PM Imran urges Bill Gates to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghan people

Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates to consider providing humanitarian assistance to poverty-stricken people in Afghanistan.

In a telephonic conversation on Tuesday, the prime minister highlighted that more than half the population in the war-torn country was living below the poverty line and in dire need of financial assistance.

The two leaders shared their concerns regarding the health system in Afghanistan — the only other country in the world that is polio-endemic along with Pakistan, according to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

Expressing their resolve to eradicate the infectious disease from both countries, they discussed the resumption of polio campaigns in Afghanistan to secure Pakistan’s recent gains in the elimination of the poliovirus.

The premier apprised Gates of Pakistan’s “continued progress” against polio eradication and appreciated the invaluable assistance provided by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in that regard.

He added that the country had reported only one case of wild poliovirus (WPV) this year and positive WPV environmental samples had decreased substantially.

He stressed that his government remained committed to ending all forms of polio in the country.

Gates praised PM Imran for the progress and pledged his Foundation’s continued support to the Pakistan polio programme for ensuring that no child in Pakistan was at risk of paralysis due to poliovirus.

The tech billionaire also congratulated the prime minister for Pakistan’s Covid-19 vaccine roll-out and noted the Foundation’s support of government-led programmes, including Ehsaas, which was “making impressive progress in reducing stunting, and the digitisation of the National Savings Programme”.

He offered his continued collaboration through the Gates Foundation to improve the health and well-being of the people in Pakistan.

The prime minister thanked Gates for his Foundation’s valuable partnership with Pakistan

In military shuffle, Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum replaces Lt Gen Faiz Hameed as top spymaster

Lieutenant General Nadeem Ahmed Anjum has been appointed as the new director-general of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the military’s media affairs wing announced on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Lt Gen Faiz Hameed, formerly the ISI director general, has been posted as the Peshawar corps commander.

In a statement, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) announced other postings as well, saying Lt Gen Mohammad Saeed has been posted as the Karachi corps commander, Lt Gen Nauman Mehmood has been appointed the president of the National Defence University, and Maj Gen Asim Malik has been promoted to the rank of lieutenant general as well as appointed the army’s adjutant general.

Earlier, the ISPR announced that Lt Gen Mohammad Amir has been posted as Gujranwala corps commander, while Lt Gen Asim Munir has been appointed as the quarter master general.

The appointment of the ISI director general is the prerogative of the prime minister. The spymaster’s choice is, however, made by the prime minister in consultation with the army chief.

Lt Gen Anjum was previously the commander of Karachi Corps. He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general in September 2019.

Hailing from the Pakistan Military Academy’s 78th Long Course and the Punjab Regiment, Lt Gen Anjum has also served as the commandant of the Command and Staff College, Quetta.

The outgoing DG ISI, Lt Gen Hameed, was given the role on June 16, 2019, in a surprise military shake-up. He had previously served in the ISI as the head of internal security and is believed to be a close confidant of Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa.

Gen Faiz is from the Army’s Baloch Regiment. His appointment had come at a very crucial time when both external and internal security challenges seemed to be growing.

His name first caught public eye when he helped end the Faizabad dharna by a religious group in November 2017 through an agreement. The group had then staged the sit-in against amendments to Elections Act 2017.

Lt Gen Mohammad Amir is currently serving as the adjutant general. He has also served as the General Officer Commanding Lahore.

Lt Gen Asim Munir was serving as the Corps Commander Gujranwala. He served as the IS director general prior to Gen Faiz.