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No Imminent Balance of Payments Crisis, ‘IMF Loan Can Be Delayed Till March’

Irshad Salim (Islamabad; Dec 14, 2018) — On Friday, Pakistan received the second $1 billion tranche from Saudi Arabia. The country’s foreign exchange reserves now stand at 9.24 billion, with the third installment from Riyadh expected in January. Pakistan received the first tranche of $1 billion from KSA in November. The Kingdom has also established a credit line worth $3 billion for the sale of petroleum products on credit for three years, which will be reviewed thereafter. Falling international petroleum oil prices have been a blessing for Pakistan’s economy, whichRead More

Crackdown Against Money Laundering Facilitators Moves Forward

Actions being taken to ensure compliance with protocols of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) ISLAMABAD (Dec 14, 2018) — The PTI-led government has made a major move against money laundering facilitators, by launching a countrywide crackdown against officials of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Pakistan Customs, Anti-Narcotic Force (ANF) and other relevant departments. The operation is aimed at nabbing FIA, Pakistan Customs, ANF officials and others within the government involved in terror financing and capital flight as well. “FIA, ANF, Customs, Coast Guards, Naval Intelligence and all law enforcement agenciesRead More

Pakistan Building Fence to Stop Terrorists Incursions, Opium Smuggling From Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD (Dec 12,2018) –Pakistan is building a double fence on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border as high as 12 feet in height along the peaks at elevations above 10-12000 ft range. The 840km fence in Waziristan region of the tribal agencies called FATA will be completed by end of 2019 and cost $483 million–with no help from the US or Afghanistan, and sometimes even while taking fire from Afghan troops and terrorists alike. The fencing is not just to stop terrorists from crossing the border but also the opium smugglers from doingRead More

British Pakistani MP in Race to replace PM Theresa May

LONDON: With British Prime Minister Theresa May badly weakened by her decision to delay a key Brexit vote she would have lost, potential leadership contenders for the Conservative Party are waiting to pounce. If she falls, any Conservative MP elected by the party as leader would automatically become prime minister. British Pakistani Sajid Javid is among the top contenders eyeing for 10 Downing Street. The former investment banker and the son of a Pakistani bus driver, the 49-year-old Javid is the face of a modern, multi-cultural and meritocratic Britain. OnRead More

Russia Now World’s No. 2 in Arms Sales

NEW YORK (Dec 11, 2018) — Russia is now the world’s second-largest arms producer, overtaking Britain and moving behind only the United States, researchers said Monday. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said in a report sales of arms and military services totaled $398.2 billion in 2017. The figure, which excludes China because of a lack of available data, is 2.5 percent higher than it was the previous year. The United States remained the world’s top producer of arms, with $226.6 billion in sales in 2017, the report said. U.S.Read More

Pakistan Navy Unveils State-of-the-Art Survey Ship

ISLAMABAD (Dec 11, 2018) — Pakistan Navy unveiled its state-of-the-art 3,000 ton survey ship in China’s Yang Zong where it was put afloat in River Yangtze. The vessel was made with the joint cooperation of Pakistan and China. It is the most advanced survey ship which will enhance the scope of marine research in the country. The survey ship will also provide services related to operations of water search and locating positions. The ship even in uncommon conditions has the additional capability of carrying out operations, said Chief Naval Overseas Commodore AsafRead More

Overseas Pakistanis Remit 13% More in Last 5 Months

ISLAMABAD (Dec 10, 2018) — Overseas Pakistanis remitted US$ 9.03 billion in the first five months (July to November) of FY19, showing a growth of almost 13% compared with US$ 8.02 billion received during the same period in the preceding year. That’s a $1 billion jump in absolute terms. And if the trend continues until June 2019, the total remittance could exceed $21 billion as compared to $19.3 billion during last fiscal year ending June 2018. The uptick in remittance comes despite the number of workers going abroad for gainfulRead More

Trump May Face Impeachment, Jail Over Hush Money, Say Top Democrats

WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump could face impeachment and jail time if hush money payments reported by his former lawyer are proven to be campaign finance violations, Democratic lawmakers said on Sunday. Court filings on Friday in cases that stemmed from a federal probe into Russian activities during the 2016 presidential election pointed to potential problem areas for Trump, including whether he instructed six-figure payments to two women during the campaign to keep quiet about affairs. Federal prosecutors sought prison time for longtime Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen for payingRead More

Real Estate Around Bilawal House Karachi Purchased Using Laundered Monies

Nearly 84 billion rupees of laundered monies were used to buy out as many as 46 real estate units in and around Bilawal House in Karachi during the period 2008 thru 2014–at that time PPP Chairman Asif Ali Zardari was the President of the country and his party ruled at the Center and in Sindh province. The plots purchases’ revelation was made by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) constituted on directive of the Supreme Court to probe fraudulent transactions and fake accounts, the Daily Times paper reports. During its marathonRead More

OPINION: PTI Scores a B+ For First 100 Days

BILAL LAKHANI: Like the Pakistani batting order, the PTI is off to a tentative start in their first 100 days. Fortunately, the PTI hasn’t lost any early wickets in terms of coalition partners. For PTI supporters who were expecting miracles in the first 100 days, the government is a disappointment. For PTI skeptics, the government appears to be navigating the green titanic away from colliding with the iceberg, also known as the balance-of-payments crisis. On the economy, security and the tabdeeli space, the government has performed reasonably well, given it’sRead More

Pakistan, China Special Services Troops to Hold Joint Military Drill ‘Warrior-VI 2018’

A special forces contingent of People Liberation Army China arrived in Pakistan on Saturday. ISLAMABAD; Dec 8, 2018 — All-weather friends Pakistan and China are holding a joint military drill dubbed ‘Warrior-VI’. Focus of the joint exercise is to share respective experiences in the field of counter-terrorism operations and learn from each other’s experiences. This is sixth joint exercise of the series as part of bilateral military cooperation between both friendly countries. A special forces contingent of People Liberation Army China arrived in Pakistan on Saturday to participate in theRead More

Bahria Town Financial Crisis Deepens After Supreme Court’s Landmark Verdict

The Supreme Court in May found massive illegalities in lands acquired by Real Estate Tycoon Malik Riaz and his firm Bahria Town Ltd. for housing projects in Karachi and Rawalpindi, and declared them illegal; The court also considered the interests of those people (includes overseas Pakistanis) Bahria Town had already sold the land to, and setup financial controls to protect the interests of home-buyers and investors. ISLAMABAD/KARACHI; Dec 8, 2018 — Last night lights of the Bahria Town Karachi (BTK) were turned off due to financial crunch the real estateRead More

Mayor Karachi, 21 Others Indicted in May 12 Carnage Case

KARACHI; Dec 8, 2018 — Mayor Karachi Waseem Akhtar and 21 others were indicted by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) here on Saturday pertaining to the May 12, 2007 riots, 11 years after the incident. The indictments relate to May 12, 2007 tragedy in which over fifty people were killed and more than a hundred injured in attacks on rallies by different political parties and lawyers who had attempted to receive the then deposed chief justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, at Jinnah International Airport in the metropolis. Chaudhry was forced to flyRead More

Japan Seeking 345,000 Foreign Workers to Ease Labor Shortage

Construction workers are particularly in demand as Japan rushes to finish building venues and other infrastructure for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. NEW YORK (Dec 8, 2018) — Japan’s parliament passed a bill early Saturday morning that will create a new foreign worker program to help address labor shortages, opening the country’s doors to blue-collar labors in a mjor policy shift. The new visa program aims to bring in 345,000 blue-color laborers over the next five years. It’s seen as an unavoidable step as the country’s population of about 126 millionRead More

Pakistan Govt. Opens President House, Governor Houses to General Public

Back in October 2015, PM Khan had said that after forming government in the center, his party would hand over the country’s governor’s houses and rest houses to the people instead of reserving them for the ruling class only to reduce burden on the public exchequer. ISLAMABAD (Dec 8, 2018) — The PTI-led government in the Center on Saturday opened the President House in capital Islamabad for the general public as part of its austerity drive and to allow public access to government-owned buildings. PM Imran Khan and his partyRead More

Win or Lose in Key State Polls, Modi’s BJP Seen Losing Ground Before National Vote

PM Modi and his party’s popularity is in doubt as exit polls for elections in five Indian states showed inconclusive projections. NEW DELHI (Dec 7, 2018) — Can Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party retain its Saffron spread which was predicted by The Economist’s EIU last year? May be not. The Hindutva-driven BJP is likely to lose two heartland states while a third is too close to call, exit polls showed on Friday in the final test of popularity before a national election due by May next year. SurveysRead More

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Says He Often had to Prevent Trump From Violating the Law

Trump shot back on Twitter Friday by calling him “dumb as a rock.” NEW YORK (Dec 7, 2018) — Nine months after being fired by President Trump, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has some pretty unflattering things to say about his old boss. Tillerson spoke with CBS News on Thursday and said it was “challenging … to go to work for a man who is pretty undisciplined, doesn’t like to read, doesn’t read briefing reports, doesn’t like to get into the details of a lot of things.” He alsoRead More

China Launches Two Satellites Developed By Saudi Arabia

RIYADH (Dec 7, 2018) — China on Friday successfully sent into space 2 remote sensing satellites made in Saudi Arabia along with 10 other small satellites via a Long March 2D carrier rocket from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern Inner Mongolia region. The satellites, Saudi SAT 5A and Saudi SAT 5B, developed by the Kingdom’s King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) were launched ihours before the launch of a Chinese lunar probe targeting the first soft landing on the far side of the moon. Each weighing 425Read More

10 Narratives By Imran Khan That’s Resonating Inside the Beltway

IRSHAD SALIM — Pakistan’s newly elected Premier Imran Khan may have succeeded in throwing a curve ball inside the Beltway with his narratives and buzzwords the anti status quo thought leaders there have been waiting for to antithesis Afghanistan’s ongoing nightmarish dollars-vs-tradeoffs calculus–and ironically making Trump finds his favorite burger–that is getting out of the war–back on his dinner table. Timing as they say matters, and therefore Khan’s ascension to power appears to sync with the undercurrent wishing list. After more than a trillion Dollar American taxpayers’ money spent onRead More

Dubai Female Police Officers Pull Plane to Guinness Record

DUBAI; Dec 6, 2018 — A group of 77 female police officers in Dubai set a Guinness record when they pulled a 372,142-pound Boeing 777-300ER a distance of over 300 feet. The women, participating the annual Dubai Fitness Challenge, worked together to pull the plane the Guinness-required 328 feet and earned the official world record for heaviest aircraft pulled over 328 feet by a team (female). A Guinness World Records adjudicator was on hand to witness the event and presented a certificate to Maj.-Gen. Abdullah Khalifa Al Merri, commander-in-chief ofRead More