Prime Minister Khan to visit Bahrain Today

In this file photo, Prime Minister Imran Khan, right, greets Bahrain's Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohamed Al Khalifa in Islamabad on April 9, 2019. (PID)
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Updated 16 December 2019

Prime Minister Khan to visit Bahrain Today

  • Khan will attend the Kingdom’s national day as guest of honor
  • He will also receive Bahrain’s highest civil award and interact with its top leadership

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan will attend Bahrain’s national day as guest of honor on King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa’s invitation on Monday, said an official handout circulated by Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He will be accompanied by a high-level delegation on his first visit to the Gulf state since assuming the highest political office of his country in August 2018.
“During the visit, [the prime minister] will have one-on-one meeting with His Majesty Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa and hold delegation-level talks with Crown Prince His Royal Highness Salman Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa,” said the official statement. “The exchange of views would cover the entire gamut of bilateral relations and matters pertaining to regional and international issues.”
Bahrain will also confer its highest civil award on the leader of the South Asian nation.
“Pakistan and Bahrain enjoy close cordial ties based on commonalities of faith and culture and marked by mutual trust and understanding,” the statement added. “The bilateral relationship is broad-based and multifaceted, covering diverse fields … Pakistan and Bahrain closely coordinate in multilateral fora including the UN, OIC and GCC.”
The ministry noted that the two countries had also established institutional mechanisms, including Bilateral Political Consultations and Joint Ministerial Commission, to bolster bilateral cooperation.
“Over 100,000 Pakistani expatriate community, which contributes to the socio-economic development of Bahrain, acts as a strong human bridge between the two countries,” the official handout maintained.
“The Prime Minister’s visit to Bahrain will enable the two sides to explore ways and means to further deepen bilateral trade and investments ties,” the statement continued. “The visit is of special significance and will impart a strong impetus to both sides’ endeavours to forge a closer, multifaceted bilateral relationship.”


Even the PM’s a fast bowler: Pakistan cricket’s need for speed 

Updated 18 min 59 sec ago

Even the PM’s a fast bowler: Pakistan cricket’s need for speed 

  • Pakistan have eight quicks in their 20-man squad for the three-Test series against England 
  • The production line is so consistent that when one player goes, another is ready to take over 

KARACHI: To understand the culture of fast bowling in Pakistan, look no further than Imran Khan — once a feared quick, and now the country’s prime minister.
Not all of Pakistan’s pacemen will fly so high, but Khan’s rise underlines a tradition where speed is king, and blistering pace is essential for any team.
As if to reinforce the point, Pakistan have eight quicks in their 20-man squad for the three-Test series against England, starting on Wednesday, ready to unleash their trademark pace and swing.
They carry the baton passed by predecessors such as Khan, left-arm great Wasim Akram and his destructive partner Waqar Younis, the unassuming Aaqib Javed, and Shoaib Akhtar, the feared “Rawalpindi Express” who is considered the fastest bowler in history.
The current generation includes the precocious Naseem Shah, still only 17, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Wahab Riaz, and the accurate Mohammad Abbas.
The production line is so consistent that when one player goes, another is ready to take over — as seen in 2010 when Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif, banned for spot-fixing, were replaced by Junaid Khan, Riaz, Mohammad Irfan, Ehsan Adil and Rahat Ali.
Even Amir’s decision to retire from Tests at just 27 did not slow Pakistan, as Shaheen became the spearhead and Naseem announced himself with a stunning Test hat-trick.
But the steady emergence of quicks — left-armers, right-armers, even one who is ambidextrous — raises an obvious question: how does Pakistan keep doing it?
Former fast bowler Sarfarz Nawaz, regarded as the pioneer of reverse swing in 1970s, said the factors included Muslim Pakistan’s meaty diet — unlike mainly vegetarian India, once known for its spinners.
“We are a nation obsessed with fast bowling,” Nawaz told AFP. “We eat meat which strengthens the body, we love wickets clattering and the batsman shivering so it’s natural that we produce fast bowlers.”


Nawaz passed on his reverse-swing skills to Khan under whose tutelage Wasim and Waqar became “The Two Ws,” a menacing partnership in the 1980s and 1990s.
Wasim said he followed Khan’s legacy, and that pace bowling matches the Pakistani mentality.
“I think it’s the culture (to become a fast bowler), especially this generation of Waqar and I and then Akhtar, we all had a role model in Khan,” he said.
“Generally, when we talk about cricket it’s mostly about the fast bowlers, they get batsmen caught napping. We are aggressive people in nature and that’s what helps.”
Wasim often holds camps to train emerging fast bowlers, swelling Pakistan’s ranks.
“When I came I always wanted to be a fast bowler and then a crop of fast bowlers came, and now we have Naseem, Shaheen, Mohammad Hasnain and Musa Khan who bowl at 140-150 kph (87-93 mph),” he said.
However, perhaps the most decisive factor is Pakistan’s legion of tape-ball players, who play in parking lots and disused patches of land using tennis balls wrapped in electrical tape to make them heavier, putting the onus on pace rather than spin.
Lahore Qalandars, a Pakistan Super League franchise which has been at the forefront of nurturing fast bowlers in recent years, received more than 350,000 applicants for their talent-hunt program — nearly half of them tape-ball players, including the ambidextrous pace marvel Yasir Jan.
“We give them platform in our development program and send them to Australia to hone their talent,” said head coach Aaqib Javed.
According to Wasim, fast bowling is so deeply ingrained that Pakistan’s stocks will never run out.
“Many natural resources will dry up, but not Pakistan bowling’s reservoirs,” he said. “Our fast bowling future is secure as they follow footsteps and run-ups.”