Oct 182017
10 years ago

On October 18 2007, the procession carrying Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto who had returned after an 8-year-long self-imposed exile was bombed near Karsaz, Karachi. The attack killed over 180 innocent citizens and left 500 people injured. Benazir miraculously escaped this attack, but fell victim to another fatal attempt on her life after she had just delivered a speech in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007. Both these crimes took place when the Musharraf junta was in power. Surprisingly within hours of both these incidents, the crime scene was washed and all possible traces of essential forensic evidence lost. On contrary, when Musharraf himself had two unfortunate assassination attempts in December 2003, the crime scene was barricaded for almost a week and every square millimeter was thoroughly searched. This raises serious doubts in minds of people who have not forgotten the May 12 massacre in Karachi led by the MQM and how Musharraf celebrated this brutality by raising his fists in Islamabad and termed it as a show of his power. Malik Tariq Ali (Karachi)

Oct 182017
Garbage everywhere

It is not only Karachi that is facing the worst garbage crisis. In fact, lack of cleanliness and heaps of garbage are rampant in all major cities of the country. A mass cleaning drive has commenced in Karachi by a private real-estate company. It is hoped that this step will help the city address the garbage problem in an efficient manner. The government too needs to take some steps to resolve the issue. It is a shame that even the capital city of the country is scattered with heaps of garbage. The CDA has initiated different projects to uplift civic facilities and enhance captivating beauty of Islamabad. Similarly, it should take steps to make the city clean. Dustbins should be installed on every road so that people can throw away trash in the bins. This small effort of the authorities will go a long way in keeping the city clean. Syed Safdar Abbas (Islamabad)

Oct 022017
September 2017: Inflation surges to 3.9% as price shocks shake up commodities

ISLAMABAD: Inflation increased to 3.9% last month due to sudden price shocks, contrary to expectations of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) that had anticipated no major disruption in food supply chain. Measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the inflation indicator surged to 3.9% in September as against 3.4% a month earlier, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) said on Monday. On a month-on-month basis, inflation rate was 0.6% up in September. The spike came due to a massive increase in prices of essential commodities that were short in supply in the domestic market. The rates of essential kitchen items such as onions and tomatoes went up by as much as 153.4% on an annual basis. On a year-on-year basis, food inflation rate jumped to 2.4% in September as against 1.3% a year ago. Even on a month-on-month basis food inflation accelerated to 1.3%, from just 0.4% level of a year ago. The PBS reported the average prices of onions at Rs72 per kilogram, as against Rs46 just a month ago. Similarly, the average per-kilogram tomato rates spiked to Rs102.6 per kilogram, according to the PBS. The PBS reported tomatoes at Rs121 per kilogram for Islamabad region, which is unrealistic. The commodity was sold at Rs180 per kilogram in the retail markets. Inflation rises 3.41%, but remains manageable On the back of adequate food supplies and stable international commodity prices, headline inflation decelerated in the first two months of fiscal year 2017-18. In its latest monetary policy announcement on September [Read More…]

Sep 192017
Sajjad, Bilal begin campaign on winning note

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan: Pakistan’s experienced cueists Mohammad Sajjad and Mohammad Bilal got off to an impressive start when they won their round-of-32 fixtures of the 6-Red Snooker singles competitions to move into the pre-quarter-finals of the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games here at the well-facilitated snooker and billiards arena on Tuesday. Sajjad, former World No 2 and Asian champion, defeated Jordon’s Almaaitah Sharafaldean Riyad Nahar 5-4 in the best of nine-frame contest. After winning the first frame 55-7, Sajjad failed to keep his focus, losing the second and third frames badly by margins of 2-56 and 9-75 . However, at this stage, he regained his concentration and rather showed great potting ability to lift the fourth frame 44-21 and level the score. The Jordanian once again gave tough time to Sajjad, beating him 28-34 to take a 3-2 lead. But all this did not deter Sajjad as he remarkably swept the next two frames 78-0 and 79-9 to make it 4-3 in his favour. The Jordanian once again bounced back when he secured an easy 60-8 win over Sajjad in the eighth frame to level the game 4-4. And now it was Sajjad’s turn who applied himself and took the ninth and decisive frame 41-1 to make a winning start to his journey. He will now face Alan Ho Tang Hin of Hong Kong in the pre-quarter-finals on Wednesday (today). Meanwhile, Mohammad Bilal romped to an impressive win when he humiliated Nguyen Than Ben of Vietnam 5-0 in his [Read More…]

Sep 182017
How much is enough?

Her Excellency Madam Halimah Yacob has been named new president of Singapore and she has decided to live in her own apartment. Two policemen have been posted to perform security duties at her now official residence. On the other hand, Mamnoon Hussain, the president of Pakistan, lives in a sprawling and opulent residence on Constitution Avenue in Islamabad, serviced by numerous staff. Pakistan’s per capita income is $1,468 while that of Singapore is $52,920. Pakistan’s annual exports stood at $21 billion while Singapore’s exports are over $150 billion. The contrast between economic indicators and the lifestyle of leaders is sharp and bewildering. Should we import leaders who would cost us less? I know many in Pakistan will say ‘no’, because paupers love princes. Ambassador(r) Javed Hafiz (Islamabad)

Sep 112017

ISLAMABAD: The US diplomatic mission in Pakistan is partnering with The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) to organise the 2017 edition of the Pakistan StartUp Cup competition for entrepreneurs, with the deadline for submitting applications set at September 20. Participating start-ups receive extensive mentoring and are judged on the basis of their progress during the competition, a presser released on Monday stated. Mentoring and judging sessions will be hosted in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, and Peshawar, while applications are to be submitted online. “I especially encourage women to apply.  Some great business ideas are being pursued by women, and we expect that half of the start-ups will be women-led like last year,” TiE Islamabad Executive Director Murtaza Zaidi said. “In 2016, we saw impressive women-led teams take their business ideas from a dream to a revenue-generating reality throughout the course of Pakistan StartUp Cup.” “The US Mission in Pakistan offers a range of programs to support Pakistani entrepreneurs as they pursue their business dreams,” American Embassy Cultural Affairs Officer Arlissa Reynolds said.  “Pakistan StartUp Cup is one of our most exciting opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs to test and refine their business models.” Elaborating on the competition’s theme, the press release said that it is a business model competition which can incorporate any type of business. Published in The Express Tribune, September 12th, 2017. Like Business on Facebook, follow @TribuneBiz on Twitter to stay informed and join in the conversation. The post Start-up challenge invites application appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Sep 102017

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Sunday issued a code of conduct for political parties and candidates taking part in NA-IV Peshawar by-poll. Under the ECP’s code of conduct, the executive authorities will not be allowed to use state resources during the campaign. Moreover, no transfers or postings will be made after the issuance of the election schedule. Published in The Express Tribune, September 11th, 2017. The post ECP issues code of conduct   appeared first on The Express Tribune.

Sep 042017
Pakistan Cautions Against Any US Coercive Action

ISLAMABAD � Pakistan says it seeks to amicably resolve issues with the United States, cautioning any [coercive] American action would cause instability in the country. The remarks by Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan came days after U.S. President Donald Trump singled out Pakistan for harboring terrorist organizations, including the Taliban and Haqqani network, which destabilize Afghanistan and plot attacks on American troops there. Trump did not outline what actions he might order to pressure Islamabad to move against the alleged terrorist sanctuaries. A range of punitive measures reportedly is being considered, though, such as increasing diplomatic and economic pressure, and intensifying and expanding anti-terrorism drone strikes inside Pakistan. Speaking to reporters Tuesday in Islamabad, Defense Minister Khan again rejected that there are any terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan. He said Pakistani security forces already have taken action against all terrorist groups and are in the process of eliminating their remnants in the country. Minister Khan also cited U.S. military assessments that say less then 60 percent of Afghan territory is under the control or influence of the Kabul government. That is why we are all gravely concerned about the fact that 40 percent of Afghanistan has perhaps become a safe haven [for terrorists], he said. US relationship The Pakistani minister added that his country is not feeling threatened by the U.S. following the harshly worded Trump speech. However, we are maintaining an extremely strict monitoring of our land, sea and air frontiers, noted Khan. He sounded upbeat, though, about better and [Read More…]