Category Archives: News

Convicted Child Sex Offender Arrested In Punjab Following A Joint UK And Pakistan Operation

In 2016, Hussain was convicted and sentenced in the UK to 19 years imprisonment for serious sexual offences against a child

Choudhry Ikhalaq Hussain-child sex offender arrested in Punjab

Choudhry Ikhalaq Hussain-child sex offender arrested in Punjab

Choudhry Ikhalaq Hussain was arrested during a joint operation between the Federal Investigation Agency, the Punjab Police and the UK’s National Crime Agency, in Sangla City in Punjab on Saturday 26 January.

In 2016, Hussain was convicted and sentenced in the UK to 19 years imprisonment for serious sexual offences against a child. Hussain was found guilty of three counts of sexual activity with a child, two counts of rape and one count of conspiracy to rape. This followed a long running Greater Manchester Police investigation – named Operation Doublet – which looked into the sexual exploitation of teenage girls in Rochdale.

Hussain fled to Pakistan during the trial, but was found guilty in absentia. The UK has been working closely with Pakistan’s authorities since 2017 to secure his arrest and extradition.

Hussain’s arrest is a further operational success for the UK-Pakistan justice and accountability partnership established during the British Home Secretary’s visit to Pakistan in September 2018. The partnership includes a renewed commitment to tackle the shared threats of organised crime and international criminality between our two countries.

British High Commissioner to Pakistan Thomas Drew CMG said:

The arrest of this individual, who has been convicted of sexual offences by a British court, is a significant achievement, and another excellent example of UK-Pakistan cooperation in tackling international criminality and impunity. It sends a clear message that Pakistan is not a safe haven for international criminals.

I would like to thank the Federal Investigation Agency and the Punjab Police for their professionalism and dedication in the execution of this operation.

Choudhry Ikhalaq Hussain’s case will now go to courts, who will decide whether to approve his extradition to the UK.

In October 2018, Shahid Mohammad, an individual wanted in connection with the murder of five children and three adults, was successfully extradited to the UK.

UK And Pakistan Sign Prisoner Transfer Agreement

A UK-Pakistan Prisoner Transfer Agreement was signed by the British High Commissioner Thomas Drew and Pakistan Interior Secretary Major (R) Azam Suleman Khan

The British High Commissioner Thomas Drew and Pakistan Interior Secretary Major (R) Azam Suleman Khan during the signing of UK-Pakistan Prisoner Transfer Agreement

The British High Commissioner Thomas Drew and Pakistan Interior Secretary Major (R) Azam Suleman Khan during the signing of UK-Pakistan Prisoner Transfer Agreement

The agreement will give prisoners the opportunity to serve their sentence closer to home and allows them to prepare for their reintegration into their home community when they are eventually released from prison. The agreement was approved in principle during the visit to Pakistan of British Home Secretary the Rt Hon. Sajid Javid MP in September.

It restores and updates a previous agreement between the UK and Pakistan, and also includes strengthened assurances to ensure all transferred prisoners serve the appropriate sentence before being released.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, British High Commissioner Thomas Drew said:

I am delighted to sign this updated prisoner transfer agreement today, which will allow prisoners to serve their sentence closer to home. This is a testament to the strength of our two countries’ relationship.

New Study Highlights “Massive” Economic Benefits Of Low-Income Housing In Pakistan

The new study called ‘Enhancing Builder Finance in Pakistan’, was launched at an event in Islamabad at the Marriott hotel

Joanna Reid, the head of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) Pakistan speaking at the event

Joanna Reid, the head of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) Pakistan speaking at the event

Investment in low-income housing would bring “massive” economic benefits to Pakistan, according to a new study published by Karandaaz Pakistan and funded by the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID). The new study, ‘Enhancing Builder Finance in Pakistan’, was launched at an event in Islamabad at the Marriott hotel.

With this study, Karandaaz Pakistan aims to show the wide benefits of building more affordable housing, but also help boost the businesses of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that work on the building sector.

The study estimates that the construction of 100,000 more houses each year will lead to economic growth as well as increased employment opportunities. According to the study, Pakistan’s economy will benefit massively if affordable housing were to be increased. To achieve this, improvements should be made to the regulatory environment for builders and banks must be given sufficient incentives for mortgage and builder financing. The study can be found on Karandaaz website.

Joanna Reid, the head of UK’s Department for International Development Pakistan, said at the event:

Only the richest of companies can afford to build homes for the richest of people. Pakistan needs financing mechanisms to ensure everyone can have a roof over their head.

Speaking at the occasion, CEO Karandaaz, Mr Ali Sarfraz, said:

We hope that the study Karandaaz has conducted motivates members from the financial sector to take steps in making available financial products better suited to the needs and asset base of SME builders and developers and thereby catalyzing the availability of affordable housing for everyone in Pakistan.

Mr Zaigham Mahmood Rizvi, Chairman Prime Minister’s Task Force on Housing also participated in the event and said:

The stakeholders of housing, namely developer, planners, the Governments, fiscal and regulatory agencies all are needed to be engaged to address affordable housing challenges, both from its supply-side and finance-side parameters. The supply-side players, mainly the developers/builders need to be engaged for meeting this challenge of affordable housing. In turn, this will boost the economy, and create jobs.

Housing and real estate sector is directly linked to about 42 construction materials industries and creates jobs at much higher rate. I reckon that with the government’s focus and assistance from partners such as Karandaaz, the growth of SMEs in building and construction sector will bolster positive impact at the macro level. The state and the private sector should come forward to compliment and support efforts of platforms like Karandaaz.

The event was well-attended by representatives of the banking and building sectors, along with representatives from the government. Following a presentation by the author, Mr Ali Khizar, a discussion on the topic was held with a panel made up of Mr Hassan Bukshi, Chairman Association of Builders and Developers (ABAD); Mr Muhammad Raza Sayeed, Head Housing Finance (Islamic) at HBL; Mr Navid Goraya, CIO Karandaaz Pakistan; Mr Jawed Aslam, CEO and Founder Ansaar Management Company; and Mr Faisal Murad, Group Head from Housing Building Finance Company (HBFC).

The discussion highlighted the need for improvement in current regulatory environment, and factors such as the increases in property prices, rising costs of construction materials, a lack of documentation within the SME builder community and absence of collateral as deterrents to accessing formal financing.

Further Information

There are 40 to 50 allied industries associated with the construction and real estate sector, most of which are SMEs. The construction sector contributed 2.7 percent to Pakistan’s GDP in FY17, estimated to be 2.8 percent during FY18. With over 50 industries indirectly associated with the real estate construction sector, the overall economic impact is much higher

Karandaaz promotes access to finance for small businesses through commercially directed investments, and financial inclusion for individuals by employing technology-enabled digital solutions. Karandaaz also develops and disseminates evidence based insights and sector-based studies that can lead to greater financial inclusion, employment generation and SME growth.

Karandaaz Pakistan has financial and institutional support from leading international development finance institutions; the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Surrey Satellite Firm Set For Lift Off From India

A British-built radar satellite which will provide a host of benefits to life on Earth will launch into space this evening (Sunday 16 September) from India

Artist's impression of NovaSAR satellite. Credit: SSTL

Artist’s impression of NovaSAR satellite. Credit: SSTL

Watch the launch live

NovaSAR-1, designed and built by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) in Guildford, will be able to see through clouds and image the world night and day.

The new spacecraft from SSTL will offer low cost remote imaging to global customers including the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

SSTL is a great British success story, which already has 40% of the world’s small satellite export market.

Science Minister Sam Gyimah said:

The data from this satellite, backed by a £21 million investment from the Government, will help innovative start-ups develop new apps that could revolutionise the way we live.

It’s a great example of how we are working with the space sector through our modern Industrial Strategy, ensuring we remain at the forefront of pioneering science and exploration.

The UK is a world leader in Earth Observation technologies which have an increasing number of down to Earth applications, including through the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP). This programme harnesses the expertise of the British space sector to tackle problems all around the world, from predicting dengue fever outbreaks in Vietnam to improving healthcare in Nigeria through satellite connectivity.

There is also a significant commercial opportunity, with Earth Observation satellite services estimated to support industries representing a total turnover of more than £235 billion.

Since 1981, SSTL has built and launched more than 50 satellites for 20 international customers including in Europe, USA and Canada – as well as providing training and development programmes, consultancy services, and mission studies for ESA, NASA, international governments and commercial customers.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox recently launched the Department for International Trade’s first space exports campaigns to target opportunities initially in the US and India.

The ‘Space Exports’ campaign will see 2 of the world’s fastest growing markets targeted with trade missions. In India the Department for International Trade (DIT) will also increase its operation by recruiting British space sector experts to work in market.

Minister of State for the Department for International Trade, Baroness Fairhead, said:

SSTL is a fantastic example of how UK innovation and engineering can have a global impact. It is clear that our space industry is thriving, resulting in significant growth which reinforces the UK’s reputation as a leader in the sector.

Overseas sales are vital to sustaining this growth, and our recently launched Export Strategy outlines the support available to companies to help them fulfil their exporting potential. I would encourage companies that are looking to follow in SSTL’s footsteps to make use of financial support from UK Export Finance and the extensive export opportunities that are listed on GREAT.gov.uk.

The UK Space Agency has invested £21 million in the development of NovaSAR-1 and will benefit from access to data from the spacecraft, significantly boosting the UK’s sovereign Earth observation capabilities and leveraging additional inward investment to the UK by creating highly skilled jobs in the UK space industry.

Dr Graham Turnock, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said:

This exciting new satellite, with its powerful imaging radar system and compact design, has been developed and built in the UK, and will provide a host of benefits for applications including the detection of oil spills, flood monitoring and agriculture.

The Government wants the UK to thrive in the commercial space age as part of the modern Industrial Strategy. This mission demonstrates SSTL’s world leading skills and the exciting potential for further growth in our sector.

The satellite is due to launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India at 17:37 (BST).

NovaSAR-1 was designed and manufactured by SSTL, with an S-Band SAR payload developed by Airbus Defence and Space in Portsmouth and an Automatic Identification Receiver supplied by Honeywell Aerospace.

PM Call With Prime Minister Khan

Prime Minister Theresa May spoke with Prime Minister Khan of Pakistan today

10 Downing Street

10 Downing Street

A Downing Street spokesperson said:

The Prime Minister spoke to the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan yesterday.

The Prime Minister congratulated him on his party’s success in Pakistan’s elections and on his new position.

They agreed to work together to build on the good relations between the UK and Pakistan in a wide range of areas, including security cooperation, anti-corruption, and bilateral trade.

Prime Minister Theresa May noted the importance of Pakistan delivering on its commitments to strengthen institutions responsible for upholding the rule of law, and to advance the rights of women and minorities.

They looked forward to meeting in person soon.

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