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PM vows tough measures to tackle economic challenges, protect vulnerable

PM vows tough measures to tackle economic challenges, protect vulnerable

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PM vows tough measures to tackle economic challenges, protect vulnerable

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif stated on Thursday that the government was poised to make tough economic decisions to navigate the country out of crisis, while assuring to safeguard the interests of the downtrodden segments of society.

The premier was addressing a meeting of the apex committee of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), attended by Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur, Balochistan Chief Minister Sarfraz Bugti, Army Chief General Asim Munir and other relevant officials from across the country.

PM Shehbaz stated that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had concluded the review for the issuance of the last tranche of $1.1 billion, which was anticipated to be received by next month.

He said that the burden of these measures would primarily fall on the wealthy and elite, with safeguards in place to protect the interests of the poor and vulnerable.

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The premier stated that Pakistan aimed to initiate another programme with the IMF for a period of three years, during which the government would undertake strict measures to implement deep-rooted structural reforms in the country.

“With these reforms, we will gradually break the begging bowl and emerge from the debt trap,” he added.

The prime minister called for the support of all political parties and provincial governments to successfully implement the agenda of macroeconomic stability in the country.

He underscored the necessity of collaboration, stating, “For this, we will have to work together. With the support of all the provinces, we will collectively resolve all the challenges and difficulties faced by the country.”

Shehbaz highlighted the significance of the presence of chief ministers of all provincial governments, the army chief and other relevant officials from across the country, conveying a clear message to the nation that they had assembled for the cause of the country’s development, prosperity and integrity.

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He mentioned that the SIFC was established in June 2023 to eliminate bottlenecks in the investment process, and since then, nine meetings of the apex committee had been convened, along with more than 200 relevant meetings. Consequently, numerous important decisions had been taken and implemented under the Council’s auspices.

The premier noted that when the PDM government assumed office in 2022, Pakistan was on the brink of bankruptcy, but all coalition partners decided to save the country from default by putting their politics at stake.

Shehbaz lamented the drain of a significant portion of the country’s resources due to corruption, saying that while this year’s tax collection target was Rs9 trillion, its potential exceeded Rs1.3 trillion.

Similarly, he added, tax cases worth Rs2.7 trillion were pending resolution in tribunals or courts, which needed urgent attention.

PM Shehbaz highlighted that annual power theft in the country amounted to around Rs400 billion, while the combined circular debt of electricity and gas surpassed Rs5 trillion.

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Regarding the achievements of the interim government under the SIFC, the premier stated that due to measures against power theft, the caretaker setup saved Rs87 billion.

Strict measures were also implemented to curb smuggling and introduce reforms in the land information system, he noted, while adding that the privatisation process of Heavy Mechanical Complex (HMC) was successfully concluded.

PM Shehbaz accentuated the substantial losses incurred annually by state-owned enterprises, citing the example of PIA, which alone owed debts worth Rs825 billion.

Likewise, he said, the interim government signed several significant agreements with different countries to attract investment, including a $10 billion agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

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Fazl urges cooperation among opposition parties amid governance concerns

Fazl urges cooperation among opposition parties amid governance concerns

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Fazl urges cooperation among opposition parties amid governance concerns

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, while expressing concerns over the dismal state of governance and democratic institutions, stressed the importance of fostering political cooperation among opposition parties on Wednesday.

Fazl, during a meeting with a PTI delegation, highlighted the urgency of collective action among opposition parties to address the challenges of what he described as a decline in democracy, waning relevance of parliament and the diminishing significance of the constitution.

Speaking to media alongside PTI leaders Omar Ayub and Asad Qaiser after the meeting, Fazl emphasised the need for political cooperation among opposition parties, noting that there was no disagreement on that.

He underscored the necessity of dialogue in today’s environment to eliminate bitterness, stating, “If we cannot end differences, we can soften attitudes.”

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Expressing similar views, Omar Ayub, the opposition leader in the National Assembly, said they had a useful conversation with Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who welcomed them wholeheartedly. He affirmed that these talks would continue in the future.

Ayub vowed to stand for the supremacy of the constitution, announcing that their meetings and conventions would be held all over Pakistan.

Ayub highlighted the link between democracy and investment, asserting that investment would only come when democracy flourishes.

He also condemned the recent police attack on the party secretariat.

Addressing the media, PTI leader Asad Qaiser said the country had assumed the form of a public limited company now.

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He said that during the meeting with the JUI-F chief, they also discussed the wheat crisis issue in Punjab.

Qaiser emphasised the need for opposition parties to unite for the supremacy of the constitution and law, observing that the prevailing law of the jungle in the country must end.

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Imran Khan requests personal appearance in NAB amendment case hearing

Imran Khan requests personal appearance in NAB amendment case hearing

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Imran Khan requests personal appearance in NAB amendment case hearing

Imran Khan, the incarcerated founder of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, has filed a request with the Supreme Court seeking personal appearance in connection with the National Accountability (NAB) Ordinance 1999 amendment case, it is learned.

According to details, the former prime minister has addressed the letter to Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa requesting permission for personal appearance on the next hearing on May 30.

Khan put his signatures on the letter and gave it to the Adiala Jail administration for submission to the apex court.

The court had, during the previous hearing on May 17, issued orders for presenting the PTI founder through video link on the next hearing scheduled for May 30.

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The PTI founder did not get an opportunity to advance arguments during the proceedings on May 17.

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CM Maryam pays surprise visit to Holy Family Hospital

CM Maryam pays surprise visit to Holy Family Hospital

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CM Maryam pays surprise visit to Holy Family Hospital

Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz has paid a surprise visit to the Holy Family Hospital here.

The chief minister visited various wards of the hospital, interacted with patients, inquired about the facilities and provision of medicines at the hospital.

Chief Minister Maryam expressed anger at low wages of labourers working at under-construction block of the hospital and directed the authorities concerned to raise their wages as per the law.

Later, she was briefed about the revamping project of the Hospital. She directed the hospital administration to complete construction of new block by June end. 

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