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Orange Line Train to ensure modern transport facilities: Siddiq-ul-Farooq

LAHORE, June 16 (APP): Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior leader and Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Chairman Siddiq-ul-Farooq Thursday said that Lahore Orange Line Train was a mega project which would provide modern transport facility to the citizens.

Talking to APP, he said the PML-N government had served people selflessly and this journey of public services would continue in future also.

“The projects of buses and trains are as important as schools and hospitals,” he said.

The train project was for common people and such projects were necessary to help people save their hard-earned money, he said. He said that there was a need to implement welfare projects for the common man in order to give them an economic boost.

Farooq said the PML-N government had adopted golden principle of hard work, honesty and dedication to move forward.

He said that such a prosperous Pakistan would be created in accordance with the vision of Quaid-e-Azam, where there was supremacy of law and justice and equal rights were available to all citizens without any discrimination.

He further said that this was a fact that the Prime Minister was the only political and popular leader who had a vision for development of the country.

The PML-N government was completing public welfare projects at a high pace and transparency and resources had been diverted to the less-developed areas, he added.

Business community hails Pakistan’s upgradation to emerging markets status

ISLAMABAD, Jun 16 (APP): The business community on Thursday hailed upgradation of Pakistan Stock Exchange to the emerging market index of the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) and termed it a highly positive development as it will encourage foreign investors to consider Pakistan as an attractive destination for foreign investment.

In a meeting held at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) here, the businessmen said, It will also create better opportunities for private sector to generate funds from capital market for expansion and growth.

Addressing the meeting, President, ICCI, Atif Ikram Sheikh said, Pakistan’s inclusion in the emerging market index was a healthy sign for the economy as it will give a sense of confidence to foreign investors, provide much needed impetus to the capital market and attract more foreign inflows to the country.

He said inclusion of Pakistan in emerging markets index reflected the fact that our country was achieving better growth in terms of liquidity and market size.

He said, MSCI Emerging Markets was the most widely-used index by investors in the developing countries and hoped that grant of emerging market status to Pakistan will lead to further strengthening of our capital market.

It will channel more savings to productive sectors of the economy through capital market as companies listed on stock exchange increase investment in machinery and plants.

This will generate employment and income for the common man and will lead to accelerated and sustainable economic development of the country.

Businessmen said, investor-protection was crucial for the better development of our capital market and they stressed that government should take tangible measures for investor-protection which would promote their confidence in capital markets.

They were of the view that a delicate balance between strong regulations that should not impede market growth and protection measures to promote fairness and transparency in the market by the regulators, market participants and capital market institutions were
the need of the hour to pave way for the growth and development of a vibrant capital market in the country.

Central contracts not to be given before England tour: Amjad Bhatti

ISLAMABAD, Jun 16 (APP): Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Thursday discarded all speculations about the national players to be given new central contracts before the upcoming tour of England.

According to reports, the PCB had decided to renew the central contracts of cricketers before England series which are due to expire on June 30.

However talking to APP, PCB’s Media Director Amjad Bhatti said the central contracts won’t be given to the players before the upcoming England tour.

Speaking about Test Skipper Misbah ul Haq’s retirement, Bhatti said Misbah will be talking on this matter at a funtion on Friday.

Responding to a question, he said he is unsure whether Misbah would be retiring or not after the England series.

PM’s laptop scheme is a great gift of knowledge: KU Vice Chancellor

KARACHI, June 16 (APP): Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Laptop
Scheme is a great gift of knowledge to the youth of the country for a
bright future.

This was stated by the Vice Chancellor of Karachi University,
Prof. Dr. Muhammad Qaiser, on Thursday.

He was speaking at the laptop distribution ceremony of the Higher
Education Commission (HEC) under the Prime Minister Laptop Scheme
Phase two for Karachi University students.

Prof. Dr. M. Qaiser said that the contemporary age is of digital
knowledge and information technology has produced wonders in the field of education, research, culture and technological advancement.

He was of the view that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Laptop Scheme
is a great gift of knowledge to the youth of the country for a bright future.

‘You are lucky that you are in the digital age and you have to prosper in the field of education and research as you have all the keys of information technology in your hands’, the Vice Chancellor remarked.

An official of Karachi University said that as many as 107
M.Phil./ Ph.D. students were awarded the laptops at the ceremony.
It was pointed out that 1,153 students of M.Phil./Ph.D. had
submitted online applications and from these 750 students were declared eligible by the HEC.

‘Today, in the second phase of Prime Minister’s Laptop Scheme, I have the privilege to welcome you all to the laptop distribution ceremony. I understand that the scheme has so far benefitted a large number of students, researchers and scholars of universities across the country, and I am sure that most of the recipients of laptops have already enhanced their knowledge, skills and learning in multiple fields of sciences. Besides augmentation of information and learning, these laptops are equally effective source of supporting young graduates for their entry into employment sector’, Dr. Qaiser said.

HEC Member Operations and Planning, Dr. Ghulam Raza Bhatti, said
on the occasion that Prime Minister has empowered the youth in the modern age of information technology by providing them the access to the modern technology in this digital age.

Nation has high hopes from our youth and they must come up to all
these high hopes and expectations for the prosperity of our motherland. Under the PM’s Laptop Scheme, 0.6 million laptops have been distributed to students and researchers across the country and in the next five years 0.5 million more laptops will be given away under the scheme, said adding that Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif keeps higher education on top of his priorities and this scheme is strong evidence to his determination to promote education and information system in Pakistan.

The Focal Person Prof. Dr. Khalid M. Iraqi said the PM’s scheme
is promoting awareness and use of technology at a time when there is a tough competitive environment throughout the world.

He added that besides promotion of academics, the scheme was also
supportive for social and economic betterment of the users.
Prof. Moazzam Ali Khan, Registrar Karachi University and Prof.

Dr. Shakeel Ahmed Khan also felicitated the laptop recipients.
The Vice Chancellor presented KU Souvenir to Prof. Dr. Ghulam
Raza Bhatti.

PHF to celebrate Olympic Day from June 23

ISLAMABAD, Jun 16 (APP): Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) will be holding various events in different parts of the country on June 23 to mark the Olympic Day with full zeal and enthusiasm.

Talking to APP, PHF Secretary Shahbaz Ahmed Sr. said to celebrate the Big Day with full zeal PHF will be involving all the hockey fraternity across the country. “The events would continue for one week,” he said.

He said we have written letters to all provinces to hold various events and engage maximum youth in it as to groom them.

He said the PHF will be celebrating the Olympic Day according to the guidelines of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Hockey Federation (FIH).

“Families of hockey greats who played and brought laurels for Pakistan would be invited in the events,” he said.

“A veteran’s event would be organized for male and female players,” he said and added that youth and kids events would also be part of the celebrations.

Besides this, special children hockey events would also be held as part of this programme.

Dar directs officials to accommodate positive suggestions of Parliamentary debate on budget

Finance Minister grieved over death of Amjad Sabri

ISLAMABAD, June 16 (APP): Finance Minister, Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar here on Thursday directed the Ministry of Finance officials to ensure that all the positive suggestions and recommendations received during the Parliamentary debate on budget FY 2016-17 should be accommodated in the Budget.

“The budget 2016-17 aims at further strengthening the economy with particular focus on inclusive growth and development of the industrial and agriculture sectors,” Finance Minister Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar said while chairing a meeting with senior officials of the Ministry of Finance and Federal Bureau of Revenue here.

The meeting reviewed the proposals and suggestions received during the  Parliamentary debate on budget FY 2016-17.

Secretary Finance and Chairman FBR briefed the meeting about the views  emanating during budget debate in the Parliament.

They said that active liaison has also been maintained with different stakeholders including experts, think tanks, chambers of commerce and industries and business community to ascertain their point of view on the budget.

The meeting had a detailed review of the budget proposals about different sectors of the economy in the light of the Parliamentary budget debate and public opinion.

The Minister lauded all members of the Finance and FBR Budget
teams for working diligently for successful completion of the budget
exercise.

Gates to be built at all crossing points of Afghan border: Sartaj

ISLAMABAD, Jun 16 (APP): Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign
Affairs Sartaj Aziz Thursday said that Pakistan would construct
gates at all crossing points at Afghan border to regulate and document the movement of people and vehicles between the two countries.

Talking to a private television channel, the Advisor said that
Pakistan was constructing gates in its territory which was in no way
the violation of any international law or any bilateral understanding.

He viewed that gates were constructed at borders all over the
world and Afghanistan’s objections in this regard were irrational; however Pakistan was ready to discuss the issue with Afghan authorities.

Sartaj Aziz said he had invited Afghan National Security
Advisor to hold talk over the matter and get the misunderstandings
removed in this regard.

He said Pakistan had obtained loan from Asian Development Bank
for border management so that the transit trade and movement of vehicles and pedestrians could be regulated.

Other than easing the transit trade, the Foreign Advisor said
such gates would also help to have a check on the movement of smugglers and terrorists as around 40,000 to 50,000 people move between the two countries.

Pakistan has no fight with Afghanistan but wants effective border management: Asif tells Senate

ISLAMABAD, June 16 (APP): Defence Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif Thursday said that Pakistan has no fight with Afghanistan but wanted an effective border management for peace and security in the region.

“There are no two opinions on border management as it is necessary for our security and against the war on terrorism and its conclusion,” he said in a policy statement in Upper House of the Parliament on recent tension in Pak-Afghan relations.

He said Pakistan wanted to resolve the issue of border management with Afghanistan amicably and remove concerns of each others in this regard , adding that permanent border management between the two countries was an effective part of the war against terrorism and in the interest of the two countries.

He said the government had been in talks with the Afghan government over one year and a half year to ensure better management of the border in order to stop infiltration of militants from both sides. He said this is in the interest of both the countries.

Khawaja Asif said a proper border between the two countries like the Pak-India and Pak-Iran borders would remove the series of leveling of allegations regarding presence of Quetta Shoora, Haqqani Network on our soil and Pakistan’s complaint of presence of TTPs leadership in Afghanistan.

Referring to the recent tension caused by clashes at Torkham border, the Minister reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment for brotherly relations with the neighbouring country.

He said both the countries share common history, culture and religion and their destinies wre interlinked. He said “we have no animosity with Afghanistan; rather interests of both the countries are interconnected.”

The Defence Minister said the time has come for the international community to resolve the issue of Afghan refugees as presence of three million refugees on our soil for the last four decades had created multiple problems for Pakistan.

He said there were 78 identified crossings at Pak-Afghan border in which major notified were Torkham and Chaman, adding that two were under development at North and South Waziristan, three in Kurram Agency while nine notified crossings were closed. He said 16 crossings are frequent and some are seasonal, he added.

But, the minister added that situation at Torkham border had tensed following start of firing by Afghan border police after start of work by Pakistan on erection of a gate and fence at Torkham.

He said the Afghan border police objected to development of fence at Torkham border which forced Pakistani authority to close the gate.

The Afghan government stance is that they will not allow construction of check post at Torkham at zero line, adding that even our enemy country India has allowed construction of check posts at zero line.

He said Durand Line was a historical issue and the Afghan side wanted to maintain that status, in which our enemies were also playing their role . But he added that both the civilian and military leadership of Pakistan tried to promote brotherly relations with Afghanistan as Pakistan considered that peace in Afghanistan was in the interest of Pakistan and the region.

About incidents of firing at Torkham border, he said on June 12 at 21:49 pm the Afghan border police fired at Torkham border as a result one Pakistani soldier got injured, adding that Pakistani side also responded. He said on June 13, the Afghan border police soldiers fired five to six mortar bomb inuring one soldier while in another firing incident from the Afghan side nine civilian were injured.

Asif said Major Ali Jawad got injured due to mortar and small fire by the Afghan border police and later succumbed to his injuries in hospital.

He added that moment a flag meeting between the two countries was in progress, adding that Pakistan has no enmity with Afghanistan and wanted to promote brotherly relations with Afghanistan.

He said Pakistan was playing its role in promoting peace in Afghanistan, but added that every thing was uncertain following the killing of Afghan Taliban leader Mulla Akhtar Mansour.

The Minister said both countries should remove their genuine concerns but added that the situation remained tense following incidents of firing at Torkham border. He said both sides should accommodate each others and resolve the issue amicably as it was in the interest of both the neighbours.

Pilot phase of new poverty survey to be launched soon: Marvi Memon

ISLAMABAD, June 16 (APP): Chairperson Benazir Income Support Programme, Marvi Memon said the pilot phase of new poverty survey of BISP will be launched soon.

The two-survey approaches i.e. Door-to-Door-Approach and  Desk-Approach (Self-registration) are being employed in the 16  pilot phase districts to establish value for money, she said Addressing the BISP Board meeting, she stated that both the approaches will facilitate in the decision regarding the approach to be adopted in national rollout for 2017-18.

The agenda items of the Board meeting included recommendations of the second meeting of the Governance and Integrity Committee, Payment model to re-credit beneficiaries and BISP employees Efficiency and Discipline Rules.

The Board approved the payment model to re-credit beneficiaries. As per approved model, BISP can request its partner banks to use available de-credited funds for disbursement of payments to 32,217 re-credited beneficiaries, after bio-metric verification of beneficiaries.

The Board was apprised that Part-VIII of BISP Employees Service Regulations, dealing with code of conduct is under review.

The Board decided to replace the Part-VIII (Code of  Conduct) of BISP Employees Service Regulations with Government  Servants (Efficiency and Discipline) Rules, 1973 till the institutionalization of BISP’s own Regulations.

This measure has been taken to ensure that BISP can take strict action against corruption and take tighter disciplinary action against its own employees.

The board meeting was attended by Dr. Zeba A. Sathar, Yawar Irfan Khan, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Dr. Ali Cheema, representatives of Finance Division, Cabinet Division, Foreign Office and Secretary BISP and Muhammad Saleem Ahmed Ranjha.

25pc additional regulatory duty on meat, whey powder aimed at discouraging imports, Senate told

ISLAMABAD, June 16 (APP): Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan Thursday told the Senate that the main reason for imposing 25 percent additional regulatory duty on import of whey powder and meat in the budget was to protect eight million families, associated with livestock business.

Responding to a Calling Attention Notice moved by Senator Saleem Mandviwala, the minister said currently 43 percent duty had been levied on the import of meat and whey powder. The additional duty has been imposed to discourage its import and protecting local business.

He said the meat exports were gradually increasing owing the ban on the exports of livestock.

Meanwhile, Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Reforms presented special report of the committee on sea intrusion causing land erosion in coastal areas of Sindh and Balochistan.

Senator Taj Haider, presenting the report said Rs 500 million had been demanded for conducting a detailed study of sea intrusion in country’s coastal areas.

Mushahid Hussein Syed demanded to formulate national maritime policy.

Chairman Standing Committee on Defence Senator Mushahid Hussain presented the report of the joint meeting of the Senate Standing Committees on Defence and Foreign affairs in compliance with the Ruling of the Chairman Senate, dated May 2016.

Chairman Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research Senator Muzaffar Hussein Shah presented the sixth follow-up report regarding proposed conversion of 1400 acre land of National Agriculture Research Centre (NARC) by Capital Development Authority into residential/commercial plots.

Saira for improving quality of medical education

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ISLAMABAD June 16 (APP): Minister for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar on Thursday stressed the need for improving quality
of medical education in the country.

She stated this while chairing a meeting on quality of medical education.The participants shared views on the agenda that how medical education could be improved.
After consultation, it was decided that eligibility criteria
for public and private sector medical and dental colleges should be strictly followed to avoid the substandard medical education and doctors in the country.

Admission policy in medical and dental colleges should
be revised. Public and private medical colleges will induct students on merit policy.

Entry test for medical colleges should be centralized at
Provincial and Federal levels and colleges will follow the merit
list issued by their affiliated university after taking entry test examination.

She said, curriculum should be in line with future professional
demands of doctors so that they could serve in rural deprived areas. NEB exam for Foreign Medical Graduates should be standardized and transparent.

She emphasized that certain measures must be undertaken to
meet the faculty deficiencies particularly in Basic Science
Subjects to improve quality of medical education.

Private sector should be bound to open medical and dental
colleges in those locations where there is need of medical and dental colleges.

Fee structure in private medical colleges should be strictly
monitored by PMDC. Overcharging by students in the name of donation should be checked immediately.

The minister said that there is a need for training of
inspectors who inspect the medical colleges and medical teachers should be trained by universities to meet the internationals standards.

She said, foreign seats in public and private medical colleges
should be filled transparently and PMDC will ensure that there is no misuse of these seats.

Imran Khan, founder of offshore companies: Mushahidullah

ISLAMABAD, Jun 16 (APP): Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Imran Khan was the founder of offshore companies and his cohorts including Aleem Khan and Jehangir Tareen have also owned multiple offshore companies, said Senator Mushahidullah Khan.

Participating in Budget discussion in Senate as the last speaker, he said the name of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif did not appear in Panama papers.

He wondered why prime minister is being implicated as his family is doing business since 1935, by comparing to other leaders who even did not have known source of income.

He said Nawaz Sharif is matchless leader and opposition does not have a leader of such stature.

Criticising the opposition parties, he said provinces receive Rs 2,000 billion per annum from federal divisible pool. Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf were ruling in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa respectively, he added.

Despite huge amounts at their disposal in provinces – both have miserably failed to introduce any mega project in their respective provinces, he said.

He said there is no justification of criticism on Punjab projects as the province has launched mega projects by utilising own resources.

The opposition Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf were criticising 10 percent increase in government servant salary increase and minimum wages of labour but a cursory look at provincial budget of both provinces transpired that both have enhanced salaries by 10 percent and increased minimum wages by Rs 14000.

How a wrong step in Federation became right in province, he questioned.

He said PML-N assumed the government in 2013 in worst conditions as there were bomb blast incidents, coupled with rampant load shedding.

The PML-N government put the country on right path by ensuring peace in Karachi and other areas of the country. The foreign reserves of the country were at best ever level, he added.

He urged the opposition to strengthen hands of the government as it is delivering.

He said the federal budget has provided relief to agriculture, industry and textile sectors and there is no chance of increase in price hike.

Arms race in region not in favour of any country: ETPB chairman

Minorities enjoy equal rights in Pakistan: Siddique ul Farooq

LAHORE, June 16 (APP): Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Chairman Siddiqul Farooq on Thursday said arms race in the region was not in favour of any country.

Addressing the main ceremony ‘Bhog Akhand Paath Sahib’ of Sikh pilgrims regarding martyrdom day of Guru Arjun Dev Jee at Gurdwara Dera Sahib here, he said resolution of the Kashmir issue would help resolve other issues between Pakistan and India.

He added issues between Pakistan and India could be resolved through peace and love.

The chairman said Sikh pilgrims would be welcomed whenever they will visit their holy places in Pakistan.

He said all minorities living in Pakistan hold complete liberty and rights to practice their rituals.

He advised the Sikh community to forge unity over Nanak Shahi Calender.

He welcomed all Pardhans of the Sikh Community of the world to come to Nankana Sahib on the birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanka Sahib and resolve the problem.

Siddiqul Farooq said demands of the Sikh pilgrims would be fulfilled. He said work in connection with setting up of Baba Guru Nanak University had been completed and the university would be inaugurated in November.

The pilgrims will leave for India through a special train
on Friday (June 17).

Senate session commences

ISLAMABAD, June 16 (APP):The Senate session was started at 11:00 am with the recitation of some verses from the holy Quran.

Chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani was in the chair. Senator Saeedul Hassan Mandokhail would move an adjournment motion seeking the discussions on media reports regarding the disclosures of a target killer in Karachi. Senator Saleem Mandviwala would move a Calling Attention Notice regarding the import of whey powder and meat affecting over eight million families associated with livestock business.

Senator Col (Retd) Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, Chairman Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Reforms would present special report on Sea intrusion causing land erosion in coastal areas of Sindh and Balochistan.

Various Senate Standing Committees would present their reports in the House.

The House would continue discussions on federal budget.

Conflict prevention efforts more effective when women participate: UNSC

UNSC
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UNITED NATIONS, June 16 (APP): Despite commitments of the international community, inconsistent levels of political will, resourcing, accountability and gender expertise often hinder the full and meaningful inclusion of women in efforts to prevent conflict, the UN Security Council has said.

Adopting a Presidential Statement during a formal meeting on Wednesday, the 15-nation body welcomed the adoption of regional frameworks to implement resolution 1325 (2000) on “women, peace and security,” including the African Union’s Gender, Peace and Security Programme 2015-2020. It also welcomed the efforts of Member States in developing national action plans.

The Council also emphasized the importance of undertaking a comprehensive approach, and reaffirmed the substantial link between women’s meaningful involvement in efforts to prevent, resolve and rebuild from conflict and the effectiveness and long-term sustainability of those efforts.

It also reiterated its call to increase the equal participation, representation and full involvement of women in preventive diplomacy and all related decision-making processes.

By the text, the Council acknowledged the positive impact that the economic empowerment of women could have on their full participation in political decision-making and peace and security efforts, and called upon Member States to provide better occupational skills training and greater funding for entrepreneurships for African women.

It encouraged Member States to increase their funding on women, peace and security, particularly for conflict and post-conflict situations, and to provide further support to civil society.

John Casson meets Shehbaz

John Casson meets Shehbaz

LAHORE, June 16 (APP): British Ambassador John Casson
on Thursday met Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif here.

Matters of mutual interest and cooperation regarding
promotion of education were discussed during the meeting. British Ambassador John Casson was serving as British Ambassador to Egypt.
British Ambassador lauded comprehensive reforms and
implementation of effective programme for the promotion of education in Punjab.

He said that Punjab has displayed outstanding performance
in education sector under the leadership of Shehbaz Sharif and Punjab government has achieved impressive targets for the promotion of education.

Speaking on the occasion, Shehbaz Sharif said that Britain
and Pakistan are strong partners in the journey to progress and prosperity, adding that cooperation of DFID in education, health and skill development sectors was appreciable.

He said that Punjab government has achieved various milestones
in education, health and skill development sectors. He said that solid programme has been evolved for empowering the youth through education.

Shehbaz said that record funds have been allocated in the
budget of new fiscal year for improving education, health, skill development and other social sectors, adding that a system has been evolved with the help of information technology for check and balance in reforms programme, he added.

The chief minister said that special resources have been
provided for the construction of 36,000 new classrooms in schools. He said that more than 19,000 additional classrooms in schools and missing facilities would be made available in all schools at a cost of Rs 28 billion during next financial year.

He said that 11,000 out of 36000 new classrooms would be
constructed with the cooperation of British Department for International Development (DFID) in next two years which will cost Rs 17.60 billion.

Referring to steps taken for the promotion of education in
South Punjab, the chief minister said that an amount of monthly stipend for female students from class six to ten has been increased from Rs 200 to Rs 1000 in 11 districts of South Punjab and about 400,000 female students of these backward districts would benefit from this programme.

He said that more than 50,000 children working at brick
kilns throughout the province have been enrolled and now the scope of this campaign would be expanded to workshops, petrol pumps and small hotels.

He said that Punjab government has recruitted teachers
through on pure merit, adding that educational expenditures of 2,000,000 girls and boys were being borne under voucher scheme of Punjab Education Foundation. The volume of Punjab Educational Endowment Fund has reached to Rs 16 billion while Rs four billion more were being given during next financial year which will increase the volume of this fund to Rs 20 billion, he maintained.

The chief minister said that four more Daanish schools
would be established in different districts of South Punjab during next financial year. The students are educated through smart boardsin Daanish schools and the children studying in these schools are becoming custodian to peace, he added.

Provincial Minister for School Education Rana Mashhood
Ahmed Khan, Chairman Punjab Education Foundation MPA Engineer
Qamar ul Islam Raja, Special Secretary Schools Education and other officials were also present on the occasion.

Pak Afghan border management need of hour: Qayyum

Govt is determined for revival of PIA: Gen ® Qayyum

ISLAMABAD, Jun 16 (APP): Senator Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz
(PML N) Lt. Gen. (Retd) Abdul Qayyum Thursday said Pak Afghan border management was need of the hour to smoothen across the border movement of people and goods between the two countries.

Current situation at Pak Afghan border was very unfortunate as Pakistan has always endeavored for cordial bilateral ties with Afghanistan, he said talking to PTV.

He said Pakistan is sincere to improve relations with neighbouring
countries and civil and military leadership had paid a number of visits to Kabul to improve bilateral ties.

“Pakistan is hosting some three million Afghans and the Afghan
government should respect this overture of Pakistan,” he said
He said the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan should resolve
the recent firing incident politically and diplomatically.

The Senator said there are total 78 crossing points at Pak Afghan border while out of these, only 16 points are notified as Pakistan shares very long border with Afghanistan.

Both the countries have clear understanding and resolve that their soil should not be used for terrorist activities against each other, he
said adding that both the countries should respect this resolve.

Abdul Qayyum said the PML N government has initiated the move for
registration of Afghan refugees and for their return to Afghanistan.

“Matter of Afghan refugees is being raised at all fora by the government and they only could be sent back after an understanding with
the Afghan government’, he added.

NA Speaker condoles death of Nawab Talpur’s wife

ISLAMABAD, June 16 (APP): Speaker National Assembly Sardar
Ayaz Sadiq and Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi have condoled the death of wife of Member National Assembly, Nawab Muhammad Yousaf Talpur.

In their separate condolence messages to Nawab Muhammad Yousaf
Talpur, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker expressed their heartfelt grief and sorrow over the sad demise of his wife, said a press release on Thursday.

They prayed to Almighty Allah to rest the departed soul in
eternal peace and grant courage to Nawab Muhammad Yousaf Talpur and other members of the family to bear the irreparable loss with equanimity.

UN rights experts urge India to repeal law restricting civil society access to foreign funding

UNITED NATIONS, June 16 (APP): Three United Nations human
rights experts Thursday called on the Indian government to repeal a regulation that has been increasingly used to obstruct civil
society’s access to foreign funding.

The experts’ call comes as the Indian Ministry of Home
Affairs suspended for six months the registration of
the non governmental organization Lawyers Collective, under
the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), according to
a statement from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for
Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva.

The suspension was imposed on the basis of allegations
that its founders, human rights lawyers Indira Jaising and Anand Grover, violated the act provisions by using foreign funding for purposes other than intended.

“We are alarmed that FCRA provisions are being used
more and more to silence organisations involved in advocating civil, political, economic, social, environmental or cultural priorities,
which may differ from those backed by the Government,” UN Special Rapporteurs on human rights defenders, Michel Forst, on
freedom of expression, David Kaye, and on freedom of
association, Maina Kiai, said.

Despite detailed evidence provided by the
non governmental organization (NGO) to rebut all allegations and prove that all foreign contributions were spent and accounted for in line with FCRA, the suspension was still applied.

“We are alarmed by reports that the suspension was
politically motivated and was aimed at intimidating,
delegitimising and silencing Lawyers Collective for
their litigation and criticism of the Government’s policies,”
the experts said noting that the NGO is known for its
public interest litigation and advocacy in defence of the
most vulnerable and marginalised members of Indian society.

Many civil society organizations in India now depend on FCRA accreditation to receive foreign funding, which is critical
to their operations assisting millions of Indians in pursuing their political, cultural, economic and social rights, according to OHCHR. The ability to access foreign funding is vital to human rights work and is an integral part of the right to freedom of association.

However, FCRA’s broad and vague terms such as
‘political nature’, ‘economic interest of the State’ or ‘public interest’ are overly broad, do not conform to a prescribed aim, and are not a proportionate responses to the purported goal of the restriction, it said.

“Human rights defenders and civil society must have the ability
to do their important job without being subjected to increased limitations on their access to foreign funding and the undue suspension of their registration on the basis of burdensome administrative requirements imposed to those organizations in receipt of foreign funds,” the UN human rights experts concluded.

US expresses concern over border clashes between Pakistan, Afghanistan

Mutual expulsion of diplomats by Pakistan, India should not lead to escalation: US

WASHINGTON, June 16 (APP): The United Sates on Wednesday expressed concern over border clashes between Pakistan and Afghanistan and said good relations between the two neighbors were key to stability in the region.

At a briefing at the US State Department, Spokesman John Kirby said the United States was concerned over the recent clashes at the Torkham crossing point between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The spokesman also expressed concern about presence of heavy weapons at the border and stated that there had been reports of casualties on both sides of the border.

“We continue to encourage the governments of both Pakistan and Afghanistan to resolve their disagreements at the crossing point and to de-escalate tensions,” the spokesman said , adding that good relations between the two countries were “key to the stability to the region”.

Responding to a question, the spokesman said reported casualties happened over the last 24 hours. A major of the Pakistan army was killed in unprovoked firing by the Afghan forces from across the border at Torkham Gate.

Torkham is the most frequented crossing point at Pak-Afghan border and recently even most of the terrorists had been found using it for entry, according to the ISPR.

The incident took place when Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Richard Olson was in the region, and the spokesman said on Tuesday he shared concerns over the situation.

Pakistan also called Afghan’s Charge d’ Affires at the foreign office and lodged a strong protest with the Afghan government over unprovoked firing by the Afghan forces.

The firing was aimed at disrupting the construction of a gate well inside Pakistani territory at the border to facilitate cross-border movement of people and vehicles.

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