Liton and Mushfiqur rescue Bangladesh from 49-4 on Day 1

Bangladesh's Liton Das (R) plays a shot as Pakistan's wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan watches during the first day of the first Test cricket match between Bangladesh and Pakistan at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong on November 26, 2021. (AFP)
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Updated 26 November 2021

Liton and Mushfiqur rescue Bangladesh from 49-4 on Day 1

  • The host team reached 253-4 against Pakistan on the opening day of the first cricket test in Chattogram
  • Liton, who was on 113 at stumps, mistimed a shot but Sajid Khan put down his catch at midwicket on 67

CHATTOGRAM: Liton Das hit his maiden century as Bangladesh recovered from a shaky start to reach 253-4 against Pakistan on the opening day of the first cricket test on Friday.

He and Mushfiqur Rahim combined for an undefeated 204-run partnership after Bangladesh was reduced to 49-4 in the first session.

They kept the Pakistan bowlers at bay from the first half of the morning session through the entire second and third sessions.

At stumps owing to bad light, Liton was on 113 and Mushfiqur on 82.

The first hour belonged to the Pakistan fast bowlers, who utilized the early moisture on the pitch.

Opener Saif Hasan hit fast bowler Hasan Ali for two boundaries in the second over to hint at a good start for Bangladesh.

Opening partner Shadman Islam struggled against Shaheen Shah Afridi, who moved the ball well, but Saif grew with confidence, driving the left-arm pacer through mid-off for four.

Afridi broke through with the next delivery when Saif fended a short delivery to short leg for 14.

Shadman also fell for 14, as Ali had him leg before after leaking runs in his opening spell.

Offspinner Sajid Khan gave the side a big breakthrough when he reviewed successfully to dismiss captain Mominul Haque for 6.

Najmul Shanto followed him, giving a straight catch to point for 14 as Bangladesh crumbled under pressure.

Liton and Mushfiqur were duly cautious at the start and survived some tricky moments before they dominated.

They went unscathed in the whole middle session during which they raised their half-centuries and Liton hit Khan for the lone six of the day.

Liton, who was dropped from the Twenty20 squad following a poor T20 World Cup, chopped left-arm spinner Nauman Ali's short delivery past backward point to the boundary to bring up his half-century off 95 balls.

With the pitch offering nothing for the bowlers, the Pakistan pacers came up with a short balls plan which almost worked as Liton, on 67, mistimed one off Afridi but Khan put down the catch at midwicket.

Liton then became more watchful.

Mushfiqur, meanwhile, raised his 24th half-century with consecutive boundaries against fast bowler Ali off 108 balls. He survived because of a no-ball by Nauman Ali after sweeping straight to point.

Playing with caution, Liton reached his first test century off 199 balls after pushing Nauman to mid-off for a single.

Pakistan took the new ball as soon as it was available without reward for another five overs.


Pakistan mob sets fire to police station over alleged Quran desecration 

Updated 23 sec ago

Pakistan mob sets fire to police station over alleged Quran desecration 

  • Crowd of up to 5,000 people surrounded police station in Charsadda town on Sunday night
  • On Monday morning, 2,000 people remained outside police station burning uniforms of officers

PESHAWAR: Thousands of people mobbed a Pakistani police station, setting fire to it and nearby checkposts after demanding that officers hand over a man accused of burning the Quran, police said Monday.
The crowd of up to 5,000 people surrounded the police station in Charsadda town in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on Sunday night, also setting fire to more than 30 cars.
On Monday morning, around 2,000 people remained outside the police station burning uniforms of officers.
"The mob stormed the police station asking to hand over the man to them so they could burn him alive like he burnt the Holy Quran," district police chief, Asif Bahadur told AFP.
The identity and religion of the accused has not been disclosed by police, Bahadur said.
"The motive behind burning the copy of the Holy Quran is still unknown but we are investigating."
Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in Muslim-majority Pakistan, where even unproven allegations can stir mobs and violence.
Rights groups say the legislation is often hijacked for personal vendettas, with minorities largely the target.
A Christian couple was lynched then burnt in a kiln in Punjab in 2014 after being falsely accused of desecrating the Quran. A former Punjab governor Salman Taseer was gunned down by his bodyguard, Mumtaz Qadri, in Islamabad in 2011 over his call for reforms of the blasphemy law.
Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman and a labourer from central Punjab province, was convicted of blasphemy in 2010 and was on death row until her acquittal in 2018, which prompted days of violent demonstrations by hardliners. She and her family later fled the country for Canada.
The country has frequently been paralysed in recent years by anti-blasphemy protests waged by the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan party, often linked to the publishing of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) by a French satirical magazine. 


Islamabad, Saudi Arabia sign agreement on $3 billion deposit in Pakistani central bank

Updated 7 min 21 sec ago

Islamabad, Saudi Arabia sign agreement on $3 billion deposit in Pakistani central bank

  • State Bank of Pakistan says funds will help support country’s foreign currency reserves
  • In October, Saudi Fund for Development announced financial package of $4.2 billion for Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, represented by the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), on Monday formally signed an agreement under which SFD will deposit $3 billion in the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). 
In October, SFD announced a financial package of $4.2 billion to help the South Asian nation as it struggled with depleting foreign reserves. The amount includes suppling $1.2 billion worth of oil to Pakistan on credit. 
A deposit agreement was signed in Karachi by SFD Chief Executive Officer Sultan Bin AbdulRahman Al-Marshad and SBP Governor Dr. Reza Baqir, the SBP said in a statement on Monday.


“The deposit amount under the agreement shall become part of SBP’s Foreign Exchange Reserves. It will help support Pakistan’s foreign currency reserves and contribute toward resolving the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement said. 
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy deep-rooted strategic ties. Around 2.5 million Pakistani expats are living in the kingdom, and are the biggest single source of foreign remittances to the South Asian nation. 
Saudi Arabia also supported Pakistan in 2019 with $3 billion deposits and a $1.2 billion deferred oil payments facility. 
“The deposit agreement reflects the strong and special relationship and will augment economic ties between the two brotherly countries,” the SBP said.


At Pakistan Pavilion at Expo Dubai, a night to promote tolerance, inclusivity

Updated 19 min 5 sec ago

At Pakistan Pavilion at Expo Dubai, a night to promote tolerance, inclusivity

  • Acclaimed motivational speaker Muniba Mazari shares Jubilee Stage with singer and actor Meesha Shafi
  • Speakers urge people to cherish individuals who are differently-abled, unique in their own way

DUBAI: The Pakistan Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai on Sunday organized an evening of music and inspiration where speakers and musicians highlighted and celebrated tolerance, inclusivity and equality.
Exhibitors from almost 200 countries, including Pakistan, are participating, with many countries and companies looking to the expo — the first major global event open to visitors since the coronavirus pandemic — to boost trade and investment.
The Pakistan pavilion was officially inaugurated by President Dr. Arif Alvi on October 9. The Expo itself commenced on October 1 and will last till March 31, 2022. 
On Sunday, acclaimed motivational speaker Muniba Mazari shared the Jubilee Stage, one of the main event platforms at the exhibition, with singer and actor Meesha Shafi at an evening themed ‘Pakistan — Connected through Diversity.’ 
Speaking to the audience, Mazari said the world celebrated sameness and labelled those who were ‘different,’ which needed to change. 
“What about the people who don’t look alike? Those who look different, unique and want to see the world as they want to see it, people who think out of the box, those people are labelled crippled, handicapped, disabled,” she said. “Tonight, let us change this narrative and replace these negative labels with positive words like courageous and resilient.” 

Muniba Mazari, an acclaimed motivational speaker, speaks on inclusivity and equality at an event organized by the Pakistan Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on November 28, 2021. (AN Photo courtesy Pakistan Pavilion)

Mazari, who is wheelchair bound since an accident crushed her backbone 13 years ago, said while recuperating in hospital for over two months, she made life-changing decisions to give back to society, started painting and adopted her son, Neil, who is now 10. 
“I decided to accept myself as I was and move on and move forward in life,” said Mazari, who delivers motivational talks around the country and beyond, and showcases her paintings globally. She was Pakistan’s first UN goodwill ambassador and named in Forbes 30 under 30, BBC’s Top 100 Women and many other global lists.
“Tonight, I am going to dedicate all these titles to all those people in the world who are unique and who are differently-abled,” she said. 
The event was also attended by young upcoming singer Maria Unera, who rocked the stage with her powerful voice while paying tribute to her mother whom she lost to cancer. 
Meesha Shafi delivered a surprise performance with Mazari and Unera as a closing to the event.
“Pakistan has a lot of reasons to be proud of at the Expo because the pavilion is very impressive,” Shafi said. “It was not just a show but there was an intention behind it and I was really glad to be part of it.” 

Singer and actor Meesha Shafi performs at an event organized by Pakistan Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on November 28, 2021. (AN Photo courtesy Pakistan Pavilion)

 


‘Impossible’ to stop Omicron variant from entering Pakistan, vaccination only solution - planning minister 

Updated 29 November 2021

‘Impossible’ to stop Omicron variant from entering Pakistan, vaccination only solution - planning minister 

  • Pakistan to increase testing in high risk areas, launch booster shot program for high-risk segments of population
  • Detection of Omicron has triggered global alarm as governments world over scrambled to impose new travel curbs

ISLAMABAD: Planning Minister Asad Umar, who also heads the national pandemic response body, the NCOC, said on Monday it was “impossible” for Pakistan to block the Omicron coronavirus variant from entering the country and the only protection against it was to increase vaccinations.
The detection of Omicron has triggered global alarm as governments around the world scrambled to impose new travel curbs and financial markets sold-off, fearing the variant could resist vaccinations and upend a nascent economic reopening after a two-year global pandemic.
In its statement, the WHO said it was working with technical experts to understand the potential impact of the variant on existing countermeasures against COVID-19, including vaccines.
Addressing a press conference alongside Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health, Dr Faisal Sultan, Umar stressed the need for citizens to get vaccinated, saying the government would take new measures to protect against the Omicron variant. These include increased testing in high risk areas, and the launch of a booster shot program for high-risk segments of the population such as the elderly and the immunocompromised.
On Saturday, Pakistan banned travel from six South African countries and Hong Kong following the emergence of the new coronavirus variant.
“We can take measures to delay the entry into Pakistan of this variant, we can reduce its numbers, but it will spread all around the world,” Umar said. “As we saw before, once a new variant comes, the world is so interconnected, there is so much travel, that it is impossible to stop it. So what is the solution, what is in our hands? The answer is vaccination.”
“This is a very dangerous variant but vaccination will still be effective against it,” the minister said. "So it is my appeal to Pakistanis, particularly those who've gotten one dose, to get the second dose.”
"This variant will come to Pakistan, and we have the next 2-3 weeks to reduce its threat,” Umar added.
The Omicron variant spread around the world last week, with new cases found in the Netherlands, Denmark and Australia even as more countries imposed travel restrictions to try to seal themselves off.
WHO has said it was not yet clear whether Omicron, first detected in Southern Africa, is more transmissible than other variants, or if it causes more severe disease.


First ever Pakistani meat consignment exported to Jordan - commerce advisor

Updated 29 November 2021

First ever Pakistani meat consignment exported to Jordan - commerce advisor

  • Last month, Pakistan announced that Jordan had allowed three Pakistani producers to export meat to the kingdom
  • The companies are the Organic Meat Company Limited (TOMCL), Tata Best Food Limited, Tazji Meat and Food

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani commerce advisor Abdul Razak Dawood said on Monday Pakistan’s Tata Best Food Limited had exported the country’s first meat consignment to Jordan.
Last month, Pakistan announced that Jordan had allowed three Pakistani producers to export meat to the kingdom. These are Organic Meat Company Limited (TOMCL), Tata Best Food Limited, Tazji Meat and Food.
Pakistan ranks in the top 20 among global halal meat exporting nations, and a 2017 study by the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) showed that the industry was growing by 27 percent annually.
The country’s exports of meat and meat preparations went up by 10 percent in the last fiscal year to $334 million, though they declined by four percent during the first two months of the current fiscal year to $49.55 million, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.
“We congratulate TATA Foods on exporting Pakistan's first ever consignment meat has been exported to Jordan,” Dawood said on Twitter. “Promotion & facilitation of non-traditional products to new markets constitutes MOC’s [ministry of commerce] diversification policy.”


Last year, TOMCL became the first Pakistani company to get approval from the Saudi Food & Drug Authority to export frozen meat via sea to the kingdom, as it won a high-value contract of $3.9 million to export 100 metric tons of frozen boneless meat to Saudi Arabia.
In September, the Karachi-based halal meat processing and export enterprise secured a $1 million contract to supply frozen boneless meat to Saudi Arabia for a period of 10 months.