Category Archives: Technology

PAK NAVY WINS PARVEZ ABBASI OPEN SHOOTING CHAMPIONSHIP

Pak Navy has won the champions trophy of Parvez Abbasi Open Shooting Championship in Karachi, by securing thirty four gold medals.

Sindh secured second position with five gold medals and PAF third with four gold medals.

Teams from all over the country participated in the three day shooting competition.

Source Radio Pakistan

One Billion Trees Planted in Pakistan’s NW Province

ISLAMABAD � Pakistan’s northwestern province, Khyber Pakhtunkhaw (KPK), has planted an unprecedented 1 billion trees in just more than two years and surpassed an international commitment of restoring 350,000 hectares of forests and degraded land.

The massive effort aims to turn the tide on land degradation and loss in the mountainous, formerly forested KPK, which lies in the Hindu Kush mountain range.

Imran Khan, head of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party governing the province, launched the reforestation campaign, dubbed Billion Tree Tsunami, in 2015.

Goal reached early

The cricket-star-turned politician revealed to VOA that the goal of adding 1 billion trees by planting and natural regeneration has been achieved this month, well ahead of the original deadline of December 2017.

He says his party plans to organize a special event in Islamabad in late August to celebrate the successful completion of the project, and experts as well as foreign diplomats will be invited.

We will show them by coordinates, on Google map you can go and see where these trees have been planted, 1 billion trees, this is now the model for the rest of Pakistan, Khan said.

High deforestation rate

Pakistan is seventh on the list of the countries mostly likely to be affected by global warming and has one of the highest deforestation rates in Asia. Decades of tree felling have reduced the country’s forests to less than 3 percent of its land area. About 40 percent of the remaining forests are in KPK.

Khan hopes his reforestation drive will decrease the effects of global warming and natural disasters like floods that cause devastation in KPK and elsewhere in Pakistan every year.

If you plant trees, we have discovered, by the river banks it sustains the rivers. But most importantly, the glaciers that are melting in the mountains, and one of the biggest reasons is because there has been a massive deforestation. So, this billion tree is very significant for our future, Khan said.

Bonn Challenge

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in a statement Friday congratulated the Pakistani province on reaching the momentous milestone.

This marks the first Bonn Challenge pledge to reach its restoration goal, the organization noted.

The Bonn Challenge, set up in 2011, calls for the restoration of 150 million hectares of deforested and degraded lands by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030.

More than 20 countries have so far responded to the challenge, expressing an ambition to restore more than 60 million hectors by 2020 with more commitments expected.

KPK’s reforestation campaign made it the only province or subnational entity to be included in the Bonn Challenge.

The Billion Tree Tsunami initiative is a true conservation success story, one that further demonstrates Pakistan’s leadership role in the international restoration effort and continued commitment to the Bonn Challenge, acknowledged Inger Anderson, director general of IUCN.

Nurseries produce 25,000 saplings

Provincial officials say the campaign has achieved its restoration target through a combination of protected natural regeneration, 60 percent, and planned afforestation, 40 percent.

Many small-scale nurseries, producing up to 25,000 saplings each, have been set up with cash advances and a guaranteed purchase agreement from the provincial government.

The KPK government has invested $123 million to help establish 13,000 private tree nurseries in almost every district of the province, producing hundreds of thousands of saplings of local and imported tree varieties, including pines, walnuts and eucalyptus, officials say.

Local economies benefit

This has boosted local incomes, generated thousands of green jobs, and empowered unemployed youth and women in the province. An additional $100 million will be allocated to maintain the project through June 2020.

This support makes the project one of the largest eco-investments ever made in Pakistan, according to the IUCN.

It noted the newly planted trees are reinforcing riverbanks and add tree resources to agricultural lands engaged in farm forestry. They also improve biodiversity by restoring wildlife shelters and contribute to CO2 sequestration through new tree plantations.

But we could not have done it if the local communities were not involved, Khan said. The local communities first grew the nurseries and then amongst them people who then protected the trees, the saplings when they were planted. It is one of the most successful experiments ever, and we have 85 percent survival rate.

Experts at World Wildlife Fund-Pakistan, which is monitoring and auditing the tree-planting effort in KPK, say the project has been an environmental, economic and social success, with one of the highest survival rates of trees in the world, ranging from 70 to 90 percent.

If the trend continues, there will be more birds, there will be more microbes, there will be more insects, so there will be more animals, so more habitats. The ecosystem will kind of literally revive in certain places. There will be more rains because we do need rains, Hamaad Khan Naqi, WWF-Pakistan’s director general, told VOA.

PTI’s Khan says the provincial government has enforced a complete ban on the cutting and felling of trees in reserved forests across KPK.

Authorities have also curtailed activities of the powerful timber mafia by dismantling hundreds of illegal sawmills and arresting timber cutters.

At least two forest guards have been killed in such encounters while many braved injuries, Khan said.

The popularity and recognition of the provincial initiative has encouraged the central government last year to announce its own Green Pakistan program, with a goal to plant more than 100 million trees in the next five years.

Source: Voice of America

President assures to purge national curriculum of hate material

President Mamnoon Hussain

Friday assured a gathering of religious leaders from various

faiths that the incumbent government would purge the education

curriculum of hate material, if there is any, to promote

interfaith harmony in the society.

Addressing a dinner reception hosted by Ministry of

Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony for representatives

of different faiths in connection with the National Minorities

Day annually observed on August 11, he said the government was

currently revisiting the curriculum, so the issue could be

addressed, if it is accurately pointed out.

He was of the view that he had never been in the know of

any such material. There could be any such unwanted material

in the curriculum of any particular educational institution;

however it should be pointed out to rid of it.

The ceremony was also attended by Minister for Religious

Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousuf, Minister for SAFRON Lt. Gen.

Abdul Qadir Baloch, State Minister for Religious Affairs Pir

Aminul Hasnaat, Parliamentary Secretary Khalil George,

parliamentarians and diplomats.

President Mamnoon said that all possible measures would

be taken to promote religious harmony in the country and it

was the responsibility of the entire nation to work for the

stability and supremacy of our country by keeping all the

differences aside.

The president said that the basis of religious tolerance

in Pakistan was not only based on the provisions provided in

the constitution and laws but our cultural traditions and

religious teachings also provide its foundation.

He emphasized that the values of brotherhood and equal

treatment to all citizens of the country were embedded in our

minds.

He underscored that this feeling was part of our

temperament, education and training and added that this

passion will lead Pakistan towards its real destination and

development.

The president noted some untoward incidents affecting

the religious harmony was perpetrated by a handful of elements

which was neither supported by the people of Pakistan nor the

law of this land and beliefs.

He also said that sometimes materialistic interests were

behind incidents against minorities adding that the government

would leave no stone unturned to crush these elements.

The president stated that minorities had always played

a proactive role for the development and progress of the

motherland and their sacrifices in the defence of the country

were less than none.

He lauded the bravery and valor displayed by the non-

Muslim military officers and soldiers during wars with enemies

and said that it would be mentioned in golden letters in

history.

Similarly, he added that the services of our non-Muslim

brothers and sisters in the fields of medicine and education

are remarkable for which the nation was grateful to them.

The president further said that the Minorities Day

should not only be celebrated as a tradition but as a national

duty to promote brotherhood and fraternity in the country in

accordance with the teachings of the Father of the Nation

Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

He also highlighted that the sayings of Quaid-e-Azam

regarding the minorities are basis of our national policy.

He also stated that the Constitution of Pakistan

guaranteed complete religious and cultural freedom and

protection of the rights of the minorities and they were also

fully involved in affairs of the state.

He pointed out that in order to fulfill these

constitutional requirements the government was constantly

engaged to ensure satisfaction and protection of non-Muslim

communities so that no citizen of the country could complain

of discriminatory treatment.

In his address, Minister Sardar Muhammad Yousaf said as

suggested by PML-N MNA Ramesh Kumar, the replacement of word

minorities’ with non-Muslim citizens’ would require

legislative amendment.

He also lighted the steps being taken by his ministry

for welfare of religious minorities.

Representatives of various religious communities also

addressed the ceremony.

The ceremony also marked an impressive singing of

national songs by the girls from different educational

institutions which was also highly lauded by the president.

Source: Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage.

Skepticism Abounds as Pakistani Terrorists Move into Politics

A Pakistani group designated by the United States as a terrorist organization has announced it is forming a political party to make Pakistan “a real Islamic and welfare state.”

The group Jamaat-ud-Dawa has been listed as a sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. State Department for more than a decade, and its leader and founder, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, has been under house arrest in Pakistan for the past six months. The U.S. government also has offered a $10 million reward for information leading to his conviction on criminal charges.

Jamaat-ud-Dawa contends it is a humanitarian organization without links to terrorists, but it is widely considered a “front group” for Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has been banned for terrorist activity since 2001. Lashkar-e-Taiba also was founded by Saeed, who is the alleged mastermind of the devastating attacks on Mumbai in 2008 � a dozen coordinated bomb and gun attacks over a four-day period that killed 166 people, including six American citizens, and wounded hundreds of others in the Indian city.

From ‘terrorist’ to ‘moderate’

Despite that terrorist pedigree, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, or JuD, said it aims to enter mainstream politics. Notwithstanding its formal listing as “terrorist” by the United States, the United Nations and Pakistan itself, JuD claims it will be a moderate political force in Pakistan. It is reinventing itself as a new party, the Milli Muslim League, and will be led by Saifullah Khalid, at least until it wins Hafiz Saeed’s release from house arrest.

Analysts and experts on South Asian affairs are highly skeptical about the group’s intentions and promises, and they wonder whether JuD or its associates in Lashkar-e-Taiba will really cut ties to militant groups. Some suggest the new Milli Muslim League could be a camouflage to mask future nefarious activities.

“It is highly unlikely that Hafiz Saeed will sever the ties [with militant groups] that have helped sustain his popularity in recent years,” Michael Kugelman, a South Asia analyst at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, told VOA. “He likely wants to gain legitimacy for his views and ideas by being seen as a political figure, working from within the system, and not merely as a militant leader dabbling in charitable work.”

Known by many names

Lashkar-e-Taiba, or LeT, calls itself the Army of the Pure and Righteous and is one of the largest anti-India militant groups in Pakistan, according to American experts on the subject. A U.S. State Department report five years ago listed about 30 aliases for the group and chronicled its terrorist history.

Predominantly based in Punjab, LeT has conducted operations against Indian troops and civilian targets in Kashmir, carried out high-profile attacks inside India, and has been linked to attacks against Western coalition forces in Afghanistan. U.S. officials report that LeT’s terrorist acts date back to at least 1993. The group was founded in the 1980s by members of another Islamic extremist organization, at a time when many militant groups fought against the former Soviet Union’s military incursion in Afghanistan.

LeT has repeatedly changed its name and continued operating through front organizations, most which also have been placed on the U.S. list of terrorist groups. Jamaat-ud-Dawa joined the list in 2006.

“LeT renamed itself JuD in order to evade sanctions,” State Department officials said.

‘A direct threat to U.S. interests’

A U.S. Treasury report on terrorist financing last year said LeT and other militant groups in Pakistan “continue to pose a direct threat to the U.S. interests and allies in the region [and] fund their activities through proceeds from illegal businesses and charitable organizations.”

Hafiz Saeed first came under house arrest in 2009 after a U.N. committee put him on a list of people accused of supporting al-Qaida. A Pakistani court subsequently released him for a lack of sufficient evidence, but he was confined to his home once again this year.

Saifullah Khalid, who describes himself as president of the new Milli Muslim League, says the erstwhile political party is demanding Saeed’s immediate freedom.

“Once he is released,” Khalid said this week, “we will seek his guidance and ask what role he wants” in the future.

Hassan Askari, a Pakistan-based security analyst, told VOA he believes Saeed’s supporters must do more than change their group’s name. Instead they must change their ideology, he said, although he doubts that will happen.

Will their ideology change?

“If they enter mainstream politics, they will have to change their political style,” Askari said. “It remains to be seen as to what extent, if any, they will transform and change their attitude, ideas and ideology.”

Saeed Nazir, a retired brigadier who works for Islamabad-based Institute of Policy Studies, sees some cause for optimism in these recent developments.

“If they are now abandoning militancy, establishing a political party, entering mainstream politics, presenting a soft image, and becoming accountable, that is positive,” Nazir told VOA.

Recasting a pro-terrorist humanitarian organization as a moderate political group could help ease some pressure on Pakistan’s government, Nazir added, since the United States has been pressing Islamabad to do more to crack down on militant groups operating from its soil.

Some Pakistani politicians reject Nazir’s analysis and charge that militant and banned organizations should not have a political role in Pakistan.

Former lawmaker has deep misgivings

“It is very concerning that Hafiz Saeed, a designated global terrorist, and his banned terror outfit have been allowed to launch a political party,” said Bushra Gohar, a former Pakistani lawmaker. “This is a grave violation of the National Action Plan and the country’s commitment to peace. It clearly shows that the state and government of Pakistan are continuing with the self-destructive policy of ‘good and bad terrorists'” � a reference to the government’s flexible policies concerning the Taliban.

Gohar said she sees a terror group’s mutation into a political party as a risk for all Pakistani political groups.

The Milli Muslim League “will use a political platform as a cover for its terror activities and networks,” she said. “If the Election Commission of Pakistan allows a terrorist group to register for and contest elections, it will have serious negative repercussions for the political and democratic process in the country.”

Pakistani opposition political parties expressed outrage last December after Masroor Nawaz Jhangvi, son of the slain founder of the Sunni militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (also on the U.S. and Pakistani terrorist lists) and a hard-line cleric with links to the Taliban and al-Qaida, won a legislative seat in Punjab, the country’s most populous province.

“The bottom line,” Kugelman of Washington’s Wilson Center told VOA, “is that in a country like Pakistan, where some militant groups can operate with near impunity, it’s always possible for a terrorist mastermind to establish a political party.”

Source: Voice of America

Skepticism Abounds as Pakistani Terrorists Move into Politics

A Pakistani group designated by the United States as a terrorist organization has announced it is forming a political party to make Pakistan “a real Islamic and welfare state.”

The group Jamaat-ud-Dawa has been listed as a sponsor of terrorism by the U.S. State Department for more than a decade, and its leader and founder, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, has been under house arrest in Pakistan for the past six months. The U.S. government also has offered a $10 million reward for information leading to his conviction on criminal charges.

Jamaat-ud-Dawa contends it is a humanitarian organization without links to terrorists, but it is widely considered a “front group” for Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has been banned for terrorist activity since 2001. Lashkar-e-Taiba also was founded by Saeed, who is the alleged mastermind of the devastating attacks on Mumbai in 2008 � a dozen coordinated bomb and gun attacks over a four-day period that killed 166 people, including six American citizens, and wounded hundreds of others in the Indian city.

From ‘terrorist’ to ‘moderate’

Despite that terrorist pedigree, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, or JuD, said it aims to enter mainstream politics. Notwithstanding its formal listing as “terrorist” by the United States, the United Nations and Pakistan itself, JuD claims it will be a moderate political force in Pakistan. It is reinventing itself as a new party, the Milli Muslim League, and will be led by Saifullah Khalid, at least until it wins Hafiz Saeed’s release from house arrest.

Analysts and experts on South Asian affairs are highly skeptical about the group’s intentions and promises, and they wonder whether JuD or its associates in Lashkar-e-Taiba will really cut ties to militant groups. Some suggest the new Milli Muslim League could be a camouflage to mask future nefarious activities.

“It is highly unlikely that Hafiz Saeed will sever the ties [with militant groups] that have helped sustain his popularity in recent years,” Michael Kugelman, a South Asia analyst at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, told VOA. “He likely wants to gain legitimacy for his views and ideas by being seen as a political figure, working from within the system, and not merely as a militant leader dabbling in charitable work.”

Known by many names

Lashkar-e-Taiba, or LeT, calls itself the Army of the Pure and Righteous and is one of the largest anti-India militant groups in Pakistan, according to American experts on the subject. A U.S. State Department report five years ago listed about 30 aliases for the group and chronicled its terrorist history.

Predominantly based in Punjab, LeT has conducted operations against Indian troops and civilian targets in Kashmir, carried out high-profile attacks inside India, and has been linked to attacks against Western coalition forces in Afghanistan. U.S. officials report that LeT’s terrorist acts date back to at least 1993. The group was founded in the 1980s by members of another Islamic extremist organization, at a time when many militant groups fought against the former Soviet Union’s military incursion in Afghanistan.

LeT has repeatedly changed its name and continued operating through front organizations, most which also have been placed on the U.S. list of terrorist groups. Jamaat-ud-Dawa joined the list in 2006.

“LeT renamed itself JuD in order to evade sanctions,” State Department officials said.

‘A direct threat to U.S. interests’

A U.S. Treasury report on terrorist financing last year said LeT and other militant groups in Pakistan “continue to pose a direct threat to the U.S. interests and allies in the region [and] fund their activities through proceeds from illegal businesses and charitable organizations.”

Hafiz Saeed first came under house arrest in 2009 after a U.N. committee put him on a list of people accused of supporting al-Qaida. A Pakistani court subsequently released him for a lack of sufficient evidence, but he was confined to his home once again this year.

Saifullah Khalid, who describes himself as president of the new Milli Muslim League, says the erstwhile political party is demanding Saeed’s immediate freedom.

“Once he is released,” Khalid said this week, “we will seek his guidance and ask what role he wants” in the future.

Hassan Askari, a Pakistan-based security analyst, told VOA he believes Saeed’s supporters must do more than change their group’s name. Instead they must change their ideology, he said, although he doubts that will happen.

Will their ideology change?

“If they enter mainstream politics, they will have to change their political style,” Askari said. “It remains to be seen as to what extent, if any, they will transform and change their attitude, ideas and ideology.”

Saeed Nazir, a retired brigadier who works for Islamabad-based Institute of Policy Studies, sees some cause for optimism in these recent developments.

“If they are now abandoning militancy, establishing a political party, entering mainstream politics, presenting a soft image, and becoming accountable, that is positive,” Nazir told VOA.

Recasting a pro-terrorist humanitarian organization as a moderate political group could help ease some pressure on Pakistan’s government, Nazir added, since the United States has been pressing Islamabad to do more to crack down on militant groups operating from its soil.

Some Pakistani politicians reject Nazir’s analysis and charge that militant and banned organizations should not have a political role in Pakistan.

Former lawmaker has deep misgivings

“It is very concerning that Hafiz Saeed, a designated global terrorist, and his banned terror outfit have been allowed to launch a political party,” said Bushra Gohar, a former Pakistani lawmaker. “This is a grave violation of the National Action Plan and the country’s commitment to peace. It clearly shows that the state and government of Pakistan are continuing with the self-destructive policy of ‘good and bad terrorists'” � a reference to the government’s flexible policies concerning the Taliban.

Gohar said she sees a terror group’s mutation into a political party as a risk for all Pakistani political groups.

The Milli Muslim League “will use a political platform as a cover for its terror activities and networks,” she said. “If the Election Commission of Pakistan allows a terrorist group to register for and contest elections, it will have serious negative repercussions for the political and democratic process in the country.”

Pakistani opposition political parties expressed outrage last December after Masroor Nawaz Jhangvi, son of the slain founder of the Sunni militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (also on the U.S. and Pakistani terrorist lists) and a hard-line cleric with links to the Taliban and al-Qaida, won a legislative seat in Punjab, the country’s most populous province.

“The bottom line,” Kugelman of Washington’s Wilson Center told VOA, “is that in a country like Pakistan, where some militant groups can operate with near impunity, it’s always possible for a terrorist mastermind to establish a political party.”

Source: Voice of America

AJK PRESIDENT ASKS KASHMIRI COMMUNITY IN US TO MAINTAIN CLOSE LIAISON WITH MEMBERS OF AMERICAN POLITICIANS

Azad Jammu and Kashmir President Masood Khan has asked the Pakistani and Kashmiricommunity in the United States to maintain close liaison with members of American politicians.

He was talking to a visiting delegation led by leader of Justice and Freedom Party Sardar Imtiaz Gharralvi in Islamabad on Wednesday.

AJK President said the issue of Kashmir could be raised through US politicians and Congressmen effectively.

He said that Indian community in US and Europe used to misguide the international community through their negative propaganda.

Source: Radio Pakistan