US ambassador visits historic Chaukhandi graveyard in Karachi

US Ambassador Donald Blome visited the Karachi’s historic Chaukhandi cemetery along with a delegation on Thursday.

On the occasion, Sindh Minister for Culture and Tourism Syed Zulfiqar Ali Shah welcomed Blome and other members of the delegation. Acting Consul General Jimmy Mauldin, Heather Murphy, Zahra Hajiani, Narendra Kumar and others were part of the delegation accompanying the American ambassador.

The delegation inspected the historical tombs at Chaukhandi Graveyard. Minister Shah informed the American ambassador about the ancient historical status of Chaukhandi cemetery.

Speaking on the occasion, Blome said that a visit to the historic Chaukhandi cemetery is impressive. He said that the Chaukhandi cemetery is a masterpiece of artistry and iconography. Chaukhandi cemetery is an example of a unique architectural style among important cemeteries of Pakistan historically, said Donald Blome.

He said the architectural layout of the Chaukhandi tombs and their architectural style are commendable for the craftsmanship and skill of their builders. To further highlight Chaukhandi and other historical places, full cooperation will be given under UNESCO, said Donald Blome.

He said that Pakistan and America have strong and long-standing relations and tourism relations between the two countries need to be further strengthened. US will make it easier for tourists to get visas, Donald Bloom said. Talking on the occasion Zulfiqar Ali Shah said that we are providing a favourable environment to the tourists by protecting the tourist and cultural heritage of Sindh and are taking steps to provide all the facilities to the tourists.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari wished that through the tourism and culture of Sindh, the name of Pakistan should shine all over the world, said Zulfiqar Ali Shah. Zulfikar Ali Shah presented Sindhi traditional Ajrak and replicas of Mohanjo Daro’s artefacts as gifts to the guests.

Secretary Culture Khalid Chachar, MD Tourism Syed Fayaz Shah, DG Antiquities Abdul Fattah Sheikh and other officers were also present during the visit.

Sindh spending billions of rupees on hospitals, tells Memon

Senior Minister of Sindh and Provincial Minister for Information, Transport, Excise, Taxation, and Narcotics Control, Sharjeel Inam Memon, has said that we have some challenges that require joint efforts of all sectors of society to deal with them. The government values the role of the business community in the country’s economy and gives importance to solving their problems. It is the responsibility of the government to give a sense of security to the traders. We are the servants of the people, and we solve every legitimate problem as a duty.

Speaking as the chief guest at the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries function in Karachi, Senior Minister of Sindh Sharjeel Inam Memon stated that the FPCCI has shared important issues with the Government of Sindh and also made several suggestions. Given that, we must take ownership of everything to solve problems. He said that Karachi had been targeted for a long time; unfortunately, the image of the country was damaged for personal reasons. There was a deliberate conspiracy to shift industries from Pakistan to other places, due to which the economy was damaged.

Memon said that the foundation stone of Dhabiji Economic Zone has been laid by the People’s Party government of Sindh for the convenience of traders and investors. This zone will be tax-free, and along with other facilities, will be provided to traders and investors. Dhabiji Economic Zone will be the only industrial zone to be included in CPEC, and for the promotion of investment, more such zones will be established by the government of Sindh. Talking about the law and order situation, Senior Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon said that if today’s Karachi is compared to Karachi of 15 years ago, today’s Karachi is much better in terms of law and order.

He said that 15 years ago passenger buses used to go in convoys, but today there is no such problem. Street crime increased during the caretaker government, and today it has reduced by 50% under the current Sindh government of the People’s Party. Nothing is more valuable than human beings; the priority of every government is to maintain law and order, and the Sindh government is also trying to bring street crime under complete control.

Sharjeel Inam Memon said that the business community needs roads to transport anything. Our businessman brothers should review both the roads prepared by the Sindh government and the federal government and tell how much work the Sindh government has done. The Sindh government’s priority is to make Karachi better so that investments can be promoted here. He said that the K4 project was started by the Sindh government under the aim of developing Karachi. The Sindh government’s priority is to solve Karachi’s water, infrastructure, and other problems.

Memon said that Karachi is also facing the problem of illegal immigrants, which is leading to other challenges as well. He said that the Sindh Government has started the People’s Bus Service to solve the transport problem faced by the citizens of Karachi. Very soon, more buses will come, and better travel facilities will be available to the citizens. Karachi is the first city in Pakistan where eco-friendly EV buses are running. The government is providing AC bus travel facilities to the public for just fifty rupees and also providing subsidies to passengers. In this era of inflation, the government is bearing the burden of these expenses.

Memon said that from Europe, America to the Middle East, there was no dedicated bus for women anywhere, but the Sindh government has started the pink bus service to provide a safe travel facility to women. Work on BRTs is also in progress, with the Red Line BRT underway. Work on the Red Line BRT was halted during the Caretaker regime; however, whatever issues there were have now been resolved. He said that the government of Sindh has done a very good job in public-private partnership. We ask the businessmen to come and work together with us so that we can further develop the country. We have decided to start electric taxis. Separate taxis will be run for women and men. I would like the business community to invest in this. Talking about street crime, he said that there are problems like street crime in metropolitan cities. The Sindh government has controlled street crime to a great extent.

HE said that the Thar coal project was the vision of Shaheed Bibi. The PPP government started the Thar coal project under the leadership of President Asif Ali Zardari. Today, 3000 MW of electricity is being supplied to the National Grid from Thar Coal, while 100 MW of electricity is being supplied to Karachi. He said that those who stopped the work on Thar Coal showed criminal negligence. If the work on Thar Coal had continued, we would not have faced an energy shortage today. He said that the government of Sindh has always given priority to human life and health. People used to go to India for lung and liver transplants, but now lung and liver transplants are done in Gumbat, Khairpur.

He said that the Sindh government is spending billions of rupees on hospitals. CyberKnife treatment costs 50 thousand dollars in America; however, this facility is being provided free of charge to the people at Karachi’s Jinnah Hospital. Sharjeel Inam Memon said that if you see the OPD records of Sukkur hospitals, most of the patients are coming from Punjab and Balochistan. We are serving the people without any discrimination. Our first priority is the health and lives of the people.

OGRA bans sale, purchase of substandard LPG cylinders

The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) has banned the sale and purchase of substandard LPG cylinders across Pakistan.

According to a report on Thursday, the body termed refilling of substandard LPGO cylinders as dangerous, notices were issued to the 313 LPG marketing and 19 cylinder-producing companies.

The OGRA has warned the LPG marketing companies of selling LPG to unauthorized distributors. According to the notification, the new SOPs have been formed for LPG business as from now onwards only authorized distributors can sell and purchase the LPG.

The notification further stated that the decision has been taken in the wake of increasing incidents of cylinder blasts as the body is trying to save the lives and the business.

On May 3, the prices of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) were slashed by Rs 20 per kilogram in Quetta.

According to sources, the LPG rates are reduced by Rs 20 taking the price from Rs 280 to Rs 260 per kilogram.

Its worth mentioning here that the LPG prices dropped earlier by Rs 20 per kilogram taking the total reduction to Rs 40 per kg in the span of few weeks.

Punjab CM pays surprise visit to Holy Family Hospital in Rawalpindi

Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz Sharif paid a surprise visit to the Holy Family Hospital in Rawalpindi today.

She visited different wards of the hospital, interacted with patients and inquired about the facilities at the hospital. She also inquired about the provision of medicines at the hospital.

Maryam Nawaz took notice of low wages of laborers working at under-construction block of the Holy Family hospital and directed the authorities concerned to pay wages to workers as per the law.

On this occasion, the Chief Minister was given a briefing about the revamping project of Holy Family Hospital. She directed concerned officials to complete construction of new block of the hospital by 30th of next month.

Rapid Response Unit established in Excise Dept

In light of the orders of Sindh Senior Minister and Provincial Minister for Information, Transport, Excise, Taxation, and Narcotics Control Sharjeel Inam Memon, a Rapid Response Unit has been established in the Excise Department. According to the issued order, the Rapid Response Unit will work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The office of the Rapid Response Unit of the Excise Department has also been established in the office of the Director General of Excise.

According to the order, the Rapid Response Unit of the Excise Department will ensure operations against drugs, and the DG Excise will head the Rapid Response Unit. On the instructions of Senior Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon, a ban has been imposed on all kinds of leaves, transfer postings of all officers and officials of excise, taxation and Narcotics Control department to achieve the tax revenue target. Additionally, the working hours of the excise officers have been increased, requiring them to work seven days a week.

In this regard, Sindh Senior Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon stated that the government is determined to strengthen its efforts against drugs and improve its tax collection procedures. The establishment of the Rapid Response Unit is an important step towards achieving these objectives. He said that by working round-the-clock, the Rapid Response Unit would ensure swift and effective action against narcotics.

(CITY) Lincoln Corner PACC hosts event to address global concern of terrorism, violent extremism

In a bid to address the pressing global concern of terrorism and violent extremism, a session titled “Breaking Barriers: Empowering Communities against Terrorism and Violent Extremism” was convened at Lincoln Corner PACC.

According to a statement issued on Wednesday, hosted by the President of PUAN, Dr. Farhan Essa, the event welcomed esteemed guests and panelists, marking a crucial step towards fostering dialogue and solutions in the fight against extremism. Acknowledging the initiative undertaken by the US Department to combat terrorism and violent extremism through educational and exchange programs, Dr. Essa expressed gratitude for providing Pakistani youth and professionals with opportunities to engage with global policies.

The session featured three distinguished guest speakers who shared insights and perspectives on the multifaceted nature of extremism and terrorism.

Syed Javed Sadiq, former Director of Public Affairs ( Universal Nexus for Interfaith Trust) and Engagement (UNITE) underscored the global dimensions of extremism, delving into its underlying factors such as socio-economic disparities and individual attitudes.

Marvi Awan, human rights activist distinguished between extremism as a thought and terrorism as an action, emphasizing the crucial role of education and community engagement in fostering tolerance and acceptance of diversity among children. She advocated for the implementation of counseling programs at all educational levels to counter violent and extremist behaviors.

Shehla Qureshi, AIGP, emphasized the importance of community empowerment and individual vigilance in combating terrorism. Highlighting the challenges faced by law enforcement agencies, she stressed the need for community initiatives, neighborhood surveillance, and solidarity programs to mitigate the threat of terrorism and violent extremism.

Fareyha Fatima, Alumni Coordinator US Consulate Karachi, inspired guest speakers’ talk and appreciated Pak US Alumni Karachi Chapter’s efforts to eliminate/ reduce terrorism and violence in the society.

A panel discussion further explored various aspects of counterterrorism strategies and community resilience. Mr. Rana Asif, president Human Development Foundation highlighted the vulnerability of street children to terrorist indoctrination, attributing it to domestic violence and exploitation in Madrassah institutions.

Addressing the role of education in combating extremism, Mr. Veerji Kohli, special assistant to CM Sindh lamented the negative influences of certain syllabi and political agendas, advocating for progressive thinking to counter regressive ideologies.

Syed Hussain Haider emphasized the importance of a proactive approach towards counterterrorism, citing the example of Malaysia’s success in overcoming poverty through education and progressive thinking.

Dr. Qudsia, a clinical psychologist, shed light on the psychological factors contributing to extremism, advocating for psychological screening at all levels of education to identify and address early signs of radicalization.

Nisha, Pakistan’s first transgender lawyer, highlighted the marginalization and discrimination faced by the transgender community, stressing the need for equal access to education and healthcare services.

The session concluded with a call for concerted efforts from all stakeholders to address the root causes of terrorism and violent extremism, reaffirming the importance of education, community engagement, and proactive measures in building resilient communities.

Sindh to fight raw material bandits, tells Memon

Sindh Senior Minister Sindh Sharjeel Inam Memon said Tuesday that the Sindh government will buy weapons to fight the raw material bandits, and modern weapons will be delivered to the police as soon as possible.

While talking to the media in Karachi, Sindh Senior Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon has said that Operations against dacoits are ongoing in Katcha. Police and Rangers are jointly conducting these operations. Even now, Rangers are present where there is a need. The dacoits have modern weapons, and the Sindh government has written a letter to the federal government requesting modern weapons.

He said that President Asif Zardari has addressed various issues of law and order in his recent meeting, emphasizing that his first priority is to end the scourge of drugs. Serious actions are being taken against drug trafficking and abuse, as drugs have infiltrated different sectors of society. Drugs are being supplied to innocent children in educational institutions, making them addicts.

The government cannot sit idly by and is committed to combating this crisis. Sharjeel Inam Memon said that Operations against drugs have been initiated by the Excise Department, with additional operations being carried out by the police. The Chief Minister of Sindh, the Home Minister, and the IG Sindh are also providing assistance. We are conducting operations wherever necessary and have already arrested many drug dealers.

He said that currently, crystal meth and ice are dangerous drugs present in society. People using these drugs are like suicide bombers for the community, capable of unpredictable and concerning reactions. We are doing our utmost to prevent drug abuse. Operations are taking place not only in the cities but also at various joint checkpoints.

The Excise Police have been strictly instructed to remain vigilant and to take this issue seriously. Sharjeel Inam Memon said that we urge parents to take any changes in their children’s behavior seriously. We will conduct random drug tests in schools. If any child tests positive, we will inform the parents while respecting their privacy, and inquire about the source of the drugs from the child.

He said that A drug dealer has been apprehended in Clifton, Karachi, who was involved in supplying drugs to schools, colleges, and affluent areas. Substantial evidence has been uncovered from his mobile device, leading to the identification of prominent individuals. However, our primary objective is drug prevention, not defamation.

Memon said that we are planning to enhance the capacity of the Narcotics Control Wing of the Excise Department, and the Sindh Chief Minister has pledged support in this endeavor. We are striving to ensure its success. As long as the PPP government is in power, the anti-drug operation will persist, and no individual will be exempted. We urge the media to assist us in this endeavor. The fight against drugs is not the responsibility of one person alone; it requires collective efforts from everyone. He said that the Sindh government will establish rehabilitation centers for the treatment of drug addicts.