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April 9, 2020

Engro Fertilizers sets up quarantine facility and distributes 1500 ration bags

Engro Fertilizers sets up quarantine facility and distributes 1500 ration bags

Engro Fertilizers sets up quarantine facility and distributes 1500 ration bags

Karachi, 9th April 2020: As part of its ongoing efforts to support the district authorities and Daharki community amid the Coronavirus outbreak, Engro Fertilizers has converted its Technical Training College (TCC) into a 60-bed quarantine facility.

The quarantine facility has been established at TTC Daharki and all necessary standard operating procedures would be followed at the location. The District Health Officer Dr Altaf and district administration appreciated steps taken by Engro Fertilizers and are carrying out strong vigilance with regards to Coronavirus.

“We welcome support from responsible companies like Engro Fertilizers. By dedicating the TCC as a quarantine facility, the Company has once again shown its commitment to promote the welfare of Daharki community to deal with any eventuality”, said District Health Officer Dr Altaf. 

Further, Engro Fertilizers has also distributed 1500 ration bags among deserving families and daily wage earners in Daharki and surrounding areas. Each ration bag includes essential food items to help the families meet their daily nutritional requirements. The Engro Fertilizers team was joined by Rizwan Nazir, Assistant Commissioner, for distribution of the ration bags.

Commenting on these COVID-19 relief efforts, Aamir Aslam, General Manager at Engro Fertilizers Daharki Plant said that, “Engro has always stood by its people and the community around it during testing times. As a caring and responsible company, we look forward to supporting the district authorities in promoting improved healthcare, hygiene and sanitation in the town so that the community can be protected against the Coronavirus”.

 The quarantine facility and ration distribution initiatives build on fumigation and disinfection drive in public areas, along with a community awareness campaign, that have already been undertaken by Engro Fertilizers. 

Debt Relief For The Poorest Countries Critical in Fight Against COVID-19

Debt Relief For The Poorest Countries Critical in Fight Against COVID-19

Debt Relief For The Poorest Countries Critical in Fight Against COVID-19 

Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore

Pakistan , 9th  April 2020 – “     COVID-19 is generating an unprecedented global economic crisis. And as we witness in all such crises, this economic destruction is cruelly and unequally distributed.

“For the world’s poorest countries, the financial fallout caused by the pandemic, combined with debilitating debt-service obligations, are hampering their ability to prevent further transmission and protect citizens.

“And for the families within those countries, with widespread loss of income and limited access to food in environments where social distancing is impossible, soap and water for hand washing a luxury, and quality health services non-existent, the situation is already dire, and it is only going to get worse.

“While children are largely spared the immediate health consequences of the pandemic, they will suffer the economic destruction left in its wake. More than 200 million children live in debt-distressed countries and those at high risk of debt distress. The burden of debt leaves countries struggling to prevent disease transmission.   

“Low-income countries in particular are being forced to drastically increase spending to respond to the health emergency, while scaling up – or, in some cases, creating – social protection systems including unconditional cash transfers, guarantee of income for those who lose their jobs and employment security. 

“The additional spending required must not come at the cost of other critical services for children, such as routine immunization, maternity care, and child protection. At this crucial time, countries need to spend more to protect the future of their children. 

“To reduce disease transmission and prevent further economic catastrophe, UNICEF wholeheartedly joins The World Bank President and IMF Managing Director in their call for debt relief and debt restructuring for countries in need.”

“As the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres noted in his recent letter to the G20, debt restructuring is a priority — including immediate waivers on interest payments for 2020. By relaxing the burden of debt financings, countries are more likely to deliver the agile and aggressive response required to reduce the impact of the economic crisis and stop COVID-19 in its tracks.” 

For more information about COVID-19 and guidance on how to protect children and families, visit: www.unicef.org/coronavirus

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook.

Hamid Ismail Foundation Conducted a Ration Drive in Shanti Nagar Amidst the Coronavirus Lockdown

Hamid Ismail Foundation Conducted a Ration Drive in Shanti Nagar Amidst the Coronavirus Lockdown

Hamid Ismail Foundation Conducted a Ration Drive in Shanti Nagar Amidst the Coronavirus Lockdown

The lock down in the city of Karachi has resulted in thousands of daily wagers being devoid of their livelihoods due lack of opportunities to earn. This has resulted in huge sense of desperation and void which is now being filled by NGOs and impact organization which look to provide food item in rations bags to these people in this hour of need. One such organization is Hamid Ismail Foundation which is working for the upliftment in the quality of life of urban slum dwellers through water, health, education and youth empowerment projects. 

In the current situation Hamid Ismail Foundation distributed ration bags to over 1000 families in Shanti Nagar door to door. The volunteers of HIF went to deserving household in Majeed Para, Miskaan Para and Dilvash Para where the neediest of Shanti Nagar reside. The food item contained in the package were basic necessities for a family for a month. The effort was extended to areas of Lyari where the nearly 400 ration nags were distributed in the area of Agra Taj Colony where the poor of the area were provided with the ration bags.

Later in the week, Hamid Ismail Foundation collaborated with the DMC Central to distribute the ration in Pahar Ghanj, Kausar Colony, Lalu Khat and members of minorities residing in district central. The Chairman of District Central allowed Hamid Ismail Foundation to use government school premises to be used for distribution of these ration bags to the needy of the areas. Rehan Hashmi, Chairman District Central was present along with the volunteers and the representatives of Hamid Ismail Foundation at the time of distribution of the ration bags. He lauded the efforts of the foundation to address the needs of the poorest of the city at this hour of need. He said: “Hamid Ismail foundation has always responded the cause of the common man in the shape of its water projects, medical camps, sports activities and now with this ration distribution has addressed the need of the hour.” In his message the President and the founder of the Hamid Ismail Foundation Mr. Hamid Ismail said: “We understand the plight of our people and in this situation whatever we can do in our capacity we will do it to bring comfort and solace to them. Our ration distribution will continue through this crisis since we cannot leave the our brothers and sisters without any support during this hour of need. We hope and pray that Allah eases the distress and rid ourselves of this Corona Virus sooner rather than later.”

About Hamid Ismail Foundation:

Hamid Ismail Foundation is a non-profit organization which was founded by Mr. Hamid Ismail. The aim of the foundation is to work towards quality education, environmental sustainability, healthy entertainment opportunities, and women empowerment. HIF has been actively involved in organizing activities and implementing projects that reflect their values.

Infinix S5 PRO 40MP Pop-up selfie camera- the Phone for a fashionista

Infinix S5 PRO 40MP Pop-up selfie camera- the Phone for a fashionista

Infinix S5 PRO 40MP Pop-up selfie camera- the Phone for a fashionista

Infinix has recently unveiled a new device, the Infinix S5 Pro, and it truly is an impressive piece of kit. Infinix’s latest outing is really something you sit and take notice of, not just because of the power-packed features, but also because of its futuristic and luxurious design. The phone’s full-HD+ notch-less display provides a great amount of detail, packed with 128 GB Storage, 48MP triple rear camera, and the 40 MP Pop-up selfie camera. To be available in three beautiful colors, Forest Green, Sea Blue, and Violet, the list goes on and on, but what caught our eye were those camera features at such a competitive price. 

As of now, we are convinced that we’re living in a big moment of change in photography. That is not just because the smartphone is now equipped with features and possibilities no one could have deemed possible, but also due to the smartphone in their pocket is a potential photographer. Not that it is a bad thing, but it might make you feel left out. But with Infinix S5 Pro’s incredible camera features and attractive price range- you can also share your photography on your social media platforms and jump on the bandwagon.

Where social media platforms such as Instagram redirect vast amounts of traffic on its fashion related posts, you feel like you need a professional camera to attain that quality in your pictures as well. With Infinix S5 Pro’s powerful AI 48MP triple back camera, you can make every image crisp and high-quality. So, photography and fashion enthusiasts, rejoice! The phone that will let you make a fashion statement- and also perfectly capture all your fashion statements is finally here.

CPHGC on a Mission to help the poor of Lasbella

CPHGC on a Mission to help the poor of Lasbella

CPHGC on a Mission to help the poor of Lasbella

KARACHI: China Power Hub Generation Company (Pvt.) Ltd. in collaboration with the Saylani Welfare Trust, has volunteered to help combat hunger and malnutrition in the immediate vicinity of the plant, donating 400 ration bags to the deserving families in the villages of Hub. The distribution of food items is in continuation of CPHGCs CSR initiatives designed to help improve the lifestyle of the deserving in Lasbella.

The ration bags were handed over by a CPHGC delegation to the local authorities who distributed them to the villagers of Allana Goth, Abbas Goth and Goth Qadir Buksh. Each bag contained 10 kgs of flour, cooking oil, sugar, lentils and tea.

Appreciating the efforts of CPHGC, the local elder Mr. Anwar Ghadoor thanked for the gesture. “This donation will definitely reignite the stoves of many households.”

At the occasion, Mr. Zhao Yonggang, CEO, CPHGC said, “We work with the authorities of Hub and Lasbella in order to bring a meaningful difference in the lives of the deserving. In this time of need where even the smallest of contributions matter, CPHGC continues to work towards helping to improve the lifestyles of the needy of the society it is part of.”

CPHGC has an active CSR program and continues to be so during the current pandemic outbreak. Earlier the Company had distributed 1000kgs of disinfectants and 2000 masks to office of the Assistant Commissioner Hub. 

During its construction phase the company has contributed to sustainable CSR initiatives that have helped better the lives of the people benefiting from them. These include the Floating Fishermen Jetty at Allana Goth; the Clean Hub City program; training of local students and provided them with employment at the Plant; providing relief supplies to the flood affected people of District Lasbella.

Successful partnership between Ufone & PRCS leads to registration of 10,000 volunteers in a week

Successful partnership between Ufone & PRCS leads to registration of 10,000 volunteers in a week

Successful partnership between Ufone & PRCS leads to registration of 10,000 volunteers in a week

Islamabad, April 9 2020: The recent partnership between Pakistani telecom operator Ufone and Pakistan Red Crescent Society has created a monumental impact. Within a week over 10,000 volunteers have registered to become a part of PRCS volunteer program through which awareness about corona virus is being raised in different communities. More than 15,000 calls from all over Pakistan have been answered by PRCS volunteers and the interest of Pakistanis to participate in this drive is growing every day. 

Through the partnership Ufone enabled PRCS to create widespread awareness about the disease in urban and rural communities, and assisted in volunteer registration via its helpline 1030. The free of charge helpline allows Ufone customers to get updates and information on the disease, along with getting to know the ways to proactively protect themselves, their families and their community. Customers can also register as volunteers for their community using the same helpline. 

As the threat of coronavirus amplifies in the country, the need for stronger and efficient communication to raise awareness has become even more important. Ufone and PRCS’s joint effort has helped millions of Pakistanis to get free access to authentic information about the pandemic. This shall also allow them to act responsibly in the future. 

Secretary General Pakistan Red Crescent Society, Khalid Bin Majeed extended his gratitude to people for showing such an overwhelming response to the volunteer registration drive. “The unparalleled love and compassion of Pakistanis for their homeland leaves everyone awestruck. In these testing times when the whole nation is facing one of the worst crises of all times, it is encouraging to see how thousands have people have stepped forward to help each other.” 

Amir Pasha, Head of PR & CSR Ufone said, “COVID 19 has created unprecedented challenges for everyone. As a socially responsible organization Ufone is playing its part to facilitate people in many ways whether it is by ensuring seamless connectivity, provision of digital services or by raising awareness against the pandemic. We shall leave no stone unturned in enabling Pakistanis to battle with this crisis in the best possible way.” 

Pakistan Red Crescent is part of an ‘International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement’ and is considered to be the leading humanitarian organization of Pakistan, committed to prevent and alleviate human sufferings by mobilizing the power of humanity through volunteers

Emirates Skywards extends support, offers flexibility to members

Emirates Skywards extends support, offers flexibility to members

Emirates Skywards extends support, offers flexibility to members

Karachi / Dubai - April 09, 2020: Emirates Skywards, the loyalty programme of the world’s largest international airline, is supporting its 27+ million members by understanding their needs, relaxing policies, adding flexibility, and including extensions – in short, giving members the reassurance they need during the global pandemic.

Retaining tier status

Emirates Skywards Silver, Gold and Platinum members with a tier review date prior to 1 March 2021 will retain their current status with just 80% of the usual travel requirements. This means Silver members now need to accumulate only 20,000 tier Miles, Gold members 40,000 and Platinum 120,000 to retain their status.

Extending tier status

Emirates Skywards Silver, Gold and Platinum members, who are unable to retain their existing tier during status reviews that fall between March and September 2020, will have their status automatically extended until 31 December 2020.

Extending Miles validity

Members who have Skywards Miles expiring soon needn’t worry – the loyalty programme has extended their validity until 31 December 2020. Skywards Miles can be redeemed up to 11 months in advance across an extensive range of rewards, including flight tickets on Emirates and partner airlines, flight upgrades, hotel stays, and money-can’t-buy experiences. As an example, in April members can use their Skywards Miles to book an Emirates flight ticket for travel in March 2021.

Dr. Nejib Ben Khedher, Divisional Senior Vice President Emirates Skywards said: “Emirates Skywards is closely monitoring the situation unfolding worldwide – and we’re with our members every step of the way. We understand our members may be anxious about retaining their status or about the validity of their Miles, and we have relaxed our policies to reassure them during this global crisis – they now have one less thing to worry about. The changes and details of these relaxed policies may not immediately reflect in our members’ ‘My Account’ section of emirates.com, and we ask for their understanding and patience during these unprecedented times for all airlines. Meanwhile, we urge everyone in affected cities to stay home and stay safe.”

While staying in and working from home, members can still earn Skywards Miles on their everyday online purchases by using their Emirates Skywards co-branded credit cards to bank their Miles for future flight rewards. More information is available on the Skywards section of the Emirates App and www.emirates.com/skywards.

The Emirates Skywards team is working 24x7 behind the scenes to support its 27 million members with their queries and concerns, and also on a range of attractive new offers and products that members will benefit from once Emirates’ services are back on track.

Emirates Skywards, the award-winning loyalty programme of Emirates and flydubai, has more than 27 million members. The programme offers four tiers of membership: Blue, Silver, Gold and Platinum, with each tier earning exclusive privileges. Emirates Skywards members earn Skywards Miles with partners ranging from airlines, hotels and car rentals to financial, leisure and lifestyle brands. Skywards Miles can be redeemed for an extensive range of rewards, including flight tickets on partner airlines, flight upgrades, hotel stays, tickets, hospitality at sporting and cultural events, tours and money-can’t-buy experiences. Visit www.emirates.com/skywards

Facebook launches new messaging chat app for couples

Facebook launches new messaging chat app for couples

Facebook launches new messaging chat app for couples

(Reuters) Facebook on Tuesday launched a new messaging app for couples called “Tuned” that allows them to chat, share photos and music as well as have a timeline of shared memories.

The app is currently available only on Apple’s App Store in the United States and Canada, according to data from industry site Sensor Tower.

The Information, which first reported the news, said the product was made by a small team inside Facebook called the New Product Experimentation (NPE) team, which is tasked with building new social media products from scratch.

NPE describes the app as “a private space where you and your significant other can just be yourselves”.

Tuned is currently ranked No. 872 in the United States and No. 550 in Canada in the social networking category, Sensor Tower said.

Jazz Pledges PKR 1.2 Billion Support Towards Covid19 Relief Efforts

Jazz Pledges PKR 1.2 Billion Support Towards Covid19 Relief Efforts

Jazz Pledges PKR 1.2 Billion Support Towards Covid19 Relief Efforts

Pakistan’s largest digital service provider, Jazz, a VEON group company, has pledged PKR 1.2 billion support towards Covid19 relief. The support will include short to mid-term initiatives aimed to limit the negative impact of the pandemic, primarily for the most vulnerable communities.

As part of this immediate rollout, Jazz will provide support to leading welfare organizations across Pakistan. The initiatives include Covid19 tests, life-saving ventilators, and food rations to be passed on to the ones most affected by the calamity. The relief response also facilitates Jazz customers to direct their charitable donations via SMS and JazzCash. Jazz employees will also be voluntarily contributing up to 3-days salary to the nationwide relief effort.

A significant part of the announced support will be for continuing zero-rated and subsidized services for access to emergency care, medical helplines, and critical health applications, which have been either marked-down or made free for customers under this coronavirus relief effort. Added support will come in through subsidized voice and data bundles and mobile payments. The company has also accelerated the sign-up process for JazzCash mobile wallets so that relief can be provided urgently by donors directly to local community members most impacted by this pandemic.

Aamir Ibrahim, the Jazz CEO, said, “We have been at the forefront of solving every crisis in Pakistan for the past 25 years. The Covid19 is no exception in stepping up our national responsibility. As a digital company, we have a huge role to play in keeping the economy advancing through online connectivity. This global crisis is unprecedented in its scale, and our prayers are with those who are suffering.”

Mobile communications, access to high-speed internet, and mobile payments are declared essential services during any crisis. Jazz commits to serving its 61 million customers and anyone in need, nationwide. Aamir added, “It has been our experience that reliance on scientific data, developing a robust, on-ground response, and an active collaboration will lead us out of this crisis. I’m glad that in this time of uncertainty, we are working together with the government, the armed forces, federal and provincial authorities, as they tirelessly contain the spread of Covid19.”

Even before Covid19 was declared a pandemic, Jazz began establishing nationwide awareness campaigns that allowed the country to focus on preventive measures from the coronavirus. Amidst the lockdown, the continuity of services remains a priority for Jazz to ensure that Pakistan can stay connected to both work and family.

Keeping WhatsApp Personal and Private

Keeping WhatsApp Personal and Private

Keeping WhatsApp Personal and Private

Karachi, April 07, 2020: With billions of people unable to see their friends and family in person due to COVID-19, people are relying on WhatsApp more than ever to communicate. People are talking to doctors, teachers, and isolated loved ones via WhatsApp during this crisis. That’s why all your messages and calls on WhatsApp are end-to-end encrypted by default to give you a secure place for your most personal conversations. 

Last year we introduced users to the concept of messages that have been forwarded many times. These messages are labeled with double arrows to indicate they did not originate from a close contact. In effect, these messages are less personal compared to typical messages sent on WhatsApp. We are now introducing a limit so that these messages can only be forwarded to one chat at a time.

As a private messaging service, we’ve taken several steps over the years to help keep conversations intimate. For example, we previously set limits on forwarded messages to constrain virality, which led to a 25% decrease in message forwards globally at the time. 

Is all forwarding bad? Certainly not. We know many users forward helpful information, as well as funny videos, memes, and reflections or prayers they find meaningful. In recent weeks, people have also used WhatsApp to organize public moments of support for frontline health workers. However, we’ve seen a significant increase in the amount of forwarding which users have told us can feel overwhelming and can contribute to the spread of misinformation. We believe it’s important to slow the spread of these messages down to keep WhatsApp a place for personal conversation.

In addition to this change, we are working directly with NGOs and governments, including the World Health Organization and over 20 national health ministries, to help connect people with accurate information. Together these trusted authorities have sent hundreds of millions of messages directly to people requesting information and advice. You can learn more about these efforts, as well as how to submit potential myths, hoaxes and rumors to fact checking organizations, on ourCoronavirus Information Hub.

We believe that now more than ever people need to be able to connect privately. Our teams are hard at work to keep WhatsApp running reliably during this unprecedented global crisis. We’ll continue to listen to your feedback and improve ways for people to share with each other on WhatsApp.

👍  #Urduquotes #Islamicquotes #Quoteoftheday  -Khwahish say nahi girtay phal jholi main..

👍 #Urduquotes #Islamicquotes #Quoteoftheday -Khwahish say nahi girtay phal jholi main..

👍  #Urduquotes #Islamicquotes #Quoteoftheday  -Khwahish say nahi girtay phal jholi main..

#quoteoftheday #quotes #urduquote #urdushayari #urduquotes
#quoteoftheday #quotes #urduquote #urdushayari #urduquotes

👍  #Urduquotes #Islamicquotes #Quoteoftheday  -Jab bhi moqa milay aur apni ghalti ....

👍 #Urduquotes #Islamicquotes #Quoteoftheday -Jab bhi moqa milay aur apni ghalti ....

👍  #Urduquotes #Islamicquotes #Quoteoftheday  -Jab bhi moqa milay aur apni ghalti ....

#quoteoftheday #quotes #urduquote #urdushayari #urduquotes
#quoteoftheday #quotes #urduquote #urdushayari #urduquotes

April 7, 2020

TECNO Camon 15 made history with a New Guinness World Record

TECNO Camon 15 made history with a New Guinness World Record

TECNO Camon 15 made history with a New Guinness World Record

TECNO, a top-tier smartphone brand has successfully added another feather in its cap while making history with a New Guinness World Record. In a recent mobile launch event in Nigeria, themed ‘Magic of the Unseen’ TECNO caught everyone by surprise, with the largest flipbook (2.2 ✕ 2.2 wide printed picture) captured by the lens of TECNO Camon 15.

The largest flipbook displayed at the launch event is a compilation of the largest set of super clear images ever assembled, at almost 5 square meters. This flipbook is one of a kind, with 64 pages in total, and every single page size is 4.676 square meters (2.17*2.15meter), this makes a giant picture of 299.26 square meters in total. Isn't it amazing?

TECNO’s flagship phone, Camon 15 with TAIVOS technology is pushing the boundaries of mobile photography. Its ultra-clear 48 MP Quad camera produces a brilliant high definition picture, even on zooming it to 8 x, every detail is perfectly captured and vividly displayed.

On this milestone achievement, General Manager of the brand, Mr. Creek Ma expressed his feelings, “This is just a beginning of setting a new record. TECNO with the history of delivering unprecedented technology to its global users is striving hard to consolidate its position. TECNO has a promising future with a pledge to break more records in days to come.”

TECNO is always committed to bring cutting edge technology and the latest innovation to its valuable customers. TECNO's first online product launch is another breakthrough addition to its most popular Camon series. With the launch of Camon 15 TECNO is all set to take the chunk of Pakistani mobile market as well.

April 6, 2020

👍  Best Urdu Quote - Kisi ke bura keh dene say na hum... - #Urduquotes #Islamicquotes #Quoteoftheday

👍 Best Urdu Quote - Kisi ke bura keh dene say na hum... - #Urduquotes #Islamicquotes #Quoteoftheday

👍  Best Urdu Quote - Kisi ke bura keh dene say na hum... - #Urduquotes #Islamicquotes #Quoteoftheday  

#quoteoftheday #quotes #urduquote #urdushayari #urduquotes
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Mangu from 'The Donkey King' rallies for the fight against coronavirus with the anthem "Darna Nahi Larna Hai"

Mangu from 'The Donkey King' rallies for the fight against coronavirus with the anthem "Darna Nahi Larna Hai"

Mangu from 'The Donkey King' rallies for the fight against coronavirus with the anthem "Darna Nahi Larna Hai"

[Karachi: April 06, 2020] After making a huge hit in cinemas in Pakistan and abroad, everyone's beloved Mangu from the animated comedy film- The Donkey King is here with a public service anthem to give an important message to the masses during these difficult times.

The makers of the movie have released a public service anthem requesting everyone to practice social distancing to play their part in the fight against the disease. The inspirational anthem 'Darna Nahin Larna Ha'i has been composed by Shuja Haider, with Asrar's vocals, and the writer-director of the blockbuster animated film Aziz Jindani has written the lyrics. 

Amidst the coronavirus outbreak, which has infected people across the world and in turn has led to locking down of various cities, causing families to self-isolate in their homes, everyone is trying to do their bit by urging people to practice social distancing.

In the video for the anthem, Mangu urges everyone to keep an appropriate distance from others but keep our hearts connected. The video also sees cameos from other characters of the movie as they ask us to avoid going out of the house unnecessarily. The video ends with the message, “Stay home, stay safe.”

The Donkey King is an animated comedy film that was released in Pakistan in October 2018 and has been produced by Geo Films and Talisman Studios. The film features the voices of Jan Rambo, Ismail Tara, Hina Dilpazeer, Ghulam Mohiuddin, and Jawed Sheikh. The movie has been released in cinemas around the world and has also been dubbed in many languages, including Turkish, Ukrainian, Russian, Korean, Spanish, Basque, and Catalan.

Emergency cash disbursement to start from Wednesday, says PM’s aide Dr Sania

Emergency cash disbursement to start from Wednesday, says PM’s aide Dr Sania

Emergency cash disbursement to start from Wednesday, says PM’s aide Dr Sania

ISLAMABAD (APP): Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar on Sunday said that the payment process under Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme will start from Wednesday to support the vulnerable segments of society affected by the lockdown.

Addressing a press conference in the federal capital, Dr Sania said that the programme was launched to support the daily wagers and piece-rate workers after lockdown in the country due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

The programme will benefit the deserving people from all the four provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit Baltistan, through allocating quota as per census. Punjab will contribute Rs700,000 and Sindh Rs250,000 from their own budget in this programme, she added.

The PM’s aide said that under an aggressive communication campaign launched recently to benefit four million people, the deserving ones can send SMS to 8171 to check their eligibility status and will be informed on how to collect money, if they are found eligible.

“If they are not identified in the database, they will be directed to contact their respective district administration,” she added.

She further said that there will be three types of responses to people’s SMS seeking cash assistance, which include “eligible”, “ineligible”, and “contact to your respective district administration”.

She said that employees of provincial and federal governments were not eligible for the assistance. “Presently we have database of employees of provincial and federal governments, Railways, Pakistan Post, and Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), while data of autonomous bodies will hopefully be available in next 24 hours,” she added.

She said that an SMS response would have to go through the wealth profiling test before becoming eligible for the assistance.

She also said that existing Kafalat beneficiaries, who were getting regular cash transfer of Rs2,000 per month, would be given additional one thousand rupees; hence, they too would get a tranche of Rs12,000 covering four months.  She added that under this category 4.5 million people would be benefited.

Dr Sania said that higher eligibility or poverty threshold would be used to identify four million beneficiaries through the national socioeconomic databases, while another 3.5 million people would come from districts.

Regarding mode of payments, she said that deserving families would get cash assistance of Rs12,000 after biometric verification through over 18,065 sale points or retail shops of Habib Bank Limited (HBL) and Bank Alfalah across Pakistan.

She also said that the provincial governments would be requested to provide open public spaces for setting up cash disbursement arrangements, security for these spaces, permission to keep retail POS agents open, management of crowds at cash disbursement points and ensuring preventive measures like facility of hand washing, etc.

The assistance under Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme would be provided on name of male member of the family, she added

Dr Sania expressed her gratitude to the department’s, including National Database Registration Authority (NDMA), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and others for providing their support to make this initiative a success.

She said that the beneficiaries of this programme will be finalised through proper scrutinising mechanisms such as data analytics, wealth profiling, average monthly bills, travelling history, etc.

She also said that the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme will help 12 million families by providing them financial assistance of Rs12,000 per family and the total budget approved for this initiative is Rs144 billion. The budget could be increased in the coming days depending on the rise in demand, she added.

She further said that this programme is one of the largest social safety net initiatives in the history of the country for disbursement of cash assistance among the needy at this critical time when social distancing measures are unavoidable.

India's 'Statue of Unity' on OLX for coronavirus donations

India's 'Statue of Unity' on OLX for coronavirus donations

India's 'Statue of Unity' on OLX for coronavirus donations 

Indian police registered an FIR on Sunday against an unknown person for putting up an ad on OLX, intending to sell the 'Statue of Unity' to raise money for hospitals and medical equipment. 

According to details, the world’s largest statue, which is located in Kevadia Colony of Gujarat, was put up for sale in an OLX ad by an unknown individual for Rs30,000 crores. 

“Emergency! Selling Statue of Unity because of urgent money required for the hospitals and healthcare equipment,” read the ad.

The Statue of Unity authorities sprang into action after a local newspaper ran a report about the ad, filing a complaint against the unknown individual.

“An unknown person, with a malafide intention to defame the government had put up the Statue of Unity for sale on OLX, despite not being authorized to do so,” a release signed by Nilesh Dubey, Assistant Commissioner, Statue of Unity stated.

The release criticised OLX for not verifying the ad and approving the post. Indian police responded to the release and registered an FIR under IPC section 505 (publishes, circulates any rumours), 417 (Punishment for cheating), 469 (forgery) and under relevant sections of the Information and Technology Act.

Police said they were trying to locate the source of the listing on OLX to determine who was behind the ad and bring him/her to book. 

The Statue of Unity, ever since it was inaugurated in October 2018, has been a major tourist attraction in the Indian state. It was closed for tourists and the general public on March 17 as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of the coronavirus. WebDesk

April 5, 2020

Sugar Crisis Report Goes Public - PTI govt goes public with probe report on sugar crisis - Exp Tribune

Sugar Crisis Report Goes Public - PTI govt goes public with probe report on sugar crisis - Exp Tribune

PTI govt goes public with probe report on sugar crisis

ISLAMABAD: The report of the inquiry committee tasked with probing into the sugar crisis in the country was made public on Saturday.

The prime minister had constituted two high-powered committees headed by the director general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and comprising a senior officer of the Intelligence Bureau and the director general of the Anti-Corruption Establishment of Punjab to investigate the causes behind the crises and price hike of those commodities.

After the formation of the committees, the prime minister had repeatedly resolved to expose and penalise those found responsible for the sugar and wheat crises to avoid the recurrence of such acts.

In its 32-page report, the committee on sugar price hike termed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government’s decision to allow export of sugar unjustified as it caused a 30% increase in its price.

“The exporters of sugar gained benefit in two ways: first they were able to gain subsidy and secondly, they made profit from the increasing sugar prices in the local market,” according to the inquiry committee, led by the director general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA)

The committee report revealed that PTI’s former secretary general Jahangir Khan Tareen and Federal Minister for National Food Security Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar were among the main beneficiaries.

Both stalwarts of the PTI went away with Rs1.03 billion subsidy on the export of sugar, paid out from the taxpayers money, which was equal to 41% of the total subsidy the government of Punjab paid to sugar barons, according to the report.

“Sugar mill owners who availed maximum subsidy had political clout and influence in decision making and they tried to gain maximum benefit in a very limited time,” revealed the report.

On the recommendations of the Inquiry Committee, an inquiry commission has been established by Prime Minister Imran Khan under the Commission of Inquiry Act of 2017, showing his determination to fix the culprits.

The commission has already started its work and nine teams are doing forensic audit, including the sugar mills owned by Tareen. The commission will complete its work in 40 days.

The PTI government’s decision to allow export of sugar led to increase in the retail price, according to the committee’s main findings. The federal and the provincial governments ignored the warnings of low sugar stocks and increase in prices, it added.

Before the decision to allow export of 1 million metric tons of sugar the per kilo sugar price was Rs55 in December 2018 that jumped to Rs71.44 per kg in June 2019 – an increase of Rs16.47 per kg or 30%, according to the findings.

The report said that despite the clear calculations of the stock position after deducting the strategic reserves, Sugar Advisory Board in its meeting of June 2019 did not ban the export of sugar.

There were signs of “cartelization and manipulation” by sugar mills and the ex-mill sugar price determination formula was also “unfair”, according to the findings. For concrete evidence, the inquiry committee recommended forensic audit of the mills, which has already begun.

“To establish the manipulation and cartelization of sugar mills concrete evidence is required” but “very few control” the industry”. Six groups control about 51% of the production of sugar in Pakistan, according the inquiry committee.

JDW Group (Jahanghir Khan Tareen), control 19.97% production RYK Group (Khusro Bakhtiar) group control 12.24%, Al-Moiz Group control 6.8%,

Tandlianwala Group 4.9%, Omni Group 1.7% and the Sharif family owns 4.5% of the production, revealed the report.

The inquiry noted that many policies are conveyed to the sugar mills from the platform of the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association.

The strike call that the sugar mills gave to bring sugarcane prices down was observed by the mills owned by Jahangir Khan Tareen, Sharif family and Khusro Bakhtiar sugar mills along with others, according to the report.

The increase in the sales tax rate from 8% for filers and 11% for non-filers to 17% did not contribute much to the ex-mill price increase, which was largely made before the budget, according to the inquiry committee.

To the shock of the inquiry committee, neither the provincial nor the federal government had any clue how the ex-factory prices of the sugar is calculated. It added that the ex-mill pricing formula was faulty and “unfair”.

The assumptions to set the ex-mill price were also wrong. The federal government has allowed to build the GST into the ex-mill price which is not right, it said.

“The calculation of the ex-mill price provided by the PSMA cannot be relied upon unless a full audit of all determinants of ex-mill price are calculated in a financial audit,” stated the inquiry committee.

In February this year, Prime Minister Imran had setup the inquiry committee to probe into the sugar crisis after the commodity price increased suddenly and significantly despite availability of the surplus stocks.

The director general of the FIA was the convener of the committee, who was assisted by senior representatives of the Intelligence Bureau and the Punjab anti-corruption department. The committee was given a broader mandate to review the pricing structure, possibility of cartelisation, impact of tax increase, justification of export of sugar and the role of various government agencies in preventing the crisis.

The Punjab government also gave Rs3 billion subsidy on export of sugar at Rs5.35 per kg to the millers, according to the inquiry report. The sugar mills owned by Jahanghir Tareen availed Rs561 million subsidy, which was equal to 22% of the total subsidy.

The sugar mills owned by Food Minister Makhdom Khusro Bakhtyar availed Rs452.3 million subsidy, which was 18.3% of the subsidy.

“The Punjab government was providing the subsidy for export of sugar at a time when the price of sugar was increasing in the domestic market,” observed the inquiry.

“The committee is of the considered opinion based on documentary evidence that the export of sugar was not justified as the sugarcane production was expected to be low in the upcoming harvesting season.”

The inquiry committee observed that despite 2.7% reduction in the cultivation area this year the sugarcane production increased 1% till 25th of February.

The crushing season continued in March as well.

The committee underlined that the sugar millers purchased off the books sugarcane and its production was also kept off the books to evade the general sales tax.

The committee observed that it was the responsibility of the cane commissioner to record full sugarcane production while the FBR was responsible for recording the sugar production.

“The quantity of sugar produced seems to be sufficient for annual national consumption” found the inquiry committee. It added the retail price increase from Rs55 in December 2018 to Rs74.64 per kg in January 2020 and major increase was enforced much before the start of the new crushing season.
The committee also found that the Rs190 per 40 kg sugarcane support price was sufficient but the price increase was delayed, depriving the farmers from making an informed decision.

The committee found that the sugarcane was purchased at about 15% higher than the support price but it observed that the mill owners were also “larger growers” of sugarcane, which could “potentially be a reason for higher than the support price buying of sugarcane”.

The inquiry committee has recommended proper forensic audit to examine the possibility of a grower-cum-miller buying the commodity at higher price.

The inquiry rejected the Pakistan Sugar Mills Association claim that it closed mills operations for few weeks due to the less availability of the sugarcane. It observed that the mills were closed to bring the prices of the key input down.

The provincial governments have not maintained any record of stocking the sugar despite it is required under the law, according to the inquiry.

The committee has also warned about further increase in sugar prices before Ramazan, recommending immediate crackdown against the major players to keep prices in check.

The committee’s findings may cause serious dent to the reputation of the PTI, if people named in the inquiry report are not taken to the task.

Source: Exp Tribune
PM Khan, DG FIA Wajid Zia being threatened by sugar mafia - The News

PM Khan, DG FIA Wajid Zia being threatened by sugar mafia - The News

PM Khan, DG FIA Wajid Zia being threatened by sugar mafia

ISLAMABAD: The sugar mafia has threatened Prime Minister Imran Khan as well as DG FIA and Chairman of the Inquiry Commission Wajid Zia to immediately stop the probe into the sugar scam otherwise the country will see a severe shortage of the commodity and its price may hit Rs 110 a kilogram.

In a rare but bold move, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday made the report on wheat and sugar scandals public and there are strong indications that some major administrative actions may follow in the coming days. Informed sources said that not only heads will roll from within the bureaucracy but Prime Minister Imran Khan is also considering removing some of his key ministers from the cabinet besides expelling Jehangir Tareen from the PTI.

The role of a PM's adviser as head of the Sugar Advisory Board also came into question, whereas a top PTI leader is not only in the focus for being one of the leading sugar tycoons but was also head of the Task Force on Agriculture. The sources said that the prime minister was threatened that if the Sugar Commission continues its probe for criminal action against those involved, the country will face one of the worst sugar crisis. It is said that DG FIA Wajid Zia, who is heading the Commission, was also asked to stop the probe otherwise the sugar price will go up to Rs110. The DG FIA informed the PM’s Office about the threats he received.

The Sugar Inquiry Committee, led by Wajid Zia, had submitted to the prime minister its findings. On its recommendations, the committee was converted into the Sugar Inquiry Commission, which was assigned by the government to probe deeper into the operations of the sugar industry and unearth the mafia. The Commission, which has to give its report to the prime minister on April 25, is at present checking the ledgers, bank reports, export details, markets sales etc of the sugar mills. The Commission’s ongoing probe, it is said, is badly hurting the sugar mafia, which is now pulling all strings to stop it. The sources said that the Commission has already traced a number of fraudulent acts. For example, in some cases the brokers who were sold sugar by the sugar mills turned out to be truck drivers. The Commission report will enable the government to initiate criminal actions against those involved.

The findings of Inquiry Commission on the sugar crisis and price hike in Pakistan has put the blame on the decision of allowing sugar export in 2018 and the deal was further sweetened when subsequently the Punjab government provided a Rs 3 billion subsidy out of nowhere. According to the findings of the Commission when PTI government came into power in 2018 there was a sugar surplus in the country. Therefore, Sugar Advisory Board (SAB) under Chairmanship of Advisor Commerce, Industries and Production recommended exporting one million tonnes of the commodity, which was approved by the ECC despite the fact that Secretary Food Security had expressed serious concerns fearing a lower sugar production next year. However, the sugar was allowed to be exported and later Punjab government also provided subsidy for the export.

According to the findings of the Inquiry Commission from January 2019 till May 2019, sugar was exported availing subsidy given by Punjab. It has been highlighted that during this period sugar prices in the local market increased from Rs55 per kg to Rs71 per kg. Therefore, the sugar exporters benefited in two ways. First by availing the subsidy of Rs3 billion and secondly taking full advantage of the price hike.

The Sugar Commission also highlights the major beneficiaries of export subsidy and price hike. The maximum benefit of export was drawn by JDW Group (Jahangir Khan Tareen) by availing 22% of total subsidy worth Rs561 million. The second highest beneficiary was RYK Group run by Makhdoom Omer Sheheryar Khan (brother of Khusro Bakhtiar) availing 18 percent of subsidy worth Rs452 million. This group's ownership also includes Ch Munir and Moonis Elahi. Third highest was Shamim Ahmed Khan (Al Moiz Group) availing 16 percent of subsidy worth Rs406 million. The Commission suspects overall collusion of Sugar Mills and wholesale sugar dealers behind this scam. Constituted by the federal government, the Commission can unearth evidence and trace parties involved. It also reported that a subsidy of Rs25 billion was given to sugar mills in the last five years, while Rs3 billion was given in the last year alone. According to consolidated data RYK group is the single largest beneficiary with total subsidy of Rs4 billion, JDW over Rs3 billion, Hunza Group at Rs2.8 billion, Fatima Group at Rs2.3 billion, Sharif Group at Rs1.4 billion and Omni at Rs901 million.

The Commission has indicated conducting forensic audit of sugar industry to trace all such practices, which could lead to penal and regulatory actions, besides recommending a review of the future agriculture strategy.

Source: The News

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