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World in Focus (March-April’17)

World in Focus (March-April 2017)


Mar 16: Justice Saeeduddin Nasir of Sindh High Court passed away.

Mar 16: Pakistan Navy successfully conducted the test launch of a land-based anti-ship missile.

Mar 16: The federal government made it mandatory for health professionals or healthcare establishments to make video recording of every cardiac procedure.

Mar 16: The Senate of Pakistan passed the Pakistan Climate Change Act.

Mar 16: The Sindh government launched Sindh Peoples Ambulance service in Thatta and Sujawal.

Mar 16: Celebrated British social worker and environmentalist Maureen P. Lines, known for her work on the Kalasha people, passed away. She was 79.

About Ms Lines

  1. Born in 1937 in England, Ms Lines first visited Pakistan in 1980.
  2. She lived among the Kalasha, learning their language and ways.
  3. She was a recipient of the Tamgha-i-Imtiaz for extraordinary services rendered in the preservation and promotion of Kalasha culture.
  4. Ms Lines was the founder of the Kalasha Environmental Protection Society and the Hindukush Conservation Association.
  5. She was also the author of several books, including Beyond the North-West Frontier, A Guide to the Kalasha People, and The Kalasha of the Hindu Kush.

Mar 18: Brilliant athlete Nadia Nazir breathed her last.

About Nadia Nazir

  1. Nadia was a four-time national champion and a record-holder in 400-metre hurdles race since 2007 with a timing of 61.50 seconds which is yet to be surpassed.
  2. She started her running career in 2000.
  3. She became the national champion in 2006.
  4. She beat her own record at the 2007 National Games and from then on, she won the title of national champion for six consecutive years.
  5. Nadia also competed in the World Championship and Asian Games besides visiting India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Iran, Hong Kong and China.

Mar 18: The United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution to extend the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) by one year. China’s “One Belt, One Road” project that includes the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) also received the backing by being mentioned in the resolution.

Mar 19: Twelve-year-old Uzair Abdullah became the youngest charter member in the certification of Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) in cloud platform and infrastructure.

Mar 19: Islamabad’s Shabbir Iqbal, the top-ranked golf professional of the country, clinched the Punjab Open Golf Championship title.

Mar 19: President Mamnoon Hussain gave his formal assent to the Hindu Marriage Bill 2017.

The Hindu Marriage bill — the first personal law at the federal level to regulate the marriages of Hindus — is aimed at protecting the marriages and the family and safeguarding the rights and interests of the Hindu families in Pakistan.

March 19: Pakistan was ranked as the 80th happiest country on the planet in the World Happiness Report 2017.

5 Happiest Countries: Norway (1); Denmark (2); Iceland (3); Switzerland (4) and Finland (5).

5 Saddest Countries: Rwanda (151); Syria (152); Tanzania (153); Burundi (154) and Central African Republic (155).

Other SAARC Nations: Nepal (99); Bhutan (97); Bangladesh (110); Sri Lanka (120) and India (122). Maldives did not figure in the report.

Mar 20: The government reopened border crossings with Afghanistan as a goodwill gesture.

Mar 20: Tehmina Janjua assumed charge as the 29th foreign secretary, becoming the first woman in the country to lead the foreign ministry.

Mar 20: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) ordered the release of former religious affairs minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi in the Haj corruption case.

Mar 21: Saeed Ahmad, former Deputy Governor SBP, was appointed the President National Bank of Pakistan (NBP).

World in Focus (March-April 2017)Mar 21: Two key bills seeking the reinstatement of military courts were passed by the National Assembly.

The 28th Constitutional Amendment Bill — which will be numbered as the 23rd Constitutional amendment — was passed by 255 votes to four against.

The Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill 2017, which is required to facilitate the setting up of the military courts, was passed by a majority through a voice vote.

Mar 23: Pakistan was ranked 147th in the 2016 Human Development Index (HDI) among 188 countries.

Mar 23: Pakistan held a grand parade to Mark the 77th anniversary of the 1940 Resolution, showcasing its military might and unprecedentedly displaying its alignment in international politics.

Mar 23: The PAF Academy Risalpur was named after retired Air Marshal Asghar Khan, the first Muslim commander-in-chief of the PAF.

Mar 25: CM Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif, inaugurated Pakisan’s first women crisis centre, officially Violence against Women Centres (VAWCs), in Multan.

Mar 25: Pakistan began fencing of its borders with Afghanistan.

Mar 25: Pakistan joined 184 nations around the world to celebrate the 10th World Earth Hour.

Mar 25: The University of Sahiwal, which was developed under a Punjab Assembly Act in 2014, was formally inaugurated. Earlier, the UoS was the sub-campus of the Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, since 2005.

Mar 27: Pakistan and South Africa signed an MoU titled “Defence and Defence Industrial Cooperation”.

Mar 27: Sima Kamil, currently a deputy CEO at the UBL, was named the first woman to head a major commercial bank in Pakistan.

Mar 28: Famous Seraiki poet Shakir Shuja Abadi received his second presidential award for his contribution to Seraiki poetry and promotion of Seraiki language.

Mar 28: Mohammad Tanveer of the PAF won the title of the national laser sailing championship.

Mar 29: Money changer Altaf Khanani was sentenced to 68 months in prison and a $250,000 fine on one count of conspiracy to commit laundering by a United States District Court in Florida.

Mar 29: Dr Asim Hussain’s bail pleas in two corruption references were approved by the Sindh High Court.

Mar 29: A division bench of the Lahore High Court suspended a directive issued by a single-judge bench to the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) to hold the next CSS examination in Urdu.

Mar 30: A Russian military delegation undertook an unprecedented visit to North Waziristan to witness the Pak Army’s success in clearing the region of terrorists.

Mar 30: The All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), elected Sarmad Ali its president and Umer Mujib Shami secretary general for the year 2017-18.

Other elected office-bearers are: Kazi Asad Abid (Senior Vice President), Mehtab Khan (Vice President), S.M. Munir Jilani (Joint Secretary) and Waseem Ahmed (Finance Secretary).

Mar 31: The SBP issued a commemorative coin of Rs50 denomination in honour of the late humanitarian Abdul Sattar Edhi.


  1. It weighs 13.5 grams and it is composed of 75% copper and 25% nickel.
  2. One side of the coin is engraved with Edhi’s portrait and inscribed with the words “Abdul Sattar Edhi — an era of humanity” on the top and “1928-2016” on the bottom.
  3. Pakistan has so far issued only five commemorative coins in honour of different personalities including Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Allama Iqbal, Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, and now Abdul Sattar Edhi.
  4. Edhi is the only social worker honoured with a commemorative coin.
  5. The issuance of commemorative coins started on the birth centenary of the Quaid-i-Azam when three coins were issued.

World in Focus (March-April 2017)Mar 31: Naheed Khanum, the pioneer of commercial theatre in Pakistan, passed away at 68.

Mar 31: President Mamnoon Hussain gave approval to the revival of military courts for another two years w.e.f. Jan 7.

Apr 01: Lt Gen Umar Farooq Durrani was moved to the Pakistan Ordnance Factories, Wah, as its chairman.

Apr 01: Chairman POF Lt Gen Omar Mahmood Hayat was named the chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

Apr 02: Pakistan defeated West Indies to win the T20 International series.

Apr 02: Twenty people, among them three women, were brutally murdered in a village of Sargodha by Abdul Waheed, the custodian of the Ali Mohammad Qalandar shrine, and his accomplices.

Apr 03: Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan placed a ban on issuance of visas on arrival to all aliens, including foreign dignitaries.

Apr 03: The AJK government notified the elevation of Justice Ghulam Mustafa Mughal, chief justice of the AJK High Court, as judge of the region’s Supreme Court.

Apr 04: Officials of the Pakistan Army and the Afghan National Army established a hotline link to discuss the border situation.

Apr 04: Addl. interior secretary Tariq Mehmood Khan was appointed the interior secretary.

Apr 05: Justice M. Tabassum Aftab Alvi was sworn in as the chief justice of AJK High Court.

Apr 09: Army and Wapda retained the men’s and women’s titles at the 48th National Athletics Championship.

The soldiers amassed 456 points from 15 golds, 14 silvers and 6 bronze medals to stretch their supremacy.

Wapda finished runners-up with a tally of 285 points from 7 golds, 7 silvers and 12 bronze medals while the HEC grabbed third position with 63 points securing 2 silvers and 1 bronze.

Apr 10: Indian spy/ Naval officer 41558Z, Kulbhushan Jadhav, was sentenced to death by a military tribunal for espionage and fomenting terrorism in Pakistan.

Apr 10: Ziaul Hasan Lanjar was appointed the provincial law minister of Sindh.

Apr 10: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appointed Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai a UN Messenger of Peace to promote girls’ education.

At 19, Ms Yousafzai is the youngest Messenger of Peace, the highest honour given by the UN for an initial period of two years.

Other current Messengers of Peace include actor Leonardo di Caprio, for climate change, actor Charlize Theron, whose focus is prevention of HIV and elimination of violence against women, and actor Michael Douglas, for disarmament.

Apr 10: Inspector General of Punjab Police Mushtaq Ahmad Sukhera retired while AIG (Establishment) Capt (Retd.) Arif Nawaz assumed the charge of acting IGP.

Apr 11: The federal government appointed Jameel Ahmad Deputy Governor SBP with immediate effect for 3 years.

Apr 11: Pakistan defeated West Indies in the third and final ODI to clinch the series 2-1.

World in Focus (March-April 2017)Apr 11: The federal government appointed Haq Nawaz, a Grade-22 officer of Audit and Accounts Group, acting Auditor General.

Apr 12: The federal cabinet lifted a ban on recruitment to government jobs and regularised over 50,000 temporary employees. The cabinet further announced opening gas connections to schemes launched over the past four years; and, launching housing schemes for the homeless.

Apr 12: Nobel Peace laureate Malala Yousafzai became the sixth, and the youngest, person to receive honorary Canadian citizenship. She also became the youngest person to address a joint session of Canadian parliament.

Apr 12: The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved 15 development projects, mostly in the power sector, worth Rs. 261.2 billion.

Apr 12: Pakistan became only the second team to have won most ODIs after defeating hosts West Indies in third ODI in Guyana.

Apr 13: Pakistani filmmaker Shahnawaz Zali made it to Forbes ’30 Under 30 Asia: Entertainment and Sports’ list.

About Shahnawaz Zali

Zali, who hails from Lahore, is a graduate of Northwestern University Qatar Campus and has won international accolades for his films. His documentary ‘100 Steps-Sau Qadam’ was nominated for the Best film in the Narrative category for the 43rd Student Academy Awards. Zali, previously, won the Best Film award, for his film ‘Muhammad’ at the Qatar Media Awards 2014.

Apr 13: A 23-year-old student of Mardan’s Abdul Wali Khan University Mashal Khan was killed by a vigilante mob for allegedly “publishing blasphemous content online”.

Apr 13: Senior radio and TV artist, Syed Shahenshah, passed away. He was 68.

Apr 14: The government formed a 33-member Parliamentary Committee on National Security headed by National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq.

Terms of reference

“To discuss issues relating to national security of urgent nature, to periodically review, monitor and oversee implementation of the National Action Plan with a view to ensuring its expeditious implementation, to monitor the process of transition from military courts to civil courts through criminal justice reforms and to present periodical reports of the committee to both houses of the parliament.”

Apr 14: The SBP signed an agreement with Bank Markazi Jomhouri Islami Iran (BMJII) to facilitate bilateral trade.

Apr 15: Writer and former federal secretary Mukhtar Masood died. He was 88.

As a writer, his work includes Awaz-i-Dost (1973), a first-hand account of the creation of Pakistan, Safar-i-Naseeb (1981), a travelogue and Loh-i-Ayyam (1996), a first-hand account of the Iranian Revolution of 1979.

He was also conferred upon Sitara-e-Imtiaz.


World in Focus (March-April 2017)

Mar 16: Scientists from the US for first time developed a blood test to accurately predict whether a child has autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Mar 16: The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s Liberal VVD won most seats in the 150-seat parliament.

Anti-Muslim and anti-immigration leader Geert Wilders and his Freedom Party (PVV) came second with 13 percent of the vote.

Mar 16: Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held talks with US President Donald Trump.

Mar 16: A new UN report — Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid — commissioned and published by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), accused Israel of having established “an apartheid regime that oppresses and dominates the Palestinians as a whole”.

Mar 16: China and Saudi Arabia signed 14 MoUs worth 65 billion dollars during Saudi King’s visit.

Mar 16: Two US federal courts blocked President Trump’s latest travel ban, terming it biased against Muslims.

Mar 16: New Zealand’s third largest river, Whanganui, which is revered by Maori who call it Te Awa Tupua (I am the river, the river is me.), was recognised by parliament as a “legal person”, in a move believed to be a world first.

Mar 16: Indian scientists uncovered a pair of 1.6 billion-year-old fossils that appear to contain red algae – the oldest plant-like life discovered on Earth.

Mar 17: Rima Khalaf, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, resigned after pressure from the UN Secretary-General to withdraw the report “Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid”.

Mar 17: Poet Derek Walcott, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992 and helped thrust Caribbean writing into the global spotlight, died at 87.

Mar 17: The White House apologised to 10 Downing Street after London strongly protested the allegation that a British intelligence agency spied on President Donald Trump.

Mar 18: A two-day meeting of the finance ministers from the world’s biggest economies (G-20) was held in the German town of Baden-Baden.

Mar 19: Bangladesh pulled off a historic four-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the second Test. The rare win for Bangladesh was just their fourth away from home and first against Sri Lanka. It was Bangladesh’s 100th Test match.

Mar 19: The Huangneng Beijing Thermal Power Plant, the last large coal-fired power plant in Beijing, suspended operations.

Beijing is now China’s first city to have all its power plants on natural gas.

Mar 19: Maggie MacDonnell, a Canadian who teaches at a school in a fly-in only village in the Arctic, won a $1-million Global Teacher Prize.

Mar 19: Chuck Berry, a rock ‘n’ roll pioneer and one of its most influential guitarists and lyricists died. He was 90.

Mar 20: Scientists using Large Hadron Collider accelerator (LHC) at CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research) discovered a new system of five particles all in a single analysis.

Mar 20: David Rockefeller, the billionaire businessman and philanthropist and the grandson of Standard Oil co-founder John D. Rockefeller and the son of John D. Rockefeller Jr., died. He was 101.

On his 100th birthday, Rockefeller had given 1,000 acres of land next to a national park to the state of Maine.

Mar 20: The Uttarakhand High Court declared River Ganges as India’s first living entity. The status gives the Ganges – one of India’s largest rivers – the same legal rights as a human being.

Mar 20: Norway displaced Denmark as the world’s happiest country, in the World Happiness Report 2017.

Mar 20: Roger Federer claimed a record-equalling fifth ATP Indian Wells Masters title, with a stunning victory over Stan Wawrinka. At 35, Federer is the oldest ATP player to win one of the elite Masters titles.

Mar 20: Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, with an estimated wealth of $86 billion, once again topped the Forbes list of the world’s more than 2,000 billionaires.

Gates led the list for the fourth straight year, and has been ranked as the richest person in the world for 18 of the past 23 years.

World in Focus (March-April 2017)Mar 20: Britain named Jeremy Fleming as the new head for its communications spying agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

Mar 20: Seema Ghani, an Afghan civil servant, campaigner, management consultant and poet in both Afghanistan and Britain, won the Bond Outstanding Individual Award.

Mar 21: Martin McGuinness, the Irish Republican Army commander who laid down his arms to become a key architect of Northern Ireland’s peace, died.

Mar 21: The US banned the use of electronic devices during flights for passengers flying from 10 airports in eight countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

These airports are: Amman, Jordan; Cairo, Egypt; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Doha, Qatar; Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the UAE; Istanbul, Turkey; Casablanca, Morocco; and Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Mar 24: After an 18-month long survey, Transparency International released a report according to which these are Asia’s five most corrupt countries by bribery rates.

  1. India: 69% bribery rate 2. Vietnam: 65% bribery rate
  2. Thailand: 41% bribery rate 4. Pakistan: 40% bribery rate
  3. Myanmar: 40% bribery rate

Mar 25: French mathematician Yves Meyer won the prestigious 2017 Abel Prize for his pivotal role in the development of the mathematical theory of wavelets (small waves or ripples).

Mar 25: Bangladesh posted their highest ODI total 324-5 against Sri Lanka in Dambulla.

Mar 26: China-backed Carrie Lam became Hong Kong’s new chief executive.

Mar 28: Celebrated South African anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada, one of Nelson Mandela’s closest colleagues in the struggle against white rule and a fellow Robben Island prisoner, died aged 87.

Mar 28: Scotland’s parliament voted to back First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s call for a second independence referendum.

Mar 28: US President Donald Trump signed an executive order to undo a slew of Obama-era climate change regulations.

Mar 28: Russia signed a string of bilateral agreements with Iran as President Putin hosted his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on his first official visit to Moscow.

Mar 29: Launching the historic process of leaving the EU, Prime Minister Theresa May gave EU President Donald Tusk formal notification of intention to withdraw from the bloc.

Mar 29: The 28th annual summit of the Arab League was held in Amman (on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea).

Mar 31: SpaceX successfully launched and then retrieved its first recycled rocket, a historic feat and the biggest leap yet in its bid to drive down costs and speed up flights.

Mar 31: Indian state of Gujarat increased the punishment for cow slaughter from seven years to life imprisonment.

Apr 01: Gilbert Baker, an artist who created the rainbow flag as a symbol for the gay community, died aged 65.

World in Focus (March-April 2017)Apr 01: Kenya’s Joyciline Jepkosgei broke three world records in winning the Prague Half Marathon.

Apr 02: Bob Dylan accepted his Nobel Prize for Literature, more than three months after the awards ceremony.

Apr 02: A complete shutdown was observed and demonstrations were staged in the Indian Held Kashmir against the visit of Narendra Modi to the Valley.

Apr 03: Air Marshal (Retd.) Mohammad Abdul Azim Daudpota — a former governor of Sindh, 1965 war veteran and ex-chairman of the PIA — died. He was 83.

Apr 03: Major Indian and Malaysian companies in the oil and gas, infrastructure and engineering sectors signed investment proposals worth $36 billion.

Apr 03: Dejen Gebremeskel of Ethiopia won the Carlsbad 5000 for a record fifth time, completing the road race in 13 minutes, 27 seconds.

Apr 03: Roger Federer defeated Rafael Nadal to win the Miami Open title.

Apr 03: Socialist Lenin Moreno won the presidential election in Ecuador.

Apr 03: Veteran classical vocalist Kishori Amonkar passed away. She was 84.

Apr 03: Tesla became the second-largest US car maker in terms of market capitalization, displacing Ford.

Apr 03: The UN Security Council voted unanimously to end the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti.

Apr 04: Iran’s Aseman Airlines agreed to buy 30 737 MAX jets for $3 billion from Boeing in its second major deal since sanctions were eased last year.

Apr 04: Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, won the A.M. Turing Award, computing’s version of the Nobel Prize, for 2017.

Apr 04: Experienced British policeman Alex Marshall was appointed the general manger of the International Cricket Council’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU). He will replace Yogendra Pal Singh.

Apr 05: The ADB nominated China’s Xiaohong Yang as the new country director to Pakistan.

Apr 05: European Union lawmakers adopted a resolution setting their red lines for the two-year divorce talks with Britain.

Apr 05: The first-ever global database of trees was released. It revealed that 9,600 tree species are threatened with extinction and identified a total of 60,065 in existence.


  1. Brazil is the country with the most diverse tree population, with 8,715 species, according to the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) group.
  2. It also has the largest number of tree species — 4,333 — that only exist there.
  3. In total 58 percent of trees are so-called single country endemics, with 2,991 species only found in Madagascar and 2,584 found only in Australia.
  4. After Brazil, Colombia is the second most diverse country, with 5,776 different tree species, followed by Ind­o­nesia, with 5,142.
  5. The London-based BGCI, represents an estimated 2,500 botanic gardens around the world.

World in Focus (March-April 2017)Apr 05: US President Donald Trump removed his chief strategist Steve Bannon from the National Security Council.

Apr 05: The Trump administration selected Lisa Curtis, a senior think tank expert, to advise the White House on South Asian affairs.

Apr 06: Thailand’s king Maha Vajiralongkorn signed a new military-backed constitution that strengthens the army’s hand in government and puts the country on the path to polls after three years of junta rule.

Apr 08: Dubai police force received a certificate by Guinness World Records for having the world’s fastest police car in service — a Bugatti Veyron — just one of its 14-strong fleet of supercars.

Apr 08: During a state visit by Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, India offered a $4.5 billion line of credit to Bangladesh to help it implement projects in priority areas.

Apr 09: Soviet-era cosmonaut Georgy Grechko died at 85.

Apr 10: The first-ever freight train from Britain to China started its mammoth journey along a modern-day “Silk Road” trade route.

Apr 10: British Vogue, an iconic fashion magazine which celebrated its centenary last year, named Ghana-born Edward Enninful as its first male editor.

Apr 10: Neil Gorsuch was sworn in as the US Supreme Court’s ninth justice.

Apr 12: Emirates was named the world’s best airline in an inaugural TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards.

Class of service world winners

Best First Class: Emirates, United Arab Emirates

Best Business Class: Aeroflot, Russia

Best Premium Economy Class in the World: Air New Zealand, New Zealand

Best Economy Class in the World: Emirates, United Arab Emirates

Top 10 Airlines in the World

  1. Emirates, United Arab Emirates
  2. Singapore Airlines, Singapore
  3. Azul, Brazil
  4. JetBlue, United States
  5. Air New Zealand, New Zealand
  6. Korean Air, South Korea
  7. Japan Airlines, Japan
  8. Thai Smile, Thailand
  9. Alaska Airlines, United States
  10. Garuda Indonesia, Indonesia

World in Focus (March-April 2017)Apr 12: Russia vetoed a UN draft resolution demanding the Syrian government cooperate with an investigation of a suspected chemical attack that the West blames on Assad’s forces.

Apr 13: Charlie Murphy, a performer on “The Chappelle Show” and Eddie Murphy’s older brother, died. He was 57.

Apr 13: The US military dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb ever deployed in combat, targeting a complex of the militant Islamic State (IS) group in Afghanistan, close to the Pakistani border. The bomb has been called the ‘Mother of All Bombs’ (MOAB).

Apr 14: The US military sent its regular troops to Somalia in the largest such deployment to the Horn of Africa country in roughly two decades.