Consider it an honour if Indians are happy at my exit: DG ISPR

DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor
DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor said on Thursday that he considered it an honour if Indians were happy over his transfer from the post of DG ISPR.

The military spokesperson was speaking to defence reports when he dismissed Indian Prime Minister Modi’s recent remarks against Pakistan.

“Indian leadership says it will destroy Pakistan in 7-10 days,” he said. “I want to tell them that Pakistan Army will always continue to give you [Indians] their surprises.”

The DG ISPR said that no power on earth could defeat a united nation. He said the Indian army couldn’t defeat 800,000 people of occupied Kashmir.

“How will you defeat Pakistan, a nation of 210 million people?” he asked.

The DG ISPR warned India against conducting any misadventure, saying that Pakistan will give an effective response in case of an “imposed war”.

“I said it before, ‘You will start the war but we will end it’,” he said. Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said Pakistan’s civil and military leadership wanted to bring about durable peace in the region.

“The Indian civil and military leadership should also think about peace in the region,” he said, calling on the Indian armed forces to halt atrocities in occupied Kashmir.

The military spokesperson paid tribute to army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, saying that he spearheaded Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad which continued the success of Operation Sherdil and Operation Zarb-e-Azb.

“The army chief took difficult and important decisions to maintain peace in the country,” he said, crediting Gen Bajwa with playing an important role in bringing about religious tolerance and madressah reforms.

He said that Pakistan was proud of its intelligence agencies and paid tribute to the spy agency for maintaining peace in the country and thwarting terrorism.

Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor spoke about the role of the DG ISPR, saying that he could not deviate from the military’s policy.

“A military spokesperson can’t say anything against the institute’s policy,” he said. “As a spokesperson, nothing you say is your personal opinion.”

Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said that the new DG ISPR will assume charge from February 1. He thanked defence reporters, media and Pakistanis who extended their support to the armed forces on social media.

Earlier this month, Pakistan Army announced the posting of its new spokesperson, replacing Major General Asif Ghafoor with Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar as the director-general of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

Maj Gen Ghafoor’s services were transferred to the 40th Infantry Division (Okara), where he will serve as the general officer commanding (GOC).

Not advisable to evacuate Pakistani citizens from China: Mirza

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health, Dr Zafar Mirza
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health, Dr Zafar Mirza said that it was not advisable to evacuate Pakistanis from China, saying that the government will demonstrate responsible behaviour and not become a part in spreading the virus.

Dr Mirza said during a press conference that the government of Pakistan stood with its Chinese counterpart and would respect the directions of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Beijing.

“We don’t want to take any emotional decision which will cause this virus to spread further,” he said. “It is also our responsibility to ensure that our citizens in Wuhan are being properly taken care of and see to it whether they are being provided food or items of daily use or not,” he added.

Dr Mirza said the Pakistani embassy in China was providing the government with information about its citizen in Wuhan. He said that it was in the “larger interest of the region” to not evacuate Pakistanis in Wuhan.

“This [decision not to evacuate Pakistanis] is what the WHO is saying and this is what China’s policy is,” he said. “This is also our policy.”

Dr Mirza said that the government will ensure proper checks to keep the coronavirus from spreading when “the situation improves”. He said the government will ensure proper screening at entry, exit points of the country and place under observation those who are at risk of carrying the virus.

He said that a Coronavirus Core Committee had been constituted which included the country’s top health experts. Dr Mirza said the committee provided its recommendations daily and that the situation to tackle the virus was being modified on a daily basis.

Dr Mirza said that the government’s decision not to evacuate its people from Wuhan did not mean that it didn’t care about Pakistani citizens. He said that Islamabad was abreast with the facilities being provided to Pakistani citizens in Wuhan.

“I can show you many messages from Pakistani students in Wuhan who have told us that Chinese authorities are taking very good care of them,” he said.

Dr Mirza said that not a single person in Pakistan had contracted the virus. He said 7,831 people had contracted the disease and 170 had been killed. The prime minister’s adviser on health said only four Pakistani citizens in China had contracted the virus.

“That number remains at four. It has not increased,” he said.

He appreciated the policies of the WHO, saying that Pakistan and China were both members of the global body. He said that the WHO had not recommended any member countries to evacuate their citizens from Wuhan, from where the disease had spread.

Dr Mirza credited China with effectively tackling the virus and said that not only Pakistan but countries around the world were appreciating measures taken by the Chinese government.

Decisions show PM’s strong association with country and nation: Firdous Ashiq

Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan
Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan says Prime Minister Imran Khan has laid solid foundation of public relief.

In a series of tweets on Thursday, she said no government could make difficult decisions in the past. She said difficult decisions show Imran Khan’s strong association with the country and the nation.

The Special Assistant said Prime Minister Imran Khan’s bold decisions will bring about change and resolve problems facing the country for 71 years.

She said progress of Balochistan is the progress of Pakistan.

She said bringing them at par with people of other parts of the country is the vision of the Prime Minister.

Five terrorists killed, two Soldiers martyred in North Waziristan operation: ISPR

Five terrorists killed, two Soldiers martyred in North Waziristan operation: ISPR
The Security Forces conducted an Intelligence Based Operation (IBO) against a terrorist hideout in Dattakhel area of North Waziristan, the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.

The ISPR said that the Security Forces killed five terrorists in the Operation.

However, two Soldiers Sepoy Muhammad Shamim and Sepoy Asad Khan embraced Shahadat (Martyrdom) in the exchange of fire with terrorists.

Sacked provincial members meet PM Imran

Sacked provincial members meet PM Imran
Former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly members Atif Khan and Shahram Khan Tarakai, who were sacked from the provincial cabinet, called on Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Both Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders had their first meeting with PM Imran following their dismissal as ministers. Both leaders discussed about their differences and political issues with Chief Minister Mahmood Khan.

Sources said that Khan and Tarakai apprised the premier about their reservations against the provincial CM, and also said that they have no objection on PM’s decision. PM Imran also assured both axed ministers of his confidence in them.

Meanwhile, PM Imran also expressed his reservation on the media’s promotion about the party’s internal affaris, saying that he had never compromised on party management. He went on to say that it was a difficult decision for him and he never prioritized any personality and took hard decisions.

Govt taking measures to provide security to foreign workers: Interior Minister

Govt taking measures to provide security to foreign workers: Interior Minister
Minister for Interior Brig (retired) Ijaz Ahmad Shah has said government is taking all possible measures to provide security to foreign workers.

He was talking to a delegation of British Airways led by Deputy High Commissioner Richard Crowder in Islamabad.

The Minister said it will also help to improve Pakistan’s image at the international level and give positive message to the world.

He also expressed hope that the flight operations can also expand to other cities as well.

The delegation lauded the arrangements of security measures by the government to help their operations in Pakistan.

The British Airways had resumed their flights in Pakistan in June last year.

Pak-Africa Trade Conference Kicks Off in Nairobi

Pak-Africa Trade Conference
The two-day Pakistan-Africa Trade Development Conference is set to kick off at the Kenyatta International Convention Center in Nairobi, Kenya.

The conference is being hosted jointly by Pakistan and Kenya and will also be attended by dignitaries from other African States.         

The Conference will provide an important opportunity for Pakistani and African businesses to interface, identify the areas for enhanced engagement, and develop proposals for customized economic collaboration.         

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Advisor to the Prime Minister for Commerce, Trade and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood will address the Inaugural Session.

During the visit, the Foreign Minister will also hold meetings with the Kenyan leadership including Cabinet Secretaries for Foreign Affairs & International Trade, African Community and Northern Corridor Development.

Governor, opposition have no role in IG’s appointment: Wahab

Sindh Chief Minister's Adviser on Information, Law, and Anti-Corruption Murtaza Wahab
The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) said Wednesday the governor and opposition had no role in appointing the new inspector-general (IG) of police for Sindh.

The statement comes a day after the federal government urged the chief minister to appoint Sindh’s top cop after consulting Governor Imran Ismail.

Speaking to the media, Sindh Chief Minister’s Adviser on Information, Law, and Anti-Corruption Murtaza Wahab expressed disappointment over the federal government’s move to backtrack from appointing a new Sindh IG.

Wahab said the federal government was provided three names by the Sindh government at first and later, two, for the post of Sindh IG. The consultation process between the federal government and Sindh had started on December 23, 2019, he added.

“We were told that the prime minister was in Davos and that he would resolve the issue [of the new IG’s appointment] as soon as he returns to the country,” said Wahab.

‘Matter had ended’

He said all five names proposed by the Sindh government were discussed during a one-on-one meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah. The meeting had ended on a positive note after both signed off on one name for the post of Sindh’s top cop, he added.

“For Sindh government, the matter had ended [with the PM Imran-CM Murad meeting] as one name had been finalised between the federal and provincial governments,” he said.

The matter had become a bone of contention between the federal and Sindh governments over the past couple of months.

Sindh wished to remove IG Dr Kaleem Imam, saying his performance was unsatisfactory. The centre, on the other hand, had snubbed the provincial government by saying Imam would continue to serve as IGP until further notice.

On Monday, PM Imran had held a meeting with CM Shah on the new IG’s appointment. Both, according to media reports, had agreed to appoint Mushtaq Mehar as Sindh’s top police cop. On Tuesday, however, the centre had announced the decision to appoint the new IG had been delayed.

During his press conference, Wahab claimed the Sindh government was taken aback when Dr Imam, while speaking at an event on Tuesday, had said “he was going nowhere and if he does, he will move to a higher post”.

“When the media asked us questions [about Dr Imam’s statement], we told them that the consultation between the federal and provincial governments was over,” he said.

Wahab said it was disappointing to see how the federal government backtracked on its promise when the prime minister’s special assistant, Firdous Ashiq Awan, had announced that the decision to appoint the new IG had been delayed.

Hope for new IG

Wahab further said the Sindh government believed in the rule of law and had been elected by the people. The governor and opposition had no role in the new IG’s appointment, he added.

The adviser said the Sindh chief minister was a representative of the people and it was his constitutional right to change the police chief if he deemed so.

Wahab expressed hope that the new IG will be appointed along the lines of the consultations held during the January 27 meeting between the prime minister and the chief minister

Govt kicks off process to privatise public institutions: Awan

Minister for Privatisation Mohammad Mian Soomro and Secretary Privatisation Commission Rizwan Malik, and Firdous Ashiq Awan
The government is initiating a programme to privatise a number of public institutions to make them profitable, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan told the media on Wednesday.

Addressing a press conference, flanked by Minister for Privatisation Mohammad Mian Soomro and Secretary Privatisation Commission Rizwan Malik, Awan said that Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) laws and court orders are going to be kept in mind in the process of privatisation, as per Prime Minister Imran Khan’s 2018 vision.

Addressing the press conference, Soomro said, “A strategic cell (for privatisation) has been created in the country after alapse of 10 years. The privatisation commission is based on the prime minister’s 2018 vision.”

“There are five federal government properties in Lahore which will be used to make cheap housing available to the public,” the privatisation minister said.

Both the privatisation minister and secretary said that Pakistan Steel Mills is being turned into a profitable institution once more and the process for its privatisation will be completed by the end of the year. “A legal adviser has been appointed for Pakistan Steel Mills,” Malik said.

The privatisation secretary said that foreign companies are showing growing interest in the current government’s policies.

“The process of privatisation seems slow but we are working as fast as we can to make it happen and at least six institutions will be privatised this year,” Malik said while adding that the Services Hotel Lahore, SME Bank and two power plants are going to be privatised by the year’s end.

“The process of auctioning off underutilised state land is also underway and the money procured from these auctions will be used to pay off the national debt,” the secretary told the media while adding that public land will be used for the public’s benefit.

Briefing the media, Malik said that some institutions that are set to be privatised are not in loss, “but their profitability is not up to market standards”.

PM Imran ‘won’t do his job & agree to an IG’, tweets Bilawal

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari lashed out at Prime Minister Imran on Wednesday by stating that the “PM won’t do his job & agree to an IG” as the federal government delayed appointment of the new Sindh IG.

Taking to Twitter, Bhutto reacted to the federal government’s decision to defer the appointment of the new Sindh IG. Bilawal stated that the prime minister had changed Islamabad IG when “he didn’t obey illegal orders to take action against a poor family”, referring to the incident involving Azam Swati more than a year ago.

“PM changed IG Islamabad as he didn’t obey illegal orders to take action against a poor family who’s cow had dared to stray into a ministers home. After months of deteriorating law and order, on public demand, when the elected representatives of the people of Sindh 1/2,” he tweeted.

“Send 5 names on basis of seniority for a new IG to federal government. PM won’t do his job & agree to an IG. This is another eg of #AikNahiDo Pakistan & the joke that is #NayaPakistan. It would be funny if this did not have such serious consequences for real peoples lives. 2/2”

The stalemate between the federal and Sindh governments continued on Wednesday despite PM Imran and CM Murad’s agreement on appointing Mushtaq Maher the new Sindh IG.

Sindh government spokesperson and Chief Minister’s Law Adviser Murtaza Wahab said during a press conference that Sindh Governor Imran Ismail and the opposition did not have the prerogative to appoint a new IG.

“The legal procedure does not say that the governor is to be consulted with, that is why we want the consultations and decisions to be made between the federal and provincial government,” he said.

The provincial government had decided a couple of weeks ago to remove Sindh’s top police officer, alleging that he was not performing his duties.