2017 July : AsiaNet-Pakistan

Archive for July, 2017

‫نانشا، گوانگچو میں چین (گوانگڈونگ) پائلٹ فری ٹریڈ زون میں ہانگ کانگ اور مکاؤ کی رجسٹرڈ کشتیوں کی مفت کشتی رانی کے لیے پہلا سفر

July 31, 2017 | General, Urdu

گوانگچو، چین، 28 جولائی 2017ء/سنہوا-ایشیانیٹ/– 24 جولائی کو ، ہانگ کانگ کی مادروطن کو واپسی کے 20 سال مکمل ہونے سے کچھ ہی دیر بعد نانشا ضلع، گوانگچو میں چائنا (گوانگڈونگ) پائلٹ فری ٹریڈ زون میں ہانگ کانگ اور مکاؤ میں رجسٹرڈ کشتیوں کے لیے مفت جہاز رانی کے اولین سفر کا آغاز ہوا۔ ہانگ […]

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Maiden Voyage of Free Sailing for Hong Kong and Macao-Registered Yachts in China (Guangdong) Pilot Free Trade Zone Held in Nansha, Guangzhou

July 31, 2017 | General

GUANGZHOU, China, July 28, 2017 /Xinhua-AsiaNet/– On July 24, shortly after the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland, the maiden voyage of free sailing for Hong Kong and Macao-registered yachts in China (Guangdong) Pilot Free Trade Zone was held in Nansha District, Guangzhou. Yachts from Hong Kong and Macao docked at Nansha […]

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Pakistan,Bahrain agree to enhance media cooperation

July 31, 2017 | Medical

Pakistan Ambassador to Bahrain Javed Malik has said that continuity of democracy in Pakistan guarantees a strong and stable country.He was talking to Bahraini Minister for Information in Bahrain on Sunday.Javed Malik said that Pakistan and Bahrain are …

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Nomination papers for election of leader of House be filed at NA Secretariat by 2pm today

July 31, 2017 | Legal & Politics

The National Assembly will meet on Tuesday at 3:00 pm to elect new leader of the house.After the election, the new prime minister will take oath of his office. The President will administer the oath.After taking oath, the new prime minister will consti…

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Officials: Afghan Children Smuggled to Pakistan Seminaries

July 31, 2017 | General, Sports

KABUL � It was a routine check. Two vans, both without license plates, were stopped earlier this month by police in Afghanistan’s eastern Ghazni province, where Taliban hold sway in large swaths of the countryside.

Inside, police found 27 boys between the ages of 4 and 15, all being taken illegally to Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province to study in seminaries called madrassas, according to a police report acquired by The Associated Press.

The authorities told the AP that the children were being taken to Pakistani madrassas to educate a new generation in the ways of the Taliban, with the intention of returning them to Afghanistan to enforce the same rigid interpretation of Islam practiced by the radical religious movement until its ouster by U.S.-led coalition forces in 2001.

Child trafficking

The police called it child trafficking and threw the drivers and the only other adults, two men who organized the convoy, into jail.

But the parents said they wanted their children to study in Pakistan and had willingly sent them to Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s sparsely populated Baluchistan province on the border with Afghanistan.

Quetta is significant to Afghanistan’s Taliban, many of whom graduated from madrassas there. It is also considered the headquarters of the Taliban leadership council, which is widely referred to as the Quetta shura.

An Afghan counterterrorism official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because revealing his identity could endanger him, said Afghan intelligence has identified 26 madrassas in Pakistan where it suspects future generations of Taliban are being trained and in some cases instructed in carrying out suicide bombings.

Several of the 26 madrassas he identified were in Quetta.

Sheikh Abdul Hakim madrassa was among the Quetta schools the Afghan official identified as a Taliban recruitment center. The AP went to the madrassa and was told the director, after whom the madrassa is named, was on a missionary sabbatical to preach Islam, but a teacher, Azizullah Mainkhail, said some students at the madrassa were from Afghanistan.

Religious education?

The majority, however, he said are Pakistanis from villages throughout Baluchistan. He denied affiliation with the Taliban or Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agency known by the acronym ISI and accused by Afghanistan of supporting the Taliban.

The madrassa is massive, surrounded by high walls that shelter several buildings of mud and cement. Mainkhail said 350 students live and study there.

A separate attempt in Ghazni province to move children across the border, also for religious education, was foiled by police about two weeks ago, the Afghan official said. The 13 children, from neighboring Paktika province, were also destined for religious studies, this time in seminaries in Pakistan’s sprawling Arabian Sea port city of Karachi.

Traffickers wanted to take our innocent children to the terrorist centers on the other side of the border under the pretense of Islamic studies,’ Ghazni Police Chief Mohammad Mustafa Mayar said.

Many dangers await

War, poverty, insecurity and a lack of understanding by families of the dangers awaiting their children all combine to drive the child trafficking trade in Afghanistan, said Mohammed Musa Mahmoodi of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.

Each year there are at least three or four cases of children being smuggled from province to province or across the international borders, sometimes to be used as cheap labor, other times to be recruited by the Taliban under the guise of religious education and other times for sexual abuse, says Mahmoodi.

Still, he said the problem is much greater than the few busloads of children intercepted would indicate, but corruption and a lack of training in the ways of child traffickers makes it a lucrative and fairly safe trade in Afghanistan.

Used as cheap labor

Several years ago a child trafficking ring that had taken children to Saudi Arabia to be used as cheap labor was busted, he recalled.

Parents often agree to send their children but they don’t know what is awaiting the child. Sometimes they are told they will be educated or will get a good job and be looked after, said Mahmoodi. But when they get there they are beaten, forced to work as cheap labor, taken by Taliban as new recruits.

Mohammed Naseer spent several weeks arranging for his son, a nephew and several other children from his district of Ander in Ghazni province to go to Quetta to study the Quran. His son Mohammed Yaseen is just 9 years old but he said he was excited to be going to Quetta. His dream: I want to be a mullah (cleric).

Naseer, who wore a black turban and a long black unkempt beard, said his son had studied three years in a village school but he still could neither read nor write, not even at a rudimentary level, in his native Pashto language. He said the village school even offers English lessons but the teacher doesn’t speak English.

‘Their words were so sweet’

But even more worrying for Naseer is the lack of a quality Islamic seminary to school his son in Islam’s holy book. Several children from nearby villages were home on vacation from a madrassa in Pakistan and Naseer said he heard them recite the Quran and their words were so sweet. He decided then to send his son to Pakistan. Naseer said he wanted a madrassa with a dormitory that would house and feed his child. They don’t exist in his area, he said.

He loaded his son along with 26 other children into the two vans, gave his son a change of clothes and gave some money to the men taking his child to Pakistan But only for transportation.

But senior police official Fazlur Rahman Bustani in Kabul said the movement of children is a business and a dangerous one, regardless of whether parents willingly send their children.

Those involved in the transport of children are part of a dangerous network and it is a criminal act, said Bustani. It doesn’t matter if the parents approve.

Source: Voice of America

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PML-N making endeavours for continuity of democracy: Khaqan

July 31, 2017 | Legal & Politics

PML-N leader and nominated interim Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi says the decision of the Supreme Court has been implemented and his party is putting forth every effort for continuity of democratic process in the country.He was addressing a news …

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First American Woman Conquers K2

July 31, 2017 | Entertainment

ISLAMABAD � Vanessa O’Brien has become the first American woman to summit K2, the world’s second highest mountain at 8,611 meters.

The 52-year-old former banker from New York led a 12-member team of international climbers and planted the U.S. flag on top of K2 on July 28.

The mountain is located at Pakistan’s border with China and considered one of the world’s most dangerous peaks for climbers.

The first male American team conquered the savage mountain 39 years ago.

This was O’Brien’s third attempt at K2 after having been unsuccessful in 2015 because of unusually harsh weather conditions, and in 2016 when an avalanche swooped in and buried all the expedition equipment stashed at CAMP-3, its high altitude operational base.

Bad weather prevented all other international teams from summiting K2 in those two years.

It took O’Brien’s team 16 hours from CAMP-4 at 7681 meters to the top, a very long time, but the weather held.

She told VOA on Monday after safely descending to K2 base camp at 5,100 meters she was exhausted but very grateful for her team’s success.

This was by far the hardest undertaking I have ever come across. Not just the 50 kilometer winds and snow pushing against you, but the pure blue ice underneath your feet that threatened to pull you off balance at any second, said the climber, who also holds British nationality.

I was constantly reminded of the 84 people who came before me and lost their lives commemorated at the Gilkey Memorial, she added. O’Brien was referring to the place near the K2 base camp, where the victims are laid to rest.

The Memorial is named after Art Gilkey, the American who died of serious illness during an unsuccessful attempt by his team of mostly U.S. climbers in 1953.

A proud day for #woman everywhere at the top of #K2, the world’s second highest mountain, O’Brien announced via Twitter from shortly after scaling the peak on Friday.

One of the most important flags I carried to the top of #K2 was #Pakistan, a country that has showed me so much love & support #PakistanZindabad (long live Pakistan),” she said in another message on her Twitter post with a picture of the green and white Pakistani flag.

Heavy snowfall and unstable weather were again a factor this year and O’Brien’s was the only expedition to reach the top, said Nazir Sabir, the chief organizer of the expedition and veteran Pakistani mountaineer.

O’Brien conquered Mt. Everest, the world’s highest peak at 8,850 meters, in 2010. But she describes K2 as more challenging and fascinating for mountaineers.

K2 is the perfect triangle. Mountains are not shaped that way. In reality, they are very peculiar and they have got lots of places to rest and go higher and stop. This is boom, a triangle. It is asking for 110 percent effort day one, O’Brien said.

While routine avalanches do pose risks, she says, due to climate change rocks on K2 that used to be fixed to earth and frozen are now just broken and they come down in rock avalanches.

So, you have got the snow avalanches, you have got the rock avalanches, you have got extreme weather and unpredictable weather. Any one of those three could kill the expedition at a moment’s notice. So, it is just fraught with danger and that is probably why for every four of that climb, one dies, O’Brien noted.

Sabir praised O’Brien for her courage, saying that even top Himalayan climbers give up somewhere around second attempt.

I think her determination paid off but we have to understand that there was a brilliant planning behind it. All other six teams gave up and went home while Vanessa and her team were looking for a weather window and it clicked and they used every minute and climbed every inch to the summit, he told VOA.

O’Brien is the 19th woman to have survived the climb to the top. Before undertaking the latest mission, she held the record of being the fastest woman to climb the seven summits, the highest peaks on each of the seven continents.

Sabir praised Vanessa as “a friend of Pakistan and a messenger of peace”, hoping her repeated visits and successfully summiting K2 will send a positive image of Pakistan and encourage more Americans and international expeditions to visit the country.

Militant attacks have in recent years worsened security conditions in Pakistan, discouraging foreigners from visiting the country. But authorities say successes in counterterrorism operations have reduced the threat and improved security.

Source: Voice of America

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US Confirms Killing of Additional IS Leaders in July 11 Airstrike

July 30, 2017 | Education

ISLAMABAD � U.S. military officials have confirmed the death of four additional senior Islamic State leaders in a July 11 airstrike in northeastern Afghanistan that also killed the top leader of the terrorist group.

The drone attack struck IS headquarters in Kunar province, which borders Pakistan, and eliminated Abu Sayed, the amir of Islamic State’s self-styled Khorasan province branch, or ISK-P.

A U.S. military statement Sunday listed names and titles of the four slain terrorists identified as senior IS advisors, including Sheik Ziaullah, Mulawi Hubaib, Haji Shirullah, and Assadullah.

The U.S. military confirmed Sayed’s death at the time, but could not immediately provide details of other commanders killed by the missile strike.

Sayed was the third ISK-P chief the U.S. military has eliminated in the past year in its bid to prevent the group from establishing a foothold in Afghanistan.

“We will be relentless in our campaign against ISIS-K, the statement quoted General John Nicholson, Commander of U.S. forces in the country. He used one of several IS names.

“There are no safe havens in Afghanistan. We will hunt them down until they are no longer a threat to the Afghan people and the region, he added.

Observers acknowledge the death of Abu Sayed and other top leaders have dealt a considerable blow to the group’s Afghan operations.

U.S. airstrikes have primarily been responsible for killing about 20 founding and some of second-generation leaders of ISK-P since it launched extremist activities in the country two years ago, notes Kabul-based Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN).

The ‘decapitation’ of ISK-P has been well underway over the past two years as the US military has stepped up its military campaign, mainly through air strikes, against the group in Nangarhar, the non-governmental organization wrote in an article last week.

The eastern province of Nangarhar borders Kunar, and several of its districts are considered IS strongholds. Afghan security forces, backed by U.S. airpower, have been conducting major operations in the province to eliminate IS bases.

IS is also under attack from Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgency and facing emerging internal differences, but there are no visible signs its appeal to some radicalized sectors is fading, AAN warns.

ISKP has shown it is resilient. Recruits continue to pour in to Nangarhar from various provinces of Afghanistan as well as from Pakistan, the watchdog noted, adding the group can be expected to put all its efforts into holding out against Afghan and U.S. forces to retain its strongholds in Nangarhar.

Source: Voice of America

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Pakistan’s Parliament To Elect New PM On August 1

July 30, 2017 | Legal & Politics

Pakistan’s parliament will meet on August 1 to elect a new prime minister after the resignation of Nawaz Sharif.Sharif resigned on July 28 shortly after the country’s Supreme Court ordered his removal from office in connection with corruption charges s…

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At Least 8 Killed In Crash In Northwest Pakistan

July 30, 2017 | General, Sports

Pakistani police say at least eight people have been killed after a collision between a van and truck in the country’s northwest.Police said a speeding truck crashed into a van that was traveling from the city of Rawalpindi to Peshawar, the provincial …

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US Confirms Killing of Additional IS Leaders in July 11 Airstrike

July 30, 2017 | Education

ISLAMABAD � U.S. military officials have confirmed the death of four additional senior Islamic State leaders in a July 11 airstrike in northeastern Afghanistan that also killed the top leader of the terrorist group.

The drone attack struck IS headquarters in Kunar province, which borders Pakistan, and eliminated Abu Sayed, the amir of Islamic State’s self-styled Khorasan province branch, or ISK-P.

A U.S. military statement Sunday listed names and titles of the four slain terrorists identified as senior IS advisors, including Sheik Ziaullah, Mulawi Hubaib, Haji Shirullah, and Assadullah.

The U.S. military confirmed Sayed’s death at the time, but could not immediately provide details of other commanders killed by the missile strike.

Sayed was the third ISK-P chief the U.S. military has eliminated in the past year in its bid to prevent the group from establishing a foothold in Afghanistan.

“We will be relentless in our campaign against ISIS-K, the statement quoted General John Nicholson, Commander of U.S. forces in the country. He used one of several IS names.

“There are no safe havens in Afghanistan. We will hunt them down until they are no longer a threat to the Afghan people and the region, he added.

Observers acknowledge the death of Abu Sayed and other top leaders have dealt a considerable blow to the group’s Afghan operations.

U.S. airstrikes have primarily been responsible for killing about 20 founding and some of second-generation leaders of ISK-P since it launched extremist activities in the country two years ago, notes Kabul-based Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN).

The ‘decapitation’ of ISK-P has been well underway over the past two years as the US military has stepped up its military campaign, mainly through air strikes, against the group in Nangarhar, the non-governmental organization wrote in an article last week.

The eastern province of Nangarhar borders Kunar, and several of its districts are considered IS strongholds. Afghan security forces, backed by U.S. airpower, have been conducting major operations in the province to eliminate IS bases.

IS is also under attack from Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgency and facing emerging internal differences, but there are no visible signs its appeal to some radicalized sectors is fading, AAN warns.

ISKP has shown it is resilient. Recruits continue to pour in to Nangarhar from various provinces of Afghanistan as well as from Pakistan, the watchdog noted, adding the group can be expected to put all its efforts into holding out against Afghan and U.S. forces to retain its strongholds in Nangarhar.

Source: Voice of America

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Pakistan Set to Elect New Prime Minister Tuesday

July 30, 2017 | Entertainment

ISLAMABAD � Pakistan’s lawmakers will elect a new prime minister on Tuesday to replace ousted leader Nawaz Sharif, with ruling party stalwart Shahid Khaqan Abbasi expected to become interim leader until Sharif’s own brother is eligible.

The confirmation from parliament came after Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain convened a special session after Sharif decided to put forward his ally Abbasi as interim leader and named his brother Shahbaz, 65, as long-term successor.

Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party holds a majority with 188 seats in the 342-member parliament, so it should be able to swiftly install its choice, barring any defections from its own ranks.

A quick handover could ease the political upheaval sparked by a Supreme Court decision on Friday to disqualify Sharif for not declaring a source of income. The court also ordered a criminal investigation into him and his family.

Abbasi on Sunday vowed to continue Sharif’s work.

“I hope that God will help me in furthering Nawaz Sharif’s policies,” Abbasi told reporters in Islamabad, adding to speculation that Sharif will continue to run the show behind the scenes.

The turmoil and the premature end to Sharif’s third stint in power has also raised questions about Pakistan’s democracy. No prime minister has completed a full term in power since the country gained independence from British colonial rule in 1947.

“We wanted to make sure there is a smooth transfer of power and no constitutional crisis,” said Miftah Ismail, a senior PML-N official and Sharif ally.

Succession Plan

On Sunday evening, thousands of supporters of opposition politician Imran Khan held a celebration rally in Islamabad, waving flags and cheering Sharif’s ouster.

Khan, who spearheaded a campaign for the Supreme Court case that removed Sharif, has said he expects to win the next general elections in 2018.

Meanwhile, Sharif loyalists incensed by his ouster cheered his arrival in the hill town of Murree.

Sharif has lashed out against the court’s decision and opponents who used the Supreme Court to topple him. He has vowed his party would continue to focus on development, touting a faster-growing economy as proof of his success.

“Wheel of development is moving and may God keep it rolling and may it never stop,” he told members of PML-N on Saturday night.

On Sharif’s arrival, supporters chanted: “The Lion is here.” But his foes slammed PML-N’s plans as dynastic and undemocratic. Khan called it a form of “monarchy.”

Sharif said the plan is for former petroleum minister Abbasi to stay in power for less than two months until Shahbaz, who is the chief minister of the vast Punjab province, wins a by-election to the national assembly and becomes eligible to be prime minister.

Abbasi and Shahbaz will have to work fast to tackle Pakistan’s worsening ties with the United States, frayed relations with India, and persistent attacks by Islamist militants, including the Pakistani Taliban and Islamic State.

They will also need to boost economic growth above the current rate of 5.3 percent to find employment for millions of young people entering the job market every year in a nation of nearly 200 million people.

Economists say this will prove tricky, with the current account deficit is ballooning and an overvalued currency is hurting exports.

Court Ruling

Sharif, whose PML-N party won elections in 2013, said he was shocked by Friday’s Supreme Court ruling disqualifying him from office over unreported income from a company owned by his son in Dubai.

Sharif said the monthly salary – equivalent to $2,722 – was nominal and he never actually received any of it.

The Supreme Court employed little-used Article 62 of the Constitution, which calls for the dismissal of any lawmaker deemed dishonest, to dismiss Sharif. His allies believe the verdict smacks of judicial overreach. Others say privately elements of the military had a hand in the process.

“People of Pakistan haven’t accepted the decision,” Abbasi said.

The army has not commented on Sharif’s departure, or on allegations they were involved. It has also dismissed claims in the past that they were behind the Supreme Court’s push.

Sharif’s two previous stints in power were also cut short, the second ending in a military coup led by General Pervez Musharraf in 1999.

Shahbaz Sharif, who has been in charge of Punjab since 2008, has better relations with the military than his brother. He has built a reputation as a competent administrator focused on building infrastructure.

Source: Voice of America

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