Pakistan, Turkiye jointly launch fourth warship for Pakistan navy
Pakistan, Turkiye jointly launch fourth warship for Pakistan navy/node/2348361/pakistan
Pakistan, Turkiye jointly launch fourth warship for Pakistan navy
Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (2nd right) and Türkiye's Vice President Cevdet Yilmaz (center) at the launch ceremony of fourth warship for Pakistan navy, "PNS Tariq", in Karachi, Pakistan on August 2, 2023. (Photo courtesy: PMO)
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Turkiye on Wednesday jointly launched a MILGEM class corvette warship at the Karachi port, part of a four-vessel deal between Islamabad and Ankara.
Turkiye announced in 2017 the two countries had signed a memorandum of understanding for the sale of four Turkish made corvette warships and 52 Pakistan-made training planes for Ankara’s armed forces. Ankara described it as Turkiye’s biggest single military export deal and “a very important day” for the defense industry. The contract was formally signed in 2018.
Under the deal, the Karachi Shipyard (KS&EW) would buy four corvettes made under Turkiye’s MILGEM warship program, aimed at designing and building locally a fleet of multipurpose corvettes and frigates that could replace older ships. As per the 2018 contract, two of the ships were to be manufactured in Istanbul and two in Karachi.
“This is the fourth ship of this class and the second one built in Pakistan jointly by Asfat Istanbul and the Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works,” Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said during the launch ceremony of the corvette in Karachi along with Vice President of Turkiye Cevdet Yilmaz.
“Today’s joint venture project is another example of our commitment to support each other, strengthen each other’s industries and trade, and enhance our economic cooperation.”
The first two corvettes, PNS Babur and PNS Badar, were launched in Istanbul and Karachi, in August 2021 and May 2022, respectively. A third one, PNS Khyber, was launched in Istanbul in November 2022.
“These corvettes will be fitted with state-of-art Surface, Sub-Surface and Anti-Air Weapons & Sensors, integrated through an advanced Network Centric Combat Management System,” the Pakistan navy said in a statement in 2021.
The navy said the induction of the corvettes would significantly enhance the force’s maritime defense and deterrence capabilities: “These corvettes will become a core element of PN’s kinetic response to traditional and non-traditional challenges and to maintain balance of power in the Indian Ocean Region.”
Under the MILGEM project, Turkiye has built several multipurpose corvettes, frigates, and destroyers that can be deployed in a range of marine missions.
ISLAMABAD: The final squad for Pakistan’s upcoming T20I series against New Zealand will be announced on Jan. 2, 2024, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said in a statement this week.
Pakistan will play five away T20Is against New Zealand from Jan. 12-21 in Auckland, Hamilton, Dunedin and Christchurch serving as the venues.
The PCB said the men’s selection committee, headed by cricketer Wahab Riaz, will convene on Dec. 13 in Lahore to deliberate on selection matters related to the series.
“The final squad for the New Zealand T20I series is expected to be announced on 2 January 2024,” the PCB said.
It said the committee will consider cricketers’ performances in the ongoing National T20 Cup 2023-24 in Karachi for the New Zealand series.
“Training camp for the T20I probables will commence at National Cricket Academy, Lahore on 25 December,” it added.
The five-match series will be pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi’s first test as skipper of the T20I squad. Afridi, Pakistan’s lethal left-arm fast bowler, was appointed captain of the national squad after Babar Azam stepped down from the role in November.
Azam resigned as Pakistan’s skipper from all formats of the game after the green shirts’ disappointing performance in the 50-over World Cup in India, which saw them failing to qualify for the semifinals.
RAWALPINDI/ISLAMABAD: Abdul Hakeem Gilgiti used a stainless steel food shovel to scoop up a generous helping of peanuts from a large sack in front of him, poured them into a plastic shopping bag and handed it over to an eager customer.
The scene is from Rawalpindi’s famous Ganj Mandi Bazaar, where, like many other such markets in the Pakistani city, customers arrive in droves in the winter months to buy peanuts, known as moongphali in Urdu, which can be bought with or without the shell, as well as plain, roasted, or salted.
Peanuts are packed with essential nutrients, including protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, and during winter, when the body needs additional energy to stay warm, the nutrient density of peanuts makes them a valuable food choice.
There is no significant summer sale of peanuts, according to the trade union head at Gunj Mandi as well as owners of peanut processing units.
“The common man mostly buys peanuts in winters,” Gilgiti told Arab News as he served customers at his stall. “People who can afford it buy [more expensive dry fruits like] pinenuts, pistachio and cashew nuts.”
“This snack is not only affordable but also a favorite among children during the winter,” customer Muhammad Shahid Baig said as he cracked open some peanuts on his palm at the Ganj Mandi Bazaar. “It is a special gift of winter and although [we have other] dry fruit at home, peanuts are different.”
One difference is that peanuts are much cheaper compared to other nuts, with the price per kilogram ranging between Rs600-Rs800.
“I specifically came to this market for its reasonable prices and fresh quality,” Baig added.
Another customer, Shahbaz Ahmed, said peanuts were not just a snack but the “warm embrace” of Pakistani winters, especially during precious evening moments spent with family post-dinner.
“Peanuts are the heartbeat of winter for our family,” he told Arab News. “As we gather around, the warmth of these little treats not only brings joy to every member, but also provides us a chance to spend good family time together.”
Pakistan produced 144,000 tons of peanuts from 2021-2022 on 0.37 million acres of land, according to official data from Pakistan’s ministry of food security, a 68 percent growth over the past five years, fueled primarily by an expansion in cultivated land and farmers shifting to high-return crops amid challenging economic conditions.
Pakistan’s most populous Punjab province dominates in peanut production, contributing nearly 95 percent to the country’s total output of the nut.
Muhammad Usman, who owns a peanut processing unit in Rawalpindi, said he starts processing peanuts in September each year and continues until March.
“We deal with four to five types of peanuts, with one of the finest varieties originating from Gujar Khan,” said Usman, who also sources peanuts from the northwestern Pakistani town of Parachinar, southern city of Sukkur, and a few areas in Jhang in Punjab.
People from villages around the country, but mostly from the northern Azad Kashmir region, came to work at Usman’s processing unit during winters, where peanut roasting takes place both by hand and machine, he said.
“The traditional manual method which has existed for centuries results in a superior taste compared to the machine method,” Usman explained.
But inflation, which rose to record highs this year and still remains in the 30 percent range, has hit both customer sentiment and raised the worries of traders this winter, the peanut processor added.
“Inflation is very high these days, peanuts are not being sold the way they used to sell previously,” Usman said. “Now peanuts are also not affordable for everyone, it has also become expensive. Peanuts from Gujjar Khan cost Rs800 per kg ($2.81). Similarly, [peanuts] from Parachinar are also expensive.”
Mohammad Bilal Khan, who sells dry fruits in Ganj Mandi Bazaar, said locals and especially people traveling abroad came each year to buy peanuts during winters as gifts for friends and family members. This year, however, there were both fewer customers and lower sales.
“This year, prices are higher than before and sales are comparatively low due to reduced purchasing power caused by high inflation,” Khan lamented. “Right now, the common man cannot buy vegetables, let alone dry fruits.”
Muhammad Ramzan, a customer buying peanuts from a cart in Islamabad, said inflation had made even buying something as simple as peanuts feel like “heartache.”
“I came to buy for the first time this season on the persistent demand of my children,” he told Arab News.
“But it is not just tightening our budget, it is also taking away a piece of the comfort we used to find in these little winter moments.”
PESHAWAR: An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Islamabad on Thursday handed over the leader of an ethnic Pashtun rights group to police on a seven-day physical remand, on charges of inciting people against state institutions in a case registered against him earlier this year, his lawyer said.
Police in Pakistan’s southwestern Chaman border town arrested Manzoor Pashteen on Monday over a disputed gun attack on law enforcers near the country’s border with Afghanistan. Pashteen’s arrest came after he addressed protesters who were camped near the border to protest Pakistan’s new visa policy and passport regime at the border crossing.
However, his lawyer Musadiq Aziz said Pashteen was produced before ATC judge Abul Hasnat Muhammad Zulqarnain in Islamabad on Thursday, in a complaint registered against his client and other leaders of his Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) group for a protest rally they held in Islamabad in August.
As per a copy of the FIR against Pashteen shared by his lawyer, the PTM leader was charged with inciting people against state institutions in speeches made at the rally.
“We contested the Pashteen case aggressively before the ATC judge who, after hearing arguments, handed my client over to police on seven days’ physical remand,” Aziz told Arab News.
Aziz pointed out that others nominated with Pashteen in the case had secured bail from the court, with his client being the exception.
Ali Wazir, a senior PTM leader and Pashtun rights activist, also confirmed Pashteen had been presented before the ATC judge for the complaint registered by Islamabad Police in August.
He added the PTM had planned a series of protests next week against Pashteen’s arrest in several parts of the country.
“A final public rally against Pashteen’s arrest will be held in Karachi,” he said.
Pashteen, 30, has emerged as a prominent advocate of the rights of ethnic Pashtuns who have allegedly faced rights abuses during Pakistan’s war against militants, mainly in its northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. He heads the PTM group in Pakistan.
WHO says contaminated medicines manufactured by Pakistani pharma identified in some regions
WHO says medicines contained ‘unacceptable levels’ of contaminant ethylene glycol
Affected products identified in Americas, Eastern Mediterranean, South East Asia, Western Pacific
Updated 07 December 2023
The World Health Organization on Thursday said several contaminated syrups and suspension medicines had been identified in countries in the WHO regions of the Americas, the Eastern Mediterranean, South-East Asia and the Western Pacific.
The affected products were manufactured by Pharmix Laboratories in Pakistan, the WHO said, and were first identified in the Maldives and Pakistan. Some of the tainted products have also been found in Belize, Fiji and Laos. Pharmix was not immediately available for comment.
The medicines, liquids containing active ingredients to treat various conditions, contained unacceptable levels of the contaminant ethylene glycol, WHO said.
The alert is the latest in a line of warnings from WHO about similarly contaminated medicines made in India and Indonesia, which were linked to the deaths of around 300 children worldwide last year.
No adverse events have been reported to the WHO regarding the Pakistan-made syrups, the agency’s statement said, but it urged countries to step up vigilance and test products made by the company between December 2021 and December 2022.
The contamination was found in Alergo syrup in a routine examination by the Maldives Food and Drug Authority in November, and confirmed by the Australian regulator.
A follow-up inspection at Pharmix manufacturing facilities, conducted by the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan, found that a number of other products were also contaminated. It has ordered the company to stop making all oral liquid medicines and issued a recall alert in November.
A total of 23 batches of Alergo syrup, Emidone suspension, Mucorid syrup, Ulcofin suspension and Zincell syrup are affected, the WHO said. Only Alergo so far has been found outside Pakistan.
The contamination levels ranged from 0.62 percent to 0.82 percent, compared to the accepted level of not more than 0.10 percent, according to the alert. The products are variously designed to treat allergies, coughs and other health issues.
“The substandard products referenced in this alert are unsafe and their use, especially in children, may result in serious injury or death,” the WHO warned.
ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Christian and Muslim religious leaders on Thursday condemned Israel for its “brutal” massacre in Gaza, accusing the Jewish state of shedding the blood of innocent Palestinians on land deemed holy by Muslims, Jews, and Christians alike.
More than a million Palestinians have been displaced from northern Gaza since Oct. 13, when the Israeli military ordered residents to evacuate to the south on 24 hours’ notice.
Israeli warplanes have targeted densely populated areas in Gaza, saying it is retaliating to a full-pronged attack launched by Hamas’ military wing on Oct. 7. Israel’s war over the past two months has killed over 15,000 Palestinians and injured scores of others, as international aid agencies raise alarm over the deteriorating human rights violations in Palestine.
“Today, we stand in solidarity with the Palestinians, voicing our opposition to the brutality inflicted upon humanity in Gaza,” Father Sarfraz Simon, a reverend of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Rawalpindi, told participants of a Palestine Solidarity Conference in Islamabad.
The conference was attended by a host of Muslim leaders, including Hafiz Maulana Tahir Ashrafi, the prime minister’s special envoy to the Middle East, to express solidarity with Palestinians.
Simon pointed out that Pope Francis had also condemned Israeli atrocities in Gaza, adding that cruelty toward innocents is not permitted by any religion.
“Israel is committing atrocities by shedding the blood of innocent people on the holy land,” he said. Simon said Israeli atrocities were targeting the innocent irrespective of their religion in Gaza.
In October, Israeli warplanes targeted the Greek Orthodox Church in Gaza, one of the oldest in the city.
“One of the oldest churches was destroyed by Israeli bombardment in Gaza where around 25 Christians were also killed,” he said.
“Similar to Islam, Christianity and Judaism both declare the killing of an innocent person to be illegal.”
Addressing the conference, Ashrafi demanded that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu be tried by the International Court of Justice for war crimes in Gaza.
“A special tribunal should be established under the United Nations to investigate Israel for its war crimes in Gaza,” Ashrafi said.
He said Pakistan had raised the plight of Gaza on every global platform, saying that everyone in Pakistan wanted Israel’s war to end.
“Along with Muslims, the Christian community is also raising its voice against Israeli atrocities,” Ashrafi said.
Allama Arif Hussain Wahidi, central vice president of the Shia Ulema Council of Pakistan, urged Israel’s supporters to introspect at the killings in Gaza.
“Supporters of Israel should introspect and question whether it is justified to indiscriminately kill innocent people, including women and children,” he said.