KARACHI: Venue was the Marriott Hotel’s Crystal Ballroom where karachiites converged to celebrate the 70 years of Pak-US relations.
The event, organized by PACC, commenced with the national anthems of Pakistan and USA. Instrumental folk music was presented by maestros. Regional and classical dances enthralled the audience.
Deputy Consul General of USA John Warner introduced the chief guest Consul General of USA Joanne Wagner who stated:
“Khush Amdid! Ok, you just heard about my entire vocabulary in Urdu but I wanted to at least give it a stab, right!
So, 70 years, that’s a good long while, maybe not in the grand sweep of history but in terms of the relationship between Pakistan and the United States. It’s a milestone well worth celebrating.
70 years ago the Quaid-e-Azam brought his profound vision of a peaceful, prosperous, inclusive Pakistan to life. And the United States…was one of the very first to recognize that his dream had become a reality.
We started our partnership on October 20th, 1947 when the United States established formal relationships with Pakistan and opened our Embassy right here in Karachi.
Over the past 70 years, we’ve been through a lot together, speaking personally, as (Deputy Consul General) John (Warner) just mentioned, I had a long relationship with Pakistan in my State Department career working twice on Pakistan from the Washington side. And through that, I became absolutely convinced of Pakistan’s critical importance to the United States.
I found myself returning to work on the US-Pakistan relationship over the years. And when I talked to my colleagues about this, we all agreed that there is something about Pakistan that continually pulls you back. Whether it is the incredible warmth of Pakistan’s people, the dynamism we find right here in the city of Karachi, the entrepreneurial spirit of your community or the astonishing potential of your country. Pakistan makes a place in your heart.
Pakistan does make a place in your heart and frankly, it refuses to leave and I don’t want it to leave. I’m committed to playing my part in building a deeper, stronger, multi-dimensional partnership so that together we can face these very real challenges of the 21st century.
So, recently a Pakistani official lamented in some remarks here in Karachi that for a number of years the United States has abandoned Pakistan. I beg to differ. The United States-Pakistan relationship has endured owing in no small part to the lasting partnerships and friendships we have formed, including with many of you here in the room tonight, and it has been a very important collaboration that we have taken together.
We’ve created joint programs in education, in energy, in health, entrepreneurship, waste management, civilian assistance and so much more. Why? Because the United States recognizes that a strong US-Pakistan partnership pulling in the same direction is vital to regional and global security. Pakistan is an important ally and we recognize that we must work together to face the challenges in South Asia today and beyond.
So I’d like to talk a little bit about the shape of this co-operation. Did you know that the US remains Pakistan’s largest bilateral export market and trade last year reached record heights?
The US is one of Pakistan’s largest donors of foreign assistance, promoting extensive economic, social and scientific growth. US businesses affect the daily lives of so many Pakistanis. Anyone here uses Colgate toothpaste or Pampers or has a Dunkin’ Donuts now and then.
Let’s talk about a few more examples of how our co-operation has benefited both of our countries. Considering what we’re celebrating tonight, I think starting with cultural co-operation is particularly appropriate. A there is perhaps no better, no stronger evidence of our partnership then the multitude of people-to-people exchanges we’ve shared over the years.
About 1,200 Pakistanis have come to the United States on US-funded exchange programs every year. There are more than 25,000 Pakistani alumni of US-funded exchange programs. And many of these are involved in the Pakistani-US alumni networks’ 13 chapters across Pakistan. And these alumni, because they have lived in both the United States and in Pakistan, they act as interpreters and translators of one culture to the other.
And that plays a really crucial role in increasing our understanding of each other. But our cultures, each unique in its own right, now have more and more in common and we are embracing each other’s cultures in new and different ways. In fact in new and delicious ways. For example, Pakistani fashion, made of Pakistani textiles often, is increasingly popular in the US. And of course, we see American style jeans every day in Karachi.
Just Saturday, I met 2 musicians, also exchange alumni. They’re experimenting with new musical forms. They are fusing hard rock Led Zeppelin riffs with sitar expressions. I find that absolutely fascinating and I am really looking forward to hearing more about their work.
And then there’s the food, so many of the Americans at the consulate love Pakistani food. I’m hosting some cooking lessons at my house because we all want to be able to eat Pakistani food once we have to leave here and we’re not alone. In Houston, Texas, for example, the Hyderabad Biryani Restaurant pulls in customers of all ethnicities and backgrounds. And then throughout Karachi, we’ve got KFC, Mc Donald’s, California Pizza and they are making customers very happy here as well.
But sharing our separate cultures, our rich and our diverse histories, our music, our food, and our traditions – all things that we treasure and celebrate – we learn from each other while we’re doing this. And I think that we learn that at the heart of the matter we are more alike than we are different.
I’d like to talk a little bit about collaboration on education. Pakistan is the home of the largest US government-funded Fulbright Program in the world. And the US has funded more than 12 thousand additional scholarships for underprivileged students to attend universities in Pakistan, and by the way, half of those are for women.
We’ve also funded 23 separate partnerships between Pakistani and US universities, funding things such as professional development for faculty or curriculum reform, joint research, pair to pair inclusion. And the lessons we learned from each other through these programs are invaluable and help bring our countries closer together.
Right now the US Pakistan centers for advanced studies in water, which is located right here in Sindh, is pairing with Mehran University and the University of Utah in the United States to promote a graduate degree program focusing on improving water management and I think that’s going to become more and more important as the years go by.
It’s an issue of critical importance for the province and for the country. And today there are 166 students, 46 of them women, who have been working in that field and are attending school through this program. In fact, there’s a group of Pakistani students in Utah right now who are completing the US portion of their studies and are further strengthening their partnership.
There’s more: USAID…they’re building over a hundred schools for thousands of young people with a particular focus on the districts in northern Sindh. 40 of these schools are already completed and they’re modern schools. They are complete with libraries, computer labs, health clinics, multi-purpose rooms to support the arts and community activities. And there are even special features so that children with disabilities can come to school as well.
And we have a $155 million Sindh Basic Education Program in partnership with the Sindh government. That is not only building some of these schools but establishing public-private partnerships that will staff them and educate a new generation of Pakistanis. We’ve also partnered with Pakistani institutions to invest in English language teaching and learning.
And this is a tremendous multiplier. When we teach 450 teachers they, in turn, touch thousands of students and that’s very important. For 11 years our English Access Program has provided 2 years of after-school English language instruction to more than 15,000 Pakistani young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. And that means that these young people have better tools to create better lives for themselves and for Pakistan itself.
The last element I’ll touch on is very close to my heart – the last element in the cultural sphere – and that is cultural preservation. Your heritage, its richness, and its depth are astonishing and I’m so pleased that the US has helped to preserve some of Pakistan’s most important and inspiring treasures.
We’ve completed 20 projects through our Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation and 2 of those projects are right here in Sindh. I hope you’ll have a chance to visit them because frankly, they are spectacular. And because they also reveal and reinforce the wealth of Pakistani history and culture and I’m talking about the tomb of Sultan Ibrahim at Makli and the famous Shri Varun Dev (Mandir) temple at Manora Island. I do hope you get to see those.
Beyond culture, the private sector is and has been a vital link in our continuing relationship opening the kind of new economic opportunities that are so vital to ensuring an economically prosperous Pakistan.
You may be surprised to know that the United States remains Pakistan’s largest bilateral export market. But we’re also a significant source of Foreign Direct Investment. We’ve supported Pakistan’s regional trade efforts and shared security efforts by funding the construction and rehabilitation of about one thousand kilometers of roads, including our major trade routes between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
We support Pakistan’s small and medium enterprises – catalysts of economic growth – through the US Global Innovation through Science and Technology (or GIST) initiative. GIST provides training and resources. And we sponsor a global competition which a Pakistani scientist won recently for the best healthcare startup. Her project is called doc-HERS not doctors but doc-HERS. It’s a novel healthcare marketplace that connects female doctors to millions of underserved patients in real-time while leveraging technologies, so it’s a very innovative program.
I’ll add a special message tonight and say that the US is absolutely committed to creating opportunities that allow and encourage women to thrive.
Surprise finalé was a performance by the Consul General Joanne Wagner, who was accompanied by Cultural Attaché Susan Ross and CLO Jennifer Mauldin.
A relevant piece published earlier:
Terrorism: Military courts finalize cases of 546 accused
RAWALPINDI: Since the establishment of military courts cases of 717 accused terrorists were sent to them by the federal government and out of these 546 cases have been finalized.
According to the details issued here by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on Sunday out of the 546 finalized cases, 310 terrorists were awarded death penalty while 234 were awarded rigorous imprisonment of varied duration, ranging from life imprisonment to a minimum duration of five years.
Two accused were also acquitted. Out of 310 sentenced to death, 56 terrorists have been executed after completion of legal process beyond military courts decisions, which included their appeal in superior civil courts and rejection of their mercy petition both by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and the President of Pakistan.
Execution of death sentence of the remaining 254 terrorists is pending, completion of the legal process in the higher courts.
Those who have been awarded death penalty included masterminds, executors and abettors/facilitators of, inter alia, following major terrorist incidents:
1. Army Public School (APS) Peshawar attack of 16 December 2014
(five terrorists executed).
2. Marriot Islamabad terrorist attack, September 2008.
3. Parade Lane terrorist attack, December 2009.
4. Attack on Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) office Multan,
5. The terrorist attack on four Special Services Group (SSG) soldiers,
including two officers, April 2009 (one terrorist executed).
6. Attack on ISI office Sukker, November 2010.
7. Bannu Jail Break, April 2012 (one terrorist executed).
8. Mastung Sectarian terrorist attack, April 2012.
9. Killing of Foreigners in Nanga Parbat, June 2013.
10. Terrorist attack on civilian and security officials at
Chalas, August 2013.
11. Terrorist attack on SSP Chaudhary Aslam, January 2014.
12. Karachi Airport attack, June 2014.
13. Terrorists’ attack on Ms Sabin Mehmood, April 2015.
14. Terrorists’ attack Safora Ghot Karachi, May 2015.
15. Bacha Khan University attack, January 2016.
16. Terrorist attack on Amjad Sabri, June 2016.
Rearing chickens at Govt. farms
MULTAN: About 30,000 desi poultry birds are being reared at a local government poultry farm and the poultry units, each comprising five hens and a cock, will be given to masses on subsided prices, in February 2019.
The livestock department has started seeking applications from citizens, said Poultry Development Officer Dr. Salma Naaz while talking to APP here.
She said the provision of poultry units would enable masses to have additional income. She remarked that citizens interest and queries related to Desi poultry birds, was on increase for a few days as she received a number of phone calls from citizens.
She informed that 11 government poultry farms were operating across the province. Among them, two poultry farms serve as breeding farms and issue poultry birds to citizens as well as other government poultry farms.
After every three months, a new flock of desi poultry bird is being prepared for the promotion of the poultry at the government farms. Every poultry bird of government farm is properly vaccinated and there is no chance of catching up any disease, she added.
She said that citizens would have to pay Rs 1200 for each poultry unit, comprising five hens and a cock. She maintained that market price of such poultry birds was over Rs 2400.
She stated that poor farmers should focus on desi poultry for gaining good economic returns. A desi hen used to lay at least 220 eggs in a year and price of each egg is almost double as compared to market eggs. However, eggs are sold with respect to grading 35 gram, 60 gram, and 70-gram eggs.
It is very easy for farmers to rear desi poultry birds, she said, adding that bits of bread, remains of cuisines, spinach, wheat, rice, maize etc should be given to birds. The commodities are easily available in every home. Children and women farmers can also nurture desi poultry without any labor, she said.
Dr. Salma Naaz further said that farmers could sell desi chicks, after breeding the eggs. The breeding process is also very easy as they could put eggs in an incubator or under a hen for a period of 21 days. The price of each chick is about Rs 50.
She remarked that desi poultry should be kept under lights for at least 16 hours/day in order to obtain maximum eggs. The eggs laying hormones stimulates in daylight or artificial lights. So, farmers should install electricity bulbs at poultry accommodation.
Dr. Salma suggested that students should adopt poultry keeping as a hobby. It would help them managing not only pocket money but also expenses on education, she said.
Minor level focus on poultry is sufficient for poultry rearing and it would not hurt their educational activities, she claimed.
She informed that she knew many citizens who started the business of desi poultry and earned huge amount in south Punjab.
Govt working to bring reforms in FBR: Dawood
RAWALPINDI: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile, and Industries Abdul Razzak Dawood has said that the government had finalized the five-year national tariff policy to bring down tariffs on raw material and machinery imports for export-based industries.
“We are working to rationalize certain taxes, regulatory and custom duties. There are roughly 34 different taxes and we are planning to shrink them to 12 or eight in the next couple of years. This will help us to meet the challenge of one core impediment in ease of doing business and I know business community suffered a lot on multiple fronts with respect to tax slabs and tariff lines.”
Addressing the “Emerging Pakistan“ ceremony organized by the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) at Jinnah Convention Center Islamabad, Razzak Dawood said the government in its first 100 days had kicked off reforms in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and done a major shift in its working. “We have decided to take policy matters from the FBR,” and now the Finance Ministry would formalize the policy in consultation with key stakeholders, including the business community and chamber of commerce, he emphasized.
He appreciated RCCI efforts in promoting business activities in the region through exhibitions and assured his cooperation in fulfilling their demands of converting the old airport building into a modern expo center and provision of grid station to RCCI’s Rawat Industrial Estate. He expressed the hope that in next 30 days the people would see a genuine change on the economy side as “we have done major shuffling in policy matters pertaining to taxation, exports, refunds, regulatory and custom duties and incentives to the business community with respect to ease of doing business.” World-renowned companies including Exxon Mobil, Pepsi, and Suzuki had pledged more investment in Pakistan, he added.