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Death toll from Balochistan floods rises to 136

Six highways covering 640 kilometers have also been severely affected in the rains and flood.

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Death toll from Balochistan floods rises to 136
GNN Media: Representational Photo

Quetta: The death toll in flood affected districts of Balochistan has risen to 136 while 70 persons have been injured.

According to a report released by the Provincial Disaster Management Authority, a total of 13,535 houses were collapsed or partially damaged due to the ongoing heavy rains and floods.

Six highways covering 640 kilometers have also been severely affected in the rains and flood.

Meanwhile, large-scale relief and rehabilitation operations are underway in all affected areas of the province.

Pakistan

New aircraft being inducted into PIA to improve performance, Senate told

The house will now meet tomorrow at 10:30 am.

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New aircraft being inducted into PIA to improve performance, Senate told

Islamabad: Minister for Aviation Khawaja Saad Rafique says new aircraft are being inducted into the PIA to improve its performance.

Speaking in the Senate on Thursday, he said there is no proposal under consideration to sell out the assets of the national flag carrier.

Saad Rafique said it is our effort to operationalize this year about three hundred rooms of Hotel Roosevelt. He said we want to enter into a joint venture for the complete revival of this hotel which will help bring revenue to the country.

The Minister for Railways and Aviation said one hundred and thirty four kilometers rail track of the Sibi-Harnai-Khost section has been completed. He said we have to install a bridge on this section. However, operationalization of this section is linked with the security situation.

Minister of State for Law Shahadat Awan assured the house during question hour that the present government has initiated strict action against illegal housing societies.

He said those who hoodwinked the masses will not be spared and they will land in prisons.He said cases of illegal housing societies are before the NAB and FIA. He said a campaign has also been started to create awareness amongst masses about these illegal housing societies.

The Minister of State told the house that Pakistanis enjoy visa free access to forty six countries. He said efforts are afoot to further improve the image of Pakistan in the world.

Shahadat Awan further informed that the Korang Bridge project on Islamabad Expressway will be completed by the end of this year.

Minister of State for Law said the contract for the project was awarded in September 2020. However, the contractor slow down work on the project due to price escalation in construction material. He said the contract has now been assigned to Frontier Works Organization.

Responding to another question, the Minister of State for Law said beggary has been reduced to a great extent in the federal capital territory. He said two anti-beggary squads have been established to apprehend the beggars. He said the patrolling system within Islamabad has been revamped and SHOs of all the police stations have been strictly directed to utilize their mobiles as well as staff from Rescue 15 to curb this menace.

Shahadat Awan said action has also been taken against the gang leaders of beggars. Cases have been registered against them and they have also been sentenced.

The Minister of State said the government has also established shelter homes in the federal capital for the poor and needy people. He said there are also centers for rehabilitation of women and children.

Responding to points raised by the opposition leader Shahzad Wasim, Leader of House in the Senate Azam Nazeer Tarar said it was the PTI government which victimized political opponents during its tenure. He said a case was registered against Shehbaz Gill as per the law for inciting mutiny in a state institution.

Assuring there will be no custodial torture of the PTI leader, he, however said nobody can be allowed to escape investigation and that the law will take its course in the case.

The house will now meet tomorrow at 10:30 am.

 

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Pakistan

PM Shehbaz Sharif orders immediate formulation of agricultural reforms plan within two days

The recommendations were presented including both short and long-term plans

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PM Shehbaz Sharif orders immediate formulation of agricultural reforms plan within two days

Islamabad: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday directed the authorities concerned to formulate an emergency agricultural reforms plan within two days to facilitate the farmers and uplift the sector. 

The prime minister, who was presented the recommendations of eight sub-committees of different relevant sectors, said the reforms plan should be based on the recommendations of the said sub-committees. 

The prime minister, while chairing a high-level meeting, said he would announce a comprehensive agricultural reforms plan very soon to achieve prosperity of the farmers, enhance agricultural production and reduce input prices.

The recommendations presented to the prime minister included both short and long-term plans.

The prime minister resolved that the government would provide facilities to the farmers on emergency basis including low-cost seeds and fertilizers.

The meeting resolved that the companies selling substandard seeds and pesticides would be done away with and that the relevant institutions would be facilitated the introduction of quality seeds.

The prime minister said the government would also provide modern equipment and facilitate the process of loans.

Moreover, the silos would be constructed to help the farmers store wheat and agricultural produces.

The prime minister also called for measures to enhance per acre yield before the cotton sowing season and ensure the provision of subsidies to the farmers on the agriculture inputs.

He asked the authorities concerned to keep into consideration the impacts of climate change, during the formulation of agricultural reforms.

Moreover, he also called for running an awareness campaign to acquaint the farmers with modern agricultural methods.

The sub committees constituted on the subjects including wheat, cotton, edible oil, fertilizers, agricultural research, usage of water, climate change and agricultural equipment briefed the prime minister.

At the meeting, the recommendations were presented on the yield of wheat, cotton and edible oil, provision of modern machinery on reduced rates, subsidy on urea and DAP, expected production and import, quality seeds, better utility of water and timely provision of loans to the farmers. 

Federal ministers Tariq Bashir Cheema, Ahsan Iqbal, Marriyum Aurangzeb and Miftah Ismail, Special Assistants to PM Ahad Cheema and Muhammad Jahanzeb and senior officers attended the meeting.

The secretaries of agriculture of all provinces also joined the meeting through video link. 

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10 including prominent cleric killed in bombing at Kabul mosque

There were fears the casualty numbers could rise further.

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10 including prominent cleric killed in bombing at Kabul mosque

A bombing at a mosque in the Afghan capital of Kabul during evening prayers on Wednesday killed at least 10 people, including a prominent cleric, and wounded at least 27, an eyewitness and police said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, the latest to strike the country in the year since the Taliban seized power. Several children were reported to be among the wounded.

The Islamic State group’s local affiliate has stepped up attacks targeting the Taliban and civilians since the former insurgents’ takeover last August as U.S. and NATO troops were in the final stages of their withdrawal from the country. Last week, the IS claimed responsibility for killing a prominent Taliban cleric at his religious center in Kabul.

According to the eyewitness, a resident of the city’s Kher Khanna neighborhood where the Siddiquiya Mosque was targeted, the explosion was carried out by a suicide bomber. The slain cleric was Mullah Amir Mohammad Kabuli, the eyewitness said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media. 
 
He added that more than 30 other people were wounded. The Italian Emergency hospital in Kabul said that at least 27 wounded civilians, including five children, were brought there from the site of the bomb blast.

There were fears the casualty numbers could rise further.

Khalid Zadran, the Taliban-appointed spokesman for the Kabul police chief, confirmed an explosion inside a mosque in northern Kabul but would not provide a casualty toll or a breakdown of the dead and wounded.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid also condemned the explosion and vowed that the “perpetrators of such crimes will soon be brought to justice and will be punished.”

A U.S.-led invasion toppled the previous Taliban government, which had hosted al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.

Since regaining power, the former insurgents have faced a crippling economic crisis as the international community, which does not recognize the Taliban government, froze funding to the country.

Separately, the Taliban confirmed on Wednesday that they had captured and killed Mehdi Mujahid in western Herat province as he was trying to cross the border into Iran.

Mujahid was a former Taliban commander in the district of Balkhab in northern Sar-e-Pul province, and the only member of the minority Shiite Hazara community among the Taliban ranks.

Mujahid had turned against the Taliban over the past year, after opposing decisions made by Taliban leaders in Kabul.

SOURCE: AP NEWS

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