Shehbaz Sharif will come back on Saturday

Sharif had announced a “quick visit” to London on April 9 after his name was removed from the no-fly list on Lahore High Court orders. Party sources had said at the time that he intended to return within 10-12 days.

Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif will be returning to Pakistan on June 8.

Earlier, lawyers had informed an Accountability Court that Sharif will be returning to Pakistan on June 11. However, it was also earlier said in court that the opposition leader will return to Pakistan after Eidul Fitr.

In the Ramzan Sugar Mills corruption case, Sharif and his son Hamza Shahbaz are accused of “fraudulently and dishonestly” causing an Rs213 million loss to the national exchequer.

Pakistan: Minister proposes to make hijab mandatory in Punjab colleges

A senior Punjab government official proposed on Tuesday to make hijab mandatory for female students enrolled in the province’s colleges.

“We are leaving our religion behind, we are forgetting our culture and ethics. Hence, I have made the hijab compulsory for our women and sisters in colleges,” said Punjab Higher Education Minister Syed Raza Ali Gilani.

The minister added that it was his duty to take the step as it is “the duty of every Muslim”.

“I have also made a policy for it, if your attendance falls below 60pc then we will give 5pc attendance to those girls who wear a hijab,” added the higher education minister.

However, the policy is yet to implemented in the educational institutions of the province and has not been signed by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

Govt Of The Punjab ✔@GovtOfPunjab

5% marks for Hijab students is absolutely WRONG news… Academic excellence only based on MERIT.. It’s clear policy of the Govt of Punjab.
6:54 AM – 14 Mar 2017

Media outlets had earlier reported the policy change will award extra marks to hijab wearing students.

However, the provincial government in a tweet earlier denied the change in policy and clarified academic excellence will only be based on merit and no other factor would be considered.

Civil society activist and lawyer Jibran Nasir also criticised the move in a series of tweets. He later said he was glad that the provincial government “believes in judging men and women on merit and not apparel”.

These women-exclusive taxis are launching in Karachi today

Among the various programmes planned for International Women’s Day, to be observed on Wednesday, there is also going to be the Paxi, which is the first women-exclusive taxi — “for women and by women”.

By this the Paxi Pakistan Company means that the taxis will be driven by women and they will have women passengers only. And this service will be introduced in Karachi on Women’s Day, helping women feel safe when hailing a cab. Women face a lot of issues during transit owing to the unfriendly environment in buses or any other form of public transport. But having a mode of public transport catering to them alone can solve many of their transport issues.58c05ff87ca29

Paxi is starting with 10 drivers, referred to as ‘pilots’, but intends to expand to Lahore and Islamabad in the next three to four months followed by other parts of the country. “Our pilots are housewives, young women, students, too,” shares CEO Sheikh Mohammad Zahid.

According to Sheikh Mohammad Zahid, Paxi Pakistan’s CEO, they are starting with 10 drivers, referred to as ‘pilots’, but intend to expand to Lahore and Islamabad in the next three to four months followed by other parts of the country. “Our pilots are housewives, young women, students, too,” he said.

Asked if the women required commercial licences to drive the cabs, the CEO said that was only needed for driving heavy vehicles. “But we do train our pilots. Although we have 10 female pilots to begin with, there are many more enrolled with us for training. They, too, will be inducted soon,” he said.

The CEO also explained that the service could be accessed through four modes such as hailing a cab on the road, the phone app, call centre and SMS service. The latter two involve providing one’s name and phone number so that the dispatcher is able to verify the call or message and issue a four-digit PIN so that when the cab reaches the customer she can ask the pilot the code to book or initiate a ride. She will also have to provide her name and number when hailing a cab on the road in order for the pilot to be able to feed it in the system.

“It only takes a few seconds,” he said. “And the call centre, SMS and just stopping a cab are options for those who may not have smartphones,” he added.

He said that the verification would also help as they have accident insurance though each vehicle has a medical kit and a fire extinguisher.

Other than the women-exclusive service, Paxi is also going to launch a motorbike taxi for single commuters who don’t have to be female and a normal cab service on the lines of Uber and Careem that anyone can access. The date for their formal launch is said to be March 23 but there will be an orientation ceremony for the pink taxi and its pilots at the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides’ Headquarters here on Wednesday.

Earlier, in December 2016, Careem had also added about seven women captains to their ride-sharing service in Karachi and Lahore.

Facebook celebrates International Women’s Day with inspirational Malala quote

The world is celebrating International Women’s Day today to honour political, social, cultural and political achievements of women all over the world.

International Women’s Day has been the trending topic on different social media websites. Google has introduced a doodle to mark the occasion and social media giant Facebook is also honouring women by celebrating their contributions
As soon as you access Facebook today, you see the social media site is celebrating “the amazing contributions women make to our world and our future.” The best part? The message uses a quote by Pakistani activist and the youngest ever Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousufzai.
Clicking the “Explore Inspiring Stories” option connects yomalalau to inspirational and influential female leaders from across the globe.

Yousufzai who was a vocal advocate of women’s right to educatio
nin her hometown of Swat was injured after a Taliban gunman attempted to assassinate her in 2012.
Today, the 19-year-old continues her struggle and activism for women’s rights and has become a symbol for women empowerment in Pakistan. She’s also one of Pakistan’s only two Nobel Prize laureates and the youngest-ever person to be awarded a Nobel Prize.

ABC News too shared a quote by Yousufzai on it’s official Twitter account

Imran Khan in eye of storm over ‘vile’ comments about foreign PSL players

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan was at the receiving end on Monday after a video surfaced in which the party leader made derogatory comments about international players who attended the Pakistan Super League (PSL) final in Lahore.
In what seems to be an internal party meeting, Khan is seen branding international players who came for the PSL final as ‘phateechar’.

“I don’t even know the name of any of these so-called foreign players. It seems they just picked up players from wherever. Picked some from Africa and called them foreign players,” said Khan.

The video quickly went viral on social media where the PTI chief was heavily censured for using ‘vile’ and ‘racist’ language against foreign players, such as Darren Sammy who helped make the event a success.

Two army men killed during operation in Swabi

ISLAMABAD: Two Pakistan Army officials, including a captain, were killed during an exchange of fire on Tuesday in the Malikabad area of Swabi.

Security forces were conducting an intelligence-based operation (IBO) in the area when they came under attack, military’s media wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.

The deceased were identified as Captain Junaid and Sepoy Amjad.

Immediately after the incident, the troops cordoned off the area while the exchange of fire continued till the filing of this report, the ISPR statement added.

The raid was being conducted under newly-launched Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad which was initiated after a wave of terrorists’ attack across the country last month.
Meanwhile, at least five terrorists were killed in exchange of fire with troops in Swabi, ISPR said in a statement. “5 terrorists who were killed during an IBO in Malikabad, Swabi today were planning to target educational institutions and judicial complexes,” it said.

“Sacrifice of our Shaheeds will not go waste. Terrorist will be brought to their end and held accountable for their Fasaad,” the military’s media wing quoted Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa as saying.

According to ISPR, three terrorists were identified, including Majid alias Khalid, Yousaf alias Chota Khalid and Jawaad. All three belong to proscribed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)’s Swabi chapter.
The TTP claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s clashes with the security forces.

In a message sent to media, TTP spokesperson Mohammad Khorasani said the outlawed terror outfit was involved in clashes with the security forces in Swabi.

A day earlier, five Pakistan Army soldiers were killed in cross fire as militants from Afghanistan attacked three border posts in Mohmand Agency. “Last night terrorists from across the border attempted physical attack on three Pakistan border posts in Mohmand Agency,” ISPR said.

Canada: Ahmadiyya Muslim youth doorknock to answer questions about Islam

“It’s an opportunity for Canadians to ask some questions about their faith, to challenge them, to know what exactly about their Canadian identity is important to them and how they reconcile that with being a Muslim.”

Muslim youth fanned out across Canada on Sunday, knocking on doors and handing out flyers to try to counter misconceptions about Islam at a time when they say fear of their religion is rising.

The initiative had been planned for weeks but happened to fall one day after rallies across Canada by those opposed to a Liberal MP’s Parliamentary motion to condemn Islamophobia, known as M-103.

Qasid Chaudhry of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association Canada braved the cold temperatures with his group in Barrie, Ont., Sunday morning as they knocked on doors and offered to answer neighbours’ questions.

He said that although the youth group does ongoing outreach, this particular initiative is especially important after six Muslim immigrants were shot to death on Jan. 29 at a Quebec City mosque.

“There’s a lot of misconceptions people have been getting about Islam,” Chaudhry said. “We’re trying to give people the idea that (ISIS) is not Islam. It is a religion of peace.”

Chaudhry added that he was born in Canada and he wants his neighbours to understand that although he has Islamic values, he also shares their Canadian values.

He added that the response from neighbours in the Barrie area had so far been “really good.”

“It’s amazing because a lot of times people are afraid Islamophobia is becoming a really big problem,” Chaudhry said. “It makes us feel that people don’t fear Islam, they fear these extremist groups.”

Safwan Choudhry, spokesperson for Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama”at Canada, told CTV News Channel that he believes it is important for Canadians to meet ordinary Muslims, rather than just hearing from imams.

“It’s an opportunity for Canadians to ask some questions about their faith, to challenge them, to know what exactly about their Canadian identity is important to them and how they reconcile that with being a Muslim,” he added.

Choudhry said outreach is important, because Canadians may not be aware that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association Canada is assisting in the fight against Islamic State radicalization, with their Stop the Crisis campaign.

Choudhry said there’s “no denying” that anti-Muslim sentiment, as well as anti-Semitism, is on the rise in North America and Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Canada wants to be on the front line of fighting against it.

A Forum Research poll of 1,304 randomly-selected Canadians taken in December found 28 per cent agreed they had “unfavourable” feelings toward Muslim people, while 54 per cent said they had “favourable feelings” and 17 per cent said they “don’t know.”

The number with “unfavourable” feelings toward Muslims was much higher than those with unfavourable views of First Nations (16 per cent), Asians (10 per cent), Jewish people (nine per cent) and black people (eight per cent).

The margin of error for the survey was reported as ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Dean Jones travelling to Lahore to watch PSL final

DUBAI: Islamabad United may have crashed out of the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL), but their coach Dean Jones has announced that he will still be traveling to Lahore to watch the final at the Gaddafi Stadium.

In the midst of mass withdrawals of the PSL’s foreign contingent, Jones’ announcement will be music to the ears of the hosts.

“We might not be in the final but we are committed to Pakistan cricket. Good luck to all teams still in play in the PSL,” said Jones.

But cricket is not the only motivating factor for the Australian to make the trip. He apparently is quite fond of Lahore’s famous cuisine.

“I will visit Lahore to support cricket in Pakistan but also to taste their delicious food,” he added.

Quetta Gladiators became the first team to qualify for the PSL final on Tuesday after defeating Peshawar Zalmi by just one run in a thrilling encounter.

It is the second straight year the Gladiators have qualified for the tournament’s final, although they will be looking to go one better than last year when they were bested in the final match by Islamabad United.



Peshawar out to end play-off curse against Karachi

SHARJAH: Peshawar Zalmi will be out to end their play-off curse and make it to the final of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) when they take on Karachi Kings in Dubai on Friday.

Peshawar, for the second season running, finished top of the group stages but suffered a one-run defeat against Quetta Gladiators to find themselves facing an eliminator.

However, what is different this time around is that instead of Misbahul Haq’s Islamabad United, they take on Kumar Sangakkara’s Karachi in the do-or-die game.

Peshawar have a superior 3-1 win-loss ratio against the Karachi side so may go into the game high on confidence. However, their only loss did come in the last game between these two sides.

Batsman Sohaib Maqsood admits the pressure is firmly on the Peshawar side as they once again face the prospect of failing to reach the final after topping their group.

“This is our second chance of reaching the final; there is a bit of pressure but we are trying to be as focused as we can,” Maqsood told The Express Tribune.

The former Pakistan international knows his side should really have been in the final after throwing away the initiative in the game against Quetta where they needed just one run off the final three balls to take the game into a super over.

“We had a really close game against Quetta and we let it go from our hands,” he said. “But this time around we are confident we will manage to ensure that the game doesn’t get decided by chance.”

The right-handed middle-order batsman knows the team that manages to hold its nerves better in the crunch game may well be the one facing Quetta in the final in Lahore. “The team that holds its nerves at the crucial times will have an advantage in the upcoming game,” he said. “We were unable to do that in the last game and it cost us the win.”

Maqsood revealed that Peshawar have pinpointed Karachi’s batting trio of tournament top-scorer Babar Azam, West Indies big-hitter Chris Gayle and Pakistan international Shoaib Malik as the dangermen.

“Babar can be their main batsman but Gayle needs to be dismissed quickly otherwise he can score big if he stays out there,” he said, while also admitting that playing pacer Mohammad Amir and spin duo Imad Wasim and Usama Mir won’t be easy to face. “It will be a fun match to play under so much pressure.”

However, the Multan-born added his side also boasts some of the finest match-winners around, naming the likes of skipper Darren Sammy, star all-rounder Shahid Afridi and pace spearhead Wahab Riaz. “They have delivered some match-winning performances and we require something similar in the next game against Karachi.”

Karachi, on the other hand, are now the tournament’s form side with five wins in their last six games, including knocking out champions Islamabad in their last game.

However, Imad knows the batsmen need to up the ante against Peshawar. “We were around 25 runs short against Islamabad, but managed to defend it through some brilliant bowling,” said Imad.

The Pakistan all-rounder admits the side may have misread the pitch a bit in the last game. “We were expecting the pitch to support the bowlers but it didn’t, although the ball was skiding in the first half and wasn’t coming onto the bat like it did in the previous matches,” he said.

Imad impressed in tandem with spin partner Mir and the left-arm spinner hailed his younger leg spin colleague. “Mir helps me a lot since he is a wicket-taker so my job changes when he bowls with me,” he said. “However, against Islamabad we knew we needed wickets from both ends.”

Imad admitted the team is riding a wave of confidence with three wins on the trot. “The last two wins against Islamabad and the win against Lahore really lifted the team’s morale and confidence,” he said.

Uber and Careem banned from airport pickups in Saudi Arabia

Drivers from ride-hailing services Uber and Careem are barred from picking up passengers from Saudi Arabia’s airports, Al Madina newspaper reported, quoting a spokesman from the kingdom’s General Directorate of Traffic.

Traffic authorities would punish any violators found transporting passengers on airport grounds, Colonel Tareq Al-Rubaiaan was quoted as saying

Airport regulations have long barred private drivers from offering their cars for hire to arriving passengers in Saudi Arabia, which means the ride-sharing apps have operated in legally murky territory as they grew increasingly popular.

Uber has had shaky ties with Gulf regulators, and only last month signed an agreement with transport authorities in neighboring Dubai to become fully regulated after a series of clashes over pricing and availability.

Saudi Arabia has embraced Uber and regional rival Careem to a far greater extent, courting both companies with substantial state investments to support its Vision 2030 economic reform plan, particularly its goal to get more women in the workforce.

In a country where women are barred from driving and private drivers are often prohibitively expensive, women account for around 80 percent of Uber and Careem’s passengers.

The state’s Public Investment Fund bought a $3.5 billion stake in Uber in June, while state-controlled Saudi Telecom Co (STC) invested $100 million in Careem in December.

Saudi authorities have also used the apps to bolster employment for Saudi men, requiring in November that Uber and Careem “limit the jobs to Saudi nationals,” while allowing non-Saudis already registered as drivers to continue to work for the companies.