Pakistan News

ISLAMABAD: Two Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) planes are ready to depart for Yemen on Saturday in order to bring back the Pakistanis currently stranded there in wake of the military offensive launched by Saudi Arabia and its allies on Huthi rebels in Yemen, spokesman for the PM house told Dawn.

The planes will depart as soon as they receive clearance from aviation authorities and the Embassy of Pakistan in Sanaa, the spokesman said.

Upon directions of the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif a comprehensive plan has been devised for the evacuation of Pakistanis stranded in Yemen.

The spokesman said as state system is collapsing in the war-torn country, most airports are no more functional, because of which some families would be safely taken to Yemen's neighbouring countries in the form of convoys and airlifted to Pakistan from there.

The prime minister has directed the Embassy of Pakistan in Yemen as well as other concerned departments to take all possible measures for ensuring safety of each and every member of the Pakistani community living in Yemen.

In a statement the premier said, "our hearts beat with our brothers and sisters in distress".

The spokesman said the prime minister is himself monitoring the situation and has asked to be kept updated on an hourly basis.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Taekwondo black belt Ahmad Amin Bodla has broken two Guinness World Records for the most martial arts full contact knee strikes and most knuckle push-ups in one minute.

Talking to APP, Bodla said he broke the Guinness World Records for the most martial arts full contact knee strikes and most knuckle push-ups in one minute with 108 knee strikes and 66 push-ups.

“The record for the knee strikes in one minute was previously 79 and was held by me only while the record for knuckle push-ups was held by Bobby Natoli from USA with 58 reps,” he said, adding he broke the world records last week in Lahore.

Bodla said it is always an honour to break Guinness World Records. “I am thankful to my family, teachers and friends for their immense support,” he said.

Bodla said, due to his university routine he is unable to train properly for these feats but still tries to do his best. “I am looking forward to attempt tougher world records in the near future. “

Last year, Bodla broke the record of American Master Raul Meza with 355 kicks in one minute ─ a world record that was set over three years ago.

ISLAMABAD: The Aviation Division on Friday informed the National Assembly standing committee on planning, development and reforms that 80 per cent work on the New Islamabad Airport is complete and the facility would be operational in the last quarter of 2016.

However, a senior officer of the division had no satisfactory answer when asked how water would be arranged for the airport.

The airport project was conceived in 1984 for which the acquisition of land started near Fatehjang the same year.


Secretary Aviation Division Mohammad Ali Gardezi has no satisfactory answer to questions about airport water supply


In 2004, the then prime minister, Shaukat Aziz, inaugurated the work on the project. But the construction of the airport was started without the approval of any design.

The PC-I of Rs37 billion was approved in 2008 but it did not contain the establishment of the fuel system, radar and radio control building, aprons, sewage treatment plants, supply of electricity and water to the airport.

The new airport with 90 check-in counters and a parking facility for 2,000 vehicles will cater to nine million people every year.

Secretary Aviation Division Mohammad Ali Gardezi assured the committee that the airport would be completed in the last quarter of 2016.

In reply to questions, Mr Gardezi said initially the government of Punjab had agreed to supply water to the airport from Shahpur Dam in the Attock district. However, as the project faced delays, the provincial government diverted the water to the agriculture and residential sectors.

“Now the provincial government has refused to provide water from the dam to the airport. We have proposed that three small dams should be constructed to store rainwater but that water would be sufficient only for four months. There is another proposal to construct a big dam,” he said.

MNA Dr Nafisa Shah said she was not convinced that the airport would be operational even by the end of 2016.

“It is unfortunate that the basic necessity of water could not be arranged for such an important project,” she said.

Mr Gardezi said the cost of the project had increased from Rs37 billion to Rs81 billion. It might go up further due to the devaluation of the rupee and the price hikes. So far, he added, Rs40 billion had been spent on the project.

In reply to another question, the official attributed the delay in the completion of the project to the late appointment of the design consultant, the absence of an access road and the illegal occupation of the land acquired for the airport.

Mr Gardezi said the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had proposed to construct an access road from Golra Chowk to the airport, passing through sector E-16, E-17 and Haji Chowk. The proposed road would be 14.5 kilometres but due to unknown reasons it was decided that Margalla Avenue would be extended to the airport. The approved road passes through a number of housing societies,” he said.

Secretary Planning and Development Division Hassan Nawaz Tarar said the Cabinet Division on February 20, 2015, had requested his ministry to include the widening of Kashmir Highway from Golra Chowk to G.T. Road in the new airport road project being executed by NHA.

“It has been decided that the widening of Kashmir Highway will be included in the airport project,” he said, adding Rs1.2 billion were required for it.

MNA Sheikh Salahuddin told Dawn that it was strange that the issues of access road and water supply could not be resolved. All these basic requirements should have been included in the PC-I. “Now another Rs1.2 billion will be utilised for the construction of the access road,” he said.

ISLAMABAD: The Aviation Division on Friday informed the National Assembly standing committee on planning, development and reforms that 80 per cent work on the New Islamabad Airport is complete and the facility would be operational in the last quarter of 2016.

However, a senior officer of the division had no satisfactory answer when asked how water would be arranged for the airport.

The airport project was conceived in 1984 for which the acquisition of land started near Fatehjang the same year.


Secretary Aviation Division Mohammad Ali Gardezi has no satisfactory answer to questions about airport water supply


In 2004, the then prime minister, Shaukat Aziz, inaugurated the work on the project. But the construction of the airport was started without the approval of any design.

The PC-I of Rs37 billion was approved in 2008 but it did not contain the establishment of the fuel system, radar and radio control building, aprons, sewage treatment plants, supply of electricity and water to the airport.

The new airport with 90 check-in counters and a parking facility for 2,000 vehicles will cater to nine million people every year.

Secretary Aviation Division Mohammad Ali Gardezi assured the committee that the airport would be completed in the last quarter of 2016.

In reply to questions, Mr Gardezi said initially the government of Punjab had agreed to supply water to the airport from Shahpur Dam in the Attock district. However, as the project faced delays, the provincial government diverted the water to the agriculture and residential sectors.

“Now the provincial government has refused to provide water from the dam to the airport. We have proposed that three small dams should be constructed to store rainwater but that water would be sufficient only for four months. There is another proposal to construct a big dam,” he said.

MNA Dr Nafisa Shah said she was not convinced that the airport would be operational even by the end of 2016.

“It is unfortunate that the basic necessity of water could not be arranged for such an important project,” she said.

Mr Gardezi said the cost of the project had increased from Rs37 billion to Rs81 billion. It might go up further due to the devaluation of the rupee and the price hikes. So far, he added, Rs40 billion had been spent on the project.

In reply to another question, the official attributed the delay in the completion of the project to the late appointment of the design consultant, the absence of an access road and the illegal occupation of the land acquired for the airport.

Mr Gardezi said the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had proposed to construct an access road from Golra Chowk to the airport, passing through sector E-16, E-17 and Haji Chowk. The proposed road would be 14.5 kilometres but due to unknown reasons it was decided that Margalla Avenue would be extended to the airport. The approved road passes through a number of housing societies,” he said.

Secretary Planning and Development Division Hassan Nawaz Tarar said the Cabinet Division on February 20, 2015, had requested his ministry to include the widening of Kashmir Highway from Golra Chowk to G.T. Road in the new airport road project being executed by NHA.

“It has been decided that the widening of Kashmir Highway will be included in the airport project,” he said, adding Rs1.2 billion were required for it.

MNA Sheikh Salahuddin told Dawn that it was strange that the issues of access road and water supply could not be resolved. All these basic requirements should have been included in the PC-I. “Now another Rs1.2 billion will be utilised for the construction of the access road,” he said.

KARACHI: Pakistan on Friday successfully tested its first indigenous armed drone named Burraq, and its laser guided missile named Barq.

The drone has the ability to fly in all types of weather conditions and strike its targets with pinpoint accuracy.

Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif attended the ceremony and witnessed the test fire of the new missile on static and moving targets.

Speaking on the occasion, General Raheel said this newly developed arsenal will increase the military’s capacity in fighting terrorism. He commended engineers, scientists and technicians for their untiring efforts to develop this state of the art technology.

The army chief termed it a great national achievement and a momentous occasion in the history of the country.

“Let’s join hands to take Pakistan forward in respective fields,” General Raheel said in his message to the fellow countrymen.

The military announced that a very effective force multiplier had been added to the inventory of the armed forces.

In November 2013, the military had indigenously developed surveillance-capable drones. The induction of two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), called the ‘Burraq’ and ‘Shahpar’ systems, in the Pakistan Army and Air Force was seen as a landmark and historic event.

Pakistan already has several types of unarmed surveillance drones in operation, but ‘Burraq’ and ‘Shahpar’ were the first surveillance drones to be developed locally.

The drones have been developed in cooperation with the National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM) is a civilian controlled Pakistani scientific research organisation.

An unarmed version of the Shahpar was unveiled for the first time at the International Defence Exhibition (IDEAS) in Karachi.

Industry insiders say that the Chinese government has also reportedly offered to sell Pakistan an armed drone it has produced, the CH-3, which can carry two laser-guided missiles or bombs.

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has advised President Mamnoon Hussain to approve the conferment of the Sitara-i-Shujaat and the Tamgha-e-Shujaat on those who were martyred in the Army Public School attack in December last year.

The decoration is intended to pay homage to those who were brutally murdered in the terrorist attacks on the school in Peshawar. The recipients include 122 students, two teachers and 20 staff members.

The Sitara-i-Shujaat (Order of Bravery) and the Tamgha-e-Shujaat (Medal of Bravery) are two of the highest-ranking civilian awards in Pakistan.

Past recipients of the Sitara-i-Shujaat include Malala Yousafzai and Dr. Parween Rehman, a human rights activist.

PESHAWAR: A 10th grade student of Peshawar's Army Public School (APS) succumbed to his injuries at the Combined Military Hospital on Saturday.

The student, Ishaq Ameen was shot in the head and face during the deadly attack on the Peshawar school on December 16, and had been in critical condition since, his brother Waqar said.

The death toll of the carnage now stands at 144, with 132 students among the dead, the Deputy Commissioner's office said.

The attack which was claimed by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) proved to be the deadliest terrorist attack in the country.

 

According to a senior security official, nine militants wearing paramilitary uniforms had scaled the rear wall of the school on Warsak Road with the aid of ladders, cut the barbed wire at the top of the wall and then ran onto the school premises firing their weapons and throwing grenades in several directions.

 

“There were nine of them. Six of them were suicide bombers; they blew themselves up and the others were taken down by soldiers of the Special Services Group,” the official had said.

Most of the victim students received bullets in the head and they were targeted from a point blank range by the attackers, according to the students and a minister.

“I saw 17 bodies at the CMH and all of them had received bullets in the head,” said a journalist who was covering the incident. He had said that some of the bodies were mutilated.

Ten children and a teacher injured in the Army Public School attack in Peshawar had landed in Karachi on Wednesday to seek further treatment at Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi.

The decision to bring them to the port city was taken by the Shuhada-o-Ghazi Forum, a representative body of the parents of those who lost their lives in the school attack, to send 35 children to the Karachi for treatment.

After losing his son in the APS carnage, Mr Ali decided to create the forum comprising the grieving parents who he said wanted to take the situation in their control.

Speaking to Dawn, Mr Ali said the children and teachers would receive treatment at the orthopaedic and neurosurgery wards including plastic surgery needed for some students.

“Some students still have bullets in their bodies, some teachers still complain of feeling splinters in their back and hip bone, others need immediate neurosurgery as the required time to carry out such a surgery is running out,” he had said.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, he recalled, had announced on Feb 5 that the families of the injured would receive Rs1,500,000 for further treatment. “But we haven’t heard from them since then. At the same time, we don’t have time to wait for these promises to materialise, as some of these students need immediate help,” he added.

Shuhada-o-Ghazi Forum to lodge FIR against Nawaz Sharif, Pervez Khattak

 

The Shuhada-o-Ghazi forum announced on Saturday that a First Information Report (FIR) will be lodged against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, over their negligence in treatment for injured APS students.

Shortly after the death of Ishaq Ameen, Shuhada forum spokesman Ajoon Khan told media representatives that the wounded were not being treated properly which is why they are succumbing to the injuries.

"Why is the government not making arrangements to take our injured children abroad for treatment?" questioned Khan.

The spokesman said that a legal board is being constituted for drafting an FIR against the premier and KP chief minister.

CHARSADDA: A three-day polio campaign kicked off amid tight security arrangements on Monday in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Charsadda district.

According to a source, the drive is aimed at vaccinating 255,000 children across the district.

A total of 675 teams of Lady Health Workers (LHWs) have been designated for the campaign while 146 supervisors will be monitoring the district-wide drive which is to end Wednesday.

As part of the security measures taken up for a smooth execution of the drive, Deputy Commissioner (DC) Charsadda has imposed under Section 144 of the criminal procedure code a ban on the display of weapons and pillion-riding of motorbikes throughout the district.

According to sources, a total of 1,300 police personnel have also been employed to provide security to the polio teams as they carry out the drive.

As per a source, a four-day polio drive was also kicked off in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Kohat district on Monday. A total of 640 policemen have been assigned the security of the polio teams.

Militant groups often attack polio teams as they see vaccination campaigns as a cover for espionage. There are also long running rumours about polio drops causing infertility.

Earlier on Saturday, unknown gunmen opened fire at a vehicle carrying a team of polio workers in Khyber Agency, killing the driver and leaving one polio volunteer injured.

Pakistan is one of only three countries in the world where polio remains endemic, along with Afghanistan and Nigeria. Efforts to eradicate it have been seriously hampered by the deadly targeting of vaccination teams in recent years.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had declared that Pakistan is responsible for nearly 80 per cent of polio cases reported globally and had imposed strict travel restrictions on Pakistan last year to prevent the possible spread of the polio virus to other countries.

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