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  • US wants to continue ‘honest relationship’ with Pakistan

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    The Nation. Lauding the efforts being made by Pakistan and its willingness to keep cooperating in the fight against terrorism, US Centcom Commander Gen Joseph L Votel yesterday stressed that Pakistani soil should not be used by terrorists against its neighbours.

    General Votel, who is heading a military delegation on a two-day visit to Pakistan, called on Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Saturday.

    “In his discussions with Pakistani leaders, he [Gen Votel] emphasised that all parties must work to ensure that Pakistani soil is not used to plan or conduct terrorist attacks against its neighbours,” read a statement from United States Central Command (Centcom).

    The US embassy quoted Votel as saying, “Military cooperation, and even stronger cooperation with Pakistan, is very important, and we deeply appreciate the hospitality and willingness to continue an honest and open relationship.”

    He said that the United States values its relations with Islamabad and fully understands its importance in achieving the objective of peace and security in Afghanistan, according a press release by PM’s office.

    General Votel also underscored that the South Asian review undertaken by the US would take into account Pakistan’s efforts in fighting terrorism and its commitment to peace and security in Afghanistan.

    The prime minister, one the other hand, underscored that Pakistan has an important stake in peace and stability in Afghanistan as it has suffered the most due to the conflict in that country.

    “Pakistan is committed to its support for the Afghan people. This has been manifest by the presence of more than 5 million refugees in Pakistan for over three decades,” Abbasi said.

    Prime Minister Khaqan Abbasi said that Pakistan continues to support the Afghan government and its society in many ways including scholarships to Afghan students and infrastructural development.

    He expressed concern about the presence of Daesh in Afghanistan which could threaten all its neighbours.

    The prime minister however agreed with General Votel on the importance of working closely to address issues of regional concerns.

    He referred to the unacceptable situation of human rights in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir where a very large Indian military presence was used for the oppression of the innocent Kashmiri people, who only sought the realisation of their right to self-determination.

    Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir, National Security Adviser Lt-Gen (r) Nasser Khan Janjua and Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua were also present during the meeting.

    The Centcom Commander had met Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa the other day and both sides had a delegation level meeting, focusing Afghanistan.

    The GHQ meeting came on the day President Trump had gathered his national security team at Camp David to devise a new strategy for Afghanistan to end the stalemate in the 16-year bloody conflict.

    As American media reported on Friday that the meeting had failed to produce any concrete results, Trump tweeted that important decisions had been made which would be revealed at a suitable time.

     

     

    NWA Visit  –  The US military delegation also visited North Waziristan Agency on Saturday. The team was briefed about Pak Army’s operations in NWA and about Pak-Afghan border security mechanism through enhanced surveillance measures.

    The delegation was also briefed about progress on the socio-economic developments including return of Temporarily Displaced Persons (TDPs).

    The visiting dignitaries appreciated efforts and sacrifices of Pakistan Army and local tribes for re-establishing peace and order in the area. They also realised the importance of Pak-Afghan bilateral border security coordination.

    Later the delegation visited APS Miranshah and interacted with students.

    Earlier, upon their arrival in North Waziristan, the delegation was received by Peshawar Corps Commander Lt-Gen Nazir Ahmad Butt. Chief of General Staff Lt-Gen Bilal Akbar accompanied the delegation.

    Islamabad, Kabul agree to enhance cooperation

    On the other hand, Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Nasir Andesha, who is also on a visit to Pakistan, called on Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua.

    According to press statement, they discussed ways to strengthen cooperation between the countries in diverse fields as well as in the efforts for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.

    Recognising that terrorism was a common enemy of the two countries and its peoples, the foreign secretary and the Afghan deputy foreign minister agreed for deepening cooperation and coordinating in counter-terrorism efforts with a view to eliminate this menace.

    The foreign secretary underlined the need for enhancing economic cooperation, trade, transit and connectivity for the mutual benefit of the people of the two countries.

    In this regard, she emphasised the need of expediting infrastructure and energy connectivity projects between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    Nasir Andesha is visiting Pakistan to mark the Afghan Independence Day and for the foundation-laying ceremony of the new Afghan Embassy in the Diplomatic Enclave in Islamabad.

    Earlier this week, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua also visited Kabul on August 15 for meetings with Afghan leadership for strengthening bilateral engagement.


    THE NATION

     

     

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  • Train derails in northern India, killing at least 23 injuring over 40

    Indian police watch as rescue work is in progress near the upturned coaches of the Kalinga-Utkal Express after an accident near Khatauli, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, India, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. Several coaches of the passenger train derailed, causing fatalities and injuries in northern India on Saturday, officials said. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

    Daily Mail. (AP) – Rescuers using cutting torchers and cranes worked through the night to pull apart 14 coaches of a crowded train that went off the tracks in northern India, killing 23 people and injuring more than 80 others, officials said Sunday.

    Two of the coaches piled on top of one another, while 12 others toppled off the tracks, said Arvind Kumar, a top official in Uttar Pradesh state, where the train derailed overnight.

    Railway police and local volunteers helped pull passengers out of the upturned coaches of the Kalinga-Utkal Express, which was travelling to the Hindu holy city of Haridwar from the temple town of Puri, in the eastern state of Orissa.

    Indian police watch as rescue work is in progress near the upturned coaches of the Kalinga-Utkal Express after an accident near Khatauli, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, India, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. Several coaches of the passenger train derailed, causing fatalities and injuries in northern India on Saturday, officials said. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

    Indian police watch as rescue work is in progress near the upturned coaches of the Kalinga-Utkal Express after an accident near Khatauli, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, India, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. Several coaches of the passenger train derailed, causing fatalities and injuries in northern India on Saturday, officials said. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

    As the day dawned, at least one official accused the railways of negligence, saying cracks in the track had been seen a day before and no train should have been allowed on the damaged line.

    “We had spotted a break in the rail track on Friday and all day workers were at the site repairing the track,” said Rajendra Kumar, the station master at Khatauli, a small town where the accident took place.

    Kumar said that some trains, moving very slowly, had passed earlier Saturday, which is why the Kalinga-Utkal Express too was allowed to move on the track.

    “This train driver too had been cautioned to move very slowly. The engine and first four coaches stayed upright, while the next 14 coaches derailed,” Kumar said.

    Federal Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu ordered an investigation, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted his condolences to the victims’ families and pledged monetary and other help.

    Accidents are relatively common on India’s massive but poorly maintained railway network. Safety standards on the state-run system, which operates 9,000 passenger trains and carries some 23 million passengers every day, has been an ongoing concern amid a spate of accidents.

    A man takes a selfie photo near the upturned coaches of the Kalinga-Utkal Express after an accident near Khatauli, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, India, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. Several coaches of a passenger train derailed, causing fatalities and injuries in northern India on Saturday, officials said. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

    A man takes a selfie photo near the upturned coaches of the Kalinga-Utkal Express after an accident near Khatauli, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, India, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. Several coaches of a passenger train derailed, causing fatalities and injuries in northern India on Saturday, officials said. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

    Indian policemen stand guard near the upturned coaches of the Kalinga-Utkal Express after an accident near Khatauli, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, India, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. Several coaches of a passenger train derailed, causing fatalities and injuries in northern India on Saturday, officials said. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

    Indian policemen stand guard near the upturned coaches of the Kalinga-Utkal Express after an accident near Khatauli, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, India, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. Several coaches of a passenger train derailed, causing fatalities and injuries in northern India on Saturday, officials said. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

    A rescuer from national disaster response forces (NDRF) takes a break from rescue operations next to the upturned coaches of the Kalinga-Utkal Express after an accident near Khatauli, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, India, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. Six coaches of a passenger train derailed in northern India on Saturday, killing more than 20 people and injuring dozens, officials said. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

    A rescuer from national disaster response forces (NDRF) takes a break from rescue operations next to the upturned coaches of the Kalinga-Utkal Express after an accident near Khatauli, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, India, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. Six coaches of a passenger train derailed in northern India on Saturday, killing more than 20 people and injuring dozens, officials said. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

    Rescuers carry the body of a victim recovered from upturned coaches of the Kalinga-Utkal Express after an accident near Khatauli, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, India, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. Six coaches of a passenger train derailed in northern India on Saturday, killing more than 20 people and injuring dozens, officials said. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

    Rescuers carry the body of a victim recovered from upturned coaches of the Kalinga-Utkal Express after an accident near Khatauli, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, India, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. Six coaches of a passenger train derailed in northern India on Saturday, killing more than 20 people and injuring dozens, officials said. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

    An Indian boy walks past the upturned coaches of the Kalinga-Utkal Express after an accident near Khatauli, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, India, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. Six coaches of a passenger train derailed in northern India on Saturday, killing more than 20 people and injuring dozens, officials said. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

    An Indian boy walks past the upturned coaches of the Kalinga-Utkal Express after an accident near Khatauli, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, India, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. Six coaches of a passenger train derailed in northern India on Saturday, killing more than 20 people and injuring dozens, officials said. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

    Rescuers try to retrieve the body of a victim from upturned coaches of the Kalinga-Utkal Express after an accident near Khatauli, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, India, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. Six coaches of a passenger train derailed in northern India on Saturday, killing more than 20 people and injuring dozens, officials said. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

    Rescuers try to retrieve the body of a victim from upturned coaches of the Kalinga-Utkal Express after an accident near Khatauli, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, India, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. Six coaches of a passenger train derailed in northern India on Saturday, killing more than 20 people and injuring dozens, officials said. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

    Rescuers try to retrieve the body of a victim from upturned coaches of the Kalinga-Utkal Express after an accident near Khatauli, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, India, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. Six coaches of a passenger train derailed in northern India on Saturday, killing more than 20 people and injuring dozens, officials said. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

    Rescuers try to retrieve the body of a victim from upturned coaches of the Kalinga-Utkal Express after an accident near Khatauli, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, India, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. Six coaches of a passenger train derailed in northern India on Saturday, killing more than 20 people and injuring dozens, officials said. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

    Rescuers carry the body of a victim recovered from upturned coaches of the Kalinga-Utkal Express after an accident near Khatauli, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, India, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. Six coaches of a passenger train derailed in northern India on Saturday, killing more than 20 people and injuring dozens, officials said. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

    Rescuers carry the body of a victim recovered from upturned coaches of the Kalinga-Utkal Express after an accident near Khatauli, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, India, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. Six coaches of a passenger train derailed in northern India on Saturday, killing more than 20 people and injuring dozens, officials said. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

    Rescuers and onlookers stand near the upturned coaches of the Kalinga-Utkal Express after an accident near Khatauli, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, India, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.  Six coaches of a passenger train derailed in northern India on Saturday, killing more than 20 people and injuring dozens, officials said. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

    Rescuers and onlookers stand near the upturned coaches of the Kalinga-Utkal Express after an accident near Khatauli, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, India, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017. Six coaches of a passenger train derailed in northern India on Saturday, killing more than 20 people and injuring dozens, officials said. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)


    DAILY MAIL UK

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  • Elected govt is ‘actual establishment’: Abbasi

    QUETTA, PAKISTAN, AUG 19: Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi chairs a meeting on 
Law and Orders situation of Balochistan, held in Quetta on Saturday, August 19, 2017. 
(PPI Images).

    Daily Times. Rejecting reports of any friction between institutions, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Saturday said that the elected government was the actual establishment. He was talking to reporters after his arrival in Quetta on an official visit.

    “There is no clash between any institution and the government. Such reports only exist in the media,” he said. To a question about Pakistan People’s Party Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari’s recent statement, the PM said that political parties should continue the dialogue process. “Zardari will be included in the dialogue. It is just a politically-charged statement as the general elections are being held next year,” he said. To another question about references filed against Nawaz Sharif by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Abbasi said that it was the right of institutions to file references. “Let them file references, we will respond to them,” he said, adding that everyone had the right to defend his position. “The people of Pakistan will give their verdict after June 4, 2018,” he said. Abbasi said that his government would continue the projects which were initiated in Balochistan by Nawaz Sharif. “The government will complete the gas project started in Balochistan at the cost of Rs 15 billion. Water issues in Balochistan will also be resolved for the welfare of the people,” he said. “Our objective is to resolve the problems of the masses. We will continue to do that,” he said. He said that the government was taking effective steps to root out terrorism from Balochistan and the rest of the country. “Balochistan is among our top priorities. It will become the richest province,” he said.


    DAILY TIMES

     

     

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  • NA speaker’s reference against Justice Khosa?

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    The News International. After the media reports that circulated the whole day and sparked the storm that the speaker National Assembly has filed a reference against the Supreme Court Judge Justice Asif Saeed Khosa in the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC), Ayaz Sadiq eventually denied filing any such reference.

    The speaker said while talking to a private news channel that someone has drafted the purported draft on the media very carefully and with lot of effort. He said the purported draft carries important points, however, it is not genuine.

    The National Assembly Secretariat also came out with a clarification on Saturday evening that the speaker has not filed any reference against any judge.

    In a brief text message, spokesperson for the National Assembly Secretariat denied the reports of sending reference against Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, asking media to refrain
    from any exaggeration or attributing false statements to the speaker. “News regarding the speaker is false and speculation should be refrained from,” said the spokesperson.

    The denial came hours after media reports claimed that the National Assembly speaker has filed a reference against Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, who was head of apex court’s five-member bench that had delivered its ruling in Panama Papers case.

    Earlier, it was reported that a debate regarding the filing of reference against Supreme Court’s judge by Ayaz Sadiq continued with certain quarters claiming that no reference is being prepared at the moment. Sources in the National Assembly Secretariat told The News that no reference has been sent to the SJC, nor it was drafted.

    The alleged draft of the reference or complaint against Justice Khosa by Ayaz Sadiq was shown and posted in mainstream electronic and online media and the political commentators gave their diversified opinion on this hot topic.

    Sources said it is quite clear that the alleged draft of the reference was circulated by the people associated with the ruling party but one cannot give a sweeping statement about their real motive behind this move. When contacted, a couple of government officials also denied preparation of reference against Justice Khosa stating, “We have also heard it through media that the NA speaker has filed complaint against Justice Khosa. But there is no truth in it as it is a fabricated news.”

    Reportedly, the alleged reference used unusually harsh language against honourable Justice Khosa, including the statement that the honourable judge “miserably failed to comprehend and appreciate” the speaker’s powers under the Constitution; that he “is either totally ignorant of the provisions of the Constitution […] or he has been prejudiced by his pre-inclination to condemn the constitutional offices of the state”; and that the judge’s continuation in office would give him “further opportunity to write such biased, ill-founded and disputed judgments.”

    Other accusations included Justice Khosa’s alleged contempt for the speaker’s position according to the Warrant of Precedent and the insinuation that the honourable judge “tarnished the noble image and reputation enjoyed by the judiciary in Pakistan and the comity of nations.”

    It was also stated that under the Supreme Judicial Council’s Procedure Of Inquiry, 2005, the punishment for a frivolous complaint against a sitting judge is detailed as follows: “Whenever the Council finds that the information or evidence provided to it was false in material particulars or with the sole intention to malign a judge, or to scandalise the court or to undermine it in any form whatsoever, it may direct action against all those who are found to have provided the said information, or evidence as the case may be.”

    The ‘reference’ referred to a section of Justice Khosa’s April 20 judgement on the Panama Papers case, in which the judge had observed that the speaker had failed to file a reference against the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

    The paragraph in question from Justice Khosa’s judgement reads as follows:

    “… It is practically he [the Chief Executive of the Federation] who appoints the heads of all the institutions in the country which could have inquired into or investigated the allegations levelled against respondent No. 1 [Nawaz Sharif] and his family on the basis of the Panama Papers. Even the speaker of the National Assembly who could refer the matter to the Election Commission of Pakistan belongs to his political party and is his nominee.”

    “These petitions had been entertained by this Court in the backdrop of an unfortunate refusal/failure on the part of all the relevant institutions in the country like the National Accountability Bureau, the Federal Investigation Agency, the State Bank of Pakistan, the Federal Board of Revenue, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and the speaker of the National Assembly to inquire into or investigate the matter or to refer the matter to the Election Commission of Pakistan against respondent No. 1 [Nawaz Sharif].

    Interestingly, the document carried no signatures or stamps to suggest where it originated from.

    Meanwhile, opposition leaders Imran Khan, Ch Shujaat Hussain, Pervaiz Ilahi and Sheikh Rashid Ahmad pledged to resist any effort to move Supreme Judicial Council against the honourable SC judge.

    Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan on Saturday accused NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq of having mala fide intent to protect ex-PM Nawaz Sharif’s corruption.

    “Speaker Ayaz Sadiq’s reference against Justice Khosa has exposed his mala fide intent of going all out simply to protect Nawaz Sharif’s corruption. Ayaz’s comment that his office is not an investigative agency raises the question as to how could he forward reference against me & Jahangir Khan Tareen while rejecting reference against Nawaz Sharif,” he charged in messages on social media.

    He alleged that Ayaz Sadiq had revealed his bias earlier and now it is clear he is not fit to occupy the office of Speaker NA. He must resign immediately.


    THE NEWS INTERNATIONAL

     

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  • With WB-funded project, Murad hopes to give Karachi a new look

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    The News International. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Friday announced the provincial government’s plans for the successful execution of the World Bank-funded ‘Karachi Neighbourhood Improvement Project’ that is aimed at restoration of the metropolis’ Old City areas.

    Presiding over a meeting held to discuss the project, Murad said he had both short and long-term plans in store to transform Karachi which include road infrastructure development, restoring old buildings, building more parks and implementing a proper traffic management system.

    “This is why I am going to launch the World Bank funded project which is bound to give this city a new look and a new face – a face of development, peace and prosperity,” the CM stated.

    The meeting was attended by provincial ministers Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, Jam Khan Shoro, Syed Nasir Hussain Shah and Syed Sardar Shah, Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon, Planning and Development Chairman Mohammad Waseem, Principal Secretary to CM Sohail Rajput, Secretary Finance Hassan Naqvi, Secretary Transport Saeed Awan, Additional IG Traffic Mushtaq Maher, Secretary Local government Ramzan Awan, KNIP Project Director Khair Mohammad Kalwar and others.

    The chief minister said the WB, on the request of the Sindh government, had carried out a Karachi City Diagnostic (KCD) to assist the provincial government in implementing the Karachi Transformation Strategy (KTS) through short and long-term engagements.

    According to the KCD, around $10 billion were required to overcome the city’s infrastructural gaps within a decade, he said.    Speaking at the meeting, chairman P&D said that as a short-term plan, the international financial institution agreed to support KNIP as it focuses on fast, low cost and high impact interventions to address city’s emerging needs.

    He said the project would serve as a means to reengage with the WB and build a long-term partnership with the Sindh government. “As of now, the KNIP stands approved by the ECNEC (Executive Committee of National Economic Council), whereas a loan agreement between the provincial government and the WB has also been signed.”

    The project’s director while giving a presentation to the chief minister said the project would cost around $98 million; of the estimated amount, an expenditure of $12 million would be borne by the Sindh government.

    Discussing the projects Component-I, Public Space and Mobility Improvements, the project director stated that it includes uplifting the Saddar, Malir and Korangi areas. To improve mobility in the areas, Murad directed the city traffic police chief to work with the project director to devise traffic plans for the areas.

    The city commissioner was also directed to start removing encroachments from Saddar, which falls under Phase-I of the project, so that restoration work could begin within a month. Murad also directed the project director to start inviting tenders for reconstruction work within two weeks.

    KCR groundbreaking

    Planning on performing the Karachi Circular Project’s groundbreaking on December 25, this year, – on the occasion of Quaid-e-Azam’s birthday –Murad directed the provincial transportation department to make all out efforts to float international tenders for the project by October.

    He issued these directives while presiding over a meeting held to discuss the KCR project at the CM House. Murad said the KCR is a project of utmost importance and has been included, after the Sindh government’s constant efforts, in the list of developmental works being carried out under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.

    Murad directed the planning and development department’s chairman to expedite the paperwork and have the project approved by ECNEC.On this the chief minister directed Chairman P&D Mohammad Waseem to expedite the paper work for placing the project in ECNEC. “I want the international tenders for the project to be invited by October 2017.”

    He constituted a task force to formulate a plan of action and take immediate measures for the removal of encroachments.The team will be headed by the city commissioner and includes all deputy commissioners, metropolitan commissioner Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, director general Karachi Development Authority, director general Sindh Mass Transit Cell, managing director Karachi Urban Transport Corporation, municipal commissioners of all DMCs and DIG Karachi.

    The team is also to propose a compensation package for the people affected by the project. Murad said the initial estimated cost of the KCR is around $2 billion and the Sindh government would release the mobilisation cost so that work could begin in December.

    Sindh Mental Authority

    Around four years after the relevant legislation was passed, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Friday approved the establishment of the Sindh Mental Health Authority and appointed Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Karim Ahmed Khawaja as the authority’s first chairman.

    According to the CM House’s spokesman, the health secretary will also hold additional charge as secretary of the newly established authority. The Sindh Mental Health Act, which was passed by the provincial assembly on September 19, 2013, aims at regulating the matters relating to the mentally disordered persons with respect to their care, treatment, management of their property, and other related matters.


    THE NEWS INTERNATIONAL

     

     

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  • Dr Ruth laid to rest after highest level state funeral

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    Pakistan Today. A state funeral with full national honours was held in Karachi for Dr Ruth Pfau, a symbol of selflessness and devotion who passed away at the age of 87 earlier this month.

    Pfau was a German-Pakistani doctor who dedicated her life to helping leprosy patients in Pakistan and is one of the founders of Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre (MALC).

    Armed forces personnel carried the casket containing Dr Pfau’s body into St Patrick’s Cathedral in Karachi’s Saddar area on Saturday. The coffin was draped in the Pakistani flag and covered with rose petals.

    After her final rites were performed at the church, the coffin of ‘Pakistani Mother Teresa’ Dr Pfau was taken to Gora Qabaristan, Karachi’s oldest graveyard, where she was laid to rest.

    The burial ceremony was attended by many state dignitaries including President Mamnoon Hussain, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, Sindh Governor Muhammad Zubair, Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman and Deputy Chief of Naval Staff (Operations) Vice Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, who laid floral wreaths on her grave.

    Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had earlier announced a state funeral for Dr Pfau, saying: “The entire nation is indebted to Ruth Pfau for her selflessness and unmatched services for eradication of leprosy.”

    This was the second state funeral to have taken place in Pakistan in past 29 years, with the last one accorded to late philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi last year.

    Politicians, military officials, members of civil society and hundreds of supporters attended the service and paid tribute to Dr Pfau.

    Martha Fernando, who worked with Pfau at MALC, said the physician’s death was a great loss to humanity.

    “There is no one like her and there won’t be any replacement to her. We pray to God to send people like her again to this world so that they could continue serving people,” she said.

    Dr Pfau, who was German by birth, had been sent to Pakistan in 1960 by the Daughters of the Heart of Mary, a congregation of nuns that she was a member of, for a medical service for students. After witnessing the plight of leprosy patients, she decided to settle here. She was granted Pakistani citizenship in 1988.

    In 1979, she was awarded the Hilal-i-Imtiaz, the second highest civilian award of the country. In 1989, Dr Pfau was presented the Hilal-i-Pakistan for her services.

    Due to Dr Pfau’s efforts, Pakistan was declared a leprosy-free country in 1996 by the World Health Organization.


    PAKISTAN TODAY

     

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  • Bajwa counts actions as Trump readies Afghan policy

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    The Nation. US CENTCOM commander led a delegation to Rawalpindi and met with Pakistan Army high command on Friday, the day President Trump had assembled his national security team at Camp David to find a way to break Afghanistan ‘stalemate’.

    Heading his team, United States Central Command chief General Joseph L Votel discussed with General Qamar Javed Bajwa matters of professional interest, with special focus on security situation in Afghanistan, ISPR said.

    The COAS highlighted the importance Pakistan accords to its relations with US – particularly security cooperation and efforts towards regional stability, the military’s media wing said in a press release issued after the meeting, which was also attended by US Ambassador to Pakistan David Hale.

    Afghanistan situation and Pakistan’s role in a possible way forward must have been the focus of the discussion at the GHQ since the US has got increasingly impatient with the protracted Afghan war.

    Trump’s generals have called the conflict a “stalemate”, and even after 16 years of intensive help from Nato, Afghanistan’s security forces still are struggling to hold back an emboldened Taliban.

    “Heading to [the presidential retreat of] Camp David for major meeting on National Security, the Border and the Military (which we are rapidly building to strongest ever),” Trump said on Twitter ahead of the talks.

    At the crucial meeting, Trump has to decide if he wants to continue on the current course, which relies on a relatively small US-led Nato force to help Afghan partners push back the Taliban, or he wants to try a new tack such as adding more forces – or even withdrawing altogether.

    Defence Secretary Jim Mattis had initially promised to provide a new plan for Afghanistan by mid-July. But Trump appears dissatisfied by initial proposals to add a few thousand more troops, and the strategy has been expanded to include the broader South Asia region, notably Pakistan.

    We are “coming very close to a decision, and I anticipate it in the very near future,” Mattis told reporters Thursday.

    This is why the defence and strategic experts in Pakistan believed General Votel must have come to General Bajwa with some very specific demands, in line with the new plan the US is going to adopt for Afghanistan.

    But the ISPR press release was completely silent about what the Americans said or demanded. It just talked about what Pakistanis told the visitors and focused on Islamabad’s contribution to the international efforts to put things right in Afghanistan and its sacrifices against terrorism.

    The ISPR quoted the COAS as saying that Pakistan has undertaken operations against terrorists of all hue and colour. He reiterated his commitment to work in close coordination with Afghan security forces and US-led Resolute Support Mission (RSM) for improved security environment in Pakistan-Afghanistan border region.

    While referring to Afghanistan and Pak-US relations, COAS said that no other country has more interest for peace in Afghanistan than Pakistan, the press release said.

    He further said “more than financial or material assistance, we seek acknowledgement of our decades long contributions towards regional peace and stability, understanding of our challenges and most importantly the sacrifices Pakistani nation and its security forces have rendered in fight against terrorism and militancy.”

    The visit of the US commander came at the heels of the US declaring Hizbul Mujahideen, a Kashmiri freedom fighting outfit, a terrorist organisation – a move that invited strong reaction from Pakistan.

    The Foreign Office spokesman Mafees Zakaria commenting on the US move said that declaring terrorist such organisations as are supporting freedom struggle in Occupied Kashmir lacked any justification.

    He further said that entire world stands witness to the unlawful occupation of Kashmir by Indian forces and inhuman treatment towards Kashmiris by Indian forces. He said, “It is India, which is to be held responsible for the continuous bloodshed in the held territory.”

    As for US trouble in Afghanistan, the situation in the war-torn country remains as deadly as ever – with more than 2,500 Afghan police and troops killed between January 1 and May 8, continuing a deadly trend from previous years.

    In an early move to address the situation, Trump gave Mattis broad powers to set troop numbers in Afghanistan and elsewhere. But several months later, the level remains stuck at about 8,400 US and about 5,000 Nato troops.

    The Taliban published an open letter to Trump this week warning him against sending more US troops and calling for the complete withdrawal of foreign forces.

    “Previous experiences have shown that sending more troops to Afghanistan will not result in anything other than further destruction of American military and economic might,” the letter stated.

    Now this remains to be seen that what kind of shift Trump Administration brings in its policy and how far it succeeds in securing Pakistan’s cooperation in any new strategy.


    THE NATION

     

     

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  • Pakistani PM meets U.S. Central Command chief on security issues

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    Xinhua Net. Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Saturday expressed concern about the presence of Daesh in Afghanistan during a meeting with visiting U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Commander General Joseph L. Votel.

    The CENTCOM commander is on a two-day visit to Pakistan. The prime minister said the presence of Daesh could threaten all its neighbours, according to the PM office.

    The high level U.S. military delegation is visiting Pakistan at a time when the Trump administration is in the process of finalizing strategy for Afghanistan and the region. The policy was scheduled to be unveiled on Friday, but was postponed.

    The prime minister underscored that Pakistan had an important stake in peace and stability in Afghanistan as Pakistan has suffered the most due to conflict in that country, a statement from the PM’s office said.

    General Votel, for his part, underscored the importance that the U.S. attaches to Pakistan and Pakistan’s importance for achieving the objective of peace and security in Afghanistan. He greatly appreciated the efforts being undertaken by Pakistan in fighting terrorism, the statement said.

    The prime minister agreed with General Votel on the importance of working closely to address issues of regional concerns. He also underscored that the South Asian review undertaken by the U.S. would take into account Pakistan’s efforts in fighting terrorism and its commitment to peace and security in Afghanistan.

    The CENTCOM chief and members of his delegation also met Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa late Friday and discussed matters of professional interest with special focus on security situation in Afghanistan, the military said in a statement.

    The army chief highlighted the importance Pakistan accords to its relations with the U.S., particularly security cooperation and efforts towards regional stability, the army said.

    “Pakistan has undertaken operations against terrorists of all hue and colour,” Bajwa said, reiterating his commitment to work in close coordination with Afghan security forces and U.S.-led Resolute Support Mission for improved security environment in Pakistan-Afghanistan border region.


    XINHUA NET

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  • Kashmir-issue will be solved before 2022: Rajnath Singh

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    The Express Tribune. Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh has claimed that New Delhi will find solutions to its decades-old problems including Kashmir, terrorism, naxalism and insurgency in the north-east before 2022, said an NDTV report.

    “There are a lot of problems – terrorism, naxalism, Kashmir problem. Much is not needed to be said about these problems. But I can assure you this much that by 2022, we have pledged to create a ‘new India’… So a solution will be found to all these problems before 2022. We want to assure the countrymen on this,” Singh said on Friday, according to Press Trust of India.

    He was addressing an event ‘Sankalp se Siddhi (from a pledge to accomplishment) – Celebrating the New India Movement’ in the Indian capital.

    The Indian Home Minister got down to set tough targets for the government.

    “If people could take (Quit India) pledge in 1942 and get freedom in 1947… then why can’t we make a ‘new India’ after taking [a] pledge in 2017 and realising it in 2022?” the minister said.

    He also administered an oath to his audience for making India clean, poverty-free, corruption-free, terror-free, communalism-free and casteism-free.

    Rajnath has a history of setting ambitious targets for the ministry he heads. Earlier, he had vowed to seal the Indo-Pakistan and Indo-Bangladesh borders by 2018.

    “India is planning to seal the international boundaries with Pakistan and Bangladesh as soon as possible. This could be India’s major step against terrorism and the problem of refugees,” The Times of India quoted Singh as saying in its March 2017 report.

    This story originally appeared on NDTV.


    THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE

     

     

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  • Resolution passed in NA commemorating Ruth Pfao

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    The Nation. The National Assembly of Pakistan on Thursday unanimously passed a resolution commemorating Dr Ruth Pfau, the German nun who dedicated her life to eradication of leprosy in Pakistan.

    The lawmakers observed a minute’s silence to pay her tribute on her demise.

    “This House resolves that her rich legacy of selflessness, hope and perseverance be commemorated through a befitting state funeral,” stated the resolution.

    “The house further resolves that a care foundation be set up in recognition of her services by the Government of Pakistan.”

    The resolution was presented by Minister for States and Frontier Region Lt Gen (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch.

    Dr Ruth Pfau, a German doctor popularly known as Pakistan’s ‘Mother Teresa’ for dedicating her life to eradicate leprosy in the country, died on 11th August, 2017, at a private hospital in Karachi. She was 87. She died after a prolonged age-related illness.

    She had first come to Pakistan  in 1960. The plight of leprosy victims touched her and she decided to stay to treat them. SHe founded Marie Adelaide Leprosy Centre in Karachi in 1962. The center now has branches all across Pakistan and has now treated over 50,000 families.

    Due to her tireless efforts, the World Health Organisation in 1996 declared Pakistan one of the first countries in Asia to be free of leprosy.


    THE NATION

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  • ‘I love Pakistan’s people more than its mountains’

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    The Express Tribune. American-British mountaineer, Vanessa O’Brien, who recently scaled K2, said on Tuesday that the warmth and love she received in Pakistan was matchless.

    “I love Pakistan’s people more than its mountains,” she said.

    O’Brien told media in a news conference at a local hotel here that she had found Pakistani people loving and caring. “I love Pakistan, its people and will like to travel it again,” the 52-year old, who carried flags of both the US and Pakistan atop the mountain said.

    She said she would prefer to do something for Pakistan and its youth. She said there were so many opportunities in Pakistan, adding it needed support in various sectors and she would like to do something for this country.

    O’Brien, who had already ascended Mount Everest and other top peaks around the globe said technically K2 was more difficult peak than Everest. “Less than 400 people have climbed K2 and for every five that summit it, one dies. This compares to Everest where 7,600 people have scaled that mountain.

    “As far as women, who have climbed K2, I’m officially the 20th, just a speck compared to Everest’s 489 women,” she said. Vanessa’s K2 team was comprised of climbers from China, Norway, Scotland, Pakistan and Nepal. She appreciated her team members saying, “I’m extremely proud of this team for their dedication, perseverance, bravery and commitment to reach the summit of K2 and to take additional risk.”


    THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE

     

     

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  • Gulalai says PTI is a mafia that she is fighting with

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    Pakistan Today. Former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MNA Ayesha Gulalai said on Thursday that she is fighting a political party that is a ‘mafia,’ apparently pointing out towards the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

    The lawmaker, who recently left the PTI after accusing PTI Chairman Imran Khan of sending her ‘inappropriate’ text messages, appeared in the National Assembly session yesterday wearing a traditional tribal turban.

    She said that women need to be strong, like Razia Sultana in order to fight a man in this society

    “For fighting men, a woman has to impersonate Razia Sultana,” she commented. She also reiterated that PTI leader is not very supportive of youngsters who are talented.

    In an earlier session, Ayesha Gulalai said she would not resign from her seat in the assembly. She carried on with her address despite ruckus created from the PTI benches.


    PAKISTAN TODAY

     

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