Tag Archives: Nawaz

Nawaz, Prince Muqrin discuss bilateral ties



JEDDAH: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met Deputy Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in Jeddah on Tuesday night.

During the meeting between the premier and the adviser and special envoy of the custodian of the two Holy Mosques discussed bilateral ties and regional issues. The two expressed satisfaction on steps taken to further strengthen bilateral relations.

Nawaz expressed gratitude for the warm welcome extended to  him during his private visit to Saudi Arabia.

Deputy Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, who is also the Second Deputy Premier, said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were brotherly counties and their relations were deep. He added thatSaudi Arabia is a second home for every Pakistani.

The Prime Minister was accompanied in the meeting by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Hussain Nawaz.


Nawaz sends message of condolence to Malaysian PM over MH17 crash



Prime Minister Nawaz Shairf on Friday extended condolences over the crash of Malaysian Airlines MH17 in Ukraine, in which 295 people were killed.

According to a statement issued by the ministry of foreign affairs, the premier sent a letter to his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak expressing condolences and grief on behalf of the government and people of Pakistan.

In this hour of bereavement and immense grief, the Government and people of Pakistan join me to express our heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the government and people of Malaysia and to the families of all passengers who were on board the unfortunate flight,” read the letter.

We pray for the departed souls, said Nawaz.


Madina sojourn: Nawaz likely to play Saudi card



LAHORE: As the political rhetoric rises to a crescendo at home, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif prepares to fly to Saudi Arabia for a brief religious sojourn. However, sources say that his trip has important connotations given Riyadh’s key role in Pakistan’s internal matters.

The Sharif family is likely to leave for Saudi Arabia on July 20, sources told The Express Tribune. Nawaz will not accompany his family, but he’ll follow them on a week-long trip, they added. The family will stay at the residence of Hussain Nawaz in Jeddah, while Nawaz himself prefers to spend the last 10 days of the fasting month of Ramazan at Masjid-e-Nabvi (SAW) in Madina.

Since 2008, it has been an annual ritual for Nawaz to spend the last 10 days of Ramazan in Madina – but this year he has decided to cut short the planned religious retreat to a week due to the ongoing political hullabaloo in the country.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf  chairman Imran Khan is scheduled to stage a ‘tsunami march’ in Islamabad on August 14 against alleged fraud in last year’s parliamentary election. Awami Muslim League of Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has also joined the chorus. Similarly, the Chaudhrys of Gujrat and Pakistan Awami Tehreek of Dr Tahirul Qadri have also joined hands against the government.

During his stay, sources said, Nawaz Sharif will hold background meetings with senior Saudi officials who have good relations with Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency to discuss certain matters. According to sources, the PML-N is convinced that its rivals have been emboldened by ‘strained relations’ between the government and the top spy agency.

Highly-placed sources in the PML-N say that although the party leadership is comfortable with the army chief, the top spymaster still has some serious issues with the PML-N government, especially over the government’s handling of a vilification campaign against the top spy agency. The unrelenting anti-government tirades of Imran and ominous predictions of Sheikh Rashid have convinced the PML-N leadership that the spy agency is not ready to compromise on the issue, these sources added.

With all this in view, Nawaz is expected to urge the Saudi officials in background meetings to use their influence to ease tensions between the government and the spy agency. Sources said Nawaz is confident that his Saudi trip would yield positive results – and this is why he has directed his senior aides to continue the work assigned to them with regard to different national projects. He is said to have assured his senior aides that nothing will happen on August 14 – the day when the PTI will stage long march – and that everything would be resolved amicably.

In October 1999 when the then army chief Gen Pervez Musharraf toppled the Nawaz government, the Saudi rulers had successfully negotiated a deal with the security establishment as a result of which the Sharif family was sent into exile in Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile the PML-N has established indirect contacts with the PTI leadership over the long march issue, senior PTI politician Mian Mehmoodur Rashid confirmed to The Express Tribune. “Both parties are in talks through intermediaries over the issue,” he added.

Federal Information Minister Senator Pervez Rashid refused to comment on Nawaz’s private visit to Saudi Arabia. “Nawaz Sharif used to spend last 10 days of Ramazan at Madina, but this time I’m not aware of his schedule,” Rashid told The Express Tribune. “In the past he never met with the Saudi king or other officials during such religious retreats.”

He denied there was any tension between the government and the top spy agency over any issue. About PTI’s long march, the minister said he didn’t know who was pulling the strings. “However, it should be clear to those who have scripted his march that Imran neither has a past nor a future,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2014.


PM Nawaz says no one will be allowed to create unrest on August 14



CHAKWAL: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, implicitly referring to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan’s plan to hold a ‘tsunami march‘ on August 14, said that people will not be allowed to create unrest in the country on the independence day, Express News reported on Wednesday.

The premier was speaking in Chakwal after he laid the foundation of two projects – Chakwal-Sohawa Road and Chakwal-Rawalpindi Road - worth Rs9 million. Nawaz said that the projects are expected to be completed within 12-15 months.

On June 27, PTI had announced its plan to hold a march against alleged rigging in the May 11 general elections last year at Islamabad’s D-Chowk.

The government had later announced that it will also hold an Independence Day rally at the same location on the same day, setting up a possible showdown with PTI. On July 12, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid had said that Imran Khan will be among many politicians who will be invited to the rally.

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Nawaz urges world to stop Israel’s ‘genocide’ in Gaza



ISLAMABAD / GAZA: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday termed Israeli atrocities against Palestinians in Gaza as ‘genocide,’ urging the world to stop Israel’s naked and brutal aggression.

In a statement released late on Tuesday, Nawaz said that these crimes against innocent civilians, women children and elderly, were unparalleled in the recent history of the world.

“I am saddened and disappointed to note the silence of international community against this injustice. The silence and ineffectiveness of Muslim Ummah has made Palestinians more vulnerable and made Israel more aggressive. World must stop Israel from this naked and brutal aggression.”

Hamas rocket claims first Israeli casualty, Palestinian toll up 197

Nawaz’s comments came as Israel resumed a punishing air campaign against Gaza Tuesday after its Palestinian foe Hamas failed to agree on a truce and dozens of rockets were fired over the border, killing an Israeli for the first time in the week long conflict.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the army would “expand and intensify” its Gaza operation as hopes of an Egyptian-brokered truce fell through.

The renewed Israeli strikes killed three Gazans, raising the Palestinian death toll in eight days of violence to 197, medics said.

The Israeli was killed in a rocket attack on an Israeli position near the Erez crossing with Gaza, the army said.

Hamas’s Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades armed wing said it carried out the attack.

The 38-year-old civilian had been delivering food to soldiers serving in the area, a spokesperson for the Israeli emergency services told AFP.

It was the first Israeli death of the conflict after nearly 1,000 rockets and mortar rounds hit the Jewish state. Four Israelis have been seriously wounded.

It came after Israel’s security cabinet said early Tuesday it would accept an Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire to begin at 0600 GMT.

But Hamas officials said they had not been consulted on the proposal and would not halt fire without a full-fledged deal including Israeli concessions.

The movement’s armed wing continued to fire dozens of rockets into Israel after the 0600 GMT deadline, sending tens of thousands scrambling for cover.

At 1200 GMT, the Israeli army announced it was resuming air strikes, after militants fired 47 rockets from Gaza.

The fresh raids hit Gaza City, southern Khan Yunis and Rafah and killed two people.

“This would have been better resolved diplomatically, that’s what we tried to do when we accepted the Egyptian truce proposal today,” Netanyahu claimed.

“But Hamas leaves us no choice but to expand and intensify the campaign against it.”

Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri said the movement had not been consulted on the truce bid, and called the idea of halting fire before agreeing on terms “unacceptable”.

A top member of Hamas’s exiled politburo, Mussa Abu Marzuq, sounded a more cautious note, saying the movement had no official position on the proposal and discussions were continuing.

Hamas has said it wants the end of Israel’s blockade of Gaza and the opening of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt as part of a truce deal.

It also wants Israel to free Palestinians it rearrested after releasing them in a 2011 exchange for an Israeli soldier held by Gaza militants for more than five years.

In his remarks on Tuesday evening, Netanyahu also took aim at domestic critics, responding to Foreign Minister Avidgor Lieberman who earlier slammed Israel’s acceptance of the Egyptian truce and Netanyahu’s “hesitance”, saying Israel should conquer Gaza and expel Hamas from it.

“These are moments when decisions must be made coolly and with patience, not hastily or noisily,” Netanyahu said.

The Israeli premier also fired deputy defence minister Danny Danon, a firebrand member of his Likud party, who was a vocal critic of him during the operation.

Cairo’s truce proposal was announced overnight, and urged both sides to halt the violence and travel to Egypt for talks.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas was due in Cairo on Wednesday, but it was unclear if Hamas officials there were continuing to discuss the truce bid and if Israeli officials would also travel to Egypt.

The proposal won support from Western governments with President Barack Obama saying he was “encouraged” by Egypt’s efforts and hoped to see calm restored.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also urged Hamas to accept the Egyptian proposal, accusing the Islamists of holding Gaza “hostage.”

But Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan put the blame entirely on Israel accusing it of carrying out “state terrorism” and a “massacre” of Palestinians in Gaza.

Israel launched Operation Protective Edge before dawn on July 8, hitting Gaza with an intensive air and artillery bombardment aimed at stamping out rocket fire.

Since then, 960 rockets have hit Israel, while another 215 have been intercepted by its Iron Dome air defence system, the army said.

In Gaza City on Tuesday, shortly after Israel resumed its air strikes, 44-year-old Suheil al-Hossari looked at the ruins of his home.

An Israeli warning call meant there were no deaths in the strike, but that was small comfort for Hossari.

“Everything is destroyed. The food we prepared for our iftar (Ramadan evening meal) is now under the ruins of my home,” he told AFP.

“I don’t have money for food, let alone to rent a new house. I will stay here in the open and rely on God’s mercy.”


All available resources to be utilised to look after IDPs, says Nawaz



ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif while reviewing the progress of the ongoing military operation in North Waziristan and relief efforts for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) said on Tuesday that all available resources will be utilised to look after the IDPs, according to Radio Pakistan.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal and Minister for SAFRON Abdul Qadir Baloch were part of a consultative meeting in Islamabad on Tuesday.

Nawaz lauded the armed forces on progress made in the operation and also appreciated Abdul Qadir Baloch over efforts made for the IDPs.

Arrangements to celebrate Independence Day in a traditional manner were also reviewed during the meeting. The premier said that August 14 should be celebrated  in a befitting manner as it the day of progress and prosperity for the country.

The Prime Minister said 14th of August being day for progress and prosperity of the country should be celebrated in a befitting manner.


Stop interfering in provincial matters, Zardari tells PM Nawaz



LAHORE: Former president Asif Ali Zardari had harsh words for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday, asking him to stop interfering in provincial matters and reminding him that he was democratically elected, and not a ‘monarch’, Express News reported. 

The Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairperson also said that the prime minister, leader of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, should take into account the demands made by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) regarding the re-counting of votes in four constituencies.

Zardari said that the premier should not be afraid to go ahead with the re-counting of the votes.

He said Nawaz had made several promises to the public, which he has been unable to keep, adding that the public is suffering with water, power and gas shortages.

Zardari, comparing the PPP and PML-N governments, said that load-shedding and circular debt had increased with the present government.


PM Nawaz criticises Imran, Qadri for becoming hindrance to country’s progress



ISLAMABAD: Referring to the ‘tsunami march‘ announced by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairperson Imran Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Tahirul Qadri’s ‘revolution‘, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday remarked that his government will not let anyone become a hindrance to the progress of the country.

Addressing a ceremony for Taxpayer Privileges and Honour Card Scheme, the premier said that there was no place for negative politics in the country, adding that it was time for constructive politics.

Implicitly criticising his two political rivals, the prime minister said their parties were involved in centuries-old politics while living in the 21st century.

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Premier Nawaz stated that his government will not allow anyone to become an obstacle to the country’s development.

Energy crisis

Speaking about the prevalent energy crisis in the country, PM Nawaz said there was no immediate solution to the problem.

“People should not expect that the energy crisis will be resolved in 6 months or a year,” he remarked.

The premier said that during the Pakistan Muslim League -Nawaz’s (PML-N) term, every effort will be made to bridge the gap between demand and supply of electricity.

“The country’s treasury does not have enough resources to set up power projects on its own,” the premier commented, adding that the government was taking China’s help to do so.

PM Nawaz claimed that the future was bright in terms of solving the energy crisis, referring to the various power projects started by the PML-N government.

Acknowledging taxpayers

During his address, PM Nawaz said that under this new scheme – which acknowledges the contribution of the top 100 dutiful taxpayers - top 10 taxpayers in each tax-related category will receive excellence awards.

He stated that the top 100 taxpayers will receive privilege taxpayers cards which will give them access to VIP lounges at airports, fast track immigration clearance and gratis passport.

The premier said that in this way, those who are playing a role in the development of the country and are contributing to the economy will be acknowledged.

“It will also give a message to others to do their part as well,” he added.





Electricity woes: PM Nawaz orders report on prolonged power cuts



LAHORE: 

Angered by frequent and prolonged power outages during the fasting month of Ramazan, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has sought a report from the ministry of water and power. The premier’s notice was prompted by an unusual increase in load-shedding hours. Some rural areas of Punjab have had to go without electricity for nearly 19 hours a day, while the urban centres are subjected to 15 hours of load-shedding every day.

The government earlier pledged it would lower the duration of load-shedding during the month of Ramazan, while ruling out the possibility of outages during sehri and iftar. But the promise has gone largely unfulfilled. Despite being a weekly holiday, Sunday witnessed prolonged unannounced outages in different cities, including Lahore. The power cuts had a domino effect as the pumping stations couldn’t work, leading to a water crisis in the provincial capital.

The prime minister ordered the water and power ministry to bring down the duration of load shedding to a reasonable level. He also ordered upgradation of the system on an emergency basis.

The Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) subjected the metropolitan city to long outages in the name of various development works. The unannounced load-shedding triggered street protests in different neighbourhoods of the city, including Canal Road, Garhi Shahu, Harbunspura, Iqbal Town, Islampura, Johar Town and Multan Road. Protesters burnt used tyres on the roads and chanted slogans against the government and Wapda.

Muhammad Ali, a baker and confectioner from Islampura, said that the outages had badly affected his business. “The perishable items lose their shelf-life by 50% because of prolonged load-shedding,” he told The Express Tribune. The hot item in summer is ice-cream, he said. “But during this summer, load-shedding has cut ice-cream sales by 60%.”

Ume Rubab, a housewife from Johar Town, said that the power cuts and the resulting water woes at Sehri have made her life miserable as she couldn’t perform her chores and make Sehri for the family.

Ali Raza, a visibly angered resident of Multan Road, complained that “frequent outages have paralysed their life. We were expecting some respite during Ramazan, but the situation has worsened instead. Why is the Punjab chief minister not protesting now by setting up a makeshift tent office at Minar-e-Pakistan? Is it because his nephew is the state minister for water and power or is it because the federal government is run by his brother? The government is incompetent and unable to solve our problems,” he added.

Engineer Mujasim Ali Rizvi, who is an expert in coal energy, said, “Pakistan would require 49,078MW of electricity by 2025. We need to take up this challenge and enhance our production capacity to 50,000MW from the current 7,000MW. If all hydel projects are completed by 2025, their combined contribution would be 15,000MW.”

The solution to Pakistan’s energy crises lies in tapping our huge coal reserves, according to Rizvi. “Currently, we produce only 0.1% of our electricity through coal despite the fact that we have about 175 billion tonnes of coal reserves in Thar,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2014.


PM Nawaz arrives in Karachi to review targeted operation



KARACHI: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif along with Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique reached Karachi on Thursday, Express News reported.

Chief Minister Sindh Qaim Ali Shah received the premier upon his arrival.

During his one-day visit to the metropolitan city, PM Nawaz will head a high-level meeting, which will take place at the Governor House, to discuss the Karachi operation, and the law and order situation in the city.

Governor Sindh Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan, the Sindh chief minister, acting IG Sindh, DG Rangers and officials of intelligence agencies will be present at the meeting.

During the meeting, the Karachi operation will be reviewed in detail and it is also expected that a new strategy regarding the operation will be decided.

The prime minister will also head another important meeting at the Governor House which will be regarding development projects especially mega-projects in Karachi.

According to sources, PM Nawaz will also meet representatives of various political parties including Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Mutahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N).