Pakistan News

ISLAMABAD: Three lieutenant generals were transferred and posted on Monday, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) announced. Corps Commander Peshawar Lt Gen Faiz Hameed was appointed Bahawalpur corps commander, replacing Lt Gen Khalid Zia, who has been appointed the military secretary GHQ. Military Secretary Lt Gen Sardar Hassan Azhar Hayat has been appointed as the Peshawar corps commander.
Gen Faiz Hameed’s transfer is a bit surprising as he had served less than a year as Peshawar corps commander. Earlier, he had served as the director general of Inter-Services Intelligence, where he unnecessarily got embroiled in a controversy over the then prime minister Imran Khan’s refusal to post him out from ISI.
Gen Hameed had remained involved in striking a deal with the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, as well as in Afghan affairs, both as head of the ISI and as Peshawar corps commander.
With his latest posting, it appears he has been taken off from the overall Afghan and TTP-related matters.

Four soldiers were martyred in a suicide blast at a military convoy in the Mir Ali area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s North Waziristan district, the military’s media affairs wing said on Tuesday.
The martyred soldiers have been identified as 22-year-old Lance Naik Shahzaib, a resident of Mansehra, 26-year-old Lance Naik Sajjad, hailing from Ghizer, 25-year-old sepoy Umair, a resident of Kohat and 30-year-old sepoy Khurram, a resident of Narowal.
According to a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), intelligence agencies have commenced investigations to find out details about the suicide bomber who carried out the attack and his handlers and facilitators.
The “Pakistan Army is determined to eliminate the menace of terrorism and such sacrifices of our brave soldiers will not go unpunished,” the ISPR said.
Attacks on security forces and clashes with suspected terrorists in the North Waziristan tri­bal district have become quite frequent in recent months.
On July 4, at least 10 security personnel were injured when a suicide bomber attacked a convoy of security forces in the area.
Officials said at the time that the convoy was going from Mirali to Miramshah, the district headquarters, when the suicide bomber, who was on a motorcycle, blew himself up near one of the vehicles.
On May 30, a suicide bom­ber riding a motorcycle att­acked another convoy of security forces in the Razmak area, injuring two soldiers and two children.

Muharram 9 mourning processions are being taken out countrywide amid strict security arrangements, with mobile phone services suspended in some areas under a comprehensive security plan devised by law enforcement agencies to prevent any untoward incident.

The Sindh government last week imposed a ban on the use of helicams or drones for video recording by media channels during processions and majalis from Muharram 8 (Aug 7) to 10 (Aug 9).
Similarly, the administration in Islamabad has imposed an emergency in all hospitals of the capital whereas 2,200 police officials have been deployed during today’s procession.

Peshawar police have cited serious security threats to processions. However, they said all-out measures to ensure complete security cover to the procession have been taken.
The main procession in the metropolis commenced from Nishtar Park this noon, will go through Mehfil-i-Shah-i-Khorasan and end at Hussainian Iranian Imambargah in Kharadar.
According to a Sindh police spokesperson, as many as 5,313 policemen have been deployed for security and monitoring of the main routes of the central procession.
Snipers of the Special Security Unit have also been deployed along procession routes.
The spokesperson added that 1,000 traffic policemen had been deputed to ensure the smooth flow of traffic on alternative routes/roads.
The Sindh Police also urged citizens to keep a strict vigil on suspicious people and inform the police through its helpline in case of any emergency.
The main procession in Lahore commenced from Pando Street, Islampura, and will culminate at the same street after passing through the designated route.
The procession reached its first destination at Siraj Building Chowk via Alamgir Road where mourners performed Zuhr prayers.
Afterwards, the procession will pass through Islampura’s main market, Neli Bar Chowk and Civil Secretariat before reaching Old Anarkali in the evening where the mourners will make a brief stopover to perform Maghrib prayers.
The procession will culminate at Pando Street at around midnight after going through designated routes.
The main procession of Muharram 9 in Quetta emerged from Imambargah Nasirul Aza after Zuhr prayer and will end at the same venue after passing through its traditional routes.
DIG Police Quetta Fida Hussain Shah told a press conference earlier in the day that there were a total of 57 imambargahs in the city, of which 24 were highly sensitive and 23 were sensitive.
More than 5,000 police and FC personnel have been deployed in the city, while business centers located along procession routes will remain shut on Muharram 9 and 10.
The senior officer said cellular services will also remain suspended from 6am to 12pm in various areas.
The main procession in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa capital emerged from Imambargah Hussainia Hall at 10am and the mourners briefly stopped in the Kali Bari area to perform Zuhr prayers.
The procession will pass through its traditional routes and culminate at Imambargah Hussainia.
SSP Operations Peshawar, Kashif Aftab Abbasi, said there were strong security threats at procession routes, adding that the police had adopted comprehensive measures to guard mourners.
More than 11,000 police officers have been deployed across the city, he said in a statement.
He said over 1,000 personnel had been stationed at the city’s Saddar area alone for the procession’s security today.
Islamabad Capital Police Chief Dr Akbar Nasir Khan said the central control room for monitoring processions had been established at the Safe City Islamabad.
He said cellular services will remain suspended in some areas due to security reasons.
Strict vigilance should be maintained to ensure that security measures are in place by the police and standard operating procedures issued by the government are being followed, the IGP said, adding that the bomb disposal squad would conduct checking of routes through robots and modern technology while entry of participants in the procession would be ensured only after complete checking.

ISLAMABAD: A key legal hitch in the way of next general elections has been removed as the polls watchdog issued final lists of national and provincial assembly constituencies, bringing down the total number of National Assembly seats from the existing 342 to 336.
Under the 25th Amendment, the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) were merged with Khyber Pakhtun­khwa pro­vince. The amendment abolished 12 NA seats of Fata and allocated six seats to KP on the basis of population. As a result, the number of general seats in the lower house of parliament came down to 266 from 272.
The fresh delimitation will now give effect to the amendment.
Women and minority seats will remain unchanged at 60 and 10, respectively.
As for provinces, Punjab will have 141 general seats in NA, Sindh 61, KP 45, and Balo­c­h­­istan 16. Islamabad will have three seats.
Fata’s 12 seats abolished, KP given six more; PPP finds fault with watchdog’s exercise
Under Article 51(5) of the Constitution and Section 17 of the Elections Act 2017, delimitation was conducted on the basis of population determined in the last census.
The ECP had cited legal hitches in conducting the elections before October, including the absence of delimitation, in case the National Assembly was dissolved by the then ruling PTI, inviting scathing criticism from the party.
‘Flawed’ census
Following the publication of final delimitation lists for 266 national and 593 provincial assembly constituencies by the ECP, the PPP rejected the exercise carried out on the basis of “flawed” census.
In charge of the party’s Central Election Cell Senator Taj Haider said delimitation could not be done on the basis of “faulty and controversial population figures”.
He said the Council of Common Interests (CCI) had accepted that the figures obtained in Census 2017 were incorrect and while validating the provisional figures in spite of Sindh’s dissenting vote had ordered a fresh census which was to be concluded before December 31, 2022.
“It is an irony that the controversial part of the CCI decision is being followed and the agreed part of conducting a fresh census is being ignored on various excuses. Such un­­fair tactics remain unwise and counter-productive. As we have seen these give rise to many more short-term and long-term problems and divisive controversies rather than amicably solving existing problems,” he remarked.

A Lahore zoo is auctioning off a dozen lions to private collectors next week to free up space for a pride that won’t stop growing.
Lahore Safari Zoo now has so many big cats that their lions and tigers have to take it in turns to access the paddocks, said Tanvir Ahmed Janjua, the zoo’s deputy director.
“Not only will we free up more space here, but our expenses for meat to feed them will also decrease,” he told AFP.
The zoo is currently home to 29 lions, and officials plan an auction on August 11 to sell 12 of them, aged between two and five years old. There are also six resident tigers and two jaguars.
Conservationists are opposed to the sale, with the environmental group WWF saying the creatures should be moved to other established zoos, or breeding females sterilised or given contraceptives.
“Animal exchanges and donations between zoos are a widely accepted practice,” the organisation’s Uzma Khan told AFP.
“Once an institution such as a zoo places a price tag on a wildlife species it is promoting trade — which is counterproductive to conservation,” she added.
Keeping lions, tigers, and other exotic wildlife as pets is not uncommon in Pakistan, and is seen as a status symbol.
Wealthy owners post images and video clips of their big cats on social media, and rent them out as props for movies and photoshoots.
Zoo officials have set a reserve of 150,000 Pakistan rupees ($700) per cat, but hope each will fetch around two million rupees.
Not just anyone can take part in the auction, however.
Janjua said buyers will have to be registered with provincial authorities and show they have the means to provide proper care and shelter for the creatures.
Zoo veterinary officer Muhammad Rizwan Khan told AFP an initial attempt last year to auction lions fell through as potential buyers lacked the necessary documentation or licences.
Keeping lions and tigers in Pakistan is seen as a status symbol. — AFP Nouman Hassan, who fell foul of authorities in the past when he was filmed walking his pet tiger on a leash in Lahore, plans to take part.
“I will try to buy two to three lions for sure,” he told AFP, adding the auction was a good way to diversify the gene pool for private collectors who already owned a big cat.
With little legislation to safeguard animal welfare, zoos across Pakistan are notorious for their poor facilities, but the Lahore Safari Zoo is considered one of the best, set over 200 acres.
In April 2020 a court ordered the only zoo in the country’s capital to shut down after poor facilities and mistreatment of the animals there were revealed.
The facility had drawn international condemnation for its treatment of an Asian elephant named Kaavan, who was later airlifted to retirement in Cambodia in a jumbo project spearheaded by US popstar and actress Cher.
Veterinarian Khan said the animals at Lahore Safari Zoo were being given the best possible care — something reflected in their fecundity.
“They are experiencing a good life in captivity with us,” he said.

Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman on Saturday administered the oath to the newly-elected 21-member provincial cabinet, comprising all PTI members, days after the Supreme Court had declared Parvez Elahi the province’s executive on winning 186 votes in the run-off elections of the Punjab Assembly.
The ceremony was held at the Governor House in Punjab where the newly appointed provincial ministers, clad in sherwanis, were sworn in.
In the new cabinet, the Finance portfolio has been given to Mohsin Leghari; the home and prisons department has been put under the control of retired Col Hashim Dogar; law and parliamentary affairs to Khurram Virk; Dr Yasmin Rashid has been retained as health minister, Raja Yasir Humayun as higher education and IT minister and Murad Raas as school education minister.
Former home and law minister Basharat Raja has been assigned the cooperatives and prosecution portfolio; Asif Nikai has been selected for the excise and taxation department, while Ali Sahi was given the communication and works (C&W) department.
Taimur Malik will lead sports and culture, Ansar Niazi (Labour), Muneeb Cheema (Transport), Shahabuddin Sehar (Livestock), Nawabzada Mansur Khan (Revenue), Jahanian Gardezi (Agriculture), Ghazananfar Abbas Chheena (social welfare), Latif Nazar (Mines and Minerals), Hasnanim Dareshak (Energy and food), Mian Mahmoodur Rasheed (Local Government), Mian Aslam Iqbal (Housing and Industries) and Ali Abbas Shah (Forest and Wildlife). Omar Sarfraz Cheema has been selected as an adviser to chief minister on information.
In the television footage of the ceremony, chants of “Ayi ayi, PTI” (here comes PTI) rung out immediately after the leaders took oath.
The question on who will comprise the Punjab cabinet was finalised during a meeting between PTI chief Imran Khan and Elahi on Thursday.
According to a Dawn report, the names finalised by Imran were handed over to the chief minister’s son, MNA Moonis Elahi.
Moonis had received the list of the proposed first phase 21-member cabinet and assured PTI chairman Imran Khan that he had already given Punjab’s chief ministership to the PML-Q and nothing more was required. He added that Khan told him that the PML-Q parliamentarians would also be inducted into the provincial cabinet in the second phase.

The rupee continued to recover in the interbank market on Thursday, extending its gains against the dollar for the fifth consecutive session.
The local currency closed at Rs226.15, up Rs2.65 or 1.17 per cent, from yesterday’s close, according to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).
In the open market, the dollar was being traded at Rs221 around 4:35pm, according to data shared by the Forex Association of Pakistan (FAP).
A day earlier, the local currency jumped by Rs9.59 or 4.2 per cent in the interbank market — its largest single-day gain in years — to close at Rs228.80.
Fahad Rauf, head of research at Ismail Iqbal Securities, told Reuters that it was the highest rupee rally in both absolute and percentage terms since 1999, according to central bank data.
After two weeks of battering against the dollar, the rupee fell to its lowest level against the dollar on July 28, closing at 239.94. It then started to bounce back from Friday, rising by Rs11.5 till Wednesday.
General Secretary of Exchange Companies Association of Pakistan (Ecap), Zafar Paracha, said one of the reasons for the rupee’s recovery was the lower import bill for July, which was expected to reduce further in August.
“We will not have to import oil [in August] since we have stocks for around two months. The prices of edible oil, pulses, gas and coal have reduced internationally. Thus, the import bill has lowered and the pressure on the rupee has eased.”
Data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Tuesday showed the import bill dropped by 12.81pc to $4.86 billion in July from $5.57bn over the corresponding month of last year. On a month-on-month basis, the import bill dipped by 38.31pc.
Paracha also appreciated the State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) role in this regard. The central bank had been active for the last two to three days and had issued a joint statement with the Ministry of Finance on Sunday stating that there was no danger of default and the country’s financing needs would be more than fully met in the current fiscal year, he noted.
“This has also been helpful. The government authorities have also played a positive role.”
The Ecap secretary general, however, said the rupee was still undervalued and it needed to recover to Rs190 in the short term and Rs160 in the long term. “Nowhere in the region is the dollar as expensive as it is in Pakistan,” he said.
Komal Mansoor, head of research at Tresmark, said exporters had been selling dollars in the ready and forward markets since the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) statement that Pakistan had completed the last prior action required for the review.
“The increased supply, coupled with limited outflows, has further strengthened the rupee,” she commented.

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