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FM Qureshi meets Taliban government in Kabul

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi met with the tops representatives of the Taliban government during his one-day official visit to Afghanistan on Thursday.

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FM Qureshi meets Taliban government in Kabul
GNN Media: Representational Photo

Kabul: "There were detailed talks with the Afghan Taliban leadership which were attended by the prime minister and almost all cabinet ministers," Qureshi said afterwards, in a brief video clip.

In the same clip distributed to media, Qureshi's Afghan counterpart, Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, called it a "very good interaction" during which trade and reopening the borders was discussed.

"We are very hopeful that all our trade issues will be resolved very soon, borders will open again," he said.

Qureshi was also accompanied by Pakistan's outgoing spy chief, Faiz Hammed, who is on his second visit to the Afghan capital since the Taliban took power.

Earlier, the Foreign Office said: “During the one-day visit, he will hold talks with Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and meet other Afghan dignitaries as well."

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi leading a high-level delegation arrived in Kabul on Thursday, where he will hold talks with the interim government of Afghanistan.  

“During the one-day visit, he will hold talks with Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and meet other Afghan dignitaries as well,” the Foreign Office said.

The Foreign Office said the talks between the two sides would cover the entire spectrum of bilateral relations and focus on ways and means to deepen cooperation in diverse areas.

Utilizing the opportunity, the foreign minister will share Pakistan’s perspective on issues of regional peace and stability.

“The foreign minister’s visit reflects Pakistan’s consistent policy of supporting the brotherly Afghan people, deepening bilateral trade and economic relations, and facilitating closer people-to-people contacts,” the Foreign Office said.

As a close fraternal neighbor, Pakistan has always stood by Afghanistan. Pakistan kept the border crossing points open for trade and pedestrian crossing under COVID protocols.

A facilitative visa regime for Afghan nationals and border crossing procedures for trade and cargo have been instituted.

In recent months, Pakistan has provided humanitarian aid and assistance in the form of food stuffs and medicines.

COURTESY: APP

Mehak Javed

Mehak Javed is immensely creative and an enthusiastic journalist, contributing in the publication of timely and accurate news. She is a skilled writer along proven history of achievement in the field with several years of professional experience. Mehak is working with GNN since 2020.

Regional

Sindh announces pay cuts govt employees for not wearing mask

Sindh government directed authorities to deduct one day's salary of all government officials and employees who do not wear a face mask

Published by Faisal Waqas

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Sindh announces pay cuts govt employees for not wearing mask

Karachi: The Sindh government has announced to deduct one day salary of all government officials and employees who do not wear a face mask on Sunday.

According to the details, the Sindh government directed authorities to deduct one day's salary of all government officials and employees who do not wear a face mask. The directives have been issued in view of the rising cases of COVID-19 in the province.

A day earlier, a meeting of the provincial coronavirus task force was chaired by Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah at the CM House during which the Shah stated that officials who do not wear masks will face a fine.

It was proposed that one day's wage be deducted from the pay of any government employee who does not wear a mask in the workplace.

Meanwhile, Pakistan witnessed an enormous spike in its daily tally of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) after as many as 4,027 new infections were logged in the last 24 hours, according to morning update by ministry of health.

The country’s positivity rate now stands at 7.8% when 4,027 fresh cases were reported. The cumulative tally of the country has now climbed to 1,324,147.

As the fifth wave of COVID-19 intensifies in Pakistan reported 4,027 new coronavirus infections, a new daily record, with authorities linking the spike with the Omicron variant of virus.  

According to the latest figures issued by the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), 3,567 persons were tested positive while 7 died in the past 24 hours— taking Pakistan's COVID death toll to 29,012.   

As many as 1,263,584 patients have recovered from the disease. 

Punjab

The number of patients swelled to 452,261 in the province with 13,088 causalities.

Sindh

The number of infections has surged to 499,830 in the province, while the death toll has reached 7,694.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

The confirmed cases have surged to 182,199 in the province with 5,958 casualties.

Balochistan

There are 33,699 confirmed cases while 367 patients have died from the infection so far.

AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan

There are 34,750 coronavirus cases in the AJK while the death toll has reached 749. On the other hand, there are 10,445 cases in GB with 187 coronavirus deaths.

Islamabad

There are 110,963 cases in the capital city while 969 people have lost their lives.  

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World

Taliban pledge to open all schools for girls after March 21

Taliban say they hope to be able to open all schools for girls across the country after late March.

Published by Siddra Sumreen

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Taliban pledge to open all schools for girls after March 21

Kabul: Afghanistan s new Taliban rulers say they hope to be able to open all schools for girls across the country after late March, their spokesman told The Associated Press, offering the first timeline for addressing a key demand of the international community.

Since the Taliban takeover in mid-August, girls in most of Afghanistan have not been allowed back to school beyond grade 7. The international community, reluctant to formally recognize a Taliban-run administration, is wary they could impose similar harsh measures as during their previous rule 20 years ago. At the time, women were banned from education, work and public life.

Zabihullah Mujahid, who is also the Taliban s deputy minister of culture and information, said their education departments are looking to open classrooms for all girls and women following the Afghan New Year, which starts on March 21. Afghanistan, like neighbouring Iran, observes the Islamic solar Hijri Shamsi calendar.

Education for girls and women “is a question of capacity,” Mujahid said in the interview.

Girls and boys must be completely segregated in schools, he said, adding that the biggest obstacle so far has been finding or building enough dorms, or hostels, where girls could stay while going to school. In heavily populated areas, it is not enough to have separate classrooms for boys and girls — separate school buildings are needed, he said.

“We are not against education,” Mujahid stressed, speaking at a Kabul office building with marble floors that once housed Afghan attorney general s offices and which the Taliban have adopted for their culture and information ministry.

The Taliban dictates so far have been erratic, varying from province to province. Girls have not been allowed back to classrooms in state-run schools beyond grade 7, except in about 10 of the country s 34 provinces. In the capital, Kabul, private universities and high schools have continued to operate uninterrupted. Most are small and the classes have always been segregated.

“We are trying to solve these problems by the coming year,” so that schools and universities can open, Mujahid said.

The international community has been skeptical of Taliban announcements, saying it will judge them by their actions — even as it scrambles to provide billions of dollars to avert a humanitarian catastrophe that the UN chief this week warned could endanger the lives of millions.

With a breakdown of services and only sporadic electricity in the bitterly cold Afghan winters, most people rely on firewood and coal for heat. Among the hardest hit are some 3 million Afghans who live as refugees within their own country, having fled their homes because of war, drought, poverty or fear of the Taliban.

Earlier this month, the United Nations launched a $5 billion appeal for Afghanistan, the single largest appeal for one country.

Washington has spent $145 billion on reconstruction and development projects in Afghanistan since the 2001 US-led invasion that ousted the Taliban regime. Yet even before the Taliban recaptured the country, the poverty rate was 54 per cent —and a 2018 Gallup poll revealed unprecedented misery among Afghans.

Mujahid appealed for economic cooperation, trade and “stronger diplomatic relations.” So far, neither Afghanistan s neighbours nor the United Nations seem ready to grant formal recognition which would help open up the Afghan economy. However, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called for greater economic development, saying it s critical to rapidly inject liquidity into the Afghan economy “and avoid a meltdown that would lead to poverty, hunger and destitution for millions.”

The international community has called for a more representative government that includes women as well as ethnic and religious minorities. While all members of the new Taliban Cabinet are men and most are Taliban members, Mujahid said there are exceptions, such as the deputy finance minister and officials in the economics ministry who are holdovers from the previous, US-backed administration.

Mujahid also said 80 per cent of civil servants who have returned to work were employees under the previous administration. Women are working in the health and education sector and at Kabul International Airport in customs and passport control, he added. He did not say if or when women would be allowed to return to work in government ministries.

He also told the AP that most of the new government s revenue will come from customs that the Taliban will collect at border crossings with Iran, Pakistan and the Central Asian nations to the north. Without offering figures, he claimed the Taliban have brought in more revenue in their first four months in power than the previous government in over a year.

He appealed to Afghans who have fled to return to their homeland. Since the takeover, there have been cases of opponents arrested, journalists beaten, rights workers threatened and demonstrations by women dispersed by heavily armed Taliban troops firing in the air.

Mujahid acknowledged incidents of Taliban members harassing Afghan civilians, including humiliating young men and forcibly cutting their hair.

“Such crimes happen, but it is not the policy of our government," he said, adding that those responsible were arrested.

“This is our message. We have no dispute with anyone and we don t want anyone to remain in opposition or away from their country.”

SOURCE: AP

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Regional

Govt to control Inflation before 2023: FM Qureshi

Global economy has also been in crisis for the past two years due to coronavirus, says minister

Published by Faisal Waqas

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Govt to control Inflation before 2023: FM Qureshi

Multan: Foreign Minister (FM) Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday said that inflation was a temporary phenomenon and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government would control it before 2023.

He expressed these views while addressing a function at Government Primary School Awanpura Middle School Upgradation and talking to people during his visit to different Union Councils of his constituency NA-156.

He said that the government is not indifferent to people and well aware their hardships. He observed that government was striving hard to address public problems, saying that the global economy has also been in crisis for the past two years due to coronavirus. He however maintained that difficulties were temporary.

“We love dear homeland and would continue to live in the country. We know how to be loyal to the country. We have no flats, no accounts abroad and no one has a plan to go abroad. We are among the people and will remain with them,” FM Qureshi maintained. 

The foreign minister hoped that problems of masses would end soon. “We are fighting crises with determination. No matter how much the Opposition marches, there will be no in house change or end to the government. The opposition will face defeat. The democratic government of PTI will complete its term”, remarked FM Qureshi.

He expressed satisfaction and hinted that PTI government’s intentions were positive. “The present government has a credit for not having any corruption scandal”.

Expressing the challenges, Qureshi observed that the problems were much more, compared to available resources which could not be resolved overnight. “We understand the problems and concerns of the people and trying to resolve the issues”, he added.

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