Pakistan News

KUWAIT: According to a local Arabic daily, Kuwait will export 100,000 tons of used tyres that are currently stored in different areas including Rehaya and Mina Abdullah to Pakistan. This will be done by a local private company after getting approval from the authorities in charge including the Environment Public Authority and Customs Department. The shipment will leave Kuwait by sea from Mina Abdullah.

This decision to send the used tyres is an alternative solution to get rid of these tyres instead of building a factory for treating and recycling them. There has been much discussion about storing used tyres in large quantities after repeated fires in Rehaya. Tyre recycling can be a profitable industry and an investment if done with modern technology. “Any project should be build on certain pillars to be feasible. To build a recycling factory for treating the used tyres, we will need to have huge quantities of these tyres on a regular basis. Building such a factory is very expensive and has capital and operational costs, and has to operate for a certain period to cover expenses and make profits,” economic analyst Hajaj Bu Khadour told Kuwait Times. “Although the present quantity of used tyres is huge, it was collected over many years and not in a year. So we can’t expect the factory to work only for three or four months a year. In this case, the production cost will be very high. So the quantity should be suitable and adequate to cover this cost.

There should be a regular supply of material to achieve economic feasibility,” he added. “For these reasons, the export of these used tyres is better than building a factory. Although we have a great number of vehicles in Kuwait, our consumption of tyres is not enough to operate a factory. Pakistan is a huge country with a population of over 180 million people, so definitely their consumption and use of tyres will be greater than ours, so exporting used tyres is the best solution to solve the problem of this waste,” he explained. Bu Khadour blamed the Municipality for not taking this role. “As a result of bad administration and corruption, the Municipality left this transaction to a company from the private sector and is also paying for this. They instead could save these expenses for storing food supplies or other projects, and turn the expenses for waste treatment into income for the state budget. As long as this idea exists, the government is able to execute it,” he concluded. Chairman of Green Line Environment Group Khalid Al-Hajiri described the export of used tyres as the wrong solution. “This waste has great economic value if it is recycled correctly.

In general, recycling waste can turn Kuwait into an exporting country for raw material at least if not other products that can be manufactured from the waste. It’s a wrong decision as there are strict international laws for transporting this waste. Also, these importing countries can refuse to import this waste at any time in the future,” he pointed out. According to him, the intended quantity to be exported – 100,000 tons – presents a part only. “The available quantity of used tyres in Kuwait is much bigger than what will be exported, so we need a clear strategy and plan to recycle the waste and produce useful material out of it, as well as preserve the environment,” Hajiri noted, adding bureaucracy in various public authorities is responsible for failing all environment projects. “I blame the Environment Public Authority, Public Authority for Industry, and the Kuwait Municipality for their negligence. In Kuwait we have the most expensive cleaning contracts that reached $1 billion a year if calculated per square meter. Yet the companies executing this do not provide basic services such as separating waste and others. Corruption is behind these problems,” he stated 

By Nawara Fattahova


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister of Kuwait Sheikh Jaber Al Mubarak Al Hamad Al Sabah left here Monday at the conclusion of his two-day official visit to Pakistan. The Kuwaiti Prime Minister and his delegation was seen off at the Nur Khan airbase by Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid along with the senior officials of the Embassy of Kuwait and Foreign Office. A smartly turned of contingent of the armed forces presented salute to the Kuwaiti Prime Minister. During his visit, Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al Mubarak Al Hamad met Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and President Mamnoon Hussain.
Prime Minister Sharif also hosted a luncheon in honour of the Kuwaiti Prime Minister and members of his delegation.
Both the countries also inked four documents in areas of investment, extradition, labour and visa waiver at diplomatic and official levels.
Prior to departure, the Kuwaiti Prime Minister was presented an album comprising photos of his visit to Pakistan. (APP)

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited the General Headquarters on Tuesday where he was briefed by the top military leadership on the current security situation in the country.

In his first visit to the GHQ after assuming office, the prime minister lay a floral wreath at the memorial of martyrs and held a one-on-one meeting with the outgoing Chief of the Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The meeting was followed by a detailed briefing by the military's top brass.

Many pressing issues, including talks with the Taliban and appointment of a new army chief and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee — the post currently held by Gen Kayani after the retirement of Gen Khalid Shameem Wynne in the first week of October — are likely to have come under discussion.

Prime Minister Sharif has said before and after his election that the next army chief will be appointed on merit and the most senior general will get the charge.

Haroon Aslam is the most senior general after Gen Kayani.

The prime minister was also briefed by the military leadership on the pros and cons of contacting new Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan chief Maulana Fazlullah, a sworn enemy of the army. Following the TTP’s latest threat to carry out attacks on the military and government installations and functionaries, the government is virtually in a bind as far as the proposed peace talks with the Taliban are concerned.

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Kuwait's Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamd Al-Sabah held formal talks here on Monday aimed at strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries.

The meeting held at the Prime Minister House focused on enhancing cooperation in diverse areas, especially trade and energy.

Prime Minister Sharif said the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber would give a fresh impetus to the efforts to further carry forward the multifaceted bilateral relations with Kuwait.

He mentioned that Pakistan's relations with Kuwait were rooted in historical links and enriched by the great warmth and goodwill between their people.

In the delegation-level talks, Prime Minister Sharif was assisted by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid, Science and Technology Minister Zahid Hamid, Special Assistant to PM on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi, State Minister for Petroleum Jam Kamal and State Minister for Privatization Khurram Dastagir.

Kuwait's ministers for Petroleum, Trade and Chamber of Commerce participated in the talks.

On Sunday. President Mamnoon Hussain underscored the need for Pakistani and Kuwaiti governments to take their bilateral relations to new heights by focussing on trade and investment.

During his meeting with Kuwait’s Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah at the Presidency, the president said Pakistan had huge potential for investors in various sectors, including defence and energy, and invited Kuwaiti businessmen to avail the attractive incentives offered by its government.

Mr Hussain said the Kuwaiti prime minister’s visit to Pakistan demonstrated the special bonds of friendship and brotherhood between the two countries and expressed confidence that it would add momentum to the existing close ties between them.


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has said that Pakistan attaches special importance to its relations with the Kingdom of Kuwait. He said this while meeting His Highness Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Prime Minister of Kuwait, who met the Prime Minister here in Islamabad today.

 
The visiting Kuwaiti delegation included H.E. Shiekh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mustafa Jaseem Al-Shamali Minister for Oil, H.E. Khaled Abdullah Al-Sager First Vice Chairman of Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry, H.E. Anas Khalid Al-Saleh Minister of Commerce and Industry, H.E. Ambassador Khaled Sulaiman Al-Jarallah Under-Secretary of the Foreign Affairs, H.E. Ambassador Mohammad Ahmed Al-Mejren Al-Roumi Director of Asia Department, H.E. Bader Mohammad Al-Saad Managing Director of Kuwait Investment Authority and H.E. Hisham Ibrahem Al-Waqayan Deputy Director General of Arab Economic Development.  

Pakistani delegation in the talks included Mr. Ishaq Dar Minister for Finance, Senator Pervaiz Rasheed Minister for Information, Ch. Nisar Ali Khan Minister for Interior, Mr. Zahid Hamid Minister for Science & Technology, Jam Kamal Khan Minister of State for Petroleum, Engr. Khurram Dastagir Khan Minister of State for Commerce & Industry, Mr. Tariq Fatemi Special Assistant to PM on Foreign Affairs and Mr. Muhammad Zubair Chairman Board of Investment.
 
During the meeting, views were exchanged on bilateral and regional matters. Prime Minister reaffirmed the importance Pakistan attached to brotherly relations with Kuwait which are marked by growing trade as well as close cooperation in the defence sector. Prime Minister said that Kuwait also hosts a large Pakistani community including labour which are making positive contributions to the development of Kuwait and is sending remittances supporting Pakistan’s economy as well. He also stressed the importance of deepening investment ties to impart greater vigor to the economic partnership between the two countries.
 
Kuwaiti Prime Minister conveyed good wishes of the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah for the people and Government of Pakistan. He re-iterated the commitment of Kuwaiti Government to further strengthening ties between the two governments and its people. He said that Pakistan has been a trustworthy friend and the people of Kuwait keep Pakistanis in the highest regards.
 
On this occasion, various treaties and agreements were signed between Pakistan and Kuwait including Extradition Treaty, Treaty for Visa waiver on Diplomatic Passport, Memorandum of Understanding on Investment and Protocol on Labour.
 
Earlier, the Prime Minister of Kuwait was received by Muhammad Nawaz Sharif at the PM House and a smartly turned out contingent of Pakistan Military presented Guard of Honor. Later the Prime Minister hosted lunch in honor of the visiting Prime Minister of Kuwait and his delegation.  

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani private schools associations office bearers said on Sunday that they have banned teenage activist Malala Yousafzai's book from private schools across the country, claiming it doesn't show enough respect for Islam and calling her a tool of the West.

Malala attracted global attention last year when the Taliban shot her in the head in northwest Pakistan for criticizing the group's interpretation of Islam, which limits girls' access to education.

Her profile has risen steadily since then, and she released a memoir in October, ''I Am Malala,'' that was co-written with British journalist Christina Lamb.

While Malala has become a hero to many across the world for opposing the Taliban and standing up for girls' education, conspiracy theories have flourished in Pakistan that her shooting was staged to create a hero for the West to embrace.

Adeeb Javedani, president of the All Pakistan Private Schools Management Association, said his group banned Malala's book from the libraries of its 40,000 affiliated schools and called on the government to bar it from school curriculums.

''Everything about Malala is now becoming clear,'' Javedani said. ''To me, she is representing the West, not us.''

Kashif Mirza, the chairman of the All Pakistan Private Schools Federation, said his group also has banned Malala's book in its affiliated schools.

Malala ''was a role model for children, but this book has made her controversial,'' Mirza said. ''Through this book, she became a tool in the hands of the Western powers.''

He said the book did not show enough respect for Islam because it mentioned Prophet Muhammad's name without using the abbreviation PBUH ''peace be upon him'' as is customary in many parts of the Muslim world.

He also said it spoke favorably of author Salman Rushdie, who angered many Muslims with his book ''The Satanic Verses,'' and Ahmadis, members of a minority sect that have been declared non-Muslims under Pakistani law.

In her reference to Rushdie, Malala said in the book that her father saw ''The Satanic Verses'' as ''offensive to Islam but believes strongly in the freedom of speech.''

''First, let's read the book and then why not respond with our own book,'' the book quoted her father as saying.

Malala mentioned in the book that Pakistan's population of 180 million people includes more than 2 million Ahmadis, ''who say they are Muslim though our government says they are not.''

''Sadly those minority communities are often attacked,'' the book said, referring also to Pakistan's 2 million Christians.

The conspiracy theories around Malala reflect the level of influence that right-wing sympathisers to the Taliban have in Pakistan. They also reflect the poor state of education in Pakistan, where fewer than half the country's children ever complete a basic, primary education.

Millions of children attend private school throughout the country because of the poor state of the public system.

The Taliban blew up scores of schools and discouraged girls from getting an education when they took over the Swat Valley, where Malala lived, several years ago.

The army staged a large ground offensive in Swat in 2009 that pushed many militants out of the valley, but periodic attacks still occur.

The mastermind of the attack on Malala, Mullah Fazlullah, recently was appointed the new head of the Pakistani Taliban after the former chief was killed in a US drone strike.


PAKISTAN: The government’s strategy on the IP pipeline has been dominated by the issue offinancing the Pakistani leg of the pipeline, public pressurestemming out of acute power shortages and a political consensus that demandsstanding up to the threat of US sanctions. However, an overemphasis on these three factors should not hamper our ability to analyse other important dynamics involved in this project.

 

Indeed, the price at which Pakistan would contractually purchase Iranian gas is linked to international crude oil prices. Iran itself imports gas from Turkmenistan at USD 4/MMBtu while the price at which it would export to Pakistan is an exorbitant figure of USD 14/MMBtu. According to a recent report by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), this would bring about a “death sentence” for Pakistan’s economy. Thus, if the pipeline project was to continue, Pakistan might end up having surplus supply of gas that consumers and local industry cannot even afford.

Moreover, Turkey, a current importer of Iranian gas still faces trouble getting adequate supply of gas from Iran during winter months, a time when Iran’s own domestic demand for gas peaks. On October 1, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh himself raised concern about Iran facing serious gas shortage because of slow progress in raising levels of production from South Pars – the field that is supposed to fill the IP pipeline. If such factors were seriously taken into account, the pipeline agreement would likely have never been signed at the first place.

In addition to exploring other options from Pakistan’s indigenous resources and renewable energy sector, the question that policymakers should now be asking is how the IP pipeline project can best come to an end so that Pakistan’s international standing is not damaged. It is thus important to explore the various exit strategies Pakistan could adopt and what implications each of them entails.

First, as Pakistan seems to do with other problems, politicians might be comfortable blaming the potential pullout on US pressure. However, this will not only prove unfavorable for the goal of reviving Pakistani-US ties, but will also seriously hamper the approval ratings of the new Pakistani government.

The second way out is to blame the previous government. While this option might be easy to digest, it has serious long-term repercussions. Holding the previous administration accountable for the failure creates a precedent in which a new Pakistani government can arbitrarily scrap an international agreement. This in turn creates a lack of trust among potential regional and international partners in Pakistan’s ability to see its agreements through from one administration to another.

The third possibility is to keep the project lingering. This will attract more energy aid projects from the United States and cheaper oil offers from Saudi Arabia. However, given that Pakistan will be liable to pay a $3 million per day penalty to Iran if its side of the pipeline is not completed by the end of 2014; this option is also not plausible.

The fourth possibility is to renegotiate the gas prices and the terms of the agreement with Iran. Though this option might be successful in de-linking gas prices from those of international crude oil, it would neither solve the financing issue nor the security concerns in regard to Balochistan.

These flawed options make the situation seem discouraging, in this conundrum lies a tremendous diplomatic opportunity which if articulated well could provide Pakistan with a win-win outcome.

Instead of provoking Iran’s anger by scrapping the gas pipeline deal without offering anything against it, Pakistan should replace it with another contract to import more Iranian-produced electricity. Pakistan is already importing Iranian electricity at Rs.10/unit and could enhance its import to the efficient levels of the current transmission capacity. Even increasing this capacity by building more transmission lines is a cheaper and a more viable option than to proceed with the IP pipeline project. Furthermore, it will also be in Iran’s interests to establish more power plants within the country which could be used for both, its domestic production and as well as for importing gas to Pakistan.

Meanwhile, pulling out of the project will also give Pakistan greater leverage with the United States and Saudi Arabia – the two staunchest opponents of the pipeline. Pakistan could use this leverage to procure favorable oil prices from Saudi Arabia, as well as assurances of heavy investment from the United States and other international partners to exploit shale gas and renewable energy such as solar, biomass, and tidal energy – sectors that are estimated to have tremendous potential. This will also improve Pakistan’s energy diversity and, in so doing, strengthen its energy security in the long run.

This exit strategy will allow the Pakistani government to save face without having to compromise its relations with either Iran or the United States. Additionally, it will increase the government’s ability to proceed with other necessary yet unpopular steps to put the economy on track. Even Iran will experience no short-term loss as a result of this plan; the 900 km pipeline it has completed on its side of the border is still necessary for its own domestic supply of gas.

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