India-Pakistan 'sporting brotherhood' impresses coach Hayden  

India's captain Virat Kohli (C) congratulates his Pakistan's counterpart Babar Azam (L) and Mohammad Rizwan at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai on October 24, 2021. (AFP)
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Updated 26 October 2021

India-Pakistan 'sporting brotherhood' impresses coach Hayden  

  • India captain Kohli embraced Rizwan soon after Pakistan romped to 10-wicket win  
  • Political tension between the neighbors has resulted in them avoiding bilateral cricket series 

ISLAMABAD: Matthew Hayden has been impressed by the “sporting brotherhood” on display after Pakistan beat India to break its run of 12 losses in World Cup contests between the archrivals.
India captain Virat Kohli embraced Mohammad Rizwan soon after Pakistan romped to a 10-wicket win in the Twenty20 World Cup game on Sunday to start its Super 12 campaign.

Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, now a mentor with the team, smiled as he spoke with Pakistan players including captain Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik and fast bowler Shahnawaz Dahani soon after the game ended.

“The thing that inspired me the most out of the performance was the fantastic sporting brotherhood,” Hayden, an intensely competitive former Australia opening batsman now working with the Pakistan's T20 squad, said in a video message from Dubai.

The political tension between the subcontinental neighbors has resulted in the countries avoiding bilateral cricket series since Pakistan visited India in 2012-13 and played a short limited-overs series. However, they compete against each other regularly in the ICC tournaments.

Hayden said the way the Pakistan and Indian players came together was a good example “of how we should treat each other as people.”

“That’s the role of sport, so it’s beautiful to see those moments where MS Dhoni is holding court with a few of the (Pakistan) players and Virat Kohli and (Rizwan), you know, in brotherhood, joining hands after there was heated battles in the middle.”

The Pakistan Cricket Board appointed Hayden as a batting consultant and South African Vernon Philander as a bowling consultant for the T20 World Cup after head coach Misbah-ul-Haq and bowling coach Waqar Younis stepped down.
Hayden joined the squad in the United Arab Emirates, following his stint as a commentator in the Indian Premier League which ended two days before the World Cup began on Oct. 17.

Following Pakistan’s record-breaking win, Babar reminded his teammates to stay focused on winning the World Cup instead of getting carried away with the win over India.

“Great humility from our perspective inside the change rooms, not getting carried away too much with the celebrations, but just this great humility, this great sense of spirit and great sense of purpose moving into the next game against New Zealand," he said.

Fast bowler Shaheen Afridi’s burst in his opening two overs provided Pakistan with the key wickets of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul and helped restrict India to 151-7. Afridi also went on to take the wicket of top-scorer Kohli in his return spell.

For Hayden, it was a prime example of what Pakistan's pacemen are capable of producing.

“Pakistan has velocity in abundance, not just here but also back home that aren’t celebrating in this World Cup,” he said. “Shaheen really is that one leader within the bowling group ... nothing beats velocity, mixed up with some skill.”


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.


Pakistan's pandemic response body asks provinces to speed up COVID-19 vaccination drive

Updated 02 December 2021

Pakistan's pandemic response body asks provinces to speed up COVID-19 vaccination drive

  • The National Command and Operation Center issues the instruction as the omicron coronavirus variant spreads across the world
  • The new variant is said to be highly transmissible and has also been causing severe infection among young people

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's central pandemic response body asked the country's provincial authorities on Thursday to increase the pace of their vaccination campaign, reported Radio Pakistan, as the world anticipates an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases after the emergence of a new coronavirus variant.
The omicron virus was first detected in South Africa and is said to be highly transmissible. Media reports indicate it has also been causing severe infection among the young population of the African state.
Pakistan's National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) urged the federating units to hasten their immunization campaign during a meeting held in Islamabad earlier today.
The country's pandemic response body "stressed upon the provinces to speed up the vaccination process amid rising trend of Omicron variant across the globe as vaccination is the only way to prevent the spread of new the COVID variant," Radio Pakistan reported.
It added that the forum "discussed the current status of production and distribution process of oxygen, city-wise COVID-19 vaccination process and agreed upon taking strict measures regarding the obligatory vaccination regime."
Pakistan's planning minister Asad Umar, who also heads the NCOC, said earlier this week it was "impossible" to block the omicron coronavirus variant from entering the country only a few days after the government imposed a travel ban on six African countries and Hong Kong.
He mentioned the only protection against the mutated virus was to increase the vaccination rate in Pakistan.


Pakistan to rest Hasan Ali for series against West Indies

Updated 02 December 2021

Pakistan to rest Hasan Ali for series against West Indies

  • Chief selector says Ali has been playing non-stop since returning from a back injury last year
  • Abdullah Shafique, who scored half-centuries in his debut test against Bangladesh, has been named as traveling reserve for the ODIs

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan fast bowler Hasan Ali will be rested for this month's limited-overs series against the West Indies at Karachi.

The teams are scheduled to play three Twenty20s and three one-day internationals in the southern port city beginning Dec. 13.

Chief selector Mohammad Wasim said Hasan has been playing non-stop since returning from a back injury last year. Fast bowler Mohammad Hasnain has replaced Hasan in both formats.

Allrounder Imad Wasim, wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfaraz Ahmed and Shoaib Malik, who took part in the T20 series against Bangladesh, were left out.

“We have been playing T20Is since October and now have a pretty settled and balanced side,” Wasim said. “We decided to reduce the number of players to 15."

Abdullah Shafique, who scored half-centuries in both innings of his debut test against Bangladesh, was named as traveling reserve for the ODIs against the West Indies. Selectors have dropped Faheem Ashraf, Salman Ali Agha and Sarfaraz, who featured in the last ODI series against England in July.