Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari on Friday hit back at United States (US) President Donald Trump's tweet in which he complained that despite the 'protection' afforded to Middle Eastern countries by the US, they continue to raise oil prices.

President Trump in a tweet on Thursday said: "We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices!" he said. "We will remember."

In 2016, major oil producers both within and outside OPEC agreed to slash production in an attempt to boost prices following the 2014 oil market crash.

The US withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran earlier this year, after which it reimposed sanctions on the Islamic republic that had been suspended in return for controls on Tehran's nuclear programme.

India and China, Iran's top buyers, have also distanced themselves from Tehran ─ after Trump warned importers to stop buying oil from Iran or face US sanctions ─ leaving its crude output the lowest it's been since July 2016.

A new set of US sanctions is due to hit Iran's oil industry on November 4, while Venezuela, another OPEC founding member is also under sanctions from Washington.

Describing the oil cartel as a "monopoly", the US president in his tweet issued a fresh call on the OPEC members to lower their crude prices, reminding them that the US is providing certain Middle Eastern energy giants with security.

"The OPEC monopoly must get prices down now!" Trump wrote.

In a strongly worded response to the US president, Mazari wrote: "Surely there is someone in Washington DC who can teach him [President Donald Trump] history and how [the] US has historically destabilised the Middle East with its support for illegal Israeli expansionism and unbridled militarism!"

Read: Israel’s man in the White House

She added: "Also oil comes primarily from west Asia and Gulf, not Middle East! He should also be told about OPEC member states!"

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, Iraq, Algeria, Libya and Ecuador are other countries that are part of OPEC, in addition to Iran and Venezuela.

Oil prices steadied on Thursday after Trump's call on OPEC to "get prices down now!", slowing after an upward surge that had pushed the market towards four-year highs.

Mazari responds to alleged gender discrimination in NUST smoking policy

Dr Mazari also took to Twitter on Wednesday to respond to a notification making the rounds on social media allegedly released by the National University of Science and Technology (NUST), which provided locations of designated on-campus smoking areas to be used by male students, and simultaneously restricted female students from smoking or appearing within the university's designated smoking area.

The notice warned that female students found in these designated smoking areas would be fined and their parents informed, although there is no similar rule applicable to male students ─ who, according to the notice, will be fined for smoking in areas other than the designated smoking areas.

"Girls are not allowed at these smoking areas. In case of violation, fine of Rs1,000 will be imposed, in addition to information to parents," the notice reads.

"The purpose of dedicated smoking area is to curb tendency of cheating, smoking at hidden places and save non-smokers from passive smoking hazards," the notification read.

"Good to discourage smoking but discriminatory approach towards girl students and gender-biased rules cannot be acceptable," Mazari ─ who has herself been a victim of sexism in the National Assembly ─ tweeted, adding: "Wrong message being given to our young students — that it is okay to discriminate against women. Banning smoking for all on campus would be far healthier too."



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