as they had been strategic partners over the last seven decades.

Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry thanked the Minister for sharing his views on the occasion and helping to promote Pakistan’s positive image in the US.

The Forum was well attended with participants from US State Department, academia and members of the Pakistani American diaspora.

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Two injured as Indian troops resort to unprovoked firing at LoC

RAWALPINDI (INP): Two including a girl were injured when Indian troops resorted to unprovoked firing along Line of Control (LoC) on Saturday.

Inter Service Public Relations (ISPR) said that Indian Border Security Force (BSF) resorted to unprovoked intense fire in Satwal and Nikial Sectors besides targeting civilian population in Tetrinote, Manwa, Satwal and Balakot villages.

Two including a six-year-old girl Aiqa Ramzan and Sikandar Hussain 45, resident of village Lanjot were injured in the firing.

The Indian Army also targeted Rawalkot Poonch Crossing Point (RPCP) and the visitors’ stand at RPCP.

Pakistan Army aggressively and effectively responded to hostile fire, silenced their guns and caused considerable damage to the posts carrying out fire. Targeting civilians will not deter Kashmiri people from their just struggle against Indian oppression, the ISPR said.

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Army chief has right to comment on economy: Khurshid Shah

F.P. Report

SUKKUR: Opposition leader in National Assembly (NA) Khurshid Shah has said army chief has right to comment on economy and if Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has any misperception on this count then government should give him briefing.

“army chief has every right to comment on national economy. If he is stopped then army will be weakened. A common man has right to comment on economy.

However if Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has any misconception then government should give him briefing. We will have to avert clash. I will advise PML-N and all those who want clash that they should avoid clash”, he said this while talking to media men in Rohri .

“I don’t agree with interior minister Ahsan Iqbal for stopping army from commenting on economy. Every one has right to comment on economy. Army chief is commander in chief of armed forces. If national economy is better then LoC will be secure and we will get strength from within us. Army chief should not be stopped from commenting on economy”, he held.

He went on to say that if army chief has any misperception then the concerned minister should give him briefing to allay his reservations. “If nation is strong then we will get help. A weak nation and a weak economy will weaken our strong army”, he remarked.

“ I am foreseeing a lot in the country. The incident took place in Islamabad court is not an ordinary incident. This incident is eye opener for those who understand politics”, he observed. Clash between institutions is dangerous for the state, he warned. PPP is trying to bring to end this situation, he added. If democracy continues then country will become prosperous within 20 years.

We are fully endeavoring the clash is averted. I want to say to PML-N, other politicians and institutions which become happy over clash that the clash is not in the interest of democracy and the country, he underlined.

He held that Khatm-e-Nubawwat issue came to fore in the backdrop of Halafnama and parliament resolved this matter But Capt (Retd) Safdar complicated this settled matter by taking up it in the parliament, he remarked.

To a question he said that every man is brother of other man and the onus rests on the shoulder of majority to protect the rights of minority. It is our constitutional and Islamic responsibility to provide protection to Qadianis who are in minority.

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Pakistan, US heading towards ‘a much better relationship’: Trump

WASHINGTON (AFP): US President Donald Trump said early Saturday morning he wants to express his gratitude to Pakistan and its leadership for their “cooperation”, something that came as a stark contrast to the scathing comments he had made in August this year during the unveiling of the American strategy in South Asia.

In a new sign of thaw in the frosty relations between Pakistan and the United States, President Donald Trump said Washington is starting to develop a much better relationship with Pakistan and its leaders.

In a message posted on Twitter on Saturday morning, he also thanked Pakistani leaders for their cooperation on many fronts.

“Starting to develop a much better relationship with Pakistan and its leaders. I want to thank them for their cooperation on many fronts: Trump said.

Earlier on Thursday, Trump praised Pakistani security forces for securing the release of an American woman, her Canadian husband and their three children from Taliban captivity. He praised the Pakistani government and armed forces for the cooperation to rescue the family in an operation.

The US leader said Caitlan Coleman and Joshua Boyle’s release was a “positive moment” for US relations with Pakistan. Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu said: “On this I agree” with Mr. Trump. “Pakistan is a critical ally in fighting against terrorists,” he said in a tweet.

Earlier in the day, US Vice President Mike Pence also praised Pakistan in helping the US secure the release its citizens. Mr. Pence’s comments on Pakistan came as he listed out some of the key achievements of the Trump administration at the international stage.

“The president is achieving real results on the international stage, as well,” he said. “Just this week, Pakistan took an important step to answer the President’s call to do more in the fight against terrorism, as they helped secure the release of an American family that had been held hostage for more than five years,” the Vice-President said.

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Babar, bowlers lead Pakistan to 85-run victory over Sri Lanka

DUBAI (Monitoring Desk): Pakistan reasserted their dominance in the UAE with a crushing win in Dubai over a Sri Lanka side that has seen ODI wins excruciatingly hard to come by in 2017. A century from Babar Azam – back playing his most favoured format – and a blistering 81 from Shoaib Malik saw Pakistan set Sri Lanka a stiff target of 293. They were never really in the chase, losing half the side for 67, with Rumman Raees and Hasan Ali leading the 83-run rout and handing them their eighth consecutive loss in the format.

Upul Tharanga won the toss and opted to bowl when most – Sarfraz included – considered fielding under the scorching Dubai an unappealing prospect. But Sri Lanka’s opening bowlers Suranga Lakmal and Lahiru Gamage backed up their captain with a stellar opening spell, characterised by subtle swing and consistent line and lengths that deprived Pakistan of scoring opportunities. Ahmed Shehzad fell in what is becoming increasingly predictable fashion, getting bogged down by 11 dot balls, before coming down the wicket to Gamage and gifting midwicket a simple catch.

 It wasn’t until Babar, who had managed to hang in despite struggling for rhythm, and the street-smart Malik came together, that the momentum took a clear shift in Pakistan’s favour. The running between the wickets was excellent, and Malik was destructive when he decided to take the aerial route, with even the tricky Dhananjaya rendered ineffective towards the close of the innings.

The bowling looked particularly toothless as Babar and Malik set themselves up for the finish, even if they were unable to come up with the sort of power-hitting the innings required at that stage. For their part, Sri Lanka were superb in the field, in stark contrast to the series against India, with fielders in the infield throwing themselves around and saving several runs. It wasn’t until the last six overs that the big runs really began to leak, but along with it came regular wickets that stymied Pakistan’s charge in the slog overs. Where once 300 looked a formality, Pakistan ended up scrambling to reach 292.

Even so, the target was a formidable one, and Sri Lanka began with a clear, positive intent. Upul Tharanga and Niroshan Dickwella sought to take advantage of the Powerplay in a way Pakistan had not, hitting five fours in the first 19 balls. But from the moment the first wicket fell, Dickwella poking at a ball from Raees that nipped away from him, the rot set in. The run rate began to drop sharply; just five runs were scored off the next 24 deliveries. Raees was the most menacing and accounted for Dinesh Chandimal’s wicket too, the ball swinging back into the right-hander and trapping him plumb in front.

Tharanga looked thoroughly unconvincing once Mohammad Hafeez came on, surviving numerous lbw appeals in a phase when the middle of his bat completely disappeared from the game. After being worked over for a couple of overs, the Sri Lanka captain was put out of his misery by Hafeez with a ball that skidded on and thudded into his off stump. Two overs later, Hasan Ali dismissed Kusal Mendis and Milinda Siriwardana off successive deliveries, effectively putting the game to bed.

The lower order hung around long enough to seriously frustrate Pakistan, without really having a hope of winning. Thisara Perera provided brief entertainment before top-edging Shadab Khan and holing out, substitute fielder Faheem Ashraf taking an excellent catch. Raees came back into the attack and ended the resistance of the last recognised batsman Lahiru Thirimanne, who top-scored with 53.

Where Pakistan might have expected to skittle the tail out cheaply, Dananjaya and Jeffrey Vandersay, the Nos. 8 and 9, viewed the situation as an opportunity to get batting practice. While they never showed any intent of even trying to reach the target, they grittily hung around for a 68-run partnership, ensuring Sri Lanka batted out their full fifty overs.

Dananjaya ended up with an unbeaten fifty as the game meandered along for a full two hours. Pakistan seemed content to bowl out the overs than look to finish with a flourish. Even so, by the time Pakistan inevitably took a 1-0 lead, all Dananjaya and Vandersay had done was sprinkle some respectability onto another abject white-ball performance from Sri Lanka.

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Ahsan Iqbal asks ISPR DG to avoid commenting on country’s economy

ISLAMABAD (NNI): Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal reacted to the statements given by Pakistan Army officials regarding deteriorating economical situation in the country, suggesting Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations DG (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor to refrain from commenting on the economy in public.

Talking to media persons Friday, the Interior Minister said irresponsible statements have huge impact on international reputation of the country. Resources are also being provided for security operations.

Iqbal claimed that tax collection had increased by two times, development budget also went up and there is no need to go on another IMF programme. He said economic situation in Pakistan is much better as compared to situation in 2013. “Country’s economy is stable and irresponsible statements in this regard could damage Pakistan’s image at international level,’ he remarked.

Major General Asif Ghafoor, during a talk show of a private television channel, had given his opinion on the current economical state of the country. He had said that the country’s economy is closely linked with the security and Pakistan needs to be fully secured for its economy’s boom, he said.

He had bluntly told that the economical situation is not bad, but its not good either and that a better future strategy should be devised for prosperous future.

While refuting to the views of DG ISPR, Ahsan Iqbal claimed that Pakistan’s economy is still strong and irresponsible remarks could damage the image of the country.

It should be recalled that in a Karachi-based seminar by ISPR earlier this weak, Chief of Army Staff had also expressed his views on economy, calling it interlinked with the security. He had urged to implement NAP to bring political and economical stability in the country.

Referring to Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s address to a seminar in Karachi, Major General Asif Ghafoor said the Army Chief had given proposals for strengthening the economy.

The DG ISPR said that said if the national economy was not bad then it was also not in a very good condition. He said Pakistan Army was looking after the matters of national security.

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No compromise on democracy, says Imran

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan has said that he is willing to compromise on the ruling government but not on democracy.

Addressing a public meeting here on Friday he said the ruling government has no respect for democracy or state’s institutions.

Criticising Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz President Nawaz Sharif, he said: “Nawaz has been disqualified because he stole nation’s money.”

Nawaz has about Rs300 billion abroad, all of which he stole from the nation, Imran reiterated. “Nawaz will go to any limit to escape accountability.”

Moreover, he claimed that Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is just a mere puppet of the Sharif family.

The PTI chief spoke about commotion that took place earlier in the day, saying the Sharif family does not want cases against them to be proceeded. He added if the money laundering charges against the Sharifs are proven their Rs300 million abroad will be seized.

About the NA-4 by-elections, Imran urged the public to go out to vote to give a message that they want to see the nation prosper. Imran also lashed out at Pakistan Peoples Party Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari.

“It seems like a sign of the day of judgement that Asif Zardari thinks that corrupt practices took place in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” Imran said, referring to what Zardari said during speeches on his recent visit to the province. “Now I will be going to Sindh and will help people break free from the shackles of fear,” he claimed.

He also stressed the importance of development and progress in the country. While giving the example of Switzerland, Imran said the country has only mountains and cows from which they procure milk and butter but still its people are the happiest. He added Pakistan is rich in resources and natural beauty, despite which people are suffering.

The PTI chief shared that he has recently discovered four places amid the mountains of Kohistan and Hazara which his government has planned to open for tourists by next year. On the occasion, PTI leader Pervez Khattak congratulated Arbab Najeebullah on joining PTI.

“When we asked Arbab Najeebullah why he defected to PTI from ANP, he said he trusted Imran,” Khattak said.

While criticising those who question PTI’s slogan of change, Khattak said those who wreaked damage in the province’s police force and hospitals cannot see what change has been brought about in KP.

Police personnel were deployed on all four sides of the rally ground, situated near Ring Road, to ensure security throughout the event.

Earlier, the Election Commission of Pakistan had objected to the rally, deeming it to be in NA-4 constituency of Peshawar. However, Peshawar Deputy Commissioner Saqib Raza Aslam clarified that the rally was scheduled for NA-2.

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UK army chief arrives in Pakistan, meets Gen Bajwa

F.P. Report

RAWALPINDI: General Sir Nicholas Patrick Carter, the Chief of General Staff (CGS) UK army, met Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa at General Head Quarters Rawalpindi on Friday.

General Carter, who is in Pakistan on a two-day official visit, discussed matters of mutual interest with Bajwa, including the strengthening of bilateral security and defence cooperation between armies of the two countries.

He acknowledged Pakistan Army’s achievements in the fight against terrorism and its continued efforts for peace and stability in the region, according to a statement issued by Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR).

General Carter said the United Kingdom greatly appreciates Pakistan’s sacrifices in this regard.

On arrival at the GHQ, the UK army chief also laid a floral wreath at Yadgar-e-Shuhada. A smartly turned out contingent of Pakistan Army presented the guard of honour to the visiting dignitary.

The visiting officer will address participants of National Security and War Course later on Friday.

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Nawaz bigger threat to country than Altaf: Tahirul Qadri

DUBAI (INP): A populist cleric has called Nawaz Sharif a ‘bigger threat to the country’s integrity’ than Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) founder Altaf Hussain.

Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Tahirul Qadri said on Friday that the hooliganism of the lawyers and supporters of the PML-N at an accountability court earlier in the day was ominous.

“Now it’s abundantly clear why the Rangers were removed from the National Judicial Complex,” the cleric told a news conference in Lahore. “The security of the accountability court should be handed over to the army and Rangers,” he demanded.

The PAT chief said Sharif had resorted to unconstitutional methods as he was attacking state institutions.

“Nawaz Sharif doesn’t even consider the Supreme Court ‘Supreme’. The Sharif family is hell-bent on damaging the country’s economy and maligning the state institutions,” he said.

“If they are not stopped, the country will find itself mired in an infinite crisis,” he added. “There are no bigger terrorists and goons in the country than the Sharif family.”

Earlier on Friday, an accountability court in Islamabad adjourned the hearing of the graft cases against the Sharif family till October 19.

The decision came shortly after Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar appeared in court for the hearing of the graft cases against them.

However, chaos ensued as PML-N lawyers and supporters tried to gatecrash the courtroom forcing the judge to adjourn the hearing.

As Judge Muhammad Bashir entered the courtroom a number of lawyers forced their way into the courtroom. They reportedly surrounded the judges’ bench claiming that they were manhandled by security forces outside the court and denied entry.