Multan Sultans end PSL home leg with comfortable win over Quetta Gladiators

Special Multan Sultans end PSL home leg with comfortable win over Quetta Gladiators
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Multan Sultans’ David Willey, center, celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Quetta Gladiators’ Saud Shakeel during the Pakistan Super League T20 cricket match between Multan Sultans and Quetta Gladiators, in Multan, Pakistan on February 25, 2024. (AP)
Special Multan Sultans end PSL home leg with comfortable win over Quetta Gladiators
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Quetta Gladiators' players celebrate the wicket Islamabad United's Agha Salman during the Pakistan Super League (PSL) Twenty20 cricket match between Islamabad United and Quetta Gladiators at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore on February 22, 2024. (AFP/file)
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Updated 25 February 2024
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Multan Sultans end PSL home leg with comfortable win over Quetta Gladiators

Multan Sultans end PSL home leg with comfortable win over Quetta Gladiators
  • After posting 180-4 in first innings, the Mohammad Rizwan-led side restricted Quetta Gladiators to 167-9
  • Reeza Hendricks’ 72 and three-wicket hauls by Mohammad Ali, David Willey guided Multan to their fourth win

ISLAMABAD: Multan Sultans defeated Quetta Gladiators by 13 runs at the Multan Cricket Stadium on Sunday, finishing their home leg of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 9th edition on a high. 
Quetta Gladiators won the toss and elected to field first. Usman Khan, playing his first game of PSL-9, started the innings with three boundaries in the first over.
After posting 180-4 in the first innings, the Mohammad Rizwan-led side restricted Quetta Gladiators to 167-9, courtesy of three-wicket hauls by Mohammad Ali and David Willey.
“Multan win once again at the Sultans Fort,” read a post on PSL’s official account on X. “Gladiators’ unbeaten run ends with Sultans emerging triumphant by 13 runs.”
Reeza Hendricks top-scored with 72 runs from 47 deliveries, followed by Rizwan’s 52 off 42 balls. Tayyab Tahir hit 35 not out from 22 deliveries.
Mohammad Amir took two wickets by conceding 46 runs, while Akeal Hosein and Abrar Ahmed dismissed once each.
In their 181-run chase for victory, Quetta could only reach 167 in 20 overs, with Khawaja Nafay hitting the highest 36 from 31 balls.
Mohammad Ali and David Willey took three wickets each, while Aftab Ibrahim returned 2/26 figures.
This was Multan Sultans’ fourth win from their five matches in the home city of Multan. It also ended Gladiators unbeaten run in the four matches played this season.


Pakistan’s finance minister expects remittances to increase to $29 billion this year

Pakistan’s finance minister expects remittances to increase to $29 billion this year
Updated 59 min 5 sec ago
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Pakistan’s finance minister expects remittances to increase to $29 billion this year

Pakistan’s finance minister expects remittances to increase to $29 billion this year
  • Workers’ remittances bring billions of dollars annually to Pakistan and are crucial for country’s fragile economy
  • Finance Minister Aurangzeb says IMF “very receptive” in agreeing to a larger and longer financial assistance program 

ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb expects Pakistan’s remittances from overseas citizens will increase to $29 billion this fiscal year, English-language newspaper The National reported on Monday. 

Workers’ remittances bring billions of dollars annually from overseas Pakistanis to the South Asian country and are vital for its fragile economy. These inflows bolster foreign exchange reserves, stabilize balance of payments and support the Pakistani currency.

Aurangzeb has been in Washington since Apr. 13 to participate in spring meetings organized by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. His tour is an important one for the South Asian country as Pakistan’s ongoing nine-month, $3 billion loan program with the global lender expires this month.

When asked about the World Bank estimating that remittances would globally drop this year, Aurangzeb said the “reality is it’s the other way round.”

“So, I think we closed the year at about $28 billion last fiscal year and we expect to close at $29 billion this year,” Aurangzeb said. “So, the remittances have not only been holding up, actually during this fiscal year they will actually go up.”

The Pakistani minister had confirmed last week that Islamabad was seeking a “larger and longer” multi-billion-dollar loan program from the IMF and discussions were underway with the Fund’s officials. 

“We have had very constructive discussions with the managing director and her very senior team,” Aurangzeb said. “And given that we are successfully completing this program, the Fund has been very receptive in terms of agreeing to consider a larger, longer program.”

On China, which has invested heavily in Pakistan through a multi-billion-dollar road and infrastructure project known as the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Aurangzeb said Pakistan “missed a trick” by taking too long to monetize projects. 

Since its initiation in 2013, CPEC has seen tens of billions of dollars funneled into massive transport, energy and infrastructure projects. But the undertaking has also been hit by Pakistan struggling to keep up its financial obligations as well as attacks on Chinese targets by militants.

“We have been slow over the last few years,” he said. “We are going to move forward with Phase Two so that we can get going with the revenue generating part of the of CPEC.”


Pakistan’s PM urges world to be ‘ecologically more conscious’ on Earth Day

Pakistan’s PM urges world to be ‘ecologically more conscious’ on Earth Day
Updated 22 April 2024
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Pakistan’s PM urges world to be ‘ecologically more conscious’ on Earth Day

Pakistan’s PM urges world to be ‘ecologically more conscious’ on Earth Day
  • Earth Day is an annual celebration that raises awareness to protect planet’s natural resources
  • Pakistan is consistently ranked among world’s worst-affected countries by climate change

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday called on the international community to join hands and strive to be “ecologically more conscious” as Pakistan joins the world in commemorating Earth Day today. 

Earth Day is an annual celebration on April 22 that honors the achievements of environmental movements and raises awareness of the need to protect Earth’s natural resources for future generations. The day serves as a platform to highlight various environmental issues, such as climate change, pollution, deforestation, and conservation of natural resources.

In a message on social media platform X, Sharif said Earth Day reminds the world of its shared responsibility to protect the planet. 

“Let us strive to be ecologically more conscious in our endeavors and fostering a greener approach in our daily life,” he wrote. “Let us resolve to reduce our carbon and environmental footprint.”

Pakistan produces less than one percent of the world’s carbon footprint but, according to the Global Climate Risk Index, has lost nearly ten thousand lives and suffered economic losses worth $3.8 billion due to climate change throughout the years 1999 to 2018.

The country is also ranked consistently among the world’s worst-affected countries due to climate change. Pakistan witnessed one of the deadliest monsoon floods in June 2022, blamed on climate change, which killed more than 1,700 people, affected nearly 33 million and caused over $30 million losses.

In recent years, Pakistan has also experienced frequent forest fires in its northwestern and southwestern regions.

Sharif’s message came as the South Asian country reels from heavy rains in its northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and southwestern Balochsitan provinces and Punjab. Lightning strikes, heavy rains and floods in the three provinces have killed more than 90 people since April 12. 


As T20 World Cup looms, injuries become headache for Pakistan yet again

As T20 World Cup looms, injuries become headache for Pakistan yet again
Updated 22 April 2024
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As T20 World Cup looms, injuries become headache for Pakistan yet again

As T20 World Cup looms, injuries become headache for Pakistan yet again
  • Star batter Muhammad Rizwan was pulled out of Sunday’s match against New Zealand after he felt discomfort in his hamstring
  • Pakistani wicketkeeper batter Azam Khan has been ruled out of the New Zealand series after he suffered a tear in his right calf muscle 

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said on Sunday that star batter Muhammad Rizwan had been pulled out of the third T20I fixture against New Zealand in Rawalpindi after he felt discomfort in his hamstring, raising fears that the 2009 champions may once again be plagued by injuries before the mega T20 tournament kicks off in June. 

Rizwan, who was instrumental in Pakistan’s win in the second T20I over New Zealand on Saturday, was pulled from the match after scoring only 22 runs from 21 balls on Sunday. The PCB later released a statement saying the batter felt discomfort in his right hamstring, and that he would not take part in the rest of the match. 

If injured, Rizwan would add to a mounting list of Pakistani players who have suffered injuries in recent times. Wicketkeeper batter Azam Khan was ruled out of the New Zealand series last week after radiology reports confirmed a grade one tear in his right calf muscle. 

“Azam will now depart from the Pakistan men’s cricket team and report to the National Cricket Academy, where he will commence his rehabilitation process under the supervision of the PCB medical panel,” the PCB said in a statement on Sunday. 

Express Pakistani pacer Ihsanullah has also been out of action since he made his ODI debut for Pakistan in April 2023. Ihsanullah was initially sidelined with an elbow injury which, according to media reports, turned into a significantly more serious as it was misdiagnosed by the PCB’s medical team. 

PCB Chairman Mohsin Naqvi said on Sunday that the cricket body had decided to constitute an independent board “to analyze if Ihsanullah’s medical case was handled properly by PCB medical support team.”

The South Asian team suffered a massive blow last year when right-arm pacer Naseem Shah, a regular member of the Pakistan cricket team in all three formats of the game, suffered a serious shoulder injury and was ruled out of the 50-over World Cup in India months before it was scheduled to take place. Pakistan ended up not qualifying for the semifinal stages of the tournament on account of their poor bowling and batting performances. 


PM Sharif says results of Pakistan by-elections reflect people’s confidence in ruling party

PM Sharif says results of Pakistan by-elections reflect people’s confidence in ruling party
Updated 22 April 2024
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PM Sharif says results of Pakistan by-elections reflect people’s confidence in ruling party

PM Sharif says results of Pakistan by-elections reflect people’s confidence in ruling party
  • Local media reports, quoting unofficial results, showed ruling PML-N leading in nearly two dozen constituencies 
  • Former PM Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party rejects results of by-polls, accuses authorities of rigging 

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday congratulated Pakistan’s newly elected legislators, saying that the results of Sunday’s by-polls reflected ​people’s confidence in the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party. 

Pakistan conducted by-polls across 21 national and provincial constituencies on Sunday. In Punjab, polls were held on 12 provincial and two National Assembly seats while in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, by-polls were held on four seats. Elections were also held on two seats in Pakistan’s southwestern Balochistan province while one National Assembly seat in Sindh was also up for grabs.

Quoting unofficial and preliminary results, Pakistani news website Geo.tv said Sharif’s party succeeded in winning electoral contests in four out of 12 provincial seats in Punjab while it also won a provincial assembly seat in Balochistan and one National Assembly seat in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore. 

“The victory of the newly elected members of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) in the by-elections is a manifestation of the people’s confidence,” the PML-N quoted Sharif as saying on X. “We assure the public that we will spare no effort in serving them.”

The Pakistani premier said the PML-N candidates’ success is a public recognition of the government’s efforts to restore the economy, reduce inflation and improve foreign relations.

“With further economic improvement and increase in relief for the masses, the public’s opinion will change further in the coming days,” he said.

Meanwhile, jailed former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party rejected the results of the by-polls, alleging that they were heavily rigged in favor of the ruling party. 

“Congratulations to you and your party for such a victory in which the election was stolen in broad daylight by trampling on the people’s opinion,” the PTI wrote to Punjab Chief Minister and PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz Sharif on X. 

In another post on the social media platform, the PTI accused authorities of helping PML-N candidates win via force. It saluted voters for “forcing the system to its knees.”

The polls were held amid suspension of cellular services in Balochistan and specific districts of Punjab. On Saturday, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), which regulates Internet in the country, said the decision to keep cellular services suspended was taken on the interior ministry’s directions.

“This decision has been taken to safeguard the integrity and security of the electoral process,” the regulator said in a statement.

The federal government authorized the deployment of civil armed forces and Pakistan Army to assist the ECP in peaceful conduct of by-polls.
 


Iranian president arrives in Pakistan for three-day visit to bolster ties

Iranian president arrives in Pakistan for three-day visit to bolster ties
Updated 12 min 23 sec ago
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Iranian president arrives in Pakistan for three-day visit to bolster ties

Iranian president arrives in Pakistan for three-day visit to bolster ties
  • Ebrahim Raisi arrives in Islamabad with high-level delegation and “large” team of businesspersons, says foreign office
  • Raisi’s visit to Pakistan takes place amid surging Middle East tensions following Israel’s airstrikes against Iran last week

ISLAMABAD: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi arrived in Islamabad on Monday for a three-day visit to the country, Pakistan’s foreign office said, with his trip aimed at strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries amid surging tensions in the Middle East.

The Iranian president arrived in the federal capital with his spouse, a high-level delegation of cabinet members and a team of businesspersons. He was welcomed at the Islamabad Airport by Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Housing and Works Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada and Pakistan’s Ambassador to Iran Mudassir Tipu.

Raisi’s visit takes place days after Iran and Israel exchanged drone and missile strikes, escalating tensions in the already volatile Middle East.

“Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif welcomed Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi at the Prime Minister’s House,” Sharif’s office said in a statement. “Both representatives exchanged good wishes for one another.”

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi (center) arrives in Islamabad, Pakistan on April 22, 2024. (Government of Pakistan)

Raisi was presented with a guard of honor by a Pakistan Army contingent upon his arrival at the Prime Minister’s House. Sharif and the Iranian president then planted a sapling at the Prime Minister’s House to mark the annual Earth Day. 

The Iranian president also met Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar, during which the two agreed to enhance cooperation in various areas. “They also discussed regional and global developments and affirmed commitment to peace and constructive dialogue for resolving regional challenges,” the foreign office said. 

This handout photograph taken and released by the Pakistan Foreign Office on April 22, 2024, shows Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi (R) speaking with Pakistan's Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar (L) during their meeting in Islamabad, Pakistan. (Pakistan's Foreign Office)

During his visit from April 22-24, the Iranian head of state is scheduled to meet Pakistan’s prime minister, president, Senate chairman and National Assembly speaker, the foreign office said in a statement on Friday, adding that he would also visit Karachi and Lahore cities to meet the country’s provincial leadership.

Raisi’s visit will be the first by any head of state to Pakistan after the contentious elections of February 2024.

Pakistan and Iran are often at odds with each other over instability on their shared porous border, with both countries routinely trading blame for not rooting out militancy.

Tensions surged in January when Pakistan and Iran exchanged airstrikes, both claiming to target alleged militant hideouts in each other’s countries. Both sides have since then undertaken peace overtures and restored bilateral ties.

“The two sides will have a wide-ranging agenda to further strengthen Pakistan-Iran ties and enhance cooperation in diverse fields including trade, connectivity, energy, agriculture, and people-to-people contacts,” the foreign office said.

Discussions would also focus on regional and global developments as well as bilateral cooperation to combat “terrorism,” the statement added.

“Pakistan and Iran enjoy strong bilateral ties anchored in history, culture and religion,” the foreign office said. “This visit provides an important opportunity to further strengthen Pakistan-Iran relations.”