PM Khan promises rule of law as nation celebrates Mawlid Al-Nabi

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses Rehmat-ul-Lil-Aalamin (blessing for all the worlds) Conference in Islamabad, Pakistan, on October 19, 2021. (Photo courtesy: @PakPMO/Twitter)
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Updated 20 October 2021

PM Khan promises rule of law as nation celebrates Mawlid Al-Nabi

  • Says will strive to create welfare state in following the teachings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH)
  • Birthday of Prophet (PBUH) is celebrated on the 12th day of Rabi Al-Awwal by Muslims all over the world

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Tuesday his government wanted to establish the rule of law in the country by following the principles established by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) which required a state to hold its powerful citizens accountable for their misdeeds as well.
Khan made the comment while addressing a national conference in Islamabad as people across the country celebrated Mawlid Al-Nabi – or the birth anniversary of the Prophet (PBUH) – with traditional religious fervor.
The Prophet’s birth anniversary is observed on the 12th day of Rabi Al-Awwal, the third month in the Islamic calendar, by Muslims all over the world.
The prime minister emphasized in his speech no society could progress without maintaining equal standards of justice for everyone.
“The central pillars of the State of Madinah established by our Prophet (PBUH) were morality and rule of law,” he noted. “A welfare state always looks after its people irrespective of their status. We will have to make the powerful abide by the laws of this country. Otherwise, we will not be able to fix the system.”
He said a leader should be honest and trustworthy, adding that the two qualities were also quite prominent in the Prophet’s own personality.
Khan reiterated he was striving to implement in his country the political ideals that were central to the State of Madinah.
“I will keep on fighting for the rule of law in the country until my last breath,” he continued. “We have to bring the powerful within the ambit of the rule of law.”
The prime minister said his government had formed a special authority to apprise the people about the life and teachings of the Prophet of Islam (PBUH).
“Children have access to all types of information through mobile phones these days,” he said. “The challenge is to show them the right path and direction. The newly established authority will provide guidance to our youth by showing them different aspects of the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).”
He added the objective of setting up an Islamic welfare state that followed the principles of the State of Madinah had been there in his party’s manifesto for 25 years.
“Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) gave women right to property which they did not have it before,” he said. “The State of Madinah also introduced the concept of providing pension to older people.”
Earlier, while addressing the first session of the conference, President Dr. Arif Alvi emphasized the need for promoting unity among Muslims in the light of the teachings of the Prophet (PBUH).
“The last Prophet preached not to spread discord and said that Muslims were united like a single body,” Alvi said, adding that the revolution that emerged from the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah had truly transformed the world.
“I have a firm belief that change in Pakistan and the Muslim world will once again come from the mosque which holds special significance in the character building of a nation,” he maintained.
A special documentary on the life of the Prophet (PBUH) was also screened at the conference.


Pakistani president ratifies bill allowing use of electronic voting machines 

Updated 8 sec ago

Pakistani president ratifies bill allowing use of electronic voting machines 

  • Last month, a joint parliamentary sitting sanctioned use of EVMs for next general elections in the country 
  • Government has been pushing for use of technology but opposition accuses it of trying to manipulate system 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani President Arif Alvi on Thursday signed the Election (Amendment) Bill, 2021 that allows the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the country, Pakistani state-run APP news agency reported. 

Last month, a joint parliamentary sitting sanctioned the use of EVMs for the next general elections, though opposition factions resisted the move and vowed to challenge it in the country’s top court. 

The government has lately pushed for the use of technology to make future Pakistani elections fairer and more transparent, but opposition parties accuse it of trying to manipulate the voting system by introducing technology, which has not been tested in Pakistan before. 

Alvi, however, asked critics not to be afraid of a “simple” electronic voting machine (EVM), which he said would help hold a fair election and bring an end to poll rigging. 

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“People will have to trust it. It involves no advancement. It is too simple. The country achieves progress by adopting new things,” the president said, addressing a ceremony wherein he signed the bill into law. 

The bill also provides for the right of vote to overseas Pakistanis. 

EVMs will ensure holding a fair election that has long been desired in Pakistan as every election followed controversies and rigging allegations, which also impacted credibility of respective governments, according to Alvi. 

These machines would help print votes on the spot, instead of printing ballot papers at the press. They would help do away with the practice of printing extra ballot papers that used to be sold out later, kidnapping of presiding officers, and confusion in vote count. 

He said the voter would cast their vote by touching the EVM screen, instead of stamping the ballot paper. “The process is the same. Then what is the resistance for?” 

While the machine would use an in-built calculator to count votes, manual counting would also be available for skeptics, the president said, adding that the Ministry of Science and Technology was not a manufacturer of EVMs, it rather made a prototype for experiment. 

It would be the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to select the EVM based on the required specifications, he explained. 

About Internet-voting (I-voting) for overseas Pakistanis, Alvi recounted the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) legal and political struggle for voting right to Pakistani expatriates. He said physical voting for expatriates was not possible due to multiple complications. 

The countries, which had rejected EVMs, had their own better systems in place, according to the president. Contrarily, Pakistan needed it owing to weaknesses in its system. 

EVMs would help alleviate confusion caused by post-election rigging allegations and bring about a strong government to support democracy, he said. 

“Don’t worry, the nation will be convinced,” the president remarked. “Just like this one, the country will make progress in other fields too.” 


Pakistan felicitates UAE on Golden Jubilee, credits Emirates’ progress to visionary leadership 

Updated 03 December 2021

Pakistan felicitates UAE on Golden Jubilee, credits Emirates’ progress to visionary leadership 

  • With bilateral trade of over $8 billion, UAE remains Pakistan’s largest trading partner in Middle East and North Africa
  • The Emirates are also among the largest foreign investors in Pakistan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi says

ISLAMABAD: On the occasion of the 50th National Day of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi extended heartiest felicitations from the people and the Government of Pakistan and said that the Emirates’ tremendous progress was a result of its visionary leadership. 

UAE Ambassador to Pakistan Hamad Obaid Al-Zaabi on Thursday evening hosted a grand reception in Islamabad, which marked five decades of the UAE’s formal nationalization and the start of the unification of the Emirates. 

The UAE was formally established on December 2, 1971 after an agreement was reached between rulers of the six Emirates, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and Ajman. The seventh, Ras al Khaimah, acceded to the new federation the following year. Since their unification, the seven Emirates have forged a distinct national identity. 

Pakistani ministers, politicians, Emirati officials, foreign diplomats and journalists celebrate 50th National Day of the United Arab Emirates in Islamabad, Pakistan on December 2, 2021. (AN Photo) 

“The tremendous progress achieved by the UAE would not have been possible without the visionary leadership of the its founding father, His Highness Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan,” Qureshi said, while addressing the ceremony. 

“I extend heartiest felicitations from the people and the Government of Pakistan to the people of UAE and its leadership on the Golden Jubilee of their unification. We wish them phenomenal success in all their endeavors.” 

Qureshi said Pakistan and the UAE had excellent fraternal relations, underpinned by a shared heritage and multifaceted cooperation. Economic and trade ties between Pakistan and UAE were an important part of this bilateral relationship and had been growing steadily, he added. 

“With bilateral trade of over $8 billion, UAE remains Pakistan’s largest trading partner in the Middle East and North Africa Region, while the UAE is also among the largest foreign investors in Pakistan,” he said. 

Students from Sheikh Zayed International Academy, Islamabad perform on the 50th National Day of the United Arab Emirates in Islamabad, Pakistan on December 2, 2021. (AN Photo)  

“We have also been working closely at international fora. We congratulate the UAE on its election to the United Nations Security Council for the term 2022-23 and for hosting COP-28.” 

Speaking to Arab News, UAE Ambassador Al-Zaabi said it was a double celebration as along with 50 years of the UAE’s success story, it also marked five decades of diplomatic relations with Pakistan. 

“Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, the late founding father of the UAE, put the foundation of this strong relationship with Pakistan,” Al-Zaabi said, adding that his diplomatic mission was here to continue and build new bridges to take forward this relationship. 

Adviser to Pakistani prime minister on commerce Abdul Razak Dawood termed the formation of the UAE a remarkable experiment of visionary leadership of its founding father. 

Pakistani tabla brothers, Riyan Czar (left) and Isaac Czar (right), perform on the occasion of 50th National Day of the United Arab Emirates in Islamabad, Pakistan on December 2, 2021. (AN Photo) 

“The creation and progress of the Emirates required exemplary and visionary leadership, and Shiekh Zayed and Sheikh Rashid provided that leadership to unite all the seven Emirates,” Dawood told Arab News. 

Pakistan’s Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan congratulated the UAE on its special day, saying, “It’s a great day for Pakistan too as we are celebrating 50 years of the establishment of the UAE, which is a true friend of Pakistan.” 

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s aide on the Middle East, Tahir Mahmood Ashrafi, said Pakistan and the UAE were companions of good and bad times. 

“Pakistan and the UAE are just like one body and soul. Whenever Pakistan faced any difficulty, the UAE and other Gulf states stood with us and we also reciprocated it,” Ashrafi told Arab News, adding that the Gulf countries had played a key role in each other’s progress, prosperity and stability. 

“During these 50 years Pakistan remained at the forefront of building infrastructure and institutions like the Emirates airlines,” he added. 


New Delhi says Pakistan imposing conditions on Indian humanitarian aid to Afghanistan

Updated 02 December 2021

New Delhi says Pakistan imposing conditions on Indian humanitarian aid to Afghanistan

  • India recently offered to supply life-saving drugs and 50,000 tons of wheat to the war-battered country
  • Prime Minister Imran Khan said his government was willing to consider the offer to help the people of Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD: Indian officials said on Thursday they were trying to work out the modalities of sending humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan with the Pakistani government, saying that Islamabad should not attach conditions to the shipment of relief goods.
The administration in New Delhi recently offered to supply life-saving drugs and 50,000 tons of wheat to the war-battered country which is facing an economic meltdown and an impending food crisis.
The issue was also taken up by a Taliban ministerial delegation with the Pakistani authorities last month, making Prime Minister Imran Khan assure its members that his country would consider the transit of Indian wheat on humanitarian grounds.
The foreign office of Pakistan announced on November 24 it had allowed the transportation of Indian humanitarian aid "as a goodwill gesture towards the brotherly Afghan people."
However, Indian external affairs ministry complained Pakistan wanted to load the relief material on its own trucks from the border crossing.
"We have had discussions with Pakistan on the modalities of this supply," the spokesperson of the ministry Arindam Bagchi told Hindustan Times. "These discussions are ongoing. Let me reiterate our belief that humanitarian assistance should not be subject to conditionalities."
The newspaper reported that the Indian wanted to use its own trucks to ensure the relief materials directly reached the Afghan people without being diverted.
"The Indian side also envisages the aid will be distributed only through the UN," it added.
Pakistan, which has urged the international community to address Afghanistan's humanitarian needs, allowed the transportation of Indian wheat at a time when the two countries have almost ended their diplomatic engagements due to the situation in Indian-administered Kashmir.
Pakistan has also denied India commercial transport links to Afghanistan for a long time to block its access to the Central Asian region.


Pakistan condemns India's 'mischievous spin' on Gurdwara Darbar Sahib incident

Updated 02 December 2021

Pakistan condemns India's 'mischievous spin' on Gurdwara Darbar Sahib incident

  • A Pakistani blogger took photographs at the Sikh place of worship, making India call it a 'reprehensible' act
  • The foreign office in Islamabad highlighted 'systematic marginalization' of minorities in India, saying New Delhi was not in a position to comment

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan summoned a senior Indian diplomat on Thursday to criticize the administration in New Delhi for putting a "mischievous spin" on a recent incident that took place at Gurdwara Darbar Sahib where a female blogger took some pictures without covering her head.
Reacting to the development, the Indian external affairs ministry called it a "reprehensible incident" which had hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community.
The ministry called Pakistan's Charge d'Affaires while issuing a statement which claimed the "desecration" of a Sikh place of worship showed little concern in Pakistan for minority religious communities.
"Given its systematic marginalization and brutalization of minorities, India has no locus standi to even feign concern for minorities elsewhere," said the foreign office of Pakistan in its official statement while rejecting the "mischievous spin given by India to an isolated incident involving an individual" visiting the Sikh temple.
"It was conveyed to the Indian diplomat that the incident was swiftly addressed and clarified," added the statement. "The Government of Pakistan accords highest primacy to the rights of the minorities. Sanctity of religious places and revered sites of every community is ensured in Pakistan."
The Pakistani foreign office maintained the Indian authorities should focus on ensuring effective protection of their own minorities and places of worship from repeated instances of desecration, hate crimes and mob lynching.
India and Pakistan, the two South Asian nuclear giants, have remained bitter rivals and fought three wars since their independence in 1947.


Bloodbath at Pakistan stock market as benchmark index sheds over 2,100 points

Updated 02 December 2021

Bloodbath at Pakistan stock market as benchmark index sheds over 2,100 points

  • The country’s national currency hits another all-time low at Rs176.42 against the US dollar amid widening trade deficit
  • Experts blame the stock market volatility on the shocking import bill in November along with an abnormal increase in the yield of treasury bills

KARACHI: The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) witnessed a bloodbath session on Thursday as benchmark KSE-100 index nosedived by more than 4.7 percent and the country’s national currency hit a new all-time low against the backdrop of soaring trade deficit, inflation, interest and rates of treasury bills, said traders and analysts.
The bourse resumed its trading session in the morning on a negative note, making an intra-day low of 2,282 points as investors remained concerned about the increasing trade deficit and higher-than-expected secondary market yields.
The benchmark KSE-100 index shed 2,134.99 points and closed at 43,234, according to the PSX data.
“The Pakistan market went down by more than 2,000 points, or over four percent, due to the shocking November, 2021, import bill and abnormal increase in the T-bill yield in yesterday’s auction,” Muhammad Sohail, chief executive officer of Topline Securities, commented.
The Pakistani rupee also hit another all-time low on Thursday and closed at Rs176.42 against the US dollar by shedding its value by 0.53 percent.
“The rupee has further lost its value due to the widening trade deficit amid swelling import bill,” Abdul Azeem, head of research at Spectrum Securities, told Arab News.
The equity market posted one of the largest declines in the current year, according to analysts.
“On March 16, 2020, the index recorded its steepest drop of 2,376 points,” Khurram Schehzad, chief executive officer of Alpha Beta Core, recalled. “The decline of 2,134 points during a single session today made the investors lose about $1.9 billion.”
According to Arif Habib Limited, a Karachi-based brokerage house, investors were worried due to the highest ever monthly trade deficit of $5.1 billion recorded in November, as exports stood at $2.9 billion against an import bill of $8 billion.
The expectation of higher interest rate in the upcoming monetary policy also impacted the market sentiment, as the three-months cut-off yield of treasury bills increased by 229 basis points to 10.79 percent.
Similarly, the yield of six and 12 months reached 11.50 and 11.51 percent.
“Stocks closed at a record low due to the concern over a sharp increase in T-bills along with the Pakistan Investment Bond,” said Ahsan Mehanti, chief executive of Arif Habib Corporation.
Analysts said the expectation of higher inflation numbers in the upcoming months due to the low base effect and further devaluation of the rupee also triggered selling pressure at the bourse.
The sectors contributing to the performance of the stock market lost their value significantly. Due to massive selling trend, the volumes increased from 241.7 million shares to 386.8 million shares. The traded value also increased by 52.4 percent to $79.7 million as against $52.3 million.
Equity market analysts said the stock exchange was likely to remain volatile in the coming days.