Islamabad, Jan 03: Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a press conference on Wednesday asserted that the PML-N government does not care for United States (US) threats to cut funding to Islamabad in the war against terrorism.
The former premier’s statements come amid a war of words between Islamabad and Washington, as US President Donald Trump lashed out at Pakistan in a harshly-worded tweet on New Year’s day after which the administration suspended $255 million in military aid to Pakistan.
Describing Trump’s tweet as “non-serious” and “sad”, Sharif said, “A head of state should remember the rules of engagement while addressing a fellow state.”
“We should not be taunted [about US aid],” he said, speaking to reporters in Islamabad, a day after his return from Saudi Arabia, where he met top officials with his brother Shahbaz Sharif.
The ex-PM said he would “advise Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to formulate a plan that ensures we don’t need any US aid so that such attacks are not made on our self-respect.”
“Pakistan is the only country to have paid such a heavy price since 9/11. No other country has faced the kind of human and economic losses as Pakistan has,” he said.
“We have been engaged in a war for 17 years, even though it is technically not even our war.”
“The US president should know that as soon as we, the PML-N, came into power in 2013, we took effective steps to end terrorism in Pakistan,” he said.
“At that time, we began Operation Zarb-i-Azb, and today the backs of terrorists have been broken and the rest will soon be taken care of. This is not 2001. A dictator is not ruling the country, and one telephone call will not scare us.”
“A coalition fund should not be called ‘aid’. We do not even need such a fund and our support should not be demanded in return,” he asserted.
“I am sure if in 2001, a democratic government was in place in Pakistan instead of a dictatorship, then it would never have sold its expertise to the US. It would neither have sold our expertise, nor our self-respect,” he added.
“I have been the PM of this country thrice. A lot of facts are in front of me. As a respectable citizen of Pakistan, I would like for us, as a nation, to assess our own situation,” he urged, quoting poet Allama Iqbal who said that a nation which keeps assessing itself is like a sword in the hands of fate.
“I have always said that we should look at ourselves often and ask ourselves why the world does not take us seriously. But every time I have said this, the comment has not been taken seriously and sometimes it has been termed as ‘Dawn leaks’ and at other times as other conspiracy theories.”
“We should ask ourselves why the world never listens to us in spite of the countless sacrifices that our police, security forces, civilians and even children have given over the past 17 years. Why is our narrative not being accepted?” he questioned. “We need to search for the answers to these questions.”
“If these questions are sidelined and the answers for them are not sought, then it would count as self-deception. It is because of these self-deceptions that Pakistan has been polarised in the first place. We should step away from this self-deception now, and the country’s leadership – all its institutions – should join hands to find the answers to these questions and provide solutions to them.”
“If we want our future to be different than our present and our past, and that no country should take a shot at our self-respect, then we will have to act like a living nation and go through this process of self-assessment.”
After Noori, Kashmir scientists planning to clone Hangul
Srinagar, Apr 25: After successfully cloning Pashmina goat in 2012, the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry at SKUAST-K is now contemplating to make clone of Kashmir Stag (Hangul).
Realising that the Hangul was gradually getting extinct from the valley, the scientists at Department of Biotechnology SKUAST-K Shuhama came up with this idea.
“This project is in infancy as we require permission from Wild Life department, local government and Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA),” said Dr Riyaz Ahmad Shah, a veterinarian in the animal biotechnology center of SKUAST.
Shah said the execution of the project would require heavy funding and creation of the advanced infrastructure in the research centre.
“First of all a Deer park in needed where there these animals must have been already reared. Then advanced infrastructure is need as we currently have some basic machinery here. So overall this project can be only executed when the government is serious in accomplishing it,” he said.
He said the cloning could be achieved by using the body cells of some other inter-species including a goat or a sheep.
While the initial work including the framing of paper has been done, Shah said the tracing and catching this rare animal was becoming equally challenging for the concerned department.
“They usually die on being caught by the people. Still it could be managed but they are not being currently traced in abundance in the forests here,” he said.
Shah believed that cloning of the deer can be an equally effective process like breeding procedure done to improve their population.
Official data reveals that population of Hangul has reduced to from 5,000 to 182 in last 118 years.
Department of Wildlife’s data shows the population of Kashmiri Hangul in 1900 was 5,000, spread over 65 miles from north to east of the Jhelum and lower Chenab valley.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is also all set to declare it a ‘critically endangered’ species to protect this beautiful animal from disappearing from earth.
In 2012, scientists at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) successfully cloned the first Pashmina goat. The healthy female goat was born using a foster mother and it took two years for standardisation of the technique.
Assembly polls in JK: EC to convene meeting today
New Delhi, Apr 25: Election Commission of India (ECI) officials will meet on Friday to discuss assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
Officials of the Jammu and Kashmir government are also expected to attend the meeting to assess whether the state assembly elections can be conducted in June this year.
While announcing the seven-phase Lok Sabha election schedule on March 10, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora had said that elections for the Jammu and Kashmir assembly would not be conducted along with the Lok Sabha elections. In June 2018, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had withdrawn support to the PDP, led by Mehbooba Mufti in the 87-member state assembly.
Since the fallout of the coalition government, the state has been under President’s rule.
IT Dept searches premises of kin of ex-minister
Srinagar, Apr 25: The Income Tax Department Thursday carried out searches at two premises of a kin of Imran Reza Ansari, a former minister in the PDP-BJP coalition, for alleged tax evasion, officials said here.
They said the income tax officials, assisted by the Jammu and Kashmir police and the CRPF, carried out the searches at a business complex in the upmarket Karan Nagar where locations of North Point Complex were searched by the tax personnel.
Later, a team was sent to search another premises of the family at Alamgiri Bazar in the downtown Srinagar.
The income tax officials maintained that Thursday’s raids were carried out on a business family and were in no way connected to Ansari, a politician who switched over to People’s Conference led by Sajad Lone.
Ansari’s sister is married to the family whose premises have been raided.