Nuclear Security Summit
Pakistan Seeks Civil N-Technology To Meet Energy Needs
Pakistan has pleaded for access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and asked the international community to provide it for peaceful uses on a non-discriminatory basis.
Speaking at the dinner on the opening day of the two-day second Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani reminded countries with nuclear material that Pakistan needed nuclear technology to meet its growing energy requirements. Prime Minister Gilani, who was among the four key speakers including US President Barrack Obama, said Pakistan had taken effective measures at the national level that were the most important part of its efforts to enhance nuclear security. Gilani, who also represented the country in the first summit in Washington in April 2010, reminded that swift movement had been observed in the field of nuclear security since the first NSS. "Together, we have taken steps to create a secure world that will not live under the fear of nuclear terrorist attacks. We firmly believe that nuclear material must never fall into the hands of terrorists," he added.
Referring to the significance of the summit, Prime Minister Gilani said, "As we meet here, we break new ground on the evolving global nuclear security architecture, the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and protection of nuclear materials and radioactive sources. Our concerns on these vital issues put a roadmap in our hands for concerted national actions and international coordination to enhance nuclear security."
He announced that the IAEA board of governors had unanimously approved the safeguard agreements of the two civil nuclear power plants of Pakistan last year, which demonstrated the international community's continued confidence in the safety and security standards maintained by the country.
PM Gilani said Pakistan had been active in international diplomacy to promote nuclear security. "We have supported the work of the global initiative to combat nuclear terrorism and our reports to the UN Security Council Resolution 1540 Committee have shared details of the measures we have taken to secure sensitive materials and technologies," he said.
India Offers Pakistan 5,000MW Of Electricity
India has formally offered Pakistan 5,000MW of electricity to meet its energy requirements on an urgent basis which could be transmitted through Punjab without much delay. The offer has come from Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in a brief chat he had with his Pakistani counterpart Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani during their interaction at the margins of the just concluded second Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in the capital city of South Korea. Pakistan has accepted the offer, and it would examine it at an appropriate level before responding to New Delhi.
Prime Minister Gilani also urged the leading Korean company working in the field of solar energy to look into the various aspects of installing a solar energy system in Balochistan to operate tubewells as the province is facing an acute shortage of water.
Shujaat Dissolves KP Chapter
PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain last week dissolved the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter of the party, removing Amir Muqam as its provincial president, and constituting an organising committee for a period of three months. Following the decision, all KP offices of the PML-Q will be vacated by its office bearers, including its president Amir Muqam. The organising committee will hold fresh elections for all the PML-Q's KP offices within three months. While the PML-Q did not cite any specific reason for the dissolution of the party chapter, insiders claim that differences between the provincial leaders and central leadership are the main reasons for the decision. Amir Muqam has enjoyed tense relations with the top PML-Q leadership ever since he joined the party's ruling coalition. He later met PML-N head Nawaz Sharif in Lahore and informed him of his decision to join the PML-N. However, the meeting with Nawaz Sharif was set up well before Chaudhry Shujaat's decision as Amir Muqam had made up his mind to quit the PML-Q. Chaudhry Shujaat's decision to remove its Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief was apparently an attempt to pre-empt his move and disallow him to walk into the PML-N as PML-Q's provincial president.
Hike In CNG & POL Prices
With a massive surge in the POL product prices by Rs 8.94 per litre, the government increased CNG prices by Rs 11.58 per kg. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources has massively jacked up the CNG price by Rs 9.93-11.58 per kg, imposing 20 percent gas development surcharge and increasing the gas price by 20 percent. The CNG price has alarmingly increased by almost 110 percent to Rs 88.70 per kg from Rs 31 per kg in 2008. This is the most unprecedented hike in the CNG pricing history.
"Yes, we have increased the CNG price to 55% of petrol parity price as currently its prices stand at 53 percent of petrol-parity price," the Federal Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr. Asim confirmed, saying that the ministry had issued the notification to
The Ministry of Petroleum increased the CNG prices in Region-1 (KPK, Potohar region and Balochistan) by Rs 11.58 per kg to Rs 88.70 per kg and in Region-II (Sindh and Punjab) by Rs 9.93 per kg to Rs 80.89 per kg.
Zardari For Trans-Border Cooperation To Curb Extremism
Reiterating Pakistan's emphatic commitment to peace, development and prosperity in neighbouring Afghanistan, President Asif Ali Zardari called for increased trans-border cooperation, which he said would not only transform the economic landscape of the South and Central Asian region but also be an effective bulwark against extremism and militancy.
The President expressed these views while addressing the inaugural session of the two-day fifth Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA-V) hosted by Tajikistan and attended by delegations from around 70 countries and international organisations.
"We believe that the crusade against poverty and deprivation must be waged in tandem with the war against terrorism. Pakistan's consistent position is that more than military might, it is a battle for hearts and minds," the President maintained.
Support In US For Afghan War Drops Sharply
Support for the war in Afghanistan has dropped sharply among the Americans in recent months as they grow increasingly disillusioned with the conflict that began more than a decade ago. According to a poll released last week, 69 percent said the United States should no longer be fighting in Afghanistan, up from 53 percent in November. It is the highest percentage since 2009. Sixty-eight percent said the fighting was going "somewhat badly" or "very badly," compared with 42 percent, who voiced those views in November 2011, the New York Times reported. The Times/CBS News survey results are in line with other recent polls that show a drop in support for the war. The survey comes after the massacre of 17 Afghan civilians in which a US soldier has been charged, violence set off by the burning of copies of Holy Quran by American troops last month and a number of killings of US troops by Afghan security forces.
Population Shoots Up By 47pc Since 1998
Balochistan witnessed the highest and the Punjab the lowest increase in population from 1998 to 2011, with the country's overall population shooting up to an alarming 46.9 percent. Households witnessed an increase of 50.4 percent during the period, according to preliminary results of housing listing 2011. As compared to the population of 130,857,717 in 1998, the overall population was recorded at 192,288,944 in 2011 all over Pakistan, excluding three districts of Balochistan, Fata as well as Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. However, with the inclusion of population of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, the population of the country would reach 197,361,691 in 2011 against 134,714,017 in 1998, showing an increase of 46.5 percent.
The highest increase in population was witnessed in Balochistan, followed by Sindh, Fata, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the federal capital while the Punjab province witnessed the lowest increase in population as compared to the other provinces.
First Pak-US Military Contact After Salala Incident
Visiting US generals last week held the first talks in months with Pakistan's top military leaders in a further sign that the troubled alliance between the two countries is getting back on track. The visit by General James Mattis, the head of US Central Command, and General John Allen, the US commander of NATO troops in Afghanistan, are the first since US air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in Salala last November.
The two generals "discussed matters of bilateral and professional interests and the emerging geo-strategic situation", during their meeting with General Wynne, the military said in a statement. Earlier, a Pakistani security official confirmed the American generals had arrived in Pakistan, but declined to give further information until after the meeting had taken place.