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In Pakistan’s Punjab province, CM looks to promote qawwali programmes through cable TV

CM Usman Buzdar has asked officials to organise qawwali programmes on local cable in a move that is likely to have been inspired by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

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New Delhi: The chief minister of Pakistan’s Punjab province, Usman Buzdar, has asked the deputy commissioners of his province to air qawwali programmes on local cable networks to promote the art form.

Qawwali is a form of sufi devotional music that celebrates God, love and music as one. It emerged in the subcontinent but many descendants of Indian qawwals (those who perform qawwalis) migrated to Pakistan after the Partition and have kept the art form alive there.

An official document by the Punjab government directed the officials to organise qawwali programmes in their area and air them on local cable. They have also been asked to prepare a report on the same and a monitoring mechanism has, reportedly, been set up by the chief minister’s office to ensure these qawwali programmes are implemented.

According to a report in Pakistani daily The News, some analysts believe this idea of governance through qawwali may have come from Banigala, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s residential area where qawwali performances are frequently organised.

This also comes on the heels of severe criticism levelled against the Punjab government under Buzdar. In the last 28 months, at least five chief secretaries and six inspector generals of police have been changed in the province.

“There is no protection of tenure for government servants in the province and it has become a routine to change any officer … without even writing the reasons in government files,” The News reports.

Karachi reports 20% increase in cyber crimes

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) of Pakistan revealed that over 10,000 cyber crimes were reported in Karachi this year, which is a 20 per cent increase compared to last year.

FIA Additional Director Cybercrime Faizullah said that online shopping scams drastically increased because most businesses went online amid the Covid-19 lockdown.

Out of these, 600 cases are under investigation and 250 are under trial.

In June, a Pakistani rights body, the Digital Rights Foundation, noted that it had registered a 189 per cent increase in cyber-harassment complaints during the lockdown. Many of these included complaints of hate speech, phishing, fake profiles and defamation.

Pakistani Cabinet approves electric vehicle policy 

In order to facilitate the transformation of its transport sector from fuel-based to electric vehicles, the Pakistani Cabinet has approved an Electric Vehicle Policy that will give incentives on duties and taxes to help businesses start industrial assembly.

According to data by the country’s Ministry of Climate Change, 42 per cent of air pollution in the country can be attributed to traffic and electrifying 30 per cent of the vehicles could save Pakistan approximately $2 billion on oil imports every year.

The new policy allows 1 per cent sales tax for locally-made electronic vehicles (EV). The Cabinet, which approved the policy on 24 December, also capped the duty on import of charging equipment at 1 per cent. Furthermore, no Federal Excise Duty (FED) will be levied on the vehicles.

The government aims to have 30 per cent electric vehicles by the year 2030.

Fans disappointed after no Pakistani cricketer wins ICC award

The International Cricket Council (ICC) recently announced awards of the decade but the fact that no Pakistani cricketer made it to the list, left fans disappointed.

No player from Pakistan managed to win any of the 10 individual awards or make it to the Test, One-Day International or T20 teams of the decade, making it the only major Test-playing nation to win nothing.

Meanwhile, India’s Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni were awarded ICC Men’s ODI Player of the Decade Award and the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award of the Decade, respectively.

Former Pakistani fast bowler Umar Gul told Al Jazeera that it was bewildering that players like Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi, Younis Khan, Yasir Shah and Babar Azam did not win in any category, despite being top performers across formats in the past decade.

“I think the ICC has announced the IPL (Indian Premier League) team of the decade, instead of naming a world cricket team of the decade,” said former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar.

65% Pakistanis happy despite difficulties, survey finds

A latest survey by Gallup Pakistan, a research organisation, revealed that 65 per cent of the Pakistanis are happy despite the various difficulties faced due to the pandemic.

The survey was conducted in the month of October and November, and more than 1,000 respondents participated in it.

The survey shows that the net score of happiness in Pakistan was the highest at 71 per cent during the tenure of Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) in 2016. It reduced to 48 per cent in 2017, increased to 65 per cent in 2019 and reduced to 40 per cent in 2020.

The survey also revealed that 5 per cent Pakistanis are unhappy in the current situation, while 8 per cent are in between. The net score of happiness in Pakistan is 40 per cent, according to the survey.

The ‘End of Year Survey 2020’ was conducted by Gallup Pakistan, in collaboration with Gallup International Association and Jang-Geo News Polls.

Also read: Peshawar’s women polio workers accuse seniors of harassment, threaten to boycott vaccine drive


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