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Pakistan stands for peace, stability in region: Qureshi
Mon, 20 Jan 2020 00:03:57 +0500
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi
Underscoring the need for dialogues and de-escalation in the Middle East, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that Pakistan remains committed to its core objective of promoting peace and stability in the region.

Taking to the social networking website, twitter, FM Qureshi said that he had visited Iran, Saudi Arabia, Oman, United States and Qatar recently on the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan and held constructive engagements with his counterparts on efforts to defuse tensions and promote peace in the Middle East.

He said,” Pakistan’s message I took to all; We stand for peace and stability in the region.”

The foreign minister said that during his talks with the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in New York, he underlined the critical importance of the international community’s continued attention to the sufferings of Kashmiris under Indian occupation.

He said that the longstanding Kashmir dispute should be resolved in line with the resolutions of the UN and aspirations of the Kashmiri people.

Earlier on January 18, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had said Pakistan will continue its efforts in establishing peace in the Middle East and South Asian regions as well.

Talking to Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar Sheikh Muhammad Bin Abdur Rehman, he highlighted Pakistan’s efforts to reduce tension in the Middle East.

Flour prices will start reducing by tomorrow: Bakhtiar
Sun, 19 Jan 2020 21:02:24 +0500
Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Khusro Bakhtiar
Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Khusro Bakhtiar on Sunday claimed that wheat flour prices will start reducing across the country by tomorrow.

Addressing a press conference in the federal capital, Khusro Bakhtiar said that the government has taken effective measures to overcome the flour crisis prevailing across the country.

Wheat production reduced by 1,200,000 tons due to bad weather condition, the minister said and added that 40,000 tons of wheat was being smuggled at the Chaman border.

He said that the government has decided to import wheat to overcome the prevailing flour cries. The minister assured that the government will overcome the artificial wheat crisis with 3-4 days.

Bakhtiar said that the government has fixed the price of the wheat 1365 rupees per 40 kg and it has set purchase target of 2.7 million ton wheat next year.

Khusro Bakhtiyar said that Sindh province is witnessing shortage of flour due to its own policies and failure in timely procuring the consignment provided by Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (PASSCO).

He said 9,000 tons wheat has been sent to Karachi yesterday and government is ready to provide additional flour up to one hundred thousand tons to the Sindh.

The minister said additional four to five thousand tons wheat will be supplied to Khyber Pakhunkhwa. He said that there is no shortage of wheat in Punjab as it has adequate reserve of wheat.

Speaking on the occasion, Khusro Bakhtiar underscored the need of a new agricultural policy to meet the challenges of food security. He said that it is the time for a new economic charter.

Earlier in the day, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting, Firdous Ashiq Awan, had said some elements have continued negative propaganda regarding flour prices and supplies.

Firdous Ashiq Awan, while addressing a press conference in Sialkot today, had said she had been given the task to deal with the matter related to the artificial crisis of flour in Punjab. She was of the view that it is necessary to stop negative propaganda. Sindh government had not purchased wheat on time.

 

Serious steps taken by the federal government: Siddiqui
Sun, 19 Jan 2020 20:39:36 +0500
Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui
Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui has said that serious steps were taken by the federal government.

Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, in his statement to media, said that his political party fulfilled all promises made to the federal government and now the urban areas need justice from the Centre.

The politician said the prominence of Karachi is unchanged despite it is no more a federal capital. He added that Karachi had been made federal capital by Pakistan’s founder Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah which is still the centre of industries and economic activities.

Siddiqui said that it is the time to witness how the government will show seriousness over the issue of economic terrorism made in the last 11 years. The condition of the national economy was deteriorated when the new government came in, however, it is its responsibility to control inflation.

He said MQM-P will win its case as it is impossible to make Pakistan a prosper state until the development of Karachi. Sindh can never be distributed as the national and MQM-P workers made it united, he added.

Siddiqui said MQM-P had faced serious allegations in past but now the political party will restore the development of Karachi at any cost. He vowed that they will not step back from their struggle for rights of Karachi.

Earlier on Saturday, Dr Kahlid Maqbool Siddiqui had said that the party was disgruntled over unkept promises but is now at ease as some breakthrough has been achieved.

Speaking to media after the meeting between the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and MQM-P delegations, Siddiqui said his party had highlighted the problems facing Sindh’s urban areas and Karachi and how the eighteenth amendment had wreaked havoc, “something that promised devolution of power has been used as a tool for accumulation of power.”

He also said that Sindh’s urban areas “are in the Intensive Care Unit” and those areas of the country should be taken care of by the government whose shopkeepers, traders and industrialists were “fulfilling their responsibilities” and generating revenue.

“The PTI knew about these problems before we joined hands to form the federal government,” he said, saying that the MQM-P had given the ruling party “unconditional support” during its time of need.

The MQM-P convener said talks held with the PTI delegation were “encouraging” and the demands put forward by his party were for the welfare of the people of Karachi and Sindh. He said these demands were not meant to benefit any individual or political party but the people in general.

“Sindh’s urban areas are in need of immediate relief,” he said.

Two killed as car plunges into sea in Karachi
Sun, 19 Jan 2020 20:34:32 +0500
Two killed as car plunges into sea in Karachi
Two people were killed on Sunday when a car plunged deep into the sea in the city's Defence Housing Authority (DHA) phase 8 area.

Police confirmed the identity of the dead persons, Mohammad Iftikhar, 60, and Danial Aziz, 20. Iftikhar was teaching Daniyal how to drive in the ground adjacent to the sea when the car sped out of control. It plunged into the sea, resulting in their deaths.

Police, Rangers and rescue teams arrived on the spot as soon as the incident came to light. The white coloured car was pulled out of the sea from a crane as the two persons were taken to a hospital in critical condition.

Police said Danial and Iftikhar passed away while they were being treated at the hospital. Danial was a resident of Qayyumabad while Iftikhar lived in Akhtar Colony.

Alice Wells arrives in Pakistan to discuss bilateral issues
Sun, 19 Jan 2020 20:24:41 +0500
US diplomat Alice Wells
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells arrived in Islamabad today for a four-day visit.

The visit is part of her 10-day tour of the region, during which she has already been to Sri Lanka and India before her arrival in Pakistan.

In Islamabad, she will meet senior Pakistani government officials and members of civil society to discuss issues of bilateral and regional concerns, including Afghanistan and the Middle East tensions.

Wells' visit to Pakistan comes on the heels of Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi's visit to United States where he met with United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and UN President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande. On his trip, the foreign minister also exchanged views with US lawmakers on Pakistan-US bilateral relations and important regional matters of mutual interest, including Afghanistan peace process and Kashmir issue.

During his meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Qureshi said that Pakistan desired peace and stability in the region and was committed to playing its role in ending the prevailing tensions in the region.

Furthermore, Qureshi told his American counterpart that it was due to the joint peace efforts of Pakistan and US that after 40 years of confrontation, the news of peace through political settlement was coming from Afghanistan.

He said that Pakistan was playing its sincere role for the common cause of peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Pompeo appreciated Pakistan for its sincere efforts to mediate for a “political solution in Afghanistan”, “Afghan peace process” as well as for a peaceful neighborhood.

Wells' last visit to Islamabad in August 2019 had come a day after the Indian government had rushed through a presidential decree to abolish Article 370 of the constitution that granted special status to Indian occupied Kashmir.

Another spell of rain, snowfall to hit Gilgit Baltistan and Balochistan
Sun, 19 Jan 2020 18:51:08 +0500
Gilgit Baltistan
Another spell of rain and snowfall is expected at isolated places in northwest Balochistan and Gilgit Baltistan region, Media reported on Sunday.

According to weather department report, fresh wet spell will begin today.

Rain and snowfall is expected at scattered places in northeast Balochistan, hilly areas of upper Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan on Monday (tomorrow), while at isolated places in upper Punjab, plain areas of central and lower Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Islamabad.

After recent snowfall Gilgit Baltistan region hit by a very cold weather as mercury has dropped to minus 21 Celsius in Skardu again. Most areas of Gilgit Baltistan remained below the freezing point.

The temperature has plunged to minus 27 Celsius in upper areas of the region, according to a weather report.

The snowfall has blocked roads and people of the upper regions suffering from an insane blood curdling cold weather.

Minimum temperature in Astore remained -16°C, Gupis -15°C, Kalam -14°C, Kalat -11°C, Bagrote -10°C, Parachinar -09°C and Quetta -08°Celsius.

Some elements continued negative propaganda regarding flour prices: Firdous Awan
Sun, 19 Jan 2020 15:23:56 +0500
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting, Firdous Ashiq Awan
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting, Firdous Ashiq Awan, said some elements have continued negative propaganda regarding flour prices and supplies.

Firdous Ashiq Awan, while addressing a press conference in Sialkot today, said she has been given the task to deal with the matter related to the artificial crisis of flour in Punjab. She was of the view that it is necessary to stop negative propaganda. Sindh government has not purchased wheat on time.

“It is the federal government’s responsibility to provide food across the country. Sindh government showed negligence over wheat supplies despite the federal government took the decision to provide 400,000 tons of wheat to Sindh out of which the province took 100,000 tons so far. It is the failure of Sindh authorities to supply wheat to its flour mills.

“Over directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan, a fast track mechanism is being introduced and a helpline is established against the artificial crisis of flour. Moreover, strict action against responsible persons who are increasing prices is needed. We will reduce flour prices through sale points and Punjab government also initiated crackdowns against the selling of flour on increased rates.”

The federal government is providing subsidy on flour to 815 mills, whereas, the owners are needed to stop selling of flour on increased rates, said Awan, adding that action will be taken over selling 20-kilogram flour sack for more than Rs805.

“PM Imran Khan has said to take strict action against hoarders and profiteers,” said the special assistant.

“Some elements are giving a false impression that the present government would not complete its term. I am giving them a clear message that the current government and its coalition partners will complete its five-year tenure. The government and its coalition partners are on the same page for the prosperity and development of the nationals.”

“Government is in talks with coalition parties including Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) and we will give good news soon. The implementation of PM’s Rs162 billion package for Karachi has commenced.”

“Punjab citizens had previously experienced political actors in the face of rulers. Those targeting Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar are indirectly targeting PM Imran Khan. Punjab government is working efficiently for providing relief to its citizens. CM Buzdar and its team will complete its 5-year term.”

Commenting over the national economy, Awan said that the past government were responsible for artificially controlling the US dollar rates. The present government has prevented the national economy from bankruptcy.

PM Imran urges UNMOGIP’s return to IOJK-side of ceasefire line
Sun, 19 Jan 2020 13:56:42 +0500
Prime Minister Imran Khan
Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan urged UN Security Council to insist Indian government for allowing the return of the United Nations Military Observer Mission in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to occupied Jammu and Kashmir side of the Line of Control (LoC).

PM Imran Khan, in his Twitter messages, expressed fear of false flag operation from India and urged UNSC for sending UNMOGIP to the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJK) of the ceasefire line.

The premier highlighted the aggression of the Indian troops once again, saying that the occupation forces continued to target and kill civilians across the LOC with increasing intensity and frequency.

PM Khan added, “There is an urgent need for UN SC to insist India allow UNMOGIP return to IOJK-side of LOC. We fear an Indian false flag operation.”

He warned Pakistan will not remain an inactive observer if India continues its military attacks killing civilians along the LoC.

Earlier on Friday, Pakistan had strongly condemned Indian Chief of Defense Staff General Bipin Rawat’s remarks about “deradicalization camps” for Kashmir children and seeking to place Pakistan on Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) blacklist.

Most experienced statesman of Muslim world faces same problems as my govt: PM Khan
Sun, 19 Jan 2020 11:24:47 +0500
Prime Minister Imran Khan and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad
Prime Minister Imran Khan in a tweet on Sunday said Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, whom he billed as the most experienced and accomplished statesman of the Muslim world, faces exactly the same problems as his government.

Sharing a report listing “startling similarities” between Pakistan’s situation and that of Malaysia, the prime minister tweeted: “The most experienced and accomplished statesman of the Muslim world faces exactly the same problems as my govt.”

“He [Malaysian PM] is confronted with an entrenched pol mafia that has bankrupted and indebted Malaysia, leaving state institutions devastated.”

In a meeting with the Malaysian prime minister’s special envoy and Deputy Foreign Minister Marzuki Bin Haji Yahya last year in Nov, PM Imran Khan had reaffirmed his commitment to further deepening Pakistan-Malaysia relations in all fields.

 

US diplomat to arrives Islamabad
Sun, 19 Jan 2020 09:37:48 +0500
US diplomat to arrive Islamabad today
US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells is arriving in Islamabad today on a four-day official visit.

Alice Wells will be visiting Pakistan on the last leg of her three-nation tour following Sri Lanka and India from January 13-14 and 15-18, respectively, the US State Department had earlier said.

She will meet senior government officials and members of civil society to discuss issues of bilateral and regional concern.

Read More: Alice Wells lauds Pakistan’s economic reformsHer visit follows on the heels of Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s three-day visit to the US.

During his stay in Washington and New York, he held wide-ranging talks with the US administration and held important meetings with the UN Secretary-General and Presidents of the US Security Council and the UN General Assembly.

The foreign minister apprised them about the alarming situation in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and conveyed Pakistan’s serious concerns.

He held important meetings with the senior members of the US Senate, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, US Advisor on National Security and other important figures in the US administration.

Qureshi apprised them about Pakistan’s efforts to de-escalate tensions in the Middle East, Afghan reconciliation process and the regional peace, besides, his recent visits to Iran and Saudi Arabia.


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