Here’s what’s happening across the border: 43.9 million Pakistani civilians hold firearms; QB’s desi-fied version of anthem FIFA takes Pakistan by storm.
Samaa TV mocks cancer patient Kulsoom Nawaz, claims it’s all drama
A Pakistan news channel has triggered a severe backlash for an anchor’s claim that former PM Nawaz Sharif’s wife Kulsoom, a cancer patient said to be in a critical condition since a heart attack last week, was faking illness.
The Samaa TV anchor had claimed that her illness was “all drama”, claiming that the private hospital where she is admitted, Harley Street Clinic, dealt in cosmetic procedures. “The advertisements for the clinic say that it’s for botox, fillers, hair transplant, etc,” he added.
A panelist added that “if they had taken her to a bigger hospital, they wouldn’t have been able to do this drama”.
“Mariyam sahiba (Nawaz and Kulsoom’s daughter Maryam) has time for tweeting, time to put on make-up, to put on fancy sun-glasses, to talk to the media, time for attending the meeting with Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif, time to meet up with foreigner friends… why doesn’t she just put up a footage, asking for prayers?” he said.
The fact is, Harley Street Clinic is located on a road in London, Harley Street, recognised for hosting several medical practices of varying natures, including cosmetic surgery. Harley Street Clinic, however, is a hospital specialising in the treatment of cancer, among other diseases.
The backlash was quick. “Disgusting and sickening that @SAMAATV resorts to taunting and mocking cancer-patient Kulsoom Nawaz who is fighting for her life,” tweeted Pakistan Media Watch.
Disgusting and sickening that @SAMAATV resorts to taunting and mocking cancer-patient Kulsoom Nawaz who is fighting for her life. Anchor and guests believe that Kulsoom Nawaz’s illness is a ‘drama’ and want ‘footage’ which could convince them pic.twitter.com/Hm6wUaPi16
— Pakistan Media Watch (@PakPressWatch) June 19, 2018
The Samaa TV diatribe came as Sharif and Maryam were granted four days’ exemption from a corruption hearing after they sought as much to tend to Kulsoom, who is on ventilator support.
‘Desi-fied’ version of FIFA anthem takes Pakistan by storm
Pakistani singer-songwriter Quratulain Baloch, also known as QB, has collaborated with American singer Jason Derulo for a Pakistani version of ‘Colors’, the Coca-Cola anthem for FIFA World Cup 2018, reported Dawn.
The video of the Pakistan version, shot in Miami, Haiti and Karachi, has garnered 50k views on YouTube in two days. A nice blend of eastern and western musical influences, the video features some Bhangra moves. A celebration of Pakistan’s love for the sport, the video also includes shots of children playing football on the streets of Karachi.
To pay or not to pay: Pakistan’s damages dilemma
The World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes has fined Pakistan $800 million for breaching an agreement with a Turkish firm contracted to provide power in the country a decade ago, reported The News Tuesday.
The firm, Karkey Karadenis Elektrilk Urentim AS, had taken the country to the arbitration agency in 2013, after a 2008 contract to provide 232MW of power for five years, at a cost of $560 million, got mired in corruption allegations. The firm had also alleged that the Pakistan government had not fulfilled its contractual obligations. The corruption allegations led the deal to be scrapped by the supreme court, which also ordered the firm to pay back the advance it received, and this is how the case ended up in the arbitration court.
This locks Pakistan in a dilemma: If it pays the fine that, along with the daily penalty imposed, totals $1 billion, it will go against the supreme court, and risk default if it doesn’t. Add to this the fact that Pakistan has paid Rs (Pakistan) 4 billion in legal fees alone for this and another dispute, and questions have arisen over who is responsible for this mess.
Asif Zardari promises a government job for every family
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari has promised that families where no member holds a government job will be offered one if his party wins the upcoming general elections, reported Dawn.
Zardari was speaking to delegations of Nawabshah locals at his residence Tuesday. He added that, if voted to office, farmers and peasants will be provided all the required resources to ensure a boost to the agricultural sector. To overcome country’s acute water shortage, he said more dams should be built.
The former President held the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government responsible for the “multiple crises being faced by the country, adding that he had put the masses in a tight spot by “raising fuel prices on a monthly basis”.
Under the PPP, Pakistan’s democracy achieved a big milestone, as the party headed the country’s first elected civilian government that completed its term. It had come to power in the 2008 election, soon after former PM Benazir Bhutto was assassinated.
Khan, Abbasi to challenge rejection of nomination papers
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan and former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s nomination papers for Islamabad’s NA-53 constituency were rejected Tuesday, reported Samaa TV.
They reportedly violated a section of the affidavit that pertains to information about development work carried out in the constituencies the candidates are vying for. Khan’s nomination papers for his home constituency, NA-95, were rejected on similar grounds as well.
He is, however, set to contest for a seat in the national assembly from three other constituencies.
The nomination papers of former dictator Pervez Musharraf for Chitral’s NA-1 have been rejected as well “after the supreme court withdrew conditional permission earlier granted to the erstwhile military ruler”, The Express Tribune reported.
Khan and Abbasi will challenge the NA-53 rejection.
US general criticises Pakistan’s counter-terrorism efforts
US army lieutenant general Austin Miller, head of the allied forces in the Afghan war, has held militant sanctuaries in Pakistan responsible for instability in Afghanistan, reported Geo News.
Speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Miller acknowledged that Pakistan has made “many sacrifices” and “its security forces have fought bravely”, but added, “We have not yet seen these counterterrorism efforts against anti-Pakistan militants translate into definitive actions against Afghan Taliban or Haqqani leaders residing in Pakistan.”
Pakistani civilians hold 43.9 million firearms, reveals survey
Pakistan has the fourth-largest civilian population in possession of firearms, Ary News reported the ‘Small Arms Survey’ as concluding. The United States, not surprisingly, topped the list with 393 million firearms, legal and illicit, in the possession of civilians. India followed with 71 million. China and Russia also made it to the top five countries.
Meanwhile, Russia accounted for the highest number of military-held firearms, 30 million. India ranks sixth on this list with 3.9 million firearms, and Pakistan tenth with 2.3 million.
Contributors: Sharanya Munsi, Priyamvada Grover, Hansa Kapoor, Manisha Mondal, Alind Chauhan, Prateek Gupta, Rupanwita Bhattacharjee and Anagha Deshpande.