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UNís ME envoy Ďoutragedí by attack on world bodyís Gaza compound -
UNITED NATIONS, Jan 28 (APP): The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Process, Robert Serry, has expressed outrage by the assault on the UN premises in Gaza on Wednesday.


Pakistan figures above regional countries on economic freedom index -
WASHINGTON, Jan 28 (APP): Pakistan has greater economic freedom than other major regional economies, the latest worldwide Index of Economic Freedom determines while taking into account improvements the country has made over the last year.


UN agency halt programme for repairs to Gaza's destroyed homes due to funds' shortage -
UNITED NATIONS, Jan 28 (APP): The United Nations agency tasked with assisting Palestinian refugees across the Middle East announced Tuesday that a major funding shortfall has forced the suspension of its cash assistance programme that would have helped families in Gaza repair  their homes destroyed by last year's Israeli bombing raids and provide rental subsidies to people left homeless in the enclave.



Over 1.1 billion tourists travelled abroad in 2014 - UN -
UNITED NATIONS, Jan 28 (APP): The number of international tourists reached 1.13 billion in 2014, 51 million more than in 2013, on trend for  the fifth consecutive year of above average growth since the 2009 economic crisis, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) announced today.



Winter storm largely spares New York, pounds Boston area -
NEW YORK, Jan 27 (APP): The winter storm, predicted to be one of the worst ever to hit New York City, failed to deliver much of a blow, but slammed New England—the region consisting of the states of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island and Connecticut --  burying the stretch with as much as two feet of snow.


Sport News
Young Mahin creates history for Pakistan
ISLAMABAD, Jan 28 (APP): Pakistan’s under 14 player Mahin Aftab Qureshi created history on Tuesday when she annexed the girls singles title of 2nd leg ITF Asian 14 and Under Tennis Championships - Division II in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
 
Sarfraz hopes for Amirís return soon
ISLAMABAD, Jan 28 (APP): Former Test Cricketer Sarfraz Nawaz hopes pacer Muhammad Amir would return to international cricket soon saying  the people who try to lure cricketers on the wrong path should be stopped.
 
Kamran, Faisal hit tons as PIA wins in Presidentís Silver Cup
KARACHI, Jan 28 (APP): Kamran Sajid and Faisal Iqbal hammered centuries as PIA launched their campaign in President’s Silver Cup One-day Cricket Tournament on a winning note beating Quetta by 37 runs here at Aga Khan Gymkhana Ground on Wednesday.
 
Pakistan victorious in Squash Championship
ISLAMABAD, Jan 28 (APP): Defending Champion Pakistan won their matches on the first day of the 17th Asian Junior Squash Championship at Malaysia.
 
Army, PIA, NBP, SSGC reach in semifinals of COAS hockey championship
RAWALPINDI, Jan 28 (APP): Army (seniors), Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and Si Southern Gas Company (SSGC) on Wednesday reached into the semifinals of the First Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Challenge Hockey Cup at the Army Hockey Stadium here on Wednesday.
 
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Gilgit-Baltistan package in accordance with the wishes of people: President PDF Print E-mail
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ISLAMABAD, Sept. 8 (APP):President Asif Ali Zardari, Tuesday said that Gilgit- Baltistan package is in accordance with the wishes and expectations of the people of the area who were denied  their legitimate rights for long.In an interview with APP at the Presidency, he said there could be different opinions about everything and the perception that the package was an attempt to de-link it from the Kashmir issue is uncalled for.  “By and large it has been taken well by the people”, he said.  He said the ground realities are different from the de-linking of the area from the Kashmir. “It was a long standing demand and the people there faced many problems.”

He said there were certain places in the country where there was no law of the land, for no reason.

“To acknowledge and give them their due status is a realization of what was enshrined in the Benazir Bhutto Shaheed doctrine for the people,” the President said.

He said Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was the first person to have visited the area and what we have done is to take forward his vision, President Zardari asserted.

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President Zardari to a question about the recently announced Gilgit - Baltistan package and the perception that it was being seen as an attempt to de-link it with the Kashmir issue, the President said there could be different opinions about every thing.

“But we are going by ground realities. It was a long standing demand and the people there faced many problems.”

However the President said “By and large it has been taken well by the people.”

Referring to Gilgit-Baltistan, he lamented that there were certain places in the country where there was no law of the land, for no reason.

“To acknowledge and give them their due status is a realization of what was enshrined in the Benazir Bhutto Shaheed’s political doctrine for the people,” the President said.

He said Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was the first person to have visited the area and what we have done is to take forward his vision.

When asked to comment on the Presidency’s role during transition from martial law to democracy, the President said there was a need to realize the difference in system created by the dictator who placed his own paraphernalia around him that resulted into creation of a weak governance system.

“They [dictators] don’t give strength to the prevailing system of democracy. They always break them,” he said.

The President said he realized the vacuum in the society in 1988 after a long dictatorship, that needed to be filled by a civilian government.  He said  dictatorship always had long lasting effects and it took more than double period of time to mitigate its negative effects.

The President said democracy is the call of the day and it makes space for itself.  He termed democracy as the strengthening of responsibility of state and society, which has become the “new voice of Pakistan.”

Zardari said realizing how difficult and dangerous it was, he and his government took responsibility of the daunting task of bringing political ownership to the situation whether it was insurgency, recession, political disharmony between provinces or different quests and we asked the world for a collective make-up of these distortions. 

On Taliban, he said it was the collective responsibility of the world to control them as “they were created collectively”.  “So their ownership and the cure should also be considered collective rather than singular,” he added.

President Zardari mentioned US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s statement acknowledging Pakistan’s role and the present government’s  contribution in this regard.

He described terrorism as a cancer that had taken roots in this region and hoped that the world would come to share this collective responsibility in eradicating the menace from the region.

About the recent military successes in parts of NWFP and FATA against the militants and terrorists and how the government has been able to curb this tendency, the President said the matter has been resolved as the people took collective responsibility and ownership to address it.

He said “bringing political ownership to the situation is one part of the solution. Democracy is one part of the solution, winning physically on the ground is another part of the solution.”

However, “the real victory lies in taking ownership of the issue and area by the people.”

“What I consider victory is the peoples ownership,” the President said and added that the people of Swat, Buner, Malakand, were now  taking ownership of their own space.

“At the end of the day it is the people who make the country.  They have realized that this cancer is poisonous and dangerous and can pollute their lives, that I think is a political achievement.”

The President however warned that “the militancy and militants are still on the ground and we need to take a united stand and not become complacent on anything.

“We should understand that this is a long term war and will go on but the first victory is the intellectual and moral victory.”

He pointed that the decision by the Pakistan Peoples Party and the ANP to take ownership and by all the political parties to give it ownership in the parliament, and than by the four provinces to come in aid of the Malakand agency, that is the victory.

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President Zardari to a question said Parliament was the major ingredient reflecting political wisdom of the people of Pakistan. He said it was collective wisdom of the people who elected their representatives and they chose their prime minister; who was first chosen by the Pakistan Peoples Party through a process and finally the parliament voted him in unanimously.

About the progress on the Charter of Democracy, the President said the biggest step forward was the Public Accounts Committee headed by opposition leader. It was set up in pursuance of the Charter of Democracy (COD) and the chairmanship has been given to the Opposition.

About abolishing the 17th amendment President Zardari said he twice addressed the parliament and referred the matter to the parliament. He emphatically said, “we are coming close to that position. I think that it should complete during this parliamentary year.”

While responding to a question about the ongoing sugar, energy and atta crises, he said:”It is not in my purview and it is not the President’s job to interfere in the affairs of the government of the day. It’s the job of the Parliament and the provincial government and all this is a provincial subject. If there is a weakness in provincial set- up, I hope the federal government, provincial governments will look into it.”

Regarding the judiciary, he said after years of suppression and “maneuvering” by the dictators, “it has come to its own self and (as an institution) it is in the process of evolution and let’s hope that this evolution strengthens them.”

About his recent visits to China, the President said he was following the policies of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto that China was the next economic super power of the world and the present government has re-emphasised this policy and taken the relationship to higher level.

China is going to be the next regional economical power of the world and since “we have strong ties, we need to transfer these to a collective success, in marketing, regional growth etc”.

To a question the President regretted that he could not give enough time to the party, as much as he desired, but still was able to take measures for further strengthening of the party. He said soon after the Ramadan, a membership drive would be launched.

He said every minister and department was working better than it was before, since the new government came into power. “There is a fresh breath, new collective challenges, that need to be addressed, otherwise these would have an impact on the party.”

He said his first priority was to address the international challenges that Pakistan was facing. If these are corrected, the country’s financial health will improve and will have a trickle down effect across the board, particularly for the poor of the country - who form the Pakistan People’s Party. “I am working for the party, but through a different forum,” he added.

To a question about the economic situation, the President said the situation was under control and added “hope is in the air”

He said it was due to the “collective wisdom” of the government of the day that was guided by the policies of the PPP and other friends and people in the government, who are partners.

He said there was a realization and a forewarning that the global economy would be hit by recession soon. “We devised a homegrown formula that we got accepted from the IMF and there was also a realization to give space to stock exchange to enable it to perform, as we believe they are a natural barometer.”

He said the government gave good wheat prices to the farmers and with the grace of Almighty Allah the crops were good and brought a positive change in the rural areas by attacking rural poverty through a massive cash transfer.

He said for poverty alleviation the cards under the Benazir Bhutto Income Support  program have been launched. These would go a long way in emancipation of the women and under the policy a self employment scheme would be generated, besides giving stipends for children who then will get vocational training and be able to support their families.


 

 

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