Here’s what’s happening across the border: More anger over Dutch cartoon contest and Interpol declines Pak request to bring back Musharraf.
A Pakistani magazine to prevent spread of ‘anti-state sentiments’ among children
The Pakistani Army has launched a children’s magazine, Hilal Kids’, which it says will prevent young minds from getting “polluted by anti-state elements.” The content of the magazine will be social, educational and humorous in nature, Pakistan Today reported.
According to the Army, the magazine, which is bilingual, will supplement the efforts of teachers and parents in imparting education and providing character-building life lessons.
The report said that Asif Ghafoor, Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of Pakistan’s armed forces, stressed on the importance of upbringing kids in today’s digital age, during his message at the magazine’s launch. “Unfortunately, anti-state elements are involved in polluting the innocent minds of our youth as part of a hybrid war,” he was quoted as having said, adding that Hilal Kids will “provide you with the right information and enlighten you with the glorious examples of our nationhood.”
PM Khan constitutes four-member panel to address TLP protesters
Prime Minister Imran Khan has constituted a four-member committee to address the concerns of protesters belonging to the Islamist Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party, who are marching from Lahore to Islamabad against the cartoon contest on Prophet Muhammad being organised by Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders.
The protesters have called for the dismissal of Netherland’s ambassador to Pakistan, Dawn reported.
The four-member committee — consisting of Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq, the Punjab Law Minister Raja and Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry — will meet TLP leaders Friday and brief them on the measures that the government has taken on the matter, the report said.
“We desire a peaceful resolution of this matter by the way of negotiations”, Federal Minister Noorul Haq was quoted as having said by Pakistan Today.
TLP spokesperson Peer Zubair, however, told Dawn that the protests will only get bigger. “The protesters, who are now in thousands, would grow in numbers on the way to the destination as many workers and smaller rallies were waiting on the Grand Trunk Road to join the main march throughout the 200-kilometre long journey,” he is quoted as having said.
Country gets its first cricket league for madrassa students
The country’s first cricket league for madrassa students, the Zalmi Madrassa Cricket League, was launched at the Arbab Niaz Cricket Stadium in Peshawar Tuesday. The aim of this event is to bring the madaris youth into Pakistani mainstream and use sports to eliminate violent extremism, promote peace and tolerance in society, The News reported.
The four-day event will see the participation of 12 teams from different madrassas. It is being organised by Peshawar Zalmi, a Pakistani T-20 cricket franchise.
Hafiz Nauman Ahmed, media coordinator of Zalmi Madrassa Cricket League, was quoted saying, “Our objective is to bring in new ways to promote interfaith harmony and Zalmi Madrasa Cricket League is the first step in this direction”.
Interpol declines Pakistan’s request to bring back Musharraf
The Pakistani interior ministry secretary Wednesday informed the Lahore High Court that Interpol (International Criminal Police Organisation) had rejected the country’s request to bring back former president Pervez Musharraf on the grounds that political cases were out of its jurisdiction, Ary News reported.
The court said that during the next hearing, 10 September, the bench will work towards pushing the case to its final phase.
Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves abysmally low
Sherry Rehman, a Pakistani diplomat and a member of the Senate, Tuesday submitted a notice to the Ministry of Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs calling its attention to the country’s foreign exchange reserves, which he said had plummeted to $10.23 billion. This amount will suffice only for a 90-day import bill, Rehman said.
Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves have dropped to $10.23 billion, which is equivalent to a 90 day import bill – Senator @sherryrehman submits a Calling Attention Notice in the Senate. pic.twitter.com/itK7iPf4ZU
— SherryRehman’sTeam (@SRehmanOffice) August 28, 2018
With Pakistan going through economic turmoil, and the possibility of an IMF bailout looking bleak, the World Bank Wednesday conveyed its willingness to support the reform plans of the new government for stabilising the country’s economy and ‘achieve accelerated growth in the medium term’, The Nation reported.
Pakistan’s cabinets have qualified ministers but very few women
Bushra Gohar, the central vice president of the Awami National Party, Thursday highlighted the lack of women ministers in Pakistan’s cabinets, both at the provincial and federal level. Gohar tweeted that only four of the total 71 ministers in the country were women.
Only 4 women ministers out of a total of 71. #GayaPakistan’s cabinets…No women ministers/advisors in #Pakhtunkhwa & #Balochistan Govts. 1 in #Punjab & 3 in Federal Cabinet. #Tabdeeli?? #KeepTheChange
Prefer the good old #Sindh Govt with fairly good women’s representation.
— Bushra Gohar (@BushraGohar) August 29, 2018
Attacking the current government, she commented that she preferred the previous Sindh regime that, she said, at least had better women’s representation.
The country’s ruling class, however, performs better on the qualification count. There are several Ph.D and MSc degree holders in both the federal and provincial cabinets of the PTI government. In the federal cabinet, there are four ministers who hold a Doctors of Philosophy, another four are degree holders in Masters of Arts and Masters of Science, two are MBBS doctors, Dunya News reported. Similarly, there are a number of bachelor’s level qualified ministers in other cabinets of Pakistan.
US military chief and secretary of state to visit Islamabad on 5 Sept
The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, General Joseph F. Dunford, and the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are scheduled to visit Islamabad on 5 September. This was announced by US Defence Secretary James Mattis during a news briefing at the Pentagon Tuesday, Dawn reported.
The delegation will “make very clear what we have to do, all of our nations, in meeting our common foe, the terrorists. And make that a primary part of the discussion,” Mattis is quoted as having said.
Dunford, who was also present at the briefing, reinforced that the US had “permanent interests in South Asia” as it intends to have “influence in that region”.
Dunford and Pompeo are scheduled to meet their Pakistani counterparts and will call on Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Mattis’s mention of terrorism comes in the wake of a recent controversy where Pakistan rejected US claims that Pompeo had talked about terrorism in his call with Imran Khan.
Supreme Court rejects affidavits of Asif Ali Zardari And Pervez Musharraf
The Supreme Court Wednesday rejected affidavits, submitted by former presidents Asif Ali Zardari and General Pervez Musharraf, and former attorney general Malik Mohammad Qayyum, disclosing assets owned by them in both Pakistan and abroad, Dawn reported.
The three men were instructed to submit their affidavits by the Supreme Court when it was hearing a petition regarding the 2007 National Reconciliation Ordinance case.
The three have also been asked to disclose assets of their spouses and children, both in the country and abroad.