Shehbaz Sharif says Imran running economy through words ‘rather than using brain’

ISLAMABAD: PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif said on Monday that Prime Minister Imran Khan is running the country’s economy through words rather than logic.

The opposition leader in the National Assembly, in a statement, said that since the ruling party took over the interest rate and inflation rose 14 and 15 per cent, respectively. “The public has been deprived of flour and sugar,” he said.

Shehbaz Sahrif said that the current government is blaming the previous governments and taking credit for their work.

“Jungles will provide jobs, while peace will be in grave,” said Shehbaz, mocking PM Imran for his earlier statement regarding achieving state of peace in Pakistan.

In reaction, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan saaid that Shehbaz Sharif’s statement was ‘tale of the PML-N loot and plunder from his own mouth’.

She said that it was ironic that those who pushed the people in the quagmire of problems were now talking about their resolution.

She said that Shehbaz Sharif was drawing salary and perks from the Parliament but not performing his duties as opposition leader. 


Pakistanis can now get Saudi visit visa on arrival

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia has introduced one-year multiple entry visit visas for Pakistanis and all other applicants who have a valid UK, US or Schengen visa stamped on their passports, foreign media reported on Sunday.

The new multiple-visa will be valid for one year and the visitors will also be allowed to perform Umrah. However, they are not allowed to perform Haj. Visitors can get visa on arrival at any international airport in Saudi Arabia but they must have a credit card to pay fee amounting to SR440 (Rs18,000) as cash is not accepted. They will be allowed to stay for 90 days at a stretch and can enter the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia multiple times during the validity period of their visit visa.

“It was an amazing experience when I visited Saudi Arabia last week,” said Ahmed Qureshi who went to perform Umrah with his family and landed at King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah. “I paid fee at the immigration counter using my credit card and now all my family members have multiple visit visas valid for one year. It took just 15 minutes to complete the procedure,” he explained.

A reservation agent at the Saudi Airlines in Dubai told a media outlet that the new visa service started last month. “Anyone who has a valid UK, US or Schengen visa can obtain visit visa to Saudi Arabia on arrival. However, visa is issued to only those applicants who have used their US, UK or Schengen visa for at least once. You will not be given visa on arrival if you have US, UK or Schegen visa stamped on your passport but have never used it,” she explained.

One of the pre-conditions to get visit visa on arrival is that the visitors will have to travel on one of the Saudi-based airlines including Saudi Airlines, Flynas or Flydeal. This is mandatory only for first time visitors. Repeat visitors who already hold Saudi visit visa can use any other airline.

For non-muslims, the Saudi Arabia Tourist eVisa is granted for tourism purposes only. Visitors are forbidden from visiting the holy cities of Makkah and Medina. For Muslims, visitors may travel for Umrah on a tourist eVisa outside of Haj season only.

Earlier, Saudi Arabia had opened its doors to the world through its new visit 90-day visa introduced in September last year for more than 50 countries. They are also given one-year multiple visit visa and they have to apply online. Pakistan, India and many other countries are not included in this list.

The tourist e-Visa (which is different from visa on arrival) allows travellers to enter the country for leisure purposes and it enables them to stay in Saudi Arabia for up to 90 days.

The Saudi Arabia tourist e-Visa application process is very simple and 100 per cent online. Once the application is submitted and accepted, the applicant will receive an electronic visa that must be shown to immigration officers upon arrival.

Travellers must have their passport with at least a six-month validity from the date of arrival and have at least one page available for stamping. The Saudi Arabia Tourist e-Visa allows applicants multiple entry in Saudi Arabia and visitors can remain in the country for up to 90 days.

Dr Firdos Ashiq Awan refutes reports linking Bushra Bibi to changes in Punjab govt

ISLAMABAD: The reports alleging a link between Prime Minister Imran Khan’s wife, Bushra Bibi, and various administrative changes in Punjab were debunked on Sunday by a top government official.

SAPM Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said on Twitter the reports were “baseless” and “far from reality” and that connecting the PTI government’s decisions to Bushra Bibi’s recent visit to Pakpattan was disappointing and condemnable.

Referring to the First Lady’s visit to Pakpattan, Dr Awan said Bushra Bibi did not desire protocol, especially at a blessed place like Shrine of Baba Farid.

Pakistan seals Taftan border crossing after coronavirus outbreak in Iran

Pakistan sealed the Taftan border and stopped movement of people to and from the country on Sunday in light of the coronavirus outbreak in Iran which led to the deaths of eight people in the country over the past few days. 

Tehran said on Friday that as many as 43 people were being treated for the virus in different cities of the country. The Balochistan government on Friday imposed emergency in all areas of the province bordering Iran. 

Spokesperson of the Government of Balochistan Liaquat Shahwani said that it had been decided to keep the pilgrims in Iran for the time being. He said that the provincial government had decided that Pakistanis from Balochistan will not be allowed to travel to Iran.

“The government is alert about the coronavirus. We are speaking to the Irani government about our pilgrims in Iran,” he said. Shahwani said that pilgrims from Iran will be allowed to enter Pakistan after a thorough screening process. He said that 89 pilgrims in Taftan’s Pakistan House were being brought to Quetta.

He said that isolation wards, medicines and doctors were monitoring the situation at the border. Shahwani said that the provincial government has asked the Iranian government to give clearance certificates for its people coming to Pakistan. 

“People coming from Iran will be quarantined for 14 days,” he said. “Very few people will travel to Iran from Pakistan.  However, more people from Iran come into Pakistan via the crossing,” he added. 

However, flights to and from Iran have not been suspended, confirmed an official of the Civil Aviation Authority Pakistan (CAAP).

“The staff of health ministry is already present at the airports and a passenger is allowed entry only after clearance of health declaration,” he said. The official further said that flights to and from China had not been suspended hence it was likely that the same won’t be done in the case of Iran. 

A meeting chaired by the chief secretary on the coronavirus situation in Iran was held earlier during the day. The secretary directed the government to stop all movement to and from the province to Iran. He was briefed that government officials will be posted at the international airport who will conduct a screening process of foreigners coming to the country.

Mir Zia Ullah Langove, Home Minister of southwestern Balochistan province told Arab News Pakistan that Prime Minister Imran Khan had assured the Balochistan government of help. 

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s ‘back-up plan in place’ in case of roadblocks

With news of their transition making headlines, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry seem to be packing it on thick as we speak.

Previously, news reports surrounding Prince Harry and Meghan Markle losing their royal branding swept the internet like wild fire. However, it seems as though the couple have been hiding a plan B under their belt since before they announced their royal split.

The major issue surrounding their transition is the fact that time and time again numerous outlets and official sources dub their exit to be ‘temporary’ and as a result of that, will be revisited a year from now.

“It is agreed that the commencement of the revised role of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will take effect Spring 2020 and undergo a 12 month review,” a statement on the couple’s official website read.

So even though the Queen wishes for the couple’s royal departure to be “over and done with,” it looks as though there is a long road of settlement before they take on these new roles.

If this wasn’t bad enough news for the royal family, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle spoke to Vanity Fair and revealed, “that the two have a back-up plan in place.” It sounds like the couple have concocted this plan as a contingency plan, in case the transition does not bode over well.

Previously a friend from Harry’s inner circle revealed that the prince was aware how this would go over.

He “went into this knowing that he could lose his title, but his freedom is more important than any of that.”