New Delhi: Pakistan Thursday considered a second bailout package to save the Roosevelt Hotel in New York that is owned by the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).
Pakistan’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) discussed setting up a committee to approve the second bailout package of $36 million for the hotel.
Four months ago, the committee had approved $142 million to clear the immediate financial requirements of the hotel, and another $13 million as annual carrying cost until a lease agreement with a joint venture partner is finalised.
In 2019, Pakistan risked losing valuable real estate properties abroad, namely the Roosevelt Hotel and the Scribe Hotel (also owned by the PIA) in Paris, after a court in the British Virgin Islands enforced an international arbitration decision involving a disputed mining license. The case involved two multinational mining firms — Barrick Gold and Antofagasta.
According to a TRT report earlier this month, Barrick Gold and Antofagasta had sought control of the hotels as compensation against the cancellation of a copper and gold mining license. The firms alleged they were wrongly stopped from extracting minerals, while Pakistan argued that the project was fraught with irregularities.
Vulnerable transgenders to receive assistance
Pakistan’s Ministry of Human Rights (MoHR) has initiated inclusion of transgender people in healthcare and social security safety nets, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, said a local media report.
The initiative, which is the first collaborative effort of the MoHR and the UNDP Human Rights Taskforce on Covid-19, will aim to provide safety nets to the most vulnerable transgender persons living in Islamabad and Rawalpindi, an official said.
According to a 2017 census, there are 10,418 trans people in the country, though charities put the actual figure close to 500,000.
The official also noted that transgenders continue to face discrimination from service providers and staff, across the social protection sphere, which leaves them poorer and more vulnerable in the face of a virus.
The initiative was preceded by an assessment of vulnerable transgender populations in Islamabad and Rawalpindi. The assessment was based on categories of age, disability if any, health status, employment or income generation capacity before the pandemic, residence, and any experience of gender-based violence.
Last week, trans rights activist Nadra Khan had accused Pakistan’s first and largest Islamic bank, Meezan Bank, of refusing to open an account as Khan’s income was “un-Islamic”.
South Africa in Pakistan for T20 series led by Heinrich Klaasen
Batsman and wicket-keeper Heinrich Klaasen is set to captain South Africa for the first time in the three-match T20 series against Pakistan in Lahore starting 11 February, announced Cricket South Africa Tuesday.
For the first time in 14 years, a South African cricket team landed in Karachi Saturday. Head coach Mark Boucher said he was confident of the security arrangements in Pakistan. That said, South Africa’s Quinton de Kock admitted Monday that security was a point of concern before the team’s arrival, adding that “everyone became calmer” once they landed and saw the level of security. The team is currently being provided with a state security presence.
International cricket was suspended in Pakistan in 2009 after a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore killing eight people. Pakistan was forced to play home matches on neutral ground in the UAE. Test cricket was revived in Pakistan in late 2019 when Sri Lanka toured for two Test matches.