Pakistan News


KUWAIT: The administrative investigation committee which was formed to find out the causes of the fire that broke out in the Al-Ahmadi refinery last January, which killed 5 workers and injured dozens others, has prepared its final report and submitted it to the officials of the concerned authorities, reports Al-Qabas daily quoting reliable oil sources.
In this Jan. 14 photo made available on Kuwait National Petroleum Company’s Twitter account, fire fighters try to extinguish the fire at the Mina al-Ahmadi oil refinery in Kuwait. A fire erupted during maintenance work at a major oil refinery in Kuwait on Friday, killing 5 workers and critically injuring more that 12 others, KNPC said. (AP) The same sources said that the committee has issued a set of different administrative sanctions that have affected a number of employees in different departments and at all administrative levels in the Kuwait National Petroleum Company.
The sources indicated that the committee recommended the dismissal of employees and issued dozens of warnings to company employees and officials, citing technical reasons and human errors for the fire, which necessitated taking administrative measures against negligent employees. It is noteworthy that the fire occurred on January 14, 2022 in the gas liquefaction unit No. 32 of the company’s Mina Al- Ahmadi refinery, while one of the valves was being replaced by the unit.


ISLAMABAD: With more audio clips of conversations supposedly taking place in the Prime Minister Office (PMO) surfacing online on Monday and raising alarms over the cyber security of the PMO, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has called a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) this week to ascertain how informal conversations in the country’s highest office were leaked.
It has also been learnt that a joint investigation team (JIT) has been constituted to probe the massive security lapse, and that top intelligence agencies have completed an initial inquiry, the report of which would be placed before the premier in the NSC meeting by their high-ups.
On the other hand, Inte­rior Minister Rana Sana­ullah raised a few eyebrows when he attempted to downplay the possibility of hacking, calling it a “storm in a teacup”. He suggested there was nothing to be concerned about if it was mere “hacking of mobile phones”. He, however, did call it a serious security breach if anyone had bugged the PM House.
“Due to the gravity of the situation, the prime minister has called a meeting of the National Security Com­mittee on Tuesday which will be attended by the top civil and military leadership,” Interior Minister Sanaullah told a TV talk show on Monday night.
“If it is bugging… then it is a serious issue to ascertain how the device was planted and who is behind it. If it is true, stern action will be taken against those involved in it,” he stressed.
However, he said, if it was just ‘simple hacking’ of mobile phones of some people who may have visited the PM House then it was nothing serious.
“In this case, some waiter or any other staff member of the PM House may be involved. We will punish them according to the law,” he maintained.
The minister said as per his information, the Intelligence Bureau and Inter-Services Intelligence had completed their initial inquiry into the matter and their heads would apprise the prime minister of the findings in the NSC meeting.
Sharing his two cents on the age of advanced technology, he casually said anyone’s mobile phone, including his own or PM Sharif’s, could be hacked in today’s world. “But in this case, the government will take measures to prevent such hacking in the future,” he added.
However, when contacted, Bytes for All’s Shahzad Ahmed told Dawn it was possible that a hacker got access to a bugging device that may have been planted by local spy agencies in government offices.
Reacting to the interior minister’s remarks, Mr Ahmed termed such thinking ‘absurd’, saying that if this was the approach, then no good would come of forming a JIT and such mishaps will also continue in the future.
He was of the opinion that those responsible for the security of the top office could be misguiding the rulers in a bid to save themselves from possible action, but phone hacking was a very serious issue indeed.
Earlier on Monday, some more audio clips were leaked wherein purportedly top PML-N leaders were strategising about the by-elections that were recently postponed due to floods.
On Saturday, a recording said to be of PM Sharif surfaced where he was discussing with an unidentified official the possibility of facilitating the import of Indian machinery for a power project that was a concern of his niece Maryam Nawaz’s son-in-law. On Sunday, further recordings surfaced, which were shared on social media by several PTI leaders, concerning Finance Minister Miftah Ismail and the resignations of PTI lawmakers from the National Assembly.
The contents of the leaked recordings, which appear to be informal conversations in the PM Office — as opposed to recorded phone conversations — has not been denied or disputed by Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, who insisted that these only showed that “nothing illegal had happened”.


The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Monday that six Pakistan Army officials, including two majors, were martyred after a helicopter crashed during a flying mission near Khost in Harnai, Balochistan.
“All six personnel on board, including two pilots, have embraced shahadat,” the military’s media affairs wing said, adding that the incident occurred late last night.
The martyred officials were identified as:
39-year-old Major Khurram Shahzad (pilot), a resident of Attock. He was married with one daughter.
30-year-old Major Muhammad Muneeb Afzal (pilot), a resident of Rawalpindi. He was married with two sons.
44-year-old Subedar Abdul Wahid, a resident of Sabirabad village in Karak. He was married with four children, including three sons and a daughter.
27-year-old Sepoy Muhamad Imran, a resident of Makhdoompur in Khanewal. He was married with two daughters and a son.
30-year-old Naik Jalil, a resident of village Bhutta, Lohara, Teh Kharian in Gujrat district. He was married with two sons.
35-year-old Sepoy Shoaib, a resident of village Khatarphatti PO Syeeda Teh Jhand in Attock district. He was married with one son.
The ISPR has yet to release details about the cause of the crash which comes more than a month after a similar incident occurred in Balochistan.

On August 1, a Pakistan Army helicopter with six people on board, including Commander 12 Corps Lieutenant General Sarfraz Ali, lost contact with the air traffic control in Balochistan’s Lasbela district.
A day later, the wreckage of the helicopter was found near Musa Goth, with all personnel on board embracing martyrdom. According to the ISPR, the accident occurred due to bad weather.
‘Too many crashes’
Reacting to the news of the latest crash, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that he was deeply grieved. He prayed for the deceased and their family members, adding that the entire nation shared the grief of the bereaved.
President Arif Alvi also expressed grief over the incident and paid tributes to the martyred officials.
An official statement on Twitter said the president prayed for the martyrs and extended condolences to their families.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said he was deeply saddened to hear of the incident, terming it to be “tragic”.
PTI’s Fawad Chaudhry said helicopter flying was getting dangerous, adding that this required “engineering evaluation”.
“Too many crashes […] rest in peace bravehearts. All were too young to die,” he said.
Climate Minister Sherry Rehman offered her condolences over the lives lost in the crash. She also prayed for the families of the martyred officials.
Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo expressed deep grief and sorrow over the helicopter crash. In a statement, he said the entire nation paid rich tribute to those who sacrificed their lives while performing their duties.
“We wish Allah’s mercy upon the soldiers who embraced martyrdom in the accident and extend our heartfelt condolences to the brotherly people of Pakistan,” the Turkish embassy in Islamabad said.


UNITED NATIONS: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif made a passionate appeal to the world on Friday to undo the ‘climate injustice’ done to countries like Pakistan that make little contribution to global warming and yet face its worst consequences.
In his debut speech at the UN General Assembly, the prime minister also offered an olive branch to India, saying peace in the neighbourhood was necessary for progress and stability in the region.
“Why are my people paying the price of such high global warming through no fault of their own?” Mr Sharif asked.
“Nature has unleashed her fury on Pakistan without looking at our carbon footprint, which is next to nothing. Our actions did not contribute to this.”
Mr Sharif also talked about regional issues, like the Kashmir dispute and Afghanistan, but he remained focused on the sufferings caused by this year’s unprecedented rains and floods.
“As I stand here today to tell the story of my country, Pakistan, my heart and mind have not been able to leave home. No words can describe the shock we are living through or how the face of the country lies transformed,” he said.
Offers olive branch to India, says peace in neighbourhood necessary for progress, stability; makes impassioned plea for assistance
He said he came to the UN to “explain first hand” the scale and magnitude of this climate catastrophe that has pushed one-third of the country under water in a super storm that no one has seen in living memory.
“For 40 days and 40 nights a flood of biblical proportions poured down on us, smashing centuries of weather records, challenging everything we knew about disaster, and how to manage it,” the prime minister said.
“Even today, huge swathes of the country are still under water, submerged in an ocean of human suffering. In this ground zero of climate change, 33 million people, including women and children, are now at high risk from health hazards, with 650,000 women giving birth in makeshift tarpaulins.”
The prime minister said Pakistan had never seen a more stark and devastating example of the impact of Global Warming. “Life in Pakistan has changed forever.
People in Pakistan ask why, why has this happened to them? When global warming rips apart whole families and an entire country at this ferocious speed, it is time to ask why, and time to ask not what can be done but what MUST be done,” said Mr Sharif while explaining how this calamity had affected hearts and minds in Pakistan.
“The undeniable and inconvenient truth is that this calamity has not been triggered by anything we have done,” he explained. “Our glaciers are melting fast, our forests are burning, and our heatwaves have crossed 53 degrees Celsius, making us the hottest place on the planet.”
The prime minister explained that this year’s deluge was not a solitary incident. “Now, we live through an unprecedented monster monsoon. It is literally a monsoon on steroids, as the UN secretary general described it most befittingly. One thing is very clear: what happened in Pakistan will not stay in Pakistan,” he warned.
Referring to another recent statement by the UN secretary general, Mr Sharif said that hotspots like Pakistan fall in the list of 10 most climate-vulnerable countries, but emit less than one per cent of the greenhouse gasses that are burning the planet.
“It is, therefore, entirely reasonable to expect some approximation of justice for this loss and damage, not to mention building back better with resilience.”
Thanking the UN secretary general for visiting the flood-affected areas and those nations which sent help and their representatives to Pakistan, the prime minister said: “Clearly, the time for talk about actions has passed.”
The prime minister also expressed the fear that once flood subsides, people may forget the victims. “So my real worry is about the next stage of this challenge. When the cameras leave, and the story just shifts away to conflicts like the Ukraine, my question is, will we be left alone, to cope with a crisis we did not create?”
Mr Sharif said Pakistan’s urgent priority was to ensure rapid economic growth and lift millions out of destitution and hunger. “We look for peace with all our neighbours, including India. Sustainable peace and stability in South Asia, however, remains contingent upon a just and lasting solution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” he said, urging India to end this longstanding dispute by giving the inalienable right of self-determination to the people of held Kashmir.
The prime minister said Pakistan would also like to see an Afghanistan which was at peace with itself and the world, and “which respects and nurtures all its citizens, without regard to gender, ethnicity and religion”.


UNITED NATIONS: “Pakistan is drowning, not only in floodwater but in debt” too, said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres as Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif urged the international community on Tuesday to stay engaged with the country as it deals with this huge humanitarian crisis.
Pakistan and France, meanwhile, agreed to identify ways and means to support efforts to tackle the challenge caused by the floods and Paris offered to host an international conference before the end of the year to help Islamabad rebuild in a climate-resilient manner.
“I recently saw it with my own eyes in Pakistan — where one-third of the country is submerged by a ‘monsoon on steroids’,” said the UN chief during a forceful address to world leaders gathered for the opening day of the General Assembly’s high-level debate.
Mr Guterres repeated the appeal he first made during his recent visit to Pakistan where he urged lenders to consider debt reduction to help those nations that were facing a possible economic collapse. “Creditors should consider debt reduction mechanisms such as debt-climate adaptation swaps,” he said again at the UNGA. “These could have saved lives and livelihoods in Pakistan, which is drowning not only in floodwater, but in debt.”
The UN chief urged the lenders to set up “an effective mechanism of debt relief for developing countries, including middle-income countries, in debt distress”.
This is the first UNGA session attended physically by world leaders after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Also at the welcome reception hosted by Mr Guterres, Prime Minister Sharif interacted with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, held bilateral meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron, President of Spain Pedro Sanchez Perez-Castejon, Chancellor of Austria Karl Nehammer and President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Sayyid Ebrahim Raisi.
Besides, Mr Sharif expressed gratitude to Palestine’s President Mahmoud Abbas for sending the response and rescue team for the flood-affected people of Pakistan.
He also highlighted the need for helping out developing economies in a series of tweets. He was scheduled to address the Global Food Security Summit, but could not due to other engagements. In his tweets, he said he had come to the UNGA to “tell Pakistan’s story to the world, a story of deep anguish and pain arising out of a massive human tragedy caused by floods”.
French help
According to a joint statement, issued after PM Sharif’s meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of the UNGA, the premier apprised President Macron of the devastation caused by the climate-induced floods across Pakistan, expressed gratitude to France for sending timely assistance of tents, water pumps and a team of doctors and nurses, and hoped that the country would continue to contribute in the rehabilitation and reconstruction phase.
The premier also thanked France for its support for GSP+ scheme, noting that it served to enhance trade and economic ties with EU as well as France.


UNITED NATIONS: The high-level debate at the 77th session of the UN Gen­eral Assembly (UNGA) began in New York on Monday with Pakistan telling the world how climate change, pandemics and conflicts were reversing progress and widening inequalities around the globe.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar represented Pakistan at the inaugural session of the high-level debate ahead of Prime Minis­ter Shehbaz Sharif’s arrival in New York on Monday evening.
The PM will address the General Assembly on Sept 23.
Hina Rabbani Khar was the first to speak — at the Transforming Education Summit 2022 — where she read a statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, as Pakistan currently heads this key UN lobby.
“Millions are held back from learning and living a life of dignity and empowerment,” she told the world leaders attending the summit.
“Education is at a crossroads. Covid-19, conflict, poverty, climate change, natural disasters and gender inequality are reversing progress and widening inequalities.”
The foreign minister, however, represented Pakistan at the OIC Contact Group at the UN, which met on Monday to consider “an alarming rise” in Islamophobia in the West.
“What is most worrisome is that Islamophobia continues to find strong resonance in political spheres in Europe,” he warned. “This is leading to the institutionalisation of Islamophobia through new legislations and policies.”
“Today, one of the worst manifestations of such Islamophobia is in Hindutva-inspired India,” Mr Bhutto-Zardari said. “Driven by the ideology of hate against Muslims, the ruling BJP-RSS regime is executing its century-old plan to obliterate India’s Islamic legacy.”
Last year, the UN General Assembly adopted a landmark resolution, introduced by Pakistan on behalf of the OIC, designating March 15 as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia.
Ms Khar told the session on education that even before the Covid-19 pandemic, over half of the world’s children and youth were either out of school or in school and not learning. During the pandemic, more than 1.6 billion children and youth – nearly the entire world’s population – had their education disrupted, she added.
“Unfortunately, post-pandemic conditions have worsened these inequalities in many geographical regions,” she said.
The foreign minister also met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the 77th UNGA Session in New York on Monday.
This was their fourth meeting since the foreign minister assumed office in April 2022.
During the meeting, the two sides had a comprehensive exchange of views on the entire spectrum of bilateral partnership and multilateral cooperation, including at the United Nations.
Pakistan has also arranged a week-long (Sept 19-25) exhibition at the secretariat lobby of the UN headquarters in New York to share the devastation caused by recent floods with the rest of the world.
The exhibition – “A Climate Carnage” – displays the sights of the disasters that struck Pakistan this summer “as a vivid manifestation of the losses caused by climate change”, said a statement issued by the country’s permanent mission at the UN.


WASHINGTON: Foreign Minister and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari landed in the US capital on Sunday morning, boarded a car and hit the road to New York, the Pakistan Embassy said.
Embassy officials said this detour happened because the foreign minister, who was coming from Samarkand, missed his direct flight to New York.
But PPP workers in New York, and Washington, received an email from their local leaders three days ago, saying that “because of some last-minute changes in his plans, the party chairman will now go directly to Washington, before coming to New York”.
The email caused wild speculations among PPP supporters, and in the Pakistani American community in general, some of whom claimed that the foreign minister met “someone important” in Washington. Who, they do not say, but most of them insist that he indeed met someone.
But diplomats at the Pakistan Embassy and the country’s Permanent Mission at the United Nations rejected such speculations as “nothing more than political gossip”. One diplomat pointed out that the foreign minister is already coming to Washington on Sept 25 on a three-day visit and would hold a series of meetings with senior US officials.
“So, it does not make much of a sense for him to stopover in Washington for a brief meeting before moving on to New York,” one of the diplomats said.
But those who insist on seeing more than what meets the eye, claim that this meeting was “part of an effort to arrange a face-to-face meeting between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and US President Joe Biden”.
Pakistan has been trying for such a meeting since 2019, when former prime minister Imran Khan met the then US president Donald Trump at the White House and again at the United Nations.
Pakistani diplomats, however, say that there’s no summit meeting on the card and that schedules are made at a lower level, by the embassies.
The prime minister, who was in London on Sunday, is expected in New York on Sept 19 to attend the 77th session of the UN General Assembly.

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