Pakistan army chief’s US visit reflects both countries’ desire to reset relations — experts 

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin (left) receives Pakistan's Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa in Washington, US, on October 5, 2022. (@SecDef/Twitter)
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Updated 05 October 2022

Pakistan army chief’s US visit reflects both countries’ desire to reset relations — experts 

  • General Qamar Javed Bajwa is in Washington on a week-long visit to discuss bilateral ties, regional security 
  • Priority should be deepening ties through deeper economic engagement— international affairs expert 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s recent trip to Washington after Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s US visit reflects the two countries’ renewed desire to reset strained relations, international affairs and defense experts said on Wednesday. 

Gen Bajwa is in Washington on a week-long visit where he met US defense secretary General Lloyd James Austin III (Retired), national security adviser Jacob Jeremiah Sullivan, and deputy secretary of state Wendy Ruth Sherman. 

According to a statement issued by the Pakistan military’s media wing, during the meetings, both sides had convergence on major international issues including Afghanistan, and the need for cooperation to avoid humanitarian crises and improve peace and stability in the region. 

Washington has worked closely with Pakistan’s army chiefs over the years alongside civilian governments in the South Asian country. 

Uzair Younus, who works with Pakistan Initiative at the Washington-based Atlantic Council, said bilateral relations between the two countries have been improving over the past few months. 

“Gen Bajwa’s trip soon after the foreign minister’s trip to Washington is a good signal for bilateral relations,” Younus told Arab News, adding the visit had been on the cards for months. It had been delayed on a couple of occasions, he said. 

“We must not lose sight of the fact that the relationship remains bounds by a narrow, transactional approach, and deepening ties especially through deeper economic engagement, must be the priority moving forward,” Younus added. 

Ties between Washington and Islamabad were strained with the former suspecting the latter allowed Taliban militants to seek refuge in Pakistan. The relationship between the two countries further soured when former Prime Minister Imran Khan claimed Washington had backed a parliamentary move to oust him from office. 

The US has denied the allegations. 

“The visit is very significant and positive for Pakistan and US relationship because, during Donald Trump’s time and Joe Biden’s initial tenure, the relationship between both countries was almost frozen,” Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, a former foreign secretary who also served as Pakistan’s envoy to the USA, told Arab News. 

“As we have ties with the US in every domain and after the visit of prime minister, foreign minister and now military leadership, the trip would generate a positive opinion about bilateral relations,” he said. 

Chaudhry added it did not matter how much time Gen Bajwa has in office before he hangs his boots. 

“The relationship is between institutions which go on with the new leadership in any institution,” Chaudhary added. 

Pentagon announced last month that the US State Department had approved the potential sale of F-16 aircraft sustainment and related equipment to Pakistan in a deal valued at up to $450 million, maintaining that this will improve the South Asian nation’s capability to meet current and future counterterrorism threats. 

Military analyst Ayesha Siddiqa said Bajwa’s visit is significant as both countries were looking to fulfill their needs. She said Pakistan’s army chief could play a vital role to ensure this. 

“This is the restart of a very narrowly focused military conversation with the US military as Pakistan’s military is still critical to the USA to ensure how counterterrorism is managed in the region and also, they did not want to push aggressively Pakistan into the Chinese [camp],” Siddiqa told Arab News. 

Gen Bajwa is set to retire in November. However, Siddiqa said Bajwa could play a significant role in negotiations between the new government post-retirement as well. 

“As after his retirement, General Jahangir Karamat was sent to Washington as an ambassador by the Musharraf government,” she said. “Negotiating and understanding what the Pakistani military is doing could lead to a future role for him.” 

Siddiqa said the visit was a significant one from Pakistan’s perspective as well, adding the South Asian country continues to rely economically and financially on support from western countries. 

She said, therefore, the relationship would remain like a transaction. 

Senior defense analyst Lt Gen (retired) Amjad Shoaib described Bajwa’s visit as a symbolic one, citing the army chief’s retirement next month as the reason for his argument. 

“The visit does not have much importance and is more of symbolic [nature] as Gen Bajwa is retiring next month,” he told Arab News. Shoaib said any decisions that the army chief reaches with the US authorities during his visit would be hard to pursue after his retirement. 

“Gen Bajwa has a very good understanding with the USA in establishing good military-to-military relations during his six-year tenure as army chief,” he said. 

“And they [USA] wanted to honor him to recognize his role in the promotion and strengthening of defense ties, especially during his tenure the Afghan issue was settled and the USA pulled out of it where General Bajwa played an important role,” he added. 

Washington has always supported Pakistan in economic terms but never supported its national interest, especially when it comes to regional issues, Shoaib said. 

“The relations required reorientation through a superior diplomacy,” he added. 

Second phase of Pakistan T20 Women's Cricket Tournament to kick off from Monday

Updated 04 December 2022

Second phase of Pakistan T20 Women's Cricket Tournament to kick off from Monday

  • Tournament matches will be played at two Lahore venues, final to take place on December 9
  • PCB says tournament winners will bag Rs1 million, runners-up team to receive Rs0.5 million

ISLAMABAD: The second phase of the Pakistan T20 Women's Cricket Tournament is scheduled to kick off from December 5, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced on Sunday.
The first phase of the tournament concluded earlier this week on Friday.
The second phase, which will begin from Monday, will be held at two venues in Lahore: The Lahore Gymkhana and the LCCA Ground, the PCB confirmed.
"Four teams namely Blasters, Challengers, Dynamites and Strikers will feature in the event where Pakistan's elite cricketers will take part," the country's cricket board said in a statement.
The second phase will be played on a single-league basis, where two matches will be held everyday on 5, 6 and 7 December.
The final of the tournament will take place at Lahore's Gaddafi Stadium on December 9 which will also be live-streamed for viewers on the PCB's YouTube channel.
“The tournament provides a great opportunity for players to kick-start their preparations for the ICC Women's T20 World Cup in South Africa later next year and hone their skills in the format," it added.
The contest will feature a blend of Pakistani cricketers who have represented their country internationally along with the emerging talent in the game.
In order to incentivize domestic performers, the best player of every match will continue to receive Rs20,000 as they were getting in the first phase of the tournament. The player of the tournament will bag Rs50,000. The winning team will receive Rs1 million, while the runner-up will get Rs0.5 million.
Blasters squad:
Fatima Sana (Captain), Aima Saleem, Anam Amin, Ayesha Bilal, Ayesha Naseem, Bismah Maroof, Fareeha Mehmood, Gul Rukh, Huraina Sajjad, Maham Manzoor, Mahnoor Aftab, Masooma Zehra, Shawal Zulfiqar, Sidra Amin and Amber Kainaat
Team management – Mauhtashim Rashid (head coach), Shahid Mehmood (assistant coach), Mahlika Mansoor (manager)
Challengers squad:
Omaima Sohail (Captain), Aiman Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Anoosha Nasir, Ayesha Zafar, Dua Majid, Ghulam Fatima, Hamna Bilal, Javeria Wadood, Khadija Chishti, Lubna Behram, Najiha Alvi, Noreen Yaqoob, Rameen Shamim and Rida Aslam
Team management – Azam Khan (head coach), Nazim Khan (assistant coach), Asiya Khan (manager)
Dynamites squad:
Umm-e-Hani (Captain), Aleena Shah, Gull-e-Uswa, Gull Feroza, Kainat Imtiaz, Nahida Khan, Nida Dar, Sadaf Shamas, Sadia Iqbal, Saima Malik, Saira Jabeen, Sidra Nawaz, Tuba Hassan, Waheeda Akhtar and Yusra Amir
Team management – Taufiq Umar (head coach), Jawad Hamid (assistant coach), Hina Azam (manager)
Strikers squad:
Muneeba Ali (Captain), Aroob Shah, Ayesha Irfan, Eymaan Fatima, Fatima Khan, Iram Javed, Javeria Rauf, Kaynat Hafeez, Maham Tariq, Nashra Sundhu, Natalia Parvaiz, Neha Sharmeen, Saba Nazir, Soha Fatima and Zunera Shah
Team management – Waqar Orakzai (head coach), Rehmat Gull (assistant coach), Aisha Jalil (manager)

Pakistan's Grammy-winning artist goes looking for childhood home in Saudi Arabia

Updated 04 December 2022

Pakistan's Grammy-winning artist goes looking for childhood home in Saudi Arabia

  • Arooj Aftab was born to Pakistani parents in the kingdom where she spent the first few years of her life
  • The Pakistani singer gained recognition through fusion music before winning the biggest prize in April

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's first Grammy-winning music artist Arooj Aftab shared her quest to find her childhood home in Saudi Arabia with her fans on Instagram along with interesting pictures and videos of the place.
The Brooklyn-based vocalist, who bagged the most prestigious international music award for her song "Mohabbat" in April, was born to Pakistani parents in the kingdom where she spent the first few years of her life.
Aftab pursued a degree in music production and engineering in Boston before settling down in New York where she became part of the city's "new music" scene.
"Searching for my childhood home in Riyadh with no address, just a couple of landmarks from memory - a park, a mosque, a hill and a hotel," she wrote on Instagram last week along with a bunch of photographs and videos documenting her experience.
"I think I found it," she continued. "Almost 30 years later, the once sweet neighborhood full of villas and elegant apartments, home to well offish and upcoming young immigrant families - is now just a few abandoned villas, empty squares of demolished house, sleepy old apartment buildings, and construction sites as the city is packing in affordable apartment housing into the area. The vibe of this place is unmistakable though. These are the streets. These are definitely the streets."


A post shared by Arooj Aftab (@aroojaftab)

Aftab shared the image of the back gate of her villa, showed the streets surrounding her childhood residence along with an abandoned building structure which she said looked like the place where she once lived.
"This space between memory and sadness, between the past and the excitement to return to it, between seeing change and the relief it brings …. this space is perfect," she added.
The Pakistani singer, who has gained international recognition through fusion music, got over 8,850 likes on the post which clearly captivated her Instagram fanbase.
Apart from becoming the first and only Grammy winner for her country, Aftab also debuted at the prestigious Coachella music festival this year.

Pakistan to verify Daesh claim of organizing attack on diplomatic facility in Kabul — official

Updated 04 December 2022

Pakistan to verify Daesh claim of organizing attack on diplomatic facility in Kabul — official

  • Ambassador Mohammad Sadiq calls such acts of extremist violence detrimental to Afghan and regional peace and stability
  • The Pakistani official maintains the two countries 'must act resolutely' by joining their collective might to defeat militancy

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will try to verify if Daesh was behind a recent attack on its diplomatic mission in Afghanistan, said a senior official on Sunday, after the militant group said it made the attempt to target the country's envoy in Kabul.

The Pakistan embassy came under attack on Friday, making the authorities in Islamabad describe the incident as an "assassination attempt" against its top diplomat in Afghanistan.

While the country's Chargé d'Affaires, Ubaid-ur-Rehman Nizamani, was not hurt in the attack, a Pakistani security guard got "critically injured" and was later flown to Peshawar for medical treatment.

Daesh's regional chapter, which calls itself the Islamic State of Khorasan Province (IS-KP), purportedly acknowledged in a statement, cited by the SITE monitor, that it had "attacked the apostate Pakistani ambassador and his guards" in Afghanistan.

"The IS-KP have accepted responsibility for the terrorist attack on Pakistan Embassy compound on 2 December," said the country's special representative for Afghanistan, Ambassador Mohammad Sadiq, in a Twitter post. "Independently and in consultation with the Afghan authorities, Pakistan will verify the veracity of these reports."

Regardless of who was behind the attack, Sadiq continued, the incident was another reminder that such instances of extremist violence posed a major threat to the peace and stability of Afghanistan and the region.

"We must act resolutely with all our collective might to defeat this menace," he said, adding: "On our part, Pakistan remains steadfast in its commitment to fighting terrorism."




The acting foreign minister of Afghanistan, Amir Khan Muttaqi, said on Saturday his country would "bring the perpetrators of this heinous attack to justice" while condemning the incident.

Pakistan's interior minister Rana Sanaullah recently maintained that another proscribed militant entity, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), was enjoying "all sorts of facilities in Afghanistan" after the TTP leadership said it was behind a recent suicide bombing in southwestern Balochistan province that targeted police personnel protecting polio workers.

The TTP leaders are based in Afghanistan and the Pakistani minister said the group's activities should be "a matter of concern" for the administration in Kabul.

Fiery Brook helps England set Pakistan 343-run target

Updated 04 December 2022

Fiery Brook helps England set Pakistan 343-run target

  • England, who are playing their first Test series in Pakistan for 17 years, have brought a limited-overs aggression to their batting
  • Harry Brook's 65-ball 87 and Joe Root's 69-ball 73 saw England race to 264-7 before skipper Ben Stokes called his batters back

RAWALPINDI: Harry Brook and Joe Root blasted quickfire fifties as England set Pakistan an imposing 343-run target to win the opening Test on the fourth day in Rawalpindi on Sunday.
Brook's fiery 65-ball 87 and Root's 69-ball 73 saw England race to 264-7 before skipper Ben Stokes called his batters back to the pavilion, leaving the home side a maximum 130 overs to see out.
England are playing their first Test series in Pakistan for 17 years, and have brought a limited-overs aggression to their batting in the first of three matches.
Brook was bowled in Naseem Shah's last over before tea, adding 218 runs in the session after resuming at 46-2 after lunch.
Liam Livingstone remained unbeaten on seven.
Brook smashed 11 boundaries and three sixes in a swashbuckling knock, narrowly missing a century in each innings after his 153 in England's first-innings run-fest of 657.
The middle-order batter added 96 for the fourth wicket with Root who scored his 55th Test half-century, which included six boundaries.
Leg-spinner Zahid Mahmood dismissed Root and Stokes (naught) in the same over to finish with figures of 2-84.
Naseem took 2-66 and Mohammad Ali 2-64.
Opener Zak Crawley had earlier raced to a 48-ball 50 with seven boundaries while Ollie Pope (15) and Will Jacks (24) were the other contributors.
Jacks was the pick of the England bowlers, bagging 6-161 to help his side gain a 78-run first-innings lead.
England's innings started with a first-over dismissal as Ben Duckett -- one of four first-innings centurions -- was caught at slip off the second ball of pacer Naseem Shah for a golden duck.
Fellow centurion Pope cracked two boundaries before hooking fast bowler Ali into the hands of Naseem.
Earlier, debutant Jacks took all three wickets to fall after Pakistan resumed at 499-7 -- but not before the host's tail-enders scored freely on a much-maligned flat Rawalpindi Stadium pitch.
Agha Salman (53) and Zahid Mahmood (17) frustrated England for 50 minutes during their stubborn eighth-wicket stand of 57.

Arab News Pakistan wins ‘Edition of the Year’ award at AN General Assembly in Dubai

Updated 04 December 2022

Arab News Pakistan wins ‘Edition of the Year’ award at AN General Assembly in Dubai

  • The glitzy awards night was attended by Arab News reporters, editors and top management from around the world
  • Pakistan Editor Mehreen Zahra-Malik, reporters Saima Shabbir and Saadullah Akhtar also bagged individual awards

DUBAI: Arab News Pakistan on Saturday won the “Edition of the Year” award at the prestigious Arab News General Assembly in Dubai for excellence in journalism and outstanding and timely coverage of all national and international events.

The award winners were chosen by an editorial committee comprising top editors and management from around the world. 

Arab News Pakistan Edition team prepares for a group photo after winning the ‘Edition of the Year’ award at AN General Assembly in Dubai, UAE, on December 3, 2022. (AN Photo)

Winning the most prestigious award at the AN General Assembly brought much joy to the Arab News Pakistan team which went to the stage as a group to collect the award. 

“I think that this award is a result of the hard work of Arab News Pakistan team,” said Baker Atyani, the Arab News’ Asia bureau chief who supervises the Pakistan and Asia desks.  

“In just less than five years, Arab News Pakistan has made a place on the media landscape in Pakistan, and no doubt, has established itself as a credible media entity.” 

Mehreen Zahra-Malik, who is the Pakistan editor of Arab News, called it a “big milestone” for the team. She also won the “Best Mentor of the Year” award. 

“This was truly a team effort and a big milestone for us in the path to going even bigger and better in 2023,” Zahra-Malik said.  

“Whether it’s growing our social media reach and expanding our brand or enhancing the scope and ambition of our reporting projects and editorial teams, I truly believe the next year is going to be even more special for Arab News Pakistan.” 

Arab News Pakistan's Saima Shabbir receives the 'Best MENA Correspondent of the Year' award at the AN General Assembly in Dubai, UAE, on December 3, 2022. (AN Photo)

Islamabad-based reporter Saima Shabbir won the award for “Best MENA Correspondent of the Year,” while Saadullah Akhtar received the “Best Feature Story” award.

Arab News' Sib Kaifee receives the 'Best Feature Story' award on behalf of Saadullah Akhtar at the AN General Assembly in Dubai, UAE, on December 3, 2022. (AN Photo)

The glitzy night was attended by staff from Arab News offices and bureaus around the world. Other than the awards ceremony it featured musical performances and a lavish multi-course dinner.