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For PSL final: Home dept wants temporary hospital at Karachi’s National Stadium

For PSL final: Home dept wants temporary hospital at Karachi’s National Stadium

Posted on 21 February 2018 by Usama Hashmi - Total hits: 40


The home department directed on Saturday the provincial health secretary and the director of Jinnah hospital to establish a temporary six-bed hospital at the National Stadium. In this regard, a notification stated that a decision was taken during the meeting with the chief minister to host a six-bed hospital at the stadium for the Pakistan Super League final. All basic facilities, medicines, tools, doctors, nurses and paramedical staff would be present.

As many as 35 ambulances, along with doctors and paramedical staff will be present at the stadium. Directions were given for ambulances to be present in the hotels where the cricketers and officials of International Cricket Council and Pakistan Cricket Board will be staying. Ambulances will also accompany the convoy of the players.
An emergency management center is to be established in Jinnah hospital. Orders were given to two large private and government hospitals to be prepared to meet any emergency situation.

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Multan Sultans set sights on title

Multan Sultans set sights on title

Posted on 21 February 2018 by Usama Hashmi - Total hits: 29

KARACHI : Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise Multan Sultan may be the new kids on the block but they have made it clear that they are not here to just make up the numbers, instead setting their sights on claiming the title on their first attempt.

Multan Sultan owner Khizer Schon expressed his optimism about their chances of winning the PSL. “We have some of the best players available and we are hopeful of winning the title,” he told The Express Tribune. “We have some experienced players such as Ahmad Shahzad, Shoaib Malik and Imran Tahir. Add to that the presence of Wasim Akram on the bench and it’s clear that we have the required personnel to win.”

Schon has suggested that fans of both Multan and Lahore Qalandars will be marking their calendars for the two ‘Punjab derbies’. “Lahore and Multan have always been rivals; representing northern and southern Punjab respectively. So it’s no surprise that everyone is looking forward to that game.

The Multan owner also revealed that all his players are willing to travel to Pakistan for the games. “We selected only those players who were willing to come to the matches to be held in Lahore and Karachi,” he said. “Therefore we are confident of welcoming all of them to Pakistan if we reach that mark.”

However, despite expressing complete trust in his team, Schon did have one regret: the unavailability of Indian players for the PSL, stating that he would have wanted current and former Indian skippers Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni in his side.

We have the best players: Shan Masood

Pakistani opening batsman Shan Masood, speaking from Dubai, was similarly confident ahead of his side’s first game against Peshawar Zalmi in the opening match of PSL3.

“We are in good shape and have a team filled with experienced players,” he said. “Across the board we have some of the best players around, whether it be in batting, bowling, fielding or wicketkeeping.”

The left-hander warned his teammates though that they will face a baptism of fire. “We will be playing together for the first time so our opening game is going to be the toughest; especially since it will be against the defending champions,” he said. “There will be pressure on both sides though so it will come down to who avails their chances better.”

Eager to show what we can do, says Sohail Tanvir

Confidence seems to be available in high quantities within the Multan camp and veteran all-rounder Sohail Tanvir says they are eager to show the world what they can do.

“This is a team playing together for the first time so we want to show everyone what we are capable of and hopefully claim the title,” he said. “Players like Sangakkara, Kieron Pollard and Thisara Perera are sure to help the side. I will also be looking to use my experience to help the players.

‘Great honour to be part of Multan Sultans’

Pakistan Test bowler Muhammad Abbas may have been impressing in the longest format of the game but he is not known for his exploits in the shortest format. Understandable, then, that the Sialkot-born is eager to change that after being selected for his first PSL by Multan.

“Being a part of the PSL with this Multan side is a huge honour for me,” he said. “This is going to be my first PSL so I hope to impress in it in order to make a place for myself in the national T20I side.”

Abbas also praised the domestic league for helping unearth talent for the national side. “The last two editions of the PSL have given Pakistan some new players and I am sure that will be the case this time around too,” he said. “Our players and our coaches are extremely experiences so I will sure we will at least make it to the final, even though we just have a few days to train together before the league begins.”

‘Everyone is optimistic about title’

19-year-old Saif Badar, who was in the Lahore roster last year, also discussed the welcoming environment of the Multan team.

“Lahore was a good side but now I am part of Multan so I will do my best to help the team win,” he said. “Everyone here is incredibly supportive and we are all optimistic about winning the title.”

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Imad Wasim promises to lead Karachi Kings to PSL3 final

Imad Wasim promises to lead Karachi Kings to PSL3 final

Posted on 21 February 2018 by Usama Hashmi - Total hits: 34

KARACHI: Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise Karachi Kings, in their send-off event at Naya Nazimabad, expressed the hope of entering the finals of the third edition of the tournament.

Karachi Kings captain Imad Wasim said team will try to put smiles on the fans of the franchise by winning the title.

“We are going to the UAE keeping in mind that we have to win the title by performing in the third edition of the PSL. In the last two seasons we were not able to make Karachi fans happy, but this time we will come to Karachi for the final and win it,” said Imad. “You all just pray for us and leave the rest to us, we will not disappoint you this time.”
Right-handed opener Babar Azam said Kings look in shape courtesy a good mix of players. “We will try to give our best and make it into the final,” he said.

Meanwhile, the first international PSL player to come to Karachi, England all-rounder Ravi Bopara said: “The way I was welcomed by everyone in Karachi was incredible. I just want you all to keep supporting your team. We have a wonderful team and we will win.”

“We did have a good team in previous editions but unfortunately we were not able to make it into the final, but this time we will,” he said, adding that visiting Karachi before the final is a great pleasure for him.

“I am here before the final and the security is up to the mark. When I go back, everyone will be asking me about the visit and I know they will be pleased to hear all the good experiences I had in these two days.”

Karachi Kings director cricket operations Rashid Latif believes sixth team’s addition will make the league more competitive. “With the inclusion of sixth team, the level of competition has increased and also the chance for our youngsters to play top level cricket with international stars.”

Chief Minister of Sindh Murad Ali Shah was also present at the ceremony and wished the team well. “This time, instead of going to Dubai to watch PSL, I’ll be waiting here in Karachi to welcome the team for the final and I hope that Karachi is one of the teams in the final.”

The Karachi Kings also launched their official anthem at a separate event a day before the sending off ceremony.

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Sethi optimistic of full PSL in Pakistan next year

Sethi optimistic of full PSL in Pakistan next year

Posted on 21 February 2018 by Usama Hashmi - Total hits: 27

KARACHI: The Pakistan Super League set to launch its third edition in Dubai on Thursday, adding a sixth team, more international stars and with hopes that the T20 tournament can be staged entirely on home soil from 2019.

The new Multan Sultans and the confirmation of a slew of international greats such as Shane Watson and Brendon McCullum has given a lift to fans eager to forget last-year’s spot-fixing scandal. And the decision to stage the three final matches of the PSL at home, in Lahore and Karachi, could pave the way for the entire tournament to be staged in Pakistan next year.

The Sultans, bought by the Schon Group for $5.2 million — twice the price tag of the previous most expensive team in the franchise, the Karachi Kings — are coached by legendary Pakistani paceman Wasim Akram and skippered by Shoaib Malik.

They will take on defending champions Peshawar Zalmi in the opening match in Dubai Thursday, after a rousing opening ceremony set to include a performance by US rapper Jason Derulo.

Pakistan has staged its international fixtures in the United Arab Emirates in recent years as it grapples with militant violence. But a dramatic improvement in security saw officials stage the PSL final in Lahore last year, its biggest match in nearly a decade, a move which boosted hopes the cricket-obsessed country could become an international venue once more.

This year two of the three play-offs are planned for Lahore, with the final due at the National Stadium in Karachi on March 25.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi said he hopes that in 2019 the entire tournament will be played at home.

“That will pave the way for a full series in Pakistan by a top team,” Sethi told AFP, speaking from Dubai ahead of the tournament. “We are very satisfied that PSL has become an international brand in two years.”

Busy schedules mean top foreign players such as England’s Eoin Morgan, Alex Hales and Jason Roy are only available for part of the tournament as are Bangladesh’s Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmuddullah Riyadh.

But the presence of stars like Australia’s Watson and Chris Lynn, the West Indies’ Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Samuel Badree, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard, and New Zealand’s McCullum and Luke Ronchi will lift interest.

Former Pakistan legendary fast-bowler Akram stressed that officials are also eager to seek new talent from Pakistan.

“We found Shadab Khan, Fakhar Zaman and Hasan Ali from the first two editions of the PSL so the main aim is to hone the talent of local players,” he told AFP.

One of the most exciting new players on show will be lanky fast bowler Salman Irshad, who is set to become the first player from Azad Kashmir.

Another fast bowler, Shaheen Shah Afridi, and batsman Sahibzada Farhan — both from troubled areas of northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province — will also be on the radar.

Along with early teething problems, the league was rocked by a spot-fixing scandal last year which ended in five-year bans on Islamabad United openers Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif.

“We are working with the Anti-Corruption and Safety Unit of the International Cricket Council to make sure that strong measures are in place to stop fixing,” said Sethi.

Also on a trial will be Karachi, the sprawling, chaotic port megacity set to host the final.

With normality returning after decades of ethnic violence, Karachi is rolling out head-of-state level security to stage its first high profile match in nine years.

The last international fixture played at the National Stadium was between Pakistan and Sri Lanka in February 2009, just one week before a fateful match in Lahore, where militants attacked the Sri Lankan team bus.

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Pakistan sells second-most expensive diesel, second cheapest petrol in region

Pakistan sells second-most expensive diesel, second cheapest petrol in region

Posted on 20 February 2018 by Usama Hashmi - Total hits: 27

KARACHI: It is the government’s job to present a rosy picture of the economy. After all, no political party would admit that the economic structure has weakened, numbers are disappointing, and that no real progress has been made during its tenure.

But there are some claims that are verifiable. For example, the government last week stated that petroleum products in Pakistan were the cheapest in the region. The claim, which surprised many given the high amount of tax rates levied on petrol and diesel, was found to be quite the exaggeration.

The price of diesel, which has a huge impact on the local economy given its massive consumption in commercial and industrial output, is second-highest in Pakistan, after India, in the region.

When it comes to petrol, Afghanistan remains the cheapest, according to, a renowned website.

The website, which tracks the prices of petroleum products in 150 countries and publishes them on a weekly basis, reports that diesel was priced at $0.87 for a litre in Pakistan as on February 12, which makes it the second-most costly country for the fuel after India ($1.03 per litre) in the South Asian region.

Other regional economies, including Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan are selling the industrial fuel at a comparatively lower price than Pakistan is. The website did not publish the fuel oil price in the Maldives.

Additionally, Pakistan sells petrol (motor spirit) for $0.76 per litre to its masses (mostly to motorcyclists and car drivers), which is the second-cheapest – not the cheapest – in the region after Afghanistan, which ironically depends on Pakistan for its imports. Kabul has priced it at $0.65 to the litre.

Price of the fuel remains comparatively high in other regional countries, according to the website.

South Asia remains a net importer of oil. Almost all regional countries import heavily to meet commercial, industrial and transportation needs. Pakistan, for example, meets 70% of its total consumption through imports. The rest is met through local production.

Since all countries are net importers – which means they are price followers – the difference in prices is due to the levy of taxes at the retail level, and provision of subsidy the government keeps to control inflation.

Pakistan, as per the report the petroleum ministry submitted in the National Assembly last week, is charging high tax rates on diesel and petrol to meet its revenue target and smoothly run affairs. The country does suffer from low tax collection and taps on indirect taxes to shore up its collection.

Local prices and tax

Pakistan sells diesel at Rs95.83 ($0.87) per litre at the retail level. This includes Rs40.74 in taxes, which comes to 42.5% of the retail price. Similarly, it collects 40.5% (Rs34.24 per litre) tax on petrol priced at Rs84.51 ($0.76) in retail.

The government keeps adjusting these rates as it looks to strike a balance between controlling inflation, its vote bank, and meeting revenue targets.

For example, tax rates were adjusted (increased) to keep the revenue stream going even as the price of oil collapsed in the international market in January 2016. The price of Brent crude plunged to around $35 a barrel from around $140 in 2008, but the effect in Pakistan wasn’t as profound. Brent stood at $64.5 on Friday.

With wild fluctuations in the international price, the government has looked to increase tax rates, denying the full impact of the low price in order to keep its collection at the original budgeted estimates.

All Pakistan Textile Mills Association’s (APTMA) Chairman Aamir Fayyaz Sheikh the other day said that the country has become uncompetitive in textile exports due to the energy tariff, which is significantly higher when compared to rates in competing nations such as Bangladesh, India and China.

“Energy price for yarn manufacturers in Pakistan is almost double than that in competing nations,” he said.

Many competitors, including Bangladesh and China, provide subsidy on energy to their industrial sectors to remain competitive.

In Pakistan, however, high rates of taxes have taken toll on inflation readings as well, increasing its pace and pushing back interest rates northwards. If the trend continues, the days of increasing economic growth may be over.

The writer is a staff correspondent

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