Ex-AJK PM Sardar Tanveer moves court for post-arrest bail

Former prime minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Sardar Tanveer Ilyas Khan on Monday moved the court for post-arrest bail.

Yesterday, the former prime minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Sardar Tanveer Ilyas Khan, was arrested in a case related to an attack on a company’s office.

As per details, the plea was filed in session court seeking post-arrest bail in the case registered at Margalla Police Station. The plea stated that an agreement has been finalised between both the parties, hereby the court is urged to accept the bail plea.

According to sources, he is accused of trying to seize the central offices and important documents of Centaurus Mall. The First Information Report (FIR) was filed by Colonel (retd) Tipu Sultan, Deputy Security In-charge of The Centaurus Mall, naming Sardar Tanveer Ilyas, Muhammad Ali, Anil Sultan, Rizwan, and other unknown individuals as accused.

As per the FIR, the ex-AJK premiere, accompanied by an armed group of 20 to 25 individuals, entered office 1708 of Centaurus Mall by breaking the lock, with intentions to take control of the premises.

However, their attempt was thwarted by the vigilant security guards. Sardar Tanveer allegedly issued threats to kill Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan and Sardar Dr Rashid Ilyas Khan, along with their colleagues.

The FIR further states that these individuals subjected the security officer to physical assault, and upon receiving information about the incident, law enforcement officials arrived at the scene, where Sardar Tanveer allegedly fired at Colonel (retd) Tipu Sultan, narrowly missing him.

Authorities in close coordination with WHO curbing dengue outbreak in Turbat region

The provincial and local health authorities in close coordination with WHO are busy to curb the outbreak of dengue disease in Turbat area of Balochistan, a report said on Monday.

According to the report, from May 16th to 18th, the relevant DHO, along with the DHMT, visited 16 health facilities including CD Sharak, RHC Sami, BHU Hirronk, RHC Hoshab, BHU Balgatar, BHU Nodiz, RahC Nasirabad, RHC Nizrabad, BHU Khairabad, BHU Hotabad, RHC Thump, BHU Redeeg, RHC Soro Mand, BHU Bullo, and BHU Guburud, where they inquired about the dengue cases and sensitized the staff regarding the current dengue situation.

On May 1st, the DHO briefed all the councilors of District Kech during the district council budget session. On May 2nd, dengue was brought under control in UC Jussak. From May 8th onwards, WHO, VBD, NIH, and PDSRU trained 73 healthcare providers in Turbat on larviciding, outbreak investigation, disease surveillance, and data reporting.

From May 9th to 12th, WHO trained 84 volunteers of NRSP with the support of DHMT and deployed them in UC Absor and Jussak where they have so far visited 4954 houses in which 411 houses were found to be positive for larvae. In total, 15,134 water containers have been searched, in which 1031 containers were found larva positive and were sanitized on the spot.

On May 13th, DHMT and WHO jointly conducted an awareness session in Nursing College Turbat. The DHO visited UC Shahitump and investigated the dengue outbreak there.

On May 14th, the DHO Kech was summoned by the Chief Justice of Balochistan, where the DHO briefed the Chief Justice of Balochistan on the dengue outbreak.

From May 14th to 16th, the DHO conducted a three-day anti-dengue drive in UC Shahithump, during which teams visited 504 houses where they found larvae of dengue in 29 houses. During this campaign, 705 water containers were checked, of which 68 were found larva positive.

The DHO and his team have been closely coordinating with the Teaching Hospital Turbat and private hospitals in the affected area.

The DHO Office Kech informed the Health Secretary and the DG Office about the dengue cases that started appearing in Turbat in the month of Marchi. Subsequently, the Secretary and DG Office dispatched teams from WHO and VBD (Vector Borne Disease) Program, Balochistan) to Gwadar on March 27th and 28th, where they provided training on larviciding and case management to the Gwadar and Turbat district health management teams, doctors, and paramedics (10 doctors and 10 paramedics from each district). During the same month, the DHMT( District Health Management team) team from Kech conducted the spray of 76 areas of district Kech.

On March 29th, teams from WHO and VBD arrived in Turbat, where they investigated the affected areas (UC Jussak and UC Absor). Following their investigation, they indicated that the main source of dengue prevalence was stored water in containers, open water storage tanks, and leftover water containers in the houses. The same day, the DHO, WHO, and VBD jointly released a video message for public awareness.

On April 2nd, the DHO office wrote a letter to the DC office to convene a dengue committee where all line departments were summoned to ensure their involvement in the anti-dengue campaign. The DHO informed the people of Turbat about the situation of dengue and the preventive and safety measures through a video message.

On April 3rd, the DHO engaged LHWs for a door-to-door campaign of larviciding and awareness sessions, covering more than 3500 houses in UC Absor and 450 houses in UC Jussak.

On April 4th, under the supervision of the DHO and the mayor of Turbat city, a joint meeting was conducted with the councilors of affected UCs. They were called upon to make awareness campaigns based on the recommendation of the WHO and VBD teams.

Furthermore, on April 5th, the DC of Kech chaired the anti-dengue committee meeting in Turbat in which all line departments were directed to participate in the anti-dengue campaign.

On April 6th, the DHO chaired the meeting of the DHMT and assigned them tasks regarding their role in the anti-dengue campaign.

From April 7th to 12th, the DHMT supervised LHWs, malaria supervisors, and WHO staff for dengue to continue their role in the anti-dengue campaign.

On April 11th (second day of Eid), a medical camp was organized with the help of PPHI to cover the Eid holidays, and the laboratory of Teaching Hospital Turbat was kept open during the holidays.

On April 13th, a 20-bedded isolation ward was established in Teaching Hospital Turbat for dengue patients. On the same day, with the support of PPHI, a medical camp was arranged in BHU Jussak.

On April 15th, the second meeting of the District Dengue Committee was conducted in the DC office of Turbat, where the progress of the anti-dengue campaign was reviewed. The DHO also conducted an awareness session on dengue in Madrassa Ashraf ul Madaris at UC Absor, where the DHO met with the religious scholars of UC Absor, and he instructed them to raise dengue awareness during Friday sermons.

From April 16th to 22nd, teams from PDSRU came to Turbat where they visited the affected areas, investigated the situation, and monitored anti-dengue activities, and submitted their findings, report, and recommendations to the DHO office, DG office, and Secretary of Health office. On the same day, the DHMT organized a meeting with the community of UC Absor where they were briefed and given awareness.

On April 18th, the DHMT conducted a seminar in UC Absor where people and local councilors were briefed about the situation of dengue and were advised to increase their anti-dengue efforts. On the same day, the DHO briefed the Divisional Health Director of Makran about the dengue situation and attended a live Q and A session on Radio Pakistan Turbat about dengue.

On April 19th, the DHO met with the Commissioner of Makran and advised him to conduct a seminar regarding dengue awareness. Furthermore, a door-to-door anti-dengue spray campaign was initiated, during which approximately 4000 houses have been covered by the DHMT so far. The DHO office received 10,000 bed nets from PDMA Balochistan.

On April 20th, the DHO briefed the DC office regarding dengue. Also, the DHMT started awareness sessions in government and private schools of UC Absor, UC Jussak, UC Sarikan, Kallak, and other areas of Turbat.

On April 21st, the DHO gave an awareness session to community elders in UC Absor. On the same day, the DHO provided training to UCMOs (Union Council Monitoring Officers) of Tehsil Turbat. On April 22nd, the DHO provided an awareness session to the representatives of different political parties.

On April 23rd, an awareness session was conducted in the Circuit House Turbat in the presence of the Commissioner of Makran. On April 24th, the DHO conducted a meeting with the members of the private schools association and briefed them about the situation of dengue and instructed them to conduct dengue awareness sessions in their schools. The DHO office also received green sheds (for covering open water tanks) from PDMA Balochistan.

On April 25th, a third meeting under the supervision of the DC of Kech was conducted in which all line departments including personnel from police and FC, VC of Turbat University, Principal of Makran Medical College, and councilors of the affected areas participated. They were briefed by the DHO Turbat about the situation of dengue in the district. Additionally, the DC of Kech gave a press briefing on dengue.

From April 26th to 28th, the District Health Management Committee monitored the anti-dengue spray campaign. On April 29th, the DHO briefed the DC on the dengue situation.

Fowzia inaugurates Dr Aafia Siddiqui Park in Model Colony

Global Aafia Movement chairperson and noted neurophysician of the country Dr Fowzia Siddiqui here inaugurated Dr Aafia Siddiqui Park in Model Colony Malir.

Model Town Chairman Zafar Ahmad Khan, UC-1 Chairman Taufiq Ahmed Siddiqui, UC-5 Chairman Muhammad Talha Khan and Jamaat-e-Islami local leader Arif Ahmed Roheela and others were also present, according to a statement issued today.

A large number of people including women were present to greet Dr Fowzia Siddiqui. They expressed dismay over delay in the release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui. They raised slogans in her favour and demanded from the government to take steps for her early release.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Fowzia Siddiqui said that naming this park after Aafia Siddiqui shows that people of Pakistan love the daughter of the nation, Aafia Siddiqui. She said she will leave soon for the USA to meet Aafia in jail and she will tell her that the people of Pakistan love her. She said she would show the pictures of this park to Aafia if the jail administration permitted.

She said if our leadership also shows the same spirit as displayed by the people, Aafia could be released within a few days, and also all the problems of the country could be resolved.

She said she is thankful to Model Town Chairman Zafar Ahmad Khan, UC-5 Chairman Muhammad Talha Khan and local leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami for naming the Women Park as Dr Aafia Siddiqui Park.

Murad focuses on critical environmental drivers of stunting to control it

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the critical environmental drivers of stunting including water, sanitation, hygiene, and the agri-food system are being focused on through effective interventions.

“These interventions have been made through ADP schemes and from the ongoing World Bank projects,” he said on Monday while speaking with World Bank Country Director Mr Najy Benhassine who called on him along with his delegation to discuss the Child Stunting Mission. The meeting was attended by Minister Health Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, acting Chief Secretary Musadqi Ahmad, PSCM Agha Wasif, Chairman P and D Najma Shah, and Secretary Health Agha Wasif. The World Bank delegation members were Economist Ghazaa Mansuri, Senior Health Specialist Ms Hinn Hinn Pyne and Senior Health Expert Ziauddin Hyder.

Murad Shah said that the overall stunting rate in Sindh as assessed by Unicef in its survey of 2014 was 48 per cent. The Sindh government launched the World Bank-assisted Multi-Sectorial Accelerated Action Plan (AAP) in 2017 to reduce stunting from 48 per cent to 30 per cent by 2021 and then further reduction up to 15 per cent by 2026,” he said and added that the stunting rate has started coming down from 48 per cent but its assessment could be made through another survey.

Water, sanitation and hygiene: The chief minister and the World Bank team agreed that the provincial government would address environmental drivers of stunting by

expanding access to safely managed water and sanitation. Mr Shah said that the local government and Public Health Engineering department were working to ensure the treatment of drinking water, sewage and effluent.

The chief minister said that the mass rollout of a behavioural change Campaign to shift cultural and behavioural practices was important for which PPHI and the health department were working.

Murad Shah said that the declaration of Open Defecation Free (ODF) Villages was being made through water sources testing for biological and chemical contaminants.

Demos on the construction of household latrines were made in the villages and behaviour change communication campaigns were in progress. He added that his government was working to promote Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS).

The chief minister said that the Public Health Engineering (PHE) department was responsible for rural water and sanitation services. “Now the PHE dept would be directed to focus on small, scattered community-level drinking water schemes with poor geographic targeting,” he said, adding that his party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has already directed him to invest in water treatment. Mr Shah said that under the party’s election manifesto, the Sindh govt has decided to invest in water and sanitation schemes. It has also decided to increase the operation and maintenance (O and M) budget of water and sanitation schemes so that out-of-order schemes could be made functional, including RO plants.

The chief minister said that the Public Health Engineering (PHE) department was responsible for rural water and sanitation services. “Now the PHE dept would be directed to focus on small, scattered community-level drinking water schemes with poor geographic targeting,” he said, adding that his party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has already directed him to invest in water treatment. Mr Shah said that under the party’s election manifesto, Sindh has decided to invest in water and sanitation schemes and increase the operation and maintenance budget so that out-of-order schemes could be made functional, including RO plants.

Health: Discussing the Population, Health and Nutrition- related drivers of Stunting the chief minister decided to strengthen access to and quality of basic preventive/curative healthcare and improve practices related to childcare and feeding. He also decided to further strengthen the ongoing nutritional supplementation only for short-term high-risk situations. The family planning is already in progress.

Discussing the intervention, Murad Shah said that the Outpatient Therapeutic (OPT) Sites and Nutrition Stabilization Centers (NSC) have been established in 23 districts. He added that the treatment of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) cases at Outpatient Therapeutic Sites (OTP) and Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) with Medical Complications at Nutrition Stabilization Centers (NSC) was being carried out.

The patients are provided nutrition commodities (RUFT, MNP, F-75, F-100) and medicines (IFA tabs, Parenteral Iron, Deworm Tabs) to children, Adolescents and Pregnant and Lactating Women (PLWs). Capacity-building training for community-based management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) and Infant young and Child Feeding (IYCF) was being made.

Agri-food sector: To fix the agri-food system the chief minister decided to promote a shift to sustainable and regenerative farming and livestock management, promote crop diversification and livestock productivity to increase access to nutritionally dense and diverse foods for small farmers.

It was also decided to ensure food safety and reduce post-harvest waste and losses.

Talking about the intervention under AAA, the CM said that Asset Distribution was started by providing livestock – five Goats and 10 poultry to each beneficiary household. Provision of Veterinary services in terms of vaccination and drenching twice a year (2 doses) was also carried out and launched awareness regarding nutrition and livestock-improved management practices.

Governor sets up cell for safe return of Pakistanis from Bishkek

In a move to assist with the safe return of Pakistani students from violence-hit Bishkek, a dedicated cell was established in the Governor’s House in Karachi on Monday.

On the special direction of Governor Kamran Tessori, the Kyrgyzstan Victims Cell has been set up in the governor’s house to assist the students still stuck in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

The newly established cell will operate 24/7, in three different shifts, ensuring continuous support under the leadership of Additional Secretary I. The cell is designed to cater to various forms of communication, including requests, calls, emails, and WhatsApp messages from the students’ families, and will ensure the safe return of their loved ones stuck in Bishkek.

The cell will work in close collaboration with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and other related institutions to coordinate and streamline the repatriation process.

Additional Secretary One is tasked with addressing and resolving the problems faced by the students, ensuring they receive timely and effective assistance during this critical period.

Governor Kamran Tessori announced the establishment of the dedicated cell on social media platform X, formerly Twitter, urging parents of the victim to contact the cell on Helpline 1366, Whatsapp No. 03162971504, Landline 02199204748 and Email sindhgovernorcell@hotmail.com

Although GSP plus extended up to 2027, new regulation to come into force much earlier: Envoy

Ambassador of Belgium Charles Delogne has said that although EU’s GSP Plus for Pakistan has been extended for another four years up to 2027 but a new regulation of GSP Plus would come into force much earlier, hence, the business community of Pakistan must make political authorities aware of the fact that Pakistan will have to apply for the new regulation under GSP Plus.

Speaking at a meeting during his farewell visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), the Belgian Envoy said that GSP+ was more than an agreement signed by EU with those countries which were perceived as likeminded on a certain number of issues, including human rights, labor rights and the environment which was extremely important for a country like Pakistan that badly suffers the negative consequences of climate change.

President KCCI Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh, Senior Vice President Altaf A. Ghaffar, Vice President Tanveer Ahmed Barry, Chairman Diplomatic Missions and Embassies Liaison Subcommittee Farooq Afzal, Former President KCCI Majyd Aziz and KCCI Managing Committee Members attended the meeting.

Belgian Envoy further stated that Pakistan was making good use of GSP plus agreement which has made EU the main trade partner of Pakistan. “2023 was the year when bilateral trade between Belgium and Pakistan remained balanced which was very good as Belgium does not contribute to the payment crises being confronted by Pakistan”, he added.

He said, “As a small country, foreign trade is vital for Belgium. Belgian economy survives on importing goods, transforming them by adding maximum value and then to exporting the same which is why foreign trade and free trade are vital for Belgium.”

Earlier, President KCCI Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh, while welcoming the Ambassador, stated that Pakistan remains committed to the complete implementation of the GSP Plus, with exports to the EU surpassing $8 billion in the fiscal year 2023 whereas Belgium emerged as one of the largest export destinations within the EU.

He noted that Pakistan’s exports to Belgium amounted to approximately $405 million during nine months of current fiscal year from July 2023 to March 2024, which fell short of expectations which have to be elevated to a satisfactory level by capitalizing the existing opportunities for boosting trade between the two countries.

He informed that to facilitate and protect foreign investments, the Government of Pakistan has established Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) targeting lucrative sectors including Mining and Minerals, Energy, Agriculture and Livestock, Information Technology, Industry, Tourism and Privatization. “Belgium companies must explore opportunities within these sectors and consider partnering in joint ventures to bolster bilateral trade, exports and economic collaboration.”

He was of the opinion that initiating sector-specific initiatives could kickstart a new chapter in trade and economic relations between the two nations, hence, the private sectors of Belgium and Pakistan must be encouraged to play a pivotal role in this regard. “Pakistan offers tremendous investment and could pursue joint ventures in Agro- food, Power Generation Projects, Oil and Gas Sector, Infrastructure Projects, Textiles, Minerals and Pharmaceuticals for Belgian investors.

He also stressed the need to learn and benefit from Belgian experience in ports and shipping sector which would help Pakistan in enhancing its port capacity through technological advancements, infrastructure improvements and increased efficiency. “To reduce trade barriers, there is a need to simplify customs procedures, enhance ease of doing business, and facilitate SMEs for boosting trade.”

President KCCI said that Pakistan and Belgium must also create institutional linkages in the education sector which would be helpful in capacity building of Pakistan’s universities in addition to offering invaluable learning opportunities to boost their competitiveness at the global stage.

He also identified automobile, chemicals, pharmaceutical, machinery, plastics, food and livestock, textile, iron and steel, metallurgy, glass and paper etc. as potential sectors for joint ventures. “Tourism is another lucrative market for Belgium investors.”

Excise dept decides to establish Rapid Response Force against tax evaders, drug dealers

Provincial Minister for Information, Transport, Excise, Taxation, and Narcotics Control Sharjeel Inam Memon presided over a high-level meeting, in which it was decided to establish a Rapid Response Force within the Excise Department for operations against tax evaders and drug dealers.

While presiding over the meeting, Memon instructed the Excise officials to set up checkpoints to prevent all kinds of drug-smuggling. In the meeting, it was also decided to finalize the SOPs regarding the auction of premium number plates and to commence the issuance of premium number plates immediately after Eid-ul-Azha by the Excise Department.

Memon stated that initially there will be an auction of 7 premium number plates in each category. However, there will be a strict procedure for using these premium number plates, and strict action will be taken against those using fake plates. He said that an event will be held immediately after Eid-ul-Adha regarding the auction of premium number plates, and automobile manufacturing companies will also be invited.

He said that other steps would be taken, including installing machinery to facilitate the production of new and duplicate number plates.

Memon, instructed the officers of the Excise Department to ensure the achievement of various tax targets. It was also decided to end the weekend leave of the officers until the tax targets are achieved. Additionally, in the meeting, it was decided to publish advertisements in newspapers as part of a public awareness campaign regarding taxes.

The meeting was attended by Secretary Excise Saleem Rajput, DG Excise Aurangzeb Panhwar, directors of various departments of the Excise Department, and others.