Pakistani scientist set to unveil world’s first eco-friendly aircraft engine 

World's first generation contrail free engine to be unveiled in Pakistan late 2020. (Photo Courtesy: Social Media)
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Updated 12 February 2020

Pakistani scientist set to unveil world’s first eco-friendly aircraft engine 

  • Statistics reveal contrails have contributed 15 percent to global warming and the number is said to be rising
  • The new engine design will turn contrails into clean water and even make artificial rain

ISLAMABAD: The world’s first-generation contrail-free aircraft engine, currently being built in Pakistan for the global aviation industry, is expected to be ready between mid-to-late 2020, the technological marvel’s inventor, Dr. Sarah Qureshi, revealed while talking to Arab News earlier this week.

Qureshi has been working on the project since 2018 to eliminate the negative impact of commercial air carriers on the stratosphere that contributes to global warming.

In a one-on-one with this publication, the Pakistani scientist explained the contrail phenomenon, a visible white streak of smoke emitted from an aircraft’s jet engines during flight, and discussed its harmful effects on Earth’s atmosphere.

An environmentalist at heart, Qureshi turned her academic research at Cranfield University, UK, into a save-the-planet endeavor and embarked on a mission to build the world’s first pollution-free jet engine.

The world aviation industry, she claimed, ignored to develop the technology and focused more on extracting monetary value by building fuel-efficient engines.

With global temperatures rising, oceans warming up, Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets shrinking, glaciers retreating, Arctic sea life declining, and oceans acidifying as carbon dioxide levels skyrocket, the climate change debate has grown fierce as activists across the world highlight environmental hazards and try to spread awareness about the phenomenon.

Taking a swing at Elon Musk’s trip to Mars program, the scientist says that “unless you have a confirmed ticket” to the red planet, “which does not have a livable atmosphere,” Earth is the best bet and must be saved.

In this video, Arab News gives its readers a quick glimpse into Qureshi’s invention and the threat the aviation industry currently poses to the planet.

Pakistan urges OIC to help address Afghanistan's urgent humanitarian needs

Updated 59 sec ago

Pakistan urges OIC to help address Afghanistan's urgent humanitarian needs

  • The Organization of Islamic Cooperation will be holding an extraordinary session on Afghanistan later this month
  • Pakistan's foreign secretary says 60 percent of Afghan nationals can face 'crisis level of hunger' that may lead to mass refugee exodus

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's foreign secretary Sohail Mahmood said on Wednesday the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) should play a role in helping the people of Afghanistan who were facing a serious humanitarian crisis.

Afghanistan witnessed a major political change in August when the Taliban seized control of its capital city, Kabul, while the international community was still in the process of pulling out its troops.

The political change exposed the economic vulnerabilities of the country, however, which required substantial foreign assistance after being in a state of war for several decades.

The top official of Pakistan's foreign office briefed the Islamabad-based heads of OIC missions on the prevailing situation in Afghanistan ahead of the group's proposed extraordinary session on the subject later this month.

"The Foreign Secretary emphasized that as the collective voice of the Islamic Ummah, the OIC, can and must play its part in helping address the urgent humanitarian and economic needs of our Afghan brethren," said an official statement released by the foreign office in Islamabad. "In addition, he underlined, OIC’s leadership could help galvanize other international actors to come forward and extend a helping hand to the Afghan people currently in dire need of international support and solidarity."

The Pakistani official informed that the OIC extraordinary session was organized after Saudi Arabia took the initiative last month, adding that the administration in Islamabad welcomed the decision and offered to host the foreign ministers of OIC nations on December 17.

Quoting the United Nations estimates, he said that 60 percent of Afghanistan's 38 million people faced "crisis level of hunger," adding there was a risk of acute malnutrition among Afghan women and children along with the problem of internal displacement.

The foreign secretary maintained a potential economic collapse in Afghanistan could not be ruled out.

"This would not only be a humanitarian tragedy but also exacerbate the security situation, spur instability, and lead to a mass exodus of refugees," he said, adding: "This would have grave consequences for international peace and stability."

Pakistan has also urged the international community in the past not to adopt a policy of disengagement toward Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover since it would have negative consequences for the people in the war-battered country along with the rest of the region.

President Alvi signs bill to safeguard rights of journalists in Pakistan

Updated 01 December 2021

President Alvi signs bill to safeguard rights of journalists in Pakistan

  • The Pakistani president says the new law increases the responsibility of the government and media owners
  • The Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Bill, 2021, will deal with issues like harassment, torture and arbitrary arrests

ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi on Wednesday endorsed the Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Bill, 2021, which was passed by parliament last month to safeguard the rights of the media community in the country.

The bill requires the government to take all possible measures to protect journalists and media professionals from all forms of harassment, abuse, violence and exploitation at the hands of any individual, institution or authority.

It also authorizes the government to establish a commission to look into complaints against threats, acts of torture, killings, violent attacks, enforced disappearances and arbitrary arrests.

“I am feeling happy to sign this Journalists and Media Professionals Bill, 2021, which was drafted through consensus of all stakeholders after a lot of hard work,” the president said during the signing ceremony at the Presidency in Islamabad.

He maintained there was uniformity of opinion regarding the rights of journalists, adding that the new law had increased the responsibility of the government and media owners in the country.

Alvi said the bill had eight points that covered different aspects of the media industry to ensure the protection of journalists.

“It’s third act of part two provides the right to life and protection. It is essential for journalists because they work with neutrality despite facing acute dangers,” he said while noting that Article 4 was about the right to privacy and source nondisclosure “which remained a big issue in the past.”

“There is protection against abusive, violent and intolerant behavior,” he continued. “There is also a clause about an independent media commission which is very essential.”

The president said while the society had the responsibility to demonstrate tolerance toward journalists trying to perform their duties, the media community should also report developments objectively and within the right context.

The country’s information minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain described the legislation as a leap forward while hoping it would provide all the rights to Pakistani journalists which were available to media communities in developed states.

“The media enjoys freedom in Pakistan,” he said. “The government stands by working journalists and will act to provide them employment protection.”

Pakistan’s human rights minister Shireen Mazari said the new law defined the term “media professional” and would let the authorities deliberate on journalist welfare schemes.

“It is now a legal obligation of media owners to provide insurance and training to media professionals,” she said.

Mazari informed that women would also be given representation in the commission to be formed under the Act.

“An independent commission will be formed for the first time in the country which will address the complaints of journalists,” she added.

A representative of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists Pervaiz Shaukat welcomed the new law, though he emphasized its implementation.

“We talked to the information minister that the government should ensure its implementation,” he told Arab News. “Otherwise, this will become useless like many other laws.”

China says Gwadar protests deliberately played up by media outlets

Updated 01 December 2021

China says Gwadar protests deliberately played up by media outlets

  • A senior foreign ministry official in Beijing denies the presence of any Chinese trawlers near the Pakistani deep-sea port
  • Gwadar is located in Pakistan's sparsely populated Balochistan province where people are mostly associated with the fishing business

ISLAMABAD: A Chinese foreign ministry official said on Tuesday some media outlets had launched a smear campaign against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) by playing up protests in Gwadar, reported Pakistan's APP state-owned news agency.
Gwadar is at the heart of the multibillion-dollar economic corridor project that aims to provide China a shorter, more secure trade route, via Pakistan, to the Middle East and beyond, while also boosting Pakistan’s economy.
Despite its strategic significance, the residents of the area have been demanding basic rights and action against illegal trawling in the Arabian Sea which they say has rendered local fisherfolk and others jobless.
The issue has also been reported by the international media.
"China firmly rejects certain media's attempts to smear the CPEC building and China-Pakistan relations," the spokesperson of the Chinese foreign ministry, Zhao Lijian, was quoted as saying by the APP agency. "This is completely fake news. Certain media's hyping up of the protests against China in Gwadar region lacks factual basis."
The APP report said Lijian denied the presence of any Chinese trawlers near Gwadar, adding that CPEC was not only focusing on development work but also trying to contribute to the livelihood of people.
Gwadar is located in Pakistan's sparsely populated southwestern Balochistan province where a large number of people are associated with the fishing business.

'Longest' supply cut to CNG stations in Pakistan may jeopardize over 20,000 jobs, warn stakeholders

Updated 01 December 2021

'Longest' supply cut to CNG stations in Pakistan may jeopardize over 20,000 jobs, warn stakeholders

  • The Sui Southern Gas Company has started suspending gas supply to all CNG stations in Sindh and Balochistan until February 15
  • Owners of CNG pumps say frequent supply cuts to manage the demand of gas in the country will gradually wipe out the sector

KARACHI: The suspension of gas to fuel stations across the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan not only risks the employment of over 20,000 people associated with the business but is also likely to exert further pressure on the country’s import bill, said traders and stakeholders on Tuesday.
The state-owned Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) announced the decision to suspend gas supply to the compressed natural gas (CNG) sector for two and half months from December 1 to meet the demand of domestic consumers during winter.
According to a notification released by the company earlier this week, the gas supply will remain suspended to “all CNG stations across Sindh and Balochistan from December 1, 2021, until February 15, 2022.”
However, the business community warned such decisions could wipe out CNG stations in in the country.
“We fear that about 20,000 people who are directly or indirectly associated with the CNG business will be affected along with their families,” Samir Najmul Hussain, convener of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s standing committee on CNG, told Arab News. “It will also deprive the government of much needed revenue, exert pressure on the import bill, and add to the environmental woes.”
Owners of CNG stations also voiced concern over the decision.
“This practically amounts to driving CNG station owners out of business since this is the longest gas supply cut,” Shabir Sulemanji, chairman of the CNG Forum, said while talking to Arab News.
He informed that about 520 CNG stations out of 630 were operational in the two provinces and employed an average of 15 to 20 workers each.
Pakistan faces a chronic shortage of gas during winter, as demand for heating increases. The situation is mostly managed by the authorities by resorting to such load management mechanisms.
The country is expected to face a shortage of about 2,281 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) between December 2021 and February 2022 due to a decline in local gas production, according to various estimates.
Given the frequent supply cuts to manage the gas demand in the country, CNG traders believe the sector is gradually being phased out.
“The number of CNG station across Pakistan has declined by about 3,300 to around 16,000,” Sulemanji said.
The country introduced CNG in the 1990s as a form of green fuel for ordinary people, though traders believe the concept is now coming to an end. “The concept of this being a cleaner fuel is gradually over,” Sulemanji said.
Pakistan stopped issuing CNG licenses in 2008, though it lifted the official ban last year and allowed people to set up new stations where they could only sell re-gasified natural gas (RLNG).

Zahir Jaffer's lawyers request medical board to determine murder suspect's 'mental health'

Updated 01 December 2021

Zahir Jaffer's lawyers request medical board to determine murder suspect's 'mental health'

  • Jaffer’s legal team says medical board should determine “lunacy” of the main accused
  • At indictment hearing in October, Jaffer admitted he had committed murder of Noor Mukadam

ISLAMABAD: The legal team for Zahir Jaffer, the main accused in the grisly July murder of Noor Mukadam, filed an application in a sessions court in Islamabad on Wednesday requesting that a medical board be set up to assess the mental health of the key suspect.

Last month Zahir Jaffer was expelled from the court after he ‘disrupted’ a trial hearing in which witnesses were being cross-examined. Just a week earlier, police officers had to carry Jaffer out of the courtroom building after he used indecent language and misbehaved with the judge during a hearing. Islamabad police have also registered a criminal case against Jaffer for using “abusive language” inside the courtroom and attempting suicide on the court premises.

In Wednesday’s application, Jaffer’s lawyer said that the accused was a “chronic patient of mental disorder / Schizo-affective disorder due to drug psychosis and the same was the position at the time of his arrest on 20.07.2021.”

The team asked the court to authorize setting up a medical board “to determine the lunacy / mental health of accused Zahir Jaffer in the interest of justice.”

“Local police and investigating agency, remained fail or willingly avoided to disclosed the mental health condition of accused Zahir Jaffar to the record and courts due to social / complaint’s influence as the complainant is an ambassador and has good connections in the power corridors,” the application added. 

Mukadam, 27, the daughter of Shaukat Mukadam, Pakistan’s former ambassador to South Korea and Kazakhstan, was found beheaded at a residence in Islamabad’s upscale F-7/4 neighborhood on July 20. The prime suspect, Jaffer, was arrested from the crime scene on the day of the murder and has been in custody since.

At his indictment hearing in October, Jaffer admitted he had committed the “crime” but appealed to the judge to release him from jail and put him under house arrest.  

The murder trial that began in October is one of the most closely watched in Pakistan’s recent history, as the case has sparked public outrage and grabbed media attention unlike any other recent crime against women.  

The transcript of the CCTV footage showing events that preceded Mukadam’s murder was submitted by the prosecution last month. It said the victim had jumped from the first floor of the chief accused’s house but was prevented by staff from leaving the premises.  

Others charged in the case include Jaffer’s parents, Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Adamjee, three of their household staff, Iftikhar, Jan Muhammad and Jameel, and six workers from Therapy Works, a counselling center from where Jaffer had received certification to become a therapist and where he had been receiving treatment in the weeks leading up to the murder.