KARACHI: Former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar once again has spoken about things outside of cricket and this time he had something to say about the budget of the Pakistan Army. He feels that the annual budget of the armed forces should be increased significantly and for that civilian like him are even ready to make the necessary sacrifices. Akhtar also urged the chief of armed forces to work together with the civilians. “If Allah ever gives me the authority, I will eat grass myself but I will increase the budget of the army,” Akhtar said in an interview with ARY News. “I will ask my army chief to sit with me and make decisions. If the budget is 20 per cent, I will make it 60 per cent. If we insult each other, the loss is ours only,” he added. This isn’t the first time when Akhtar has said something with respect to the armed forces. Earlier, the speedster claimed that he had turned down a 175,000-pound county contract with Nottinghamshire to fight the 1999 war against India in Kargil. “People hardly know about this story. I had a 175,000-pound contract with Nottingham. Then in 2002, I had another big contract. I left both when Kargil happened,” Akhtar said. “I stood on the outskirts of Lahore. A general asked me what I’m doing there. I said war is about to start and we’ll die together. “I left county (cricket) twice like this and the counties were shocked. I wasn’t concerned about that. I called up my friends in Kashmir and told them I am ready to fight,” he added. IANS Also Watch: AASU, AJYCP, Gorkha Union Join Against CAA, EIA in Digboi
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Ledford cited as an example a recent meeting with Sheriff’s Department officials in which the leaders from Palmdale, Lancaster and Santa Clarita joined together to get more value out of their law enforcement contracts. That meeting is expected to result in more deputies for the communities. One area the two cities could work together on is in regards to the number of parolees in the region, Ledford said. There are an estimated 1,700 parolees in the Antelope Valley, which is about 25 percent to 30 percent over what the region should expect to have. “We need to bond together on those issues,” Ledford said. Ledford said another possibility is for the two cities to work on a regional marketing campaign. Hearns, a four-term council member, was elected to become Lancaster’s second directly-elected mayor, replacing Frank Roberts. Roberts, who was elected five times as Lancaster’s mayor, opted not to run for re-election. james.skeen@dailynews (661) 267-5743160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! PALMDALE – Lancaster Mayor-elect Henry Hearns and Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford vowed Monday to raise the “Cactus Curtain” and improve cooperation between the two High Desert cities. The two city leaders focused on their personal connnection and the opportunities for collaboration during a brief meeting Monday at Palmdale City Hall. Hearns, who was elected as Lancaster’s mayor on April 11, said he came to Palmdale for a “Henry to Jim” meeting not a “mayor to mayor” meeting. “I’m going to work with Mayor Ledford,” Hearns said. “We are for the Antelope Valley.” Hearns, a councilman who will be sworn in April 25 as Lancaster’s mayor, said the visit was in keeping with his campaign theme of “building bridges.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event“My style is not beating people over the head,” Hearns said. “It’s walking arm-and-arm with them.” Hearns said he and Ledford have worked together in the past, noting they used to carpool to Whittier when the two served on the board of a sanitation district. More recently, Hearns said he spent time with Ledford and his family after the Palmdale mayor’s father died. While neither man addressed it by name, the two leaders were speaking of what longtime Antelope Valley residents refer to as the “Cactus Curtain,” a perceived rift between the two cities. The two cities have battled in the past at times, notably over retail businesses and auto dealerships, lucrative sources of sales tax revenue for city treasuries. Ledford also focused on the positive, stating the two cities have a long list of collaboration. “When we work together as an Antelope Valley we have more clout than as an individual city,” Ledford said.