Key US senator expresses concern over human rights situation in Pakistan
WASHINGTON – As Pakistan’s government continues crackdown against vandals involved in May 9 mayhem, lawmakers in United States voice concerns regarding the state of human rights in the country. One of the influential American legislators Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Senator Bob Menendez is also among those who have expressed apprehension over the arrests and trial of May 9 attackers in the country, as its grapples with an intense political crisis. The senator has voiced concerns regarding the treatment meted out to leaders, workers and supporters of the PTI after their arrests in the wake of the May 9 vandalism. In a meeting with Pakistani-American doctor Asif Mahmood, who was also a Democratic candidate for Congress, Senator Menendez said that the US doesn’t want turmoil but stability. The senator said he is deeply concerned about innocent Pakistani-Americans detained in Pakistan and will continue to advocate for the respect of human rights in the country. During this meeting in California, Dr Mahmood told Senator Menendez that Pakistan is facing a democratic and human rights crisis. He also demanded US intervention in the situation. PTI USA Official Twitter shared a video of the senator speaking with Dr Mahmood during which he said: “We look for stability, not turmoil and that means respecting human rights and the rule of law.” Meanwhile, PTI leaders in the US also held meetings with other American senators. The party’s US leaders Sajjad Burki and Atif Khan met with Senator John Cornyn in Dallas, Texas.
Russia launches its first all-weather satellite
Russia on Saturday launched its Condor-FKA satellite, which can take pictures of the earth’s surface around the clock in any weather, including in conditions of heavy clouds.
The satellite was launched from Russia’s Vostochny Cosmodrome, a Russian spaceport in Russia’s far-eastern Amur Oblast, using Soyuz 2.1a, a rocket-powered vehicle, the state space agency Roscosmos said in a statement.
“The separation of the spacecraft from the upper stage was carried out successfully. The first radar satellite has been launched into a given orbit,” it said.
Condor-FKA was developed by the military-industrial corporation Scientific and Production Association of Mechanical Engineering.
The mass of the satellite is 1,050 kg.
Biden is ‘hopeful’ to get debt deal by late Friday
US President Joe Biden said Friday he is ”hopeful” of a deal to raise the national debt limit by Friday night that could prevent an economic meltdown.
Biden made brief remarks to reporters about the debt ceiling before leaving Washington for Camp David.
“Things are looking good, I’m very optimistic,” he said. “I hope we’ll be able to know by tonight whether we have a deal.”
Asked if he would bow to Republican demands on work requirements for recipients to receive aid, Biden said: ”I don’t bow to anybody.”
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned in a letter Friday to Congress that the US will run out of money to pay its financial obligations by June 5.
The deadline is four days later than previous estimates by the agency.
Yellen urged Congress to raise or suspend the debt ceiling or risk a devastating default.
Chaos at UK airports as nationwide border system fails
LONDON-A nationwide border system issue hit electronic gates at British airports, causing chaos for holidaymakers and passengers arriving into the country. Images shared online showed long queues building at major airports, with many looking to travel ahead of a public holiday Monday and with schools also on half-term breaks. The failure means travelers must have their passports checked manually rather than by machine.
Fed-up travelers took to social media to vent their anger, claiming they had to wait in queues for several hours to have their passport seen.
“We are aware of a nationwide border system issue affecting arrivals into the UK,” a Home Office spokesperson told CNN in a statement Saturday. “We are working to resolve the issue as soon as possible and are liaising with port operators and airlines to minimise disruption for travellers,” the spokesperson added. A London Heathrow airport spokesperson said: “We are aware of a nationwide issue impacting the eGates, which are operated by Border Force. “This issue is impacting a number of ports of entry and is not Heathrow specific. Our teams are working closely with Border Force to help resolve the problem as quickly as possible.
and we have additional colleagues on hand to manage queues and provide passenger welfare.
Lucy Morton from the Immigration Services Union told BBC’s Radio 4 that depending on the airport 60% to 80% of travelers go through e-gates.
“There’s no impact on national security, in fact, actually it will improve national security because every single arriving passenger will be seen by a human being, not a machine,” she said.
“But it will build queues and that in itself builds its own set of problems. People becomes frustrated, they take it out on the staff. The staff get verbally abused, on occasion staff get physically abused, they get hit. All of this will start to cascade through the day.”
New Chinese ambassador arrives in US, says relations face ‘serious’ challenges
China’s new ambassador to the US said Tuesday that China-US relations face “serious difficulties and challenges” while noting that he aims to enhance bilateral cooperation.
Earlier in the day, Xie Feng landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, where he told reporters that he came here to “safeguard China’s interests.”
“I’m also the envoy of Chinese people, so I’ve come here to enhance China-US exchanges and cooperation,” he added.
“President Xi Jinping has put forward the three principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation, which represent the fundamental and right way for the two countries to get along with each other in the new era,” he later wrote on Twitter.
“At present, the China-US relationship is faced with serious difficulties and challenges. My appointment means to me not only honor, but also enormous responsibilities. My colleagues and I will carry out our responsibilities and live up to our mission with diligence and fortitude,” he added.
“During my posting, I look forward to engaging extensively with the American people from all walks of life, observing and learning about the country at a close distance, and exploring ways to deepen our exchanges and cooperation,” Xie wrote.
Xie, 59, is a career diplomat specialized in US-China relations who recently served as vice foreign minister. He succeeds Qin Gang, who left Washington in January to become China’s foreign minister.
The US welcomed Xie’s arrival, with State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller saying that they “look forward to working with the ambassador designate and his team.”
“We remain committed, as we’ve said on a number of occasions, to maintaining channels of communication with the PRC to responsibly manage competition,” Miller told reporters during a daily press briefing, referring to the People’s Republic of China, China’s official name.
Relations between Washington and Beijing have been tense in recent months, especially after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last August and the Chinese spy balloon incident in February, which resulted in Secretary of State Antony Blinken postponing a planned visit to China.
Youm-e-Takbeer being observed across country today
Youm-e-Takbeer is being observed on Sunday with national zeal and fervour to commemorate the historic nuclear tests at Chaghi, Balochistan, in 1998.
On this day, Pakistan became the seventh nuclear power of the world with a demonstration of nuclear capabilities and the first in the Muslim world after conducting nuclear tests at Chaghai in Balochistan on 28th May 1998 as a response to India’s nuclear bomb tests on 11th and 13th May of the same year at Pokhran in the Rajasthan state of India.
The successful tests made Pakistan’s defense invincible.
Special prayers were offered in the morning for the progress and prosperity of Pakistan, the supremacy of the constitution, and the eradication of terrorism.
PM vows to turn Pakistan into economic power
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in his message on Youm-e-Takbeer said the nation would have to move ahead with the same spirit to attain economic sovereignty and self-dependence.
He expressed the determination that with unity, hard work and staunch faith, we would turn Pakistan into an economic power.
The Prime Minister said twenty-five years ago today, the people of Pakistan announced the invincibility of their defence by detonating five nuclear explosions in response to India’s nuclear explosions.
Armed Forces of Pakistan have paid a rich tribute to the brilliant minds, that conceived and achieved this accomplishment under daunting challenges.
In a statement, the Inter Services Public Relations said entire Pakistani nation celebrates the Silver Jubilee of Youm-e-Takbir today and commemorates the remarkable achievement of establishing Credible Minimum Deterrence.
It said this achievement has reshaped the power dynamics in our region.
PAF salutes resolve of Pakistani nation on Youm-e-Takbeer
Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has presented salute to the resolve of entire Pakistani nation on the silver jubilee of conduct of nuclear tests by Pakistan marking the historic day of Youm-e-Takbeer.
According to the PAF Spokesperson, Pakistan demonstrated its nuclear capability by conducting nuclear explosions in response to provocative Indian nuclear tests on 28th May 1998.
He said Pakistan Air Force played a crucial role in safeguarding the sovereignty of the nation during this time by transporting the nuclear device and sensitive equipment to the test site through its C-130 aircraft whereas its fighter jets provided aerial cover prior and during the tests.
The PAF’s fighter aircraft remained on high alert, and the pilots were ready to intercept any hostile aircraft that might have threatened Pakistan’s sovereignty.
The spokesperson said that PAF’s commitment to safeguarding Pakistan’s aerial frontiers continues to this day and the PAF remains vigilant and prepared to defend the nation.
Pakistan Air Force is proud to have played a crucial role in this historic event.
He said on this memorable day each and every individual of PAF pledges that he/she will continue to defend the nation’s aerial frontiers with the same level of dedication and commitment.
Intercepted calls reveal PTI planned rape drama to defame policemen: Rana
FAISALABAD – Federal Interior Minister Rana Sana Ullah on Saturday claimed that the intelligence agencies successfully thwarted a rape plan by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party to defame security and law enforcement agencies.
“They had planned a very cheap and heinous drama to target police and law enforcement agencies by levelling allegations of rape in custody. “It was planned for tonight. The phones calls intercepted by intelligence agencies revealed this conspiracy.” Rana Sanaullah claimed that the intelligence agencies had intercepted a telephonic conversation between some PTI leaders “planning to stage police raid to kill the party leader and rape of one of the female workers” at the residence of one of its own leaders to defame the state institutions in the international media. “The plan involved killing of the PTI leader so that the dead body and actual rape could be used to defame the state institutions on the international media. Those involved in the conversation are being monitored and the evil plan has been foiled,” said the minister while addressing an urgent press conference after Saturday midnight.
Govt will not negotiate with leader of criminals: Marriyum
ISLAMABAD – Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb Saturday ruled out negotiations with Imran Khan stating that talks could not be held with those who attacked the state and they should be awarded punishment.
In a statement issued here, the minister said Imran Khan was not appealing for negotiations he was, in fact, seeking an NRO. Taking a jibe at Imran, she said the foreign agent who committed robbery on Rs 60billion was to be brought to justice. She ruled out talks with those who attacked sensitive installations and buildings which were symbols of national pride including General Headquarters, those who desecrated the memorials of martyrs and Ghazis, who attacked ambulances, hospitals and schools and were involved in vandalism. She said talks cannot be held with those who poisoned the minds of the youth. The minister said that negotiations could not be held with the leaders of the criminals and terrorists. She said while his party crumbled like a castle of sand, Imran was pleading for talks, recalling how electables were brought in planes to join the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. Marriyum Aurangzeb opined that parties not formed on any political ideology were disintegrated like the PTI. The entire leadership of the PML-N including Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif, Hamza Shehbaz, Maryam Nawaz spent hundreds of days in jails and detention centres, she said adding they faced false cases but stood firm and finally emerged victorious.
Govt cancels diplomatic passports of 10 PTI leaders
ISLAMABAD – The government has cancelled the diplomatic passports of 10 members of former prime minister Imran Khan’s cabinet more than a year after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government was ousted, it emerged on Saturday.
A notification issued by the Director General of Immigration and Passports on May 24 said that the competent authority has decided to ‘cancel and inactivate’ diplomatic passports issued to 10 individuals who were no longer entitled to retain the same. These include nine PTI stalwarts and one Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed. The PTI leaders whose diplomatic passports have been cancelled include Aon Abbas Bappi, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Asad Umar, Pervez Khattak, Ali Amin Gandapur, Ali Muhammad Khan, Farrukh Habib, Zartaj Gul, and Azam Khan Swati besides the AML chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed. All these individuals were part of Imran Khan’s cabinet when he was in power from 2018-2022. In his reaction to the development, the AML chief said he had been a federal minister for 16 times and was never involved in corruption. “I did not run away from the country like Zardari, Nawaz but today my [diplomatic] passport has been revoked,” he said.
Schedule IV of Passport Rules 2021 explains who can hold diplomatic passports. Under the rules, on the recommendations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, these passports can only be issued to President of Pakistan, Prime minister of Pakistan, Chairman of the Senate of Pakistan, Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Governors of the provinces, Chief ministers of the provinces, Ministers of the government of Pakistan, Attorney general for Pakistan, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, Chief of Air Staff, Ex-presidents of Pakistan, Ex- prime ministers of Pakistan, Ministers of state to the Government of Pakistan, ex-chairmen of the Senate of Pakistan and ex-speakers of the National Assembly of Pakistan, Special Assistants To Prime Minister, all functionaries of the federal government with the status of federal minister or minister of state, Chairman Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, Officers in BPS-17 and above of Pakistan Foreign Service for the duration of their membership of the Foreign Service of Pakistan, all other officers in BPS-17 and above, including officers of armed forces having equivalent ranks proceeding abroad on diplomatic assignments and having diplomatic status for the duration of their posting or other short term assignments abroad.