Federal cabinet approves first license for industrial, medical use of hemp

A stand showcasing cannabidiol (CBD) oil products at the Department of Development of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine in Bangkok on Jan. 6, 2020. (AFP/File)
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Updated 01 September 2020

Federal cabinet approves first license for industrial, medical use of hemp

  • The license will be issued to the Ministry of Science and Technology and Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research
  • Since cannabis is illegal in much of the world, the legal status of cannabis-derived compounds is not always certain

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Hussain Chaudhry announced on Tuesday that the cabinet had approved the first license for industrial and medical use of hemp, a specific variety of cannabis plant. 

Hemp is used to extract a compound called CBD or Cannabidiol that is widely used for medical and therapeutic purposes. Since cannabis is illegal in much of the world, however, the legal status of CBD is not always certain either.
The European Union allows the sale of CBD in most of its member states under strict regulations.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States says on its website that it “recognizes the potential opportunities that cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds may offer and acknowledges the significant interest in these possibilities.”
However, the FDA “is aware that some companies are marketing products containing cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds in ways that violate the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and that may put the health and safety of consumers at risk.”
The website adds that the agency is “committed to protecting the public health while also taking steps to improve the efficiency of regulatory pathways for the lawful marketing of appropriate cannabis and cannabis-derived products.”
In Pakistan, a large number of people prefer herbal and traditional medical treatments to more advanced scientific ones since they assume that herbal cures do not have side effects.
Many of these individuals also use CBD that is usually extracted at home.
With the federal cabinet’s decision to allow the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) to carry out the activity under license, people favoring herbal medicines might benefit from the decision, though the science minister did not give further details in his Twitter post.


Pollard out of West Indies white-ball tour of Pakistan 

Updated 05 December 2021

Pollard out of West Indies white-ball tour of Pakistan 

  • He withdrew after failing to recover from the hamstring injury he sustained in the T20 World Cup 
  • West Indies are due to play three T20Is and three ODIs at the Karachi National Stadium from Dec 13 to 22 

ST JOHN’S, Antigua: West Indies captain Kieron Pollard withdrew Sunday from the upcoming white-ball tour of Pakistan after failing to recover from the hamstring injury he sustained in the T20 World Cup. 
Pollard was replaced in the ODI squad by Devon Thomas and in the T20 squad by all-rounder Rovman Powell.

Pollard will be reassessed in a few weeks ahead of the upcoming home tours by Ireland and England in January 2022, Cricket West Indies said.

The West Indies are due to play three T20Is and three ODIs at the Karachi National Stadium from Dec. 13-22. 


Pakistan announces award for man who tried shielding Sri Lankan victim of Sialkot lynching 

Updated 18 min 24 sec ago

Pakistan announces award for man who tried shielding Sri Lankan victim of Sialkot lynching 

  • Priyantha Kumara was publicly attacked and killed by a Muslim mob on Friday over blasphemy allegations 
  • Police in Pakistan’s Punjab have arrested six more suspects, taking the number of detainees to 124 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday announced a gallantry award for the man, who tried shielding Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara lynched in Punjab’s Sialkot city earlier this week, against a mob of vigilantes. 

Kumara worked at a factory in the northeastern Pakistani city of Sialkot and was publicly attacked and killed by a Muslim mob on Friday over allegations he had committed blasphemy. 

Blasphemy is considered a deeply sensitive issue in Pakistan, and carries the death penalty. International and domestic rights groups say accusations of blasphemy have often been used to intimidate religious minorities and settle personal scores. 

In videos circulating on social media, one of Kumara’s colleagues, Malik Adnan, was seen confronting a group of vigilantes and making desperate attempts to protect the Sri Lankan national. He, however, could not succeed in his attempts. 

“On behalf of the nation, I want to salute moral courage and bravery of Malik Adnan who tried his utmost to shelter and save Priyantha Diyawadana from the vigilante mob in Sialkot incl[uding] endangering his own life by physically trying to shield victim,” PM Khan said in a Twitter post. 

“We will award him Tamgha-i-Shujaat [Medal of Bravery].” 

The announcement coincided with the arrest of six more suspects in the lynching case. 

“Punjab police have identified and arrested six more main suspects in the last 12 hours with the help of CCTV footage and mobile calls data. The suspects were hiding at the houses of their friends and relatives,” Punjab police said on Twitter. 

Of the total 124 detainees, it said, 19 suspects had a central role in the lynching according to the investigation so far. 

The remains of the deceased Sri Lankan national would be flown to Sri Lanka on Monday at the “state cost,” the Sri Lankan foreign ministry said. 

“The Sri Lanka High Commission in Islamabad has requested an investigation report from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Pakistan regarding the death of Diyawadanage Don. Nandasiri Priyantha Kumara,” it said in a statement. 

“The Sri Lanka High Commission in Islamabad, in coordination with the Foreign Ministry, is also in discussions with the Pakistan authorities and the employer of the deceased regarding payment of compensation.” 

On Saturday, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa expressed grief over the lynching of Kumara in Pakistan. He said he was “shocked to see the brutal and fatal attack” on Kumara by “extremist mobs in Pakistan”. “My heart goes out to his wife and family,” Rajapaksa said in a tweet. 

PM Khan said on Saturday night said he had spoken to Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and assured him that justice would be done in Kumara’s lynching case. 


Antares Experience ends journey as ‘largest ever’ vessel dismantled at Pakistani shipbreaking yard 

Updated 05 December 2021

Antares Experience ends journey as ‘largest ever’ vessel dismantled at Pakistani shipbreaking yard 

  • The 14-floor cruise ship has 1411 rooms, shopping areas, gaming zones and conference halls 
  • Authorities turned down the owner’s idea to use it for travel or turn it into a hotel 

KARACHI: Antares Experience, a former Costa Cruises liner is set to end its nearly three-decade-long journey in Pakistan’s Gadani shipbreaking yard, a senior Pakistani official and the shipbreaker said on Sunday. 

Built for Italy’s biggest tour operator Costa Cruises in the early 1990s, the cruise liner was bought by a Pakistani shipbreaker, New Choice Enterprises (NCE), to turn it into scrap at the shipbreaking yard in Gadani, Balochistan, some 50 kilometers away from Karachi. 

“The cruise ship, which is bought by a Gadani buyer, has come for beaching,” Mahmood Moulvi, the Pakistani prime minister’s special assistant on maritime affairs, told Arab News. 

“It will be beached as per the conditions of the contract,” Moulvi said, ruling out the possibility of using the cruise for a ferry services in the country. 

The ship, weighing 56,800 gross tons, has 14 floors, 1,411 rooms, a seven-star hotel, shopping areas, gaming zones and three conference halls. 

It is going to be scrapped due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the shipping sector. 

“The condition of shipping lines in Europe is not good and they are doing away with ships,” Moulvi said. “The ship was sold at $610 per LDT (Light Displacement Tonnage).” 

Ahmedullah Khan, the buyer of the vessel and owner of NCE, had requested the government to allow turning the ship into a hotel by docking it off the Karachi coast or use it for travel and tourism, saying that it was in “workable condition” for the next 10-15 years. 

But the authorities turned down the idea due to the size of the vessel. 

“It will take at least 10 months to dismantle the whole ship and more than 500 workers will be directly involved in the process,” Khan told Arab News, adding is the “largest cruise ever” to arrive for scrapping in Pakistan. 

The dismantling of the cruise liner is expected to start next week. 

Gadani is the world’s third largest shipbreaking yard after the Alang-Sosiya yard in India and the Chittagong yard in Bangladesh. 

 


Sialkot ‘blasphemy’ lynching: Remains of Sri Lankan to be flown to Colombo tomorrow 

Updated 16 min 21 sec ago

Sialkot ‘blasphemy’ lynching: Remains of Sri Lankan to be flown to Colombo tomorrow 

  • Priyantha Kumara was killed and his body burned by a Muslim mob over allegations of blasphemy in city of Sialkot
  • Officials say family not coming to Pakistan to collect remains, Sri Lankan High Commission handling body’s return to Colombo

COLOMBO/ISLAMABAD: Officials in Colombo and Islamabad said on Sunday the remains of a Sri Lankan man who had been lynched in Pakistan this week over alleged blasphemy would be flown to his home country tomorrow, Monday.
A Muslim mob on Friday attacked and killed Sri Lankan Priyantha Kumara and burned his body publicly over allegations he had committed blasphemy in the northeastern city of Sialkot.
Blasphemy is considered a deeply sensitive issue in Pakistan, and carries the death penalty. International and domestic rights groups say accusations of blasphemy have often been used to intimidate religious minorities and settle personal scores.
“The body of Diyawadanage Don Nandasiri Priyantha Kumara, who was killed by a mob in Sialkot, will be ferried to Colombo by SriLankan Airlines,” Sri Lanka’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Sugeeshwara Gunaratne, told Arab News.
“We have made all arrangements with the support of the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo to bring back the body from Lahore to Colombo,” he said. “The human remains will be received by the next-of-kin at the Colombo airport.”
Kalsoom Jillani, a press officer at Pakistan’s High Commission in Colombo, also told Arab News Kumara’s body would be repatriated on a special flight from Lahore on December 6.
Chameera Munasinghe, a counsellor administration at the Sri Lankan High Commission in Islamabad, said members of Kumara’s family would not be flying to Pakistan to retrieve the remains as the “Sri Lankan High Commission is handling everything.”
Pakistani leaders, including Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, have said Islamabad is working closely with Sri Lankan authorities on the case. Top Pakistani leaders have promised accountability as Sri Lankan leaders have demanded that Islamabad ensure justice.
Few issues are as galvanizing in Pakistan as blasphemy, and even the slightest suggestions of an insult to Islam have been known to supercharge protests and incite lynching. Perpetrators of violence in the name of blasphemy often go unpunished.
But on Saturday, police said they had arrested over 230 people in the case and filed police reports against 900 workers of the garment factory, Rajco Industries, in Sialkot. Uggoki Station House Officer (SHO) Armaghan Maqt lodged the cases under several sections of the Pakistan Penal Code and the Anti-Terrorism Act.
Speaking to the BBC on Saturday, Kumara’s window Niroshi Dasaniyake, pleaded with both Pakistani and Sri Lankan leaders to ensure justice for her husband and the two children who survived him.
“My husband was an innocent man,” she told BBC Sinhala. “I found out from the news that after working abroad for so long he had been brutally murdered. I saw on the Internet how inhuman the killing was. I appeal to the Sri Lankan president and the Pakistani prime minister and president to conduct a fair investigation so my husband and our two children get justice.”
On Saturday, Pakistani media widely reported on a preliminary investigation report in the case that said the Sri Lankan factory manager was not popular with workers who had lodged several complaints against him with the owners of the facility, implying that blasphemy might have only been a pretext for his murder.
Sharing the findings of the initial investigation in the case, top news channel Geo News said Kumara “worked as an honest general manager” who looked after production at the factory and strictly implemented regulations.
“On the day of the incident, Priyantha Kumara visited the production unit where he reprimanded the supervisor for not keeping the place clean,” the news channel reported, saying it was the supervisor who then allegedly instigated workers against the Sri Lankan manager.
“According to the police, Priyantha Kumara had asked workers to remove posters and stickers from the walls which were being painted,” Geo News said. “He also took off some posters himself including one with a religious inscription which led to an outcry. However, he apologized to people on the instructions of his factory owners.”
The investigation report also said Kumara did not speak the local language and frequently faced communication problems at work.
While the issue had seemingly been settled after his apology, some workers continued to instigate people at the scene who then physically attacked the manager. Kumara ran to the roof of the factory to hide but was chased by a group of angry workers who then killed him.
As his body was dragged by the mob onto the road, security guards deployed at the building left the facility without making an effort at rescue. The man’s corpse was then publicly set on fire in the presence of a crowd of hundreds of people, many of whom filmed the incident on their cellphones and posted video clips on social media.
Kumara’s post-mortem was completed at Allama Iqbal Teaching Hospital in Sialkot, according to Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper, with the report saying most of his body was burnt and several bones were broken due to the torture he had suffered.


Rain limits play on day two of second Bangladesh-Pakistan test 

Updated 05 December 2021

Rain limits play on day two of second Bangladesh-Pakistan test 

  • Pakistan resumed the day on 161-2 and reached 188-2 before the umpires called it a day
  • Rain and bad light also interrupted the game on day one, allowing just two sessions

DHAKA, Bangladesh: The majority of play on day two of the second cricket test between Bangladesh and Pakistan was washed out due to persistent rain on Sunday.
Just 6.2 overs from a possible 98 were possible as Pakistan resumed the day on 161-2 and reached 188-2 before the umpires called it a day.
Skipper Babar Azam was batting on 71 with Azhar Ali on 52 at stumps.
Rain and bad light also interrupted the game on day one, allowing just two sessions.
As the game started after the lunch session on Sunday, Babar resumed with a boundary through fine leg off pacer Khaled Ahmed, showing his intention to score quick runs.
Azhar also hit a boundary in the second ball he faced off pacer Ebadot Hossain.
He then struck two consecutive fours in Ebadot’s next over to reach his 34th test fifty off 126 balls just before rain forced the postponement.
Left-arm spinner Taijul Islam, who didn’t bowl on day two, remains Bangladesh’s biggest threat with match figures of 2-49.
Pakistan won the first test by eight wickets and leads the two-match series 1-0.