Pakistan to Establish 10 New IT Parks by Next Year, Government Announces

Islamabad, The Pakistani government has announced plans to establish ten new Software Technology Parks across the nation by next year, aiming to boost the country’s IT sector and facilitate startups. During a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, the Ministry of Information Technology detailed the development of these parks, which will include various facilities to support technological innovation and entrepreneurship.

According to Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the briefing revealed that the Islamabad IT Park, aided by South Korean cooperation, is expected to be completed next year. Additionally, another IT park near Jinnah International Airport in Karachi is scheduled for completion by 2027 with South Korean collaboration. The government also plans to set up 100 new e-employment centers by next year to foster job creation in the technology sector. The existing network includes 43 software technology parks spread across 29 cities.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Seeks to Implement Provincial Excise Duty on Tobacco

Peshawar, In a meeting with officials from Pakistan Tobacco Company, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Finance Advisor Muzamil Aslam discussed plans to impose a provincial excise duty on tobacco, a move that could shift revenue control from the federal to the provincial government. This development comes amid discussions on increasing tobacco cess for development purposes within the province.

According to Directorate General Information and PRs – Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the finance advisor emphasized that the right to collect excise duty on tobacco traditionally belongs to the province but has been managed by the federal government as federal excise duty. The proposed shift aims to rectify this by introducing a bill to enforce provincial excise duty on tobacco products soon. The delegation from Pakistan Tobacco Company raised concerns about potential double taxation that could affect the industry due to this change.

During the meeting, Advisor Aslam also mentioned that the revenues from the increased tobacco cess would be allocated to developmental projects in the region, while funds from the new excise duty would specifically benefit the health sector. He highlighted the disparity in the current system where tobacco revenue generated in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is utilized in other provinces, describing it as an injustice that needs correction following the eighteenth amendment.

Naseerabad Commissioner Prioritizes Healthcare Enhancements at Rural Health Center

Naseerabad, Commissioner Tariq Qamar Baloch visited the Rural Health Center in Manjho Shouri, which was impacted by recent flooding, to assess recovery efforts and improvements in healthcare services. His visit focused on accelerating the restoration work and enhancing the facility’s environment and medical supplies, particularly for seasonal health risks.

According to Directorate General Public Relation – Govt of Balochistan, Dr. Tariq Abdullah, the in-charge of the Rural Health Center, briefed Commissioner Baloch on the ongoing restoration activities. The Commissioner instructed the completion of these works swiftly and suggested landscaping improvements, including grass planting and other plantations, to provide not only medical care but also comfortable, shaded areas for patients and visitors coming from distant areas.

During his visit, Commissioner Baloch also reviewed the medical inventory at the center, emphasizing the urgent need to stock vaccines for snake and dog bites, which are prevalent during the current season. He issued directives to ensure an ample supply of these critical vaccines to prevent the community from facing health crises related to these hazards.

Furthermore, Commissioner Baloch urged the medical staff to prioritize the availability of season-specific medicines and to embrace their role as caregivers, reminding them that serving the community should be their foremost commitment.

Jhal Magsi District Health Review Spotlights Medicine Shortages and Accountability

Jhal Magsi, In a concerted effort to address healthcare challenges, Deputy Commissioner Syed Rehmatullah Shah chaired the monthly review meeting of the District Health Committee in Jhal Magsi. The focus of the discussion was on the critical shortage of medicines and the improvement of healthcare services across the district’s health facilities.

According to Directorate General Public Relation – Govt of Balochistan, the meeting brought together key health officials including District Health Director Dr. Rukhsana Magsi, District Support Manager PPHI Tanveer Ahmad Bilidi, and other important stakeholders. They examined the current state of health services, particularly the availability of medicines and the functionality of health units such as Basic Health Units (BHUs), Community Dispensaries (CDs), District Headquarters (DHQs), and Rural Health Centres (RHCs).

Deputy Commissioner Shah emphasized the provincial government’s commitment to providing free medical care and medicines to the impoverished segments of society. He instructed health department officials to promptly compile a comprehensive report detailing the staffing levels, available drugs, and the status of health centers and ongoing projects. Furthermore, an inspection committee will be established to monitor and report on the quality of medicines provided at private clinics and medical stores.

The Deputy Commissioner urged all health personnel to avoid complacency and approach their duties with the utmost dedication and efficiency. He stressed the importance of immediate medical response and courteous service to ensure that patients receive the best possible care.

Quetta School Marks World Biodiversity Day with Educational Ceremony

Quetta, A ceremony commemorating World Biodiversity Day was held at a private school in Hazara Town, organized by the Ten Billion Trees Tsunami Program Wildlife Component Balochistan. The event featured discussions led by local conservationists and educators, focusing on the urgent need to preserve biodiversity amidst accelerating environmental changes.

According to Directorate General Public Relation – Govt of Balochistan, the ceremony was attended by several dignitaries including Project Director and Conservator Quetta Civil Division Niaz Khan Kakar, MOCC and EC Islamabad Wildlife Monitoring Officer Dr. Nadeem Manwar, and other wildlife and biodiversity specialists. They addressed a large gathering of school teachers and students, emphasizing the importance of educating the younger generation about biodiversity.

Speakers at the event highlighted the critical situation facing many of Earth’s species, with Niaz Khan Kakar noting that a significant portion of known species have already become extinct due to environmental changes. He pointed out that while there are approximately 14 million species worldwide, only 1.2 million have been identified and much remains unknown about the vast majority. The ongoing loss of species without identification threatens to disrupt the evolutionary process and impede our understanding of biodiversity’s role in human and societal needs.

The event also included the distribution of shields, a symbolic walk, and a tree-planting session by the participants, underscoring the call to action for more tree planting and proactive conservation efforts to combat the effects of climate change on the natural environment.

Canadian High Commissioner Discusses Economic Reforms with Pakistan’s Finance Minister

Islamabad, The Canadian High Commissioner to Pakistan, H.E Ms. Leslie Scanlon, met with Pakistan’s Minister for Finance and Revenue, Senator Muhammad Aurangzeb, to discuss ongoing economic reforms and future engagements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The meeting highlighted the successful completion of Pakistan’s nine-month Stand-By Arrangement with the IMF and the government’s priority reform areas aimed at enhancing the country’s economic stability.

According to Ministry of Finance, Minister Aurangzeb detailed the government’s efforts in improving the tax-to-GDP ratio, digitalization, and administrative reforms. He also discussed the privatization of State-Owned Enterprises, including Pakistan International Airlines, and the reconstitution of DISCO boards with private sector experts to boost efficiency. The Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) was also highlighted as a key initiative to streamline investment processes. High Commissioner Scanlon acknowledged these efforts and reiterated the Canadian government’s commitment to supporting Pakistan’s socio-economic development.

Pakistani Prime Minister Meets Iran’s Supreme Leader to Offer Condolences

Islamabad, Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif traveled to Iran to attend the funeral of the Iranian President Dr. Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, both victims of a recent tragic helicopter accident. During his visit, the Prime Minister met with Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, to express condolences and discuss the continuation of strong bilateral relations between Pakistan and Iran.

According to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prime Minister Sharif praised the late President Raisi’s leadership and his efforts towards uniting the Muslim Ummah and supporting the people of Gaza, noting these contributions as historically significant. He also acknowledged the late Foreign Minister’s role in regional peace efforts. The visit underscored Pakistan’s commitment to maintaining and strengthening the bonds of friendship with Iran, highlighting the mutual desire to foster peace and cooperation between the two nations.