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Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi raises Kashmir issue with OIC chief – Moneycontrol


The minister claimed that “continued restrictions on communication and movement” in Kashmir “were preventing unfettered supply of medicines and other essentials, as well as dissemination of information needed to combat the disease,” the Foreign Office said.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a telephonic conversation with OIC Secretary General Yousef A Al-Othaimeen during which he discussed the situation in Kashmir and the world in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Foreign Office said in a statement that exchange between the two covered the situation arising out of COVID-19 pandemic, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s responses, and developments in Jammu and Kashmir.

The minister claimed that “continued restrictions on communication and movement” in Kashmir “were preventing unfettered supply of medicines and other essentials, as well as dissemination of information needed to combat the disease,” the FO said.

He also highlighted concerns regarding the possibility of spread of coronavirus among the large number of Kashmiri youth.

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On March 30, 11 fresh cases of the coronavirus were reported in Jammu and Kashmir, which include three from Jammu and eight from Kashmir, taking the total number of cases in the Union Territory to 49.

Qureshi also talked about the communal violence in New Delhi in February.

The OIC is a 57-member grouping of Muslim majority nations, including Pakistan. The OIC has usually been supportive of Pakistan and often sided with Islamabad on the Kashmir issue.

Pakistan has been unsuccessfully trying to drum up international support against India for withdrawing Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5 and bifurcating it into two Union territories.

India has categorically told the international community that the scrapping of Article 370 was its internal matter. It also advised Pakistan to accept the reality and stop all anti-India propaganda.

Qureshi said the pandemic posed a grave challenge to the entire humanity, including OIC member states.

“The OIC, together with the Islamic Development Bank, needed to play an effective role in helping members cope with the challenges,” he added.

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First Published on Mar 31, 2020 08:18 am


Chairman of Lancashire Cricket Club falls victim to virus – The Business Desk


A businessman who was also chairman of Lancashire Cricket Club has died after contracting Coronavirus.

David Hodgkiss, who was 71, had been on the board Old Trafford for 22 years and had underlying health issues.

He took over as chairman of the club three years ago from Michael Cairns.

He played a key role in the redevelopment of the cricket ground over the last 10 years.

Having previously served as treasurer and vice-chairman he played a major role in the renovation of Old Trafford.

This included the construction of The Point and the raising of £9m of funding for the new Hilton hotel.

A statement from the club said: “Further to the announcement from his family, it is with great sadness that Lancashire Cricket announces the passing of its Chairman, David Hodgkiss OBE.

“David served the club with distinction over many years including holding the offices of treasurer, vice-chairman and latterly chairman.

“He was much loved by everyone at Lancashire Cricket Club and respected throughout the cricketing world.

“Our sincere condolences and thoughts and prayers are with his family.

“A further statement will be released in due course but at this time we ask that everybody respects the family’s privacy.”

Mr Hodgkiss was chief executive of steel manufacturer the William Hare Group.

He was awarded the OBE for services to manufacturing and exporting.

Colin Graves, the ECB chairman, said: “David was a vital part of cricket in Lancashire and was passionate about growing and developing the sport in the county.

“He played an integral role in the redevelopment of Emirates Old Trafford and Its status as a leading international ground is a testament to his hard work and dedication.

“On behalf of everyone at the England and Wales Cricket Board, our thoughts are with his family, friends and everyone at Lancashire County Cricket Club at this sad time.”


Coronavirus pandemic has forced Pakistan to go digital – The News International


Coronavirus pandemic has forced Pakistan to go digital

Ed Yong, a British science journalist, in his widely-circulated article for The Atlantic, titled “How the pandemic will end”, wrote: “There are now only two groups of Americans. Group A includes everyone involved in the medical response, whether that’s treating patients, running tests, or manufacturing supplies. Group B includes everyone else, and their job is to buy Group A more time. Group B must now ‘flatten the curve’ by physically isolating themselves from other people to cut off chains of transmission.”

Now, let’s replace the word ‘Americans’ with anyone, belonging to any nationality, around the world.

I would like to add another group to this which is possibly a subset of Group B – Group C, which needs to think of life during and beyond the virus.

This is the Group which will not just shape the future of the world, but will also plan for the economy and businesses. For this Group, it will be a tough balancing act, and no easy answers will be available.

We live in a new normal today, or an ‘impaired normal’. In this doom and gloom, it is also fascinating to witness things changing, within weeks, days and minutes. Social pratices are adapting. Suddenly people are sanitizing their hands, refusing handshakes, maintaining social distances and cancelling social gatherings.

There is less traffic on the road, the skies are clearer and more businesses are enforcing a completely new way of working – from home. The insatiable desire to touch, feel, see is suddenly replaced by the urge to perform, to innovate and to think differently.

The way it all unfolded reminded me of a typical team sports game. Where in the beginning the entire team comes to a huddle, everyone is together and once the motivation speech is over, they all – yes each and every one of them run and spread across the field.

Something similar, but of a completely different magnitude, is happening today.

At this stage it is difficult to predict how long this ‘impaired normal’ will last. It definitely does not seem to be a matter of weeks, but of months. The base line is changing each day. What was normal yesterday, is replaced by a new normal today and tomorrow promises to be different again.

In countries like Pakistan, where brick and mortar mentality are deeply entrenched, the change is even more profound. The nauseating mantra, so prevalent about Pakistan not being able to adapt to a virtual workspace, has been thrown out of the window in a matter of days.

No one in the corporate, business and bureaucracy is now talking about why it cannot work. The whole mode has changed to “how to make it work”. There are few other choices.

Today, there are federal and provincial cabinet meetings in a virtual environment. Press briefings, national coordination committee meetings, opposition meet ups and conferences are all happening online. Even concerts are now being live streamed on the Internet. Last night I attended the first digital mushaira.

In just one month, Pakistan too has a new normal. A new normal, which was so abnormal, so farfetched, so unthinkable only a week ago.

Here is where Group C comes, to help plan for a future in these circumstances. I don’t think we are going to get such a time in our lifetime again. Countries, companies, individuals so far ahead can be replaced with those who will take advantage of the time at hand to reimagine, create, define, develop, produce, and brand in changing times.

What should the government do?

One of the silver lining surely during this monumental crisis will be a rethink of our healthcare system, and about cutting the layers of inefficiency, incompetence, mediocrity and corruption to move towards using technology for service delivery and achieving productivity gains.

There is no better time for the country’s leadership to move towards ‘smart government’. This is the time for Pakistan to ensure that the economy gets documented, when the resistance to change is minimum.

Where do businesses fit in?

For them, the current times are about leapfrogging to catch up with the rest of the world.

Why can’t we move away from the world of paper to the world of doing things online, documenting our businesses, make life simpler for our customers and our people? It is also time to think of how the entire world will change as an outcome of this pandemic, and while some changes have been forced upon us already, some others will be knocking at our door and providing opportunities to shift business and economic models.

And you, what do you do?

For an individual, this is not the time to be merely sitting at home and waiting for work to come to you. It is a time to learn, anticipate, evolve and create. It is the time to learn new tools, new methods, new technologies and new developments.

I am convinced that this crisis will give rise to a new world. This new normal is evolving and evolving faster than anything we have seen thus far. Eventually, it will settle for a base line.

In my view three categories of countries, businesses and individuals will emerge out of this:

1. Those who will be leading and shaping the new normal. These could be any of the leading countries, businesses, and individuals of today, but many new players will emerge and would be the front runners to lead.

2. Then there will be those who will simply follow the trend. But they will be up for change, up for adapting to the new normal.

3. Lastly, those who would want things to return to pre-March 2020. They are the disbelievers and will believe “like all else this too shall pass”. It won’t. For this category, I would already start writing obituaries.

Stay safe, stay healthy, practice social distancing.


Will retire from international cricket after ICC T20 World Cup 2020: Hafeez – Business Standard


Seasoned all-rounder is keen to represent Pakistan in this year’s World T20 before quitting international cricket.

Hafeez said in an interview that his main ambition was to play for his country in the World T20 and help them do well in it.

“After World T20 I have decided I will retire from international cricket and just focus on playing in T20 leagues,” he said.

Hafeez has already retired from Test cricket and only plays the white-ball format.

Hafeez, 39, also said he has not decided what he would like to take up after his retirement from the game.

“It could be coaching, I don’t know when the time comes I will make up my mind,” he said.

Hafeez who has appeared in 55 Tests, 218 ODIs and 91 T20 international’s made yet another comeback to the Pakistan team for the T20 series at home against Bangladesh in February after the national selectors had ignored him after the World Cup last year in England.

The former national T20 captain landed himself in trouble with the Pakistan Cricket Board when he criticised the move to bring back the tainted Sharjeel Khan into the national team.


British Cyber Security Firm Launches VST Pakistan – Yahoo Finance


The new joint venture has been formed by VSTE CEO Louis-James Davis, British Asian FinTech entrepreneurs and brothers Shaz Sulaman and Ajaz Sulaman. The announcement follows another key strategic appointment last month of Ian Hetherington – former MD of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and tech pioneer – who joined the board of VSTE as an executive director.

Shaz Sulaman and Ajaz Sulaman will spearhead VST Enterprises strategic launch and growth into Pakistan developing relations with the Pakistan Government, various NGO’s, corporate organisations, financial and banking institutions including the State Bank Of Pakistan. They will be instrumental in developing the role out of the VCode® and VPlatform® technology. The ground breaking cyber security tech – which is already being used by the United Nations – will see VCode® and VPlatform® deployed across a wide range of applications including Government ID programs, taxation, benefit authorisation and medical records. VCode® technology will also be used across corporate organisations for secure access based permissions and identity authentication. It will also be used to combat fraud, money laundering and counterfeiting which is currently costing the Pakistan Government billions of US dollars.

“We are delighted and thrilled to have both Ajaz and Shaz Sulaman working in partnership with us to launch VSTE Pakistan, they are a formidable team. Their collective business expertise, tech knowledge and contacts in Pakistan will be of major strategic importance to our global expansion.

Pakistan is an emerging economy with a population of 220 million people and is a rapidly developing country in terms of technology adoption with a projected growth rate of between 5-6% between now and 2026. There are considerable opportunities for VSTE Pakistan to work closely with the financial services sectors, business, industry and The Pakistan Government with limitless opportunities.”

Cyber technology application developer and systems architect Ajaz Sulaman has over 28 years experience in rapid application development (RAD). He has worked extensively within the financial services sectors of multinational blue chip organisations and banking institutions including JP Morgan, UBS, Credit Suisse and HSBC investment bank and BP Oil (Commodities Trading London).

Ajaz brings a wealth of technical knowledge implementing global strategic solutions, third party interfacing and extensive front, middle and back office tech operations.

“We are delighted to be forming this new joint venture of VSTE Pakistan with Louis-James Davis and VST Enterprises. Pakistan’s tech sector is one of the biggest growth markets as the country embraces emerging new technologies. VCode® and VPlatform® technology will not only help develop and improve technology within the banking, Government and financial services sector, but will also help to tackle fraud, counterfeiting and piracy. Fundamentally it will also be instrumental in empowering technology to the underprivileged and underbanked in the banking and benefit sectors.”

VSTE is the cyber security company which has developed VCode® and VPlatform®, the cyber security equivalent of human DNA. VCode® is a unique coding technology that can be used to provide ultra secure financial transactions, virtual mobile wallet payments as well as providing secure identification services and authentication. The unique VCode® and VPlatform® technology allows users to authenticate themselves in a secure and encrypted way. The company is paving the way in FinTech, counterfeiting, anti piracy, financial authentication and secure ID services.

Serial entrepreneur Shaz Sulaman is the classic “Dragons Den” style entrepreneur who started his career as a graduate trainer manager on the shop floor at Dixons Stores Group before climbing the corporate ladder to become Regional Operations Manager for electrical retailer Comet. With the explosion and growth of the mobile phone market, Shaz joined Billionaire Phones 4U founder John Caudwell as Director Of Sales where he went on to become part of the operating boarding and was responsible for the growth of Phones 4U from 30 stores to 350 within 30 months. In 2004 he was appointed Deputy CEO of private investor group Northway Investments Ltd where he worked on a diverse portfolio of investments. Today he is the founder of Three Peaks Capital, a hybrid VC and angel investment firm which specialises in early stage pre launch and launch stage business funding as well as seed run investments into established start ups.

“We are delighted to be forming a joint venture with Louis and VST Enterprises. These are exciting times ahead in the tech world, not only are VCode® and VPlatform® ground breaking in their technology, but the number of applications and areas that it can be used within are limitless. Rarely has there been a technology developed at the cutting edge of its field in cyber security that can be used in so many multiple applications across both the private and public sector. Pakistan is a huge growth market and has a substantial appetite and desire for cyber technology. Both myself and Ajaz believe VSTEP will be a huge success.”

VST Enterprises Ltd | Louis-James Davis | VST Enterprises Pakistan | Shaz Sulaman | Ajaz Sulaman

[email protected]
VST Enterprises Ltd | The Lexicon | Mount Street | Manchester | M2 5NT

VST Enterprises (VSTE) is the company behind the VCode® and VPlatform®. Headquartered in Manchester, the company has international offices in New York, Reno, Hong Kong, Armenia, New Delhi and South Africa and operational in 16 countries.

VCode® represents the next generation of code scanning technology – an evolutionary step forward from traditional barcodes and QR Codes. VCode® has an infinite range of applications and capabilities from secure identification and ID, to geo location and geo fencing, asset tracking, authentication and permission based authorisations, fan and customer engagement through to biometrics and facial recognition.

VCode® can be used across a wide range of applications to securely purchase music, video and film content to concert and sports event tickets. It can also be used to screen exclusive film content, sales promotion and marketing and create dynamic marketing and fan engagement campaigns. Its wider uses also include anti counterfeiting and anti piracy.

A VCode® can be scanned from over 100 metres, with a 70:1 distance to size scan ratio, at 170-degree angles, on and from moving objects, and upon any multimedia or television screen and even when the VCode® is microscopic on bank notes or minerals. This allows users to access exclusive content, check the validity and authenticity of an item and make purchases while on the move. VCode® provides military grade encryption with over 2 Quintillion combination codes.

Supporting the VCode® app is the VPlatform® – a secure cloud based portal that allows users to create VCode® and manage the content they lead to. The VPlatform® also provides users with real time analytics on who scanned their codes, when and where the scans took place, providing vital consumer data. The VPlatform® enables push notifications and rewards to be sent back to individuals who have made VCode® scans, offering opportunities for brands to significantly enhance their engagement levels with their client base.

www.vstenterprises.com.” data-reactid=”42″>For more information please visit www.vstenterprises.com.



Message from Ricky Skerrit,t President of CWI to all cricket fans and supported of the West Indies – Cricket World

Ricky Skerritt, President of Cricket West Indies

Ricky Skerritt, President of Cricket West Indies


Dear Cricket Lovers and Members of the West Indies Family,

As lovers of this remarkable sport called cricket, there is nothing we all enjoy more than getting outdoors and watching a great game; witnessing an enthralling battle between bat and ball and seeing our favorite players and teams rise to glory as we join each other in celebration. And if we cannot be there in person, we find every possible way to see or hear the broadcast.

However, today there is a new reality that we are now facing. There is no live cricket available, because all around the world we are in a new battle to prevent the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus. As such, we all now need to join the same team as we unite in this global battle with each other, for each other. We must now couple our passion for cricket with our love for the health and safety of our family, friends, community, and ourselves.

As cricket fans, you have supported our West Indies players throughout the years, and now we ask you to offer your full support to members of our essential services and first responders. These valiant men and women have worked tirelessly in the face of very trying circumstances and great challenges. We have heard the stories of their heroic deeds, and watched as they stand on the medical front line to save lives and comfort the sick. They deserve the highest praise, respect and commendation.

To our players, who represent us so proudly on the field of play, I remind you that you are the true custodians of the game. Please do your best to be fit, healthy, and ready when you get the green light to return to play. I strongly believe that in the midst of the unprecedented stressful challenges that we are now facing, we can find opportunities to fine-tune and refocus our own attitudes towards cricket, our livelihoods, our relationships, and our lives.

I pray that we will all stay safe and secure and I ask that you follow the rules and regulations as issued by your local health authorities and law enforcement personnel – play your part for the team and be good role models for your communities. But before then, we must all play our role in being wise and prudent as we look after our loved ones and those in need.

The great game of cricket will certainly make a comeback – when that day will be, we cannot say – but now is the time for us all to unite in this Covid-19 fight.

Sincere regards,

Ricky Skerritt,

President of Cricket West Indies


Lancashire Cricket Club Chairman David Hodgkiss Dies With COVID-19 – ABP Live


“Further to the announcement from his family, it is with great sadness that Lancashire Cricket announces the passing of its Chairman, David Hodgkiss OBE,” read a club statement.

New Delhi: Lancashire cricket club chairman David Hodgkiss has died after contracting coronavirus. He was 71. Hodgkiss, who had been on the board at Emirate Old Trafford for 22 years, is understood to have had underlying health issues, reports ESPNcricinfo.

He had first joined in 1998 and took over as chairman in April 2017 from Michael Cairns. He also served in the roles of honorary treasurer and vice-chairman during his association.

“Further to the announcement from his family, it is with great sadness that Lancashire Cricket announces the passing of its Chairman, David Hodgkiss OBE,” read a club statement.

“David served the club with distinction over many years including holding the offices of treasurer, vice-chairman and latterly chairman. He was much loved by everyone at Lancashire Cricket Club and respected throughout the cricketing world.

“Our sincere condolences and thoughts and prayers are with his family. A further statement will be released in due course but at this time we ask that everybody respects the family’s privacy,” it added.

Daniel Gidney, Lancashire’s chief executive, paid his respects on Twitter, and said: “I am absolutely devastated to lose my great friend. RIP David.”

Colin Graves, ECB Chairman said: “David was a vital part of cricket in Lancashire and was passionate about growing and developing the sport in the county.

“He played an integral role in the redevelopment of Emirates Old Trafford and its status as a leading international ground is a testament to his hard work and dedication.

“On behalf of everyone at the England and Wales Cricket Board, our thoughts are with his family, friends and everyone at Lancashire County Cricket Club at this sad time,” he added.


Cricket, Last Thing On Mind: PCB Chief Ehsan Mani On Asia Cup – Cricket Addictor


The world has come to a standstill due to novel coronavirus pandemic. Sports events included. At this time, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Ehsan Mani has said, cricket is the last thing on anyone’s mind and nothing is certain about the Asia Cup 2020.

The showpiece Asian tournament was slated to be hosted by Pakistan in September. But it might well get postponed due to the coronavirus widespread. A meeting between the boards and ACC was due to decide on the neutral venue and commencement of the event.

We have not decided on a date for meeting: ACC

Ehsan Mani, Najam Sethi, Pakistan, Chairman, Pakistan Cricket Board
Ehsan Mani has been appointed as the new PCB chairman replacing Najam Sethi. (Image Courtesy: PCB)

But as the situation stands, PCB chief said, they have not decided on date yet. Although, the ACC is monitoring the situation closely. He said that, there is time for Asia Cup left, and a meeting can be held once the situation improves.

“There has not been any discussion on the matter yet. Nothing has been decided,” Mani was quoted as saying by Sportstar. “We haven’t decided on a date for the meeting either. The ACC is monitoring the situation and will take a call accordingly.”

“At this point in time, cricket is the last thing in anyone’s mind. But the member nations and the ACC are keeping an eye on how things go. There is still some time left for the Asia Cup, so a meeting on that could only be held once the situation improves,” the official said.

‘Let us not speculate on postponement or cancellation’

Ehsan Mani, India, Pakistan
A picture from Asia Cup 2018. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Asia Cup 2020 has not been postponed or called off yet. With a decision yet to be taken, one of the senior members of the board has asked not to speculate anything, as of now.  “Let’s not speculate things. As of now, there is no word on postponement and cancellation and that’s how it is,” one of the senior functionaries of a member board said.


Coronavirus claims 7 lives in 24 hours in Pakistan, total count reaches 23 – The Statesman


The death toll from the coronavirus pandemic in Pakistan has increased to 23 after seven fatalities were reported in a day, while the number of confirmed cases jumped to 1,775, according to the media report on Tuesday.

Of the 1,775 cases, Punjab province reported the highest at 651, followed by Sindh at 566, Dawn news reported

Addressing a press conference on Monday, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on National Security Moeed Yusuf said, “Flight operations will be resumed gradually as we want to ensure that we would stop the transmission of virus. Similarly, domestic flights and trains will be resumed after analysing the situation.”

Speaking to the media, the Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Health Zafar Mirza said that the rate of local transmission had increased to over 29 per cent, reported Dawn news.

Last week, at a press briefing, “Yusuf said, “No international flights will be allowed to land in Pakistan for two weeks.”

The country has closed all public and private educational institutions, marriage halls, cultural centres, cinemas, and cancelled all sports activities and official events and also blocked its western border crossings with Iran and Afghanistan.

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) chairman Lt Gen Mohammad Afzal said that supplies, sufficient for five weeks, had been provided to Islamabad, Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

More than 35,000 people have died worldwide from the coronavirus pandemic since it emerged late last year in China, most of them in Europe.


Rohit Sharma donates Rs 80 lakh to fight coronavirus pandemic – Hindustan Times


Indian opener and vice captain of the limited overs team, Rohit Sharma, has joined other cricket stars to pledge monetary support to fight the coronavirus epidemic. Rohit said he has donated Rs 45 lakhs to Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund), Rs 25 lakhs to Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for Maharashtra, Rs 5 lakhs to Zomato Feeding India and Rs 5 lakhs towards welfare of stray dogs.

ALSO READ: David Warner shaves head to show support to medical staff, challenges Virat Kohli, Steve Smith to do so

The 32-year-old also said that we need our country back on feet and the onus is on us. “Let’s get behind our leaders and support them,” he tweeted while tagging Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. 

Yesterday Indian captain Virat Kohli and his wife Anushka Sharma had taken to Twitter to announce their contributions to the PM Relief Fund and the Maharashtra CM Relief Fund. Other prominent cricketers who have pledged support include Sachin Tendulkar, Suresh Raina, Ajinkya Rahane and several others.


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