Posts Tagged ‘Saudi Arabia’

Imran asks Punjab, KP to fine-tune new LG system

LAHORE: Prime Minis­ter Imran Khan on Sunday granted yet another extension in ,the deadline for local government reforms,, this time by 48 hours, and directed the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments to fine-tune the new LG system, besides issuing orders for formation of a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) to probe into loss of Punjab’s official record in fire incidents.

During his second visit to Lahore since assuming the Prime Minister’s Office, Imran Khan also chided the Indian leadership’s arrogance and said: “If India hurls threats, it will be given a befitting reply by the Pakistani nation. However, he declared, “Pakistan wants peace, friendship and trade to develop the region.”

He asserted that Pakistan would never bow to any pressure, not even by any super power.

He expressed these views while addressing the bureaucracy after holding meetings with Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar and his cabinet members to review Punjab’s progress on the government’s 100-day agenda.

Says India will be given a befitting reply if it hurls threats though Pakistan wants peace, friendship and trade

Speaking to police officers and civil servants, Mr Khan said Pakistan wanted to have cordial relations with all nations and promote trade and economic ties to overcome the financial crisis. With a vital geo-strategic positioning, he said, Pakistan could attract massive foreign investment, provided it streamlined its governance system and win investors’ confidence. “I did not go to Saudi Arabia and the UAE to beg but to invite investment for Pakistan,” he explained.

De-politicisation of bureaucracy

In a tacit reference to the Pakpattan incident that resulted in the transfer of a district police officer, Mr Khan said he had allowed the bureaucracy to report any political meddling in official working to top bosses. He took serious note of complaints by two deputy commissioners and a police officer who, he said, had violated the chain of command. “Any move of making complaints public will not be tolerated from now onwards and will invite strict disciplinary action,” he warned.

He said the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government wanted to free bureaucracy from political pressure and asked the bureaucracy to seize the opportunity and deliver in the best interest of people. He urged the bureaucracy to shun political affiliations and perform their duties professionally for the well-being of people and the country.

Mr Khan said that PTI members had been instructed that any issue they would face at the hands of bureaucracy should be reported to the chief minister, who himself would eventually sort out matters with the chief secretary and police chief.

“The PTI legislators will not directly interfere in bureaucracy’s functioning,” he promised.

He said bureaucrats should think afresh and serve the masses on merit. “This new mindset actually means Naya Pakistan,” he said, adding that the prime minister and chief minister offices would establish complaint cells to address grievances of the masses.

Three points for new LG system

Following the PM’s meeting with the Punjab cabinet, a separate meeting with CM Buzdar, a senior minister and law minister on local government system, federal information minister Fawad Chaudhry told the media that Mr Khan had held a detailed discussion on new local government system and finalised three basic principles – the LG system should be simple, hold direct elections and ensure empowering elected representatives to serve the masses at the grassroots level.

As the village councils’ experiment in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had rendered results, the PM wanted to resize union councils in Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan, he said. “Village council is a smaller unit catering to some 2,000 to 6,000 people, while each UC in Punjab covers around 30,000 people. The discussion is hovering around whether village councils be created or UC size be reconsidered,” he explained.

Besides, he said, there was a question whether the direct mayor election should be held at tehsil or district level.

Mr Chaudhry said the prime minister also assigned targets to respective ministers demanding that they should come up to the expectations to the leadership as well as the people of Punjab, who were looking towards them with a new hope. “The incumbent PTI government wanted to behave as a people-friendly government,” he said.

Audit reports of metro bus projects received

The information minister said the prime minister ordered investigation into all fire incidents that burnt important record in government offices.

He said reports of simple audit into metro bus projects in Lahore, Rawalpindi and Multan had been received but forensic audits would take time. “All these scandals will expose those involved in corruption and they will land in jails,” he asserted.

Answering a question, the information minister said ousted premier Nawaz Sharif’s political future was dark and now he should pray for his personal future as the Hill Metals Establishment case was near conclusion. He said the case found unaccounted for transactions worth Rs800 million to Maryam Nawaz and Rs160 million to a cook’s account. “Nawaz Sharif should bring nation’s money back to Pakistan,” he said.

‘Modi caught in scandals’

Answering a question about Pakistan’s offer and consequent Indian reply, the information minister said Pakistan wanted peace and wanted that the neighbouring atomic powers hold a dialogue on all longstanding issues. While India by cancelling the scheduled meeting of foreign ministers indicated its desire to weaken Pakistan, “this is not possible because only regions rise, not individual countries,” he said.

Mr Chaudhry said Indian premier Narendra Modi had been caught in an internal “Rafale scandal” involving $8 billion to $10 billion and wanted to shift public attention from internal to external politics to save his skin. He said Modi should contest his own case instead of shifting the blame on Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2018

,, ,, ,, ,, ,,


Via DAWN.com

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - September 24, 2018 at 4:25 am

Categories: The News   Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pakistan won’t abandon peace efforts, says Qureshi

WASHINGTON: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Sunday that ,despite India’s reluctance,, Pakistan would not close doors on its efforts to promote peace in the region.

Addressing a news conference at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington, Mr Qureshi also dispelled the impression that Pakistan was being forced to choose between China and the United States. “China has no issue with Pakistan’s efforts to maintain friendly relations with the United States as well,” he said.

The foreign minister reiterated Pakistan’s ,offer to open the Kartarpur corridor, for allowing Sikh pilgrims to attend Baba Guru Nanak’s anniversary this year.

“India is reluctant, we will not close our doors,” said Mr Qureshi while defining his government’s policy towards the neighbouring country. “Hiding away from issues will not make them disappear. It will not improve the situation in Kashmir.”

The minister noted that India used incidents that happened in July to cancel peace talks that it agreed to in September.

Mr Qureshi confirmed that he was meeting US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo in Washington on Oct 2 and said the decision to hold these follow-up talks was taken during Mr Pompeo’s visit to Islamabad earlier this month.

US or China?

Asked if Pakistan was finding it difficult to balance its relations with both the United States and China, as the two major powers were vying for influence in the region, Mr Qureshi said: “Both relationships are very important for Pakistan. China is a very important and reliable, friend. We are working on a very, very important project, the CPEC,” he said. “And America is also very important for Pakistan, so we will engage with both. The Chinese understand Pakistan’s position and they have no issue with it.”

Pakistan-India ties

The foreign minister said he was unable to understand India’s refusal to participate in peace talks with Pakistan. “Engagement, no-engagement. Coming, not coming. We desired talks as we believe the sensible way is to meet and talk. They agreed, and then disagreed.”

The minister pointed out that India’s response to Pakistan’s peace offer was harsh and non-diplomatic. “We did not use a non-diplomatic language in our rejoinder. Our response was matured and measured. They adopted a new approach, and moved back.”

Mr Qureshi said that Sushma Swaraj’s “language and tone was unbecoming of a foreign minister”.

Asked if tensions between India and Pakistan could lead to a war between the two countries, the minister said: “Who is talking of war? Not us. We want peace, stability, employment and improving lives. You identify where is the reluctance.”

Mr Qureshi said that Pakistan’s desire for peace should not be mistaken for a sign of weakness. “We want peace. It does not mean, we cannot defend ourselves against aggression. We can but we do not have an aggressive mindset,” he said.

Saudi-UAE investments

Responding to a question about reports that Saudi Arabia had agreed to invest more than $10 billion in Pakistan, Mr Qureshi said no amounts were discussed in his visits to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

He said that since the country did not have a foreign minister for four years, Pakistan’s relations with those two important allies suffered but the new government had now launched an effort to re-engage with them.

Mr Qureshi said that since his return from those countries, he has exchanged letters with his counterparts in Saudi Arabia and the UAE and their officials would soon visit Pakistan to talk about opportunities. “What you see in the news is not correct,” he added.

US-Pakistan relations

The foreign minister said he had also seen media reports about the restoration of US security assistance to Pakistan but he would not comment on them until he heard it directly from US officials.

He said the US severed security assistance to Pakistan in the past too and the consequences of such disconnects were not good.

“Direct contacts lead to face-recognition and personal understanding, which help improve relations,” said the minister while referring to the US decision to discontinue training facilities for Pakistani defence officials.

Mr Qureshi said the misunderstanding created after the US press statement on Secretary Pompeo’s conversation with Prime Minister Imran Khan had been removed. Now, both sides were working on how to re-inject warmth in this old, traditional relationship. He said that during Mr Pompeo’s visit to Islamabad both sides had “very candid, frank and honest conversations” and both civil and military officials participated in those talks. “The US statement about those meetings was also positive, defying the prediction that it would be negative and sticks will come out.”

He disagreed with the suggestion that reference to Pakistan-based terrorist groups in a recent US-India joint statement was negative for Pakistan.

“If you believe that India will not mention terrorism, you are wrong. But this is no reason to worry,” he said.

Mr Qureshi said if India continued to increase pressure on the eastern borders, it would hurt Pakistan’s ability to focus on the western border and those interested in peace and stability in the region must note this.

US-India relationship

The foreign minister said Pakistan understood the US desire to forge a strategic relationship with India but old friends should not be ignored in the enthusiasm to make new friends.

“The US has always benefited from its relations with Pakistan — during the Cold War, the Soviet war in Afghanistan and the war against terrorism,” he said.

Asked why was the US ignoring Pakistan now, Mr Qureshi said that individuals and countries “always look for excuses to justify their failures but everyone owns up a victory. We need to understand this and move this relationship forward. Where we have convergence, we should.”

Postal stamp

The foreign minister also rejected India’s concerns about a postal stamp that showed a Kashmiri freedom fighter. “Hundreds of thousands of people are fighting in Kashmir, not all of them are terrorists,” he said.

US-Taliban talks

“We will use whatever influence we have. Our thoughts are positive. We have a clear conscience,” said Mr Qureshi when asked if Pakistan would use its influence on the Taliban to make them join the peace talks.

Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2018

,, ,, ,, ,, ,,


Via DAWN.com

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - at 4:25 am

Categories: The News   Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Gunmen attack Iran military parade, killing at least 24

A Revolutionary Guard member carries a wounded boy after a shooting during a military parade marking the 38th anniversary of Iraq’s 1980 invasion of Iran on Saturday. — AP

A Revolutionary Guard member carries a wounded boy after a shooting during a military parade marking the 38th anniversary of Iraq’s 1980 invasion of Iran on Saturday. — AP

Gunmen attacked an annual Iranian military parade Saturday in the country’s oil-rich southwest, killing at least 24 people and wounding 53 others, local media reported.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the assault in Ahvaz, which saw gunfire spray into a crowd of marching Guardsmen, bystanders and government officials watching from a nearby riser. However, Iran faced a bloody assault last year from the Islamic State group and Arab separatists in the region have attacked oil pipelines there in the past.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif immediately blamed the attack on regional countries and their “US masters,” further raising regional tensions as Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers is in jeopardy after President Donald Trump withdrew America from the accord.

“Iran will respond swiftly and decisively in defense of Iranian lives,” he wrote on Twitter.

State television aired footage of the aftermath of the assault on Ahvaz’s Quds, or Jerusalem, Boulevard, which like many other places around the country saw an annual parade marking the start of Iran’s long 1980s war with Iraq. The images included paramedics trying to help one person in military fatigues as other armed security personnel shouted at each other. The semi-official ISNA news agency published photographs of the attack’s aftermath, with bloodied troops in dress uniforms helping each other walk away.

A local news agency in Khuzestan province, of which Ahvaz is the capital, aired grainy mobile phone footage showing parade goers fleeing as soldiers lay flat on the ground. Gunfire rang out in the background.

“Security forces have restored security in the area but the parade has totally been disrupted,” a reporter on the scene for Iranian state television said by phone in a live broadcast. “People have been killed but we have no figures yet.”

Zarif on Twitter said that the gunmen were “terrorists recruited, trained, armed & paid by a foreign regime”. He did not immediately elaborate. However, Arab separatist groups in the region have launched attacks on oil pipelines there in the past and Iran. The separatists also accuse Iran’s Shiite theocracy of discriminating against its Sunni Arab citizens. Iran has blamed its Mideast archrival, the Sunni kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for funding their activity.

Reports of how the attack unfolded remained unclear immediately afterward. The state TV reporter said the gunfire came from a park behind a riser. The semi-official Fars news agency, which is close to the Guard, said two gunmen on a motorcycle wearing khaki uniforms carried out the attack.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, top center, reviews army troops marching during the 38th anniversary of Iraq’s 1980 invasion of Iran on Saturday. ? AP

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, top center, reviews army troops marching during the 38th anniversary of Iraq’s 1980 invasion of Iran on Saturday. ? AP

The state-run IRNA news agency said the attack killed 24 people and wounded 53, citing “knowledgeable sources” without elaborating. It said gunmen were dressed in Guard uniforms and targeted a riser where military and police commanders were sitting.

Khuzestan Gov. Gholamreza Shariati told IRNA that two gunmen were killed and two others were arrested.

Who carried out the assault also remained in question. State television immediately described the assailants as “takfiri gunmen”, a term previously used to describe the Islamic State group. Iran has been deeply involved in the fight against IS in Iraq and has aided embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad in his country’s long war.

Among those involved are members of the Revolutionary Guard, a paramilitary force answerable only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The Guard also has vast holdings in Iran’s economy.

Meanwhile, Guard spokesman Gen. Ramazan Sharif told ISNA that an Arab separatist group carried out the attack, without elaborating. However, those groups in the past previously have only attacked unguarded oil pipelines at night.

Saturday’s attack comes after a coordinated ,June 7, 2017 Islamic State group assault, on parliament and the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran. At least 18 people were killed and more than 50 wounded.

Khomeini led the 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the Western-backed shah to become Iran’s first supreme leader until his death in 1989. The assault shocked Tehran, which largely has avoided militant attacks in the decades after the tumult surrounding the Islamic Revolution.

,, ,, ,, ,, ,,


Via DAWN.com

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - September 22, 2018 at 12:25 pm

Categories: The News   Tags: , , , , , , , ,

China taken into confidence over Saudi Arabia joining CPEC: information minister

China has been taken into confidence over Saudi Arabia joining the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project as a strategic partner, Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry said on Friday.

The minister was responding to a tweet by former interior and planning minister, Ahsan Iqbal of PML-N, who asked whether Beijing had been taken on board before formally inviting Riyadh to join the mega venture.

“Has China been taken into confidence? CPEC is a bilateral project in which induction of any other country has to have [the] concurrence of both sides,” Iqbal wrote.

In response, Chaudhry said Chinese assent had been sought and that the “expansion of CPEC is in China and Pakistan['s] interest”

,,

“Pakistan will be a centre of economic activity of this region, era of darkness is over,” he added.

The minister had ,announced on Thursday, that Saudi Arabia is set to become a third strategic partner in CPEC and has reportedly agreed in principle to invest heavily in Pakistan after it was formally invited to join the project, Dawn reported.

The landmark announcement by Chaudhry came in the backdrop of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates apparently aimed at convincing Islamabad’s allies in the Middle East to help the government deal with a looming financial crisis.

“A high-level coordination committee has been constituted and it has the complete backing of the Saudi King, His Highness Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, as well as the Crown Prince [Mohammad bin Salman] and PM Khan,” said the minister, who was part of the prime minister’s entourage during the trip, at a press conference in Islamabad.

A high-level Saudi delegation comprising ministers for finance and energy as well as business heads would visit Pakistan in the first week of October to work out details of a grand economic partnership, Chaudhry said, adding that major investments from Saudi Arabia were expected.

He said Saudi Arabia was the first major country to have been formally invited to become a partner in the CPEC. “Our strategic cooperation has been revitalised. We have assured the Saudi leadership that we will continue to provide security to their country and provide strategic support wherever needed,” he added.

,, ,, ,, ,, ,,


Via DAWN.com

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - September 21, 2018 at 4:25 pm

Categories: The News   Tags: , ,

Shireen Mazari calls out Trump’s ignorance on US role in destabilising ME

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.”

,,

,, ,, ,, ,, ,,


Via DAWN.com

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - at 4:25 pm

Categories: The News   Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Sharifs will be offered neither deal nor concession: minister

ISLAMABAD: The government on Thursday rejected the notion that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family members were ,released from jail, under a “deal” and that Saudi Arabia had played any role in it.

“Nawaz Sharif is not so important for Saudi Arabia that they will talk about him,” said Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry while speaking at a news conference a day after Mr Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law retired Captain Mohammad Safdar were released from Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail after suspension of their sentences by the Islamabad High Court in the Avenfield properties case.

Editorial: ,Much room for NAB process against Sharifs to improve,

The IHC verdict coincided with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Saudi Arabia, giving rise to speculation in some circles that the Sharif family members’ release was a result of the Saudis’ request.

It may be recalled that Saudi Arabia was a guarantor in a deal between the Sharif family and then military dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf in 2000 under which the Sharifs were released from jail and allowed to leave the country.

PML-N terms Fawad Chaudhry’s remarks ‘irresponsible’ and asks him to focus on governance

“Those who say that Saudi Arabia would have talked [about Nawaz Sharif during Prime Minister Khan’s visit] actually don’t know what kind of relationship the Saudis have with Nawaz Sharif,” the information minister said without elaborating.

“There will be no deal and no dheel (concession) with them (the Sharifs),” he declared, adding that soon “they will be back to the place where they had been a few days back”. “Nawaz Sharif will be in and out of jail. This thing will continue,” he said, adding that the Sharifs had only been granted bail and the case was still pending against them.

“Those who were questioning the government for putting the names of the Sharifs on the Exit Control List (ECL) would have got the answer now. Had we not done so, they could have flown to London soon after their release, and where would we have looked for these princes then?” he said, justifying the decision of the federal cabinet to place the names of the Sharifs on the ECL during its first meeting.

“We will not allow Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz to leave Pakistan and at the same time we will not allow (former finance minister) Ishaq Dar, and Hassan and Hussain (the two sons of Mr Sharif) to stay out of Pakistan,” he said.

Mr Chaudhry said that for them it was not important that how much time the Sharifs would spend in jail, as for the government bringing back the looted money of the people of this country was more important.

Lashing out at the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, he said it was heartening to see the PML-N people praising the courts. “So if the verdict is in their favour, all is well with the judiciary, and if it is against them, then the system is corrupt?” the minister said, asking the PML-N to decide once and for all as to what was their stance to end their confusion.

“In my opinion, the judiciary is free and independent,” he added.

Mr Chaudhry said the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was also an independent institution and the government had no control over it. He said the government was looking for the loopholes due to which the Sharifs had been granted bail and soon they would rectify them and send them back to jail.

PML-N’s reaction

The PML-N termed the information minister’s remarks “irresponsible” and asked him to focus on “governance” instead of wasting time on petty matters.

Talking to Dawn, PML-N information secretary Mushahidullah Khan said that no party leader had given any statement about courts after the IHC verdict as they believed that Mr Sharif had only got “relief” and not justice.

Commenting on Mr Chaudhry’s statement regarding deal, he said the PML-N had not struck any deal when it could have done so in the past then why it would be doing it now. “Had we struck a deal, Nawaz Sharif would have been prime minister even today,” he said.

Mr Khan also ridiculed the minister’s justification for putting the names of the Sharifs on the ECL, terming the government’s act “vindictive”. He recalled that Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz were in London when the NAB court had announced the verdict and they returned home despite knowing that they would straightaway land in jail.

On the other hand, he said, the PML-N government did not put the name of Imran Khan and even President Arif Alvi on the ECL despite the fact that they were facing terrorism charges.

Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2018

,, ,, ,, ,, ,,


Via DAWN.com

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - at 6:25 am

Categories: The News   Tags: , , , , ,

Imran calls for talks to end Saudi-Yemen dispute

PRIME Minister Imran Khan speaks to Al Arabiya’s general manager Turki al-Dakhil during the interview.—Courtesy AL ARABIYA

PRIME Minister Imran Khan speaks to Al Arabiya’s general manager Turki al-Dakhil during the interview.—Courtesy AL ARABIYA

KARACHI: Speaking about the Saudi-Yemen dispute, Prime Minister Imran Khan has told Saudi media that all conflicts could be resolved through dialogue.

“I feel that every conflict has a political solution. I am not a believer in a military solution,” the prime minister said in an ,interview to a Saudi newspaper, published on Wednesday, during his first foreign visit after assuming office.

He said his country was confident of Riyadh’s support as Saudi Arabia had always backed Pakistan.

“Anyone who comes to power in Pakistan will visit Saudi Arabia first as the two countries share a strong people-to-people relationship,” Mr Khan said in his first interview to foreign media after becoming prime minister.

Rejecting military solution, PM says every conflict has political solution

“Saudi Arabia has in the past helped Pakistan when [the country] has been in need,” he added.

Sharing his views on Saudi-Yemen relations, the premier said Pakistan wanted to play a “reconciliatory role” in the Muslim world. “We feel that it’s very important that there should not be any conflict in the Muslim world,” he said, adding that this would be Pakistan’s main effort.

“I would like to ensure peace in the Middle East because it is very distressing for Muslims to see conflict among Muslim nations. There are already several conflicts plaguing the Muslim world, starting from Libya to Somalia, to Syria, Afghanistan… Pakistan has [also] suffered a lot,” Mr Khan said.

“Conflict in the Muslim world is weakening all of us … Pakistan would like to play a role in putting out these fires,” he affirmed, adding that if required for Yemen, Islamabad would play a positive role there also to end the conflict.

PM Khan praised Saudi King Salman and showed his willingness to duplicate the kingdom’s anti-corruption measures in Pakistan.

“White collar crime is very difficult to fight … it’s a very long process to retrieve the money but we have now set up a task force to retrieve our money that has been taken out of Pakistan,” said the prime minister.

Asked if he would be able to solve old and multiple crises facing Pakistan during his five-year tenure, PM Khan said that he had a three-pronged strategy to realise this dream — to fight poverty and corruption, to invest in human resources and to build strong institutions.

Responding to a question about frequent Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia, the premier said: “This is a stated position of all our governments that we will not allow anyone to attack Saudi Arabia. We will stand by Saudi Arabia.”

Speaking about his geopolitical policy, Mr Khan said he wanted peace and stability in the region. “To get stability we need peace with all our neighbors. We already have very good relationship with China; we need good relationship with Afghanistan and India. We have made overtures to both,” he said, reaffirming that he wanted to develop relations with both Afghanistan and India based on mutual trust.

Pakistan is the founder member of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition which is based in Riyadh. Asked how did the prime minister see the role of Pakistan in this context, Mr Khan said no country in the world but Pakistan could give expert advice on countering terrorism.

Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2018

,, ,, ,, ,, ,,


Via DAWN.com

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - at 6:25 am

Categories: The News   Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Saudi Arabia invited to become third strategic partner in CPEC: Fawad Chaudhry

Saudi Arabia is the first major country Pakistan has formally invited to become a partner in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, Minister of Information Fawad Chaudhry said on Thursday.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad regarding Prime Minister Imran Khan’s two-day visit to Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE), Chaudhry said that Pakistan’s main interest lies in cooperation with Saudi Arabia on matters of trade and security.

“A high-level coordination committee has has been constituted [to look into matters of trade and commerce] and it has the complete backing of the Saudi King, His Highness Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, as well as the Crown Prince [Mohammad bin Salman] and PM Khan,” Fawad Chaudhry said.

The information minister announced that high-level delegations from Saudi Arabia and UAE will visit Pakistan to discuss trade and security in October.

The Saudi ministers of treasury and power as well as business leaders will be in the delegation. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia will finalise an important economic partnership during this visit, the information minister said.

He said that Saudi Arabia is the first country that Pakistan has invited to become a third partner in CPEC, and the projects that Saudi Arabia will be investing in will be worked out during the Saudi delegation’s visit, scheduled for the first week of October.

“We expect major investments from Saudi Arabia,” he said.

“Our strategic cooperation has been revitalised. We have assured the Saudi leadership that we will continue to provide security to their country and provide strategic support wherever needed,” Chaudhry said.

The information minister said that in Abu Dhabi, the ,Pakistani delegation was received by Crown Prince Muhammad bin Zayed,. Matters of mutual interest were discussed in detail during the meeting,” Chaudhry said.

“I should mention here that the relations between Pakistan and UAE and Pakistan and Saudi Arabia had been frosty for the past few years, and this visit changed that,” the information minister said.

He added that the complications in the procurement of UAE visas and other matters will be resolved soon as the matters had come under discussion during the visit.

“The foreign office will soon send a proposal to UAE and it is expected that these issues will be resolved for the thousands of Pakistanis that are dwelling in the Emirates,” Chaudhry assured.

The information minister said that UAE would also help Pakistan in many projects, including the provision of fresh water to Karachi. “Delegations from UAE will come to Pakistan in October to discuss these matters,” he said.

“It is important to mention here that His Highness Muhammad bin Zayed has a great standing in GCC and Saudi Arabia, and his support will go a long way for Pakistan,” Chaudhry said.

’Nawaz will be in and out of jail’

Moving on to the matter of ,Nawaz Sharif’s release yesterday,, Chaudhry pointed out that the ousted prime minister had only secured bail, not been vindicated of the charges against him.

“Nawaz Sharif will be in and out of jail. The first thing I would like to do is address those people who kept asking why we put the Sharif family’s name on the exit-control list (ECL). I guess now they know why we did it: had we not, they could have flown to London yesterday evening, and where would we have looked for them then?”

Chaudhry also commented on the fact that the PML-N and its supporters had praised the judicial system yesterday.

“So if the verdict is in their favour, all is well with the judiciary, and if it is against them, then the system is corrupt?” the minister asked. “The PML-N should decide what their stance is so that their own confusion also subsides.”

He added: “I personally think that the judiciary is free and independent.”

The information minister also said that Imran Khan does not have a personal feud with the Sharifs, “The government is simply the custodian of the wealth of the Pakistani people and we need to bring the looted wealth back to the country.”

“Neither will we let Nawaz and Maryam leave the country nor will we let Ishaq Dar, Hasan and Hussain Nawaz stay abroad for much longer,” Chaudhry said, adding that the Sharif family will have to return the Pakistani people’s money back to them.

“Those who say that the PM visited Saudi Arabia to cut a deal regarding the Sharifs don’t understand how the Saudis’ relationship is with Nawaz Sharif. They don’t understand where the Sharif family stands with the Saudis,” the information minister added.

,, ,, ,, ,, ,,


Via DAWN.com

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - September 20, 2018 at 8:25 pm

Categories: The News   Tags: , , , ,

Pakistan, Saudi Arabia pledge to defeat terrorism

PRIME Minister Imran Khan shakes hands with King Salman bin Abdul Aziz.—APP

PRIME Minister Imran Khan shakes hands with King Salman bin Abdul Aziz.—APP

ISLAMABAD: Reaffirming their intention to stand by each other at all times, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have pledged to continue their decades-old partnership to defeat the scourge of extremism and terrorism.

The two countries ,reiterated the pledge, during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s meetings with Saudi leadership in Jeddah on Wednesday.

The PM called on Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and extended an invitation to the Saudi leadership to visit Pakistan at an early date. “The offer was graciously accepted, in principle, by the Saudi leadership,” said a statement issued by the Foreign Office.

Saudi King, Crown Prince accept PM Imran’s invitation to visit Pakistan

Acknowledging each other’s efforts and sacrifices, the two sides agreed on the need to promote peace and security to ensure progress, development and prosperity.

As the PM briefed the Saudi leadership about Pakistan’s successes and sacrifices in its fight against terrorism and highlighted the role of “actors trying to destabilise Pakistan”, the latter apprised the former of the steps taken by the Kingdom to curb extremism and terrorism and shared views “on the forces spreading extremist ideologies in the region”.

Mr Khan strongly condemned the efforts to promote religious extremism, sectarianism and terrorism.

Both the countries expressed complete solidarity with each other in their “efforts at preserving their sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

The two sides agreed to further strengthen bilateral cooperation as well as their collaboration at the regional and multilateral forums to promote peace and security.

Guard of honour

It was the prime minister’s first foreign visit after assuming office. He was accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood.

He was received by King Salman at his palace in Jeddah, where Mr Khan was presented with a guard of honour and a state banquet was hosted for him and his entourage.

In the meeting, the two leaders discussed bilateral relationship, the regional and global political situation and the issues confronting Muslim Ummah, according to a statement issued from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

They expressed their desire to further enhance and diversify bilateral cooperation and to continue close coordination on issues of mutual interest.

Crown Prince hosts dinner for Imran

During the visit, the PM also held a meeting with the Saudi crown prince, who hosted a dinner in his honour.

The two leaders accompanied by their ministers and senior officials, held detailed discussions on ways to strengthen bilateral relationship and on the regional political and security situation.

They exchanged ideas on enhancing cooperation in political, defence, economic, commercial and cultural sectors, developing joint ventures in line with their respective developmental needs, strengthening collaboration in human resource sector and addressing the issues faced by Pakistani expatriates in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi leadership congratulated Pakistan on its successful democratic transition, in a peaceful and fair manner and felicitated Mr Khan on his election as the PM.

Appreciating the PM’s idea of transforming his country into a welfare state based on Islamic socio-economic principles, the Saudi leadership assured Pakistan of its maximum assistance.

Pakistan thanked Saudi Arabia for its steadfast and continued support.

ABU DHABI: Prime Minister Imran Khan meets Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE’s Armed Forces Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan here on Wednesday after completing his two-day visit to Saudi Arabia.—APP

ABU DHABI: Prime Minister Imran Khan meets Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE’s Armed Forces Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan here on Wednesday after completing his two-day visit to Saudi Arabia.—APP

Plight of Kashmiris discussed

The PM informed the Saudi leadership about the plight of the Muslims of India-held Kashmir, suffering grievous human rights violations.

Mentioning the report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the human rights violations in held Jammu and Kashmir, he stressed the need for Islamic solidarity and unity in raising the issue forcefully at the UN Human Rights Council.

The two countries reaffirmed their commitment to the just struggle of the Palestinian people to restore their rights and achieve the independence of the state of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

They also stressed that the international community must respect the just struggle of the people living under foreign occupation and the legitimate right to self-determination, as enshrined in the United Nations Charter.

With a view to developing tangible and meaningful bilateral cooperation in key areas, the two countries agreed to intensify consultations and coordination in order to strengthen their strategic partnership.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia reaffirmed their historical and brotherly ties, rooted in bonds of common religion, shared culture and values and quest for regional and global peace and security.

Both sides expressed satisfaction at the convergence of views on a host of regional and global issues, as well as the issues faced by Muslim Ummah.

They reaffirmed their intention to stand by each other at all times.

Pakistan praised the Saudi leadership on a smooth and successful organisation of Haj this year and acknowledged the eminent position of respect and reverence among the Muslim Ummah enjoyed by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz.

It also commended the visionary leadership of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman.

Overseas Pakistanis

Meanwhile, the prime minister also addressed the Pakistani community in Jeddah in which he assured them the government would constitute the ministry of overseas Pakistanis so that it could become helpful for the expats as well as the investors.

The PM and his delegation later arrived in Abu Dhabi from Saudi Arabia.

Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2018

,, ,, ,, ,, ,,


Via DAWN.com

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - at 10:25 am

Categories: The News   Tags: , , , , , , , ,

After Saudi, PM Khan visits UAE; welcomed by Abu Dhabi crown prince

Prime Minister Imran Khan reached United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Wednesday in the second instalment of his two-day official Saudi/UAE tour.

He was received at the Abu Dhabi airport by Shaikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

,,

Earlier in the day, the PM met Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on his maiden visit to the kingdom.

During his meeting with the royals, the prime minister discussed matters of regional and bilateral interest. The leaders also talked about economic relations between the two countries.

On his arrival in Jeddah, the prime minister was presented with a guard of honour and the national anthems of both countries were played. King Salman held a banquet for the premier and his delegation.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also hosted a dinner for PM Khan when the leaders met. The prime minister commended the crown prince’s vision to turn Saudi Arabia into a modern economy.

During their meeting, the leaders discussed ways to strengthen bilateral relations as well as steps that can be taken to enhance cooperation in political, defence, economic, commercial and cultural sectors. They also discussed challenges that are being faced by the Muslim world.

PM Khan brought up the issues of Pakistani expatriates living in Saudi Arabia as well.

The prime minister also highlighted the human rights offences by the Indian army in held Kashmir. The leaders reaffirmed their support for Palestine’s struggle for an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The premier extended an invitation for the crown prince to visit Pakistan, which was accepted, in principle, by the Saudi leadership.

This is Khan’s first foreign tour as prime minister. Talking to ,Al Arabiya,, he said that “anyone who comes to power in Pakistan will visit Saudi Arabia first” as the two countries share a “strong people to people relationship”.

“Saudi Arabia has in the past helped Pakistan when [the country] has been in need,” he said.

The prime minister held a meeting with the secretary general of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation as well. The meeting was attended by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua and Pakistani ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

Finance Minister Asad Umar meets Saudi Minister of Finance. — Photo courtesy: *Arab News* Twitter

Finance Minister Asad Umar meets Saudi Minister of Finance. — Photo courtesy: Arab News Twitter

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Asad Umar — who is accompanying PM Khan — met his Saudi counterpart Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Jadaan as ,they discussed, “aspects of financial and economic cooperation”.

Information Minister Fawad Hussain Chaudhry — also part of the premier’s delegation — ,met, the Saudi Minister of Media Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad earlier in the day. The two discussed ways to expand media cooperation between the two states.

Later in the day, the prime minister and his delegation travelled to the UAE where they were received by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The premier, accompanied by Qureshi and the prime minister’s adviser on commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, as well as Umer and Chaudhry, ,landed in Madinah, on Tuesday. He was received at the airport by the governor of Medina, Shahzada Faisal Bin Salman, and Pakistan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Khan Hasham Bin Siddique.

On his arrival in Makkah last night, PM Khan and his delegation performed Umrah. The doors of the Holy Kaaba were opened for the prime minister, where he offered prayers.

Pakistan would like to play a reconciliatory role in Muslim world, says PM Khan

During his interview to Al Arabiya, PM Khan said that Pakistan wanted to play a reconciliatory role in the Muslim world.

“We feel that it’s very important that there should not be any conflict in the Muslim world,” the premier said and added that there were already several conflicts plaguing the Muslim world, “starting from Libya to Somalia, to Syria, Afghanistan… Pakistan has [also] suffered a lot”.

“Conflict in the Muslim world is weakening all of us. Ideally, Pakistan would like to play a role of putting out these fires.”

,, ,, ,, ,, ,,


Via DAWN.com

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - at 12:25 am

Categories: The News   Tags: , , , , , , , ,

PM Khan meets King Salman in Jeddah

Prime Minister Imran Khan met Saudi King Salman on his maiden visit to the Kingdom, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf shared on Wednesday.

The prime minister is also expected to meet the Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman. During his meeting with the royals, the prime minister will discuss matters of regional and bilateral interest.

On his arrival in Jeddah, PM Khan was presented a guard of honour, PTV News reported. The Saudi King will also host a state banquet for the prime minister at the Royal Court.

This is Khan’s first foreign tour as prime minister. Talking to ,Al Arabiya,, he said that “anyone who comes to power in Pakistan will visit Saudi Arabia first” as the two countries share a “strong people to people relationship”.

“Saudi Arabia has in the past helped Pakistan when [the country] has been in need,” said the prime minister.

Finance Minister Asad Umar meets Saudi Minister of Finance. — Photo courtesy: *Arab News* Twitter

Finance Minister Asad Umar meets Saudi Minister of Finance. — Photo courtesy: Arab News Twitter

Finance Minister Asad Umar — who is accompanying PM Khan — also met his Saudi counterpart Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Jadaan and ,they discussed, “aspects of financial and economic cooperation”.

Information Minister Fawad Hussain Chaudhry — also part of the premier’s delegation — ,also met, the Saudi Minister of Media Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad earlier today. The two discussed ways to expand media cooperation between the two states.

Later today, the prime minister and his delegation will travel to the UAE where they will be received by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The two will discuss issues of mutual interest.

The premier, accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and the prime minister’s adviser on commerce, Abdul Razak Dawood as well as Umer and Chaudhry, ,landed in Madinah, on Tuesday. He was received at the airport by the governor of Medina, Shahzada Faisal Bin Salman, and Pakistan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Khan Hasham Bin Siddique.

On his arrival in Makkah last night, PM Khan and his delegation performed Umrah. The doors of the Holy Kaaba were opened for the prime minister, where he offered prayers.

,, ,, ,, ,, ,,


Via DAWN.com

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - September 19, 2018 at 2:25 pm

Categories: The News   Tags: , ,

Mini-budget hikes taxes, cuts uplift spending

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Asad Umar presents the Finance Supplementary (Amendment) Bill, 2018, in the National Assembly on Tuesday.—INP

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Asad Umar presents the Finance Supplementary (Amendment) Bill, 2018, in the National Assembly on Tuesday.—INP

• Excise duty on cars of 1800cc and above doubled
• Ban on car, property purchases by non-filers withdrawn
• Banking transactions of non-filers to be taxed at 0.6pc
• Regulatory duties on additional 312 items
• CPEC spending protected

ISLAMABAD: Partially reversing income tax relaxations and reducing the development budget, the PTI government announced a supplementary budget on Tuesday with a total fiscal adjustment equal to 2.1 per cent of GDP (roughly Rs805 billion), including Rs183bn worth of revenue measures.

Finance Minister Asad Umar delivered his inaugural budget speech for the PTI government in an unusually calm environment — a rare opportunity — as the opposition PPP and PML-N listened to him in silence. The minister reciprocated by conceding that the economic crisis was 15-30 years in the making and not the specific fault of any one political party.

Ramsha Jahangir

Ramsha Jahangir

A key reversal on the revenue side was elimination of the restriction on non-tax filers on purchase of real estate and automobiles. In the last budget of the PML-N government, a ban had been imposed on non-filers of tax returns to purchase new cars and property. The car manufacturers and real estate developers were up in arms against the decision that had plummeted car and property sales by up to 50pc.

The finance minister claimed that the ban was being removed because it was interfering in the ability of overseas Pakistanis to do business and invest in Pakistan.

Even with such a massive fiscal adjustment described by the minister as a ‘bypass surgery’, the target for fiscal deficit for the financial year 2018-19 was put at 5.1pc instead of 4.9pc set in the budget passed by parliament in May this year. Reforms will follow in about a month or so to put the economy on the road to recovery, he said.

Mr Umar said the supplementary budget for the current year had become inevitable because of severe economic crisis and necessitated by the “unrealistic” budget announced by former finance minister Miftah Ismail.

In that budget, he added, revenue collection was overstated by Rs350bn and expenditures were understated by Rs250bn and Rs286bn projected as cash surplus from the provinces was also unlikely to materialise when they jointly posted a Rs18bn deficit last year despite similar anticipated surpluses.

He said the combined Rs890bn impact of these three unrealistic targets would actually take the fiscal deficit to Rs2.78 trillion at the end of the year, or 7.2pc of GDP, instead of Rs1.89tr reflected in the budget books.

For his own part, the finance minister provided no budget books for a record or future reference. The public is left to piece together the numbers from the budget speech and a brief press conference immediately following it, after which the minister departed with Prime Minister Imran Khan for Saudi Arabia.

The revenue target has been revised downward by Rs45bn to Rs4.39tr. The minister said the development programme had been capped at Rs725bn (down from Rs1030bn in original budget), compared to actual expenditure of Rs661bn last year. Of this the core development to be financed out of budget would be Rs575bn, while Rs100bn infrastructure funding needs of the National Highway Authority would be met through what he called “innovative financing” the details of which would be discussed in the parliamentary committee.

In doing development restructuring, Mr Umar said the major initiatives under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor launched by the previous government would be fully protected. Likewise, Rs23bn allocated for large dams will also not be reduced but supplemented with donations on the calls of the prime minister and the chief justice of Pakistan to reduce their completion time from 8-9 years to 6-7 years. The funding to the Higher Education Commission is also unchanged.

On top of that, Rs50bn will be provided through public-private partnership to the Karachi Infrastructure Development Company on the instructions of the prime minister.

Giving background, the finance minister said the target for last fiscal deficit was set at 4.1pc of GDP, but it reached 6.6pc (Rs2.293tr) that was in reality 8.2pc when taken into account the impact of circular debt kept outside the budget — exactly where it was when the PML-N took over from the PPP in 2013.

The external situation was even worse, he said, adding that the current account deficit had climbed to $18.1bn last year from $2.5bn at the end of 2012-13. External debt touched $95bn last year instead of $60bn five years ago and yet foreign exchange reserves were falling rapidly and were enough to cover just 6-7 months of imports.

“The alarm bells have been ringing for quite some time,” Mr Umar said, adding: “The crisis is almost on our doorsteps now, unless tough decisions are taken to arrest and then reverse the situation.”

Talking about the Rs183bn revenue measures, the minister said that about Rs92bn would be recovered through the use of “modern technology” and without increasing tax rates on individuals — a pointer towards administrative measures used by all governments in the past when undertaking a stabilisation effort. The remaining Rs91bn would be additional revenue “to come from the rich”, non-filers and enhanced duties on expensive mobile phones, import of luxury food items and luxury cars and SUVs.

For example, he said the non-filers would now be able to buy property and vehicles of 1800cc and above but at a higher registration rate. The federal excise duty on 1800cc cars and above has been increased from 10pc to 20pc.

The minister said the ratio of income tax on all those below annual income of Rs2.4 million (Rs200,000 per month) had been kept unchanged, but income beyond Rs2.4m would be subjected to a maximum of 29pc tax rate on non-salaried and 25pc on salaried, instead of up to 35pc last year.

In a political move, the finance minister announced withdrawal of tax exemption on housing allowance, conveyance and sumptuary allowances of the prime minister, ministers and governors. When asked whether such exemptions would also be withdrawn from judges and generals, Mr Umar said no and added that they were government servants and not interested in ruling the nation.

He said a projection for Rs300bn collection as petroleum development levy was also unrealistic and had been capped at the last year’s collection of Rs189bn. The tax on all bank transactions by non-filers that was set at 0.6pc by the PML-N government two years ago and then brought down to 0.4pc has also been reversed to 0.6pc.

He said the pension for EOBI employees would be increased by 10pc. Likewise, Rs4.5bn would be released immediately for 8,276 houses to be built out of welfare funds that have been stopped by the previous government. He said the prime minister had also approved construction of 10,000 houses in the next phase.

The minister said regulatory duty had been imposed on import of 312 tariff lines and increased on another 295 high-end luxury items with additional impact of Rs12-13bn.

Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2018

,, ,, ,, ,, ,,


Via DAWN.com

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - at 4:25 am

Categories: The News   Tags: , , , , , , , ,

PM Imran Khan arrives in Madina on official tour of Saudi Arabia

Prime Minister Imran Khan has reached Madina in the first instalment of a two-day visit to Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) — his first foreign tour as prime minister.

He was received at the airport by the governor of Medina, Shahzada Faisal Bin Salman, and Pakistan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Khan Hasham Bin Siddique.

,,

The premier is accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Information Minister Fawad Hussain and the prime minister’s adviser on commerce, Abdul Razak Dawood.

The prime minister and his official delegation will pay their respects at the Holy Prophet’s grave and offer evening prayers, according to a statement issued by the foreign ministry.

During his ,visit, on the invitation of King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, PM Khan will hold meetings with the king and the crown prince.

The Saudi king will host a state banquet for the prime minister at the Royal Court.

Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen will also hold a meeting with the premier. Accompanying ministers will meet their counterparts and discuss bilateral cooperation.

On Wednesday, the prime minister and his delegation will travel to the UAE where they will be received by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The ,two will discuss issues, of mutual interest.

,, ,, ,, ,, ,,


Via DAWN.com

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - September 18, 2018 at 6:25 pm

Categories: The News   Tags: ,

PM Khan appoints Zulfi Bukhari as special assistant on overseas Pakistanis

Prime Minister Imran Khan has appointed his close aide Zulfiqar Hussain Bukhari, aka Zulfi Bukhari, as his special assistant on overseas Pakistanis and human resource development, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) announced.

He will have the status of a minister of state in his role as special assistant.

“The Prime Minister has been pleased to appoint, with effect from [Sept 14, 2018], Sayed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari as Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, with the status of minister of state,” read a notification issued by the cabinet division.

,,

Bukhari is a close aide to the prime minister and was in charge of the PTI chairman’s campaign in NA-53 for the July 25 elections. A dual British-Pakistani national, his name was ,placed on the Exit Control List, (ECL) by the interior ministry in August on a request of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

He is accused of owning off-shore companies in the British Virgin Islands and owning assets beyond his known source of income, sources in NAB had earlier told Dawn.

Bukhari had come into the limelight earlier this year when he was stopped by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) at Nur Khan Airbase while accompanying Khan to Saudi Arabia because his name was on the interior ministry’s blacklist. However, the ministry allowed him to travel abroad minutes later.

Upon his return, Bukhari filed a petition before the Islamabad High Court seeking the removal of his name from the blacklist. The court accepted his petition and ordered removal of his name from the blacklist.

A week later, the court was informed by the interior ministry that Bukhari was placed on the blacklist as a precautionary measure in response to a request from NAB to include his name on the ECL, because the subcommittee tasked with approving the inclusion of names in the ECL was dysfunctional at the time the request was sent.

The IHC subsequently ,allowed the interior ministry, to proceed with NAB’s request to place Bukhari on the ECL.

The induction of Bukhari into the federal cabinet takes its strength to 29. Out of the total, eight cabinet members belong to coalition parties.

Under Article 92 of the Constitution, the total strength of the cabinet — including state ministers — could not exceed 11 per cent of the total members of parliament. The total membership of both the lower and upper houses is 446 and the cabinet size cannot exceed 49 members.

,, ,, ,, ,, ,,


Via DAWN.com

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - at 6:25 pm

Categories: The News   Tags: , ,

Surname change case: SC asks father of petitioner to pay daughter’s expenses

The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday resumed hearing of an unusual case of a 22-year-old woman seeking the removal of her father’s name from official documents and replacing it with her mother’s name instead.

Tatheer Fatima claimed that her father had abandoned her in her childhood and that she had never seen him. She raises an important question in her petition: whether or not an individual who abandons his child either before or after birth can be called the father of that child. She also asks if a child can be entitled to be registered as a citizen of Pakistan without identifying the parents.

In the last hearing of the case ? which it described as the first of its kind ? the Supreme Court named the law secretary, the director general of the Immigration and Passport department as well as the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) as respondents in the petition. The bench also directed Nadra officials to acquire information about Tatheer’s real father so that he could be summoned to court.

Her father, who appeared before the three-judge bench today, was asked by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar when he had last seen his daughter and why he hadn’t contacted her for many years.

Tatheer’s father said that he last met her in 2002.

“You did not meet your daughter for 16 years,” Justice Nisar responded. “You should be ashamed.”

The father claimed he had attempted to meet his daughter, to which the CJP asked: “What efforts did you make? We cannot see anything.”

When the top judge asked him what sort of a father he was for leaving his daughter, he responded saying that he had not left her. Instead, he said, it was Tatheer’s mother who did not allow him to meet her.

The court directed the father to pay the financial expenses he owed to her. “You will have to remedy this,” the top judge told her father, “The expenses for all the years that have passed will be recovered from you, even if you need to steal [to get the money].”

When he told the court that he was a poor man, the court ordered the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to probe his financial records to determine whether this was true. The FIA DG was directed by the court to closely examine the case.

“If you are poor, you will face the civil case and go to jail,” the CJP asserted.

The top judge said that he would see to it himself how the damage caused to Tatheer could be remedied.

With regards to the change in her last name the CJP told her father that Tatheer wanted his name removed as her last name and changed to ‘Tatheer Fatima binte Pakistan’ instead.

“Pakistan is our mother and our father also,” the CJP remarked. But, he added, Islamic law does not allow for a father’s name to be removed from a daughter’s name.

The Nadra director, who was present in court, was given 10 days to provide all records to the court.

The court also directed that Tatheer’s birth certificate and educational record, that state her name as Tatheer Fatima binte Pakistan should be changed, with her father’s name added to her first name.

During the hearing, Tatheer said when she was a Matric student, she required some documents from her father. But he had told her he would only hand them over if she submitted a written statement to the nearest jail saying that her mother was a woman of bad character and that Tatheer didn’t want to live with her.

She said it should be the right of children who are deprived of their parents to adopt the name of those who have raised them. She maintained that her mother had braved great difficulties to raise her as a single parent and children should have the right to take the name of those who take responsibility for them.

She again asked the court to allow her father’s name to be removed from all government paperwork.

Her mother Fehmida Butt said that providing money was not the only responsibility of a parent, and that removing her father’s name from her documentation would give Tatheer satisfaction.

The court appointed Makhdoom Ali Khan as an assistant to the court and adjourned the case for 10 days.

Speaking to reporters after the hearing, Tatheer said that she had spent all her time with her mother. “I may not have seen a childhood, but I have seen the workshops and seminars [that my mother attended].”

Despite this, she said, fighting back tears, she still had to face people alleging that her mother’s character was questionable. “How? Prove it,” she said.

Tatheer asked why she should keep the name of a person who has not given her name any respect in his family.

When she was asked about the CJP’s earlier comments that, despite how one’s parents behave with them, children must respect their parents, Tatheer responded saying that a father’s respect is created when their child recognises them to be a relation and gives them that status.

“You can only receive respect when you give someone the opportunity to respect you. If you misbehave with them, you will not get respect,” she asserted.

Tatheer’s father also spoke to reporters after the hearing, saying: “I cannot bear it. I wish the ground would open up and swallow me.”

Tatheer seeks remedy beyond existing laws

Tatheer’s petition is basically an appeal against a similar plea which was rejected by the Islamabad High Court on May 17, 2017. The high court, Tatheer had pleaded earlier, had failed to appreciate before dismissing her plea that she was not seeking any treatment in accordance with the law — instead a remedy which was above the prevailing laws.

She had also questioned Nadra’s earlier attempt of seeking a ‘fatwa’ from a religious authority of Saudi Arabia and Iran to formulate a policy about the registration of orphans in Pakistan, saying that she did not feel like an orphan in the presence of her mother, Fehmida Butt.

“The use of orphan for me is an insult to my loving mother and to Pakistan,” she had contended, highlighting that her status should be determined under the Constitution of Pakistan rather than in the light of customs in Saudi Arabia or Iran.

The court in the least hearing had observed that neither Islamic laws nor laws of the land allowed deletion of a father’s name from a person’s official documents, such as passports.

,, ,, ,, ,, ,,


Via DAWN.com

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - September 13, 2018 at 6:25 pm

Categories: The News   Tags: , , ,

No waiver to India for Iranian oil, Chabahar port: US

WASHINGTON: A senior US official has said that Washington is not offering waiver to any country from curbs on commercial deals with Iran and so far, the restriction applies to India as well, which is a major importer of oil from Iran.

Alice G. Wells, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, said in a conference call with journalists on Monday that restrictions also apply to investments in Iran’s Chahbahar port, a project built with India’s cooperation.

Ms Wells – who was briefing journalists on the two-plus-two talks between the US and India, held in New Delhi on Sept 6 – said there was no “blanket waiver or country-specific waiver” from US sanctions on trading with or investing in Iran.

She said the sanctions on Iran that come into force on Nov 4 are not specific to India, which imports 25 per cent of its oil from Tehran. Iran is India’s third largest supplier of oil, after Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Between April 2017 and January 2018, Iran supplied 18.4 million tonnes of crude oil to India.

Answering a question on whether US restrictions on trade with Iran were discussed at the US-India talks, she said that there was a discussion in general over the sanctions and on Trump administration’s goal to hold Iran accountable for its alleged ‘maligned behaviour.’

The two sides also talked about how US expects other countries to bring their oil imports from Iran “down to zero as quickly as possible” and on US efforts to ensure that the restrictions do not disrupt the market, she said. The US has assured the Indians that adequate supplies are readily available that could be easily substituted for Iranian oil, the US official added.

“With respect to Chahbahar, we have heard the Indian government’s assertion for Chahbahar both as a means of route to Afghanistan, a means for delivering wheat supplies, for instance, and of opening-up trade to Central Asia,” she said.

“The US officials were clear that we were still in process of reviewing the implementation of sanctions and that we were taking this under advisement. So it was an informational conversation between the parties.”

She also said that the New Delhi talks were primarily a strategic dialogue, but trade related issues were also discussed focusing on how both countries could grow their trade relationship in a fair and reciprocal manner.

She said that tariff and non-tariff barriers have been the subject of long-standing concerns and the US was now working with the Government of India to address these market access issues.

The US secretary said that, in New Delhi, the Indian and American leaders committed themselves to resolving trade issues and reaching an agreement to promote bilateral trade.

She noted that the US was now India’s top market for exports and the US-Indian bilateral trade expanded by $12 billion in 2017 totalling to $126bn, whereas two-way investment expanded almost $57bn.

She also said that, so far, the US had not taken any decision on giving a waiver to India to purchase S-400 Triumf missile system from Russia.

“We continue to have conversations with the Indian leadership. We are working to hold Russia accountable for its behaviour and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said these sanctions are not intended to adversely impact countries like India. They are designed to impact Russia”, she said.

Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2018

,, ,, ,, ,, ,,


Via DAWN.com

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - September 12, 2018 at 12:25 pm

Categories: The News   Tags: , , , ,

Remittances jump 13.5pc in July-Aug

KARACHI: Overseas Pakistanis sent around $4 billion remittances during the first two months of this fiscal year, according to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Monday.

The total remittances increased 13.45 per cent to $3.966bn during the July-August period. The central bank said that during August the inflow of workers’ remittances amounted to $2.037bn, which is 5.6pc higher than July and 4.24pc higher than August 2017.

Remittances are second most important contributor to the country’s overall foreign exchange reserves after exports. During FY18, Pakistan’s remittances were equal to total export earnings.

Inflows from US saw a significant jump of 31.5pc, posting the highest increase during first two months of 2018-19 with total inflow at $597m. The United Kingdom, home to a large Pakistani expatriate population, also posted a 24pc jump in total inflows clocking in at $556m during July-Aug period. Furthermore, amongst the Gulf states, inward remittances from the UAE swelled by 15.4pc reaching $894m during the period under review.

In addition to that, remittances from the EU also increased by 8.4pc with total inflows reaching $124m compared to same period last year.

On the declining trend, remittances from Saudi Arabia fell to $903 million down by 1.86pc, whereas those from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries dropping by 7pc to $392m during July-August FY19.

Despite the festive season during the month, August saw a decline in remittances from Saudi Arabia – largest contributor – dropping by $45.5m to $465.5m in August.

Remittances from UAE increased to $461m by $21m in August. Remittances from United States also increased by $57m and by $29m from UK.

Pakistan’s widening current account deficit has increased the country’s dependence on remittances; however, manpower exports to Middle East have dropped significantly during the last two years. Saudi Arabia’s change in policy towards foreign workers, looking to enable the native population, has resulted in loss of jobs for Pakistani workers and in turn declined the overall remittances contribution from the country.

The newly elected government has also asked overseas Pakistanis to send $1,000 per head to fund the construction of dams. This appeal’s effect is likely to be reflected at the end of the first quarter of FY19.

However, the government has yet to come up with measures to address the widening trade and current account deficits. The finance minister has recently said that the country needs $9bn to meet its current account needs.

Published in Dawn, September 11th, 2018

,, ,, ,, ,, ,,


Via DAWN.com

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by PAK NEWS - September 11, 2018 at 4:25 pm

Categories: The News   Tags: , , ,

Next Page »