Posts tagged ‘Defence’

July 2, 2011

The food and colours of Japan, and defence

Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Mir Changez Khan Jamali, and Japanese Ambassador to Pakistan, Hiroshi Oe, cutting cake during a reception to mark the 57th anniversary of the Japan Self-Defence Forces Day. PHOTO: APP

ISLAMABAD: 

The hall was draped in colours of Japan and the tables adorned with scrumptious Japanese food, as guests arrived to attend a reception marking the 57th Self-Defence Forces Day of Japan.

Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan, Hiroshi Oe, and his wife Midori Oe stood at the entrance receiving parliamentarians, diplomats, dignitaries, and senior civilian and military officials. Other officials of the embassy also stood in a queue welcoming everyone. Women from the embassy were dressed in kimonos.

Vice Admiral Muhammad Asif Sandila was the chief guest on the occasion and Colonel Eiji Oka and Colonel Ken Asada, Defense Attaché, Embassy of Japan, represented the Japan Self-Defence Forces.

Once the hall was filled, the event began after national anthems of both the countries were played. A cake cutting ceremony was held.

Traditional Japanese bite-size snacks were served, while a table in one corner of the hall served sake, which is a traditional Japanese alcoholic drink brewed from water and rice. The drink had been specially brought from Japan for the guests. In the words of a Japanese embassy official, “No meal is complete without sake which is a part of the Japanese history and culture.” The clear fragrant drink was served in little glasses and was enjoyed by everyone.

Special sushi bar was made for the guests by Ambassador’s Thai chefs who have specially been brought to Pakistan from Thailand by the Ambassador himself.  The special tempura batter prawns were a hit with the guests. The diplomats while having dinner and their drinks were mostly conversing about the elections in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) elections and the devolution of ministries.

Everyone seemed to be conversing about the good results for Pakistan Peoples Party in AJK. “I have still to figure out what’s going on and what is going to happen,” said an ambassador. “In Pakistan it’s never what you expect or see,” he added. The event lasted for a few hours and the social gathering gave everyone an opportunity to get together, have light political discussions while enjoying Japanese cuisine.

The Self-Defence Forces Day of Japan celebrates the establishment of the Japan Defense Agency and the inauguration of the Japan Ground, Maritime and Air Self-Defence Forces on July 1, 1954.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2011.

June 30, 2011

CONNECTIT 2010

With the participation of 95 companies from 12 countries, CONNECT 2009 successfully became the largest sourcing destination for the Information and Communications Technology industry. The 5th Edition of CONNECT is scheduled from 8 – 10 of May, 2010 at Karachi Expo Centre.

CONNECT 2010 is poised to bring forth international suppliers and local vendors to generate ICT business in the region. The participants will have opportunities to establish contacts with key decision makers of high value projects. The exhibition will demonstrate cutting edge technology to a targeted audience and will bring together Industry leaders seeking more efficient solutions through innovation and technology.

The event is an excellent platform for Information and Communication Technology experts for maximum exposure, establish new business leads and strengthen existing contacts with the local market. The show is well attended by IT professionals, key decision makers and entrepreneurs from across Pakistan.

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June 30, 2011

Airblue Crash: Defence Ministry refuses to submit report to NA committee

Defence Minister Chaudhary Ahmed Mukhtar said that the government had given a four-page detail of defence expenditures instead of a one- liner.

ISLAMABAD: The Defence Ministry refused to submit the inquiry report into the Air Blue crash accident to the National Assembly’s (NA) Standing Committee on Human Rights, on Wednesday.

Ministry officials briefed the standing committee about the investigations’ progress and admitted that they have all facts and figures regarding the accident but are not authorized to forward information to the committee, citing some legal issues which will be resolved soon, after which the report will be forwarded to Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and made public afterwards.

The NA Committee, however, expressed its reservations on the non- payment of compensation to the crash affectees and directed it to be paid within four months.

Meanwhile, earlier in the day, Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar had said that officials know the reason behind the Air Blue crash in 2010, but details could not be made public at this time.

Speaking during a press briefing, Mukhtar also said that some important details regarding the attack on the PNS Mehran base had been uncovered, but these too could not be made public at this time.

These details have however been shared with the national assembly standing committee on defence in private.

Relations with the US

The Defence Minister said that Pakistan is reviewing its relations with the US on the war on terror.

During a meeting of the national assembly standing committee on defence, Mukhtar said Pakistan is spending its own money in the war on terror as the coalition support funds are halted.

He further said that losses continue to mount for Pakistan, in human and financial terms.

The defence minister denied any knowledge of the whereabouts of Mullah Omar and said that after the Bin Laden raid, even if he were here, he would have fled Pakistan.

Pakistan was expecting $500 million (Rs43 billion) in the last tranche of the Coalition Support Fund (CSF), which was set up by the US Congress after the 9/11 attacks to reimburse allies for costs in supporting the US-led war on militancy. On April 25, Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh had announced after a visit to the US that the Obama administration was “firmly committed” to releasing at least $500 to $600 million by June 30.

A finance ministry official said that the US Congress is yet to clear the transaction.

US bases in Pakistan

Mukhtar said that Pakistan told the United States to leave Shamsi air base reportedly used as a hub for covert CIA drone attacks.

“We have told them (US officials) to leave the air base,” national news agency APP quoted Mukhtar as telling a group of journalists in his office.

The air strip is 900 kilometres southwest of the capital Islamabad in Baluchistan province.

A US embassy spokeswoman told AFP there were no US military personnel at the Shamsi base.

CNN reported in April that US military personnel had left the base, said to be a key hub for American drone operations, in the fallout over public killings by a CIA contractor in Lahore and his subsequent detention.

Reports said operations at the base, which Washington has not publicly acknowledged, were conducted with tacit Pakistani military consent.

Mukhtar also denied the presence of American troops at Ghazi base in Tarbela, stating that it is being operated by Pakistan.