China praises Pakistan’s “restraint” over Kashmir tensions

“China has paid close attention to the present situation between Pakistan and India, and appreciates Pakistan’s remaining calm and exercising restraint from the beginning, and persisting in pushing to lower the temperature with India via dialogue,” China’s Foreign Ministry paraphrased Kong Xuanyou as saying. (AFP/File)
Updated 07 March 2019

China praises Pakistan’s “restraint” over Kashmir tensions

  • China is willing to continue to play a constructive role in diffusing tension, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister
  • Beijing and Islamabad are “all weather” strategic partners, Kong Xuanyou says

BEIJING: China has praised Pakistan’s “restraint” and willingness to talk with India to ease tensions between the two countries after a deadly bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir last month.
Pakistan is facing pressure from global powers to act against groups carrying out attacks in India, including Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which claimed responsibility for the Feb. 14 attack that killed at least 40 paramilitary police.
The incident led to the most serious conflict in years between the nuclear-armed neighbors, with cross-border air strikes and a dogfight over the skies of Kashmir. The crisis eased after Pakistan returned a downed Indian pilot on Friday.
Visiting Pakistan on Wednesday, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou said Beijing and Islamabad were “all weather” strategic partners and that they always supported each other, China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
“China has paid close attention to the present situation between Pakistan and India, and appreciates Pakistan’s remaining calm and exercising restraint from the beginning, and persisting in pushing to lower the temperature with India via dialogue,” the ministry paraphrased Kong as saying.
China maintains that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be respected and does not want to see “acts that violate the norms of international relations,” Kong added.
“China calls on Pakistan and India to refrain from taking actions that aggravate the situation, show goodwill and flexibility, launch dialogue as soon as possible, and work together to maintain regional peace and stability,” he said.
China is willing to continue to play a constructive role in this regard, Kong added.
The ministry said Kong had met Prime Minister Imran Khan, army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.


World must recognize Pakistan's commitment to regional stability, says top general

Updated 10 April 2021

World must recognize Pakistan's commitment to regional stability, says top general

  • General Nadeem Raza asks the international community to take notice of rights violations in Indian-administered Kashmir
  • Says the nation has high expectations of the country's armed forces while addressing a graduation ceremony at the Pakistan Military Academy

ISLAMABAD: Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General Nadeem Raza said Saturday the world must recognize Pakistan's consistent peace overtures to its eastern neighbor and take notice of rights violations in Indian-administered Kashmir while addressing graduating cadets at the Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul.
According to an official statement released by the military media wing, ISPR, Raza said his country was committed to peace and had made significant contributions to regional stability.
He also maintained that the whole nation stood united against the menace of extremism and had high expectations of the Pakistani armed forces.
The CJCSC made these observations during his visit to the country's premier military training institution where he reviewed the graduation parade of the 143rd PMA Long Course.
Among those who successfully completed the rigorous training also included young cadets from Iraq, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Nepal.
Raza advised all PMA graduates, including members of the 17th Lady Cadet Course, to keep themselves abreast with latest challenges.
"The only way to meet these challenges is through professional prowess and dedication as the Nation pins high hopes on Armed Forces of Pakistan," the ISPR statement quoted him as saying.


Rizwan steers Pakistan to their highest-winning T20 run chase

Updated 10 April 2021

Rizwan steers Pakistan to their highest-winning T20 run chase

  • Pakistan's previous highest T20 chase was 188 against Australia in Harare in 2018
  • Rizwan made an unbeaten 74 as Pakistan chased down a target of 189 with one ball to spare

JOHANNESBURG: Opening batsman Mohammad Rizwan steered Pakistan to their highest winning run chase as they beat South Africa by four wickets in the first Twenty20 international at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Rizwan made an unbeaten 74 as Pakistan chased down a target of 189 with one ball to spare.

Their previous highest T20 chase was 188 against Australia in Harare in 2018.

The match swung in the last four overs of the two innings.
South Africa could score only 29 in their last four overs, while Pakistan thrashed 52 off the last 3.5 overs

BRIEF SCORES

South Africa 188-6 in 20 overs (A. Markram 51, H. Klaasen 50; Mohammad Nawaz 2-21, Hasan Ali 2-28)

Pakistan 189-6 in 19.5 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 74 not out, Faheem Ashraf 30; B. Hendricks 3-32, T. Shamsi 2-29)

RESULT

Pakistan won by 4 wickets

Series: Pakistan lead the four-match series 1-0

Toss: South Africa


Vote count in progress after closely contested NA-75 re-election in Daska

Updated 10 April 2021

Vote count in progress after closely contested NA-75 re-election in Daska

  • The National Assembly constituency in Punjab fell vacant last year after the death of an opposition lawmaker
  • The Election Commission of Pakistan held a by-poll in February but declared it null and void due to widespread irregularities

ISLAMABAD: Tens of thousands of Pakistanis voted on Saturday to elect their new representative after a National Assembly constituency in Punjab fell vacant in the wake of the death of an opposition lawmaker Syed Iftikharul Hassan Shah last year.

The country's election authorities held a by-poll for the NA-75 seat from Daska, a small town in Sialkot district, in February, but later declared the contest null and void due to widespread electoral irregularities.

A leading opposition faction, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), demanded re-election after accusing the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party of rigging the contest.

The Election Commission of Pakistan also issued a statement, saying it suspected that results of 20 polling stations had been falsified.

Saturday's electoral contest was largely believed to be between PML-N candidate Nosheen Iftikhar and PTI ticket holder Ali Asjad Malhi, though there were other politicians who also participated in it.

Pakistani election authorities informed a local news channel earlier in the day they had tried to provide a free and fair environment to hold a transparent election.

"Rangers are on patrol duty, ensuring the transportation of election staff and material, while army troops have been stationed in Daska Stadium and will be available on call," Dawn newspaper reported. "To make the conduct of the re-poll transparent, CCTV cameras have been installed at 47 sensitive polling stations, out of a total 360."


Pakistan among nations subject to quarantine in Ireland starting April 15

Updated 10 April 2021

Pakistan among nations subject to quarantine in Ireland starting April 15

  • Dublin joined neighboring Britain in bringing in the regime for people from countries deemed "high risk"
  • Strict lockdown in Ireland has turned one of the world's highest incidence rates of COVID-19 into one of Europe's lowest

DUBLIN: Ireland added Pakistan, Turkey, United States, Canada, Belgium, France and Italy to its list of countries where arrivals will be subject to mandatory hotel quarantine, tightening some of Europe's toughest travel restrictions to try to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Ireland, the only one of the European Union's 27 countries to introduce a hotel quarantine, announced it will also require all arrivals to have booked a COVID-19 test for five days after landing in addition to one taken in the days before travelling.

It followed neighbouring Britain in bringing in the regime for people from countries deemed "high risk" or those without a negative COVID-19 test. However, Britain has so far resisted calls for the inclusion of some European countries.

A strict lockdown in Ireland since late December has turned one of the world's highest incidence rates of COVID-19 into one of Europe's lowest.

Elsewhere in the continent, Norway requires a forced stay in a quarantine hotel for at least a week for anyone coming from abroad who does not own property, or can borrow the use of a property, in the country.

Armenia, Bangladesh, Bermuda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Curacao, Kenya, Luxembourg, Maldives and Ukraine will also be subject to quarantine in Ireland starting April 15, the health ministry said in a statement.

Israel, Albania and Saint Lucia were removed, having been added just over a week ago, meaning arrivals from more than 70 countries must quarantine for up to 14 days in a hotel room, or leave after 10 if they test negative for COVID-19.

The government initially stopped short of a recommendation by health officials last week to add a number of EU countries where large numbers of Irish nationals live, citing potential legal challenges around the bloc's freedom of movement rules.

Hotel quarantine rules are planned to be in place for only a few months, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said this week. Tourism groups have criticised the government for not providing an exit plan on how they would unwind the measures.

"We can see a permanent pathway out of this pandemic but can't allow variants of concern to set us back on the progress we have made," Donnelly said in a statement on Friday.


Pakistan appoints sixth revenue chief in less than three years

Updated 10 April 2021

Pakistan appoints sixth revenue chief in less than three years

  • Under IMF spotlight, country’s tax machinery is tasked with increasing tax collection by 27%
  • Tax collection is a perennial problem in Pakistan, where less than 1 percent of the population files income tax

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s government appointed its sixth tax chief in two and a half years on Friday, as International Monetary Fund (IMF) scrutiny increases on the country’s woeful tax collection record in recent weeks.
The new Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) chief, Asim Ahmed, formerly a grade-21 officer of the Inland Revenue Service, will take over a less than coveted job in a country where tax collection is a perennial problem, and where less than 1 percent of the population files income tax.
Since coming to power in 2018, Prime Minister Imran Khan made boosting tax collection a top priority for his government, appealing to overseas Pakistanis to invest in the country and urging the wealthy to pay more income tax.
But under the spotlight of a renewed IMF program, this is a critical hour for the country’s tax machinery as it is tasked with the impossible-- to increase the collection of taxes by a whopping 27 percent in the next fiscal year while focusing collection on the basis of people’s ability to actually pay up.
With his hands tied due to an agreement between Pakistan and the IMF on the broader contours of next year’s budget, a huge challenge for the new chairman will be to finalize a balanced taxation budget while achieving a tax collection target of nearly Rs6 trillion.
Ahmed will replace Javed Ghani, who attained the age of superannuation on Friday after remaining the FBR chairman for 100 days.