Pakistani cleric recovering in Saudi hospital

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Saudi National Guard Minister Prince Khalid bin Abdul Aziz bin Mohammed bin Ayyaf met with Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi, chairman of the Pakistan Ulema Council, in hospital. (Photo shared by Ashrafi)
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Sheikh Sulaiman bin Abdullah Aba Al-Khail, director of Al-Imam Mohammad ibn Saud Islamic University, met with Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi in hospital. (Photo shared by Ashrafi)
Updated 03 July 2018
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Pakistani cleric recovering in Saudi hospital

  • “I’m recovering rapidly,” Ashrafi told Arab News, without elaborating on the reason for his hospitalization
  • In May, Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh gave Ashrafi a special shield for his service to Muslim unity

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Ulema Council Chairman Hafiz Tahir Ashrafi is being treated in King Abdul Aziz Medical City in Riyadh for “medical complications” while on a personal visit to Saudi Arabia.
“I’m recovering rapidly,” Ashrafi told Arab News, without elaborating on the reason for his hospitalization.
“After successful surgery, doctors are satisfied about the recovery process. I’m grateful to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for having the best treatment.”
Ashrafi, a frequent visitor to the Kingdom, said senior Saudi officials visited him in the hospital and enquired about his health.
In May, Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh gave Ashrafi a special shield for his service to Muslim unity, and to the defense and protection of the Two Holy Mosques in the Kingdom.


Parts of Balochistan plunged into darkness as Iran cuts off power supply

Updated 16 July 2018
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Parts of Balochistan plunged into darkness as Iran cuts off power supply

  • Officials say Iran’s production has decreased by 1,000 megawatts owing to a technical fault, which has affected its power supply to Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Balochistan province of Pakistan
  • Leader of traders’ association in Gwadar says trading has scaled down by 90 percent, whereas businesses for which power is mandatory have completely shut for the past 18 days

GWADAR, Balochistan: Makran division of Balochistan has faced massive power outage for the past 18 days owing to a power cut from Iran, officials of the power supply company told Arab News Monday.
According to locals, the power outage of up to 20 hours a day has brought business activities in Gwadar city to a halt where electricity is supplied only for two hours last night.
Last week the traders’ association of Kech district observed a shutter down strike to lodge their protest against prolonged power outage.
“We are bearing huge losses due to power cut for the last 18 days,” Ghulam Hussain, a leader of the Anuman-e-Tajiraan-e-Gwadar (Gwadar traders’ association), told Arab News, adding that sales have dropped by 90 percent while businesses that absolutely require electricity to run have completely shut down.
“We have submitted over 100 applications with Quetta Electricity Supply Company (QESCO) as part of our ‘Meter Katao’ (cut electricity meter) campaign and have told the power supply company that we don’t need it for two hours at night if our source of livelihood has been snatched,” said Hussain.
“The power cut has also given rise to a severe water crisis in Gwadar, where water scarcity had already been a top issue,” Hussain said, saying the uncertainty has increased their worries manifold.
Mujahid Baloch, a civil society activist, says there are three rumors about the power cut and neither QESCO and the local government officials nor the senators who represent them in Pakistan’s upper house of parliament are telling them the actual situation.
“It’s said that Iran has cut the electricity due to non-payment but there are others who say the power has been disconnected due to maintenance work. Another theory is that Iran’s power production has dropped down, which had been providing 100 megawatt electricity to the districts of Makran division,” Baloch said.
Hassan Ali Magsi, a QESCO official in Gwadar, however, says the power cut is owing to a fault in Iran, which has decreased the country’s power generation.
Speaking to Arab News, Magsi said Iran had been providing 100 megawatts to Gwadar, Ketch and Panjgur districts of Makran Division. However, on July 3 the supply went down to 12 hours and decreased to five hours on July 5. The supply from Iran has gone up to 12 hours again, Magsi claimed, but locals insist there is no power except for two to three hours at night.
“We are told that Iran’s production has decreased by 1,000 megawatts due to a technical fault, which has impacted its power supply to Afghanistan, Iraq and Balochistan province of Pakistan,” Magsi said, adding that the supply may remain disturbed for two more weeks.
Concurring with Magsi, the caretaker Information Minister Malik Khurram Shehzad said the Balochistan government is in contact with the Iranian government through the Iranian Consul General in Quetta to resolve the issue.
“I have talked to the QESCO chief and he says efforts are underway to restore the power at the earliest,” Shehzad told Arab News, adding that the crisis began in start of the month will be resolved by the weekend.
“Although we haven’t been given any written assurance, the Iranian officials have verbally told us that the power supply of 100 megawatts will be restored after removing the fault by end of this week,” Shehzad concluded.
Iran has been supplying electricity to Gwadar, Ketch and Panjgur districts of Makran division of Balochistan since 1999. It supplied 35 megawatts daily till 2013 and increased it to 100 megawatts for its utilization in Gwadar, which will become an international business hub with the commencement of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.