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 is 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:
NIH asks citizens to take preventive measures against typhoid
ISLAMABAD: The Field Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Division (FEDSD), National Institute of Health (NIH) Wednesday issued an advisory on control of typhoid fever.
According to NIH, viewing situation of an increased number of typhoid fever cases in the country, the Institute has issued an advisory on typhoid fever. It said typhoid fever spread mostly in summer and rainy season in Pakistan. It added typhoid caused by bacteria, (Salmonella Typhi) which occurs through the feco-oral route and spread through contaminated food, milk, frozen fruits, and water or through close contact with an already infected person.
Contamination mainly caused by poor sanitation and mixing of sewerage in drinking water. It said that newly emerged form of typhoid fever, extensively drug-resistant (XDR) Typhoid is being reported in some areas of Sindh province, especially in Hyderabad and Karachi.
There are more than 2000 positive cases of XDR Typhoid have been reported so far. The advisory suggested adopting preventive measures in routine life to avoid such kind of infections. It advised to wash hand properly and restore hand hygiene condition in routine life, avoid eating raw food and vegetables and always drink boiled drinking water.
It added typhoid vaccine is available in Pakistan and people should also administer typhoid vaccine after consultation with a doctor. The advisory said that the NIH had disseminated awareness material about these disease for the general population, health sector stakeholders, and all provincial authorities. The institute also displayed the poster advisories in the Urdu language in public places.
Relevant pieces published earlier:
The United States furnished a health warning to travelers pertaining a current epidemic of extremely drug-resistant typhoid fever prevailing in Pakistan on Wednesday. The statement reads, “All travelers to Pakistan are at risk of getting XDR typhoid fever. Those who are visiting friends or relatives are at higher risk than are tourists and business travelers.” The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggested all tourists to Pakistan or South Asia to get themselves immunized and pick out food items and drinking water carefully.
Moreover, the CDC noted in the notice that various travelers to Pakistan are down with the lethal disease when returned to their home states. Therefore, washing hands before guzzling down food is a must. It is pertinent to mention here that last year, NPTV had reported that the drug-resistant typhoid was prevailing in various vicinities of Sindh particularly Hyderabad.
Moreover, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has joined forces with the Government of Sindh on a children’s anti-typhoid campaign by donating 250,000 syringes earlier this year. (Aiman Inam) (Published on 5th July 2018)
ii) The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is partnering with the Government of Sindh on a children’s anti-typhoid campaign by donating 250,000 syringes. After the Sindh Department of Health noticed a recent rise in the number of drug-resistant typhoid cases, it reached out to USAID for assistance. The syringes will help immunize over 250,000 children against a drug-resistant strain of typhoid reported in Latifabad and Qasimabad, two sub-districts of Hyderabad, Sindh.
Oghale Oddo, USAID’s Acting Deputy Mission Director for Sindh and Balochistan, said, “Our support for the government’s anti-typhoid campaign exemplifies the strength of our ongoing partnership. USAID will continue to support the Government of Sindh in their efforts to institutionalize evidence-based care.” The U.S. government, through USAID, has supported the Government of Sindh for over five years to save the lives of children by ensuring that they have access to basic health services. (6th of February 2018)
ii) Sources privy to Newspakistan.tv has been informed that over 250 children have been infected in Hyderabad and some 15 kids in Karachi with Multi-drug resistant (MDR) typhoid so far during this pre-Monsoon season. Experts warn that this is the worst sort of typhoid epidemic, which is getting widespread in both of the cities. Lyari, North Karachi, Gulshan-e-Hadeed, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Malir and Ibrahim Haydri are some of the most affected localities. It has further been learned that the major culprits behind disseminating such occurrence are un-chlorinated water, impure water and poor sanitation and sewerage conditions – thanks to the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB)! So as to thwart this condition, people must avoid germ-infested food and water.
Also, they should clean their underground and overhead water tanks and add some chlorine pills. As usual, the situation of this Megapolis has gone downhill after the first rain spell. Everyone can clearly see the filthy water in every nook and corner, particularly in slum areas. No civic body bothers to take care of poor people. Now another rain spell is just around the corner and thundershowers are expected to pour from Saturday (today) through Tuesday. This could make the situation worse. Typhoid outbreak along with many other infectious disorders are more prevalent throughout the monsoon season. Health and wellness experts reiterate that people should consume foods rich in vitamin C. Being an immune booster, Vitamin C has the ability of slaying infected cells in the body. Do not let your kids play and get wet in the rains. Avoid eating out, particularly, spinach, eggplant as well as all sorts of meat. (Published on 15th July 2017)
Indus River System Authority releases 371,800 cusecs water!
ISLAMABAD: The Indus River System Authority (IRSA) Monday released 371,800 cusecs water from various rim stations with inflow of 426,600 cusecs.
According to the data released by IRSA, the water level in the Indus River at Tarbela Dam was 1541.23 feet, which was 155.23 feet higher than its dead level of 1,386 feet.
Water inflow in the dam was recorded as 270,700 cusecs while outflow as 214.000 cusecs. The water level in the Jhelum River at Mangla Dam was 1166.35 feet, which was 126.35 feet higher than its dead level of 1,040 feet whereas the inflow and outflow of water were recorded as 44,100 cusecs and 10,000 cusecs respectively.
The release of water at Kalabagh, Taunsa, and Sukkur was recorded as 291,900, 225,200 and 58,700 cusecs respectively.
Similarly, from the Kabul River, 51,500 cusecs of water was released at Nowshera and 73,900 cusecs from the Chenab River at Marala.
A relevant piece published earlier:
The Indus River System Authority (IRSA) Sunday released 334,500 cusecs water from various rim stations with an inflow of 441,500 cusecs.
According to the data released by IRSA, the water level in the Indus River at Tarbela Dam was 1511.59 feet, which was 125.59 feet higher than its dead level of 1,386 feet.
Water inflow in the dam was recorded as 256,900 cusecs while outflow as 182,000 cusecs. The water level in the Jhelum River at Mangla Dam was 1147.60 feet, which was 107.60 feet higher than its dead level of 1,040 feet whereas the inflow and outflow of water was recorded as 42,100 cusecs and 10,000 cusecs respectively.
The release of water at Kalabagh, Taunsa, and Sukkur was recorded as 255,200, 180,600 and 35,800 cusecs respectively. Similarly, from the Kabul River, 73,900 cusecs of water was released at Nowshera and 36,500 cusecs from the Chenab River at Marala. (Published on 29th July 2018)
Punjab: 358 newly-elected MPAs take oath!
LAHORE: As many as 358 newly-elected members sworn in during a maiden session of 17th Punjab Assembly here today.
Outgoing speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal administered the oath. Prominent among others who took oath include: Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, Aleem Khan, Hamza Shehbaz, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Dr Yasmin Rashid, Mian Mehmoodur Rashid, Shujaur Rehman, Ayesha Chaudhry, Chaudhry Zaheerud Din, Bilal Yasin, Nadeem Kamran, Irfan Doltana, Murad Ras, Dr Mukhtar Bharat, Hina Pervaiz Butt, Bushra Anjum Butt and Sania Ashiq.
The outgoing speaker felicitated the newly-elected members. Earlier, the first session of new assembly started at10.46 am behind its scheduled time with recitation from the Holy Quran and Naat-e-Rasool-e-Maqbool (SAWW). The members signed the roll of members in the register constituency-wise.
The outgoing speaker read out the procedure for election of speaker and deputy speaker of the Punjab Assembly to be held on Thursday (August 16) at 10:30 am. The election will be through secret balloting.
The nomination papers for the slots were filed in the Punjab Assembly Secretariat. The PTI nominated Chaudhry Pervez Elahi as a speaker and Dost Muhammad Mazari as deputy speaker while PML-N nominated Chaudhry Iqbal Gujjar and Rana Ayyaz as a speaker and deputy speaker, respectively.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the majority party in Punjab Assembly has nominated Hamza Shehbaz Sharif for the slot of Punjab chief minister. Its rival, the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, yet to name its candidate for the position.
PML-N leads with 127 seats in the assembly, while PTI is a close second with 122 seats, as per the ECP’s results of 294 out of 295 total seats.
Interim Chief Minister Punjab Dr. Hassan Askari and his cabinet members attended the session and welcomed the newly- elected MPAs.
Meanwhile, the Punjab Assembly staff welcomed the newly-elected members of the assembly with bouquets on their arrival to attend the maiden session of the 17th assembly.
The PA administration had also set up help desks for the members where each member issued his assembly card before joining the oath-taking session.
Prominent leader Chaudhry Nisar did not attend the session. Strict security arrangements were made to avert any untoward incident.
On completion of day’s agenda, the Chair adjourned the session till next morning on Thursday at 10:30 am.