Pakistan News

Air Arabia operates from Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates. — Photo courtesy: Airbus

Pakistan's Lakson Group and Middle Eastern budget carrier Air Arabia said on Friday they would launch a low-cost airline serving domestic and international routes from Pakistan.

The new carrier, Fly Jinnah, will operate as a joint venture between the pair, they said in a statement, adopting the low-cost model operated by Air Arabia.

The statement said the new airline would help Pakistan's travel and tourism sector and contribute to the country's economic growth and job creation.

Prime Minister Imran Khan in a tweet welcomed Air Arabia to Pakistan and wished the group success in establishing the new airline.

"My government is committed to attracting investment in Pakistan's burgeoning travel & tourism sector which offers immense opportunities," he wrote.

 

Air Arabia operates from Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates, and has similar joint ventures in Abu Dhabi, Egypt, Morocco and Armenia. Its shares are listed on the Dubai Financial Market.

The airline has been pushing ahead to expand in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak last year as low-cost carriers bet on a post-pandemic surge in travel.

This file photo shows icons of social media apps on a mobile phone. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: In an apparent bid to prevent leak of official information and documents, the government has barred all government employees from using social media platforms.

A notification issued by the Establishment Division on Aug 25 says no government servant can participate in any media platform except with the permission of the government.

The notification says that instructions are not intended to discourage any constructive and positive use of social media by a government organisation for engaging the people to solicit feedback on a government policy, suggestions for improvement in service delivery and resolution of their complaints.

But such an organisation shall maintain their social media platforms continuously or frequently to remove offensive, inappropriate and objectionable remarks.

The notification gave detailed instructions to government employees under Government Servants (Conduct) Rules, 1964, governing participation of government servants in different media forums including social media platforms for compliance.

“Rule 18 of the Rules bars a government servant from sharing official information or document with a government servant or a private person or press,” the notification added.

Referring to Rule 22 of the Servant Rules, the Establishment Division says that it restrains a government servant from making any statement of fact or opinion which is capable of embarrassing the government in any document published or in any communication made to the press or in any public utterance or television programme or radio broadcast delivered by him or her.

The notification warned all government servants that violation of one or more of these instructions would be tantamount to misconduct and lead to disciplinary action against the delinquent government servant under Civil Servants (Efficiency and Discipline) Rules, 2020. Besides, it said, disciplinary proceedings would also be held against the serving government servants in case they were administrators of a social media group where any violation had been committed.

The notification added that Rules 21, 25, 25-A and 25-B of the Rules barred a government servant from expressing views against ideology and integrity of Pakistan or any government policy or decision.

The notification also bars a government servant from offering views on any media platform which may either harm the national security or friendly relations with foreign states, or offend public order, decency or morality, or amount to contempt of court or defamation or incitement to an offence or propagate sectarian creeds.

The notification highlighted that the government servants often engaged themselves with social media such as websites and applications that enabled users to create and share content or participate in social networking/virtual communities/online groups.

“They, while using different social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, Microblogging etc, to air their views on a host of subjects and sometimes indulge in actions or behaviour that does not conform to the required standards of official conduct, as envisaged in the Rules,” the notification added.

Such actions range from unauthorised relaying of the official information to disseminating the wrong or misleading information to airing of political or sectarian views etc. The Establishment Division has further instructed government servants not to indulge in unauthorised disclosure of official information.

A woman receives the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination centre in Karachi on March 10. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: As the number of Covid-19 cases has decreased by 20 per cent in the country due to steps taken by the provinces, particularly the Sindh government, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has advised people to avoid Majalis at homes and follow standard operating procedures (SOPs) during mourning processions.

On the other hand, the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) has voiced concern over the rapidly increasing number of doctors falling prey to Covid-19.

The number of Covid-19 cases, which surpassed 5,000 last week, has decreased by around 20pc.

The NCOC data showed that 86 deaths and 3,884 cases were reported in a single day and the number of active cases was 84,427 as of August 10. The national positivity was 7.84pc.

An official of the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS), requesting not to be named, said the Sindh government had played a major role in decreasing the number of cases.

People advised to avoid Majalis at home; PMA notes rising incidents of doctors’ deaths caused by infection

“Unfortunately, cases were doubling in a fortnight and Karachi was the most hit city. However, the imposition of lockdown by the Sindh government stopped the trend of increase in cases and positivity rate has finally started decreasing in the province. Later, the NCOC also decided to impose restrictions due to which the number of cases started falling across the country,” he added.

However, he feared that the number of cases might again start increasing again because of mourning processions and Majalis during Muharram. “So we suggest to the masses to strictly adhere to the SOPs,” the official said.

Meanwhile, the NCOC issued recommendations for Muharram, saying that all processions and Majalis should be held in accordance with the SOPs. There should be arrangements of thermal scanning, every participant should wear a mask and ensure social distancing. Hand sanitisers should be provided.

It is suggested to avoid Majalis at homes and hold them at halls having proper arrangement of ventilation.

The PMA, a representative body of doctors, has expressed concern over the death of nine doctors during the last two weeks.

“The PMA is distressed over the rapidly increasing number of doctors falling ill of Covid-19 and then dying of it even after being vaccinated. Unfortunately, nine doctors have died during last two weeks, which is dreadfully alarming. One of these nine doctors was from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and eight others from Sindh. Most of these ill-fated doctors were above 60 years of age,” the PMA said in a statement.

PMA secretary general Dr Qaisar Sajjad alleged that doctors’ safety was being neglected by the authorities and even doctors neglected their own safety.

“Death of nine doctors in a few days is a serious issue. Majority of doctors who died during the pandemic were those who were not directly involved in examining Covid-19 patients. They mostly got infected at their clinics because they were often seen being very lenient in adopting preventive measures to keep themselves safe. Unfortunately, due to this negligence, so far 216 doctors have died due to Covid-19 — 75 each in Punjab and Sindh, 56 in KP, six in Balochistan, three in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and one in Gilgit-Baltistan. Besides, 31 paramedics have died of coronavirus,” he said.

“In these circumstances, we suggest that doctors should always adopt SOPs to ensure their own protection. Nobody should think that getting a vaccine jab minimises the need to follow SOPs, so wear mask and put face shield while examining your patients and wash hands after examining each patient. The principle of ‘No mask, no entry’ should be strictly implemented at clinics,” Dr Sajjad said.

In this file photo, US State Department Spokesman Ned Price speaks during a news briefing at the State Department in Washington, February 8. — Reuters/File

The United States wants Afghanistan’s neighbours not to recognise any government in Kabul that has been imposed by force.

The demand — made at a Tuesday afternoon news briefing at the US State Department — preceded a meeting of the Troika Plus nations in Doha on Wednesday.

The group, which includes the US, Russia, China and Pakistan, is aimed at finding a political solution to the decades-old war in Afghanistan.

During the news briefing, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that two key meetings were being held in Doha this week, bringing together representatives from the region and beyond and from multilateral organisations.

The participants will press for a reduction in violence, a ceasefire and a “commitment by the part of these regional and broader governments and multilateral and international institutions not to recognise any government that is imposed by force," Price said.

The meetings in the Qatari capital come as the Taliban have stepped up their campaign to defeat the government as foreign forces withdraw.

On Wednesday, the Taliban seized three more provincial capitals in Afghanistan, putting nine of the nation’s 34 in the insurgents’ hands.

US Special envoy for Afghanistan Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad is representing Washington in the talks in Doha.

Pakistan has sent its special envoy Muhammad Sadiq and its ambassador to Kabul, Mansoor Khan. Kremlin’s envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov and the newly appointed Chinese envoy for Afghanistan Yue Xiao Yong are representing their countries.

All these countries have major stakes in bringing peace to Afghanistan and are seeking a regional consensus on the Afghan conflict despite their differences.

In the press briefing, Price said that Khalilzad had been sent to Doha to “advance a collective international response to what can only be termed as a rapidly deteriorating security situation”.

However, the US media on Tuesday reported that Khalilzad was there to warn the Taliban against pursuing a military victory on ground.

He will “deliver a blunt message: A Taliban government that comes to power through force in Afghanistan will not be recognised,” media reported.

In a Voice of America interview earlier this week, the Afghan-born US envoy warned that if the Taliban took over the country by force, “they will become a pariah state".

He reminded the insurgents that “there must be a political solution, a political agreement for a lasting peace, and we will stay with it. We are committed to staying with it until that goal is achieved.”

In another interview with Radio Free Europe, Khalilzad — the architect of the 2020 US-Taliban agreement that paved the way for the foreign pullout — warned of a “protracted war” if the Afghan government and the Taliban focus on a “military solution” to end hostilities.

He said that the lack of progress in peace talks has led “both sides to focus on a military solution”.

Extended Troika

The Extended Troika, a Moscow-initiated group, conducts regular consultations to find a negotiated solution to the Afghan conflict.

The Troika talks preceded a meeting on Tuesday of Afghanistan’s immediate neighbours. Russia, the United Nations and US were also invited to this meeting.

The Extended Troika is also holding separate consultations with Doha-based Taliban and Kabul government representatives to push slow-moving intra-Afghan peace talks.

A spokesman for the Taliban's political office told Al Jazeera TV that the group was committed to the negotiation path in Doha and does not want it to collapse.

However, a member of the Afghan government delegation in Doha demanded a mediator in the negotiations "to determine the seriousness of the parties".

But the Taliban spokesman claimed that “it was the government that rejected the principle of a mediator, not the Taliban”.

US defence secretary calls COAS

On Monday, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin called Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and “expressed his interest in continuing to improve the US-Pakistan relationship and build upon our multiple shared interests in the region,” the Pentagon said.

“Secretary Austin and General Bajwa discussed the ongoing situation in Afghanistan, regional security and stability, and the bilateral defence relationship more broadly,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby added.

 

Responding to a journalist’s question, Kirby said the US continues to have conversations with the Pakistani leadership about safe havens that exist along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“We are mindful that those safe havens are only providing a source of more insecurity and more instability inside Afghanistan. We are not bashful about having that discussion with Pakistani leaders,” he said.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, however, has lamented using Pakistan as a scapegoat for the problems in Afghanistan, as he responded to the allegations levelled by Afghanistan at the United Nations Security Council.

"It is unfortunate to make Pakistan a scapegoat for the failures of others; the issues of governance and meltdown of Afghan National Defence Forces need to be looked into — and not just start pointing fingers at Pakistan," he said at a recent briefing in Islamabad.

For repatriation of over 2,000 Pakistani prisoners languishing in KSA jails, Islamabad and Riyadh had signed a prisoner transfer agreement in May. — AFP/File

KARACHI: Sixty-two Pakistanis languishing in prisons of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) were brought back home via special flight on Tuesday after Prime Minister Imran Khan intervened and arranged funds for their repatriation.

“On my instructions, funds were arranged & a special flight brought back 62 prisoners from KSA today, so they could be back with their families for Eid,” Mr Khan tweeted and posted their picture.

“Helping Pakistanis in prisons abroad & assisting in their return to Pakistan is my govt’s commitment to our people,” the tweet added.

For repatriation of over 2,000 Pakistani prisoners languishing in KSA jails, Islamabad and Riyadh had signed a prisoner transfer agreement in May.

Earlier in February 2019, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman had visited Islamabad and agreed to free 2,107 Pakistani prisoners after Mr Khan drew his attention towards their plight. Later in October, an official of the Overseas Pakistanis Foundation had informed the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development that 579 Pakistani prisoners had been released by Saudi Arabia under the royal clemency.

وزیر خارجہ مخدوم شاہ محمود قریشی کی تاشقند میں وسطی و جنوبی ایشیا رابطہ کانفرنس کے موقع پر، کویتی وزیر خارجہ شیخ احمد ناصر المحمد الصباح کے ساتھ ملاقات
دوران ملاقات دو طرفہ تعلقات ،مختلف شعبہ جات میں دو طرفہ تعاون کے فروغ سمیت باہمی دلچسپی کے امور پر تبادلہء خیال
پاکستان اور کویت کے درمیان یکساں مذہبی اور ثقافتی بنیادوں پر استوار گہرے برادرانہ تعلقات ہیں۔ پاکستان، اپنی جغرافیائی اقتصادی ترجیحات پر توجہ مرکوز کیے ہوئے ہے۔ پاکستان اور کویت کے مابین تعلیم، سائنس، ٹیکنالوجی، کلچر اور فوڈ سیکورٹی کے شعبوں میں دو طرفہ تعاون کے فروغ کے وسیع مواقع موجود ہیں، مخدوم شاہ محمود قریشی
دونوں وزرائے خارجہ نے پاکستان اور کویت کے درمیان تعاون کیلئے مشترکہ کمیشن بنانے کی تجویز پر بھی تبادلہ ء خیال کیا
مجوزہ طور پر اس مشترکہ کمیشن کی سربراہی پاکستان اور کویت کے وزرائے خارجہ مشترکہ طور پر کریں گے
دونوں وزرائے خارجہ نے پاکستان اور کویت کے مابین اعلیٰ سطحی روابط کے فروغ کی ضرورت پر زور دیا

 

کویت کے سفیر نصر عبدالرحمن المتیری کی چئیرمین کشمیر کمیٹی شہریار خان آفریدی سے ملاقات
ملاقات میں شہریار خان آفریدی نے پاکستانیوں کیلئے کویت کے ویزوں کی بحالی میں کویتی سفیر کی کوششوں کو سراہا
کویت اور پاکستان دیگر اسلامی ممالک کے ساتھ مل کر اسلاموفوبیا اور ملت اسلامیہ کو درپیش دیگر مسائل پر متحرک کردار ادا کرتے رہیں گے. شہریار خان آفریدی
کویتی سفیر کا مہاجرین کو سہولیات فراہم کرنے پر حکومت پاکستان اور خصوصاً شہریار خان آفریدی کے متحرک کردار پر خراج تحسین پیش کیا
کویت کی حکومت اور عوام پاکستان کے شکر گزار ہیں کہ وہ مشکل حالات میں بھی کویت کے شانہ بشانہ کھڑے ہوئے. کویتی سفیر
کرونا وائرس کی بیماری سے لڑنے میں پاکستانی ڈاکٹرز اور طبی عملے کی خدمات کو خراج تحسین پیش کرتے ہیں. کویتی سفیر نصر عبدالرحمن.
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