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PM Shehbaz hints at inking agreement with IMF this month

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PM Shehbaz hints at inking agreement with IMF this month

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday pinned hope that Pakistan and the Intrnational Monetary Fund (IMF) would ink an agreement regarding release of the latest tranche under the ninth review of the bailout programme.   

“We are making serious efforts to come out of tough circumstances,” he said while addressing the inaugural ceremony of Green Line Express train. 

The premier said the government was trying to save even a single penny to prevent economic crisis. The IMF delegation will be visiting Islamabad from January 31 to February 9 to continue discussions regarding the ninth review of the $7 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

He said considering the dire situation of the foreign exchange reserves the government had developed a list of items that needed to be imported based on their necessity. Sharif added that the list included food and medical items. 

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The prime minister emphasized the adoption of austerity at a massive scale to tackle difficult economic problems.

He said the government had set its priority keeping in view its foreign exchange reserves, thus allowing the import of medicine and food as essential items. Sharif said courageous nations stand united while braving the challenges with resilience.

The premier expressed confidence that with dedication and commitment, the country would soon regain its glory.

Commenting on Green Line Express train service, the premier said the foundation laying ceremony of the project was held during his elder brother Nawaz Sharif’s tenure but like other projects, this one also failed to go through.

He regretted that the Green Line project, which was initiated during the tenure of then prime minister Nawaz Sharif, was delayed by the previous government in a mala fide.

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He endorsed the concept of outsourcing Pakistan Railways to make it better equipped and at par with contemporary services.

The prime minister said Main Line-1 (ML-1) railway track was a top priority for the government and mentioned that China was committed to its early completion.

He pointed out that the previous government indulged in baseless accusations of corruption against Chinese companies, and stressed that the coalition government was working on restoring the ties.

The new train service comprising modern coaches imported from China was launched from the Margalla train station, Islamabad.

The prime minister visited various coaches of the train and appreciated the services provided for the travellers to make their journey comfortable.

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The turnaround time of the Green Line is set at 22 hours, which will be reduced gradually.

Addressing the ceremony, Minister for Railways and Aviations Khawaja Saad Rafiq said the ticket would cover breakfast, lunch, hi-tea, and dinner besides wifi. Apart from this, he said, high-quality bedding and utility kits will also be provided to the passengers.

He said around 2,200 passengers would benefit from the train service to be run between Islamabad to Karachi.

He said Pakistan Railways would formulate rules for the approval of the cabinet in the next few days regarding the collection of revenue from its land. He stressed

Speaking on the occasion, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said Pakistan had become the 24th largest economy in the world under the leadership of then prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

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Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said the delay in development projects by the previous government incurred irreparable losses to the country.

— Inaugurates Green Line Express train service —

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday inaugurated Green Line Express train service in the federal capital.

The newly-inaugurated tram will travel between Islamabad and Karachi. 

According to a press release issued by the Pakistan Railways, the Green Line train will start its journey from Margalla station and have stops at Rawalpindi, Chaklala, Lahore, Khanewal, Bahawalpur, Rohri, Hyderabad and Drigh Road on the way. The state-of-the-art train will be operated with new coaches imported from China recently.

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The turnaround time of the Green Line is set at 22 hours which will be reduced gradually. 

On the instructions of Minister for Railways Khwaja Saad Rafiq, breakfast, lunch, hi tea and dinner will be provided to the passengers during the journey in the ticket price.

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NDMA alerts for intense rainfall, thunderstorms from April 17

NDMA alerts for intense rainfall, thunderstorms from April 17

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NDMA alerts for intense rainfall, thunderstorms from April 17

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) as per the latest projections from the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) and multiple weather models, in its advisory has highlighted a series of moderate to intense weather systems to cause rainfall and thunderstorms in the country from April 17th to 29th.

“These weather patterns are anticipated to bring heavy rain, thunderstorms, and hailstorms, posing significant risks to various parts across the country,” said the NDMA news release issued on Wednesday.

The forecast indicated that a weather system would enter Pakistan on April 17th, initiating a period of heavy rainfall and thunderstorms lasting until April 22nd.

“The system will influence Balochistan from April 17th to April 19th, followed by impacts on Punjab and Sindh from April 18th to April 19th. Upper Punjab will experience the effects from April 18th to April 21st, while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) will be affected from April 17th to 22nd April,” the advisory said.

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Following this, a weaker weather system was expected to enter Pakistan on April 23rd, bringing low rainfall and thunderstorms to certain parts of the country until April 24th.

While Balochistan and upper Punjab would experience slight impacts from April 23rd to April 24th, KP, GB, and AJK would also be affected.

However, Sindh was not expected to be impacted during this period.

Subsequently, a strong weather system is forecasted to enter Pakistan on April 25th, bringing heavy rain, thunderstorms, and hailstorms with occasional gaps until April 29th. This system will affect Balochistan from April 25th to April 29th, with intermittent gaps. Sindh will experience impacts on April 25th, 26th, and 28th, while South Punjab will be affected from April 27th to April 28th. Upper Punjab will face the brunt from April 26th to April 29th, while KP will experience effects from 25th to 29th April, potentially impacting GB and AJK from April 25th to April 29th.

The expected rainfall may trigger flash floods in local nullahs of vulnerable areas, including Khuzdar, Ziarat, Zhob, Sherani, Muslim Bagh, Quetta, Pishin, Kech, Panjgur, Gwadar, and Turbat. Flooding may also occur in low-lying areas during the forecast period, particularly in southern western Balochistan.

In the light of these projections, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has issue dinstructions for Provincial Disaster Management Authorities (PDMAs), District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMAs), and other relevant line departments to remain vigilant and prepared to respond to any emergent situations. It is imperative for departments to ensure the pre-placement of machinery and the availability of relevant staff in vulnerable areas.

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Local departments are urged to sensitize residents living along riverbanks and associated nullahs about the expected increase in water flows, and to facilitate timely evacuation of at-risk populations from low-lying and flood-prone areas as per evacuation plans. Additionally, citizens are advised to take extreme precautionary measures, such as staying away from electric poles and weak infrastructure, and refraining from driving or walking in waterways.

Farmers, cattle owners, tourists and travelers are also advised to remain cautious during this period, checking weather and road conditions before traveling, and taking necessary steps to protect crops, livestock, and personal safety.
For further updates and information, citizens are encouraged to stay tuned to local weather forecasts and advisories.

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President summons NA session on April 19

President summons NA session on April 19

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President summons NA session on April 19

President Asif Ali Zardari has summoned the session of the National Assembly on Friday, April 19, 2024 at 10:30 am.

The president summoned the session of National Assembly in exercise of the powers conferred by article 54(1) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

In previous session, Aseefa Bhutto Zardari, daughter of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and President Asif Ali Zardari, took oath as a member of the National Assembly.

National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq administered the oath to Aseefa.

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During the session, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari provided headphones to Aseefa Bhutto Zardari to reduce the noise disturbances as PTI MNAs raised slogans calling for the release of the PTI founder.

Following Aseefa Zardari’s swearing-in, PPP members also chanted slogans in support of the Bhutto family like ‘jiye Bhutto’.  

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President Zardari for strengthening economic, cultural ties with Turkiye

President Zardari for strengthening economic, cultural ties with Turkiye

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President Zardari for strengthening economic, cultural ties with Turkiye

President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday called for further enhancing bilateral cooperation with Turkiye in the areas of trade, economy, education and culture.

The president, talking to Ambassador of Turkiye in Pakistan Dr Mehmet Pacaci, who called on him, said that Turkish companies should benefit from the investment-friendly policies of the country and invest through the Pakistan Stock Exchange.

Welcoming the ambassador, the president said that the people of Pakistan and Turkiye had historic and long-standing ties, adding that the two nations had always supported and stood by each other in difficult times.

President Zardari stated that Pakistan could benefit from the Turkish development experience, especially in the area of infrastructure development.

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In order to promote regional connectivity, he suggested undertaking a joint feasibility study to establish a railway connection between the two brotherly countries. The president also underlined the need for increasing educational and cultural exchanges to further promote people-to-people contacts. He said that Pakistan looked forward to welcoming Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to the 7th High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council session in Pakistan.

President Zardari also expressed his gratitude for President Erdoğan’s congratulatory messages on his election as President of Pakistan as well as at the beginning of Holy Ramazan. He also conveyed his warm greetings and sentiments for the future success of the Turkish president. 

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