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Pakistan Day  celebrated with fervour& enthusiasm

ISLAMABAD: The nation is celebrating 77th Pakistan Day with zeal and fervour. The celebrations, which started with a 31-gun salute in the Federal Capital and 21-gun salute at the provincial capitals early Thursday morning, continued across the country.March 23 is observed in remembrance of adoption of the historic Lahore Resolution on this day in 1940, which laid foundation for Pakistan, a country for the Muslims of Sub-continent where they lead their lives according to their religion. Pakistan Day commemorates the passing of the historic Lahore Resolution on March 23, 1940, when Muslims of the Subcontinent demanded the establishment of a separate homeland to safeguard their   lives according to  their religion from the then British colony of India. The day dawned with special prayers in mosques after morning prayers for the progress, prosperity and solidarity of the country.The most important feature of the day was the joint forces parade at Parade Avenue in the Federal Capital, in which contingents of Paksitan Army, Pakistan Air Force and Pakistan Navy, participated.For the first time, contingents of Chinese Peoples Liberation Army and Saudi Army, and Turkish Jannisary Military Band (Mehteran) also took part in the parade.

Addressing the parade, President Mamnoon Hussain said the country’s defence was strong and expressed resolve to make every effort for the progress, prosperity and solidarity of the homeland.Marching columns included troops from Baloch, Azad Kashmir, Sindh, Northern Light Infantry, Mujahid Force, Frontier Corps Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, contingents of Navy and PAF, Islamabad Police, Lady officers, Armed Forces Nursing Service, Girls Guide, Boy Scouts. Floats of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh depicted culture of their areas.About 19 helicopters of Army Aviation participated in the parade. ZULU-10 attack helicopters, Cobra attack helicopters, Fennec, Bell-412, Puma and MI-17 participated in the flypast. Commandos of three services also made free-fall jump from a height of 10,000 feet and landed at the parade venue. The General Officer Commanding SSG led the skydiving. He presented Pakistan Flag to the President after safely landing at the venue.

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Balochistan fast turning into country’s economic tiger: PM

PM Nawaz announces clean drinking water plant, university and 300-bed state-of-the-art hospital for Gwadar.Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif  said Balochistan was fast becoming a centre of development for the rest of the country. “Once hit by terrorism, this province is now witnessing development to change the fate of the country and itself,” the premier said while addressing a public gathering in Gwadar. “Pakistan will soon become an Asian tiger while Balochistan will prove to be the country’s economic tiger soon,” he added. Countries cannot prosper without education, health and trade and these cannot take place without building infrastructure and roads, Nawaz said in a thinly veiled jibe at his political rivals. Nawaz announced to allocate Rs1 billion to build a university, a state of the art 300-bed hospital and an exemplary university for the people of Gwadar. “500 acres of land has been acquired to build the university,” he added.

Gwadar, he added, is being linked with China through 1,100 kilometres of road links and highways. “The city will be turned into a model port,” PM remarked. He said that roads links are also being established in the areas of the province hit by terrorism. “Roads are also being built and improved in the rest of the country.””We will provide five million gallons of clean drinking water to Gwadar while Rs 1 billion will be spent to improve sewerage in the city.” Rs 5 billion have been allocated to set up desalination plants in the city, he added. “No one paid attention to Gwadar during 1993 and 1997,” the premier said.He added that the incumbent government was now initiating projects that the city deserved. The people of the province, he added, will be provided with free health cards which will enable them to avail free of cost treatment across the country. “Moreover, 50 outstanding students of the city will get admissions in prestigious varsities of the country.” Nawaz also announced to send 50 students to China to learn Chinese language.

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Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa 3 days official visit to China

16 March, 2017 :- The visit includes his interactions with Chinese’ senior political and military leadership. COAS held meetings at Beijing with Mr. Zhang Gaoli Executive Vice Premier, General Fan Changlong Vice Chairman Central Military Commission, General Fang Funghui, Chief of Joint Services Department and General Li Zuocheng Commander People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Matters related to regional security, economy, defence cooperation and mutual interest were discussed.The Chinese leadership expressed complete understanding of the geo-political and economic cum security environment of the region and its implications for both the countries. They acknowledged positive role being played by Pakistan towards peace and stability in the region with special mention of Pakistan’s role in eliminating terrorist groups including Al Qaeda (AQ), Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and ETIM from Pakistan. Chinese leadership expressed their concern on Afghan security situation and growing potential threat of ISIS / ETIM in Afghanistan. The Chinese leadership expressed their confidence in security arrangements for China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and satisfaction on progress of the project.COAS thanked Chinese leadership for their defence support and cooperation which is source of strength for unique all weather friendship between the two countries and their people. He reiterated that Pakistan Army shall continue to positively contribute towards regional stability and security. COAS thanked Chinese leadership for sending PLA Army contingent for participation in Pakistan Day Parade. Both sides agreed to continue and further increase their military to military cooperation.On arrival at PLA Army Headquarters, COAS was presented guard of honour.

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50 glorious years of Pakistan Navy’s SSG

March 29, 2017:  KARACHI: Golden jubilee of the special Services Group (SSG) of Pakistan Navy is being celebrated here. The Special Services Group was formed on March 29, 1967 for “Frogman operations”. The Pak Navy enhanced its ability through inclusion of chariots, midgets and combat diving equipment to combat with changing times. The group is trained on methods of Britain’s Boat Squadron, Special Air Services and US Navy SEAL. They are prepared as frogmen, commandos, paratroopers and special craft operators.For training of the SSG, the Naval Special Operations Training Centre (NSOTC) was established in 2006.

SSG commandos of Pakistan Navy are the only special forces of Pakistan who are capable of doing operations at sea-level, under- water, land and space.On the occasion of the golden jubilee of the SSG, chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Mohammad Zakaullah lauded the services of the Group and said that the Pakistan Navy is proud of expertise, dedication and performance of the SSG.Commander Coast Rear Admiral Abdul Aleem Khan said that PN’s SSG is being considered one of  the best special force s of the world who have an ability to tackle with any type of challenges.To celebrate the golden jubilee of the Group, various ceremonies have been  planned at various training units. The main event is being organized tonight at the Naval Special Operation Training Centere where the chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Mohammad Zakaullah will be the chief guest. He will address the officers and young staff of the Group and later commandos will display fireworks at the venue.

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Keel Laying ceremony of Fast Attack Craft (Missile) No. 4

Keel Laying ceremony of Fast Attack Craft (Missile) No. 4 being built for Pakistan Navy, was held at Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KS&EW) today. Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah Chief of the Naval Staff was the Chief Guest at the occasion.Fast Attack Craft (Missile) is a state of the art, multi mission vessel with steel hull and aluminum super structure and equipped with indigenously developed weapons and sensors.While speaking on the occasion, the Naval Chief highly appreciated the achievement of this important milestone ahead of schedule. He said that the indigenous construction of this Craft is a giant leap towards self reliance as the construction of this war ship will not only open new avenues of design and ship-building but also accelerate our progress towards achieving the goal of indigenization. This project once completed, will demonstrate Maritime Technologies Complex and Karachi Shipyard’s design and construction capability in entirety.While highlighting geo-strategic and socio-economic significance of CPEC the Naval Chief said that the trade activities are poised to increase manifold with the developments taking place on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor project which has the potential to transform Pakistan into a regional economic hub. This would place additional premium on the responsibilities of Pakistan Navy to ensure safe and secure maritime environment for uninterrupted maritime activities to take place.FAC (M)-4 will add to Pakistan Navy’s operational capability upon its induction. He also assured PN’s all possible support to KS&EW to make this strategic setup in transforming as a vibrant, productive and strategic element of the maritime sector. He further said that we are pursuing establishment of new shipyards with Government to further boost our ship-building industry.

Earlier Rear Admiral Syed Hasan Nasir Shah MD KS&EW in his welcome address said that this project being the first indigenous design is a result of strenuous hard work by Karachi Shipyard and Maritime Technologies Complex, which gave enough confidence to undertake such a challenging project. He also highlighted that the ship will serve our country for decades as national symbol of our indigenous efforts. He gave a brief outlook of ongoing projects which included PN Fleet Tanker, FAC(M) No. 3, MPVs for PMSA, Bollard Pull Tugs, Multi Purpose Barge and Bridge Erection Boats to Pak Army. He also highlighted KS&EW’s future plans and said that we have started preparation for mega project of construction of submarines for PN.MD KS&EW thanked Ministry of Defence Production, especially Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Zakaullah for his visionary approach and solid support behind all projects.The ceremony was attended by high ranking officials from GoP, Pakistan Navy, corporate sector and KS&EW.

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US praises Pakistan Navy’s role in maintaining regional peace

March 15, 2017:- Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah, who is currently on an official visit to US, interacted with US authorities and underlined the need for enhancing global efforts to effectively confront the common challenges and threats within the maritime domain. According to Radio Pakistan, the admiral held separate meetings with Senator Chris Van Hollen, Acting US Secretary Navy Sean Stackley and President United States Naval War College Rear Admiral Jeffrey A Harley. The US dignitaries highly appreciated the role and contributions of Pakistan Navy in maintaining peace and stability in the region. During his course of interaction, the Naval Chief discussed professional matters of mutual interest. Zakaullah reiterated the need for enhancing global efforts to effectively and efficiently confront the common challenges and threats within the maritime domain.

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25 killed, over 85 injured as blast rocks Parachinar

31 March 2017 : At least 25 people were killed and more than 68 injured in a blast outside an Imambargah, at  Shendak bazaar on Friday. Initial information revealed that the blast took place outside the Imambargah’s female entrance. An eyewitness said that security personnel at the Imambargah were busy checking devotees at the central Imambargah female entrance, when an unidentified person parked a car next to the building, soon after which the explosion occurred.

2 FC men martyred, 6 terrorists killed in cross-border attack from Afghanistan

17 March: KHYBER AGENCY: Two officials of the Frontier Constabulary (FC) were martyred in an attack on a Pakistani border post in Khyber Agency by terrorists from Afghanistan side early Friday, the military’s media wing said. “Pakistani troops effectively responded, killing six terrorists,” added the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) in a statement. The latest terror incident comes at a time when Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed to de-escalate tensions by strengthening mutual ties.

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Pakistan Navy successfully test fires ground to sea missile

March 16, 2017:- A Pakistan Navy spokesman confirmed that the missile hit the target with precision in the sea. The missile is equipped with state of the art technology and will strengthen the national defence and operational capabilities of Pakistan Navy. Navy Chief Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah congratulated the officers of Pakistan Navy over the successful test fire of the missile. Vice Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Khan Hisham Bin Siddique was present during the ceremony. Bin Siddique praised the hard work and efforts of the crew involved in the development of the ground to sea missile.

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Pakistan kicks off  Sixth population and housing census-2017

Pakistan(15 March, 2017)  Fast-growing Pakistan, estimated to be the sixth-largest country by population, kicked off its first national census in 19 years on Wednesday, a delay caused by a lack of funds, political squabbling and too few available troops to oversee security.Around 118,000 “enumerators” in 63 districts began the 70-day data-gathering campaign, flanked by police and soldiers, under the order of the Supreme Court, which had set a March deadline.The security officials, including 200,000 military personnel, will be present to protect census teams but also to ensure households can enter data without being intimidated.

The 1998 census put Karachi’s population at 9.2 million but current estimates now vary between 18 and 23 million, according to the National Database and Registration Authority.Chief Statistician Asif Bajwa News channel that Afghan refugees would be counted in the census, confirming a move strongly opposed by leaders of sparsely populated Baluchistan province where the ethnic Baluchs fear being turned into a minority.

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Pakistan promises to play role for peace in Yemen

Yemeni Deputy Prime Minister Abdulmalik Abdul Jalil Al Mekhlafi called on Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz. The Yemeni dignitary is on a two-day visit to Pakistan. Sartaj underlined the close coordination Pakistan and Yemen have maintained at the bilateral and multilateral levels in various areas. He added that Pakistan has always supported the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Yemen and would continue to extend all possible assistance for restoration of complete peace and stability in the country.Mekhlafi thanked the adviser for Pakistan’s continued political support and economic assistance to Yemen.

He also briefed the adviser about the current situation in Yemen, the efforts by the government to pursue the path of peace and reconciliation rather than conflict, as well as the success achieved so far in subduing the threat posed by terrorist networks in the country.  Both sides noted that over 300 Yemeni students studying in various Universities in Pakistan under the Pakistan Technical Assistance Programme provide a strong bond to further strengthen friendship between the two countries. The adviser added that Pakistan would be happy to continue this important programme and provide more facilities to new students in the coming years.

FORMER NORWEGIAN PM URGES WORLD TO HIGHLIGHT KASHMIR ISSUE

Terming the situation of occupied Kashmir as serious, he said people have lost their lives in their struggle.Former Norwegian Prime Minister KjellMagneBondevik has stressed the need of highlighting the Kashmir issue among international community.Talking to PTV, he said sufferings of the Kashmiri people should be emphasized at the international level in order to achieve a peaceful solution of the dispute.Terming the situation of occupied Kashmir as serious, he said people have lost their lives in their struggle.MrBondevik also visited the refugee camps in AJK where he met the IHK refugees who came to AJK to escape the Indian brutalities. The refugees briefed him about their sufferings which forced them to find refuge in AJK. They also told the horrific stores of their relatives in IHK who are facing the Indian state terrorism.

After visiting the refugee camps, MrBondevik noted with concern what he heard about the grave human rights violations. He underscored that Jammu and Kashmir conflict is a long standing issue and needs a political solution taking into account the UN resolutions and will of the Kashmir people along both sides of the LOC.MrBondevik is on a two day visit to Pakistan and AJK at the invitation of President AJK. He has been the prime minister of Norway from 1997-2000 and 2001-2005. He is the founder and President of the renowned Norwegian think-tank, Oslo Center for peace and Human Rights.

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20 Baloch insurgents surrender to Ranger, confess to getting RAW funding

21 March, 2017 : ISLAMABAD  Fugitive Baloch Sub Nationalists (BSN) commander along with 20 other persons on Tuesday surrendered to Pakistan Rangers Punjab. In a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the BSN commander stated that they had been funded and supported by Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) of India through BrahamdaghBugti, leader of Baloch Republican Party. He added that they were kept misinformed and fed with negative narrative over decades. “By design, people of Balochistan living in far flung areas were kept aloof,” he said in the ISPR press release.

Surrendered terrorists tendered an apology for their past deeds where huge damage was caused to the state and committed to live a normal life and contribute to the prosperity of Pakistan. He also to appealed to other “ferraries” surrender to the Government of Pakistan. Director General Pakistan Rangers Punjab, Major General AzharNaveed Hayat Khan appreciated Rangers and other LEAs for their efforts in ongoing operations.

Anyone who doesn’t like Metro train should go back to village: SC judge

During the hearing of Orange Line Metro Train Case, Supreme Court judge Justice Saeed Azmat Sheikh remarked that anyone who does not like mass transit transport system should go back to village.“No city is complete without rapid transit system,” he remarked. The case is being heard by a five-member larger bench of top court, headed by Justice Ijaz Afzal. Justice Sheikh, however, clearly stated that historic buildings must not be affected by this project. “If government wants to build this system, they should, but without damaging our heritage and we will not allow any harm to the old church on the route,” he ordered.Following this, NESPAK lawyer Shahid Hamid said old buildings especially Mughal era ones are very strong and will not be damaged by this project. “Mughal era buildings are not like constructions of Punjab government,” replied Justice Sheikh. Furthermore, NESPAK advocate told the court that all analytics regarding construction including air pollution aspect were done by the institute. “Underground constructions of this project will not harm any old buildings which are near route of Orange Metro Train,” he told the court.

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China, Russia, Iran: Ports and Power Along the Belt and Road

If the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor doesn’t live up to the hype, Russia may stand to benefit.

By Nicholas Trickett and Oliver Thomas

China’s planners have studied the art of using economic pacts to pursue strategic objectives. The “One Belt, One Road” initiative (OBOR) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank  (AIIB) are prime examples. China has pinned its hopes of gaining strategic preeminence in the South and Central Asian regions thanks to its deep pockets. Infrastructure investment confers power to influence regional affairs. But South and Central Asia are not lacking of powers seeking influence  Russia and Iran have their own regional investments, plans and partners.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is particularly important for China. With access to Pakistani ports, China will be able to expand its market reach and bring in foreign direct investment to ease the devaluation of the renminbi. The renminbi’s drop signals China’s hope to increase the amount of low wage jobs abroad and play it safe on future risks while implementing financial reform. Though China has become the world’s largest banking system, debt has played a pivotal role in its growth in recent years.OBOR serves as a buffer: debt finances infrastructure projects abroad to provide short-term employment, create some growth abroad, unload industrial overcapacity, and cement influence and ownership of assets in other countries. Though CPEC is ostensibly profitable, it better represents China’s attempts to buy influence and access to the Indian Ocean with debt while providing Chinese industries a stimulus. Pakistan has proven a willing partner due to its political interests in the region and need for investment.

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