PSL’s newest team is Multan, worth $41.6 million

The Pakistan Super League (PSL) on Thursday welcomed its newest outfit, Multan, which will feature in the third edition of the tournament to be held in 2018.

Dubai-based Schon Group met the reserve price of $5.2 million per year for an eight year contract, in a contest that had 10 bidders. The total contract is therefore worth $41.6 million.

Multan is Pakistan’s fifth largest city. For its rich Islamic and Sufi tradition, it is known as the City of Saints.

Karachi Kings was until now the most expensive team, with the ARY Group purchasing it for $2.6m per year for 10 years.

The other teams of PSL Lahore Qalandars, Peshawar Zalmi, Islamabad United and Quetta Gladiators were purchased for $2.5m, $1.6m, $1.5m and $1.1m respectively.

The Schon group is managed and owned by Nasir Schon and his two sons, who have their family roots in Pakistan.

With the inclusion of a sixth team, the number of matches played in the PSL is also set to be increased. PSL Chairman Najam Sethi is aiming to host at least four matches of the PSL’s third edition in Pakistan.

DAWN.com

Blast in eastern Saudi Arabia kills two: State TV

AFP

At least two people were killed when a car exploded in Saudi Arabia’s eastern city of Qatif on Thursday, Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya television reported.

It said initial reports indicated the victims were “fugitives”, a term that suggested people being sought by the kingdom’s security services.

The channel had earlier said the blast was caused by a car bomb. Its website posted images of thick black smoke rising from a street.

A resident contacted by telephone by Reuters said he had heard a blast and saw smoke rising above an area that police had blocked off. Saudi authorities were not immediately available for comment.

Photos sent over social media showed a body apparently completely burned being pulled from the wreckage of a car. The authenticity of the photos could not immediately be verified.

Qatif, home to a large Shi’ite Muslim population, has been a flashpoint between the Sunni Muslim government and Shi’ites complaining of discrimination.

DAWN.com

#Khaadi Has FINALLY Responded To Those Allegations With Their Side Of The Story

ARY NEWS

Renowned clothing brand Khaadi on Monday issued a clarification regarding a social media campaign against the brand.

The brand which was under fire for allegedly mistreating and firing its workers is facing a boycott campaign on social media after rumours one of its workers attempted suicide after being fired.

In a short statement, the brand categorically confirmed  hat it has not terminated 32 of its employees and the story regarding apparent attempted suicide of a young female worker is baseless.

“We categorically confirm that Khaadi has NOT terminated 32 of its employees. Another malicious story being spread and linked to the above is of the apparent attempted suicide of a young female worker. Why anyone should spread this outright lie is beyond understanding, but this just goes to show how some vested interests will stop at nothing to premeditatedly plan to try and cause reputational harm to Khaadi,” said the statement issued by the brand.

The statement adds that Khaadi, being a responsible corporate citizen, has always endeavoured to maintain and adhere to the highest standards in all operations-which also includes following best practices with regard to its biggest assets, the brand’s employees.

The brand also appealed to all social media users not to share or spread news that is pure hearsay, or base your comments on speculative news, no matter shared by who, without fully knowing the facts yourself.

A number of social media activists started calling for boycott of Khaadi after video of protest by people claiming to be workers of the brand went viral on social media.

A hashtag #BoycottKhaadi is also trending on the Twitter with social media activists calling for the nationwide boycott of Khaadi.

World needs to talk to N. Korea, not threaten it: Putin

Reuters

BEIJING: Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that Moscow was opposed to any new countries acquiring nuclear weapons, but that the world should talk to North Korea rather than threaten it.

Putin, speaking in Beijing, said nuclear tests of the type that Pyongyang had been carrying out in recent weeks were unacceptable, but that a peaceful solution to rising tensions on the Korean peninsula was needed.

“I want to confirm that we are categorically against the expansion of the club of nuclear powers, including with the Korean Peninsula and North Korea,” said Putin, who said any such move would be “harmful and dangerous”.

“But at the same time, we understand that what we have observed in the world recently, and specifically flagrant violations of international law and incursions into the territory of foreign states, changes in regime, lead to such kinds of arms races.” Putin did not specify what countries he had in mind, but he has in the past repeatedly criticised the United States for military operations in Iraq, Libya and Syria, and accused it of trying to oust legitimate governments.

“In this connection, we need to act in a joined-up way, (and) strengthen the system of international guarantees with the help of international law and with the help of the UN Charter,” said Putin.

“We need to return to dialogue with North Korea and stop scaring it and find ways to resolve these problems peacefully.” The Russian leader said he thought such an approach was possible because of what he called “the positive experience” of holding talks with Pyongyang in the past.

“If you recall, there was a time when North Korea announced it was suspending this kind of (nuclear) programme, but unfortunately certain participants in the negotiations process did not have enough patience. I think we need to return to this.” Putin said he was briefed by his defence minister after North Korea’s latest missile test.

Published in Dawn, May 16th, 2017

PIA crew members detained, aircraft searched by authorities at London Heathrow Airport

DAWN.com

British authorities on Monday “thoroughly searched” and detained the crew of a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight after it landed at Heathrow Airport, PIA spokesperson Mashhood Tajwar said.

Flight 785 from Islamabad to London arrived at Heathrow Airport at 2:50pm on Monday. Upon landing, as passengers disembarked, the flight crew and aircraft were searched by the authorities, the spokesperson said.

Fourteen crew members were released after being detained for nearly two hours by the British authorities, Tajwar added.

“We have not been informed as to why was the crew detained,” said Tajwar.

According to the spokesperson, the flight will return to Lahore at 11:30am on Tuesday.

Read more: PIA orders inquiry into reports of ‘rowdy’ staff at Paris hotel

Earlier, GeoNews reported that the crew members were detained over “alleged security threats” and “interrogated” by the authorities.

The national carrier often comes under fire for poor performance, low safety standards and unprofessional attitude of staff.

In January, as many as seven passengers were forced to stand throughout the over three-hour flight from Karachi to Madina after the airline boarded excess passengers in a serious breach of air safety regulations.

More recently, PIA came under fire when it emerged that a senior pilot operating the Islamabad to London flight handed over the aircraft to an under-training pilot soon after the take-off and took a two-and-a-half-hour nap in the passenger compartment, compromising air safety and putting the lives of over 305 passengers at risk.

Members of PIA crew have also been sacked for smuggling banned items and money laundering.

The airline has taken a firm stance against corrupt practices and recently announced “termination from service” will now be the only punishment if any staffer of PIA is involved in smuggling.

Alibaba group set to enter Pakistan; signs first MoU

APP

Pakistan on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Alibaba Group Holdings Limited to promote country’s worldwide exports by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) through e-commerce.

The agreement between Alibaba and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) was signed by Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir and Michael Evans, President of Alibaba Group, and Douglas Feagin, Senior Vice President of Global Business of Ant Financial, on behalf of Alibaba, during the visit of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to the headquarters of the company.

Alibaba Group’s Executive Chairman, Jack Ma and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif witnessed the signing ceremony.

Under the terms of the MoU, Alibaba, Ant Financial, and TDAP agreed to foster growth of worldwide exports of products by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Pakistan through e-commerce.

Online and offline training programs for the SMEs would also be conducted by Alibaba in a bid to assist SMEs with on-boarding on to Alibaba’s platforms and optimizing exports through e-commerce.

TDAP will help identify suitable SMEs to participate in the training programs while Alibaba will be responsible for providing industry analysis to TDAP to assist them in their selection process.

In addition, Alibaba, Ant Financial and TDAP have agreed to promote the growth of financial services in Pakistan in areas such as mobile and online payment services.

The parties have also agreed to adopt cloud computing services to support the online and mobile e-commerce businesses of SMEs in Pakistan.

DAWN.com

Pakistan closely coordinating with China for planning, implementation of CPEC: Nawaz

DAWN.com
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif  shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping. —AFP
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif shakes hands with China’s President Xi Jinping. —AFP

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan strongly favours cooperation and synergetic partnerships across regions to ensure socio-economic development and prosperity.

He was speaking at the leaders’ roundtable on policy synergy in Beijing on Monday, Radio Pakistan reported.

“It is imperative that we appreciate the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative in its proper perspective of interconnected development. It is now turning into the centre of gravity for half of the world’s economies in Asia, Africa and Europe,” the prime minister was quoted as saying.

The premier said as part of the same initiative under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) banner, “we have made phenomenal progress in a short span of time through active participation in the areas of infrastructure, energy, industrial zones, and telecommunications”.

He, however, said four areas require more focus.

“First, overall progress should be reviewed as we all stand to benefit from early harvest projects. Second, we need more synergy in our development strategies both at the regional and international levels. Third, this initiative must continue to deliver “win-win” outcomes. Four, we should build on the solid foundations of One Belt One Road to make it a living, growing and organic partnership,” the premier was quoted as saying.

Nawaz said Pakistan is harmonising national development plans with CPEC project, closely coordinating with China for planning and implementation of CPEC and liaising with international financial institutions for policy alignment.

He called for expanding consensus for One Belt One Road, enhancing cooperation in development and implementation and prepare a blueprint and roadmap for long-term cooperation.

Speaking in the second session of the roundtable on ‘connectivity cooperation for interconnected development’, the premier said Pakistan is pursuing vision of a peaceful, inter-connected and prosperous neighbourhood with great determination.

“Rapid digitalisation and next generation connectivity are at the heart of our agenda for transforming into a knowledge-based economy,” he said.

The prime minister was of the view that CPEC is creating new supply and logistic chains, as well as manufacturing networks. “It has infused Pakistan’s economy with new vitality and dynamism.”

He said Gwadar Port, which is the pivot of CPEC, will link up East, West and South Asia. It will also reach out to African and European markets.

Core of the “One Belt-One Road” initiative is connectivity and long-term development, especially in developing countries, the premier concluded.