The Express Tribune NewsDelegations from Afghanistan and Pakistan along with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) continued their discussions in Istanbul at the 21st Tripartite Commission on the future of around 1.66 million Afghan refugees presently living in Pakistan. According to a press release, The Tripartite Agreement is due to expire at the end of this year, and all parties feel that a voluntary repatriation process with an agreed mechanism is vital for these vulnerable people. Afghan Minister for Refugees and Repatriation Jamahir Anwary briefed the delegations on the progress already made in the four months since the endorsement of the Solutions Strategy for Afghan Refugees in Geneva in May 2012. Pakistan Minister for States and Frontier Regions Shaukat Ullah informed that his ministry was presently holding inter-ministerial deliberations. He added that they were reviewing options for the future national policy for Afghan refugees, which will be considered shortly by his government. The delegations expressed optimism that their respective governments would favorably review the recommendations drawn up by this meeting. UNHCR representative in Islamabad, Neil Wright who also chaired the Tripartite Commission meeting said that UNHCR supported an extension of the Tripartite agreement which would expire on 31 December 2012 along with the validity of the Proof of Registration (PoR) cards held by Afghan refugees in Pakistan. He added that UNHCR wanted to ensure the ongoing protection for Afghan refugees. Referring to the well-being of Afghan refugees, he added that UNHCR and the international community had not faced such a serious challenge in the past 30 years. The meeting between the three parties came just before the first Quadripartite Steering Committee meeting to be held in Geneva on October 3, 2012, at which progress on the implementation of the Solutions Strategy for Afghan refugees will be reviewed.
Friday, September 14, 2012
by Lal Khan
http://dailybalochistanexpress.comPresident Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday welcomed China Foundation for Peace and Development (CFPD)’s commitment to double its scholarships for Pakistani students of underprivileged families who are seeking technical and vocational training through Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP). During his meeting with Chinese delegation of CFPD, headed by Secretary General Xu Zhensui, President Asif Ali Zardari remarked that enhanced people to people contacts and mutual cooperation of the two countries especially in the social sectors would further strengthen traditional people-to-people brotherly relations and would augment government’s efforts in reducing poverty, women empowerment and uplift of marginalized sections of society. Xu Zhensui, Secretary General China Foundation for Peace and Development was accompanied by Tian Geng, Zhang Jing and Liu Chang. Chairperson BISP Farzana Raja, Secretary General to the President M. Salman Faruqui, Spokesperson to the President Senator Farhatullah Babar and other senior officials were also present during the meeting. The President said Benazir Income Support Programme, being the flagship programme of the present Government is based on the vision of martyred leader, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. BISP, the government’s flagship programme for poverty alleviation and women empowerment is aimed at socio-economic uplifting of the marginalised people, he added. The President said BISP has earned international recognition due to its effectiveness, efficiency and transparency. He said that CFPD’s support to BISP would complement its ability to reach out to the underprivileged and poor of the society. Xu Zhensui thanked the President for meeting and assured his organization’s continued assistance to the people of Pakistan and to BISP in various social sector endeavours. He expressed satisfaction over the performance of BISP for providing technical and vocational training to youth successfully in the first phase under Pak-China Friendship Scholarship Programme. This is the first ever social sector cooperation through BISP between Pakistan and China. The President said Pakistan highly values its friendship and strategic partnership with China and the people of two countries enjoy unique bonds of fraternity, trust and mutual respect. He said that it was heartening to note the progress being made in further strengthening the existing relations and mutual cooperation of the two countries. President Zardari said that Pakistan greatly values Chinese assistance and support towards its socio-economic development and was eager to fully translate the existing political relations into economic terms. Our ultimate goal, the President said is closer economic integration. He said that Pakistan has offered huge incentives to the Chinese business community and investors to get maximum benefits of the available opportunities in Pakistan. He said that recent legislation on Special Economic Zones will help the business community in reducing the cost of doing business and will enhance their rate of return. He said that under the new law all capital goods, machinery and equipment will get one time exemption from the customs duties and the entrepreneurs will be exempted from Income Tax for ten years. The President said, “We greatly admire Chinese tremendous socio-economic progress and wanted to learn from the Chinese experience of growth and development.”
http://www.brecorder.comPresident of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapaksa Friday said his country would not have eliminated the scourge of terrorism without the help and support of Pakistan. Talking to a Pakistani Parliamentary delegation here at Temple Trees, he said Pakistan has proved to be a true friend of Sri Lanka and its government and people have deep affection for Pakistan. Talking to a delegation led by Dr Nafisa Shah, Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan and Chairperson of National Commission for Human Development, he said Pakistan extended unflinching support to Sri Lanka during the three decade internal conflict. There was a clear understanding between the two sides to further strengthen the bilateral relations and both sides vowed to work closely in the regional and global context. The 22-member Pakistani Parliamentary Delegation is currently visiting Sri Lanka to participate in the 58th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Conference from September 11-15. Other members of the delegation included the Speaker of Pakistan's Punjab Assembly Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan and Senator Muzaffar Hussain Shah. The High Commissioner of Pakistan in Sri Lanka Seema Ilahi Baloch also accompanied the Pakistani delegation. Dr Nafisa Shah conveyed the appreciation of government of Pakistan, its parliament and people for the hospitality extended. She also commended the arrangements for the 58th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in an impressive manner. She said that Pakistan and Sri Lanka are historically bond in a relationship of trust, mutual respect and deep friendship.
The Express TribuneThe Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) health department has decided to provide free radiotherapy and chemotherapy to cancer patients in the province. The government has suggested four centres to provide cancer facilities; Institute of Radiotherapy and Nuclear Medicine (IRNUM) and Hayatabad Medical Complex in Peshawar, and Ayub Medical Complex and Institute of Nuclear Medicine Oncology and Radiotherapy in Abbottabad. Initially, a sum of Rs500 million was sanctioned for the programme, but the government may increase the amount depending on the number of patients. “The programme titled ‘Begum Nusrat Bhutto Oncology Services K-P’ has been approved by the health department and the medical institutions concerned. “It now needs to be approved by the provincial cabinet,” IRNUM Director Dr Muhammad Rauf Khattak told The Express Tribune. He added that soon advertisements will be placed in national newspapers in order to buy the required equipment. “It will be a big step from the government’s side to facilitate all patients who cannot afford cancer treatment,” he said. “We are already providing free medicines to cancer patients and the new programme is expected to help them further since radiotherapy and chemotherapy are very costly,” said K-P Health Department Director General Dr Sharif Ahmad Khan. He further said that due to lack of awareness, patients do not get themselves checked, which worsens their situation. He stressed the need for consulting these centres in the initial stages of the disease. Health Special Secretary Dr Noorul Iman said executive and steering committees have been made to manage the programme and it is expected to start within two months.