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.


Pakistani PM pushes for ‘robust’ follow-up on agreements discussed during Saudi visit

Updated 18 May 2021

Pakistani PM pushes for ‘robust’ follow-up on agreements discussed during Saudi visit

  • PM Khan went on a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia on May 7 to consolidate the two nations’ wide-ranging ties
  • Several agreements and memoranda of understanding on trade, energy and media signed and discussed during visit

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has instructed officials of relevant ministries to stay in close contact with their Saudi counterparts to ensure tangible progress in all areas where the two countries had agreed to work together during a recent visit by the PM to the kingdom, a press release by the PM Office said on Monday.
Khan traveled on a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia earlier this month on the invitation of Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The two leaders were present as senior government functionaries from both sides signed several agreements and memoranda of understanding related to trade, energy, media and economy.
“Recalling the warm hospitality and keen interest of the Saudi leadership in forging closer cooperation with Pakistan in diverse fields, in particular bilateral economic and investment ties, the prime minister urged the ministries to ensure quick and robust follow-up on the outcomes,” the official handout added.
Khan maintained there was significant potential for bilateral cooperation between the two countries while chairing a high-profile meeting regarding his visit to the kingdom.
“Highlighting the potential of Saudi Vision 2030, the prime minister mentioned the prospects of job opportunities in skilled and semi-skilled sectors for Pakistanis in the coming decade, which, if optimally utilized, could help transform Pakistan’s economy and development,” said the statement.
He emphasized the importance of developing a close liaison with the Saudi authorities for the completion of all projects within the stipulated period.


Pak-Saudi telehealth platform collaborates with local startup to aid war-ravaged Palestinian families

Updated 18 May 2021

Pak-Saudi telehealth platform collaborates with local startup to aid war-ravaged Palestinian families

  • Educast will offer Palestinian startup Young Explorer the consultation services of over 100 female doctors to help families in Gaza and West Bank
  • About 20,000 women currently using the Young Explorer platform will be able to receive video-based consultation from Pakistani doctors

KARACHI: Pak-Saudi telehealth platform Educast has joined hands with Palestine’s Young Explorer to provide medical support through e-doctors to mothers and children facing Israeli attacks in Gaza and the West Bank, the two companies announced this week.
Startup firm Young Explorer is an online platform created to offer parents of special needs children customized consultations and access to multiple written and video resources, while Educast, a Saudi-Pakistan technology group, is a virtual education platform that runs the eDoctor project, launched in 2019, to re-train and return to the health care industry hundreds of Pakistani women doctors who never joined the profession due to family pressure or stopped practicing once they got married or relocated abroad.
After training them, Educast virtually connects the doctors with female patients around the world.
Under a joint collaboration, Educast will, through Young Explorer, offer the consultation services of more than 100 female doctors living in North America, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan to Palestinian families in need.
“We consider all children facing war and violence as children with special needs,” Ayah Dajani, founder and chief executive officer of Young Explorer, told Arab News from the Palestinian city of Ramallah on Monday.
“That’s why we volunteered to open our platform to families and extend free support to them and their children with the help of our team of therapists, developers and media … Educast will provide us with a big set of experienced doctors to contact the families and give them much needed support.”
“Educast is bringing over 150 Pakistani licensed women doctors from 12 countries for teleconsulting and remote health care diagnostic and mental health counselling to women and children suffering Israeli atrocities,” Abdullah Butt, chief executive officer of Educast, told Arab News.
“Palestine’s Young Explorer organization will funnel our services through its system and redirect it to about 20,000 women currently using its platform who will be able to receive video-based consultation from Pakistani e-doctors,” he said. “We will be providing our services to war-torn areas of Al Quds, the West Bank and Gaza Strip.”
Young Explorer aims to facilitate Educast in areas where basic health facilities and infrastructure have been destroyed by Israeli forces. 
“We are giving our platform for the telehealth campaign,” Dajani said. “All our human resources will work on tech, marketing, social media, design and coordination with doctors. The service is expected to start within a week.”
“In Gaza, access to health is very limited due to the continuous rocket attacks,” she added. “Kids are under intense pressure and fear. In the West Bank, there are medical centers, but we will use the power of social media and the Internet to reach large numbers of people.”
Doctors who have volunteered for the service expressed deep emotions while discussing the opportunity of serving the people of Palestine. 
“I will be pleased to utilize my knowledge of medicine to serve Palestinian sisters and children,” Dr. Rehana Din Mohammad, a physician based in Oman, said. 
“I have gained experience of handling hundreds of COVID-19 patients in Pakistan,” Dr. Faizah Ayub Khan, a doctor based in the United Arab Emirates, told Arab News. “Now I am determined to provide full support to my Palestinian sisters.”
Dr. Tayeba Khan, a mental health expert based in Canada, said women and children in Palestine were facing traumatic circumstances unleashed by Israeli attacks, saying she “could not wait” to provide the required assistance to these people.
Educast has previously provided similar services to people in Yemen.
“After successfully establishing three maternal child health tele-centers in the war zone of Yemen, we are now launching another timely initiative in Palestine,” Butt said.
Educast and Young Explorers are both winners of the 2019 Islamic Development Bank’s Transform Fund. The funding is part of the bank’s $500 million grant established to improve quality of life in the Muslim world through technological innovation.


Pakistani army chief says looks forward to ‘enhance’ ties with European Union

Updated 18 May 2021

Pakistani army chief says looks forward to ‘enhance’ ties with European Union

  • Bajwa was meeting EU ambassador to Pakistan Androulla Kaminara who called on him at the army headquarters in Rawalpindi
  • Meeting comes weeks after violent protests by rightwing group calling on government to expel French envoy over publication of blasphemous cartoons

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa said on Monday Pakistan looked forward to enhancing ties “based on common interests” with the European Union.
Bajwa was meeting Androulla Kaminara, ambassador of the European Union, who called on the chief of army staff (COAS) at the army headquarters, GHQ, in Rawalpindi.
“During the meeting matters of mutual interest, regional security situation including recent developments in Afghan Peace Process were discussed,” the Pakistan army said in a statement. “COAS said that Pakistan values its relations with EU and we earnestly look forward to enhance mutually beneficial multi-domain relations based on common interests.”
Kaminara “appreciated Pakistan’s sincere efforts for bringing peace and stability in the region, especially the Afghan Peace Process.”
The meeting comes just weeks after violent protests by a rightwing political party that demanded the government expel the French envoy before April 20 over the publication of blasphemous cartoons in France.
At the time, Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed the nation and said severing ties with France would hit Pakistani exports to the EU and fuel poverty, unemployment and inflation in the country. 
“The biggest effect [of breaking ties with France] will be that after great difficulty our economy is rising, the large-scale industry is getting up after a long time, people are getting jobs, wealth is increasing in our country, our exports are rising and after a long time, our rupee is strengthening,” Khan said in a televised address to the nation, adding that breaking ties with France was tantamount to severing relations with the entire European Union.
“Half of our textile exports go to the EU and that will be stopped, resulting in unemployment, devaluation of the rupee, increase in inflation and poverty,” Khan said. “We will be at loss but this won’t make any difference to France.”


Pakistani foreign minister heads to New York to address emergency UNGA session on Palestine

Updated 18 May 2021

Pakistani foreign minister heads to New York to address emergency UNGA session on Palestine

  • On Monday, US once more prevented UN Security Council from issuing public statement on worsening Israeli attacks on Palestine
  • Pakistan’s parliament on Monday passed unanimous resolution over ‘unconscionable brutality’ of Israel against Palestinians

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi left for Turkey on Monday night from where he will fly to New York to attend and address an emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on worsening Israeli attacks on Palestine, Pakistan’s permanent mission to the UN said on Tuesday.
On Monday, the United States once more prevented the United Nations Security Council from issuing a public statement on the Israeli assault as the White House said it was pursuing “quiet, intensive diplomacy.”
For the past week Washington, a strong ally of Israel, has been isolated on the 15-member council over its objection to a public statement by the Security Council on the worst violence between Israel and the Palestinians in years because it worries it could harm behind-the-scenes diplomacy.
The death toll in Gaza jumped to 188 overnight, including 55 children, amid an intensive Israeli air and artillery barrage since the fighting erupted last Monday. Ten people have been killed in Israel, including two children, in thousands of rocket attacks by Hamas and other groups.
“On the special instructions of PM Imran Khan, the FM Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi will speak at @UN General Assembly #UNGA debate on “The situation in the Middle East” & the “Question of Palestine” on 20 May 2021,” Pakistan’s permanent mission to the UN said in a Twitter post.


“The Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi will hold meetings with various dignitaries in NewYork. He will hold talks with local & int’l media representatives & present Pakistan’s views on the situation in #Palestine.”

In a Twitter post, Qureshi said:
“Pakistan joins hands with Palestine, Sudan and Turkey to address an emergency session on #Palestine called by the United Nations General Assembly. Pakistan stands firmly with the people of Palestine.”

Pakistan’s lower house of parliament on Monday passed a unanimous resolution against what Qureshi called the ‘unconscionable brutality’ of Israel against Palestinians.
“Today in Parliament proud to present a resolution, unanimously adopted, in support of #Palestine, condemning Israeli’s unconscionable brutality & reaffirming Pakistan support for a two-state solution,” Qureshi said in a tweet.

The country’s National Assembly suspended its routine agenda to discuss ongoing Israeli airstrikes in which over 200 Palestinians have died so far.
The lower house passed a resolution calling upon the United Nations Security Council to ensure Israel immediately stopped ongoing crimes against Palestinians and halted its aggressions, which it said had violated the sanctity of Al Aqsa Mosque, a holy site for more than 1.5 billion Muslims.
The parliamentary resolution called upon the UN Secretary General to “establish an independent inquiry tribunal to investigate the crime of genocide by the apartheid Israeli regime against the Palestinian people.”
The parliament also urged the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to take “immediate decisive steps” for the protection and safety of the Palestinian people and break the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza in order to provide humanitarian assistance.
Presenting the resolution in the National Assembly, Foreign Minister Qureshi said Pakistan had demanded total withdrawal of Israel from the Palestinian territories and would urge the UN General Assembly to convene an urgent session on the ongoing Israeli attacks against Palestinians.
Pakistan’s permanent mission to the United Nations has also called on the UN Security council to hold Israel accountable for “war crimes” and condemned its use of “indiscriminate force” against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.
The Pakistani mission urged the UN Security Council to call Israel for an immediate halt to the use of arbitrary force, offer protections to civilians and ensure full compliance with international and human rights laws.
Meanwhile, Pakistani Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi met the ambassador of Palestine, Ahmed Jawad A.A. Rabaei, on Monday and condemned “continuous and indiscriminate” attacks by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) against Palestinians.
“Foreign Minister Qureshi strongly condemned violence by the Israeli Forces against innocent worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan,” the Pakistani foreign office said in a statement. “While conveying his deepest sorrow and condolences for the innocent victims of lethal attacks by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in Gaza and the West Bank, he categorically condemned IDF’s continuous and indiscriminate attacks that had resulted in martyrdom of more than 140 Palestinians, including 39 children and 22 women, and injured more than 1,000.”
Ambassador Rabaei expressed gratitude for Pakistan’s “unwavering support and steadfast policy” on Palestine and “appreciated Pakistan’s continuous efforts to engage the international community for protecting Palestine.”
Over 1,000 protesters gathered outside the Islamabad Press Club on Monday in a show of solidarity with Palestine. The demonstration was organized by the Awami Workers Party (AWP), the Women’s Democratic Forum (WDF), and the Progressive Student Federation.
Fatimah Quaider, a student organizer, told Arab News she knew people were “dying to get out and do something” to show support for Palestine, and hence she had started messaging people to coordinate a protest.
“Every night the bombings, it was becoming too much to bear — so I sent out three or four messages working on a plan and it’s spread like wildfire,” Quaider said. “People are coming for the protest because they are angry and heartbroken.”
“We all are here because there is a deafening silence all over the world and we are protesting against that silence,” said human rights activist Samar Minallah. “If we don’t speak up today it’s going to be us tomorrow.”
Protests were also held in Lahore, Karachi and other Pakistani cities.


US approves release of oldest Guantanamo prisoner from Pakistan

Updated 18 May 2021

US approves release of oldest Guantanamo prisoner from Pakistan

  • 73-year-old Saifullah Paracha suffers from a number of ailments and is not considered to be a ‘continuing threat’ to the United States
  • The US government will now be negotiating a repatriation agreement with Pakistan for Paracha’s return

WASHINGTON: A 73-year-old from Pakistan who is the oldest prisoner at the Guantanamo Bay detention center was notified on Monday that he has been approved for release after more than 16 years in custody at the US base in Cuba, his lawyer said.
Saifullah Paracha, who has been held on suspicion of ties to Al Qaida but never charged with a crime, was cleared by the prisoner review board along with two other men, said Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, who represented him at his hearing in November.
As is customary, the notification did not provide detailed reasoning for the decision and concluded only that Paracha is “not a continuing threat” to the US, Sullivan-Bennis said.
It does not mean his release his imminent. But it is a crucial step before the US government negotiates a repatriation agreement with Pakistan for his return. President Joe Biden’s administration has said it intends to resume efforts to close the detention center, a process that former President Donald Trump halted.
Paracha’s attorney said she thinks he will be returned home in the next several months.
“The Pakistanis want him back, and our understanding is that there are no impediments to his return,” she said.

This undated photo made by the International Committee of the Red Cross and provided by lawyer David H. Remes, shows Guantanamo prisoner Saifullah Paracha. (AP)

A Pentagon spokesman had no immediate comment.
The prisoner review board also informed Uthman Abd Al-Rahim Uthman, a Yemeni who has been held without charge at Guantanamo since it opened in January 2002, was also notified that he had been cleared, according to his attorney, Beth Jacob, who spoke to him by phone.
“He was happy, relieved and hopeful that this will actually lead to his release,” Jacob said.
Paracha, who lived in the US and owned property in New York City, was a wealthy businessman in Pakistan. Authorities alleged he was an Al Qaida “facilitator” who helped two of the conspirators in the Sept. 11 plot with a financial transaction. He says he didn’t know they were Al Qaida and denies any involvement in terrorism.
The US, which captured Paracha in Thailand in 2003 and has held him at Guantanamo since September 2004, has long asserted that it can hold detainees indefinitely without charge under the international laws of war.
In November, Paracha, who suffers from a number of ailments including diabetes and a heart condition, made his eighth appearance before the review board, which was established under President Barack Obama to try to prevent the release of prisoners who authorities believed might engage in anti-US hostilities upon their release from Guantanamo.
At the time, his attorney said he was more optimistic about his prospects because of Biden’s election, his ill health and developments in a legal case involving his son, Uzair.
Uzair Paracha was convicted in 2005 in federal court in New York of providing support to terrorism, based in part on testimony from the same witnesses held at Guantanamo whom the US relied on to justify holding the father.
In March 2020, after a judge threw out those witness accounts and the government decided not to seek a new trial, Uzair Paracha was released and sent back to Pakistan.
Saifullah Paracha is one of 40 prisoners still held at Guantanamo, down from a peak of nearly 700 in 2003.
With this latest review board decision, there are now about nine men held at Guantanamo who have been cleared for release, including one who has been approved since 2010. Under Obama, the US would not return men to Yemen because of the civil war there and often struggled to find third countries to accept former prisoners.
Given that history, Jacob was only cautiously optimistic about her client’s release. “I’m just hoping that in 11 years he’s not just still sitting there with his clearance still at Guantanamo,” she said.
There are 10 facing trial by military commission and two who have been convicted, including one awaiting sentencing. Proceedings in the tribunals have been on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic.