Monday, November 25, 2019

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Commentary: Lion Rock Spirit needed for Hong Kong to stop violence, secure revival

The sixth-term District Council Ordinary Election of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on Sunday was the first poll held in the HKSAR after the now-withdrawn ordinance amendments concerning fugitives' transfers sparked unrest in Hong Kong.
During the past more than five months, rioters conspired with foreign forces and escalated violent acts, which resulted in political antagonism, social splits, and setbacks in the economy.
The election also fell victim. Campaigns of some patriotic candidates were seriously disrupted, and their offices were trashed and set ablaze. One candidate was injured in an attack. Harassment on patriotic candidates occurred on the voting day.
By creating the "black terror," rioters and the politicians behind them who are anti-China and want to mess up Hong Kong reaped substantial political benefits.
The most urgent task at present is still to bring the violence and chaos to an end and restore order.
To guarantee a violence-free election, the HKSAR government, the police, and patriotic people made tremendous efforts. The smooth election on Sunday has shown the common desire of Hong Kong residents for peace and order.
However, the foundation for current stability is still not firm enough. To prevent Hong Kong from slipping further and push it back on track, various sectors of the community should join hands to end violence and chaos, to restore the rule of law and rationality.
Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out the direction and guidance for Hong Kong to stop violence and restore order at the 11th BRICS summit in Brasilia, capital of Brazil. All patriotic forces in Hong Kong should be encouraged and gather more strength.
Joint efforts should be taken to firmly support the HKSAR chief executive in leading the HKSAR government to govern in accordance with the law, support the Hong Kong police in strictly enforcing the law, and support the Hong Kong judicial bodies in severely punishing the violent criminals in accordance with the law.
Despite the impacts of violence, Hong Kong still boasts unique advantages. It remains as one of the freest economies and a global financial hub, and is striving for becoming an international scientific and research center.
There are also enormous opportunities from the Belt and Road Initiative and the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. Hong Kong will be able to give full play to its advantages and achieve joint development with the country.
It should be noted that Hong Kong people, especially youngsters, should have a broader vision, a longer-term goal, and a real sense of national identity to let those advantages be brought into full play.
The Hong Kong community should also correctly understand the relationship between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland under the "one country, two systems" principle, and let the two sides become an eternal community of emotions and destiny on the basis of constitutional order.
Young people in Hong Kong must avoid being misled by forces with ulterior motives and becoming "the lost generation" who go on their rampage on the street.
To linger at the edge of the cliff or kick-start a revival? The decision lies in the hands of every Hong Kong resident and depends on whether or not the right course can be taken under the "one country, two systems" principle.
After the unprecedented chaos, Hong Kong people should regain their Lion Rock Spirit and face challenges with courage and wisdom.
The voice of the majority for stability and development should be heard, and various sectors of Hong Kong should work together for a better future. As long as Hong Kong residents straighten out their thoughts and find the right direction, the dust on the Pearl of the Orient will eventually be wiped away.

Pashto Music - Ahmad Zahir - اوبه درته راورم سابه درته پاخم درزم درسره خانه ده ورانشه جوگی

Pashto Music - Ustad Awalmir - asta da astergo bala wakhlom -

Pashto Music - Nashenas _ Za Kho Sharabi yom.

Pashto Music - Saqi | Ajmal Khattak | Sardar Ali Takkar | ساقي | اجمل خټک | سردارعلي ټکر


#Pakistan - #Lahore - My city is smog-ed, and no one seems to care

By Farah Zia
Lahore is the only city I want to live in. But it has become 'unliveable’
I have a guilty admission to make. I don’t get the environment. I do get it broadly but I have stayed aloof from the larger debate because I kind of feel helpless in the face of what’s happening to the planet. There is this sense that the powerful and mighty have shaped the world in a manner that inevitably hurts the very environment that sustains it, and we ordinary mortals can’t do much about it. But the way it has hurt my first love, Lahore, has left me feeling choked in more ways than one. I feel guiltier still for having ignored the issue till it hit me so blatantly.
Perhaps, we can do something.
I couldn’t believe when I said to friends, more than once, in recent weeks, that this city has become unliveable. I may have been referring both to the smog and the endless traffic jams on The Mall where a couple of protesting groups have sat for weeks now with apparently no one to hear them out.
I couldn’t believe it because I used the word ‘unliveable’ for the only place I’ve wanted to live in. There must’ve been something crucial happening for me to have uttered it. One night, I stepped out on my street for my usual after-dinner stroll and felt I could not breathe. Yes, I should have worn the mask (I still had to decide between N95 and N99 and what was available at the pharmacies) but my eyes hurt too. The air that I have preferred over anywhere else had become toxic.
I can feel it indoors too. I am surrounded by people who are ordering or have already placed a new gadget called “air purifier” in their rooms. The smart businesses are making a lot of money selling these imported gadgets run on electric power. But once the heaters are turned on, I am told, they might need something called “humidifiers” in their rooms. Imagine a room with a heater, air purifier, and humidifier, all consuming power source of some kind. Imagine the number of people who can afford all these gadgets. And then imagine the environment.
Clumsy, isn’t it? Unfair, too. Grossly unfair.
I once saw a meme on social media about a lot of cars and other vehicles stuck in a bad traffic jam. It said something like: “You are not stuck in a traffic jam; you are the one who’s causing it.” It was short, effective I thought, and makes me ashamed every time I step out in a car which is every day. I feel caught in a vicious cycle where I can’t now walk on the roads, or walk or cycle to my workplace if I want to, because I know the air is bad.
And yet I see so many people doing just that. A majority of people around me, who can’t afford simple masks, let alone the ones with fancy names, walk or cycle or bike with great risks to their health.
And it’s not just Lahore. It’s most parts of Punjab, and given the population density, about one fifth of the country’s population! All affected by this menace, now spread over months.
The saddest thing is that no one seems bothered about an issue that has huge policy implications.
At a time when school administrations are repeatedly forced to shut down schools, a few students have filed a petition in the Lahore High Court against the hazardous smog across Punjab that has rendered the air unfit to breathe. It was actively covered by the media but I have yet to see a proper response by the Punjab government.
Some steps taken in the last two years, like forcing the brick kilns to close their operations for a certain period and informed of the decision well in advance, were discontinued this year. Newspaper reports suggest that blaming the one-day Diwali or Indian farmers burning crops may not help address the issue on our side. Clearly, something else will.
I have noticed that on the days the schools are closed the roads are less polluted, and the air relatively cleaner. So, curtailing the vehicular traffic might help. How will that happen? I don’t know. The moneyed classes may need to forgo their privilege because in the larger scheme of things, their air purifiers pollute the air for the rest. And our cars too. Perhaps we need to do something collectively as citizens because time is running out.
As for me, I now clearly get the environment. I do it for a selfish reason — I want this city to stay liveable, for me and all of us.

The crisis of governance in Punjab

PTI’s ineptitude blowing up in its face.

Out of the four chief ministers in the country, only Mr Buzdar seems to be facing lack of cooperation from bureaucracy. The PTI leadership maintains that this is because many bureaucrats still remain allied to the PML-N government. The more things are not working in Punjab, the more innovative steps are being taken to get the bureaucracy moving. The treatment meted out to two senior bureaucrats was meant to serve as an example to others. This was followed by transfers of the Chief Secretary and several police IGs. Numerous district officers were shifted on the complaints of the PTI law makers and replaced by those supposed to have a soft corner for the ruling party. Despite the measures, there is still no end to complaints about lack of cooperation by the administrators
The crack of the NAB’s whip along with the PM’s unending threats of sparing none involved in corruption have produced unintended results. A harassed bureaucracy is on a virtual pen down strike. No one is willing to take decisions that could bring them to the attention of the NAB. On Sunday the PTI core committee faulted the bureaucracy for its governance woes. There is again a talk about large scale transfers of government officers.
The federal government cannot exonerate itself of the responsibility for the deterioration of governance in Punjab. One had expected that the PTI would appoint an experienced party leader capable of understanding the complexity of the largest province of the country. It chose for reasons known only to itself a novice who was elected to the provincial assembly for the first time and was supposed to learn to run a province with a population of over 100 million through on job training. Among other things this was sheer injustice to the province and its people.
The PTI leadership is currently running Punjab through multiple centers of power. A week and clueless CM suits them all. This is sheer bad governance. As long as the PTI continues to maintain the persona of self-righteousness, blaming others for its own blunders- the show of no trust in Chief Election Commissioner being the latest example- there will be no end to the country’s problems and the miseries of its people.

Himalayan pink salt was never a source of Pakistani pride. Then it became ‘made in India’

Sabena Siddiqi
Pink salt has become a matter of sovereignty in Pakistan after the public discovered that India had been re-exporting it. Pakistan must come up with a new strategy for processing, marketing and reclaiming the salt.
Himalayan pink salt has caught the imagination of health nuts the world over, but where it comes from has now become a political issue. The salt is estimated to have formed hundreds of millions of years ago, when ancient bodies of water evaporated; it is mostly mined from the Khewra Salt Mine in the foothills of the Salt Range in Jhelum, in the Pakistani province of Punjab.Pakistan never considered pink salt a prized product, much less a matter of national prestige and sovereignty, until this year – after a story on social media that India has been re-exporting the salt worldwide and labelling it “made in India”. Pakistani Twitter was furious: the salt cannot have been “made” in India when it was bought from Pakistan.
Pakistani politicians took notice. Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak suggested filing a patent on pink salt to make sure it is sold with Pakistan’s name, not India’s, on it. Shibli Faraz, leader of the Senate and a member of the Standing Committee on Commerce and Textile, called pink salt a “unique product”; he repeatedly raised the issue in parliament and pressed for legislation for Pakistan to trademark pink salt.
However, trade between Pakistan and India has been suspended since New Delhi revoked the special status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in August. As there seems to be no immediate resolution to the long-drawn Kashmir dispute, the salt trade with India cannot continue anyway.In the first place, exports to India account for hardly 2 per cent of Pakistan’s total exports. This may be an ideal opportunity to come up with a new export strategy: sell pink salt not in raw form but as a finished product, and find new buyers directly.
Even though the Khewra Salt Mine is the world’s second-largest, Pakistan is not among the world’s top 10 salt exporters; instead, neighbouring India and China are seventh and ninth, respectively.
Nearly 30 per cent of global demand for salt is from China. Pakistani salt, which is 99 per cent halite and far purer than other varieties, should be feeding this demand. However, instead of refining this salt and maximising its exclusive value, Pakistan exports it cheaply in rock form.
The salt is pink because it contains trace minerals including iron. It retains more natural properties than table salt, as it is naturally harvested, manually extracted, minimally processed and free of artificial additives. The product is from ancient oceans, and deserves a slick marketing campaign. Not only that, the Khewra Salt Mine is a worthy tourist attraction. Local mythology has it that the mines were discovered around 320BC, when Alexander the Great was riding across Pakistan and his horse started licking a salty rock on the ground. The mines are spread across an area of 110 sq km, with tunnels running half a mile into a mountain. In addition, the mines are offering therapy to people with asthma or respiratory problems. Pakistan’s salt exports grew from US$15.8 million in 2014 to US$51.6 million in 2018, according to official statistics. Nevertheless, some urgent steps need to be taken for Islamabad to get a foothold in international markets.
Pakistan has been exporting its pink salt as halite or rock salt; buyers then repackage it and resell it. So Pakistan must set up salt processing and packaging units, and come up with a better marketing strategy. Lately, a Pakistani masala brand started marketing pink salt to international buyers, but this has to be done on a larger scale.
Next, salt extraction should be slowed down in order to raise prices to an optimum level and bring in more revenue. Salt smuggling and sales to domestic retailers must be regulated. One of the main reasons international buyers find it easier to buy salt from other countries is that domestic sellers offer a dated electronic payment method; this must be remedied. Finally, pink salt should be accorded the rights of “geographical indications” protected by the World Intellectual Property Organisation, so that illegal branding can be dealt with. According to market forecasts, global salt consumption will hit 335 million tonnes by 2020, and the global salt industry will be worth US$14.1 billion. With an output of 325,000 tonnes per year and another 350 years to go, the Khewra mines are a virtual treasure trove. Pakistan must capitalise on them and capture markets around the world to achieve greater gains. Sabena Siddiqi is a foreign affairs journalist with a special focus on the Belt and Road Initiative, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and South Asia

Bilawal Bhutto To Participate In Maulana Fazal Ur Rehman APC

Pakistan People Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto has accepted the invitation of Maulana Fazal ur Rehman to attend the All Party Conference (APC).

Pakistan People Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto has accepted the invitation of Maulana Fazal ur Rehman to attend the All Party Conference (APC).According to Bilawal Bhutto spokesman Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar that Bilawal Bhutto Zardari decided to join the APC and also party delegation will participate in the APC.

He said that senior leaders of the party will be included in delegation and Bilawal will present the party policy regarding opposition movement in APC.

Video - Bilawal Bhutto Zardari Media Talk in Islamabad | 25 November 2019