Saudi Arabia outsmart Pakistan 4-0 to win World Cup qualifier

Saudi Arabia outsmart Pakistan 4-0 to win World Cup qualifier
Saudi and Pakistani football players during their World Cup Qualifiers match in Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia on November 17, 2023. (Photo courtesy: FootballPakistan.Com)
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Updated 17 November 2023
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Saudi Arabia outsmart Pakistan 4-0 to win World Cup qualifier

Saudi Arabia outsmart Pakistan 4-0 to win World Cup qualifier
  • Saudi striker Saleh Al-Shehri scores twice, Abdul Rahman Ghareeb and Abdullah Radif score a goal each to down Pakistan
  • Pakistan next face Tajikistan on Nov. 21 before they lock horns with Jordan on March 21, 2024, for Group G qualifiers

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia thrashed Pakistan 4-0 when the Group G sides squared off in Al Ahsa for their World Cup qualifier match on Thursday. 

Pakistan, who came into the match confident after beating Cambodia 1-0 last month in Islamabad for the first round of the qualifiers, suffered their first setback when Saudi striker Saleh Al-Shehri netted the first goal in the sixth minute.

Saudi Arabia led 1-0 at halftime. 

Shehri struck again, this time courtesy of a penalty kick in the 48th minute to hand Saudi Arabia a 2-0 lead over Pakistan. The hosts did more damage in the 91st and 92nd minute of the match, when winger Abdul Rahman Ghareeb and Saudi forward Abdullah Radif scored two successive goals to make it 4-0 against Pakistan. 

"It ends in defeat," the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) wrote on social media platform X. 

 

 

 

Pakistan next face their Group G opponents Tajikistan on Tuesday, Nov. 21, before locking horns with Jordan next year on March 21, 2024. 

A total of 36 football squads have been split into nine groups with four teams each in the second round of qualifiers. The winners and runners-up from each group would progress through to the third round of the World Cup qualifiers. 


Fiery Munro ensures Islamabad hammer Karachi by seven wickets in one-sided PSL contest

Fiery Munro ensures Islamabad hammer Karachi by seven wickets in one-sided PSL contest
Updated 28 February 2024
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Fiery Munro ensures Islamabad hammer Karachi by seven wickets in one-sided PSL contest

Fiery Munro ensures Islamabad hammer Karachi by seven wickets in one-sided PSL contest
  • Islamabad United’s Colin Munro smashes 82 runs from 47 balls to win Player of the Match award
  • His opening partner Alex Hales scored 47 runs from 35 balls before Salman Ali Agha guided the team home

ISLAMABAD: Explosive Islamabad United batter Colin Munro on Wednesday smashed an 82-run knock from 47 balls to hand his team a thumping seven-wicket victory over the Karachi Kings at their home ground in the southern port city.
The two sides locked horns for the 15th match of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) contest in Karachi. The Kings, led by skipper Shan Masood, were unable to impress in the first match of this year’s PSL hosted in Karachi. The Kings were able to score 165/5 from their 20 overs after being sent in to bat by United. 
Pakistani all-rounder Imad Wasim, a former Karachi Kings cricketer, Salman Ali Agha, Naseem Shah and Hunain Shah took a single wicket each to restrict the Kings to a modest total before Islamabad’s openers wreaked havoc on Karachi. 
“Back-to-back sixes by Salman Agha and WE HAVE WON!” United wrote on social media platform X, announcing the franchise’s victory. 
Munro and his opening partner Alex Hales smashed a 108-run partnership, leaving little doubt Islamabad would clinch the match. Hales was dismissed by Hasan Ali after scoring 47 runs from 35 balls, hitting four boundaries. Wasim fell to left-arm Karachi spinner Tabraiz Shamsi on the second ball, heading to the pavilion without scoring a single run. 
Munro was the third Islamabad wicket to fall when he was trapped leg-before-wicket by Mohammad Nawaz. His 82-run knock included eight fours and four sixes. 
United, who were placed at number five on the PSL points table, have gone up to the fourth spot ahead of the Kings with four points from five matches. Skipper Shadab Khan’s side will next take on the Quetta Gladiators on Saturday as it eyes climbing the PSL points table further. 
The Kings will now face a strong Gladiators squad, placed on number two at the PSL points table, on Thursday. Placed now on number five at the PSL points table, they have four points from two matches with a run rate of -0.527. 
The top four teams of the tournament will qualify for the playoffs.


Ex-PM Khan’s party urges IMF to ensure election audit before bailout discussions

Ex-PM Khan’s party urges IMF to ensure election audit before bailout discussions
Updated 28 February 2024
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Ex-PM Khan’s party urges IMF to ensure election audit before bailout discussions

Ex-PM Khan’s party urges IMF to ensure election audit before bailout discussions
  • In letter to IMF managing director, Khan’s spokesperson urges IMF to ensure audit of at least 30 percent of national, provincial seats
  • A new Pakistani government will have to negotiate a long-term arrangement to keep Pakistan’s fragile $350 billion economy stable

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Imran Khan’s spokesperson on Wednesday wrote to the International Monetary Fund’s managing director (IMF), urging the lender to link the grant of another financial facility to Pakistan with “good governance” and an audit of at least 30 national and provincial assembly seats, following controversial polls held earlier this month that have triggered countrywide protests and accusations of vote-rigging.
Last week, the jailed former premier’s lawyer revealed Khan would write to the IMF to urge the lender to call for an independent audit of the country’s controversial Feb. 8 national elections before it commences talks with Islamabad for a new program. The IMF had responded by saying it would not comment on “ongoing political developments” in the country.
Pakistan averted default last summer thanks to a short-term International Monetary Fund bailout, but the program expires next month and a new government will have to negotiate a long-term arrangement to keep the $350 billion economy stable.
Khan’s party has been leading protests in many parts of the country since Feb. 8, accusing the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) of manipulating the results of the national polls. The election regulator and authorities deny Khan’s accusations, and have called on protesting parties to seek redressal from relevant forums. In a letter addressed to the IMF’s Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, Khan’s spokesperson Raoof Hasan said calls for an independent audit of the election by several Pakistani political parties and independent observers have gone “unheeded.”
“We, therefore, call upon the IMF to give effect to the guidelines adopted by it with respect to good governance as well as conditionalities that must be satisfied prior to the grant of a finance facility that is to burden the people of Pakistan with further debt,” a copy of the letter seen by Arab News reads.
“An audit of at least thirty percent of the national and provincial assemblies’ seats should be ensured, which can be accomplished in merely two weeks.”
Hasan clarified that an audit can be accomplished within two weeks, clarifying that the party was not demanding the IMF adopt the role of an investigative agency. He pointed out that two organizations in the country, the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) and PATTAN-Coalition38 have proposed “comprehensive” methodologies to conduct an audit of the polls.
“Such a role by the IMF would be a great service to Pakistan and its people, and could become the harbinger of enduring prosperity, growth, and macroeconomic stability in the country,” the letter concluded.
Khan, ousted in April 2022 in a parliament vote of confidence, was accused by opposition parties of scuttling an IMF deal days before leaving his office, a charge he denies. Khan and his party hold ex-PM Sharif, who was elected after him by the parliament, responsible for Pakistan’s economic woes.


Ahead of inaugural parliament meeting, ex-PM Sharif backs brother as ‘best choice’ to lead Pakistan

Ahead of inaugural parliament meeting, ex-PM Sharif backs brother as ‘best choice’ to lead Pakistan
Updated 28 February 2024
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Ahead of inaugural parliament meeting, ex-PM Sharif backs brother as ‘best choice’ to lead Pakistan

Ahead of inaugural parliament meeting, ex-PM Sharif backs brother as ‘best choice’ to lead Pakistan
  • Shehbaz Sharif is the joint PM candidate of an alliance headed by his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party 
  • Pakistan’s inaugural National Assembly session will be held on Feb. 29, 21 days after the Feb. 8 controversial elections

ISLAMABAD: A day before Pakistan’s lower house of the parliament convenes for its inaugural session, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday threw his full weight behind younger brother Shehbaz Sharif, referring to him as the “best choice” for premiership in a country that faces overlapping security, economic and political crises. 
Pakistani lawmakers are expected to take oath tomorrow, Thursday, 21 days after the controversial elections of Feb. 8 were held across the country. Polls this month resulted in a split mandate, with independent candidates backed by former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party emerging as the single largest bloc in the lower house of parliament. These candidates could not contest the polls from the PTI platform after the party lost its election emblem in a legal battle. 
Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party hence emerged as the political party with the most number of seats, bagging 75 in total. It has joined hands with the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and other allies to announce Sharif’s younger brother, Shehbaz Sharif, as their joint candidate for prime minister.
In a meeting with the party’s newly elected members of parliament, Sharif praised his younger brother for enduring hardships during his stint as prime minister from April 2022 to August 2023, crediting him for steering Pakistan out of an economic turmoil that would have seen the country suffer a sovereign default. 
“The way he went through the past one-and-a-half years, it is his bravery,” Sharif said. “If I was in his place, I may not have been able to do that. Under these circumstances, Shehbaz Sharif is the best choice [for prime minister],” he said to applause from participants.
Pakistan’s cash-strapped economy is struggling to stabilize after securing a $3 billion standby arrangement from the IMF last summer, with record inflation, rupee devaluation and shrinking foreign reserves. Analysts say the new government is likely to need more funds from the global lender after the standby arrangement expires in April.
“Your next one-and-a-half to two years will be a bit difficult, I feel,” Sharif warned. “During this difficulty, we have to remain like this [gestures for unity] like one, and have to compete with our opponents,” he added. 
Sharif’s comments come amid political uncertainty in the country, with the PTI calling for nationwide protests on Saturday to protest against alleged irregularities in this month’s polls. 
Khan’s party has accused Pakistan’s election regulator of manipulating the results of the Feb. 8 polls to benefit the PPP and PML-N. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the caretaker government have rejected Khan’s allegations, and advised the party to seek redressal from relevant forums. 
Pakistan’s national election was marred by a nationwide shutdown of mobile phone networks, which the government said was done as the run-up to elections was marred by attacks on rallies, election offices and candidates. Twenty-eight people were killed in a number of attacks in the Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces on election eve.
Other political parties such as the Jamiat Ulama-e-Pakistan (JUI), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) and others have also accused the ECP of rigging polls and held demonstrations in various parts of the country. 


Pakistan’s election body reserves verdict on reserved seats for party joined by Khan-backed candidates

Pakistan’s election body reserves verdict on reserved seats for party joined by Khan-backed candidates
Updated 28 February 2024
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Pakistan’s election body reserves verdict on reserved seats for party joined by Khan-backed candidates

Pakistan’s election body reserves verdict on reserved seats for party joined by Khan-backed candidates
  • Sunni Ittehad Council, joined by ex-PM Khan’s candidates, are seeking reserved seats for women, minorities
  • The inaugural session of Pakistan’s lower house of the parliament is scheduled to take place on February 29

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s election regulator on Wednesday reserved its judgment on petitions filed by the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) party seeking its share of reserved seats for women and religious minorities in the National Assembly, a day before the inaugural session of the lower house of Pakistan’s parliament is held.
The SIC’s numbers in parliament were bolstered after candidates backed by former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party joined it after the Feb. 8 elections, aiming to secure a share in the reserved seats. Khan-backed candidates won the highest number of seats in the polls but since a court ruling in January forced them to contest as independents, they cannot form a government on their own and are not entitled to the reserved seats.
Khan-backed candidates joined the SIC to avoid that technicality but the party has not been allocated a share in the reserved seats in national and provincial legislatures so far. The SIC has filed at least four separate applications with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) seeking its share of the reserved seats. 
The inaugural session of Pakistan’s National Assembly is scheduled to take place on Feb. 29 at 10:00 a.m. Khan’s PTI has warned that any assembly session held before reserved seats are not officially notified would be “illegal.” The PTI has also dismissed the Sindh and Punjab Assembly sessions held earlier this week where the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) elected their members as chief ministers of the provinces. 
A five-member bench of the ECP, chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja on Wednesday, heard petitions filed by the SIC and other political parties, including the PPP, the PML-N and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) concerning the reserved seats. 
“It is the legal right of the Sunni Ittehad Council to get the reserved seats,” Barrister Ali Zafar, representing the SIC, argued before the bench, insisting it had become a parliamentary party after it was joined by independent candidates backed by Khan. 
The PTI’s rivals argue that the SIC is not a parliamentary party as its candidates had not contested the Feb. 8 polls from its platform. 
Zafar urged the ECP to decide the matter “as early as possible,” saying that reserved seats allocation would also affect the upcoming presidential and Senate elections. He accused the Pakistani election regulator of resorting to “intentional delay” in the matter. 
The chief election commissioner responded by saying the ECP had held at least three meetings to discuss the allocation of reserved seats, and decided to hear the matter after a “detailed consultation.”
“The SIC is a registered political party with an electoral symbol and it could not be denied of its share in the reserved seats,” Zafar argued.
Farooq H. Naek, the PPP’s counsel, argued that the SIC had not submitted a priority list with the ECP before elections and had missed the deadline to claim their share in the reserved seats. Likewise, the PML-N’s counsel, Azam Nazir Tarar, said that a political party should contest elections, win at least a few seats to get their share in the reserved seats. However, he said the SIC did not contest polls as a party.
“Reserved seats cannot be given to independents as per law,” Tarar argued.
Farogh Nasim, the MQM-P’s lawyer, pointed out that the SIC was not a parliamentary party hence the ECP should allocate the reserved seats to his party as per its quota. 
“The SIC chief himself contested this election as an independent, therefore the party does not deserve the reserved seats,” he added.
The election commission reserved its judgment on the matter after the arguments were concluded.


Over 100 Pakistani delegates take part in global tech conference hosted by Qatar

Over 100 Pakistani delegates take part in global tech conference hosted by Qatar
Updated 28 February 2024
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Over 100 Pakistani delegates take part in global tech conference hosted by Qatar

Over 100 Pakistani delegates take part in global tech conference hosted by Qatar
  • The conference, scheduled to run till Feb. 29, is being attended by entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders from various countries
  • Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA) chairman hopes conference results in Pakistan’s economic development, job creation

ISLAMABAD: Over 100 Pakistani delegates are attending one of the world’s biggest tech conferences in Doha to showcase the country’s tech potential and interact with their global counterparts to share best practices and cutting-edge ideas, a press release by the Pakistan Software Houses Association (P@SHA) said on Wednesday. 
Entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders from around the world converged in central Doha on Monday to take part in the Web Summit 2024 being held in the Gulf nation. The conference, which will run till Feb. 29, will see participants establish new connections, share insights and secure funds for their organizations. 
Pakistan’s Ambassador to Qatar Muhemmed Aejaz and P@SHA Chairman Muhammad Zohaib Khan inaugurated the “Pakistan Pavilion” at the summit on Tuesday. 
“H. E. Muhemmed Aejaz expressed his satisfaction that more than 100 delegates from Pakistan are attending this event of global significance,” P@SHA said in a statement. “And, Embassy of Qatar has played its catalytic role to create an enabling environment for B2B matchmaking.”
Khan said the spotlight on Pakistani innovation, talent, and potential at the event can draw foreign direct investment (FDI) for the country. He hoped the event would also help support economic development, result in job creation and increase revenue generation. 
He said Pakistani professionals would interact with their international counterparts to exchange insights, best practices and cutting-edge ideas. 
“This cross-fertilization of expertise can accelerate growth in the IT industry – allowing Pakistan’s IT industry to enter new markets, new verticals and increase its customer base,” the statement added. 
P@SHA said it had collaborated with Pakistan’s IT and foreign affairs ministries for the conference. The association said it had also collaborated with Pakistan’s top investment body, the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) and Pakistan’s embassy in Qatar for the Web Summit. 
Pakistani companies participating in the event are Bitsol Technologies, Crecentech Systems, Cloudpacer, Discretelogix, DevGate, Eraflip Tech, Ideofuzion, Planet Beyond, Reach the Globe, Support Solutions Hub, Sherdil Cloud, SI Global Solutions, Technupur, Verticalsols and Ziscomm, the press release said.