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Govt requests IMF mission chief to visit Pakistan as dollars dry up

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Govt requests IMF mission chief to visit Pakistan as dollars dry up

The federal government has sent a letter to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), requesting it to send its team to cash-strapped Pakistan next week to complete the ninth review for the release of next tranche of loan pending since September last.

The government, as per reports, has expressed willingness to implement on the four major conditions of the global lender for the revival of the loan programme as the foreign exchange reserves of the South Asian country continues to deplete, putting country’s essential imports at risk and triggering a new wave of inflation.

The four major demands made by the IMF to revive the progrmme, include increase in gas and electricity prices, market-based exchange rate and additional taxes to cover the fiscal deficit.

Secretary Finance Hamed Yaqoob Shaikh has formally written to the IMF mission chief to visit Pakistan next week in a last resort to restart the much-needed loan programme.

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An official told media that the government had completed working to implement the four IMF demands conveyed by the Fund officials in a meeting on the sidelines of the Geneva moot.

Another official said Pakistan was not in position to afford the failure in talks with the global lender as it could adversely affect the country.

The IMF approved seventh and eighth reviews together in August last and released more than $1.1 billion.

Minister of State for Finance Aisha Ghaus Pasha on Thursday told the Senate Standing Committee on Finance that the government wants to continue programme with the IMF in such a way that the common man should not bear the burden of tough decisions to be made as per the Fund’s condition.

Mrs. Pasha said that the government’s economic team was having meetings with the Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to focus on its programme with the IMF. She said the premier was not in favor of taking tax measures across the board that could put an extra burden on the poor and common people.

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To a question, she did not give any date when to start talks with the IMF team but she said that the government was firm to go with the programme after having a detailed workout. She said the government would try to convince the IMF about the worst situation in Pakistan after the disastrous floods last year. “The people are already suffering due to the disastrous flooding and they are not in a position to afford any further measures”.

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Election date will alleviate uncertainty: Kaira

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Election date will alleviate uncertainty: Kaira

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Qamar Zaman Kaira emphasised that providing a specific date by the Election Commission for general elections would help alleviate the prevailing uncertainty.

Kaira reiterated that the PPP firmly upholds its constitutional mandate to hold elections and believes it is essential for stability.

Furthermore, he clarified that the issue of a level playing field is distinct from this matter and should be addressed separately. 

It is to be recalled that PPP co-chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had earlier requested the Election Commission (ECP) to announce a date for polls in the country.

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Solangi for eliminating extremism, prejudices from society

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Solangi for eliminating extremism, prejudices from society

Federal Caretaker Minister for Information and Broadcasting Murtaza Solangi said Thursday that the elimination of extremism and all types of prejudices was not only part of Islamic religious norms and Islamic history, but it was also a cornerstone of the Pakistan ideology.

In his speech at a peace festival here, the minister said that the National Counter-Terrorism Authority had taken important steps to eliminate extremism and terrorism from society.

Solangi said that extremism was one of the elements that destroyed peace and violence which bred terrorism.

The minister said that Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had highlighted the rights of minorities in his speech of August 11, 1947. He said that Islam also taught kindness to humanity, irrespective of caste and creed.

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Solangi said that anti-peace forces wanted to weaken the power of Pakistan by targeting minorities as diversity was Pakistan’s strength. “All the people of the state of Pakistan enjoyed equal rights.”

The minister said the promotion and protection of minorities’ rights on the principle of equality was a major weapon against extremism. He said that time had come to eliminate all types of prejudices from society, as it was one aspect of the ideology of the creation of Pakistan.

The minister also recalled that 22 years ago in 2001, the United Nations had announced to celebrate the International Day of Peace on September 21 every year. In 2023, he added, 75 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights would also be marked which was an important milestone in itself.

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Captain Safdar acquitted of sedition, MPO violation charges

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Captain Safdar acquitted of sedition, MPO violation charges

A district court on Thursday acquitted Captain (r) Muhammad Safdar, the son-in-law of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, in two cases involving charges of sedition, criminal intimidation and violation of the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO).

Judicial Magistrate Bilal Muneer Warraich pronounced the judgment which had been reserved on the previous hearing.

Advocates Farhad Ali Shah and Haroon Bhutta appeared before the court on behalf of their client Captain (r) Safdar.

Two FIRs had been registered with the Islampura police station against Safdar under different charges, including the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) and 124-A & 506 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

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