3 Kuwaiti Royal family members jailed for insulting judges

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Corporate Ambassador/KUWAIT CITY: A Kuwait criminal court has sentenced three members of the royal family to five-year prison terms each for insulting judges.

The royals and four other co-defendants were sentenced Monday. They were initially accused of insulting Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah and fabricating videos incriminating high-ranking judges.

The former head of Kuwait’s National Security Office Athbi Al-Fahad Al Sabah, who is the ruler’s nephew, is among those convicted, reports Arab News today.

The 122-page ruling, obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday, references phone logs from the WhatsApp messaging service of the defendants planning to publish anonymous Twitter posts sharing fabricated videos of judges receiving bribes.
Of the four other defendants, three were sentenced to five year terms each while the fourth was sentenced to 10 years.

 

PBIT, InterConnect, FIEDMC sign MoU to set-up Footwear/Leather Cluster in Faisalabad

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CEO of the PBIT Ms Amena Cheema and President of PFMA Wasim Zakaria are signing MoU to develop Footwear and Leather Cluster in Faisalabad.

Corporate Ambassador/LAHORE

To formalize the commitment to build a Footwear, Leather Cluster, a memorandum of understanding was signed among Punjab Board of Investment & Trade, InterConnect and Faisalabad Industrial Estate Development and Management Company (FIEDMC). The MoU was signed at the 3-day Awareness Training Seminar in Lahore today at Expo Center.

The Pakistan Footwear Manufacturers Association in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) through SMEDA and in partnership with Punjab Board of Investment and Trade (PBIT), Italian Agency for Development Cooperation and the Italian Embassy Islamabad organized the first of its kind Awareness’ Training Seminar at the Lahore International Expo Center from 31 May to 02 June, 2016. The purpose of the seminar is promotion of investment in Leather, Footwear and Accessories sectors.

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Speaking at the opening ceremony, Ms. Amena Cheema, CEO of the Punjab Board of Investment and Trade said: “Since Punjab is now completely ripe for investment, I would like to reiterate the point made by Chief Minister Punjab that “investors are our masters.” In that context, PBIT stands fully equipped to provide all possible facilitation and support to those wishing to invest in our province.”.

According to the MoU, 70 acres of lands has been allocated for the formation of the cluster. Punjab Board of Investment and Trade have also set up an information desk to disburse information regarding the potential business opportunities in Punjab especially in the footwear and leather sectors.

PBIT footwear3

Mr. Wasim Zakaria (President, The Pakistan Footwear Manufacturers Association) in his remarks said “The core idea behind this seminar is to focus on the creation of a footwear cluster in Pakistan offering a platform for establishment of new factories in the leather sector adding more value to the leather export business and boosting economic output”. “The seminar aims to introduce new technology, best practices and global industry benchmarks in order to upgrade the existing industrial infrastructure and create new industrial units in the country” he added.

The 1st day included panel discussions, presentations on the manufacturing, marketing and technical aspects of footwear and leather business. During the 2nd and 3rd day of the seminar/workshop, Italian experts will also introduce the formulation of a sustainable marketing strategy and facilitate Pakistani leather goods to penetrate into the global market, especially Europe.

 

53 Pakistani militants killed in Syria, Afghanistan

CRSS

J. Choudhry/ISLAMABAD

About 53 Pakistani militants have been killed in Afghanistan and Syria in first three months of 2016.

The Center for Research & Security Studies discloses this in its Quarterly Report for Jan-March 2016. The CRSS, however, did not point out as to how many Pakistani militants were killed in Syria and much many in Afghanistan, and said in 2014, only 14 Pakistani militants were killed in Afghanistan.

According to report, as many as 872 people lost their lives and 573 sustained injuries during this quarter of 2016 in Pakistan. This number does not include 53 Pakistani militants killed in Afghanistan and Syria. FATA remains the region in Pakistan with the most number of casualties (239), followed by Balochistan (181), Punjab (163), Sindh (152), and KP (126).

Suicide attacks, armed attacks, and IED explosions were the only forms of violence that recorded higher number of fatalities during this quarter in comparison with the Q1, 2015. The fatalities from all other forms of violence were significantly lower than the figures recorded in the comparative period.

The overall law and order situation of the country may appear to have deteriorated if we take into account the percentage of combatant fatalities. The fatalities of combatants (militants, criminals, insurgents) were around 68% of the total fatalities during the Q1, 2015. This figure dropped to 54% in Q1, 2016. Conversely, fatalities of non-combatants (civilians, security officials, and government officials) rose from 32% in Q1, 2015 to 46% in Q1, 2016.

Balochistan

The casualties of violence in Balochistan included 260 persons in total (181 dead and 79 injured) during Q1, 2016, a near 20% increase from Q1 (please refer to Tables B1 and B2).  A major incident of violence was the suicide attack at the polio office in Quetta on January 14, 2016, that left 12 policemen, 2 civilians, and 1 soldier dead.  Although the majority of victims were policemen, one of the claimants of this attack, Jundullah, said that their target was the staff of the polio office itself. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) also claimed to have carried out this attack. This is expected. As the space for these extremist outfits continues to shrink, competing claims of attacks will emerge.

FATA

A total of 239 persons lost their lives in FATA region during this quarter which is a 61% decline in the number of fatalities when compared with the data of Q1, 2015.

Khyber Pukhtunkhwa

No major change in the security situation was observed in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa during this quarter as far as the number of fatalities from violence is concerned. From 133 victims of violence in the Q1, 2015, it came down to 126 in Q1, 2016, a 5.3% decrease. This is despite the fact that January 2016 reported nearly 91% more fatalities than Q1, 2015, owing in part to the attack on Bacha Khan University on January 20, 2016.

Punjab

An unprecedented rise in militancy was recorded in the province of the Punjab during this quarter with163 persons killed in violent incidents. This is a more than a 100% rise in the number of fatalities compared to Q1, 2015 (please refer to Table P2). The major contributor to this escalation was the suicide attack on Easter Day at Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park on March 27, 2016 leaving 72 persons dead including 29 children, and at least 14 Christians. Moved by this horrifying act of violence, the military extended its operation in the province of Punjab. This was an unprecedented move without civil input that cause some ripples in the civil-military relationship.

 

 

Sindh

Of particular note during this quarter was a significant decline in the number of fatalities reported from the province of Sindh (please refer to Table S1). During the last three years, Sindh province was consistently the most violent province in the country, with Karachi claiming thousands of lives each year.

Table S1: Casualties from violence in Sindh – Q1, 2016
Month Fatalities Injured Total Casualties
January 46 10 56
February 50 4 54
March 56 7 63
Total 152 21 173

end

 

JF-17 aircrafts enough to meet defence deterrence, Rana Tanveer

JF-17

Corporate Ambassador/ISLAMABAD: Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanveer Hussain said that the JF-17 aircrafts were capable enough to meet defence requirements of the country.

Pakistan had a fleet of state of the art JF-17 Thunder aircrafts which carried all specifications of any advanced fighter jet, Minister said while talking to mediamen on Saturday.

He said Pakistan was at top among 10 countries having JF-17 fleet, saying that the country’s defence was impregnable and had the capability to meet all challenges.

Rana Tanveer said Pakistan was in negotiations with Russia for procurement of MI-35 helicopters and was confident that there would be significant development in two months in this regard.

Commenting on the country’s defence production quality, he said Pakistan Ordnance Factory (POF) was producing and exporting small arms to different countries including US, Britain and Germany.

He said the Ministry of Defence Production was working day and night to meet requirements of the armed forces, adding that a proposal had been forwarded to the quarters concerned for separate budget of the ministry.

To a question, Rana Tanveer said Pakistan was in contact with US for delivery of F-16 aircraft, and in case the deal was not materialized, it would approach other countries for the purpose.

Minister said a protest had been launched with US over the recent drone attack, adding that US ambassador had been called in by the Foreign Office. Besides, Civil and Military leadership expressed serious concerns over the attack, he added.

 

PM approves first offshore budget of Pakistan

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Corporate Ambassador/ISLAMABAD

Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif today approved the first-ever offshore budget of the country as he approved the new budget through video-link. Premier chaired the meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) via video link from High Commission for Pakistan, London today and approved GDP growth target of 5.7 percent for Financial Year 2016-17 and Rs 1,675 billion National Development Outlay for Financial Year 2016-17 including Rs- 800 billion as Federal PSDP and Rs 875 billion as Provincial Annual Development Program (ADP).

The NEC meeting set growth target for 2016-17 at 3.5 percent for agriculture sector, 7.7 percent for industry and 5.7 percent for the services sector. It was informed that significant attention has been given to the infrastructure development as it remained neglected during the last fifteen years.

All other members of the Council who attended the meeting were present in the Prime Minister Office, Islamabad.

The Prime Minister while approving all the agenda items of the meeting noted with satisfaction that the GDP in the current Financial Year remained 4.7 percent which is the highest GDP during the last eight years. The Prime Minister said that CPEC has the capacity for further contributing to GDP and will have far reaching effect in consolidating the economic outlook of the country in years ahead.

The meeting was given an overview of the state of country’s economy in 2015-16 and approved macroeconomic framework for Annual Plan for 2016-17. The meeting was briefed on the progress report of CDWP as well as schemes approved by ECNEC & CDWP from April 2015 to March 2016.

The Prime Minister congratulated the Finance Minister, Planning Minister, Chief Ministers of the Provinces and Gilgit Baltistan and their respective teams at the federal and provincial levels for finalizing the development programme in harmony with the economic development of the country.

Chief Ministers of the provinces; Governor KP; CM Gilgit-Baltistan; Ministers for Finance, Planning and Water & Power; Finance Ministers of the provinces and Secretaries for Ministries for Finance and Planning attended the meeting along with other senior government officials.

 

 

India giving life-time visa to Salma Agha

Salma Agha

Corporate Ambassador/Famous Pakistan-born singer and actress Salma Agha will get an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card that will offer her multiple entry, multi-purpose life-time visa to visit India and exemption from reporting to police.
“We have decided to grant Salma Agha the OCI card after following the due procedure,” a senior Home Ministry official said today. As the Home Ministry took the decision to grant her OCI card, Agha met Home Minister Rajnath Singh, apparently to express her gratitude for the gesture.

Agha had applied for the OCI card a few days ago and her application was approved after taking into consideration various aspects, officials said. The 59-year-old artiste is a citizen of UK. She had given her voice to few Bollywood films and acted in some of them including
Agha has applied for the card that gives multiple entry, multi-purpose life long visa to visit India and exemption from reporting to police authorities for any length of stay in the country. The OCI card gives parity to an individual with NRIs in financial, economic and educational fields except in the acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.
As per rules, a foreign national who is a child, grandchild or a great grandchild of Indian citizen is eligible for registration as OCI card holder. There are few other conditions to get OCI card, reports TOI today.

However, no person, who or either of whose parents, grandparents or great grandparents is or had been a citizen of Pakistan and Bangladesh shall be eligible for registration as an OCI card holder. In her application, Agha is said to have referred to her Indian roots in her maternal grandfather Jugal Kishore Mehra. Mehra was a noted actor and his wife and Salma’s grandmother, Anwari Begum, was a star singer in the 1930s and 1940s.

Agha’s mother Nasreen was cast opposite K L Saigal in ‘Shahjehan’ (1946). Salma Agha, in her request, had also claimed that though she was born in Pakistan, she is a British citizen and hence, her request should be looked into. Pakistani singer Adnan Sami was in January given Indian citizenship. Among others who have been staying in India and working on employment visa are Katrina Kaif (UK citizen), Deepti Naval (US citizen) and Yana Gupta (Czech citizen).

Khalistan force in Canada can target Punjab, India alerts Canadian PM

CorporateAmbassador Monitoring Report/CHANDIGARH: Almost six months after the Pathankot terror attack, intelligence agencies have sent an alert to Canada’s Justin Trudeau government, saying that pro-Khalistan terrorists are running a camp near Mission city in British Columbia to carry out strikes in Punjab.

According to a report prepared by Punjab intelligence sleuths, Canadian Sikh Hardeep Nijjar has taken over as the operational head of Khalistan Terror Force (KTF) and formed a module comprising Sikh youths to carry out the attacks.

The Punjab government has already submitted the report to the ministry of external affairs and ministry of home affairs to seek Nijjar’s extradition, Times of India reports.

The report makes a reference to the January 2 Pathankot airbase attack, saying Nijjar “was to arrange weapons from Pakistan but due to high alert on the border in the wake of Pathankot incident, it could not materialise”.

Nijjar, a baptized Sikh staying in Surrey since 1995 on a Canadian passport (QK139247), is a proclaimed terrorist in Punjab and wanted in connection with the 2007 Shingaar cinema blast in Ludhiana in which six people were killed.

These disclosures were made in the report after an alleged KTF member, Mandeep Singh, was arrested from Chak Kalan village in Ludhiana two weeks ago following his phone calls to terror outfit Dal Khalsa International’s (DKI) chief Gajinder Singh and Nijjar.

“Nijjar has been imparting arms training to his group in Canada after the arrest of former KTF chief Jagtar Tara in Thailand by Interpol last year. He took Mandeep Singh and three more Sikh youths recently for AK-47 training in a range near Mission where they were made to fire for four hours daily,” the report said.

(Passports of Mandeep Dhaliwal and Hardeep Nijjar)

“Mandeep came to India in January 2016 from Canada with a specific plan to target police officers, Shiv Sena leaders and dera chiefs. While in India, he was in constant touch with Nijjar and Gajinder Singh.

Recently, there were attacks on leaders of Shiv Sena and Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) in Ludhiana and Jalandhar. The report has said Mandeep was in touch with DKI boss Gajinder Singh, who had masterminded the hijack of a Srinagar-Delhi Indian Airlines flight in 1981.

Pak-nukes can hit New Delhi in 5-minute, Gen. Zia opposed tests

Dr Qadeer Khan

Corporate Ambassador/ISLAMABAD: Nuclear-armed Pakistan has the ability to target the Indian capital Delhi in five minutes, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan has said.

Addressing a gathering here on the 18th anniversary of Pakistan’s first nuclear tests, which were carried out under his supervision in 1998, Khan, said Pakistan could have become a nuclear power as early as 1984 but the then President General Zia ul Haq “opposed the move”.

The 80-year-old nuclear physicist said General Zia, who was Pakistan’s President from 1978 to 1988, opposed the nuclear testing as he believed that the world would intervene militarily. Further, it would have also curtailed international aid Pakistan was receiving due to the ongoing Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, reports TOI today.

“We were able and we had a plan to launch nuclear test in 1984. But President General Zia ul Haq had opposed the move,” Khan said on Saturday.

Khan also said that Pakistan has the ability to “target” Delhi from Kahuta near Rawalpindi in five minutes. Kahuta is the home to the Kahuta Research Laboratories (KRL), Pakistan’s key uranium enrichment facility, linked to the atomic bomb project.

Khan was disgraced in 2004 when he was forced to accept responsibility for nuclear technology proliferation and was forced to live a life of official house arrest. In 2009, the Islamabad high court declared Khan to be a free citizen of Pakistan, allowing him free movement inside the country. Referring to the treatment meted out to him during Gen Pervez Musharraf’s era, Khan said nuclear scientists in the country have not been given the respect that they deserve.

 

“We are facing the worst against our services to the country’s nuclear programme,” he added.

 

He regretted the treatment and said Pakistan would never have achieved the feat of becoming first Muslim nuclear country without his “services”.

 

“Without my services Pakistan would never have been the first Muslim nuclear nation. We were able to achieve the capability under very tough circumstances, but we did it,” said Khan.

ex-Chief Justice asks Parliament to elect interim PM

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Corporate Ambassador/ISLAMABAD: Former Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said an interim prime minster should be appointed during Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s absence to avoid any constitutional crisis.

Prime Minister will undergo an open heart surgery in London’s hospital on Tuesday (31st May).

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, ex-CJP said that no one can perform the duties of the prime minster in his absence. Iftikhar Chaudhry said “without approval of the prime minister, it was constitutionally impossible to finalise the budget since the rules of business clearly state only the PM can approve and sign it”.

Electing an interim prime minster is the government’s only solution, he opined, adding that any other course of action would be a ‘violating of the constitution’.

PM  to chair NEC, Cabinet meetings on 30th

Ministry of Finance today said the Prime Minister will chair NEC and Cabinet meetings on 30th May 2016 through video-link from London to give approval for the new budget.

 

PM to chair NEC, Cabinet meeting thru skype to okay budget

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CorporateAmbassador/Islamabad
 Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will chair the National Economic Council (NEC) and Federal Cabinet meeting on 30th May through skype, a day before his open heart surgery to give approval for the new budget for 2016-17. Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar pointed out this in a high level meeting on Saturday.
 
Minister for Law Zahid Hamid, Secretary Finance, Dr. Waqar Masood Khan, Secretary Cabinet, Nadeem Hasan Asif, Additional Secretary PM Office and other senior officials were present. 
 
The meeting decided that in accordance with instructions of the Prime Minister, Mohammad Nawaz Sharif meetings of National Economic Council (NEC) and Federal Cabinet will be held on 30th May 2016 at 5.15 P.M and 6.30 P.M respectively. Prime Minster would chair both meetings through video link.
 
The NEC will discuss and consider the  proposed Annual Development Plan and the Public Sector Development Programme. The Federal Cabinet in its meeting would consider and approve the budget for FY 2016-17