Tag Archives: Nawaz

Economic ties: Premier Nawaz to visit UK this month



ISLAMABAD: 

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will visit the United Kingdom later this month for a summit-level meeting with a focus on improvement in bilateral trade, Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said late on Tuesday.

Aziz, who is the country’s de facto foreign minister,
was speaking as chief guest at the birthday celebration of Queen Elizabeth-II at the British High Commission on Tuesday evening.

“The Pakistan-UK relationship is improving at a rapid pace,” he said. “We have had high-level visits in the recent past and the prime minister will visit UK later this month for a summit-level meeting.”

Aziz said the meeting will focus on trade and investment cooperation. He said the bilateral trade between UK and Pakistan has already risen to £2.3 billion from £1.6 billion since the new Pakistani government took charge.

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


Diamer-Bhasha: Nawaz to personally monitor project, visit site soon



ISLAMABAD: With energy crisis expected to exacerbate in the summer months, prime minister Nawaz Sharif said on Thursday that he will personally monitor progress of the 4,500 megawatt Diamer-Bhasah dam in Gilgit-Baltistan, directing that security for foreign consultants be ensured.

During a briefing on the project at the PM house on Thursday, Nawaz noted that the project will not only help augment energy requirements of the country but will also prove to be a source of development for Gilgit-Baltistan. He added that he will be monitoring progress of the project personally and will visit the site soon.

To this effect, Nawaz directed that 1 percent of the project’s .87 billion cost would be allocated specifically for environmental conservation so that local vegetation and wildlife resources are not affected and first preference for un-skilled jobs should be given to locals of the project area.

Noting the security situation in the region, the prime minister further directed that foreign consultants working on the project should be given all possible security, costs for which should be adjusted in the project cost.

Nawaz was briefed that a separate unit of Gilgit-Baltistan Scouts was being raised specifically to provide security to the project and personnel involved and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) had already been signed with interior ministry.

142 km alternate route to be built on KKH

The project’s construction is expected to affect 100 kilometers of the Karakoram Highway (KKH) will be affected.

To mitigate the effects of this closure, the permier was told that an alternate route stretching for 142km will be built on KKH.

Nawaz directed that Wapda chairman should visit the project site immediately and report the updated status regarding progress of work.

The project is expected to provide a gross storage of 8.1 million acre feet (MAF) and live storage of 6.4 MAF and the total cost of the project is .87 billion with a completion time of nine years. The project will have an installed capacity of 4,500MW, generated by 12 units of 375MW each. They are expected to generate revenue of .216 billion per annum, paying back its cost in eight years and extend the life of Tarbela reservoir by 35 years.

Nawaz was told that land acquisition for the project is in process. To accommodate the displaced people, three model villages, one each at Thak Das, Harpan Das and Kino Das with all basic amenities shall be developed. These model villages will resettle 4,228 affected households.


Nawaz likely to visit Iran next month



ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is like to visit Iran next month, Radio Pakistan reported.

Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry said the Premier will visit Iran next month for which dates are being worked out.

Talking to media in Islamabad, the foreign secretary said Pakistan gives importance to its relations with Tehran and the upcoming visit of PM will boost the bilateral relations.

He further said that Pakistan wishes to have healthy with new regimes in New Delhi and Kabul.

Aizaz claimed that Pakistan’s foreign policy is on the right track.


One-on-one: Nawaz and Zardari meet at PM House in Islamabad



ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and former president Asif Ali Zardari met on Wednesday at the PM House in Islamabad, Express News reported.

This is the second meeting between the two since the Pakistan Muslim League–Nawaz (PML-N) took over the reins of government from Zardari’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) last year. The first meeting took place in January this year when the two leaders jointly performed the ground-breaking of the $ 1.6billion Thar coal power project.

Zardari arrived at the PM house via helicopter and was welcomed by Nawaz at the door before they proceeded with the meeting.

During today’s meeting, the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance, former president Pervez Musharraf’s trial, Karachi’s law and order situation, peace negotiations with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as well as matters related to political development and national security were discussed.

Before the one-on-one meeting, delegation level talks were also held. Zardari was accompanied by Senator Raza Rabbani, Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah and PPP leader Murad Ali Shah while Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar and Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid accompanied Nawaz.

A senior PPP leader had earlier told The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity that the meeting between the two political heavyweights has symbolic value in the present circumstances.

“The meeting will give a message that the country’s political forces are united,” he had added.


Nawaz to visit UK in April: Aziz



ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is scheduled to visit United Kingdom for a summit-level meeting with his British counterpart David Cameron later in April, Radio Pakistan reported on Tuesday.

This was stated by Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz while speaking at a reception hosted by British High Commissioner Philip Barton in Islamabad on Tuesday to mark the 88th birthday of Queen Elizabeth-II. Aziz’s comments put to end weeks of speculation surrounding Nawaz’s impending visit to the British isles.

Aziz added that the Prime Minister is expected to hold discussion with his British counterpart on ways and means to boost bilateral trade between the two countries.


PM Nawaz appoints Dr Mukhtar Ahmad as HEC chairperson



ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday appointed Dr Mukhtar Ahmad as chairperson of Higher Education Commission (HEC), Express News reported.

The notification of this appointment has also been issued.

Former HEC chief Javaid Laghari’s term had expired on August 26, 2013. On November 12, 2013, the government had handpicked University of Engineering and Technology Peshawar (UET) Vice Chancellor Imtiaz Hussain Gilani for the post on acting charge. His tenure ended on February 12, 2014.

The government was under strict instructions from the Islamabad High Court to appoint a permanent head at the earliest.

Selection

In January, the government had announced that a six-member panel would determine the right man for this key job.

Three names were dropped for unknown reasons and eventually a three-member committee – headed by Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal, and including State Bank of Pakistan’s former governor Dr Ishrat Hussain and Dr MB Shami – started its work.

The committee, after going through the credentials of the applicants, had initially shortlisted 21 names from among 103 applications. On February 11, Iqbal-led committee chose three names including Ahmad’s. However, all the names were reportedly rejected by the PM, who is the controlling authority.

Today, the prime minister appointed Ahmad as the head of the HEC.


Boao forum: Nawaz urges for the revival of Silk Road



BOAO, CHINA: The revival of Silk Road can help in bringing economic growth and prosperity in the region, said Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif on Thursday.

He was speaking at a session, ‘Reviving the Silk Road -A dialogue with Asian Leaders’ at the Boao Forum for Asia 2014.

The Prime Minister appreciated China’s President Xi Jinping for proposing a visionary concept of the New Silk Road last year and renewing everyone’s interest in the subject.

The Silk Road in today’s world of passports, visas and intricate tariff manuals, requires ingenuity both in policy formulation and policy application, said Nawaz.

The premier mentioned that the policy should be based upon four elements including coordination to ensure mutually beneficial endeavors in peaceful and secure settings; introduction of cohesive laws and regulations regarding movement of humans and merchandize, taxation policies and tariff, non-tariff barriers; regional infrastructure for better connectivity by building better transport networks and convertibility of currencies and uniformity in financial and banking sectors.

Nawaz highlighted that Pakistan’s geographical location supplements the potential of the Silk Road and enhances the scope of its revival.

“Our geography links China and the New Silk Road to the warm waters of the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf. This is the linear dimension of our relevance with the Silk Road,” he said.

Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan is at the junction of China, the Eurasian land-bridge and the Middle East which enables it to be route to a three-pronged economic corridor between China, Central Asia and the Middle East.

He further mentioned that Pakistan’s long coastline also makes the ports of Karachi and Gwadar as a strategic transit on the maritime Silk Road.

The premier claimed that Pakistan-China Economic Corridor is the southern extension of the New Silk Road and in the course of the last ten months, the two countries had achieved a broad consensus on planning various infrastructure and energy projects under the project of the Economic Corridor.

He mentioned that the PML-N government in the first year in office had already sought to improve governance and undertaken sound economic policies. Besides, the liabilities in the electricity sector were cleared last year and the acute energy shortfall was reduced.

Prime Minister Sharif stressed that to achieve an efficient Silk Road, there was a need to invest in peace and mutually benefiting diplomacy.

“We must strengthen bilateral and multilateral mechanisms, tosettle outstanding disputes, through peaceful means,” he said.      He said Pakistan believed that the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), with its diverse membership and strong institutional framework, was well positioned to promote peace and security, in the wider neighbourhood.

He said the SCO was playing an important role in settling disputes and managing conflicts which would help revive the Silk Road.

Nawaz- Li meeting

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday urged Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to encourage Chinese companies to invest in Pakistan, especially in energy and infrastructure.

He met with his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA).

He was accompanied by Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi.

During the meeting issues of bilateral, regional and global issues came under the discussion.

Congratulating PM Li Keqiang and Chinese leadership on the successful holding of the 14th BFA, Nawaz highlighted that the Boao event was a demonstration of China’s willingness to assist and guide the developing countries in their pursuit of harmonious growth and shared prosperity.

Describing Pakistan’s friendship with China as an exemplary inter-state relationship, the Prime Minister stressed that Pakistan attaches the highest priority to its relations with China.

The two leaders agreed that expanding economic and trade cooperation, promoting economic integration, fostering economic development of the two countries would not only benefit China and Pakistan but also transform the whole region.

Chinese Premier thanked Pakistan for its consistent and strong support on issues relating to China’s core interest sincluding the fight against terrorism, extremism and separatism.

He also appreciated his counterpart’s participation at the Bao Forum and reiterated that China attaches high priority to its relationship with Pakistan.

China would continue to strongly support Pakistan’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, said Chinese PM. He acknowledged the sacrifices rendered by Pakistan in fighting terrorism and extremism and assured China’s full support against these menaces.

Terming the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a common vision of the leadership of the two countries, Li Keqiang expressed satisfaction on the progress made in the Corridor Project.     

He hoped that the Corridor would soon start to take practical shape and yield tangible benefits, within the time-frame agreed upon between the two countries.


Taking notice of media reports: Nawaz orders inquiry into CDECHs scandal



ISLAMABAD: 

Taking notice of media reports, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has ordered inquiry into multi-billion rupees scam that deprived hundreds of allottees of Cabinet Division Employees Cooperative Housing Society (CDECHS) the rightful possession of plots even after a decade.

“The prime minister is pleased to order an independent inquiry into the CDECHS land scam allegations and for taking immediate relief to ensure rightful possession of plots to affected members of the society,” said the directive of the prime minister, a copy of which is made available to Express Investigation Cell (EIC).

The premier has also directed Islamabad’s Chief Commissioner Jawad Paul to investigate the issue and submit report to his office on top priority basis. The prime minister’s intervention could bring the affectees good news as Jawad Paul enjoys a good reputation and he can carry investigation into the issue without any pressure.

The EIC had raised the issue of non-possession of plots of the CDECHS members in a story, which was carried by Daily Express as well as The Express Tribune on December 16, 2013.

The CDECHS’s affectees, who are either retired or serving government officials, have been running from pillar to post for the last one decade to get possession of their plots. They also filed complaints with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for relief, but their efforts had remained futile.

After tepid response from NAB and the FIA, the affectees moved the Islamabad High Court (IHC) for relief and to get fixed those responsible for depriving them of their lifelong saving. The court of law did order inquiry into the case, but inaction on the part of the concerned departments of Islamabad administration blocked this effort for relief to the affectees.

As Rizwan Sadiq and Asad Mumtaz – president and secretary of the CDECHS – are well connected political figures in the capital, they used their influence to block every move for relief to the affectees. Their victims are not only the members of the CDECHS but also 104 allottees of Green City Housing Society (GCHS).

A group of 104 affectees of GCHS owned by M/s Paswal Enterprises (Pvt) Limited gave a detail picture of the fraud of Rizwan Sadiq and Asad Mumtaz during one of the inquiry sessions chaired by DC Islamabad Mujahid Sher Di.

The affectees of the GCHS told the inquiry officer that non-possession of plots had caused loss of Rs350 million to them. After consistent efforts, a group of 104 members of GCHS were given allotment letters by the CDECHS management in 2009, but these letters remained simply a piece of paper as they have not been given possession of plots as of today.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 9th, 2014.


Nawaz Sharif’s predicament



A major problem area for the federal government led by Nawaz Sharif is civil-military relations despite the fact that the PML-N leadership has a reasonable experience of living under the wings of the military. Their wish to assume a commanding role in defence and security affairs is greatly influenced by their flawed assumptions that their electoral support base and personalised decision-making would overawe the military. They now consult with the military top brass on security and related matters but it is not clear if the implementation of the decisions in the post-consultation period reflects the substance of the consultation.

The official civilian version on the meetings between the top military and civilian leaders projects a strong harmony and understanding between them. If we go by the statements of hardline federal cabinet members who have close access to Nawaz Sharif, the impression is created that the army top command fully endorses the civilian government’s management of talks with the TTP and the “high treason” case against Pervez Musharraf. It is not clear if that perception reflects the full reality or the civilian leadership is interpreting the politeness and professional discreetness of the top brass of the army as their total agreement with their handling of these two matters.

The experience of Nawaz Sharif’s earlier terms in office (1990-1993, 1997-1999) shows that Nawaz Sharif and his close associates overestimated their electoral clout in dealing with the military. In January 1993, differences developed between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Ghulam Ishaq Khan on the selection of the army chief after General Asif Nawaz Janjua died of a heart attack. Nawaz Sharif’s famous speech of not accepting anybody’s dictates in April ultimately brought him in conflict with the army top leadership when it worked towards seeking the resignations of Nawaz Sharif and Ishaq Khan to break the political deadlock in July 1993. Another example of poor management of civil-military relations is Nawaz Sharif’s interaction with the army top brass in the post-Kargil period, especially in August-October 1999. Shahbaz Sharif went to Washington to obtain American support for democracy. This support could not secure civilian rule as Nawaz Sharif attempted to remove General Pervez Musharraf in a dramatic manner and appointed his protégé as the army chief.

The civilian leadership can secure itself against military intrusions by creating a credible civilian governance system that enjoys widespread popular support. This is only possible if electoral legitimacy is coupled with performance legitimacy by good governance and a moderate and accommodating political management.

If the ultimate sanction of the military’s clout is its organisation, discipline and control of instruments of violence, the civilian leaders derive strength from popular support. However, popular support cannot be cultivated without performing in three major civilian domains. First, good governance and delivery of services to the common people and keeping economic pressures on them under check.

Second, an accommodating and cooperative interaction with the out-of-power political and societal forces. What matters here is how far other political and societal forces are willing to support the government at the operational level. If the government establishes a tyranny of majority and keeps all political adversaries under check, the political environment cannot stay harmonious and cooperative over a long period of time. Divided and fragmented political forces cannot command the political system vis-à-vis the military.

Third, post-military rule, political forces need not create a sense of insecurity in the military. An unnecessarily critical posture or negative campaign by the civilian government and political forces is always counterproductive. The civilian government often loses the confidence of the military by a policy of non-accommodation towards the sensitivities of the military top brass or undertaking a persistent propaganda campaign against the military for one reason or another.

In a country like Pakistan, where internal and external security pressures are intense, the military cannot be pushed to the sidelines. Civilian leaders will have to change Pakistan’s internal security profile and build peace on its borders in order to cut back on the role and status of the military.If Pakistan continues to suffer from violence and terrorism and its ultranationalists want to wage war against India, dominate Afghanistan and keep Iran under pressure, the military and its needs and requirements will override other considerations influencing policymaking and its execution.

At a time when the “performance legitimacy” of the PML-N government has slipped downwards, it has embarked on two extremely contentious policies: talks with the TTP and the trial of Pervez Musharraf for “high treason”. The talks with the Taliban in an apologetic manner cannot go on for an indefinite period. The civil government will have to produce positive results by the end of April in terms of the TTP giving up violence and agreeing to work within the framework of the Constitution. The army cannot afford to let the summer of 2014 pass by and let the Taliban consolidate their position in the tribal areas. This will increase the cost of defending Pakistan’s security for the military in 2015.

Similarly, the dragging-on of the Musharraf trial has a strong potential to adversely affect civil-military relations to the disadvantage of Nawaz Sharif. The military expresses its views in its own way, which can be read only by those who understand how a professional and disciplined military works. Given the military’s professional profile and tradition of respect for its retired senior officers, it would be very unusual if the military abandons Pervez Musharraf in favour of political leaders.

The civilian government needs to undertake a dispassionate review of its policies on both issues. Stepping back on these issues may subject the civilian government to criticism by a section of political leaders. However, the cost is likely to be higher for sleepwalking into the Taliban trap in the name of dialogue and settling old scores with Musharraf.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 7th, 2014.

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Civil service promotions: PM Nawaz introduces process of attrition



ISLAMABAD: 

While granting approval to the recommendations of the Central Selection Board (CSB) for the promotion of Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS) officers from grade 20 to 21, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has, for the first time in the history of the service, introduced the process of attrition in the promotion process.

Premier Nawaz disapproved the recommendations of CSB regarding the promotion of 19 officers of PAS since the board failed to apply its mind in an objective manner, it has been learnt reliably. He approved the promotions of 26 out of 45 PAS officers and sent the case of the remaining 19 officers back to the board for better application of collective wisdom in line with the guidelines provided by the Supreme Court.

The prime minister expressed reservations on the casual and hasty manner in which the board has conveniently overlooked the attributes of general perception and reputation of officers as was provided in the ‘Objective Assessment Form’. Appreciating the army’s procedure for promotion from brigadier to major general, Premier Nawaz was convinced that the ‘pen picture’ – an officer’s character and competency – should be considered while recommending promotions.

The premier returned the cases of the 19 officers for reconsideration based on the above observations.

As this was the first CSB meeting after the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment in the Orya Maqbool Jan case, it was expected that the board would practise meritocracy in its deliberations.

The premier’s decision has infused a sense of jubilation and renewed commitment amongst a wide range of honest, upright and hardworking officers of the elite service. The parameters set out in the instant decision are bound to block the career paths of those officers who have shown complete disregard for merit and honesty during the entire length of their service. This is analogous with the way career officers are promoted in the armed forces, an institution which has earned respect for fair and objective analysis of its human resource.

The purpose and intent of this decision is to make sure only merit and fair play are the order of the day in the Central Selection Board-I.

Fresh recommendations regarding the 19 officers will be resubmitted after the next meeting of CSB. It may, however, be noted that in order to protect these officers against any unfair detriment, the posts against which these officers were recommended by the board shall remain vacant until the matter is reconsidered.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 5th, 2014.