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UNGA president to hold talks on key issues with Pakistani leadership during upcoming visit

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UNITED NATIONS: The UN General Assembly President, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, will have extensive talks with Prime Minister Imran Khan and other Pakistani leaders on global and regional issues during her forthcoming visit to Pakistan, beginning January 18, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said today.

“Our leadership looks forward to having wide-ranging discussions with Madam Espinosa on global and regional issues,” the Pakistani envoy told APP after a detailed meeting with the 193-member Assembly president to finalize her five-day visit.

In the course of talks is Islamabad, she added, the General Assembly president will be briefed on the situation in the Indian occupied Kashmir.

Ms. Espinosa’s visit to Pakistan, which will be her first to the Asia-Pacific region, was announced by her Spokesperson Monica Grayley at the regular noon briefing at UN Headquarters in New York on Friday.

“The President of the General Assembly looks forward to strengthening the ties between Pakistan and the UN, promoting multilateralism and continuing her work with Pakistan on the priorities for the 73rd Session of the General Assembly,” the spokesperson told reporters.

On her part, the Pakistani envoy pointed out that this will be the first visit by any president of the General Assembly to Pakistan in over 8 years — the last one was in 2010.

“It is also the first visit by the senior UN leadership to Pakistan since the advent of the government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan,” Ambassador Lodhi said.

During her five-day visit, the president, who is also foreign minister of Ecuador, will, besides the prime minister, meet with President Dr. Arif Alvi and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, as well as representatives of the UN and of civil society.

The Assembly president’s delegation includes her Chef de Cabinet, a senior advisor, a communication specialist, her coordination officer and her personal assistant.

Ms. Espinosa is only the fourth female President of the UN General Assembly in its 73-year history.

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Naval Chief meets Commander-in-Chief Bahrain Defence Forces

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ISLAMABAD: Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi, who is on an official visit to Bahrain met Commander-in-Chief Bahrain Defence Forces Field Marshal Shaikh Khalifa Bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa۔

During the meeting, matters of mutual interest including defence related collaborations were discussed, a Directorate of Public Relations of Pakistan Navy press release Wednesday said.

The Naval Chief briefed the dignitary about the forthcoming Multinational Naval Exercise AMAN-19, being hosted by Pakistan Navy in Karachi in February 2019.

Field Marshal Shaikh Khalifa Bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa acknowledged strong ties between Pakistan and Bahrain.

He appreciated Pakistan Navy’s efforts and focused commitments in support of collaborative maritime security in the region and extending cooperation in diverse fields to Bahrain Defence Forces.

The Naval Chief also met Commander US. Naval Forces Central Command, US. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces Vice Admiral James Malloy and Commander Combined Task Force(CTF) 150 Commodore Darren Garnier of Royal Canadian Navy in separate meetings.

Upon his arrival at US NAVCENT Headquarters, the Admiral was warmly received by Vice Admiral James Malloy.

During the meeting, Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi dilated upon matters of mutual interest including bilateral naval collaboration and initiative of Regional Maritime Security Patrol by
Pakistan Navy.

The Naval Chief highlighted the forthcoming Multinational Naval Exercise AMAN-19.Commander US NAVCENT highly appreciated the professionalism of Pakistan Navy personnel and active role being played by it for maritime security and stability in the region.

He acknowledged that the regular presence of Pakistan Navy units in critical Sea areas of the region had greatly helped in shaping a secure environment for free flow of commercial shipping activities through vital sea lines of communication.

Commander Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 Commodore Darren Garnier of Royal Canadian Navy also called on Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi.

During the meeting professional matters of mutual interest and security environment in Indian Ocean Region were discussed.

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Air Chief awards cash prizes to Asian junior squash champions

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ISLAMABAD: To honour the winners of Asian Junior Squash Team Championship a prize distribution ceremony was held here at a local hotel on late Tuesday.

Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force, who is also President Pakistan Squash Federation was the chief guest on the occasion.

He awarded cash prizes to the players, who won gold medal in the recently held Championship at Pattaya, Thailand.

The Pakistan team comprising Farhan Hashmi, Abbas Zeb, Haris Qasim and Hamza Khan performed exceptionally well in the Championship, earning Pakistan the coveted title after six years.

“We are proud of our young players who brought laurels to the country by winning the prestigious championship,” the Air Chief said while speaking on the occasion.

He said that the last two years remained great for the Pakistan Squash as the country won a total of 58 medals, including 27 gold, 13 silver and 18 bronze medals in various events.

He appreciated the hard work put in by the coaching staff for providing international standard training and coaching facilities to the young players.

He also lauded the efforts of Pakistan Squash Federation in making concerted efforts for bringing back the lost glory in the game of Squash.

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Senate body mulls over bills to ensure jobs for Pakistani workers in foreign-investment projects

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ECP announces by-election schedule of senate seat

ISLAMABAD: The Senate’s Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs on Wednesday held a thorough debate on provision of jobs for Pakistani workers in foreign investment projects.

The committee, however, could not reach a decision on bills carrying measures to enhance jobs for the local labour force in foreign companies.

It discussed the private members bills moved by Senator Sherry Rehman for Foreign Private Investments (Promotion and Protection) (Amendment) Bill, 2018 and The Board of Investment (Amendment) Bill, 2018.

The committee members debated the clauses related to protection of rights of Pakistani work force. Sherry Rehman was of the opinion that the new bill should carry a clause for employment of 60 percent unskilled labour of Pakistan in projects by foreign investors.

Senators Pervaiz Rashid, Taj Muhammad Afridi and Walid Iqbal urged caution as they were of the view that any new conditions should be avoided at the stage as it would discourage foreign direct investment.

Sherry Rehman opined that other countries like Vietnam, Malaysia and Iraq took measures to protect right of employment of their workers in foreign funded projects.

She said amendments should be introduced in laws so that local workers could get jobs in joint ventures and foreign investment projects.

Pervaiz Rashid suggested that foreign investors should be given different incentives encouraging them to hire Pakistani workers.

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said the government was committed to attract foreign investment while at the same time it would support efforts for hiring of local labour force in projects.

He assured that the Grievances Cell headed by him was working to arrange funds for the National Institute of Blood Disease for treatment of poor leukemia patients. Senator Dr Sikandar Mandhro, who had raised the issue in a Senate sitting, said the funds were stopped during the caretaker government.

The minister told the committee that he took up the issue in the federal cabinet and the Prime Minister and Finance Minister had given the green signal for approval of funds for the deserving patients.

The committee deferred the consideration of the calling attention notice regarding report of the working group of the Election Commission of Pakistan on E-voting for the Overseas Pakistanis due to absence of Senator Javed Abbasi, who had earlier raised the matter in Senate.

 

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