Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Overseas Chinese hail their government policies

By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The Chinese Ambassador in Pakistan, Yao Jing, through a video session, extended Eid greeting to all Muslim overseas and the Chinese living in Pakistan besides offering condolences on PIA plane crash.

The participants included the top officials of the Rawalpindi Chinese Association, the Gilgit-Baltistan Chinese Association, the Pakistan Chinese Youth Overseas Chinese Association and the Pakistan Overseas Chinese Association. Ambassador Yao Jing introduced the relevant situation of China-Pakistan anti-epidemic cooperation. 

He pointed out that in the early stage of China’s epidemic prevention and control, Pakistan had actively donated anti-epidemic materials to China. 

“After the outbreak epidemic in Pakistan, China donated a large volume of anti-epidemic materials to Pakistan and sent a number of anti-epidemic medical expert groups to assist Pakistan in anti-epidemic drive,” he narrated. 

“The two countries have cooperated closely to fight against the epidemic and fully demonstrated that the friendship between China and Pakistan is unbreakable. In order to better serve the overseas Chinese in Pakistan, the Chinese Embassy has taken a number of measures,” the Ambassador said. 

“Firstly the Pakistani government was provided with testing reagents, masks, protective clothing and other anti-epidemic materials. Secondly close contacts and communication with the various overseas Chinese delegations were maintained. Thirdly multiple online health consultations took place from China. Then the overseas Chinese were provided with a health package and caring package besides coordination with the Bading Point Hospital to treat any confirmed overseas Chinese in a timely manner and actively develop consuls,” he explained.

The overseas Chinese leaders spoke one after another, expressing their profound gratitude to the Chinese government and embassy in Pakistan for their care, care and help for the vast number of overseas Chinese in Pakistan. 

The Uighur national leaders, Nasir Khan and Kyoumu, said that under the leadership and command of President Xi Jinping, China has achieved a major victory in the new crown epidemic prevention and control campaign and actively carried out international anti-epidemic cooperation making the Uighur and overseas Chinese extremely proud. 

Since the outbreak, the embassy in Pakistan has provided Uighur and overseas Chinese with anti-epidemic materials such as medicines, masks, and daily life materials including rice, flour and cooking oil to ease the living difficulties of the overseas Chinese and make the Uighur overseas Chinese feel the warmth and care from their home country. 

The overseas Chinese leaders also expressed their support for the 13th National People's Congress's review of the ‘Decision of the National People's Congress on Establishing and Improving the Legal System and Enforcement Mechanism of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to Maintain National Security’ and believed that the decision (draft) was necessary for legislative actions to safeguard national sovereignty and implement ‘one country, two systems are of great significance to safeguard Hong Kong's prosperity and stability. 

They reckoned that Hong Kong was a special administrative region of China and its affairs were China's internal affairs. 

The overseas Chinese compatriots in Pakistan firmly supported the Chinese government in safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests, and resolutely opposed foreign forces interfering in the affairs of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

China plays down border tension with India

By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

China and India have the ability to properly resolve the relevant issues through dialogue and consultations, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, asserted on May 27. 

He was responding to a question at a regular press briefing in Beijing when asked to comment on an Indian statement that China sent troops to the China-India border. 

“The situation in the region is generally stable and controllable,” he remarked. 

Playing down the hype created by the Indian and as well as the international media regarding tension on the border of the two neighbouring countries, Zhao Lijian added that both the parties have the ability to properly resolve relevant issues through dialogue and consultation.

Development work on Suki Kinari hydropower project in full swing

By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The development work on 874 MW Suki Kinari hydropower project is in full swing, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Chairman, CPEC Authority, Lt Gen (rtd) Asim Saleem Bajwa tweeted on May 27.

He disclosed that 19.5 percent work on the project has been completed, adding that the work remained unaffected by coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

The hydropower projects are being built at Kunhar River in the province of Khyber Pakthtunkhwa with an investment of $ 1.963 billion under the umbrella of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). 

He added that the project has so far created 4,250 job opportunities and upon completion, it would help in reducing the cost of electricity. It’s being expected to produce electricity in a couple of years time.

“Bringing cost of electricity down is top priority of the government,” he maintained. 

It is also one of Pakistan’s largest private sector power development projects and is being constructed as part of the CPEC’s early harvest projects. 

The construction of the project was initiated in 2017, as it is being developed on the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) model which implies that the Chinese would operate it for 30 years after which it would be transferred to the KP government. 

Once completed, the project would add 874 megawatts to the national grid and all four units would become fully operational by 2022. The completion of this hydropower plant will play an important role in promoting Pakistan’s industrial development and economic recovery.

Cockpit voice recorder of crashed PIA plane yet to be recovered

By Masood Sattar Khan
(Pakistan News & Features Services) 

The cockpit voice recorder of the crashed PIA plane has yet not been recovered from the debris scattered on narrow lanes of the crash site located in the Karachi’s densely populated area of Model Colony in the close proximity of airport. 

The black box of the plane, which crashed on May 22, has however been retrieved and sent to the Airbus headquarters in France for decoding, the aviation sources disclosed. 

A spokesman of the national carrier has appealed to the people that if they found any part of the crashed plane they should handover the same to the concerned authorities. 

The 11-member Airbus investigating team, having reached Karachi, will resume their investigation by visiting the crash site on May 27. 

The French team, on May 26, inspected the damaged houses, debris and the runway which the captain of the ill-fated plane, Sajjad Gul, reportedly used for an abortive landing.

The team checked the run and apron from different angles. They asked questions like how many times the plane was grounded in a year and if repair on plane was done.

They also collected information about how many times the landing gear repair was carried out besides its maintenance on technical ground. 

They sought the names of the engineers having performed the repair work. The French team was provided with the one year performance record of the plane. 

The unfortunate plane crash claimed all but two fortunate passengers who survived miraculously. So far out of 97 dead, the identity of 44 passengers has been established. Squadron Leader Zain-ul-Arif Khan’s body was among those identified through DNA. 

Meanwhile, the Interior Minister, Ejaz Shah, visited the residence of captain of the PIA crashed plane, Sajjad Gul, and expressed condolence with his father. “Sajjaid Gul tried his best till the end but unfortunately nature had other ideas,” he noted. The father of the deceased pilot has appealed to refrain from such statement that can hurt family feelings. 

The Sindh Governor, Imran Ismail, visited Civil Hospital Karachi and enquired the welfare of the injured persons. He assured that the government will carry out repair of the damaged houses.

Coronavirus Update: 573 new cases in Sindh

By Mukhtar Alam
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Sindh registered another 573 new cases of COVID-19, with five related deaths, on May 26 when it entered the fourth month of its fight against the lethal virus originating from China about six months back. 

A young male resident of Karachi, who had a history of travelling to Iran, was declared the first case of coronavirus infection in Sindh by its health authorities on February 26 and since then there is no respite from the epidemic, key curves related to infections, deaths and others aspects are yet to be seen flattened, while, according to keen observers, government finds provision of appropriate hospital care required by the infected people still a daunting tasks.

As of May 26, the province reported a total 23,507 confirmed COVID-19 cases in three months, largely in cities like Karachi, Hyderabad, Larkana, Sukkur, Ghotki, Khairpur, Shaheed Benazirabad and Jacobaabad, with 374 deaths, while 248 patients were in critical condition; 49 put on ventilators, as per the official data. 

Sindh happens to be the most affected province due to COVID-19, followed by Punjab. It was deemed as the government’s failure that the virus was brought in, initially, by Pakistanis visiting abroad for various purposes including pilgrimage and then after it found it rapid transmissions in the locals of all ages and genders living in all districts of Sindh, said a public health commentator. 

As of May 24, Karachi had 119 ventilators reserved for COVID-19 patients out of which only 34 of them were occupied. On the same day two off-ventilators death occurred while another two patients died at home.

In his routine communication with the media, the Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah, stated on May 26 that five more patients died overnight taking the death toll to 374. The death rate in reference to the total infection cases cane was 1.6%. 

However, there was no mention of the age, gender and hospitalization of the patients in the statement. Earlier, such details had been coming through the provincial health minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho or her designated hands but now such information about the COVID-deaths and other relevant daily case summary has been stopped without assigning any reason. 

The Chief Minister further said that as many as 2,327 samples of coronavirus were tested during last 24 hours which resulted in 573 new cases. “The government has tested 23,507 samples positive for coronavirus, out of 161,628 samples, so far.” 

He added that presently 248 patients were in critical condition and 49 of them have been put on ventilators. “At present 14,618 patients were under treatment, including 12,931 (88%) in home isolation, 794 (6%) in Isolation centres and 893 (6%) in different hospitals. 

The districts which reported new COVID-19 cases during the last 24 hours, ending at 8 am were Karachi (467 cases), Hyderabad (24), Shikarpur (12), Jacobabad (11), Kashmore (5), Larkana (4), Sukkur (3), Umerkot (3), Kambar Shadadkot (2), Khairpur (2), Dadu (2) and Sanghar (1).

Queen Elizabeth grieved over PIA plane crash

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services) 

Queen Elizabeth II has offered condolences to Pakistan and families of those having died in the PIA plane crash in Karachi on May 22.

“Prince Philip and I have been saddened by the news of the plane crash near Karachi on Friday (May 22). We send our most sincere condolences to you, the families and friends of those who died, and to the Pakistani people, particularly at the time of Eid,” Queen Elizabeth wrote. 

The British foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, and the British High Commissioner, Christian Turner, were also grieved by the tragic PK8303 plane crash in Karachi. 

“I’m deeply saddened to hear of the plane crash and loss of life in Karachi and my thoughts are with all those affected in this terrible tragedy,” Dominic Raab remarked in his message.

“Thoughts are with all those who have lost loved ones. The British High Commission was in touch with local authorities to establish if any Britons were on board,” High Commissioner Christian Turner stated.