ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday strongly rejected the ongoing arms race in the region, however, said it was ready to thwart any threat to its stability.
“In case of any external threat, we and our forces are ready to give a befitting response,” Foreign Office Spokesman Muhammad Faisal said in response to a question on India’s recent $5 billion deal to purchase S-400 missile system from Russia.
The Spokesman at a weekly press briefing here said the government had a stated position on this issue and its manifesto clearly emphasized directing resources to human and economic development.
He said Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi would represent the country at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s (SCO) 17th Council of Head of Government Meeting in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on October 11-12.
When asked about any chance of meeting between the foreign ministers of Pakistan and India during the SCO conclave, the Spokesman said Pakistan would not again make a request for any such meeting.
He recalled that Prime Minister Imran Khan had formally sent a letter to his Indian counterpart for the two foreign ministers’ meeting at the UN General Assembly Forum and said that “Pakistan would not repeatedly make such requests”.
He regretted that India was reluctant to hold talks with Pakistan and was avoiding discussing several important issues.
“On the other hand, Pakistan is not shying away from anything and is not running any secret policy,” he said. The Spokesman said new Attorney General would lead the case of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jhadav at the public hearing by International Court of Justice (ICJ) on February 18-19, 2019.
He termed as “sham” the local body elections in Indian held Kashmir and also highlighted the continuous human rights violations in the valley.
On Saudi Arabia’s inclusion in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Spokesman said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia held discussions on the matter, however, details had not been worked out.
He clarified that both China and Pakistan were open to the third-party inclusion in the project, however, said that “the agreement was not being reviewed”.
Whether Pakistan was going to play a mediatory role in Middle East conflict, the Spokesman said Pakistan was ready to play such role subject to a request by the parties, which so far, had not been made.
Suspicious package found near British parliament
LONDON: Police on Wednesday carried out a controlled explosion on a suspicious package found in central London near the British parliament.
Officers were called to the gardens next to the River Thames during the afternoon and emergency services were at the scene, a police spokesman said.
An AFP photographer on the spot saw a bomb disposal robot being deployed in the area and a controlled explosion was heard.
A building where many MPs have their offices were also cordoned off along with Victoria Embankment which leads to parliament.
The area was targeted in a terror attack last year when Khalid Masood, mowed down and killed five pedestrians before fatally stabbing a police officer outside the parliament building.
A man who crashed his car into the security barriers outside parliament in August is also suspected of attempting an attack.
EOC notifies two more cases of polio
ISLAMABAD: The National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) for Polio Eradication has notified two new polio cases from Gadap, Karachi, and Khyber tribal district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
This brings the total number of polio cases in the country to six this year, however, the virus has failed to cause any clinical paralysis to both the children. The first case of polio was confirmed in a 42-month-old female child from Gadap, Karachi, and the other case in a 55-month old female child from Khyber tribal district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The lab detected Poliovirus from their stool samples on October 1 and September 30 respectively. Fortunately, both the girls had received multiple doses of Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) which boosted their immunity and protected them from a life-long paralysis. “The polio virus has been continuously found in the sewage waters of Peshawar and Karachi for the last 12 months,” said Babar Bin Atta, the Prime Minister’s Focal Person for Polio Eradication.
“The programme will continue to focus on clearing these two remaining reservoirs from the virus with full force,” he remarked. “Multiple vaccine doses gave the children the immunity boost to fight off the polio virus attack. They have no residual weaknesses and will live like normal children,” said Dr. Rana Safdar, National Coordinator for Polio Eradication while appreciating the vigilant health workers who picked these cases with atypical clinical presentations.
“That is why it’s important for every under five-year-old child to be vaccinated in every round, so immunity levels are high enough to fight off the virus in its entirety,” he said. Earlier this year, three polio cases were reported from Dukki District in Balochistan province, while one case was reported from the Charsadda district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
Being fully vaccinated in routine and door to door campaigns, the Charsadda child had also escaped paralysis. The wild poliovirus case numbers in Pakistan are the lowest ever and the immunity gaps continue to fall. However, despite this historic progress, Mr. Bin Atta said: “We cannot afford any let up in our efforts because as long as the virus is being detected anywhere in the country, no child is absolutely safe.” Multiple doses of polio vaccine are required for a child to be fully protected – each additional dose further strengthens a child’s immunity level against polio.
Contrarily, every missed child provides a place for the polio virus to hide. “Any child with low immunity will be where the virus will find refuge. We need to ensure all our children have received all of their routine immunizations and are vaccinated, with two drops, every time the vaccine is offered,” Mr. Bin Atta added. “Parents who do not ensure vaccination of their children are risking health and lives of their own children as well as others around them. It is thus the responsibility of communities to help to identify and vaccinating such children,” said Mr. Bin Atta. “We are closest ever to the goal of polio eradication. But to achieve it, we must all come together as a nation to ensure that every child is vaccinated. This is the only way we can collectively ensure that we rid polio from our land” he remarked.
Asad Umer for probe on Wall Street Journal reports!
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance Asad Umer on Wednesday underlined the need for investigating the reports of ‘Wall Street Journal’.
National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was also an investigative institution which would conduct the inquiry regarding reports of Wall Street Journal, he stated while talking to Media.
He said Wall Street Journal had mentioned about the matter of ‘Offshore companies’ scandals. He made it clear that the PTI government would not accept any deal based on kick-backs. About Naveed Malik, he said we knew that he had close relations with Nawaz Sharif. He added that the present government would make all-out efforts to streamline the system in PIA. To a question, he said Tahir Mehmood was working as acting chairman in SECP.
To another question, he said PML-N had damaged the national economy. He said the PTI government had levied taxes on wealthy people, while the poor were not imposed any new tax. Commenting on currency rate, he said it was the prerogative of a state bank to formulate the policy regarding currency rate.