World in Focus (June-July 2017)

World in Focus (June-July 2017)


June 16: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the French Development Agency (AFD) approved loans worth over $400 million to help Pakistan improve reliability and sustainability of the energy sector. ADB Country Director Xiaohong Yang and Secretary of the Economic Affairs Division, Tariq Mahmood Pasha signed the agreement.

June 17: The OGDCL awarded 80 scholarships under ‘OGDCL-HEC Need-based scholarship programme’ to the brilliant and deserving students at Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU).

June 17: The HEC launched a robust online degree attestation system through which one can apply for attestation of one’s degrees while sitting at home.

June 18: Pakistan cut old rivals India down to size to win their maiden Champions Trophy crown.

The heroes for Pakistan were Fakhar Zaman who scored 114, and Mohammad Amir who demolished top Indian batsmen.
Player of the match: Fakhar Zaman
Player of the series: Hasan Ali

June 19: Scientists of the Vegetable Research Institute, Faisalabad successfully developed two new varieties of tomatoes, the Sundar Hybrid (suitable for high tunnels) and Ahmar Hybrid (suitable for low tunnels and open fields).

Key Facts

According to Food and Agriculture Organisation statistics:
1. Pakistan is ranked 34th in annual tomato production in the world.
2. Pakistan’s annual requirement of tomatoes is 890,434 tonnes.
3. 67% tomatoes are produced locally while 33% is imported.
4. Tomatoes are grown on an area of 62,930 hectares.
5. Punjab produces 11% of country’s total tomato yield.

June 21: The Supreme Court of Pakistan directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to block all fake pages and websites being run in its name on social media.

June 21: Bank Alfalah Limited (BAFL) announced the resignation of Atif Bajwa from the office of president and the chief executive officer (CEO). Nauman Ansari, former CEO Faysal Bank was appointed as his successor.

June 21: Pakistan and France signed a credit facility agreement of 100 million Euros for the sustainable energy sector reforms programme.

June 21: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif approved a new distinct category of civil awards for environment on the recommendation of the Ministry of Climate Change.

June 22: The ADB and Pakistan signed a $300 million loan to support public sector enterprises (PSEs).

June 21: Pakistan became a full signatory to the Washington Accord that facilitates mobility of engineering graduates and professionals at the international level.

About Washington Accord

The Washington Accord, signed in 1989, is an international agreement among bodies responsible for accrediting engineering degree programmes. It recognises the substantial equivalency of programmes accredited by those bodies, and recommends that graduates of programmes accredited by any of the signatory bodies be recognised by the other bodies as having met the academic requirements for the entry to the practice of engineering.

The Washington Accord member countries are: Australia, Canada, Taiwan, Pakistan, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey, the UK and the USA.

World in Focus (June-July 2017)

June 23: In a historic first, Farzana Jan became the first citizen of Pakistan to carry a passport that allows its bearer to select a gender other than male or female.

June 23: The first Pakistan-owned early-harvest wind power project constructed under the CPEC started commercial operation.

The facility, developed by Sachal Energy over 680 acres of land in the Jhimpir Wind Corridor in Sindh, was wholly financed by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

June 23: Bombs targeted civilians and security personnel in Parachinar and Quetta, leaving at least 54 people dead and over 120 injured.

June 23: Two US lawmakers introduced a bill in Congress, seeking to revoke Pakistan’s status as a major non-Nato ally.

About Major non-Nato (MNNA) Status

World in Focus (June-July 2017)1. The MNNA status was granted to Pakistan in 2004 by then President George W. Bush to encourage Islamabad to help the United States fight Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
2. The status grants critical benefits in foreign aid and defence cooperation, as an MNNA is eligible for priority delivery of defence material and expedited arms sale process.
3. The designated country also benefits from a US loan guarantee programme, which backs up loans issued by private banks to finance arms exports.
4. A major non-Nato ally can also stockpile US military hardware, participate in defence research and development programmes, and can buy sophisticated weaponry.

June 24: Maham Malik, a Pakistani girl, hailing from Mianwali’s Namal Valley, secured first position in Britain’s Durham Law School examination 2017.

June 25: After a meeting in Islamabad, Pakistan, China and Afghanistan agreed on seven points for sustainable peace in the region. The three countries also expressed their willingness to improve relations with each other.

June 25: At least 138 people were burnt alive and 117 injured, when an oil tanker which skidded off the National Highway caught fire near Ahmadpur East.

June 28: Natalie Sciver and Heather Knight both scored centuries against Pakistan as England posted their highest-ever ICC Women’s World Cup total.

June 30: Syed Faizan Hussain, a young promising Pakistani, received Queen’s Young Leaders Award (QYLA).

June 30: Google honoured Pakistan’s iconic calligrapher and painter Syed Sadequain Ahmed Naqvi by coming up with a doodle on his 87th birthday.

July 01: Pakistan’s Muhammad Sajjad won the Asian 6-Red Snooker Championship in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

July 03: Former Pakistan hockey captain Ghazanfar Ali was selected to represent England’s 35+ hockey team in the next year’s World Cup which is to be held in Spain.

July 03: PPP government in Sindh got passed a controversial bill to repeal the applicability of the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO), 1999 in the province.

The National Accountability Ordinance 1999 Sindh Repeal Bill, 2017 was tabled by Law Minister Ziaul Hasan Lanjar. Only one lawmaker — Syed Sardar Ahmed, the parliamentary leader of the MQM — opposed the legislation.

July 03: The government appointed a Special Assistant to the federal Finance Minister, Mr Tariq Mahmood Pasha, as chairman FBR.

July 05: The federal government sold the Pakistan Security Printing Corporation (PSPC) to the State Bank of Pakistan for Rs100 billion.

About PSPC

1. Established in 1949, PSPC was wholly owned by the Government of Pakistan and was under the administrative control of the Ministry of Finance.
2. The company is engaged in printing of security documents including currency notes on behalf of the federal government.
3. Over 90% of its sales are made to government departments and agencies with banknotes being the largest constituent of the business mix.
4. The PSPC has 40% ownership stakes in Security Papers Limited (SPL) and 47% in SICPA Inks Pakistan (Private) Limited (SICPA).

July 05: Pakistan and Tajikistan agreed to explore new avenues of cooperation by increasing collaboration in economy, defence and security, agriculture and education, during the two-day visit of Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.

July 05: Pakistan successfully conducted the ‘training launch’ of an improved version of short-range nuclear-capable Nasr missile.

About Nasr Missile

1. The tested version has 10 kilometres enhanced range and flight manoeuvrability.
2. The missile now has a 70km range, compared to the previous 60km.
3. The feature of manoeuvrability would enable it to defeat the ballistic missile defence being developed by India.
4. The missile can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads, but it is known more for its capability to carry nuclear warhead of suitable yield.
5. Nasr is launched from a multi-tube launcher, capable of launching four successive missiles.
6. It is considered a high-precision weapon system that can be prepared for launch in a short time.
7. Introduced in April 2011, Nasr was developed in response to India’s Cold Start doctrine.
8. Gen Bajwa, while witnessing the launch, said: “Nasr has put cold water on cold start.”
July 06: Tariq Bajwa was appointed the new governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) for the next three years.

About Tariq Bajwa

1. Bajwa did his Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard with a focus on economic subjects.
2. He is the only Pakistani who won prestigious Littauer fellowship.
3. Bajwa belonged to the District Management Group, now called the Pakistan Administrative Services.
4. Two retired bureaucrats, Ghulam Ishaq Khan and Mohammad Yaqoob Malik, have served as SBP governor.

World in Focus (June-July 2017)July 06: Russia’s Gazprom International and Pakistan’s OGDCL signed an MoU in Moscow for a joint venture deal that would attract $3-4 billion in Pakistan.

July 06: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) agreed to enhance its annual lending to Pakistan to about $2 billion over the next three years.

July 07: The Facebook Vice President Joel Kaplan assured the interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan that Facebook will remove fake accounts and explicit, hateful and provocative material.

July 07: For the first time in its history, the Peshawar city police appointed a woman police officer, Rizwana Hameed, as the station house officer of a police station.

July 07: Founding Women’s Action Forum (WAF) member and famous artist Prof Lala Rukh, passed away in Lahore. She was 69.

July 07: The UNSC slapped sanctions on the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) splinter group Jamaatul Ahrar (JuA).

July 07: The Indian authorities directed Internet service-providers to block social media sites and snap mobile services in Indian-Held Kashmir (IHC) for an indefinite period.

July 07: Rallies and protests marked the countrywide Youm-e-Shuhada-e-Kashmir (Kashmir Martyrs Day).

July 07: The World Trade Organization (WTO) decided in Pakistan’s favour and held measures adopted by the European Commission on export of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), a chemical used in the making of mineral water bottles, against WTO law and rules.

July 07: Muhammad Musa, a pupil of Guinness world record-holder Ahmad Amin Bodla, made the record for most full-contact kicks in an hour – 5,620 kicks in sixty minutes.

July 08: Sana Mir, captain of the Pakistan women cricket team, became the first Pakistani female cricketer to play 100 ODIs.

July 08: Noted journalist and playwright Asif Ali Pota died. He was 53.

July 09: Ronaldinho-7 won the second match of the seven-a-side series against Team Giggs to secure a series win at Fortress Stadium, Lahore.

July 09: Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, launched partnership between the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts (PSTA) and Rangoonwala Foundation’s centre in Karachi where the courses will be taught.

July 09: Pakistan’s Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed was unanimously elected vice chairman of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP).


1. Launched in Manila in September 2000, ICAPP represents over 300 political parties from 52 Asian countries.
2. Its objectives are to promote exchanges and cooperation between political parties from different countries in the region.
3. The chairman of ICAPP is the former speaker of the Philippines, Jose de Venecia.

July 10: The Joint Investigation Team (JIT), constituted by the Supreme Court to probe money laundering allegations against the Sharif family, presented its report.

Key Points

1. Maintains that PM’s family has assets beyond known sources of income
2. Recommends NAB reference against PM, his children
3. Says Sharif-owned enterprises mostly ‘loss-making’, don’t justify family’s wealth
4. Qatari letters declared a ‘myth’
5. Unearths new offshore company chaired by Sharif
6. Ministers reject JIT report as ‘trash’

July 09: Pakistan’s nominee Khalid Mehboob was elected as the independent chairperson of the Council of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

July 11: University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) was ranked 21st best university in Asia and 127th best university across the globe in Agricultural Sciences.

July 11: Pakistan’s Naseem Akhtar created history by winning the IBSF World Under-18 Snooker Championship 2017 held in Beijing, China. He became the first Pakistani to win the trophy in any youth event at the global level.

July 11: The 44th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) was held in Abidjan, Republic of Cote d’Ivoire. The meeting condemned India’s state terrorism in held Kashmir and demanded of it to implement the UN Security Council resolutions on the disputed valley.

July 11: The first meeting of Bilateral Consultative Forum between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan was held in Jakarta.

World in Focus (June-July 2017)July 12: Pakistan was ranked 121st out of 127 countries, with a low score of 3.54 out of 10, on the International Property Rights Index (IPRI) 2017.

July 12: The two-day ‘CPEC-Logistics International Forum’ – organised by the National Logistic Cell – was held in Islamabad.

July 14: The federal government rehired Chief Census Commissioner Asif Bajwa, who has already completed his five-year term, for six months as a consultant to facilitate data compilation of population census that ended in May this year.

July 14: Rukhsana Yasmin was appointed the federal secretary Statistics Division.


June 16: Germany’s longest serving post-war leader, Helmut Kohl, know as the father of German reunification and an architect of European integration, died at 87.

June 19: French President Emmanuel Macron’s party, La République en Marche (the Republic on the World in Focus (June-July 2017)Move) and its allies won 350 seats in the 577-member National Assembly, the lower house of France’s Parliament.

June 19: India ratified a UN customs convention, the International Road Transport Union (IRU), becoming the 71st country to join the Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR) convention.

June 19: Brexit Secretary David Davis started negotiations in Brussels that will set the terms on which Britain leaves the European Union.

June 19: Nato held its first war games focused on defending the Suwalki Gap, a land corridor critical to the security of its Baltic allies.

June 19: India and Afghanistan opened the first air cargo corridor between them.

June 19: President Emmanuel Macron opened the 52nd International Paris Air Show at the Exhibition Center of Le Bourget, a few kilometers North of Paris.

June 19: Brooks Koepka won the US Open, becoming the seventh consecutive first-time winner of a major tournament.

June 21: Otto Warmbier, the US student who was released in a coma after nearly 18 months in detention in North Korea, died.

June 21: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Abdulaziz Al Saud installed his son Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince.

June 22: Afghanistan and Ireland were approved as Full Members by the International Cricket Council (ICC), becoming 11th and 12th Test-playing nations.

June 23: A United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs report, titled “The World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision” projected that the current global population of 7.6 billion is expected to reach 8.6 billion in 2030, 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100.

1. China (with 1.4 billion inhabitants) and India (1.3 billion inhabitants) remain the two most populous countries, comprising 19% and 18% of the total global population.
2. In roughly seven years, or around 2024, the population of India is expected to surpass that of China.
3. Currently the world’s 7th largest country, Nigeria is growing most rapidly. Its population is projected to surpass that of the United States to make it the world’s third largest country shortly before 2050.
4. From 2017 to 2050, it is expected that half of the world’s population growth will be concentrated in just nine countries: India, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, Ethiopia, the United Republic of Tanzania, the United States of America, Uganda and Indonesia.
5. The populations of 26 African countries are projected to expand to at least double their current size.

June 23: Eight Emirati princesses were convicted of human trafficking by a Belgian court and were World in Focus (June-July 2017)given suspended jail terms and fines in a case stemming from their treatment of servants at a Brussels luxury hotel nearly 10 years ago.

June 27: The EU hit Google with a record 2.4-billion-euro anti-trust fine for favouring its own Google Shopping service.

June 28: Millions of Nepalis voted in the country’s first local elections for two decades, a key step in its post-war transformation from a feudal monarchy to a federal democracy.

June 29: France’s President Emmanuel Macron inaugurated Station F, the world’s largest startup incubator, on the banks of the Seine.

June 30: Zimbabwe hit 322-4 to become the first visiting team that scored more than 300 runs to get a victory in Sri Lanka.

June 30: The United Nations approved a nearly $600 million cut to its peacekeeping budget as the General Assembly approved by consensus the annual budget expected to total $7.3 billion, down from the current $7.87 billion spent on peace missions worldwide.

July 01: Third seed Karolina Pliskova defeated Caroline Wozniacki at the Eastbourne International.

July 02: Germany beat Chile in a thrilling game to lift the Confederations Cup.

July 02: A 25,000km submarine cable system linking Africa, Europe and Asia, including Pakistan, entered into service.

About AAE-1

1. The cable system connects Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Pakistan, India, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Greece, Italy and France.
2. The Asia-Africa-Europe-1 cable system — better known as AAE-1— has been officially launched, with services beginning from Europe to the Far East, said the AAE-1 consortium, which is coordinating efforts to complete the project. The China Unicom is a key member of the alliance.
3. The AAE-1 is the world’s largest submarine cable system built in more than a decade.

July 02: Former schoolteacher Jeff Horn stunned world champion Manny Pacquiao to win the World Boxing Organisation welterweight held in Brisbane.

July 02: President Bashar al-Assad appeared on the Syrian currency for the first time. His portrait has been printed on a new 2,000-pound banknote.

July 03: Narendra Modi became India’s first-ever Prime Minister to visit Israel. Modi did not travel to Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority and a customary stop for visiting leaders trying to maintain a balance in political ties.

July 03: The United States lifted a ban on laptops in cabins on flights from Abu Dhabi to the United States, saying Etihad Airways had put in place required tighter security measures. Etihad operates 45 flights a week between Abu Dhabi and the United States.

July 04: North Korea announced to have conducted a successful first intercontinental ballistic missile test.

July 04: The EU competition commission approved a 5.4 billion euro bailout of Italy’s troubled Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS), the world’s oldest bank, as part of a major overhaul.

July 04: A French journalist Samuel Forey who survived a landmine blast in Iraq that killed three of his colleagues was awarded Albert Londres Prize, France’s highest journalism prize.

July 06: European scientists discovered a new subatomic particle containing a never-before-seen combination of quarks — the most basic building blocks of matter.

The particle, a baryon dubbed Xicc++, contains two heavy “charm” quarks and one “up” quark, and has about four times the mass of a more familiar baryon — the proton.

July 06: ICC War crimes judges ruled that South Africa flouted its duties to the International Criminal Court in 2015 by failing to arrest visiting Sudanese President Omar al Bashir, wanted on genocide charges.

World in Focus (June-July 2017)July 07: The G20 summit kicked off in the German city of Hamburg.

July 07: US President Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin held their first face-to-face meeting at the Hamburg G20 summit.

July 07: A global treaty banning nuclear weapons was adopted at the United Nations despite opposition from the United States, Britain, France and other nuclear powers that boycotted negotiations.

The treaty was adopted by a vote of 122 in favour with one country — Nato member The Netherlands voting against — while Singapore abstained.

July 07: India’s sacred Ganges and Yamuna rivers cannot be considered “living entities”, the country’s top court ruled, suspending an earlier order that granted them the same legal rights as humans.

July 08: The final statement from Group of 20 leaders was issued and it exposed a divide between the United States and other G20 members on the Paris accord aimed at combating climate change.

July 10: A noted businessman and martial arts expert Khaltmaa Battulga was sworn in as president of Mongolia.

July 10: Iraq’s prime minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over IS in Mosul, three years after the militants seized the city and made it the stronghold of a “caliphate” they said would take over the world.

July 10: Bertha, believed to be the world’s oldest hippopotamus, died aged 65, at the Manila zoo.

July 11: India’s top court stayed a nationwide ban imposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government on the sale of cattle for slaughter.

July 11: Noted actor Tom Hanks won the 2017 Records of Achievement Award for his work in films reflecting US history such as “Saving Private Ryan,” “Apollo 13” and “Bridge of Spies”.

July 11: The United States and Qatar signed an agreement aimed at combating the financing of terrorism. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who signed the agreement in Doha with his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, said it had been under discussion for months.

July 11: The European Court of Human Rights upheld a Belgian ban on wearing the full-face niqab (veil) in public.

Niqab Policies in Other Countries

Britain: There is no law restricting the wearing of garments for religious reasons. However, in March 2007 the education ministry published directives allowing directors of public establishments and denominational schools to ban the niqab.

France: It was the first European country to ban the full-face veil in public spaces with a law that took effect in 2011. The European Court upheld the French burqa ban in 2014, rejecting arguments that outlawing full-face veils breached religious freedom. The law has resulted in around 1,600 arrests since it came into force. Violations can result in fines of up to 150 euros ($170).

Germany: German lawmakers have approved a partial ban on “covering the face”. According to the legislation civil servants and officials, including judges and soldiers, must have their faces uncovered, and people can also be required to remove facial coverings in order to match them with their identity papers.

World in Focus (June-July 2017)Italy: A 1975 law aimed at protecting public order makes it illegal to cover the face in public places but courts have systematically thrown out local moves to use the ban to outlaw the full-face veil. Two regions held by the anti-immigrant Northern League, Lombardy and Venetia, have banned the burqa and full face veil in hospitals and public places.

Spain: The country’s highest court annulled in 2013 a ban on the full-face veil in public buildings that had been decided three years earlier by the northeastern region of Catalonia.

July 12: Ships carrying personnel for China’s first overseas military base, in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, set sail to begin setting up the facility, as China’s rapidly modernizing military extends its global reach.

Djibouti is at the southern entrance to the Red Sea on the route to the Suez Canal. The tiny, barren nation sandwiched between Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia also hosts US, Japanese and French bases.

July 12: Former Brazilian leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who rose from childhood poverty to become a two-term president, was convicted on corruption charges.

July 12: Indian cricket captain Mithali Raj became the highest run-scorer in women’s One-day Internationals.

July 13: The European Union launched legal action against Hungary because the law approved by the country’s parliament in June could prevent NGOs “from raising funds and would restrict their ability to carry out their work”.

July 13: Venus Williams became the oldest Wimbledon finalist for 23 years.

July 13: The parliament of Cook Islands passed the legislation to create one of the world’s largest marine sanctuaries – the 1.9 million square kilometer (735,000 square mile) reserve – protecting a vast swathe of the Pacific Ocean more than 3 times the size of France.

World in Focus (June-July 2017)July 14: The US House of Representatives passed a sweeping $696 billion defence policy bill that would exceed President Donald Trump’s budget request and break through longstanding caps on national defence spending.

The bill adopted decisively by 344 to 81 votes includes provisions for tightening restrictions on US assistance to Pakistan.

July 14: The United Nations Security Council extended the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) until July 31, 2018.

July 14: Maryam Mirzakhani, an Iranian-born mathematician who was the first woman to win the coveted Fields Medal, died. She was 40.

July 15: The South Korean climber Kim Hong-bin, who is the only hiker who has defied the human history by scaling top peaks of the world after losing all his fingers, as successfully scaled Nanga Parbat.