Opposition-backed Sanjrani elected Senate chairman

Newly elected Chairman Senate Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani who secured 57 votes, speaks to reporters outside the Parliament in Islamabad, Pakistan, Monday, March 12, 2018. (AP)
Updated 12 March 2018

Opposition-backed Sanjrani elected Senate chairman

ISLAMABAD: Opposition-backed candidate Sadiq Sanjrani on Monday was elected Senate chairman with 57 out of 103 votes. 
His opponent was Raja Zafarul Haq, backed by the Pakistan Muslim League — Nawaz (PML-N), who acquired 46 votes.
Sanjrani, an independent candidate from Chaghi, Balochistan, was backed by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement — Pakistan (MQM-P).
Born in April 1978, he received his primary education at Nok Kundi, and later pursued a master’s degree in arts at Balochistan University.
The eldest of five brothers, in 1998 Sanjrani was appointed as then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s coordinator. 
After Yousaf Raza Gillani took over as premier in 2008, he appointed Sanjrani to head the newly formed Prime Minister’s Complaint Cell. Sanjrani’s father is a tribal leader and member of Chagai’s District Council.
Sanjrani was sworn into office on Tuesday as Senate chairman, and took the oath in the presence of the presiding officer, Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan Nasir. PPP-supported candidate Saleem Mandviwalla was elected deputy chairman of the Senate.


Pakistani nuclear scientists to get IAEA awards in September — foreign office

Updated 49 min 7 sec ago

Pakistani nuclear scientists to get IAEA awards in September — foreign office

  • Awards are in recognition of Pakistan’s advancement in nuclear technology for sustainable development
  • Pakistan has a long history of working with nuclear science

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani nuclear scientists are going to receive three awards from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) in September, the foreign office announced on Wednesday.
The IAEA and FAO’s Outstanding Achievement Award will be conferred on Pakistan’s Nuclear Institute for Agriculture and Biology (NIAB), while the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) will receive Team Achievement Award and Young Scientist Award for work in plant mutation breeding.
According to a statement by the foreign office, the awards are in recognition of Pakistan’s advancement in the application of nuclear technology for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including food security. 
“The awards certificates will be presented during the IAEA’s 65th General Conference in September 2021,” the foreign office said.
Pakistan has a long history of working with nuclear science, applications and power. It was the sixth country to ratify the IAEA Statute and, in doing so, provided one of the 18 ratifications required to bring the Statute and IAEA mandate, into force.
The IAEA has been supporting the country’s efforts to train specialist staff.
In December 2019, it designated the Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences (PIEAS) as an IAEA Collaborating Center to support its research, development and capacity building in the application of advanced and innovative nuclear technologies.


Multan and Peshawar face off in PSL final in Abu Dhabi today

Updated 24 June 2021

Multan and Peshawar face off in PSL final in Abu Dhabi today

  • First time finalists Multan Sultans will battle experienced Peshawar Zalmi in final of sixth edition of Pakistan Super League
  • “We play an aggressive brand of cricket and believe in taking the game to the opposition,” Peshawar captain Wahab Riaz says

ISLAMABAD: First time finalists Multan Sultans will face experienced Peshawar Zalmi in the final game of the sixth edition of the Pakistan Super League Twenty20 series in Abu Dhabi today, Thursday.
This is Peshawar Zalmi’s fourth PSL final. It won the PSL champions title in 2017 and was the runner-up in the 2018 and 2019 editions. 
Peshawar Zalmi selected Arab News Pakistan as its international media partner in 2020 and extended this partnership to the 2021 edition. The series, being held in Pakistan, was suspended halfway due to the spread of COVID-19 in March but resumed this month in Abu Dhabi.
The Pakistan Cricket Board said on Wednesday the winning team would receive Rs75 million and the HBL PSL 6 trophy while the runner-up would take home Rs 30 million. 
“In the final, we would want to keep our game plan simple, and I am very hopeful that we would play with the same spirit,” Multan captain Mohammad Rizwan said. “That is all that I will ask of my players, results are in the hands of the Almighty and we will only care about giving our absolute best.”
Wahab Riaz, Peshawar Zalmi captain, said since the beginning of the HBL Pakistan Super League, “the Peshawar Zalmi side has played like a family.”
“We play an aggressive brand of cricket and believe in taking the game to the opposition,” He said. “We will play the final with the same frame of mind. Playing the fourth final for Zalmi and first as a captain is a huge honor for me and I would like to lead the team to glory tomorrow night against a formidable opponent. It should be a great occasion.”


In Pakistan’s second largest private share offering, beverage can maker raises $29 million 

Updated 24 June 2021

In Pakistan’s second largest private share offering, beverage can maker raises $29 million 

  • “This is the highest ever participation in the IPO history of Pakistan,” adviser and book runner of the issue says
  • Interloop Limited raised Rs 5.02 billion in 2019, highest ever amount raised by a private company in Pakistan’s history

KARACHI: Pakistan Aluminium Beverage Cans Ltd. (PABC), the sole can maker in the country, has raised Rs4.6 billion ($29 million) through a book building process, the second largest private share offering in Pakistan’s history, company and analysts said on Wednesday.
The Initial Public Offer (IPO) received an overwhelming response from institutional investors, high-net worth individuals, and foreign investors. The IPO oversubscribed by 3.3 times, with bids received for 233.23 million shares against the offering of 93.88 million shares, data posted on the Pakistan Stock Exchange said.
“This is the highest ever participation in the IPO history of Pakistan”, Shahid Habib, CEO of Arif Habib Limited, the Adviser and Book Runner of the Issue, told Arab News. “The company has received bids worth Rs10.8 billion against the IPO’s book-building size of Rs3.3 billion. Foreign investors also participated in the round.”
In 2019, Interloop Limited, a Faisalabad-based company that supplies products to Nike, Adidas, Puma, Levi’s and others, had raised Rs5.02 billion, the highest ever amount raised by a private company in the history of Pakistan.
PABC’s strike price clocked in at Rs49 per share, 40 percent higher than the floor price of Rs35 per share.
The funds raised through book building and the IPO will go to Ashmore, a lead investor who is exiting the company, which is divesting 26 percent stakes.
“The proceeds from offer to sale is the disinvestment of Ashmore UK, as the private equity firm is exiting from their first venture”, Azam Sakrani, the CEO of PABC, told Arab News. “PABC will now gain more growth as its corporate structure has changed, thus it will have better governance and with the expansion coming online by mid of next year, the future growth due to expansion will further strengthen the company.”
Analysts say the demand for high-worth equities remains high in Pakistan’s capital market mainly because of the availability of abundant liquidity.
“After many years, two private sector IPOs of close to Rs7 billion in a month at PSX have been conducted — that clearly indicates ample liquidity is available with local investors,” Muhammad Sohail, CEO of Topline Securities, said.
Earlier this month, Citi Pharma Limited (CPL) — the manufacturer of Paracetamol – raised Rs2.33 billion through offering 72.69 million shares.
The Faisalabad-based PABC supplies beverage cans to bottlers of all major carbonated drinks, including Pepsi Cola and Coca-Cola, in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. The company estimates holding close to 50 percent market share in the Afghanistan market where its exports constituted 35 percent of the company’s sales in 2020.
PABC has recently started supplying aluminum beverage cans to Wild Leaf Holdings in the United States and Alika LLC in Tajikistan.
With a current rated capacity of 700 million cans per annum, PABC produced and sold 444 million cans in 2020, more than the domestic demand of 275 million cans. The company aims to increase its rated capacity by almost 36 percent to 950 million cans per annum by July next year.
Saudi Arabia’s Nafcel, China’s Bao Feng and South Korea’s Novelis are among the major suppliers and vendors of raw material to PABC. 


Shahid Afridi hopes for Multan victory but says Peshawar ‘strongest’ PSL team

Updated 24 June 2021

Shahid Afridi hopes for Multan victory but says Peshawar ‘strongest’ PSL team

  • Zalmi won the PSL champions title in 2017 and was the runner-up in the 2018 and 2019 editions
  • Afridi says Multan had a rocky start but improved performance, team pacer Shahnawaz Dahani excellent addition to squad

KARACHI: Pakistan’s former cricket captain Shahid Khan Afridi has said his T20 squad, the Multan Sultans, was capable of lifting this year’s Pakistan Super League trophy but Peshawar Zalmi was the “strongest” side in the ongoing tournament in Abu Dhabi.
Peshawar Zalmi will play its fourth Pakistan Super League final today, Thursday, after a thumping eight-wicket victory over Islamabad United in the playoffs on Tuesday. Zalmi won the PSL champions title in 2017 and was the runner-up in the 2018 and 2019 editions. United has won the tournament twice.
Afridi could not join his team during the PSL playoffs in Abu Dhabi this month due to a back injury.
“I believe if Multan Sultans continues with its [current] form, it can win,” Afridi told Arab News in an interview on Tuesday. “But the combination of Peshawar is excellent when we see their bowling and batting. So in my view, the strongest team [in this tournament] is Peshawar.”
“It’s a matter of happiness that my team [Multan] has qualified for the finals, and I extend congratulations to the entire squad, especially [captain Muhammad] Rizwan,” he said.
Afridi said Multan did not have a good start in this year’s series but significantly improved its performance, which helped it qualify for the final. He said the team’s pacer Shahnawaz Dahani, who hails from a remote town in Pakistan’s Sindh province, was an excellent addition to the squad, saying his performance reflected there was immense hidden talent in the rural areas of the province.
“I am happy that a player has come from Larkana,” the all-rounder said. “We see few players [from rural Sindh]. Most of the players come from big cities. So, the presence of such talent means there is ample flair for cricket out there, but we need to provide requisite facilities to the [rural] areas [to explore the latent talent].”
Afridi also congratulated the Pakistan Cricket Board, PSL franchise owners and players for the successful completion of the T20 tournament, which had to be posted in March due to COVID-19 cases among players and officials, but was resumed this month in the UAE.
“It’s very difficult to reschedule any tournament after it has been postponed once,” he said. “The PSL is a big tournament, and I would like to give credit to the PCB, owners of all franchises and players since they came out of a difficult situation and the tournament is being concluded in such an excellent way. So, the credit goes to all.”


In impoverished Pakistani desert region, an alarming rise in suicide cases

Updated 24 June 2021

In impoverished Pakistani desert region, an alarming rise in suicide cases

  • Between 2016 to 2020, 79 out of the 767 suicide cases in Sindh province were reported in Tharparkar district
  • At least 48 people — 31 women — have taken their own lives in the district since January this year

MITHI, SINDH: Pakistan’s southern region of Tharparkar in the Thar desert is facing an alarming rise in suicide cases, especially among women, with authorities linking the emerging health crisis to chronic mental illness in the impoverished district.
Between 2016 to 2020, the Sindh Mental Health Authority (SMHA), an arm of the provincial government, recorded 767 suicides in the southern Sindh province, of which the highest number, 79 cases, occurred in Tharparkar.
Tharparkar police data shows that at least 48 people — 31 women — have taken their own lives in the district since January this year.
Between June 11 and June 16 alone, eight suicide cases were registered in the region.
This month, the SMHA carried out what it called a “psychiatric autopsy” of the district to determine the “reasons behind suicides, including why more women were committing suicides,” the authority’s chairman Dr. Karim Khawaja, said.
“The results of the psychiatric autopsy will be available in the next few weeks,” he said. “It will reveal the real reasons for suicide cases and help in preventing suicides in Tharparkar.”
Baadal Saand, who heads the anti-suicide cell of the Tharparkar police, attributed a majority of the cases to “mental illness and depression.”
Dr. Bharat Kumar, the district’s only psychiatrist, said poverty “may be a vital reason” but the “mother reason” was psychiatric illness.
The UNDP’s Multidimensional Poverty Index for Pakistan reports that 87 percent of the population in the Thar desert region lives in poverty.
“Besides psychiatric illness and depression, other reasons are lack of family support or social support, or economic issues,” Kumar said.
Khatau Jani, a senior journalist from the region, concurred that rising mental illness in the region was caused by extreme poverty.
“These are extreme poverty-hit communities,” Jani said. “What Thar needs is increased funding from both federal and provincial government poverty reduction programs.”
Climate change is also driving locals into more deprivation as their livelihoods depend on rainfall in a drought-battered region.
A report published by the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) in early June indicated that droughts persisting since October last year had resulted in increased food insecurity in a number of Sindh districts, including Tharpakar.
“Due to consistent deficiency of rainfall since October 2020, the moderate drought has been further intensified into severe drought especially in the southwestern Balochistan and southeastern Sindh,” the PDM said. “Drought conditions may further affect agriculture and livestock.”
Experts say modern agriculture could relieve the poverty-stricken area.
Dr. Amanullah Mahar, assistant professor at the Center for Environmental Science at the University of Sindh, recommended planting moringa trees, which flourish in arid and semiarid environments, and whose fruit pods can be consumed as food.
“Locals would not have to wait for rains for the production of moringa,” he said.
Another option was biosaline agriculture, Mahar said, a means of producing plants in saline-rich soil in arid, water-scarce locations. The method has already been tested in the district.
“Recently there was a successful experiment with biosaline agriculture in Tharparkar,” he said. “It is important to expand this agriculture pattern throughout the desert.”