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14-storey Italian cruise ship to be dismantled: SAPM

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The 14-storey cruise ship that entered Pakistan last week will be dismantled at Gadani ship breaking yard. This was clarified by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Maritime Affairs Mahmood Moulvi.

“This ship was purchased for scrap,” the SAPM clarified in a video statement, adding that the 1200-room cruise liner of Italian-make was purchased for Rs2 billion and brought to Pakistan to be dismantled and sold as junk.

He said the contract under which the ship was bought clearly states that it would be scrapped, ruling out its use for a hotel or cruise.

Moulvi maintained that neither the ministry nor the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) had received any request from the ship owner. “Our policy is quite clear. Whoever wants to bring a ferry to Pakistan can bring it, we will give permission,” he said.

Earlier, reports said that the owner of the vessel, formely called Costa Romantica, approached the Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) for docking the massive cruise ship but no space was allotted.

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COAS, Saudi FM discuss matters of mutual interest, regional security

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Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa says the 17th extraordinary session of OIC is extremely important to channelize international efforts and save Afghanistan from looming security and humanitarian crises.

He was talking to Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan Al Saud, who called on him in Rawalpindi.

Matters of mutual interest, regional security, current situation in Afghanistan and bilateral defence relations were discussed during the meeting.

The Army Chief also emphasized that peaceful resolution of Kashmir dispute is essential for stability in South Asia.

He reiterated that Pakistan wants cordial ties with all its neighbors in pursuit of regional peace and prosperity.

The visiting dignitary appreciated Pakistan’s role in Afghan situation, specially its efforts for border management and its role in regional stability.

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NIH confirms first case of Omicron in Pakistan

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The National Institute of Health (NIH) Pakistan on Monday confirmed the first case of Omicron variant of coronavirus.

“The NIH has been able to confirm (via whole genome sequencing) that a recently suspected sample from Karachi is indeed the ‘Omicron variant’ of SARS-CoV2,” said NIH Pakistan in a tweet.

“This is the first confirmed case but continued surveillance of suspected samples is in place to identify the trends.”

According to the NIH, “The importance of getting vaccinated to protect from serious effects of existing and new variants is therefore highlighted. Please get yourself vaccinated according to guidelines issued by the NCOC.”

On December 9, Pakistan had reported its first “suspected” case of the new coronavirus variant Omicron in a woman, 57, in Karachi.

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PM Imran Khan to visit Lahore today

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Prime Minister Imran Khan will reach Lahore on a day-long visit today (Wednesday). He is scheduled to chair important meetings during his stay in the provincial capital.

According to sources, the Prime Minister is scheduled to hold separate meetings with Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar and Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar.

Chief Minister Usman Buzdar will brief the Prime Minister on important issues of the province. The Prime Minister will also address a ceremony in connection with Health Cards.

The Prime Minister will also meet the Vice Chancellors (VCs) and Principals of medical universities and colleges in Lahore. Key senior ministers will also meet PM Imran.

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