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Showing posts with label APP. Show all posts
Showing posts with label APP. Show all posts

Monday, July 22, 2019

Pakistan’s exports to increase to $36 billion in 5 years: IMF

Pakistan’s exports to increase to $36 billion in 5 years: IMF

Pakistan’s exports to increase to $36 billion in 5 years: IMF

ISLAMABAD  (APP):  The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected that Pakistan’s exports will increase to US $ 36.7 billion in five years by the year 2023-24.

The pressure of current account deficit on the country will also ease out gradually from its peak US $ 19.9 billion in 2017-18 to as low as $6.95 billion in current fiscal year while US $ 5.49 billion in 2020-21, the IMF said in its recently published staff report on Pakistan.

The trade deficit would also decline to US $ 24.9 billion in current fiscal year from US $ 29.46 billion in 2018-19, however it will further go up to US $ 26.8 billion mainly on the back of growing import needs in coming years.

Meanwhile the report also estimated that due to policy measures committed by the Pakistan authorities, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is likely to collect around Rs 5.5 trillion during current fiscal year which would increase to Rs7.001 trillion in next year while in 2021-2022 the revenues would reach Rs8.3 trillion and Rs9.48 billion in the subsequent year.

The overall revenues of the country will surge to Rs7.165 trillion in 2019-20 followed by Rs8.9 trillion in 2020-21, Rs10.6 trillion in 2021-22, Rs12.12 trillion in 2022-23, and Rs13.37 billion in 2023-24.

With less than 1.5 million taxpayers filing tax returns and tax compliance generally very low, tax policy and tax administration measures will center on broadening the tax base while maintaining a low tax rate, aiming to ensure progress of the tax system, it added.

Staff and the authorities concurred that an additional 4-5 percentage points of GDP in additional tax revenues could be achieved by the end of the program, bringing Pakistan tax ratio in line with peer Emerging Markets.

In the near term, measures include removing exemptions and preferential treatment to reduce distortions in the tax system and broaden the tax base. These include the removal of GST exemptions and preferential rates, except for basic food and medicines, a measure that would significantly improve revenues, the report added. Greater inter-provincial harmonization and coordination of GST will also simplify filing procedures and increase compliance.

Canadians urged to invest in Pakistan

Pakistan High Commissioner to Canada Raza Bashir Tarar has said that Pakistan is a promising market of 220 million people and Canadian businessmen should take benefit of investment opportunities available in the country.

Addressing a launching ceremony of Canada-Pakistan Affiliated Chambers of Trade (CPACT) in Ottawa, he said that the incumbent government of Pakistan had reinvigorated the Board of Investment to develop a close coordination mechanism with the foreign missions abroad and local chambers and business houses to increase the flow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to Pakistan.

The high commissioner assured the Canadian Chambers and businesses of extending all possible support and assistance in bringing together business delegations and traders from the two countries to participate in joint ventures and benefit from existing profit-making opportunities, a press release on Sunday said.

The high commissioner said despite visa and adverse travel advisory related obstacles Pakistan-Canada bilateral trade has increased to C$ 1.5 billion.

He highlighted that Pakistan’s investment policy was one of the most liberal in the region and provided a conducive environment for attracting FDI.

“Canadians can benefit from investment opportunities in food processing, automobiles, Information Technology, Conservation of forests, recycling industry and services sectors which are priority areas for the government of Pakistan,” he added.

Referring to energy demands in the country, the high commissioner underlined that Canada’s expertise in hydel, renewable and clean technology power generation could be the areas where the two countries could further cooperate for mutual benefit.

Earlier, Abdul Hayee Bokhari, Founder CPACT gave a detailed presentation on roadmap of the chamber’s deliberations to bring together business community of both the countries to discuss possibilities of joint ventures.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Climate change adversely affects fresh water resources - via APP

Climate change adversely affects fresh water resources - via APP

Climate change adversely affects fresh water resources

Dr Saeed Ahmed Ali

LAHORE, Jul 16 (APP):The major sources of Pakistan’s fresh water and power generation, the mighty Indus River and other tributary rivers originated from Himalayas and Karakorum Mountain ranges are being adversely affected by rapid climate changes in the region.

Scientists and experts believe that climate change is taking place due to increasing emission of greenhouse gases, which is also one of the main reasons for global warming. It had also a direct impact on global atmospheric conditions. The changes also affect the physical conditions of heavenly glaciers, which exist on high mountains to formulate proper glacial eco-system. The other major areas which are being affected by climate changes included human health, water related infrastructure and hydropower generation.

Talking to APP, Member Punjab, Indus River System Authority (IRSA), Rao Irshad Khan said that due to increase in global warming, water vapours are generated in abundance which disturb the hydrogen-cycle of water system. The situation ultimately resulted into irregular rain patterns causing extreme weather condition and flooding in the country. He said that due to increase in temperatures, western winds and local monsoon patterns have become harmonically strong which has shifted the patterns of monsoon from Chenab River to some 100 miles away to the Indus basin region.

Rao Irshad said, “Our Northern Areas are home to 5,218 glaciers and 2,420 glacial lakes, out of which, more than 50 glaciers have potentially been categorised as dangerous”. He said that the glaciers are receding at an average 40 to 60 metres per 10 years, which has created complications for the communities residing at the up sea level, who are under the threat of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs). Recently, a week ago, the glacier `Azghor’ has outburst in Chitral district’s Golain region, following a huge flood inundated many villages, he added.

 International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Country Manager, Mahmood Akhtar Cheema said that temperatures in most of the mountainous areas surpass 40 degree Celsius in summer season, which is alarming. This phenomena is caused by greenhouse gases, which are multiplying in various parts of the country at a fast pace, he added.

Cheema said that the hydrologic-cycle is being disturbed by the rise in temperatures, which has had a substantial impact on the water resources availability, changes in water quality and change in the precipitation pattern. High temperatures are disturbing the summer-winter precipitation cycle, which has a direct impact on the forest and vegetation cover, which is associated with balancing of the water-cycle, he added.

The IUCN country manager said that according to a research report, an over-whelming majority, around 85 per cent of farmers, was facing fresh water impacts, caused by climatic conditions such as change in rainfall, monsoon onset and temperatures. He said this trend suggests rural areas in Pakistan have been particularly hard hit by the climate change.

Sources in the Ministry of Climate Change said that anthropogenic activity and a climate change pattern has influenced the country`s capacity for energy generation, which has led Pakistan from water-stressed to a water-scarce nation.

Keeping in view the developments in the water sector, around 142 MAF water was available in 2015-16 for agricultural use, which now has been reduced by climate change impacts, he added. He said that in spite of all the strenuous efforts, water availability is either stagnant or dwindling.

According to Global Change Impact Studies Centre (GCISC) research reports, fresh water resources are among the sectors that are most vulnerable and have potential to be strongly impacted by the changing climate issues.

The GCISC sources told APP that the incumbent government is facilitating collaboration of various local and international scientists and experts who are being engaged in research activities of water resources implications.

 Environment Protection Department Director Nasim-ur-Rehman said that the day by day increasing hot climate, changing patterns of snow melt, rise in sea level and precipitation is causing an existing social and economic pressure on natural resources. For example, poor communities residing along the delta and riversides are facing severe conditions to make their livelihoods, he added.

Nasim said that global warming and climate change issues were causing a fast glacial melting in Pakistan which could cause 60 per cent shortage of water — affecting both the energy and agriculture sectors of the country.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Govt allocates a record 20bn for Sports, Tourism for next fiscal year-2019-20

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Govt allocates a record 20bn for Sports, Tourism for next fiscal year-2019-20

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Govt allocates a record 20bn for Sports, Tourism for next fiscal year-2019-20

PESHAWAR: The government of KP has allocated a record of Rs. 20 billion for a total of 75 schemes of Ministry of Tourism, Sports, Archeology, Culture and Youth Affairs including 43 ongoing and 32 new schemes for the next fiscal year-2019-20.

Presenting budget-2019-20 in the Provincial Assembly, Finance Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra said the top priority of the govt is promotion of tourism sector and sports.

He said for tourism Rs 3.7 billion allocated for tourism promotion and destinations development through World Bank assisted under KITE program. He disclosed that Rs. 1 billion has been earmarked for tourism roads in the Malakand and Hazara divisions and for promotion of unexplored tourist spots and Rs. 150m for access to Sheikh Badin tourist site in Dera Ismail Khan.

He said that Rs.300m for various tourism activities across the province, construction of recreational park at Hund Swabi, Rs 500m for Development of 1000 playing facilities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Rs 350m for establishment and up-gradation of 7 sports complexes in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Rs. 70m for promotion of hockey and squash throughout the province and establishment of the tourism police were the other projects enlisted in ADP. Provincial Finance Minister said that a total of Rs. 3806.000m has been allocated for 43 ongoing and Rs. 2090.240m for 32 new schemes.

There are 43 ongoing schemes for which Rs. 3806.000m has been allocated and 32 new schemes with an allocation of Rs. 2090.240m, thus the aggregated total reached to Rs. 5896.240m. In the 43 ongoing schemes Rs. 3806.000m allocated wherein it has multi-purpose gigantic sports projects from Chitral to Dera Ismail Khan, tourism projects and projects for youth affairs.

He said, despite financial crunch facing by the government, it has introducing 32 new schemes with an allocation of Rs. 2090.240m. Besides this there is a separate allocation of Rs. 5.5bn for the merged tribal districts for the development of sports infrastructure and Rs. 5.5bn has been allocated for the construction of 1000 grounds at Tehsil and District levels.

Out of the total 5.5bn Rs. 2.2bn would be spend in the year-2019-20 in the first phase and similarly in the second phase Rs. 2.3bn would be spend in 2020-21. In the overall break, the department of archeology would get Rs. 433.052m for the total 15 schemes including 13 ongoing and two new schemes.

Rs. 418.052m has been allocated for 13 ongoing schemes and Rs. 1600 allocated for two new schemes.

The department of Culture would get Rs. 200m for five schemes including two ongoing schemes with an allocation of Rs. 145.000 million and Rs. 55.000m for three new schemes.

A record increase has also been made in the sports budget that touches Rs. 6 billion.

A total of 2157.937m allocated for 33 different schemes including 19 ongoing schemes with an allocation of Rs. 1740.697m, and Rs. 417.240m allocated for 14 new schemes.  For the next fiscal year a total of Rs. 2865.251m earmarked for a total 20 different ongoing and new schemes with Rs. 1302.251m for eight ongoing projects and Rs. 1563.000m for 12 new schemes. The youth affairs Directorate would get Rs. 240.000m for a total of two schemes – on is ongoing and the other is new.

Rs. 200.000m allocated for the ongoing projects and for one new scheme, Rs. 40.000 million allocated respectively.

The Shiekh Badin tourism site would cost Rs. 417m, formulation and implementation of Marketing mix strategy for tourist destination in KP Rs. 25m, establishment of Tourism Complex at Peshawar Rs. 80mn, Construction of Recreational Park at Hund Swabi Rs. 90m, holding of important tourism festivals in KP Rs. 100mn, small scale tourism promotion activities in KP Rs. 80m, development of entertainment areas and establishment of recreational facilities for promotion of tourism in KP Rs. 100mn, strengthening of planning cell of tourism and sports department Rs. 30m, establishment of Sports Complex in Karak Rs. 300mn, establishment of Academic Sports Degree Awarding Discipline at Islamia College Peshawar Rs. 10.000 million, Establishment of 2 Sports Stadium (1 for UCs and one for UCs in Peshawar Rs. 250mn, up-gradation of Peshawar Sports Complex, Qayyum Stadium Rs. 480mn, establishment of Sports Stadium near GT Road around UC Chamkani/Lala Kallay, Peshawar Rs. 132.760 million, establishment and Rehabilitation and up-gradation of Sports facilities in District Mardan Rs. 415mn, construction of multi-purpose International standard Indoor Gym in PK-21 District Buner Rs. 180mn and establishment of Hockey turf at Swat Rs. 80mn.

The govt has allocated Rs. 2.5 billion for roads development of tourism sites in Malakand, Rs. 2.4 billion for Hazara and establishment of Female Indoor Sports facilities at Divisional Headquarters in KP Rs. 600.000 million.

The motor-sports arena would be developed at cost of Rs. 96.000 million as the total project would cost Rs. 8.106.469 million on these ongoing project. The tourism has some key projects for the promotion of tourism sector as declared by the govt to be in its top most priority along with sports and youth affairs.

Main focus has been given for the approach roads to the tourism sites likewise a road approach to Shiekh Badin tourist site the govt has allocated Rs. 417.000 mn.‑APP

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Bilawal considers democracy a ‘licence to corruption’: Firdous

Bilawal considers democracy a ‘licence to corruption’: Firdous

Bilawal considers democracy a ‘licence to corruption’: Firdous

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan Monday said Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto considered democracy a ‘licence to corruption’.

Dr Firdous, in a tweet, said,”Mr Bilawal! your meaning of democracy is a licence to corruption. The nation has not forgotten your democracy of plundering the national wealth.”

She said in the guise of democracy, the two families had promoted an inherited political dictatorship. But now they were in trouble as Prime Minister Imran Khan had established a true government of the people in the country, she added.

She said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government had given additional Rs200 billion to Sindh during the current fiscal year as compared to previous year under the National Finance Commission Award.

Dr Firdous said the budget was only for the welfare of the people of Pakistan. During Imran’s government, neither the plunderers could now misappropriate the  budget nor they could laundered the looted public money abroad through Hundi, she added. APP

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Facebook Takes On The World Of Cryptocurrency With 'Libra' Coin - Backed by Mastercard, Visa, Stripe, Kiva, PayPal, Lyft, Uber and Women's World Banking

Facebook Takes On The World Of Cryptocurrency With 'Libra' Coin - Backed by Mastercard, Visa, Stripe, Kiva, PayPal, Lyft, Uber and Women's World Banking

Facebook Takes On The World Of Cryptocurrency With 'Libra' Coin - Backed by Mastercard, Visa, Stripe, Kiva, PayPal, Lyft, Uber and Women's World Banking

San Francisco, (APP - 19th Jun, 2019) Facebook unveiled plans Tuesday for a new global cryptocurrency called Libra, pledging to deliver a stable virtual money that lives on smartphones and could bring over a billion "unbanked" people into the financial system.

The Libra coin plan, backed by financial and nonprofit partners, represents an ambitious new initiative for the world's biggest social network with the potential to bring crypto-money out of the shadows and into the mainstream.

Facebook and some two dozen partners released a prototype of Libra as an open source code for developers interested in weaving it into apps, services or businesses ahead of a rollout as global digital money next year.

The nonprofit Libra Association based in Geneva will oversee the blockchain-based coin, maintaining a real-world asset reserve to keep its value stable.

The association's Dante Disparte said it could offer online commerce and financial services at minimal cost to more than a billion "unbanked" people -- adults without bank accounts or those who use services outside the banking system such as payday loans to make ends meet.

"We believe if you give people access to money and opportunity at the lowest cost, the way the internet itself did in the past with information, you can create a lot more stability than we have had up until now," Disparte, head of policy and communications, told AFP.

Facebook will be just one voice among many in the association, but is separately building a digital wallet called Calibra.

"We view this as a complement to Facebook's mission to connect people wherever they are; that includes allowing them to exchange value," Calibra vice president of operations Tomer Barel told AFP.

"Many people who use Facebook are in countries where there are barriers to banking or credit." But the move raised questions about how such a new money would be regulated, with one lawmaker calling for a pause on Libra.

"Given the company's troubled past, I am requesting that Facebook agree to a moratorium on any movement forward on developing a cryptocurrency until Congress and regulators have the opportunity to examine these issues," said Maxine Waters, chair of the financial services committee in the US House of Representatives.

Meanwhile French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said such digital money could never replace sovereign currencies.

"The aspect of sovereignty must stay in the hands of states and not private companies which respond to private interests," Le Maire told Europe 1 radio.

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said Facebook's new currency would have to withstand scrutiny of its operational resilience and not allow itself to be used for money laundering or terror financing.

ING economists Teunis Brosens and Carlo Cocuzzo said in a research note it was not clear what Libra was or how it might be overseen while US Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat and banking committee member, voiced concerns over Facebook's checkered record on protecting users' privacy.

- Backed by real cash - Libra Association debuted with 28 members including Mastercard, Visa, Stripe, Kiva, PayPal, Lyft, Uber and Women's World Banking.

Calibra is being built into Facebook's Messenger and WhatsApp with a goal of letting users send Libra as easily as they might fire off a text message.

Libra learned from the many other cryptocurrencies that have preceded it such as bitcoin and is designed to avoid the roller-coaster valuations that have attracted speculation and caused ruin.

Real-world currency will go into a reserve backing the digital money, the value of which will mirror stable currencies such as the US dollar and the euro, according to its creators.

"It is backed by a reserve of assets that ensures utility and low volatility," Barel said.

The Libra Association will be the only entity able to "mint or burn" the digital currency, maintaining supply in tune with demand and assets in reserve, according to Barel.

"It is not about trusting Facebook, it is effectively trust in the association's founding organizations that this is independent and democratic," Disparte said.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa set to become tourist hub of Pakistan: Chief Minister Mahmood Khan

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa set to become tourist hub of Pakistan: Chief Minister Mahmood Khan

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa set to become tourist hub of Pakistan: Chief Minister Mahmood Khan

PESHAWAR: Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan has stated that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is set to become the tourist hub of Pakistan adding that all out efforts are underway to maximize the benefits from the tourism sector this year.

While chairing the fourth meeting of the task force on tourism, the Chief Minister issued instructions to all concerned departments to take initiatives aimed not only at maximizing the inflow of tourists but also to ensure that they are properly facilitated at every level.

The meeting was also attended by Senior Minister Muhammad Atif Khan, Minister for Information Sahukat Ali Yousafzai, Minister Local Government Shahram Khan Tarakai, Minister C&W Akbar Ayub, Chief Secretary Muhammad Saleem Khan, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Shahab Ali Shah and other officials.

While addressing the meeting, the Chief Minister stated that the district administrations in collaboration with the local authorities & TMAs shall ensure proper waste disposal and cleanliness in the touristic valleys of Galyat, Naran, Kalam and Chitral so as to keep the local environment clean and green.

The Chief Minister also directed the Health department to ensure availability of doctors and medicine in all BHUs and RHCs along with provision of mobile health facilities in the touristic valleys of Abbottabad, Manshera, Swat and Chitral in the forthcoming summer.

The Chief Minister was informed that previously tourists were hesitant to visit Khyber Pakhtunkhwa due to lack of government arrangements and facilities. In comparison, last year witnessed huge influx of tourists who thronged the scenic valleys of the province owing to extended facilitation of visitors by concerned departments. This year, the tourism department intends to provide all out facilitation to attract maximum number of tourists in the forthcoming summer starting from Eid Ul Fitr.

The Chief Minister was further informed that in order to provide special security to the visiting tourists, the Police Department will deploy Tourist Police viz-a-viz ensuing proper Traffic Management Plan so as to avoid traffic congestions. The police will not only help in providing security but will also help in facilitating the incoming visitors.

The deployment of police is expected to initiate from Eid ul Fitr onwards which will help ensure safety of tourists and smooth flow of traffic in the scenic valleys of the province especially in Galyat, Naran, Kalam & Chitral Valleys.

The Chief Minister also directed to ensure availability of Rescue 1122 services so as to ensure timely rescue in case of emergencies. These measures will help in providing a sense of security to the visiting tourists.

In a separate meeting, the Chief Minister also chaired a meeting regarding the Pakistan National Games which are to be held in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by the end of the October this year. While briefing the Chief Minister, Chairman Pakistan National Games Arif Hussain stated that games in scenic areas of the province will also help in promotion of tourism.

According to details, teams from Afghanistan will also be invited to participate in the national games which will further strengthen the friendship narrative of Pakistan at international level.

These inter-provincial games will help in preparing players for the upcoming South Asian Federation Games to be held in December this year. 8000-10,000 players from all over the country are scheduled to take part in 22-28 different games which are expected to last for one week. APP

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Excessive use of smartphone putting kids’ health at risk

Excessive use of smartphone putting kids’ health at risk

Excessive use of smartphone putting kids’ health at risk

ISLAMABAD (APP): Excessive use of smartphone is horrible for children’s health and may cause cancer, tumors such as glioma and acoustic neuroma as brain tissue of children absorbed about two times more microwave radiations than that of adults and the bone marrow of children soak up 10 times more radiation.
Talking to the Media, Dr. Ikram ul Haq said low intelligence quotient and improper mental growth in children, sleep deprivation, brain tumors, and psychiatric diseases were caused by excessive use of phones.
He said excessive use of phones had an adverse effect on our body, especially on the growing skulls of children, toddlers, and teenagers and it could trigger the development of brain cancer in the future.
He said cell phones have non-ionising radiations. Many types of research proved that children and unborn babies do face a greater risk for bodily damage that resulted from microwave radiations given off by wireless devices.

The rate of microwave radiations absorption was higher in children than adults because their brain tissues were more absorbent, their skulls are thinner and their relative size was smaller, he added.

Talking about preventive measures, Dr. Ikram said although wireless devices were now part of our everyday life, they could be used in a manner that is safe enough.

He said the most important point was the distance, holding a cell phone a few inches away from our ear would reduce the risk by 1,000 times.

Dr. Ikram said just like Belgium, France, Germany and other technologically sophisticated governments, our government should also pass laws that ensure issuing of warnings about children’s use of wireless devices.
He said the best place to keep a cell phone was in a pouch, purse, bag or a backpack.

Moreover, these devices should be kept away from a pregnant woman’s abdomen. If a woman was a mother then she should not use a cell phone while breastfeeding or nursing. Children and teenagers needed to know how to use mobile phones and wireless devices safely. Cell phones should not be permitted in children’s bedrooms at all. Good health was above wealth, but a majority of people undermine their personal health and become more careless about their children’s mental and physical state.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Foreign tourists continue to throng #Kalash valley as #Chilimjusht festival kicks off

Foreign tourists continue to throng #Kalash valley as #Chilimjusht festival kicks off

Foreign tourists continue to throng #Kalash valley as #Chilimjusht festival kicks off

PESHAWAR: Tourists from Germany, France, Japan and elsewhere in the world continued to throng Kalash valley to enjoy the three-day Chilimjusht or Joshi festival celebrations.

On the directives of Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (TCKP) Managing Director Junaid Khan, in-charge of the Tourist Information Centre in Chitral, Zarin Khan, is briefing the foreign tourists upon their arrival in the town.

The tourists are provided brochures, pamphlets, maps and other informative materials and guidelines about the local culture and traditions and the scenic attractions in the three Kalash valleys - Bamburet, Birir and Rambur.

TCKP MD Junaid Khan has said that the Chilimjusht festival will be celebrated in a befitting manner to promote tourism and cultural activities in the province.

“Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is blessed with exotic valleys and unique rich culture and traditions.

The province is a peaceful destination for foreign and domestic tourists to come and enjoy the beauty of nature it has to offer,” the managing director said while presiding over a meeting.

Situated about 45 kilometers from Chitral town, the Kalasha people attract the world for their unique culture and religion.

The local people have launched the cleanliness drive, while the TCKP authorities have set up a tent village to facilitate the tourists in the scenic valleys.

Besides tent village, every possible support is being extended to the Kalash tribe so that the people could revive their traditions and customs and celebrate their religious rites.

Last year, the TCKP had established a tent village for the tourists.

The facility attracted a large number of visitors to the festival.

According to the data, the population of Kalash people stands at 4,100, but they are the major tourist attraction in the region despite their dwindling population.

Though the Kalash people observe various festivals, Chilimjusht is the most popular among all.

Thousands of tourists throng the valleys every year to enjoy the event.

Kalash people wear new dresses and prepare various dishes to welcome the spring.

According to organisers, Kalash men and women were seen shopping for the festival in the Chitral bazaar while in the valleys they were busy preparing traditional dresses for the festival.

The Kalash girls spent lavishly on purchase of clothes and ornaments for the event and the occasion is being used to show off their financial status.

They dance to the traditional music and drumbeats and thank god Goshidai as they believe it protects their herds during spring and summer seasons.

Young girls and boys sing and dance in groups in the community halls.

Houses are decorated and the Kalash people wear new clothes that are specifically prepared for the occasion.

Main feature of the festival is selection of life partner for unmarried boys and girls.

The event culminates with the loving couples tying the knot. (APP)

Monday, May 6, 2019

Migrants, asylum seekers detained in Hungary ‘deliberately deprived of food’: UN

Migrants, asylum seekers detained in Hungary ‘deliberately deprived of food’: UN

Migrants, asylum seekers detained in Hungary ‘deliberately deprived of food’: UN

UNITED NATIONS, May 6 (APP):The UN human rights office (OHCHR) has voiced alarm at reports that migrants and asylum seekers who are being held in Hungarian detention centres are being “deliberately deprived of food in contravention of international laws and standards”.

OHCHR Spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani told reporters in Geneva that under existing laws in Hungary, migrants and asylum seekers who are undocumented, are immediately detained in transit zones during the asylum procedure, or until they can be sent back to their country of origin.

“We are concerned by the absence in these transit zones of meaningful individualized procedures, which are required to ensure deprivation of liberty is an exceptional measure, and that all risks prohibiting a person’s return, are taken into account.”

She said once Hungarian authorities begin proceedings to expel “rejected” applicants, they stop being given food. “Pending the enforcement of the expulsion, adults – with the sole exception of pregnant or nursing women – are deliberately deprived of food, which can lead to malnutrition and is both detrimental to their health and inherently inhumane.”

Ms. Shamdasani said that since last August, at least 21 migrants awaiting deportation had reportedly been deprived of food in this way, “some for up to five days”.

“We note that the Hungarian authorities had promised to end this practice following an interim measure by the European Court of Human Rights. However, we regret that, in the absence of a clear change in the legal framework, reports suggest the practice is continuing”, she added.

She said that if migrants were arbitrarily detained in “inadequate conditions” or facing coercion, that would render any returns involuntary.

The OHCHR Spokesperson reminded all States, of their “obligation and heightened duty of care towards migrants who are deprived of their liberty, including through the provision of food.”

“We encourage Hungary to ensure it fulfills its human rights obligations towards those deprived of liberty, regardless of whether they are in transit zones or any other place where migrants are detained and cannot provide for themselves.”

Saturday, April 27, 2019

‘Case against cellular firm if terrorists use its network’

‘Case against cellular firm if terrorists use its network’

‘Case against cellular firm if terrorists use its network’

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday adjourned till the last week of June hearing of a case related suspension of mobile phone services in the country as it noted that a case might be registered against head of a cellular company if its network is used in a terror attack.

A two-member bench, comprising Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan, heard the case filed by cellular companies. During the proceedings, Justice Saeed remarked that the court does not wish that telecommunication services be suspended for petty reasons.

A telecommunication company’s counsel said the cellular services in Pakistan do witness routine suspensions on the pretext of security during events like political conventions or a foreign leader’s visit.

He said the suspension of cellular services ahead of big events is understandable, but adopting this measure over minor issues does not seem logical.

The additional attorney general said legal advice has already been given to the government. He sought a month’s time to submit the government’s reply about the developments.

Justice Saeed advised telecommunication providers to exercise patience over suspension of cellular services, adding that if some terrorist incident involving a cellphone networks takes place, a case under terrorism charges could be lodged against head of the company.

“Let the law be amended and then the court will take up the matter,” Justice Ahsan noted.  The court directed the government to submit a reply by the last week of June, detailing developments on the legislative front.

Bail of French citizen

The SC on Thursday also accepted bail of a Pakistani-born French citizen allegedly involved in kidnapping a lady doctor, Saba Ijaz, from Rawalpindi. A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Manzoor Ahmed Malik and comprising Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel and Justice Mansoor Ali Shah heard the case.

Justice Malik remarked that it was a strange incident that a well-educated girl was kidnapped from Rawalpindi and police failed to trace her despite passage of one and half years, while the nominated accused is behind the bars for the last eleven months. “Performance of the police is unsatisfactory.”

Rawalpindi City Police Officer Ahsan Abbas said the police were doing their best to trace the lady doctor. The counsel for the accused said his client was not involved in the kidnapping and requested the court to grant him bail. The court accepted the bail plea against Rs200,000 surety bond and remarked that the accused would not be allowed to travel abroad. APP

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Pakistan seeks #Facebook's cooperation to counter hate speech, boost e-commerce

Pakistan seeks #Facebook's cooperation to counter hate speech, boost e-commerce

Pakistan seeks #Facebook's cooperation to counter hate speech, boost e-commerce

Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry, in a meeting with Facebook's vice president of public policy, emphasises need for formal collaboration to explore avenues of cooperation. — APP

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry on Monday sought Facebook cooperation to counter hate speech and boost e-commerce in Pakistan.

Chaudhry, in a meeting with Facebook's vice president of public policy Simon Milner, emphasised the need for formal collaboration to explore avenues of cooperation with Facebook to promote commerce and business activities in Pakistan.

He said it was encouraging to find out that the two sides share common grounds to deal with hate speech and related content that leads to violence in the society.

“We believe in the freedom of expression and free speech,” the minister said.

“Our only concern is to defy hate speech and blasphemous content that incites violence,” he said, while explaining his government's approach on social media.

Milner underlined the need for coordination between the government and Facebook, to encourage expression and create a safe environment as Facebook is a global platform that gives the opportunity to connect and share to more than two billion people globally.

“We have clear rules against hate speech and content that has the potential to incite violence, and share the same commitment to remove such content in Pakistan, and globally,” Milner said.

Chaudhry proposed Facebook to have an official operational unit in Pakistan. “We will facilitate the office entity with the best available protocols,” he added.

Milner expressed Facebook’s commitment to helping its community, including small businesses and developers, in Pakistan connect, share and grow.

Earlier this year, Facebook committed to train 20,000 women entrepreneurs across 150 women empowerment centers in Pakistan, in collaboration with the Universal Service Fund Company, and its developer circles have a thriving community of 7,800 developer community members across Islamabad, Lahore, Sahiwal, Gujrat and Faisalabad, he informed.

Federal Minister for Information Technology Khalid Maqbool Siddique was also present at the meeting, which had secretaries information and broadcasting, and information technology, PTA chairman, PID Islamabad's principal information officer, a representative from the ISPR, and other senior officials. APP

Saturday, December 1, 2018

System (DIRBS) against counterfeit mobiles starts working today

System (DIRBS) against counterfeit mobiles starts working today

System (DIRBS) against counterfeit mobiles starts working today

ISLAMABAD   -   The implementation of Device Identification Registration & Blocking System (DIRBS), developed to curtail counterfeit mobile phone usage, would start from today.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has developed this System to discourage mobile phones theft and protect consumer interest and in line with telecom policy which has been issued by Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications.

As per details issued here, DIRBS is a forward working solution and is designed to cater for no service interruption for all Pakistani cellular mobile service users. 

All mobile devices including non-compliant that are active on cellular mobile networks within Pakistan till December 1, 2018 will remain operational and not be blocked, interrupted from mobile services.

In order to facilitate any user, currently using non-compliant mobile devices (15 digit International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) of mobile device is not as per international standards), Pakistan Telecommunication Authority shall auto-pair all such IMEIs with their mobile numbers and they will remain operational without any service interruption.

After DIRBS implementation on December 1, 2018 any new mobile device programmed with a non-standard IMEI number will be considered as non-compliant device and shall not be allowed any mobile connectivity/service in Pakistani territory as per PTA/DIRBS regulations.

PTA has already carried out an extensive awareness campaign to educate masses on DIRBS. PTA is sending informatory SMS to all mobile subscribers to notify status of their mobile device(s) in use on Pakistani cellular mobile networks.

For all Pakistani mobile device users wishing to know status of a device can send each 15 digit IMEI number via SMS to 8484. The status of mobile device can also be checked via PTA website link or by downloading DIRBS Android mobile application.

Some of methods for obtaining a mobile device IMEI include: Dial *#06# from dial pad of device and note down each 15-digit IMEI printed on device box.

IMEI is printed on inside of a device and can be viewed by removing the back cover/battery.

DIRBS system will send one of following four responses to IMEI query as explained below: 1) Compliant/PTA Approved Device: The mobile device is PTA approved and legally imported into Pakistan; 2) Device IMEI is valid: The IMEI of this mobile device is valid as it is GSMA approved, but it is not PTA approved.  To facilitate such users, PTA will auto register all such IMEIs which are observed on network till December 1, 2018. Their status will be converted to compliant. A user in possession of such devices are advised to insert their local SIM card and do a voice or data activity so such Valid IMEI are observed on Pakistani mobile networks and subsequently listed within DIRBS system so user may continue to avail uninterrupted mobile services on such devices.

3) Non-compliant Devices: This is not a PTA approved mobile device as IMEI on device is either non-standard, duplicated etc. To ensure users of all such devices do not face any connectivity/service issues PTA will auto pair all such IMEIs, which are observed on mobile network till December 1, 2018, with their mobile number so device shall remain operational till useful life of device.  A user in possession of such devices are advised to insert their local SIM card and do a voice or data activity so such non-compliant IMEI are observed on Pakistani mobile networks and subsequently listed within DIRBS system so user may continue to avail uninterrupted mobile services on such devices.

4) Blocked devices: The IMEI is reported as stolen and not allowed for usage/services. All mobile devices consumers are advised that from December 1, 2018 onwards they can check IMEI status of a device prior to buying/obtaining by sending each 15 digit IMEI via SMS to 8484, PTA website or via DIRBS Android app and buy Compliant/PTA Approved device. APP

Friday, November 30, 2018

BISP women to get Rs5000 per family from next quarter

BISP women to get Rs5000 per family from next quarter

BISP women to get Rs5000 per family from next quarter

MULTAN: Beneficiary women of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) would start getting increased amounts i.e Rs 5000 per family, from the first quarter of the year 2019, officials said.

Divisional director BISP Ashfaq Ahmad Haraj told media persons here Thursday that the required funds are expected to be released next week.

He said that BISP beneficiaries can get the amounts after getting their thumb impressions verified through Omni accounts.

He said that BISP transfers amounts directly to the beneficiaries’ respective accounts to maintain transparency.

Haraj advised women to contact BISP tehsil offices concerned to get details about amounts transferred and then proceed further to get cash and put their thumb impressions on register.

He said that beneficiaries can contact BISP divisional office Multan or helpline in case of any problem. APP

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

‘Specialised new tourist police force’ to be set up in Chitral, Hazara belt : Minister

‘Specialised new tourist police force’ to be set up in Chitral, Hazara belt : Minister

‘Specialised new tourist police force’ to be set up in Chitral, Hazara belt : Minister

ISLAMABAD, Nov 26 (APP):Minister for Tourism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Atif Khan on Monday announced to set up a ‘Specialised tourist police force’ in Chitral and Hazara Belt in the first phase to ensure protection and proper facilities to the foreign tourist.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Govt firmly committed to reduce cost of doing business, improve ease of doing business: PM

Govt firmly committed to reduce cost of doing business, improve ease of doing business: PM

Govt firmly committed to reduce cost of doing business, improve ease of doing business: PM

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said that the government was firmly committed to reduce cost of doing business and to improve country’s ranking in the ease of doing business by extending maximum facilitation and provision of all possible support to the business community.

The prime minister was chairing a meeting of the Council of Business Council here at Prime Minister’s Office.

The prime minister said that in order to strengthen local industry and reduce cost of production, gas prices had been reduced for export oriented industries so as to make Pakistani products internationally competitive. He said that the government was also considering reduction in various duties including custom duty, regulatory duties and others to further reduce business cost.

He said that the government was also working on developing a national tariff policy to address issues of the business community and to remove anomalies in the existing tariff structure.

On improving country’s ranking in ease of doing business in the country, the prime minister said that the government had set the target of bringing the country into the list of first 100 countries by extending maximum facilitation and simplification of the procedures.

The prime minister said that a special Complaint and Suggestion Cell was being established at Board of Investment to facilitate redressal of the complaints of the business community and welcome their suggestions with regards to business policies. He said that the Complaint and Suggestion Cell, which would be connected to Prime Minister’s Office would be functional in a week’s time.

The prime minister also appreciated the input of the business leaders belonging to various sectors of economy, who presented various proposals during the meeting for strengthening of economy and promoting critical sectors such as manufacturing sector, small and medium enterprises, agriculture and IT sector.

Those who attended the meeting included, among others, Muhammad Ali Tabba, Bashir Ali Muhammad, Shahid Sooty, Seema Aziz, Azam Farooque, Shahid Abdullah, Khawar Anwar Khawaja, Babar Badar, Saqib Shirazi, Samina Rizwan, Almas Haider, Abdul Rauf and Zarak Khan.

Minister for Finance Asad Umar, Advisor on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood and senior officers were also present during the meeting.

APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2018

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Ministry of IT promotes advanced services to grow ICT sector

Ministry of IT promotes advanced services to grow ICT sector

Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication is promoting advance ICT services in the country to make ICT sector grow and take it to rank 115 (2017-18) in international arena.

According to Global Information Technology Report (GITR 2017-18) Pakistan’s ICT ranked 115 in 2017-18 as compared to 122 in 2016-17, out of 137 countries, the strength of Pakistan in innovation ranked 60, business sophistication ranked 81 and availability of latest technologies ranked 70.

However Global Information Technology Report (GITR 2017-18) said that Pakistan lags behind the most of the dimensions of the survey even in the regional context. Pakistan is lowest ranked amongst South Asian countries.

However, the main barriers in growth are market inefficiencies, specially the number of procedures to start a business ranked 125, trade tariffs ranked 135 and secondary & tertiary education enrollment ranked 118 & 115 respectively.

Ministry official said, in telecommunication sector, cellular density increased from 70.85 percent to 72.14 percent. The 3G/4G broadband services further increased subscribers from 42.08 million to 49.46 million.

He said ministry was already working on infrastructure and National Incubation Centers (NICs) had already been established at Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar. Currently, 40 startups are housed in these facilities. NICs at Karachi and Quetta have been awarded and will start operating soon.

Under the aegis and funding by Ignite, 33 projects worth Rs 580 million with the potential to create marketable products and services had been approved for funding.

Besides, extensive consultation with stakeholders on Digital Pakistan Policy had been completed and the draft is in the process of approval by competent authorities, he added.

This Policy would lay foundations of constructing a holistic digital ecosystem. Consultation on formulating Cyber Governance Policy had also been started. In the PSDP 2017-18, Rs 3,500million was allocated for ICT sector. APP

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Social Activists’ Role Highlighted For Women Empowerment In Balochistan

Social Activists’ Role Highlighted For Women Empowerment In Balochistan

ISLAMABAD, May 16 (APP):Speakers at a seminar here Wednesday highlighted the role of social female activists for empowerment of women in Balochistan and bringing change in the rigid and insular approach of society, especially in rural areas of the province.

They paid tribute to two activists Asyah Nasir and Saleha Bibi for becoming a role model in villages by assisting the poor and deserving people to avail livelihood opportunities, get education and access health facilities.

The seminar was organized by Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) to share achievements made under the Programme for Poverty Reduction (PPR).

The programme financed by the Italian government through the Agency for Development Cooperation, is being executed in 14 districts of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, focusing on establishing basic health and education services, social mobilization, livelihood enhancement and protection, construction and improvement of small-scale community infrastructures.

Addressing the seminar, Secretary Education Balochistan Noor ul Haq Baloch said both Asyah Nasir and Saleha Bibi were a role model for social activists, who were working for empowerment of the under-privileged segments of society in Balochistan.

He underlined the need for community involvement in improving educational facilities in the province. The government was working to enhance the community role in the education sector by setting up Parents-Teachers Meeting Committees (PTMCs) in schools. “The community involvement is imperative for bringing a change in the society,” he added.

He said the government had planned to establish 500 community schools in phases to end illiteracy in the province.

Saleha Bibi, a resident of Lasbela district and Vice President of Local Support Organizaton, said all 55 households of her village were poor with a little access to education, health and other facilities. Women were particularly the most deprived in the rural areas, unaware of their basic rights and negligible role in decision-making, she added.

Saleha said she made untiring efforts to create awareness among the women of her area about their social rights.She got training under the social mobilization component of PPR, which helped her convincing the village women to make efforts for their own uplift and that of the people in their surroundings.

Asyha Nasir, another braved woman who migrated from Turbat to the port city of Gwadar, said she left her job with Pakistan Navy to teach the children of her area. She established a school in the open in her village with enrollment of 20 students, whose number had now grown to 115 students, she said, adding that the PPR had played an important role in that regard.

She said she also provided midwife services, besides taking part in other projects related to women development.

PPR’s Manager Sarfraz said the Italian government had provided Rs 5.5 billion to the PPR, which established 30 community health centers, 170 community schools and 1340 small infrastructure projects across in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Some 4,200 Community Organizations (CO), 644 Village Organizations (VO) and 42 Local Support Organizations, consisting of 20 to 25 members at community, village and union council levels respectively, were working under the Programme for poverty alleviation through creating sustainable conditions of social and economic development, he added.

The secretary education gave away souvenirs and cash prizes to Asyah Nasir and Saleha Bibi for their services towards women empowerment.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Broadband Subscribers Cross 50.51 Million Mark in Pakistan

Broadband Subscribers Cross 50.51 Million Mark in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Broadband subscribers base in the country have showed growth during first six months of the current year, crossing 50.51 million mark as compared to 44.59 million at the end of the last fiscal year.

According to the Economic Survey of pakistan 2017-18, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Investment, Miftah Ismail in a press conference here Thursday said that the number of net subscriber additions in the period stood at 6 million while by the end of February 2018, the total mobile broadband subscribers were 53.5 million.

He said the next generation mobile services were introduced in 2014 through spectrum auction for provision of 3g and 4g mobile services in the country.

The transparent spectrum auction generated US$ 1.2 billion for the national exchequer and opened new horizons of ICT development in the country, he added.

He further said the Auction received international acclaim and the Government of Pakistan (Ministry of IT & Telecom) won the "Spectrum for Mobile Broadband Award 2015" at GSMA's Mobile World Congress Event held in Barcelona, Spain in March 2015.

Miftah said that 3G and 4G LTE subscribers had reached at 48.19 million at the end of December, 2017 as compared to 42 million as of June 2017 which shows that on average, there have been more subscriptions to 3G&4G LTE networks per month.

He informed that more coverage and reduced tariffs have further increased the pace of 3G and 4G LTE subscriptions which stood at 51.2 million by the end of February 2018.

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