Tag Archives: islam

Pakistan’s economic position will be ‘far better’ by August, says Fawad

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Friday insisted that Pakistan was heading in the “right direction” and that the country’s economy will be “far better” by August 2022.

Speaking to reporters in Lahore, Chaudhry said a phase was being commenced in Pakistan in which the social protection programs will take effect, paving the way for the improvement of the overall economic situation of the country.

He informed that the PTI-led government had to return $55 billion in its next two years in debt payment, adding that a sum of $32bn had already been paid under debts in the last three years.

“We are paying the price for the legacy left by Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif,” the minister said, in reference to the last two governments of the PPP and PML-N.

Dispelling the impression given by the opposition about the country failing at the economic front, Chaudhry said Shehbaz Sharif and other opposition leaders should not worry about the country as “it is heading in the right direction, and people are witnessing it”.

‘Our politics, defence and economy are all stable’

The minister stressed that Pakistan’s politics, defense, and economy were all quite stable.

He said the national economy was growing at five percent and it will further stabilize in time to come.

“Also, take an example of the coronavirus pandemic as such calamities occur once in 100 years, and Pakistan’s strategy to tackle it is being praised worldwide,” he added.

‘LHC must move to bring Nawaz back’

Chaudhry, while continuing with his criticism of rival parties, said the opposition leaders were all panicked after the government expressed its intent to bring Nawaz Sharif back to Pakistan.

“We want the Lahore High Court to move on his case and Nawaz should be brought back at the earliest,” he said.

He added that the government also wanted that cases involving Shehbaz Sharif should be taken up on a day-to-day basis.

The minister stonewalled a query when asked about the political implications of the “most important” appointment the prime minister was set to make in 2022 and wrapped his answer by succinctly saying “for God’s sake”.

‘Pakistan’s films will now tell its story to the world’

The minister, while highlighting the importance of the film and drama industry, rued that the country had not been able to utilize the potential of the vital industry for its image-building.

“Our stories have to be told through films and the way we ended our film industry was really unfortunate. We will now revive the medium to tell the story of Pakistan to the world.”

‘Dollar depreciated after the introduction of finance bill’

Chaudhry said he was pleased that the dollar depreciated against the rupee after the introduction of the Finance (Supplementary) Bill 2021 in the National Assembly on Thursday.

“This inflation cycle will break in three to four months, while the prices of vegetables will also decline in a couple of months,” he added.

The information minister said Pakistan would have gone bankrupt had Imran not been the prime minister of the country.

“If Pakistan is floating today, it’s because of Imran Khan and the PTI’s economic team,” claimed the minister.

He said the system through which Pakistan had been governed for the past several years was no more in practice. “Now, for the first time, a people-centric government is working in Pakistan”.

Bitcoin falls by a fifth, cryptos see $1bn worth liquidated

Bitcoin shed a fifth of its value on Saturday as a combination of profit-taking and macro-economic concerns triggered nearly a billion dollars worth of selling across cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin was 12 percent down at 0920 GMT at $47,495. It fell as low as $41,967.5 during the session, taking total losses for the day to 22pc.

The broad selloff in cryptocurrencies also saw Ether, the coin linked to the ethereum blockchain network, plunge more than 10pc.

Based on cryptocurrency data platform Coingecko, the market capitalization of the 11,392 coins it tracks dropped nearly 15pc to $2.34 trillion. That value had briefly crossed $3tn last month when Bitcoin hit a record $69,000.

The plunge follows a volatile week for financial markets. Global equities and benchmark US bond yields tumbled on Friday after data showed US job growth slowed in November and the Omicron variant of the coronavirus kept investors on edge.

Justin d’Anethan, Hong Kong-based head of exchange sales at cryptocurrency exchange EQONEX, said he had been watching the increase in leverage ratios across the cryptocurrency markets as well as how large holders had been moving their coins from wallets to exchanges. The latter is usually a sign of intent to sell.

“Whales in the crypto space seem to have transferred coins to a trading venue, taken advantage of a bullish bias and leverage from retail traders, to then push prices down,” he said.

The selloff also comes ahead of testimony by executives from eight major cryptocurrency firms, including Coinbase Global CFO Alesia Haas and FTX Trading CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, before the US House Financial Services Committee on December 8.

The hearing marks the first time major players in the crypto markets will testify before US lawmakers, as policymakers grapple with the implications of cryptocurrencies and how to best regulate them.

Last week, the US Securities and Exchange Commission rejected a second spot-Bitcoin exchange-traded fund proposal from WisdomTree.

Data from another platform Coinglass showed nearly $1bn worth of cryptocurrencies had been liquidated over the past 24 hours, with the bulk being on digital exchange Bitfinex.

“If anything, this is the opportunity to buy the dip for many investors who might have previously felt like they missed the boat. We can see tether bought at a premium, suggesting people are getting cash ready, within the crypto space, to do just that,” D’Anethan said, referring to the biggest stable coin in the cryptocurrency world.

A plunge in Bitcoin funding rates — the cost of holding Bitcoin via perpetual futures which peaked at 0.06pc in October — also showed traders had turned bearish.

The funding rate on cryptocurrency trading platform BitMEX fell to a negative 0.18pc from levels of 0.01pc for most of November.

Dhabeji Industrial Zone project hits impediments.

• Award of contract challenged in Sindh High Court
• Provincial govt says the project does not have SEZ status

ISLAMABAD: The recently awarded contract for the Dhabeji Industrial Zone (DIZ) project that falls under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is in the doldrums after being challenged before a court of law.

The Sindh High Court will take up on Monday (today) a petition submitted to it challenging that the rules of Special Economic Zones (SEZ) had not been followed in the award of the contract.

The provincial government claims that since DIZ has not been given the status of SEZ so far, the rules of special economic zones do not apply to it. The CPEC Authority also had submitted an official statement to the high court, expressing satisfaction over the bidding process and claiming that no irregularity had been committed in the award of the contract.

According to a document of the Sindh Economic Zones Management Company (SEZMC), however, the DIZ will be declared a special economic zone (SEZ).

The multibillion DIZ, which will be developed under Public-Private Partnership by the successful bidder Zahir Khan & Brothers (ZKB) and the Sindh government, is part of CPEC and may be given the status of a special economic zone later.

The project, spread over 1,500 acres, is being executed jointly by the Centre, Sindh government, and CPEC Authority with an aim to make it a hub of major economic activities in the province.

The Sindh government received bids for the project in February this year. However, after a two-month evaluation, one of the bids was declared ‘technically unfit’. The provincial government then went for re-bidding in which ZKB emerged successfully. Subsequently, the government issued a Letter of Award (LoA) to the winning firm.

However, the award of the contract was challenged before the court that would take up the matter on Nov 29 (today).

Earlier at a meeting held on Nov 23, Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed the hope that all economic zones, including Dhabeji Industrial Zone, would be completed at the earliest and economic activity started there.

He, however, lashed out at the Sindh government for the slow pace of development work in the province.

When contacted, the Sindh government’s spokesman Saeed Ghani said he was not fully aware of the project’s details, but believed that there was nothing wrong with the award of the contract.

Meanwhile, a senior SEZMC official said the provincial government had ensured transparency and fair play in the award as the successful bidder had quoted Rs16.25 billion while the second-lowest bid was Rs13.75bn.

He said the total income to be generated from the project was Rs32bn and the successful bidder would have to pay Rs16bn to the provincial government in five to seven years. The remaining amount would be paid to the provincial government by selling plots in the economic zone, he added.

The official believed that like 17 other industrial zones in the country, the DIZ had so far not attained the status of SEZ but the provincial government would apply for it later.

“Allama Iqbal Economic Zone in Lahore was established in 2006 but got the SEZ status in 2016,” he said, explaining that economic zones did not get the SEZ status right away.

The official said unfortunately the court had been misled by the petitioner, who was claiming that rules of SEZs had not been followed while awarding the contract for DIZ.

Meanwhile, it has been learned that due to litigation, the DIZ project is being delayed as the successful bidder has still not signed the agreement with the Sindh government even a month after the issuance of the LoA.

Under the contract, the successful firm will undertake designing, financing, construction, operation, and maintenance of DIZ on a build, own, operate and transfer basis.

The DIZ is located on the N-5 National Highway, close to Bin Qasim and Karachi ports as well as about 700km from Gwadar Port, which connects the Central Asia Republics, Middle East, Europe, and Africa. According to the layout plan, the DIZ will have 130 heavy, 145 medium, and 211 light industries, 82 warehouses, commercial areas, office areas, grid stations, roads, lanes, mosques, recreation areas, captive power generation facilities, and PTCL/SSGC/K-Electric intake points.

Song: O valley of Kashmir

History of Kashmir SolidarityDay

Renowned for its scenic beauty, Kashmir lies in the northernmost part of the Indian sub-continent, bordered by the Himalayas. At the time of the partition of India, the region was a princely state under the British Raj. The state was divided into three, now controlled by India (Jammu and Kashmir), Pakistan (Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan), and China (Aksai Chin).

The split of Kashmir between India and Pakistan has led to enmity and bloodshed with three wars between India and Pakistan over the region – in 1947, 1965, and 1999.

Pakistan considers the issue of control of Kashmir as the core issue between India and Pakistan, which has led to three wars and means that Pakistan feels they need to devote a significant portion of their national income to military budgets.

A non-working day to highlight the issue of Kashmir was first suggested by Qazi Hussain Ahmad of the Jamaat-e-Islami party in 1990. The idea was supported by Nawaz Sharif, Punjab’s Chief Minister at the time, and the Prime Minister at the time, Benazir Bhutto. The Pakistan People’s Party then declared February 5th as a public holiday.

On Kashmir Day, all government, semi-government and private offices across Pakistan will remain closed. The State Bank of Pakistan will also remain closed.

The day is marked by political rallies, marches, and speeches about Kashmir. A human chain is formed on the major route from Pakistan to Kashmir.

A one-minute silence is observed at 10 am local time in honor of the dead. Radio Pakistan broadcast a special marathon transmission focusing on different aspects of the Kashmir dispute. 

Song : O Valley of Kashmir

اے وادی کشمیر

In the United States, the New York State Assembly passed a resolution on 5 February 2021 calling on the Governor of New York to recognize the day as “Kashmir American Day”.

According to the resolution, the day is meant to recognize New York’s Kashmiri community and to “champion human rights including the freedom of religion, movement, and expression for all Kashmiri people, which are embedded within the United States Constitution, through the recognition of diverse cultural, ethnic, and religious identities.

The Pakistani mission thanked the New York lawmaker Nader Sayegh and the American Pakistani Advocacy Group for their efforts.

Pakistan-origin Muslim family of 4 killed in ‘premeditated’ attack in Canada

A man driving a pickup truck rammed into and killed four members of a Muslim family in the south of Canada’s Ontario province, in what police said on Monday was a “premeditated” attack.

A 20-year-old suspect wearing a vest “like body armour” fled the scene after the attack on Sunday evening, and was arrested at a mall seven kilometres from the intersection in London, Ontario where it happened, said Detective Superintendent Paul Waight.

“There is evidence that this was a planned, premeditated act, motivated by hate. It is believed that these victims were targeted because they were Muslim,” he told a news conference.

The names of the victims were not released, but they include a 74-year-old woman, a 46-year-old man, a 44-year-old woman and a 15-year-old girl — together representing three generations of the same family, according to London Mayor Ed Holder.

A nine-year-old boy was also hospitalised following the attack and is recovering.

“Let me be clear, this was an act of mass murder perpetrated against Muslims, against Londoners, rooted in unspeakable hatred,” said Holder.

Holder said flags would be lowered for three days in London, which he said has 30,000 to 40,000 Muslims among its more than 400,000 residents.

Identified as Nathaniel Veltman, the suspect has been charged with four counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

Police said Veltman, a resident of London, did not know the victims.

Waight said local authorities are also liaising with federal police and the attorney general about adding “possible terrorism charges”.

He offered few details of the investigation, but noted that the suspect’s social media postings were reviewed by police.

Waight said police did not know at this point if the suspect was a member of any specific hate group and declined to detail evidence pointing to a possible hate crime, but said the attack was planned.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that he was “horrified” by the attack.

“To the loved ones of those who were terrorised by yesterday’s act of hatred, we are here for you,” he said, singling out the nine-year-old in hospital.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3R3ZWV0X2VtYmVkX2NsaWNrYWJpbGl0eV8xMjEwMiI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJjb250cm9sIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1402018499753648130&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dawn.com%2Fnews%2F1628183&sessionId=8543fcb6b2edd2b374e413e16e556200e7997c63&siteScreenName=dawn_com&theme=light&widgetsVersion=82e1070%3A1619632193066&width=550px

“To the Muslim community in London and to Muslims across the country, know that we stand with you. Islamophobia has no place in any of our communities. This hate is insidious and despicable — and it must stop,” he added.

‘Condemnable act of terrorism’

Calling it a “condemnable act of terrorism”, Prime Minister Imran Khan said the incident revealed growing Islamophobia in Western countries. “Islamophobia needs to be countered holistically by the international community,” he said.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-1&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3R3ZWV0X2VtYmVkX2NsaWNrYWJpbGl0eV8xMjEwMiI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJjb250cm9sIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1402140136201195520&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dawn.com%2Fnews%2F1628183&sessionId=8543fcb6b2edd2b374e413e16e556200e7997c63&siteScreenName=dawn_com&theme=light&widgetsVersion=82e1070%3A1619632193066&width=550px

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said three generations of Pakistani-Canadians were killed in a “brutal act of mass murder for their Muslim faith”.

“This is an act of terror rooted in unspeakable hatred and Islamophobia. Extend our deepest sympathy to the family members and pray for recovery of the only survivor; a little boy,” he said.https://platform.twitter.com/embed/Tweet.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-2&features=eyJ0ZndfZXhwZXJpbWVudHNfY29va2llX2V4cGlyYXRpb24iOnsiYnVja2V0IjoxMjA5NjAwLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X2hvcml6b25fdHdlZXRfZW1iZWRfOTU1NSI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJodGUiLCJ2ZXJzaW9uIjpudWxsfSwidGZ3X3R3ZWV0X2VtYmVkX2NsaWNrYWJpbGl0eV8xMjEwMiI6eyJidWNrZXQiOiJjb250cm9sIiwidmVyc2lvbiI6bnVsbH19&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1402142173001363457&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dawn.com%2Fnews%2F1628183&sessionId=8543fcb6b2edd2b374e413e16e556200e7997c63&siteScreenName=dawn_com&theme=light&widgetsVersion=82e1070%3A1619632193066&width=550px

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Foreign Office (FO) condemned the Islamophobic incident that resulted in the deaths of the four victims.

“The High Commission for Pakistan in Ottawa and the Consulate General in Toronto are in close contact with the relevant Canadian authorities to ascertain the facts of the case and to ensure that the perpetrators of this heinous act are brought to justice,” the FO statement said.

The consul general in Toronto also visited the family of the deceased to offer condolences and all possible assistance, it added.

“This tragic incident is yet another manifestation of the systematic rise in Islamophobia. The Canadian prime minister has stated that Islamophobia has no place in any of their communities. Events like these further reinforce the imperative for the international community to work together for interfaith harmony and peaceful coexistence,” the statement said.

‘Out for a walk’

At about 8:40pm on Sunday, according to police, the five family members were walking together along a sidewalk when a black pickup truck “mounted the curb and struck” them as they waited to cross the intersection.

One woman who witnessed the aftermath of the deadly crash said she couldn’t stop thinking about the victims. Paige Martin said she was stopped at a red light around 8:30pm when a large pick-up roared past her. She said her car shook from the force.

“I was shaken up, thinking it was an erratic driver,” Martin said.

Minutes later, she said, she came upon a gruesome, chaotic scene at an intersection near her home, with first responders running to help, a police officer performing chest compressions on one person and three other people lying on the ground. A few dozen people stood on the sidewalk and several drivers got out of their cars to help.

“I can’t get the sound of the screams out of my head,” Martin said.

From her apartment, Martin said she could see the scene and watched an official drape a sheet over one body about midnight. “My heart is just so broken for them,” she said.

Zahid Khan, a family friend, said the three generations among the dead were a grandmother, father, mother and their teenage daughter. The family had immigrated from Pakistan 14 years ago and were dedicated, decent and generous members of the London Muslim Mosque, he said.

“They were just out for a walk that they would go out for every day,” Khan said through tears near the site of the crash.

A fundraising webpage said the father was a physiotherapist and cricket enthusiast and his wife was working on a PhD in civil engineering at Western University in London. Their daughter was finishing ninth grade, and the grandmother was a pillar of the family, the page said.

Qazi Khalil said he saw the family on Thursday when they were out for their nightly walk. The families lived close to each other and would get together on holidays, he said.

“This has totally destroyed me from the inside,” Khalil said. “I can’t really come to the terms they are no longer here.”

The attack, which brought back painful memories of a Quebec City mosque mass shooting in January 2017 and a driving rampage in Toronto that killed 10 people in April 2018, drew swift condemnation.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims said in a statement it was “beyond horrified and demands justice” for the family who were just “out for a walk” on a warm spring evening.

“This is a terrorist attack on Canadian soil and must be treated as such,” its president, Mustafa Farooq, told Radio Canada.

The Muslim Association of Canada also called on authorities to “prosecute this horrific attack as an act of hate and terrorism”.

a 27-year-old white supremacist burst into a Quebec City mosque and unleashed a hail of bullets on worshippers who were chatting after evening prayers, killing six men and seriously wounding five others.

At the time, prior to New Zealand mosques shootings in March 2019, it was the worst ever attack on Muslims in the West.

The shooter, Alexandre Bissonette, was sentenced to 40 years in prison, but that was lowered on appeal, and the Supreme Court is now reviewing his punishment.

Meanwhile, a 28-year-old man who ploughed a rented van into pedestrians at high speed three years ago in Toronto was found guilty in March of murdering 10 people and trying to kill 16 others.

Before that attack, Alek Minassian posted on Facebook a reference to an online community of “involuntary celibates” whose sexual frustrations led them to embrace a misogynist ideology.

He is to be sentenced in January 2022.