Hindu extremists vandalize Muslim sites

It was reported that thirty years after mobs demolished a historic mosque in Ayodhya, fundamentalist Indian Hindu groups are eyeing other Muslim sites — even the world-famous Taj Mahal. Emboldened under Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi, aided by courts and fueled by social media, the radical groups believe the sites were built on top of Hindu temples. According to the current reports, the centuries-old Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi is on their hit list.

PM Shehbaz asks businessmen to devise plans for Saudi investment

On May 29, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif asked Karachi businessmen to devise a plan for an investment of $1 billion dollars from Saudi Arabia. Addressing a ceremony at the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the premier touched on a number of topics, including the recent import ban and the economic crisis. "One billion dollars is available, it is a gift of investment from Saudi Arabia. As the prime minister, I am laying this in front of you. Sit together and brainstorm and make a feasibility plan. Set up a desalination plant and I believe that clean water will be available at every home within five years," he told the businessmen.

PTI core committee to decide final date for Islamabad march: Khan

On May 20, former prime minister Imran Khan said that he had called a session of the PTI core committee on Sunday in Peshawar to decide the date for his long march to Islamabad. Addressing a rally in Multan, former premiere said that the march could be held on any day between May 25 and May 29. Lashing out at the current government, he demanded that the National Assembly be dissolved immediately and a date for elections announced.

Dollar closes at record above Rs200

On Friday, the US dollar, extended its gains against the rupee for the 11th consecutive session today as it gained 25 paisa by the close. According to the Forex Association of Pakistan (FAP), the greenback closed at Rs200.25, another record. The persistent decline in the rupee's value since last Tuesday has been largely attributed to the country's rising import bill, widening current account deficit, and depleting foreign exchange reserves of the State Bank of Pakistan.

WHO calls for emergency meeting amidst monkeypox outbreak

London: On May 20, The World Health Organization hold an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss the recent outbreak of monkeypox. It is a viral infection more common in the west and central Africa, after more than 100 cases were confirmed or suspected in Europe. "With several confirmed cases in the United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal, this is the largest and most widespread outbreak of monkeypox ever seen in Europe," said Germany's armed forces' medical service.

Helping Ukraine tops G7 agenda

Koenigswinter: On May 19, group of Seven financial leaders is likely to agree on around $15 billion to help Ukraine pay its bills in the coming months. Surging inflation, climate change, supply chains, and the approaching food crisis are also on the program. "The war in Ukraine ... also entails additional risks for the development of the world economy ... inflation, but also the lack of recovery after the pandemic. Therefore, we will have to discuss what we can do together in our respective areas of responsibility to avoid stagflation scenarios," German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said.

Biden welcomes Finland, Sweden to join NATO

Washington: On May 19, U.S. President Joe Biden met the leaders of Sweden and Finland to advance their applications to join the NATO military alliance. He rejoiced the "momentous" day, giving his strong support for the two “great democracies” to “join the strongest most powerful defensive alliance in the history of the world." "They meet every NATO requirement and then some," Biden said, adding he is submitting paperwork today to the U.S. Congress for speedy approval once NATO approves their accession."

Turkey opposes Finland, Sweden’s inclusion in NATO

Washington: On May 19, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vehemently opposed the idea of extending NATO membership to Sweden and Finland. U.S. President Joe Biden met the leaders of Sweden and Finland to advance their applications to join the NATO military alliance. Turkey has expressed strong opposition to including both countries in the alliance. It also asked Sweden to halt support for Kurdish militants and both to lift their bans on some sales of arms to Turkey.

Biden, Saudi Crown Prince likely to meet next month

Washington: It was reported on Thursday that U.S. President Joe Biden and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman could meet for the first time as soon as next month. The report disclosed that Biden administration officials were in talks with the Saudis about arranging a potential in-person meeting while Biden was overseas next month. The White House and the Saudi government's media office did not immediately respond to requests for statements.

Biden visits Japan, South Korea carrying warning to China

On May 19, It emerged that Joe Biden would visit Japan and South Korea on his first Asian trip as U.S. president. Reportedly, he would be carrying a clear message to China not to try what Russia did in Ukraine anywhere in Asia, and especially not in Taiwan. Biden departed for the five-day trip on Thursday, after spending several months organizing allies to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a "special operation."

Germany pledges 1 bln euros in grants to help Ukraine

Koenigswinter: On May 19, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said that he pledged 1 billion euros ($1.06 billion) in grants to Ukraine at a meeting of finance officials from the Group of Seven (G7) economic powers. "I have just declared for Germany in the meeting that we want to participate to the tune of 1 billion euros ... in grants," Lindner told reporters. He also added that the finance ministers and central bankers had also discussed inflation.

Pak Army soldier martyred in South Waziristan

The military media wing said in a statement on Thursday that a Pakistan Army soldier embraced martyrdom in an improvised explosive device (IED) attack in the South Waziristan district. It also said that the IED blast targeted the military convoy when it was passing through the Makeen area of the South Waziristan district. As a result, 39-year-old Havaldar Muhammad Sanwar, a resident of Jhelum, lost his life.

No-confidence motion filed against Balochistan CM Bizenjo

It emerged on Wednesday that a no-confidence motion was submitted against Balochistan Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo in the provincial assembly. The motion bears the signatures of 14 lawmakers, including Bizenjo's predecessor Jam Kamal Khan Alyani of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP). Sardar Yar Muhammad Rind, the parliamentary leader of the PTI in the Balochistan Assembly, filed the no-confidence motion.

Russia will rebuild “freed” territories in Ukraine

On May 18, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin announced that Russia would finance the reconstruction of territories in Ukraine that it has taken control of. He added that it would also repair roads that link those areas with Russia. Khusnullin said Russia had "freed" the territories. "The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the biggest in Europe by capacity, will supply energy to Russia and to Ukraine if the latter pays for it, " Khusnullin said.

PTI to move LHC against Hamza Shahbaz

On Wednesday, PTI leader and former information minister Fawad Chaudhry announced that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf had decided to challenge the election of Hamza Shehbaz as the Punjab chief minister in the Lahore High Court (LHC). He also accused him of occupying the top provincial office "illegally". Fawad also said that a quo-warranto petition would be filed with the LHC "and the court will be requested to remove Hamza as the provincial chief executive and order election on the coveted seat at the earliest".

Govt offices to continue having six workdays

On Friday, the federal government announced that government offices would continue to function six days a week. According to a notification issued by the Establishment Division, the timings from Monday to Thursday and for Saturday would be from 8 am to 3 pm while the prayer break would be from 1 pm to 1:30 pm. On Fridays, office timings would be from 8 am to 1 pm.

Met Office predicts ‘severe heatwave conditions’

On Friday, the Pakistan Meteorological Department forecasted "severe heatwave conditions" across Pakistan during the next week. It announced that high pressure was likely to grip the upper atmosphere from Sunday (May 8). "Due to this high pressure, day temperatures are likely to increase gradually in most parts of the country from Sunday," the department said.

Imran Khan to give call for Islamabad march after May 20

On Friday, former prime minister and PTI chairman Imran Khan told his party's workers to remain prepared for the long march to Islamabad, saying he would announce the final date any day after May 20. Addressing a gathering in Mianwali, he said that a sea of people would reach the capital to demand only one thing - elections."Let people decide who will rule us. We will not accept any imported government," Khan asserted.

Govt take strict action against people spreading ‘immoral videos’

On May 6, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah announced that the government had decided to crack down on people involved in spreading "immoral videos" on social media with an intent to defame individuals. The announcement from the minister came hours after the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) released a statement, saying it had taken a notice of "fake videos" spreading on social media. "An investigation has been launched. Strict legal action, in the shape of imprisonment and fines, will be taken against the persons involved in making and spreading these videos. People are advised to stop sharing such content," the FIA said in a tweet.

Govt to hold CPEC security review meeting

Islamabad: Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal announced on Friday that a security review meeting would be held every month on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Iqbal urged the need to build a “safe and secure environment for CPEC and to effectively tackle kinetic and non-kinetic challenges”. “CPEC is a flagship project of Pakistan & China Economic Cooperation which can enable Pakistan to become an industrial economy. It is unfortunate that the momentum of 2013-18 could not be sustained,” said the minister.

Farah Khan will address corruption allegations: Fawad Chaudhry

Islamabad: On Thursday, former information minister and senior PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said: “Farah will address all allegations against her and will move forward accordingly.” He also added that despite the coalition government’s claims of Farah Khan being involved in corruption they had not been able to make a case against her. He added that the coalition government blames her because it has “nothing else to blame the PTI for".

US condemns Karachi University attack

Washington: The United States denounced the terrorist attack at the University of Karachi that killed four people, including three Chinese subjects. At least four people were killed while four others sustained injuries in a suicide explosion at the premises of the University of Karachi on April 26 outside Confucius Institute. Addressing a press briefing, US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price deplored the terrorist attack in Karachi dubbing it "a true affront to mankind."

Govt to form commission to probe ‘foreign conspiracy’

On Thursday, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb announced that the government had decided to form an "independent" inquiry commission to probe the alleged "foreign conspiracy". Former prime minister Imran Khan has been claiming that some foreign elements were behind the expulsion of his government. She told a press conference in Islamabad that the commission would “fairly decide that the narrative of foreign conspiracy was all drama and the real character behind it was Imran Khan”.

Masjid-e-Nabawi incident: Court allows two-day remand of Sheikh Rasheed’s nephew

Islamabad: On Monday, a district and sessions court in Attock granted the police a two-day physical remand of MNA Sheikh Rashid Shafiq, nephew of former federal minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed. Shafiq was arrested in a case relating to hooliganism and chanting slogans against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his delegation at Masjid-e-Nabwi in Saudi Arabia. He was arrested at the Islamabad International Airport upon his arrival from Saudi Arabia.

Modi seeks ‘talks’ to stop Ukraine war

On Monday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for dialogue to end the war in Ukraine at the start of a European tour. He steered clear of condemning Russia over the invasion as India imports much of its military hardware from Russia. “We have insisted on a ceasefire and called for talks as the only way to resolve the dispute since the start of the Ukraine crisis,” Modi told reporters after talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin.

Pakistan, UAE discuss prospects of increasing bilateral cooperation

Abu Dhabi: In a meeting with United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif discussed the prospects of propelling cooperation and a range of bilateral, regional, and international issues. The premier met the crown prince in Abu Dhabi during his brief stay in the state after concluding his three-day visit to Saudi Arabia. During the meeting, the crown prince congratulated PM Shehbaz Sharif on his election as the premier of Pakistan and wished him great success serving the post. He also extended best wishes for the continued progress and prosperity of the people of Pakistan.

Masjid-e-Nabawi incident: PTI challenges cases against leadership in IHC

Islamabad: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) challenged the cases against the party leadership relating to hooliganism at Masjid-e-Nabawi (PBUH) in the Islamabad High Court. The petition was filed by PTI's legal team comprising Advocate Faisal Fareed and Advocate Ali Bukhari on Fawad Chaudhary's behalf. The IHC has issued a circular to hear urgent cases even during holidays, under which petitions of urgent nature can be filed during Eid holidays.

Imran Khan calls out Biden administration

Islamabad: on Monday, former prime minister Imran Khan explicitly called out the Biden administration for its involvement in a "regime change conspiracy" in Pakistan. Khan, in a tweet, asked the Biden administration whether its involvement in the "regime change conspiracy" had lessened or increased the anti-American sentiment in Pakistan. "My question for the Biden Administration: By indulging in a regime change conspiracy to remove a democratically elected PM of a country of over 220 mn people to bring in a puppet PM, do you think you have lessened or increased anti-American sentiment in Pakistan?" the PTI chairman said.

Imran Khan calls Farah Khan ‘absolutely innocent’

Islamabad: On Sunday, PTI chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan defended Farah Khan, "absolutely innocent". Talking about her, a close aide of his wife Bushra Bibi, he said that the corruption quest against her was a "political vendetta" against him. "I want to ask NAB: the case that you have opened against Farah Khan — show it to anyone. Does this even merit a case?" he asked in a response to a question during a press conference.