Pakistan News

ISLAMABAD: While admitting its failure to complete Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project on time, Pakistan on Monday reaffirmed its commitment to the visiting Iranian minister to complete the project in two phases.

“Pakistan has been unable to complete the projects on its side due to international sanctions on Iran,” said Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi here at the sidelines of the 19th session of the Pakistan-Iran Joint Economic Commission (JEC).

Mr Abbasi informed the visiting Iranian Minister for Economic Affairs and Finance, Dr. Ali Taieb Nia that despite Pakistan’s best efforts banks, international contractors and equipment suppliers were not ready to be involved in this project.

The minister was accompanied, among others, by the governor general of Sistan and the Ambassador of Iran to Pakistan.

“We are now planning to complete this project in two steps. First, we are installing LNG terminal at Gawadar Port and secondly, a 42-inch pipeline of 700km length will be laid from Gawadar to Nawabshah for onward transmission of gas to the northern parts of the country,” Mr Abbasi said.

The minister informed the visiting delegation that Pakistan is in talks with Chinese companies for construction of this pipeline and the 70km portion of the pipeline from Gawadar to Iran border will be completed by Pakistani companies.

He hoped that this project will start in the near future. There is hardly any trade in oil between Pakistan and Iran, the minister said, adding Pakistan wanted to increase trade substantially after the sanction issue was closed.

Dr Ali Taieb Nia has said that Iran has already completed its part of the gas project and hoped Pakistan will fulfill its commitment to complete its part of the project.

He expressed his desire the Iranian gas should flow into Pakistan soon so that Pakistan may be able to overcome its energy shortfall.

Dr Ali informed that Iran’s negotiations with the international community on nuclear issue have been successful and hoped that the applicable sanctions will be removed very soon.

He further expressed his hope that with the removal of international sanctions, Iran’s trade volume and economic relations with its neighbors will further improve.

JOINT ECONOMIC COMMIS­SION: On the first day of the meeting, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said top leadership of both the countries was serious in taking the relationship to a new level.

“We have endeavored to materialize what our leadership feels. We will not only try to expand the existing trade, economic and bilateral ties in other areas, but also make efforts to stabilise them,” Dar said while co-chairing the meeting with his Iranian counterpart.

Regarding sanctions against Iran, Dar said Pakistan supports Iran on the international fora and argued with the world community to open trade with Iran on humanitarian goods.

Iranian Minister for Finance Dr Ali Taieb Ni reciprocated the feelings and said that he was pleased to be in Pakistan to lead his side at the JEC.

He also expressed resolve to cooperate with Pakistan in the areas of energy import, transport and communications, mining, agriculture, health and banking sector development, through a comprehensive framework agreement.

The JEC will discuss issues of banking problems with Iran due to sanctions imposed by the US and UN; Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project to expedite its implementation, up-gradation of Quetta-Taftan railway track and improvement of Noshki-Dalbandin section of N-40 Highway.

On the import of energy from Iran, both sides will also discuss the import of 74MW power from Iran for Mekran Division, Balochistan; 100MW from Iran to Gwadar and 1000MW from Iran for Balochistan and the national grid.

Published in Dawn December 9th , 2014

UMERKOT: Unrelenting drought-like conditions has seen the deaths of seven malnourished infants in Tharparkar district on Monday whereas one infant died in Civil Hospital Umerkot.

In the past 24 hours, a total of 14 people have died in Tharparkar.

The latest number of reported deaths has taken the cumulative figure to 80 in the past 45 days in Tharparkar whereas 61 infants have died over a span of three months in Umerkot, Dawn learnt today.

In a recently released report by the District Health Department in Umerkot, 85 people have died in Umerkot out of which 61 are said to be infants.

The collated death toll in 2014 is reported as 470.

The deaths represent those areas where journalists are able to gain access. However, deaths of scores of infants, who have died in villages and private clinics, cannot be reported.

Tharparkar is spread over 22,000 square kilometers, with a population of about 1.5 million people. At an average, every third year is a drought year. The region faces famine at least once every decade.

More than 80 per cent of the people’s livelihood is dependent on rain-fed agriculture and livestock. In fact, livestock, fully or partially, contributes to the economy of every household in the district.

The dry spell in Tharparkar district — which has been ongoing over the last three years (2012-2014) — continues to deprive local growers of their main crops: cluster beans and millet.

And the prolonged drought conditions have forced different community groups, especially those who maintain small landholdings and family livestock, to migrate to neighbouring areas in search of livelihood.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah brushed aside last week the allegations of slackness, negligence and incompetence of his government in meeting the challenge of the Tharparkar drought and said it had realised the situation in November and started taking measures to meet the situation.

The chief minister, who was winding up the discussion on a motion regarding the situation in Thar, said there was little substance in reports of deaths of children in the district due to drought. He asked if the deaths were caused by the famine, why only infants and not a single child of 10 years or above had died from hunger. “There is no proof of a single death from hunger,” he said.

Govt inaction

The Sindh government has faced flak over its slackness, negligence and incompetence in meeting the challenge of the Tharparkar drought.

An inquiry report over the mismanagement of the recent drought situation in Tharparkar district had also revealed the internal rifts and lack of coordination within the different tiers of the Pakistan Peoples Party and the provincial government.

اسلام آباد (قدرت نیوز) حکومت نے مذاکرات میں ڈیڈ لاک ختم کرنے کا فیصلہ کرتے ہوئے تحریک انصاف سے مذاکرات کرنے کا عندیہ دے دیا ہے۔ تفصیلات کے مطابق حکومتی ذرائع کا کہنا ہے کہ مذاکرات نہ کرنے کی روش عمران خان کے فائدے میں نہیں، ڈھٹائی سے ملک کی جگ ہنسائی، عمران خان کی رسوائی ہو رہی ہے۔ ذرائع کا کہنا ہے کہ اگر تحریک انصاف کے سربراہ عمران خان مذاکرات کیلئے تیار ہو جاتے ہیں تو وزیراعظم نواز شریف خود ان سے ملنے اور مسائل پر بات چیت کیلئے تیار ہیں۔

اسلام آباد : قومی اسمبلی قائمہ کمیٹی برائے سمندر پار پاکستانیز نے ای او بی آئی سے 350 ملازمین کو نکالنے پر سخت برہمی کا اظہار کرتے ہوئے کہا ہے کہ لوگوں کو ملازمتوں سے نکال کر پھر تمام معاملہ عدالتوں پر ڈال دیا جاتا ہے، ورکر ویلفیئر فنڈز کے حکام کی طرف سے دی گئی بریفنگ پر عدم اطمینان کا اظہار کرتے ہوئے آڈٹ رپورٹ کی تفصیلات مانگ لیں، گلف اور ملائیشیا میں پاکستانی مزدوروں کے ساتھ ہونیوالے غیر انسانی سلوک پر بھی تشویش کا اظہار اور ایجنٹوں کے خلاف سخت کارروائی کا مطالبہ کیا ہے، کمیٹی اجلاس چیئرمین کمیٹی میر عامر علی خان مگسی کی زیر صدارت ہوا، وزارت اوورسیز پاکستانیز کی طرف سے بریفنگ میں بتایا گیا کہ پچھلے پانچ سال میں 194 لوگوں کو میرٹ پر بھرتی کیا گیا جس پر کمیٹی کی رکن شگفتہ جمانی نے کہا کہ ایک طرف تو لوگوں کو نوکریاں دینے کی باتیں کی جارہی ہیں تو دوسری طرف ای او بی آئی سے 350 لوگوں کو بیروزگار کردیا گیا، جب ان سے وجہ نکالنے کی پوچھی جاتی ہے تو یہ عدالت کا نام لے کر سب کو چپ کرادیتے ہیں کہ یہ فیصلہ عدالت نے کیا ہے جس پر سیکرٹری ورکر ویلفیئر فنڈز افتخار رحیم خان نے بتایا کہ یہ ملازمین عدالت میں گئے تھے لیکن وہاں سے بھی ان کو ریلیف نہیں ملا۔ وفاقی وزیر سمندر پار پاکستانیز پیرصدرالدین راشدی نے بتایا کہ کمیونٹی ویلفیئر اتاشی کی تعیناتی کیلئے این ٹی ایس کے ٹیسٹ کو لازمی قرار دیا گیا جس افسر کی اے سی آر مکمل ہوگی اور این ٹی ایس پاس کرے گا اس کو غیر مماک میں کام کرنے کا موقع ملے گا، کمیٹی اراکین نے تشویش کا اظہار کرتے ہوئے کہا کہ ان اتاشیوں کی وجہ سے گلف اور ملائیشیا میں پاکستانیوں کے ساتھ ناروا سلوک کیا جارہا ہے اور ایجنٹوں کے خلاف بھی کارروائی نہیں کی جاتی جو دھوکہ دہی کے ذریعے لوگوں کو لوٹ رہے ہیں، ایجنٹ لوگوں کو دھوکہ دے کر کہتے کچھ ہیں، دیتے کچھ ہیں اور وہاں جنگلوں میں انہیں چھوڑ دیا جاتا ہے، کمیٹی نے کہا کہ سمندر پار پاکستانیز 14 بلین ڈالر سالانہ بھتیجے ہیں لیکن ان کیلئے حکام کوئی سہولیات نہین دیتے ہیں، جن ممالک بالخصوص گلف میں لیبر کو بھجوانے سے پہلے انک کو وہاں کی مقامی زبان کا کورس کروایا جائے تاکہ وہاں ان کو مسائل کا سامنا نہ کرنا پڑے، وفاقی وزیر سمندر پار پاکستانیزپیر صدرالدین راشدی نے کہا کہ جو پاکستانی پانچ سال میں پانچ ہزار ڈالر وطن بھجوائے گا ان کو ڈیوٹی فری پر گاڑی دی جائے گی۔

 

نیویارک (مانیٹرنگ ڈیسک)امریکی شہر نیو یارک میں ملالہ یوسف زئی کی ایک آئل پینٹنگ ایک لاکھ دو ہزار پانچ سو ڈالر میں فروخت ہو گئی۔ یہ رقم نائجیریا میں خواتین کی تعلیم کے لیے وقف کی جائے گی۔ ملالہ کی یہ تصویر معروف برطانوی آرٹسٹ جوناتھن ییو کی طرف سے 2013ء میں بنائی گئی تھی۔ قبل ازیں یہ اندازہ لگایا گیا تھا کہ یہ تصویر ساٹھ سے اسّی ہزار ڈالر میں فروخت ہو سکتی ہے۔

PAKISTAN: Broadcast journalist and documentary filmmaker Shehzad Hameed Ahmad from Pakistan has won the Prince of Asturias Award — Spain's equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize — for his work during Fulbright scholarship which also included a documentary 'The Pakistan Four'.

Ahmad received the award from the King of Spain Prince Philipe on behalf of the Fulbright Global Program for International Cooperation.

Nelson Mandela, the revered icon of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, had also been a recipient of the Prince of Asturias Award in 1992.

Ahmad's documentary was also the recipient of the best documentary award at the Indiana Short Film Festival 2014. The film is in the running at the Seattle South Asian Film Festival as well.

The Seattle South Film Festival would also see other Pakistani films 'Anima State' and 'Without Shepherds' tying for an award.

The Prince of Asturias Foundation has been convening the Prince of Asturias Awards since 1981. The awards are presented at an academic ceremony held each year in Oviedo, the capital of the Principality of Asturias.

The aim of the foundation is to consolidate the existing links between the Principality and the person who bears the title of Prince or Princess of Asturias — a title which corresponds to the heir to the Spanish throne — and to contribute to promoting the scientific, cultural and humanistic values that form part of mankind's universal heritage.

Feeling nostalgic for Pyarey Afzal, Aasmanon Pe Likha or evenZindagi Gulzar Hai? Don’t.

Some on-air Pakistani dramas have a lot more to offer beyond typical teary-eyed masala themes and run-of-the-mill plots.

Thankfully, the Pakistani audience has moved on from the Turkish tide of glitzy Ishq-e-Mamnoon and innocuous Fatima Gul dramas, leaving local drama crews room to grow. This season, there are three dramas that give viewers something different – with a perfect blend of storytelling and challenging, new themes.

 

Chup Raho: Silence paves way for sex offenders

  • Directed by Yasir Nawaz; Written by Sameera Fazal

  • Starring: Jibran Syed, Sajal Ali, Arjumand Rahim, Feroz Khan and Shaheen Khan

  • Chup Raho airs on ARY Digital on Tuesdays.

The basics

Chup Raho is the story of Rameen (Sajal Ali), a woman who is subjected to sexual abuse by her brother-in-law (sister's husband), Numair (Jibran Syed). In an attempt to save her sister Manal’s (Arjumand Rahim) marriage and her own "reputation", Rameen is forced to bear Numair's vile acts in silence.

Why Chup Raho is worth watching

The drama tackles a taboo topic that – as depicted in the show – is never discussed in society, covered up, hidden or ignored, especially when family members are involved.

The reason why Rameen doesn’t confide in her husband, Azar (also Numair's cousin, played by Feroz Khan) or her sister Manal is that in Pakistan, women are pressurised to not speak up against such injustice and are expected to quietly endure everything, including sexual advances and attacks.

Staying true to life, Rameen does the same, and when she does eventually try to tell her husband, he gently reminds her that she iswehmi (paranoid).

The drama also depicts the monstrosity of the perpetrator, as they prey on a victim and casually slip away due to the very fact that they are a close relative.

What is also interesting to watch is Numair’s relationship dynamics with his own young daughter, Naila. Numair is shown to be extremely protective of Naila and e.g. is deeply offended when Manal and Azar pray for his daughter to be 'blessed' with a husband like her father.

Chup Raho aims to shed light and drive dialogue around this dark aspect of society, and kudos to the team for such an effort.

 


Jackson Heights: The expat challenge

  • Directed by Mehreen Jabbar; Written by Vasay Chaudhry; Produced by Humayun Saeed and Shehzad Nasib

  • Starring: Nauman Aijaz, Adeel Hussain, Amina Sheikh, Marina Khan, Adnan Jaffar and Ali Kazmi.

  • Jackson Heights airs on Urdu1 on Fridays

The basics

Set in New York, the drama revolves around obstacles faced by six South Asian immigrants, living in Jackson Heights, a part of New York where there is a large concentration of South Asian immigrants.

There is a jubilant cabbie, Imran Bhatti (Nauman Ijaz), a tough Pakistani Christian restaurant keeper, Michele (Marina Khan), an Indian Muslim banker, Rizwan (Adnan Jaffar), an adamant beautician, Salma (Aamina Sheikh), an optimist Jamshed (Adeel Hussain) and a con man played by Ali Kazmi.

Why Jackson Heights is worth watching

Jackson Heights is a fresh take on the lives of South Asians migrating to the US – an aspect that greatly concerns many middle class and upper-middle-class Pakistanis.

Bhatti’s difficult life is a reminder to all those who fantasize about living abroad. Living in the US because of his marriage to an American woman, he represents the plight of many who get married just for the sake of staying on in the US.

Salma and Michele, the lead female characters in the drama, project an image of strong, independent women, who are ready to take up challenges. They show a different side of Pakistani women, who are not meek and submissive.

Though a developing story, Jackson Heights looks promising and realistically captures the lives of South Asian immigrants.


Firaaq: Hate destroys all

  • Directed by Abis Raza Abidi; Written by Mustafa Bilal; Produced by Momina Duraid

  • Starring: Sanam Saeed, Mohib Mirza, Noor Hasan Rizvi, Uzma Gilani, Mazhar Ali and Junaid Khan.

  • Firaaq airs on Hum TV on Saturdays.

The basics

Set in the US, the story revolves around the lives of a broken family, living in Panama City, Florida.

Tabasum (Uzma Gilani), the matriarch of the family, has severe control issues, manifested because of her fears and insecurities. As a result, she is estranged from her children, Shams (Junaid Khan) and Paimaan (Sanam Saeed).

Shams eventually leaves the house when Tabassum remarries after her husband’s death. Later, he takes Paiman away from their mother as well, only to realise that Paiman is now rebellious enough to take the reins in her own hands and is ready to make her own decisions.

Why Firaaq is worth watching

A complex story of love, relations and responsibilities, Firaaq goes just a few steps further in portraying how family members play an important role in making or breaking a house.

Growing up with such a cantankerous mother was bound to have an impact on Shams and Paimaan's personalities. While Shams has anger issues, which manifest in his interactions with his wife, Paiman grows up to become a very reserved woman. Her deadpan voice and impassive face are the result of years of emotional abuse.

With many families breaking down emotionally and psychologically,Firaaq offers a window for viewers to examine the reasons behind such trauma – and the consequences that follow.

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