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Gen. Raheel Sharif should return home Dangerous Alliance

Dawn Editorial, June 4, 2017

WHAT was always a possibility now appears to have all but been confirmed. The Saudi-led Islamic Military Alliance against terrorism may have some counter-militancy aims, but it is also increasingly clear that it has been conceived by the kingdom as an anti-Iran alliance. The admission by foreign adviser Sartaj Aziz in the Senate on Thursday 1st May 2017  said that the recent summit in Riyadh, headlined by US President Donald Trump’s presence and attended by dozens of leaders of Muslim-majority countries, has widened the sectarian divide in the Muslim world ought to lead to a reassessment of Pakistan’s involvement in the IMA. Two decisions  to participate in the IMA itself and allow former army chief Gen Raheel Sharif to accept a Saudi offer to militarily head it  appear to have been taken in haste and, more worryingly, without keeping in mind Pakistan’s true national interest. To be sure, the Muslim world needs leadership and coordination when it comes to the fight against militancy, terrorism and extremism. Saudi Arabia, with its enormous resources and status in the Muslim world, is an important plank in any attempt to forge a consensus against the danger. Theoretically, the IMA could be a meaningful platform from which the fight against militant violence and extremism can be led. But that would require one non-negotiable, inarguable condition: participation by the full spectrum of Muslim-majority nations and a reflection of all mainstream strains of Islamic belief. The IMA is plainly the antithesis of that, and, therefore, a potentially dangerous and destabilising alliance. It is not so much what critics of the alliance are alleging as what the participants themselves are claiming. The Saudi leadership has explicitly stated that Iran is a threat to Saudi Arabia and countries allied with it. President Trump and his administration have explicitly embraced the Saudi-led IMA as a potential counter to the influence of Iran in the Middle East. Not only can Pakistan not afford to be part of an overtly sectarian military alliance, membership and leadership of the IMA is inimical to the historical and future strategic interests of this country. While a close relationship with Saudi Arabia is warranted, better relations with Iran are necessary too. Pakistan shares a border with Iran; there are commonalities between large sections of the two populations; sound economic policy demands greater trade and connectivity with Iran; Iran can help Pakistan mitigate a persistent deficit of affordable energy; Iran and Pakistan have several common security problems along the border that demand cooperative solutions  the reasons why the two countries must progressively build closer relations is long and substantive. Courageous voices in parliament, like that of Senator Farhatullah Babar, have underlined the risks and emphasised the senselessness of aligning Pakistan along sectarian lines. The government, the military leadership and Gen Raheel Sharif must urgently reconsider their position.

‘Courtesy Dawn News’

10 civilians martyred, 42 injured in firing by Afghan forces at Chaman border

CHAMAN: (5-5-2017)  | Afghan border forces opened fire on Frontier Corps Balochistan soldiers deployed for security of census team near the Chaman border.  Deputy Medical Superintendent at Civil Hospital Dr Akhtar later confirmed 10 civilians had died and 42 had been injured as a result of the firing and shelling.The unprovoked firing by Afghan forces, with both light and heavy arms, began at 4 AM, security officials said.  Pakistani security forces effectively responded to the firing and shelling from the Afghan side, security personnel said. Large contingents of FC and Levies reached the area as soon as the vicinity came under heavy fire from across the border.The Pakistan military’s media wing said the Afghan Border Police have been creating hurdles since 30th April in the conduct of census in the divided villages of Killi Luqman and Killi Jahangir in Charnan area on Pakistani side of the border.”This was done despite the fact that Afghan authorities had been informed well in advance and coordination was carried out through diplomatic and military channels for conduct of census,” the ISPR said.Chaman shares a border with the Afghan province of Kandahar and is home to a busy international border crossing between the two countries. The Chaman border crossing was closed following the incident.

Serious concerns over firing by Afghan forces: FO

Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said that Afghanistan had been informed of the census activity before, and the census was being conducted in Pakistan’s territory. Pakistan has the right to retaliate, he said, adding that a negative role by India was creating issues in Afghanistan.

Mastung suicide blast Over 20 killed Deputy chairman Senate Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri  injured in

QUETTA: Maulana Haideri’s convoy was targeted in the blast with pictures showing the extent of damage to his vehicle. The deputy chairman was returning from an event at Ittehad Bainul Muslimeen at Jamia Masjid Hammadia when the explosion took place.

10 labourers killed in Gwadar construction site firing

13 May, 2017: According to Levies sources, unidentified gunmen on motorcycles opened indiscriminate fire on the labourers working at a road in Gwadar’s Pishgan area, killing eight labourers on the spot. Two of the injured labourers died when they were being rushed to District Headquarters Hospital, they added.“All the labourers were shot at close range,” said senior levies official Muhammad Zareef.

CPEC: Three labourers gunned down in Turbat

19  May, 2017| TURBAT  A second incident of targeting labourers occurred in Turbat on Friday where at least three men were gunned down. According to local media, unidentified attackers, who apparently want to impede development in Pakistan, opened fire on the labourers when they were busy in construction of a road in Turbat’s Hoshab vicinity and killed the three.

PM Nawaz Sharif meets Chines President Xi

PM highlights achievements, efforts for CPEC implementation Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said his government was making all out efforts for active implementation of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), adding it had made good progress in the execution of energy and infrastructure projects. “CPEC is a core component of your visionary initiative of the One Belt One Road. We sincerely appreciate your commitment and leadership for the realisation of CPEC projects,” the prime minister remarked in his meeting with President Xi Jinping at the Diaoyutai State Guest House on the sidelines of the ‘Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.’

The forum is being hosted by the Chinese government on May 14-15, being attended by 29 heads of state and government, besides delegates from around 130 countries. The prime minister congratulated President Xi on the successful holding of the Belt and Road Forum, saying that the participation of a large number of world leaders in Chinese capital was a testimony of his leadership and China’s growing stature in the international community.

China to invest $50bn for mega dams in Pakistan

* Five dams in North Indus River Cascade have potential of generating 60,000MW hydroelectric power

ISLAMABAD: In a first-of-its-kind investment in Pakistan’s troubled energy sector, Islamabad and Beijing on Saturday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop North Indus River Cascade with an estimated cost of US$ 50 billion that has the potential of generating approximately 40,000mw of hydroelectric power.Under the initiative, initially five huge dams will be built in a region that starts from Skardu in Gilgit-Baltistan and runs through Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa as far as Tarbela, in the first-ever private sector investment in Pakistan’s mega hydel projects as only Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) would undertake such projects in the past. With the inking of the MoU – signed by Water and Power Secretary Yousuf Naseem Khokhar and Chinese Ambassador in Pakistan Sun Weidong and witnessed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif – China has emerged as the biggest financier of infrastructure projects in Pakistan. This $50 billion investment is in addition to the $57 billion projects being executed by Beijing in power and road infrastructure sectors in Pakistan under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).Under the MoU, China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) would oversee financing and funding of Diamer Basha Dam, Patan Hydropower Project, Thakot Hydropower Project, Bunji Hydropower Project and Dasu Hydropower Project. All these projects have an estimated power generation capacity of 22,320mw, according to WAPDA estimates.

Keel laying ceremony of 32 Tons Bollard Pull (BP) Tug

May 19 |  Keel laying ceremony of 32 Tons Bollard Pull (BP) Tug being built for Pakistan Navy, was held at Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KS&EW. Vice Admiral Arifullah Hussaini, Deputy Chief of Naval Staff (Projects) was Chief Guest on the occasion.The Tug has a 34 meter overall length with displacement of 481 tons with a maximum speed of 12 knots. It is also fitted with a very robust fendering arrangement for tugging operations of almost all sizes of ships and craft. While speaking on the occasion, the Chief Guest highly appreciated the achievement of this important milestone and said that construction of 32 tons BP Tug is indeed a clear manifestation of PN vision to pursue self reliance in ship construction. He acknowledged all out support of Ministry of Defence Production and strenuous efforts of Karachi Shipyard towards attaining this goal. Vice Admiral Arifullah Hussaini highlighted that Pakistan Navy is pursuing new inductions of platforms with focus on indegenisation and is continuously awarding contracts to KS&EW for construction of ships. This will not only ensure timely availability of required ships for PN but will also go a long way in consolidating the shipbuilding industry in Pakistan. Earlier, Rear Admiral Syed Hasan Nasir Shah, MD KS&EW in his welcome address said that a similar vessel was delivered to PN in 2014 which is performing exceptionally good. He also gave a brief outlook of ongoing projects and said that presently KS&EW is undertaking 9 x shipbuilding projects which includes Fleet tanker for PN, MPVs for Pakistan Maritime Agency, Fast Attack Craft(Missile), Multi Purpose Barge for PN and Bridge Erection Boats for Pak Army. MD KS&EW also thanked Ministry of Defence Production (Government of Pakistan) and especially Pakistan Navy for reposing confidence in KS&EW. The ceremony was attended by high ranking officials from GoP, Pakistan Navy, corporate sector and KS&EW.

Muslims and the West

By :  Zia Khan 

The following extract from my book, Muslims and the West: A Muslim Perspective  may be of interest in the context of the so-called Armenian genocide.  “In order to isolate Turkey from Central Asia, Britain had proposed the creation of Greater Armenia. It was to include areas of Turkish mainland stretching from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. As Sir Mark Sykes, the man responsible for Middle East policy at the Foreign Office, explained, ‘The Armenian question is the real answer to Pan-Turanism, just as free Arabia is the answer to Turkish Pan-Islamism’. The fact that Armenians had never lived in much of this part was irrelevant. By the same twisted logic the parts of Armenia that had been occupied by Russia, where the bulk of Armenians had lived, were excluded from the proposed new state. “The diabolical double-dealing did not end there. A Greater Kurdistan was proposed for the Kurds at the Versailles Peace Conference that was to consist in large part of the same areas as had been allocated for Greater Armenia. As if this too were not enough, the British had made similar promises of support to Muslim Tatars who also inhabited some of the same areas (for more on this see British Foreign Office document ‘FO371/3300/18464/2150 dated 30th January 1918 and Eastern Report no. XLVII – Russia: The Bolsheviks and anti-British Muslim Feeling, 20th December 1917’). To be perfectly fair, the entire blame cannot be put on Britain if people at the receiving end chose to believe in her so implicitly and failed to look after their own interests. “In expectation of the promises made to them by the Allies Christian Armenians in eastern Anatolia had staged a revolt against Turkey and joined hands with the Russians. In reprisal, the Turks deported them to areas in the south of Turkey. (Many of them died in the ensuing hardship. There is no official record of the exact number.) This action was termed as the ‘Armenian Massacres of 1915’ by a commission set up by the allies under James Bryce, a pro-Armenian Liberal politician. Subsequently, the Armenians called it genocide.

The well-known British historian

Arnold Toynbee, who was also a member of this commission, has dismissed the findings of the commission as ‘wartime propaganda to further Britain’s policy objectives’. (‘Armenians vs Turks: The View From Istanbul,’ ‘The Wall Street Journal,’ 21st September 1983, p.33).”

Stocks cash in on ‘stable’ economy

8 May, 2017: KARACHI/Lahore – The stock exchange hit all-time high on Monday 8 May, 2017, the day Moody’s Investors Service appreciated Pakistan’s stable economic outlook but warned against soaring foreign debt.Started the week on a positive note, the benchmark shares index at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) surged to 1084.78 points or (2.18 percent) and closed at the all-time high of 50,936 points. The major index movers were HBL (gain 5 percent) UBL (5 percent), MCB (5 percent), OGDC (4.25 percent) and LUCK (2.43 percent) as they cumulatively contributed 552 points to the index gain. In its annual credit analysis of Pakistan, Moody’s said strong growth performance, fiscal deficit reduction and improved inflation dynamics underpin Pakistan’s B3 rating with a stable outlook. But at the same time, it warned over credit challenges which include a relatively high general government debt burden, weak physical and social infrastructure, a fragile external payments position, and high political risk. The international credit rating agency predicted that Pakistan’s external debt will grow to a debilitating $79 billion by June this year, higher than initial estimates suggested, and the country’s “very narrow revenue base” will weigh in on its ability to afford the ever growing debt burden. In a statement said exports and remittance inflows have slowed and capital goods imports have risen, resulting in renewed pressure on the external account.

Lahore Zoo’s darling Suzi dies at 31

LAHORE: Suzi, Lahore Zoo’s only elephant, died on Saturday 13 May, 2017 after spending a few days with acute pain in her legs. She was 31-years-old. The African bush elephant had never experienced the pleasure of living in harmony with her own species. She was brought to the Lahore Zoo in 1992 when she was only six-years-old. According to the zoo administration, the calf was named Suzi due to her friendly, docile demeanour.

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