PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari was taken to Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) on Thursday for medical tests, DawnNewsTV reported.
According to Pims staff, results of the tests being conducted today will determine if the former president should be admitted to the hospital.
Sources from the hospital said that Zardari is suffering from back pain and heart problems.
The former president was brought to the hospital in an armoured vehicle. The hospital has been put under tight security for the PPP co-chairman's visit.
When contacted, Pims Executive Director Dr Ansar Maxood said that today's trip to the hospital was for routine tests.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had arrested the former president on June 10 after cancellation of his pre-arrest bail by the Islamabad High Court in the fake bank accounts case. On Aug 16, the court sent the former president to Adiala jail on judicial remand.
Since then, members and workers of the PPP have been raising their voices against the government for "not giving the former president access to health facilities".
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that the government was attempting to "murder" his father Asif Ali Zardari by not following doctors' advice to have a medical check-up done of the imprisoned former president.
A day earlier, a doctor from the hospital told Dawn that a few days ago a medical team of the hospital had examined Zardari in jail and advised that some tests related to heart disease should be conducted at the hospital.
He, however, conceded that the government would be the one to decide whether to shift Zardari to the hospital or not.
“We will conduct some tests and it would be better if he is hospitalised,” he had said.
Source: Dawn News
Pakistan has successfully carried out the night training launch of Ghaznavi, a surface to surface ballistic missile, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said on Thursday.
The missile "is capable of delivering multiple types of warheads up to 290 kilometres", said Maj Gen Ghafoor via a tweet, which also included a video of the launch.
According to DG ISPR, the president and prime minister "conveyed appreciation to the team and congratulations to the nation" for the successful testing of the missile.
Earlier in May, Pakistan conducted a successful training launch of Shaheen-II, a surface-to-surface ballistic missile.
In January, Pakistan witnesses another successful launch of the tactical ballistic missile Nasr as part of the Army Strategic Forces Command training exercise.
The missile is capable of defeating — by assured penetration — "any currently available BMD [Ballistic Missile Defence] system in our neighbourhood or any other system under procurement [or] development", the military's media wing had said.
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Monday dismissed India’s ‘all is well’ in occupied Kashmir mantra as “deceptive”.
He was speaking at a seminar on ‘Annexation of Occupied Kashmir by Modi’s India: Challenges and Responses’ organised by the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs.
US President Donald Trump, who has recently on a couple of occasions offered mediation on Kashmir dispute, after his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of G-7 Summit in France said: “We spoke last night about Kashmir, prime minister really feels he has it under control.”
Indian government’s move to annex the occupied territory has been widely resented by the Kashmiris. In a bid to pre-empt protests against the revocation of Article 370 that ended special status for occupied Kashmir, New Delhi imposed a day and night curfew in the valley, which is now in its 22nd day, enforced a communication blackout, and troops presence was unprecedentedly increased. Nearly 50,00 Kashmiris have, moreover, been detained.
Warns that India’s hegemonic designs are a threat to regional peace
The underlying thinking was to convey an image of normalcy to the world, but reporting from the region, despite heavy curbs, has suggested that the situation was otherwise.
The Modi regime, the foreign minister said, was recycling ‘half-baked truths’ to delegitimise the indigenous Kashmiri struggle for the right to self-determination by equating it with terrorism and detracting the world’s attention from its inhuman repression of the uprising.
Mr Qureshi called for amplifying the voices of Kashmiris and ending their sufferings.
“Pakistan will go to every forum to ensure that Indian atrocities in IOK are halted and the dispute is resolved in line with the aspiration of the Kashmiris and the UNSC resolutions,” he resolved.
Asking the world to play its role for preventing tensions over Kashmir, which he described as a nuclear flashpoint, from aggravating, he emphasised that silence on the issue was not an option.
“Indian aggression and hegemonic designs are a threat to regional peace and security and need to be taken seriously,” he said while underscoring that Pakistan did not want to escalate the situation and remains ready for ending confrontation.
Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari remarked that India was gradually climbing the escalation ladder and there had been a qualitative shift in the type of LoC violations. She said that India was developing Bramos missile, which was a major concern for Pakistan because it was a supersonic technology with very little response time.
Senate Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed said Kashmiris had been resiliently resisting Indian actions in the valley despite the brutalities being committed by the Indian government.
He thanked all those who have across the world spoken in support of the suffering Kashmiris and condemned Indian brutalities. He specifically noted Indian writer Arundhati Roy’s comment calling Modi government’s move as architecture of Indian fascism.
Published in Dawn, August 27th, 2019
US President Donald Trump said on Monday that India and Pakistan could handle their dispute over occupied Kashmir on their own, but he was there should they need him.
Trump has previously offered to mediate between India and Pakistan on the contested Himalayan region. New Delhi rejected the offer while Islamabad welcomed it.
He discussed the issue on the sidelines of a G7 summit in France with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who withdrew special autonomy for occupied Jammu and Kashmir on August 5.
Trump said Modi told him that he had Kashmir under control.
"We spoke last night about Kashmir, prime minister really feels he has it under control. They speak with Pakistan and I'm sure that they will be able to do something that will be very good," the US president told reporters.
Modi, speaking alongside Trump, said that all issues between New Delhi and Islamabad were "bilateral in nature".
"All issues between India & Pakistan are bilateral in nature, that is why we don't bother any other country regarding them," Modi said, according to ANI.
He said India and Pakistan were together before 1947 and that he was "confident that we can discuss our problems and solve them, together".
The Indian premier also said he has told Prime Minister Imran Khan that they should work together for the welfare of their two countries.
Since India's decision to strip Kashmiris of their seven-decade-long special autonomy through a rushed presidential order earlier this month, Prime Minister Imran has repeatedly said that the Indian government's policy in the Himalayan region is in line with the "ideology" of the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) party — said to be a parent organisation of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — that believes in "Hindu supremacy".
He has also alerted the international community to a possible "false flag operation" by the Indian leadership to "divert attention from massive human rights violations" in occupied Kashmir.
A communications blackout and heavy restrictions on movement imposed by the Indian authorities from the eve of New Delhi's decision to revoke Article 370 of its constitution entered their 22nd day today.
However, the turning of the restive region into a fortress of barricades and barbed wire has not prevented protests and clashes with security forces taking place. Police on Monday said stone-throwing protestors killed a truck driver in occupied Kashmir.
India says no civilian has died from police action since August 5. But residents have said three people have been killed, including a young mother who choked after police fired tear-gas canisters into her home.
Multiple hospital sources have told AFP at least 100 people had been hurt during the lockdown, some with firearm injuries.
As cruel as it sounds, the poultry sector’s demand and supply dynamics dictate fields of dying chicks. While the price of a day-old-chick (DOC) had gone as high as Rs42 at one point, higher costs of raising chickens amid limited demand mean that there are no buyers. And the chicks are left in fields to fend for themselves.
Poultry prices depend on a number of factors that fluctuate throughout the year. Comparatively unrelated events such as school holidays and mango season can decrease demand and hence bring the price of broiler chickens down.
“During the school year, eggs form an integral part of children’s lunch boxes, which is a reason why demand drops during the summer break,” says Khalil Sattar, chairman of the Pakistan Poultry Association and founder of K&N. “People opt to divert their household incomes towards mangos during the mango season, which is another factor driving down poultry demand. Similarly, beef haleem is a substitute for chicken-based food during Muharrum. On the other hand, the wedding season sees an upswing in preference for chicken thus prices rise.”
Only 5pc of total broiler chickens are processed for further value addition
Basic economic theory dictates costs impact the availability of supply. Repeated bouts of devaluation and a levy on sales tax on various costs associated with raising chickens have made taking the DOCs to farms prohibitively expensive. In the last two months, DOCs have not been in the farms, asserts Mr Sattar.
A 50-kilogram bag of chicken feed costs Rs3,250. Plus, there are electricity bills, vaccination and medical costs and so on, which make raising chicks to chickens unviable financially.
While the costs have not significantly impacted prices as yet, consumers should brace themselves for an increase in coming months. Since the chicks won’t grow up to be chickens, there will be a decrease in supply that will drive the price up.
“Due to the various factors impacting the price, it is hard to gauge how the price will go up but the increase will be more than Rs10 per kg.” The chain reaction should take about two months to result in an appreciable price increase.
The 2018 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report on Pakistan predicted that the import of oilseeds would exceed that of edible oil for the first time in 2017-18.
The poultry industry’s rising inclusion of soya bean meal in its feed rations was cited as a major reason for this change with oilseed imports projected at a record 3.7 million tonnes, of which soya beans were expected to account for 2.5m tonnes.
The USDA 2019 update clarifies that the Department of Plant Protection and Quarantine revised the sanitary and phytosanitary standards, which prevented the expected increase from materialising. However, imports of soya bean seeds alone are expected to reach 2m tonnes during 2018-19.
Demand, led by poultry and livestock sectors, is expected to grow to 2.5m tonnes in 2019-20. While palm oil still leads the edible oil imports at 2.8m tonnes in 2018, the exponential increase in soya bean seed consumption in the last few years has made it an import bill staple.
Soya bean meal was mostly imported from India till 2013, according to International Trade Centre’s data. Since then, the import mix has shifted from meal to seeds with imports of soya rising from $6.5m in 2014 to nearly a billion dollars in 2018.
Despite being an oilseed, soya bean’s oil content is limited to about 17 per cent. Therefore, it is not viable for it to be imported for edible oil purposes alone. Soya bean is crushed to obtain vegetable protein in the form of meal to cater to the poultry feed sector.
Mr Sattar contends that the poultry sector alone is not solely responsible for the rapid rise in soya bean imports since corn and canola also provide protein to chickens. However, the USDA report suggests, “The crushing industry is improving the quality of soya meal it produces, transitioning from prior experience with rapeseed and sunflower. Additionally, end-users such as the poultry industry have increased their vertical integration, taking control of the process of meal production.”
Together these factors have led to the import of soya bean seed becoming an integral part of the poultry sector, amounting to about 30-35pc of the cost of chicken.
This leaves the poultry sector vulnerable, among other factors, to devaluation and international oilseed price dynamics. For example, the China-US trade war resulted in a surplus of soya been seed available in the market, which drove its price down and was able to offset some of the effects of devaluation.
With 1.04 billion broiler birds, Pakistan is the 11th largest producer in the world. However, only 5pc of total broiler chickens are processed for further value addition, such as nuggets. The rest is sold in its raw form either in the corner butcher shops or packaged by chains such as K&N.
Products that compete directly with the local butcher will impact national food chains more since they have to pay taxes that their informal counterparts can evade. If there was a higher demand for processed poultry products, some of the increase in the chicken price could be cushioned by higher margins.
Fast food chains may hike up their prices too as the various cost factors decrease the available supply. While beef products for international chains are mostly imported due to a lack of an organised livestock sector, many opt for locally produced chicken products as formal standardised outlets for poultry are present in the country.
Published in Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly, July 22nd, 2019
The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa issued flood alerts after India released water into River Sutlej and Alchi dam.
PDMA Punjab on Monday issued a flood alert due to rising water levels in River Sutlej after India released water into the river. Additionally, the PDMA KP director general on Sunday said that India had opened the outlets of Alchi dam "without preschedule" which, he said could lead to a flooding situation in River Indus.
According to the PDMA Punjab, flood water between the range of 125,000 and 175,000 cusecs is expected to reach Ganda Singh Wala at 11am today.
A dispatch has been issued to the relevant agencies asking them to ensure that all protective measures are taken.
The disaster management authority said that the flood alert had been issued in order to avoid the loss of lives and properties.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department (Met) has also issued a flood/weather advisory. According to the department, "very heavy to extremely heavy rainfall has been observed over the upper and lower catchments of Rivers Sutlej, Beas and Ravi during the last 72 hours".
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has summoned an emergency meeting to discuss the flood alert for River Sutlej. During the meeting, the situation will be discussed in detail including a focus on steps taken for relief work and the security arrangements made.
According to the CM Office, various officials including the provincial disaster management minister, provincial irrigation minister, a senior member of the Federal Board of Revenue, the inspector general of police, administrative officers and officials from relief organisations will participate in the meeting. Deputy commissioners and commissioners from various areas including Sahiwal, Multan and Bahawalpur will also participate through a video link.
Meanwhile, the PDMA KP director general on Sunday wrote a letter to various provincial deputy commissioners with an alert regarding India opening the water outlet of Alchi dam.
As per the dispatch, the water would take 12 hours to reach Tarbela dam and around 15-18 hours to reach Dera Ismail Khan.
"The damming authorities at Tarbela have been instructed by [National Disaster Management Authority] NDMA to regulate the inflow and water discharge so as to overcome a flooding situation."
He directed the deputy commissioner's to restrict boating and swimming activities, adding that the catchment area near the Indus River should be monitored in order to deal with any untoward situation.
Relations between Pakistan and India have been strained since India stripped Kashmiris of the special autonomy they had for seven decades through a rushed presidential order on August 5. Following this, Pakistan resolved to downgrade diplomatic relations with New Delhi and suspended all bilateral trade.
According to Indian media reports, a flood alert has been issued for New Delhi.
India Today reported that the Delhi government issued a red-alert for the low-lying areas of the city. The report added that people living in the areas were asked to move to safer places as the water level in Yamuna River was expected to rise and "cross the danger mark" today.
Additionally, NDTV reported casualties in various parts of India in rain related incidents. At least 24 people were killed while nine others were injured in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh. The death toll in Karnataka rose to 76 while three individuals were killed in Punjab after the roof of a house collapsed.
UNITED NATIONS: For the first time since 1965, the UN Security Council (UNSC) held a meeting exclusively on occupied Jammu and Kashmir on Friday, nullifying India’s claim that this was an internal matter.
Although the council did not agree on a statement, China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun summed up the discussions, expressing serious concern over the situation.
“The UNSC members are concerned about the human rights situation there and they (want) the parties concerned to refrain from taking any unilateral action that might further aggravate the tension there since the situation is already very tense and very dangerous,” he said.
Pakistan’s Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said the meeting brought the Kashmir dispute back to the world’s most influential panel and also highlighted the atrocities Indian troops were committing in the occupied territory.
“The voice of the Kashmiri people resonated in the chambers of the world’s highest diplomatic forum today,” she said. “The whole world is discussing the occupied state. This is an international dispute.”
Members call both countries to resolve issue through talks in accordance with UN charter amid New Delhi’s resistance
The factor that motivated the world body to re-focus on Kashmir after more than 50 years was highlighted by Russian envoy to UN Dmitry Polyanskiy. “Very much concerned. We hope to avoid it,” said the Russian diplomat when asked by a journalist outside the meeting room if Russia was concerned the dispute could escalate into a larger conflict between India and Pakistan.
Ambassador Zhang also underlined this factor in his remarks to the media, warning that India’s move to amend Kashmir’s constitutional status was “causing tensions in the region, China is deeply concerned and opposes any unilateral decisions”.
The Chinese envoy pointed out that “India’s action has also challenged China’s sovereign interests and violated bilateral agreement”.
He added that China believes “the status of Kashmir is still undecided” and “calls upon the relevant parties to exercise restraint.”
Ambassador Lodhi, speaking after the meeting, said that Pakistan’s efforts to seek justice for the people of held Kashmir will continue and “will only end when justice is done to the people of Jammu and Kashmir”.
“The people may be locked up, their voices may not be heard in their own land, but their voices were heard today at the UN and will always be heard because Pakistan will stand by them and extend full support,” she declared. “This is the first, not the last step.”
As the closed-door meeting began, two UN officials — Assistant Secretary General Oscar Taranco and Lt Gen Carlos Loitey — briefed the members of the Security Council on the situation in Kashmir and on activities of the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan.
Various diplomats briefing journalists on the proceedings of the closed-door meeting said that UNSC members urged India and Pakistan to refrain from actions that would exacerbate tensions in the region.
The members reaffirmed relevant Council resolutions on the issue, vindicating Pakistan’s position that the UNSC resolutions that call for a plebiscite in the disputed territory should be implemented.
The members called on India and Pakistan to avoid actions that would escalate the situation along the Line of Control.
The members urged India and Pakistan to settle the dispute through peaceful manner, including through direct dialogue, based on related bilateral agreements in accordance with the UN Charter.
The reference to the UN Charter endorses the demand of the Kashmiri people that India should be held responsible for continuously violating their basic human rights.
The members agreed to follow the situation closely.
“We stand ready for a peaceful settlement of the dispute of Jammu and Kashmir,” said the Pakistani envoy while appreciating UNSC’s interest in the dispute.
China too expressed concern on the Indian clampdown in Kashmir, telling the UNSC members that situation in the disputed region was “serious and dangerous” and India’s “invalid, unilateral practices” had created this situation.
“The situation is already very tense and dangerous right now there [in India-held Kashmir],” Mr Zhang said. “India has violated bilateral agreement to keep peace in the border areas. It is obvious the constitutional amendment by India has changed the status quo in Kashmir.”
He reminded India that the UN secretary general had also urged New Delhi to “refrain from any unilateral step which is dangerous” and to follow the UN Charter.
“We are grateful for the 15 members of UNSC. We are ready for a peaceful settlement of J&K. It nullifies the Indian claim that J&K is an internal matter of India,” said Ambassador Lodhi.
After India revoked J&K’s special status on Aug 5 and announced the bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh, Pakistan approached the UN Security Council against New Delhi’s “illegal” action that also violated relevant UN resolutions”.
Pakistan requested a closed-door meeting. The consultative meeting, however, did not call for another meeting to review the situation in Kashmir. The meeting also did not issue a joint statement, as expected.
India’s Permanent Representative Syed Akbaruddin presented the UNSC proceedings as the vindication of New Delhi’s position that Kashmir and other issues with Pakistan could only be discussed in a bilateral setup.
“We are consistent in all our positions that all issues will be resolved bilaterally and peacefully,” he said. “We stand ready to continue our efforts towards peaceful resolution of all issues in an atmosphere free of violence.”
Despite India’s unilateral action on Kashmir, Mr Akbaruddin said: “We are committed to the Simla agreement. It is now for Pakistan to stop terrorism and start talks,” he added.
Published in Dawn, August 17th, 2019