Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif performed the groundbreaking of Shorkot-Khanewal Section of M-4 today

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif will perform the groundbreaking of Shorkot-Khanewal Section of M-4 today. The project will be completed at a cost of around twenty-two billion rupees in two years. After completion, the project will improve the country’s vital north-south road network and promote economic growth, create jobs and ensure regional connectivity. Motorway M-4 Faisalabad-Multan 240 kilometers is divided into four sections. Faisalabad-Gojra and Khanewal-Multan sections have already been completed, while work is underway on Gojra-Shorkot section. Work on the fourth section of Shorkot-Khanewal will begin today. Shorkot-Khanewal section is divided into two packages including Shorkot-Dinpur (31 kms) and Dinpur-Khanewal (34 kms), in order to ensure its in-time completion. The M-4 is also a step towards positioning Pakistan to act as a transit artery for goods moving between the port city of Karachi and Gwadar in the south to Torkham on the northern border with Afghanistan. Overall 240-km long project will cut down travel time between Faisalabad and Multan to less than two hours. In future, this project will become a part of the Sukkur-Multan Motorway. It will eventually link the ports with the land-locked regions of Central Asia.

Nation will celebrate 70th Independence Day in a befitting manner tomorrow

Brisk preparations are at climax to mark the 70th Independence Day in a befitting manner accross the country tomorrow. With substantial improvement in the law and order situation there seems a great deal of enthusiasm to celebrate the `Youm-e-Azadi" in a befitting manner. Various organizations and institutions have chalked out elaborate programmes in connection with the Independence Day celebrations.

Six member crew of Punjab government helicopter safely recovered and arrived in Islamabad today

The six member crew of Punjab government helicopter that went missing in Afghanistan on 4th of this month has been safely recovered and arrived in Islamabad today. According to Ministry of Foreign Affairs the crew members included Crew Chief Muhammad Kausar, Chief  pilot Capt Safdar Hussain, First Officer Capt Muhammad Shafiq-ur-Rehman, Flight Engineer Nasir Mahmood, Capt Safdar Ashraf and a Russian navigator Sergei Sevastianov. Ministry says that the crew was released in an inter-tribe exchange on the Pakistan -Afghan border in FATA from where they have been brought to Islamabad.

All Parties Hurriyet Conference calls for Referendum March to the Lal Chowk in Srinagar today and tomorrow

In Occupied Kashmir, the All Parties Hurriyet Conference calls for Referendum March to the Lal Chowk in Srinagar today and tomorrow. Call has given by Chairman Syed Ali Gilani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik in a joint statement. Earlier, the puppet authorities continued to impose strict curfew and other restrictions across the Kashmir Valley on the 35th consecutive day.

Syria rebels 'cut off IS escape route' through Manbij

Kurdish and Arab fighters say they have liberated the north Syrian town of Manbij from so-called Islamic State, cutting off its route to Europe. The coalition of militias fought 73 days to drive out IS and say they freed 2,000 civilians being used as human shields on the final day. IS captured Manbij, close to the Turkish border, two years ago. Roads to Syria's embattled second city, Aleppo, and to the IS capital, Raqqa, pass through the town. "After the liberation of Manbij, IS members won't be able to freely travel to and from Europe anymore," says Syrian Kurdish leader Salih Muslim. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) coalition includes the powerful Kurdish YPG militia. They are backed in their campaign against IS by US-led air strikes on IS positions

News in Brief

  • Change of guard ceremony will be held at Mazaare-e-Quaid in the morning. A contingent of Pakistan navy will take the command of the Mazaar.
  • Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Iqbal Zafar Jhagra says the federal government is in contact with Saudi authorities to solve problems of Pakistani workers in Saudi Arabia.
  • Sixty six thousand kanals land has been acquired for construction of Diamer-Bhasha Dam.
  • Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah says ten billion rupees special development package has been given to Karachi.
  • Three terrorists have been killed in an encounter with Frontier Corps personnel in Quetta.
  • 16th death anniversary of renowned pop singer Nazia Hassan is being observed today.
  • United Nations Security Council has approved a resolution granting expanded powers to peacekeepers in South Sudan for protection of UN personnel and installations.
  • In Syria, US-backed Kurdish and Arab forces have seized full control of the northern city of Manbij near the Turkish border from Islamic State.
  • In Egypt, twenty-three Egyptian workers kidnapped in Libya were freed and returned to their country.
  • A Turkish hospital currently under construction in Palestine will open its doors in next year.


Gulf News

Aleppo desperately needs a ceasefire

The bitter struggle for Aleppo is a vital battleground for both the Syrian regime as well as the opposition. Despite being partially besieged for years, and then totally cut off, the rebels have managed to hang on and defeat the regime by re-opening a route through encircling forces. The starving inhabitants were able to get some immediate relief with desperately needed food and medical supplies reaching them. But access is very uncertain and the inhabitants are continuously harassed by regime forces and their allies, who make the passage extremely hazardous if not impossible. It is now important that all sides agree to some kind of a ceasefire so that vital supplies can get through to the trapped civilian population.

Russian forces fighting for the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad seemed to be making an attempt to implement a three-hour ceasefire on Thursday, but United Nations officials said the break in fighting was far too short to take in enough supplies to help the large numbers of people trapped in the city and in desperate need of aid. The warring parties should work more closely with the UN representatives as the only possible neutral intermediary on the ground that may be able to broker a better and more effective ceasefire, thereby doing some genuine good in this dire situation.

It does not help that there are a series of reports that the regime has used toxic gas to attack the opposition-held area. It is believed that chlorine gas was dropped in a barrel bomb. Such weapons of mass destruction are indiscriminate in who they kill and in the dense residential areas of Aleppo, hundreds of women and children, never mind the elderly and the infirm, will have faced death at the hands of this brutal assault. This kind of barbaric war should stop immediately, regardless of any other ceasefires that are also needed simultaneously.

There are several Syrian civil wars running concurrently and in the parallel struggle against Daesh (the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), the regime and Russia bizarrely find themselves on the same side as the American-led coalition fights against Daesh. The Russians have used this parallel struggle in the east of the country as an excuse to bring their troops into Syria, but have spent far too much time backing the regime against the rebels, while avoiding the important task of defeating Daesh even though Russian planes did finally attack targets in Raqqa, Daesh’s capital, where water supply was cut off and at least 30 people were killed.


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