China, Afghanistan, Pakistan agree to promote trilateral ties under BRI

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan, Afghanistan and China have reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthening their relations, deepening cooperation and advancing connectivity under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA) and other regional economic initiatives.

A joint declaration issued after the trilateral dialogue between the three countries in Kabul on Saturday read, they agreed to promote China-Afghanistan-Pakistan trilateral cooperation under the framework of jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative.

The three sides reiterated their strong resolve to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and without any distinction. The three foreign ministers of the neighbouring countries agreed to jointly continue their efforts for building political mutual trust and support reconciliation, development cooperation and connectivity, security cooperation and counter-terrorism as the three areas of the trilateral cooperation.

Read More: FM says Pakistan, China, Afghanistan’s collective role to frustrate enemies of peace

The three sides reaffirmed their support to the Afghan-owned, and Afghan led inclusive peace process that is fully supported regionally and internationally.

In this regard, China and Pakistan appreciated the efforts of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani especially for the comprehensive peace plans that came out of the second Kabul Process and the Geneva Conferences on Afghanistan, and therefore called on the Afghan Taliban to join the peace process at an early date. While efforts are underway to start the peace process, the three sides called upon the parties concerned to end violence and the loss of innocent lives in Afghanistan.

They agreed to continue economic development cooperation in areas of mutual interest. The three sides will continue to implement and expand the “soft” projects such as exchange and capacity building programs, and explore “hard” projects of livelihood facilities and connectivity.

China expressed its readiness to support Afghanistan and Pakistan in building immigration reception center and drinking water supply schemes at each side of the Ghulam Khan Khel crossing point, and to explore cold storages at Chaman and Spin Boldak.

“China supports enhanced coordination between Afghanistan and Pakistan on major energy and connectivity projects including the construction of Quetta-Kandahar railway and Kabul-Peshawar Motorway and Railway,” read the declaration.

The three sides expressed their strong determination not to allow any country, organization or individual to use their respective territories for terrorist activities against any other countries.

The three sides took stock of trilateral cooperation in their fight against terrorism and underlined the need to further strengthen counter-terrorism coordination and cooperation in an effort to combat all terrorist groups and individuals without any discrimination. They also agreed to counter terrorist’ logistical capabilities, deny terrorist use of the internet and to take joint steps for de-radicalization, as well as work together to break the nexus between narco-trade and terror financing.

The three sides agreed that the 3rd Afghanistan-China-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue would be held in Islamabad next year.



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Pakistan lodges protest with Iran over attack on FC convoy

KARACHI: Six Pakistani soldiers embraced martyrdom last night when around 30 terrorists ambushed an Frontier Corps convoy on patrolling duty along the Pakistan-Iran border.

According to a statement issued by Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr. Muhammad Faisal, fourteen other soldiers were also injured in the cowardly terrorist attack.

He said four terrorists were killed in exchange of fire.

The spokesperson said the Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan was called to the Foreign Office to lodge a strong protest against the ghastly incident.

He said the government of Iran was urged to carry out effective operation against the terrorist group responsible for the attack on its side of the border.



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CNG stations reopen after six days in Karachi

KARACHI: After the closure of six days, compressed natural gas (CNG) stations reopened across Karachi as the gas supply resumed to the CNG sector at 8 pm on Saturday, ARY News reported.    

Talking to journalists at a CNG station in Karachi, where he arrived to observe the availability of gas, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail said that Sindh will definitely get its right.  He maintained that gas shortage will end in February and urged the consumers to use it carefully.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Federal Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan, earlier in the day (Saturday), had  announced that the supply of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) would be restored in Karachi and Sindh at around 8PM today.

Addressing media in Karachi alongside Governor Sindh Imran Ismail, the petroleum minister had said that the days long crisis will be over as the supply will be restored to CNG sector at 8PM before he flies off to Islamabad at 9PM.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered me to immediately fly to Karachi and resolve this issue,” said the minister, adding that he will only fly back after resumption of gas to CNG stations in Karachi.

He told media that upon his arrival in the city, he met all stake holders after which he reached an agreement with CNG association.

The minister maintained that the federal government is trying to ensure that Sindh’s industrial sector doesn’t go through gas load shedding, adding that a large number of industries shifted to LNG to survive in Punjab.

It is pertinent to note here that the people of the province continued to suffer owing to closure of CNG pumps for the sixth day on Saturday as SSGC suspended gas supply to CNG stations and power plants of all general industries for an “indefinite period of time.”

The company said it was facing acute shortage of gas and low pressure in the system.



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Asif Zardari knows what’s going to happen to him now: Sheikh Rasheed

LAHORE: Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed on Saturday said former president Asif Zardari was very well cognizant of the fact that what was going to happen to him that was why he had resorted to public gatherings, but masses will not take to streets for him now, ARY News reported.

“Once case of the falooda vendor comes out everything will be clear to him,” he said pointing towards a fake account made in the name of a falooda vendor through which huge transactions were made.

He said this while talking to media in Lahore in a reaction to the veteran Pakistan Peoples Party leader’s recent statement at his party’s rally in Hyderabad.

The railways minister said Zardari had spotted the writing on the wall and he was holding public meetings considering that people would protect him. Referring towards two labourers in whose name bank accounts were opened and huge transactions were made through them, he said Zardari knew who were the falooda vendor and the welder.

Read More: Zardari should focus on his last 100 days in politics: Fawad Chaudhry

“The verdict in the falooda vendor case will spill the beans about him,” he said.

Earlier, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has also suggested Asif Ali Zardari to focus on his last 100 days in politics instead of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s initial 100-day performance.

Fawad Chaudhry said that the nation knew very well about the corruption of former president Asif Ali Zardari. He said that those who had ruled the country for thousands of days and looted the national exchequer were counting the days of PTI’s tenure.

Due to his incompetency and corruption Zardari turned a national party into a local party, said Fawad.



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Aleem Khan hints at ‘major surgery’ in Punjab’s bureaucracy

LAHORE: Punjab Senior Minister Abdul Aleem Khan on Saturday hinted at a ‘major surgery’ in the provincial bureaucracy to ensure long term betterment and said that basic changes will be brought in the structure.

Presiding over a high-level meeting of advisory council on governance in Punjab, Abdul Aleem Khan said that capable officers will be supported and there will be no pick and choose policy and everyone will be given equal opportunity to prove their ability to work for change.

He said that instead of routine matters we have to go for ‘major surgery’ in Punjab and wide scale reforms are required for which renowned economists’ would be consulted.

According to a statement released from his office, Aleem Khan said seasoned ex-bureaucrats would also be taken to determine the right way for success and added that no leniency will be tolerated to implement the vision of Imran Khan.

He said that due to illogical and poor policies of the last government there are number of issues to be resolved. The minister said that changes in basic structure are required and for this purpose strict monitoring is necessary.

The minister appreciated the work done by the advisory council regarding reforms in Punjab and gave them go ahead for further process in this regard.



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French tourists choosing Pakistan destination for cultural tourism

ISLAMABAD: More and more French and European tourists are choosing Pakistan as a preferred destination for tourism.

This was stated by the representatives of the top tour operators of France who met the Ambassador of Pakistan to France Moin ul Haque in Paris on Friday at a debriefing session after their recent 2-week visit to Pakistan in September this year, says a press release received from Paris here on Saturday.

The tour operators in their separate presentations briefed the ambassador about their visit which gave them first-hand experience of tourism potential of Pakistan.

Read More: Argentine desires to boost relations with Pakistan in trade, tourism

Consequently, they have introduced new tour packages for Pakistan and have also created separate web pages on their websites dedicated to Pakistan. In response to this promotional drive, tour packages offered by famous French Clio Travels for 2019 were already sold out. Roots Travel will offer a special package for trip to Gilgit Baltistan, while Nomad Adventure was promoting mountaineering expeditions from Pakistan. Guide Petit Fute has decided to issue a new edition of its tourist guide book on Pakistan in March, 2019 and will also organize a special exhibition of photographs of their visit to Pakistan.

The ambassador thanked the French tour operators for being a valuable partner in promoting Pakistan as a tourist destination. He briefed them about embassy’s cultural and tourism diplomacy initiatives which included setting a tourism desk at the embassy, launching of a tourism website in French language, holding of ‘International Conference on Mountain of Pakistan’ in Paris, publication of special dossiers on Pakistan in local tourism magazines, and airing of documentaries on Pakistan on local TV channels.

Moin ul Haque informed the tour operators that a dedicated tourism office would be opened in the embassy to further promote cooperation in the tourism sector between Pakistan and France.



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Special federal cabinet meeting reviews performance of ten ministries

ISLAMABAD: A special federal cabinet meeting on Saturday reviewed performance of 10 ministries during the last one hundred days and the future plans.

Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired the second special federal cabinet meeting in Islamabad.

The meeting was briefed on the measures taken by the ministries under the prime minister’s austerity campaign and their positive effects.

The future plans and strategies for their implementation were also presented to the premier.

Performance review meeting of ministries will be held after every three months.

According to details, in the first phase of a special session on December 10, the premier scrutinized the performance of his 26 federal ministers in what could possibly be called the longest-ever cabinet meeting in the country’s history.

Read More: Fawad hails cabinet’s 100-day performance, sings praises of PM’s determination

The meeting lasted for nearly nine hours to review the 100-day performance of the federal ministries.

During last session, Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed was among the federal ministers who earned additional praise from Prime Minister Khan for their good performance in the past three months.

Mr Khan also expressed satisfaction over the performance of Minister for Finance Asad Umar, Foreign Affairs Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Murad Saeed and Faisal Vawda.

Each minister was asked three questions during the briefing: what measures have so far been taken by his ministry to cut expenditures and save resources, what targets have so far been achieved and what next plans are in pipeline?

The prime minister directed the federal ministers to show extraordinary performance to come up to his expectations and steer the country out of the prevailing situation.




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Zardari should focus on his last 100 days in politics: Fawad Chaudhry

ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Saturday suggested Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari to focus on his last 100 days in politics instead of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) initial 100-day performance.

Reacting to Asif Ali Zardari’s speech in Hyderabad, Fawad Chaudhry said that the nation knew very well about the corruption of former president Asif Ali Zardari. He said that those who had ruled the country for thousands of days and looted the national exchequer are counting the days of PTI’s tenure.

Due to his incompetency and corruption Zardari turned a national party into a local party, said Fawad Chaudhry and added that he did what former president and military ruler Ziaul Haq could not do.

PPP eliminated terrorists from Swat in its initial 100 days in power: Zardari

It is pertinent to mention here that criticizing the 100-day performance of the incumbent government, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday (December 15) had said that they had rooted out the menace of terrorism form Swat in its initial 100 days in power.

Addressing a public meeting in Hyderabad, Alsif Ali Zardari said that they not only reclaimed Swat from a terrorist leader Sufi Muhammad but also kicked out then president Pervez Musharraf from the presidency in their initial 100 days of government.

He criticized the ongoing anti-encroachment drive and said that PTI government deprived above 0.5 million people from their livelihood in Karachi.



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Sindh Rangers appoints eight hockey players from Karachi

KARACHI: In an unprecedented move, Director General Sindh Rangers Mohammad Saeed has awarded eight Karachi-based best players of Pakistan hockey team employment in Sindh Rangers, ARY News reported.

A three-member selection committee comprising former Olympian Samiullah, Hanif Khan and Secretary General Karachi Hockey Association Hyder Hussain picked the players.

Appreciating the historic step, Hyder Hussain said hockey is the national game of Pakistan and  the hockey federation should also learn from the DG Rangers to encourage players.

He paid salute to Mohammad Saeed for this favour. He told that the young players belonged to different areas of the megalopolis including Shah Faisal, Korangi, Baldia and FB Area.

“The players will play Inter-Sector Hockey Championship 2018. They were given the same training which is given to Rangers personnel,” he said.

The secretary general Karachi Hockey Association said the DG Rangers Sindh had given impetus to sports activities in the metropolis.

“We are extremely thankful to DG Rangers Mohammad Saeed for this kind and historic gesture,” he added.



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APS survivor speaks to ARY News

“I lost my brother Haris Nawaz and saw my friends and teacher die before me, the emotional trauma was too hard to heal,” reminisces Ahmed Nawaz, a survivor of the 2014 attack on Peshawar’s Army Public School.

Ahmed Nawaz himself got severely injured in the horrific attack and had to go through a long surgery to save his arm in UK’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

As he spoke to ARY News on the fourth anniversary of the martyrs of the attack, Ahmed was of the view that terrorists targeted children for they didn’t want the younger generation to get education in order to easily radicalise them.

“Their (the terrorists) motive was to deter children and scare them away from the pursuit of education but I started a campaign to spread awareness about the importance of education to beat the ideology of terrorists,” said Ahmed Nawaz while speaking exclusively to ARY News.

Ahmed Nawaz made news earlier this year when he topped his GSCE exams with flying colours and scored straight A’s.

Nawaz announced his result in a tweet and said he achieved six A*’s and two A’s in his eight GCSE exams.



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