Govt appoints Lt Gen (retd) Nazir Ahmad as NAB

Govt appoints Lt Gen (retd) Nazir Ahmad as NAB chairman.

The federal government Saturday appointed Lieutenant General (retd) Nazir Ahmad as chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) days after the post became vacant.

“In terms of Section 6 of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 (XVIII of 1999), as amended from time to time, consultation between the Leader of the House being the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly has been made and there is a consensus on the name of Lt. Gen (Retd.) Nazir Ahmad, for his appointment by the Federal Government as Chairman, National Accountability Bureau (NAB),” the notification released by Prime Minister’s Office read.

It should be noted that the post of the NAB chairman fell vacant on February 15 after Aftab Sultan tendered his resignation — which was then accepted by the prime minister on February 23.

Ahmad — a retired officer of the Armed Forces of Pakistan —  has been appointed as per the procedure provided in Section 6(b)(i) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999; which states;

Chairman, National Accountability Bureau,

  • “i) There shall be a Chairman, National Accountability Bureau to be appointed by the Federal Government after consultation between the Leader of the House and the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly:”

Aftab Sultan’s resignation

Earlier — in a move welcomed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) — Sultan had tendered his resignation as NAB chairman, after reportedly refusing to “toe the line”.

In the absence of a chairman, Zahir Shah, the NAB deputy chairman was looking after the anti-corruption agency.

He had been appointed as head of the anti-graft body on July 21, 2022, for three years by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government after Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal’s tenure ended last year.

Sultan, according to a statement from the PM’s Office, presented his resignation to PM Shehbaz citing personal reasons. At the time of his resignation, Sultan said: “I was asked to do certain things which were not acceptable to me.

Sources revealed that Sultan had refused to make arrests of politicians on someone’s orders.

He was pressurized by the government and some other institutions in the last four months to register cases against the people of their choice and arrest them,” they further said.

Sultan, according to the source, had also withdrawn the arrest powers from NAB director-generals (DGs) to avoid misuse of authority by the officials.


How grown-ups can help kids transition to

How grown-ups can help kids transition to ‘post-pandemic’ school life

School counselor Meredith Draughn starts every day by greeting the students who fill her campus hallways, with a cup of coffee in hand. There are about 350 of them, and she knows all their names.

“Kids want to feel known and want to feel loved. And greeting them by name is one way we can do that…Research shows that that helps us build a positive culture and a welcoming culture.”

Draughn works at B. Everett Jordan Elementary School in the rural town of Graham, N.C., and she was recently named 2023’s School Counselor of the Year by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA). The selection committee praised Draughn’s data-driven approach and passion for her students.

Establish regular routines and a sense of control

The pandemic disrupted everybody’s daily routines, and that lack of structure was especially difficult for children. Draughn says rebuilding routine takes time and consistency.

One way she likes to build consistent habits for students is by setting goals, big or small, like being respectful or following directions. She begins the day with a “check-in,” where students share what they’d like to accomplish, and ends it with a “check-out” to see if they met their goals.

Like a number of districts across the country, Draughn says hers is continuing to combat elevated levels of chronic absenteeism, which is when students miss 10% or more of the school year. She says reintroducing school as a part of the daily routine can help students feel more connected to the classroom. That, in turn, gives children a sense of belonging that can improve attendance and set them up for success in later grades.

“Successful habits build a successful life,” Draughn says.

Every behavior communicates a need

Children express themselves through behavior—that’s nothing new. But Draughn says if educators or parents are dealing with particularly challenging behaviors, it’s essential to pay attention to the story those actions might be telling.

“All behaviors, at least in children, our communication.”

Draughn points to an example of a child caught stealing food from another student. Rather than place blame, Draughn looks to what that behavior might tell her about the child’s life outside of school.

“What is that behavior indicating? Sometimes that is an indication that basic needs are not being met. That is our first question. Not, ‘Why did you steal?’ ”

Children often behave in attention-seeking ways, and that’s also true when they’re acting out. One way to encourage positive behaviors is to consistently celebrate things like following directions or standing patiently in line.

ADB reiterates resolve to work with Pakistan

ADB reiterates its resolve to work with Pakistan on economic challenges

Pakistan is committed to completing the reforms agreed upon in the IMF program, says PM Shehbaz.

In a bid to mitigate the economic problems of the cash-strapped nation, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Tuesday reaffirmed its resolve to continue working closely with Pakistan.

The development came during a meeting between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and a delegation of the executive directors of the ADB of Japan, China, and South Korea in Islamabad.

Speaking on the occasion, the premier lauded ADB’s longstanding association with Pakistan and for being a reliable partner in the socioeconomic development of the country.

He appreciated the ADB’s generous support in the wake of the 2022 floods. This includes the emergency relief grant, post-disaster needs assessment, and pledges made during the climate resilience conference in Geneva.

The prime minister also lauded ADB’s financing across key economic sectors of Pakistan, particularly transport, energy, climate change, and social sector. He expressed the hope that the bank would continue its strong partnership with Islamabad in addressing the country’s macroeconomic challenges.

The participants were apprised that the 9th review under the International Monetary Fund (IMF) program is progressing well with a staff-level agreement expected in the next few days.

After a deputy shot a man,

After a deputy shot a man, the man’s family sued but the deputy got an award

A Colorado sheriff’s department is taking heat for giving one of its deputies an award for injuries he sustained during a violent incident last year.

The awards ceremony this month for Pueblo County Sheriff’s Deputy Charles McWhorter came just days before the family of the man he shot and killed in the very same incident filed a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court.

The Purple Heart award for McWhorter was first reported by The Pueblo Chieftain.

Darold Killmer, an attorney for the family of Richard Ward, said in an emailed statement to NPR that Ward’s family didn’t know about the award before filing the suit, but that it was a “truly a brazen act which mocks the very purpose of a Purple Heart.”

“Pueblo’s cynical efforts to somehow make McWhorter a hero under these circumstances is disgusting,” Killmer said.

The Pueblo County Sheriff’s Department did not immediately respond to NPR’s request for comment.

On Feb. 22, 2022, authorities said Pueblo County Sheriff’s Deputies were called to a local middle school to investigate a “report of a man knocking on windows of vehicles.”

Newly released body camera footage shows McWhorter talking to Ward, who is sitting in the back of his mother’s car. Ward’s mother and her boyfriend are in the front seats, and the three of them were waiting to pick up Ward’s younger brother from Liberty Point International Middle School.

Ward had gone for a brief walk while they waited, his family said. In the video footage, Ward explains to McWhorter that when he returned from the walk he mistakenly got into a different car that looked similar to his mother’s. Ward says he apologized to the driver and left.

Women University removes age restriction

Women University removes age restriction for admission

PESHAWAR: Women University Swabi announced on Saturday that henceforth there would be no age restrictions on women seeking enrolment in any department of the educational institution, as it waived the age limit for students aiming to enroll in the varsity.

The decision comes after a large number of students were noted to be dropping out of the university after marriage — or due to other reasons — leaving their education incomplete.

The decision was taken in the 25th meeting of the Academic Council of the university chaired by Vice Chancellor Shahana Arooj, a press release issued on Saturday said.

The meeting took various crucial decisions relating to the academic affairs of the institute and was attended by heads of all departments and administrative officers.

In wake of the landmark decision of opening the doors of the university to women of all ages, prospective students will be able to apply for admission on open merit.

Furthermore, it was decided during the meeting that the university would increase the admission fee for MPhil and Ph.D. students to Rs65,000 and Rs55,000 for science and humanities respectively.

The meeting also approved the minutes of the first Board of Studies of the Language and Literature at the Department of English at the university as well as minutes of the 24th, 4th, 5th, and 6th Advanced Studies and Research Board.

Trade ties with US ‘more important than ever’

Trade ties with the US ‘are more important than ever for Pakistan’s economic stability: Price

Ned Price says there’s great potential to expand bilateral trade with Pakistan further

A robust trade relationship between the United States and Pakistan is more important than ever to bolster Pakistan’s economic stability as it recovers from devastating floods, while at the same time also providing opportunities to Americans and to American businesses in this country, exposing them to new markets – Pakistani markets in this case, US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said on Thursday.

The US said that the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council ministerial meeting hosted by the US Trade Representative Ambassador Tai exemplified American commitment to deepening economic and commercial ties with Pakistan.

The US trade relationship with Pakistan has helped both Pakistani industries and consumers, Price said, adding, “We have long been Pakistan’s largest export market, with potential for even further growth.”

The State Department spokesman said that his country believed that there was great potential to expand bilateral trade with Pakistan further, particularly in energy, agricultural equipment and products, franchising, retail trade, information, and communications technology products and services.

America has been a leading investor in Pakistan for the past two decades, and in the past year the country’s investments have increased by some 50 percent, he maintained.

US investment in Pakistan is the highest it’s been in over a decade, and US corporations have announced more than $1.5 billion in investment plans in Pakistan since 2019, he said, adding, “US companies and their local affiliates, moreover, are among Pakistan’s largest employers, with roughly 80 US companies directly employing more than 120,000 Pakistanis.”

The spokesman of the State Department also spoke about the terror threat facing Pakistan. He said that the US engagement was rooted in the fact that terrorism is a threat that has taken many Pakistani, Afghan, and other innocent lives over the course of far too many years now.

LHC suspends ECP order denotifying PTI’s

LHC suspends ECP order denotifying PTI’s Punjab lawmakers

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday suspended the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) order denotifying Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) lawmakers in the National Assembly from Punjab who had resigned en masse last year in April.

Headed by Justice Shahid Karim, a single-member bench of the LHC heard the PTI plea today (Monday) and issued notices to the ECP and National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf and others, directing them to submit their responses by March 7.

The lawmakers had approached the high court challenging the acceptance of their resignation and subsequent denotification by the commission after the high court suspended a similar order of the ECP regarding 43 PTI MNAs.

Speaker Ashraf had accepted the resignation of 34 PTI lawmakers on January 17 and 35 MNAs on January 20, including Imran Khan ally Shiekh Rashid, which were then denotified by the commission, and by-elections were announced.

Earlier this month, Riaz Fatyana and 42 other MNAs whose resignations were “accepted by the NA Speaker Ashraf on January 22” had filed a petition challenging the decisions of the NA speaker and the ECP.

The LHC judge had on Feb 8 ordered that the notification of the ECP shall remain suspended and the election schedule for the seats shall not be announced by the ECP.

“The process of by-elections to these seats shall remain suspended,” the court order reads. The court had admitted the petition for regular hearing seeking replies from the NA speaker, the ECP, and the federal government by March 7.

Salesforce yields to activist pressure with harsh

Salesforce yields to activist pressure with harsh new policies for engineers, salespeople

Salesforce is looking at new ways to cut costs as activist investors continue to put pressure on the company. Today, Insider was reporting that the company is implementing much stricter performance measurements for engineering, with some salespeople being put under pressure to quit or succumb to harsh performance policies of their own. This is consistent with what sources have been telling TechCrunch.

This could include performance reviews based on the quantity of code produced for engineers, a flawed way to measure engineering productivity, which encourages quantity over quality. While salespeople are being put between a rock and a hard place, being asked to choose between signing a strict one-month performance improvement plan or taking an exit package.

When asked about this, Salesforce responded with this comment: “Our performance management process drives accountability and rewards excellence.” The company did not elaborate or answer follow-up questions regarding the timing or details of this policy.

TechCrunch has also been hearing that the company is mandating a return to the office,

and according to a Salesforce spokesperson, it’s now up to the managers to decide. “Our hybrid approach empowers leaders to make decisions for their teams about which jobs need to be in the office or remote.”

That’s an interesting attitude shift for a company has been promoting the idea of the “all digital, work-from-anywhere workplace” since the pandemic hit in 2020, something they call the Digital HQ. It’s a big part of why the CRM leader spent almost $28 billion to buy Slack in 2020.

But neither is it surprising since CEO and chair Marc Benioff practically telegraphed this at the end of last year, suggesting that folks working from home weren’t as productive.

All of this is probably related to the fact that activist investors — including Elliott Management, Starboard Value, ValueAct and Inclusive Capital — have been circling the company, undoubtedly putting tons of pressure on Benioff to increase productivity and cut costs. These firms are a big part of the reason Salesforce announced that it was cutting 10% of its workforce in January, a process that has been handled badly with layoff notices coming in dribs and drabs, leaving workers anxious and uncertain.

Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research, blames Boston Consulting Group, which he says was brought in at the behest of the activists to deal with the cuts and implement new performance review policies. “From what we know, BCG made some significant recommendations on how salespeople and developers should be measured to improve productivity,” Wang told TechCrunch.

Wang says that whether you think this approach is a good idea or not depends on your perspective. “If I was an investor, I would advocate for this approach, but if I was the owner-founder, I would want something less harsh and more nuanced,” he said.

Wang isn’t a fan of how the activists have handled this, calling them “vulture firms.” While he does agree with their assertion that Salesforce overpaid for bad acquisitions, he believes these firms lack an understanding of how to run a company like Salesforce, and they are ultimately doing more harm than good.

“The vulture firms do not have a good understanding of the investment levels in R&D that are needed for innovation to continue, nor did they understand what level of marketing spend Salesforce needs to remain top of mind for execs,” Wang said.

“They don’t add any value. They come in to just make money on the arbitrage and they leave the firms more damaged than when they were before they were taken over,” he said.

Mainstream media’s extensive reporting

Mainstream media’s extensive reporting on the GOP’s efforts to cut Social Security and Medicare undermines protests that the claim is “dishonest”.                                                                              After calling out some members of the Republican Party for trying to cut entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare in his State of the Union speech, President Joe Biden is being labeled a liar by the party and right-wing media. Mainstream media’s exhaustive reporting on the GOP trying to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits should serve to fact-check anyone who says otherwise.                                                          During his 2023 State of the Union address, Biden noted, “Instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans — some Republicans — want Medicare and Social Security to sunset.” Despite their decadeslong war against Social Security and other entitlements, Republicans dubiously claim they have no intention of going after these programs. Right-wing media responded aggressively to the speech, with figures like The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro and Newsmax’s Sean Spicer calling Biden’s comments “demagogic lies” and a “total flop of a moment,” respectively. Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich labeled Biden’s comment an “attempt to attack the Republicans on Medicare and Social Security” that was “totally dishonest.”                                                                                            Some in the mainstream media also attempted to downplay the GOP’s past, and likely future, attempts to cut entitlement programs. On CNN, conservative pollster Frank Luntz said it was “dishonest” and “provocative” for Biden to say that Republicans want to “sunset” Social Security (host Kaitlan Collins pushed back on Luntz, referencing Scott’s proposed legislation). Additionally, ABC’s Jonathan Karl said that Biden’s remarks were inaccurate, falsely claiming that “there’s nobody seriously talking about sunsetting Social Security in the Republican Party.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The GOP’s intention and attempts to cut Social Security and other entitlement programs have been extensively documented by mainstream media for over a decade. This reporting undermines the right’s argument that Democrats and the left are lying about the GOP’s desire to slash these programs. Here are some examples:

  • Back in 2011, The Cap Times published a piece exposing the GOP’s attempt to force concessions on entitlement reform using the debt ceiling: “But then the American people caught wind of [then-House Budget Committee chair Paul] Ryan’s ‘entitlement reform’ scheme and quickly recognized that it would end Medicare, along with retirement security, for most Americans.”
  • McClatchy wrote an article in 2013 titled “Sen. Mitch McConnell says Medicare, Social Security must change to fix U.S. debt,” noting, “McConnell, speaking to several hundred people during Commerce Lexington’s Public Policy Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency, said those changes should include raising eligibility ages over time.”
  • In 2016, HuffPost illustrated that the GOP has camouflaged its attempts to slash Social Security by using vague language and ambiguous policy proposals: “The Republican Party platform doesn’t say how it would reform the program, and claims ‘all options should be considered.’ But as Social Security Works points out, the GOP clearly supports benefit cuts, since the platform later rules out tax hikes.”
  • The Intercept released an article in 2017 titled “Senate Republicans Are Coming For Medicare And Medicaid, This Time Through Tax Reform,” noting that Democrats said the GOP’s 2018 proposed budget would result in Medicaid being cut by $1 trillion and Medicare by $473 billion over 10 years.
  • Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik explained that McConnell made the GOP’s intentions clear after he blamed entitlements for national debt in multiple 2018 interviews: “Mitch McConnell says it out loud: Republicans are gunning for Social Security, Medicare and Obamacare next.”
  • In 2019, Vox called out then-President Donald Trump for cutting entitlement programs in his proposed budget, despite repeatedly saying he wouldn’t: “Trump said he wouldn’t cut Medicaid, Social Security, and Medicare. His 2020 budget cuts all 3.”
  • Publishing an analysis in The Washington Spectator in 2020, professor of economics Steven Pressman elucidated one way the GOP has gone after Social Security: “Republicans frequently suggest raising the age for collecting full benefits from 67 to 70. In practice, this means a 25 percent cut in benefits, or $375 less each month for an average Social Security recipient.”
  • In 2021, economist Christian Weller published an article in Forbes highlighting that multiple Republican senators had their eyes on cutting funds to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid: “Given that four of the five sponsors of this idea [to balance the budget] have signed on to the tax pledge to never, ever under any circumstances raise taxes, they are looking for programs to cut. They consequently take aim mainly at cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.”
  • The Hill published an opinion piece in 2021 explaining that Sen. Mitt Romney’s (R-UT) proposed legislation would create a “back-door approach to cut Americans’ earned benefits”: “This is nothing more than a back-door mechanism for enacting cuts to seniors’ earned benefits that wouldn’t otherwise be possible through the normal legislative process.”
  • In October 2022, Bloomberg Government published a bombshell report on the GOP’s planned attempt to weaponize the debt ceiling to force through cuts to entitlement programs: “The four Republicans interested in serving as House Budget Committee chairman in the next Congress said in interviews that next year’s deadline to raise or suspend the debt ceiling is a point of leverage if their party can win control of the House in the November midterm elections.”
  • Truthout analyzed now-House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) October 2022 interview with Punchbowl News, explaining that McCarthy likely intends to use the debt ceiling to force concessions on entitlement programs: “When McCarthy refers to eliminating so-called waste, it is likely that he is referring to, among other things, the GOP’s plans to cut Medicare and Social Security, two of the most popular and vital anti-poverty government programs in the U.S.”
  • In early 2023, The Washington Post published an article titled “House GOP eyes Social Security, Medicare amid spending battle,” noting: “Others in the party have resurfaced more detailed plans to cut costs, including by raising the Social Security retirement age to 70, targeting younger Americans who have yet to obtain federal benefits.”
  • After Biden’s speech, the Post assessed potential 2024 GOP presidential candidates’ past positions on Social Security, noting “several” of them “have a history of embracing cuts”: The piece mentioned Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis,former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, and Trump, writing: “Fiscal conservatives have fought Social Security and Medicare since their inception as crowning achievements of Democratic presidents, and rising national debt has intensified calls for overhauling the programs in recent decades. But charting a new course for entitlements has also long proved a graveyard for Republican ambitions.                           


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