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Some news you may have missed out on part 136.

-PM Imran inaugurates National Science and Technology Park
Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated Pakistan’s first National Science and Technology Park (NSTP) in Islamabad on Monday. The NSTP is set to be the country’s largest innovation and research ecosystem which would accommodate more 40 companies including start-ups, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and other tech companies, said Radio Pakistan,
Addressing the ceremony, the prime minister urged the youth to “achieve greatness” and stressed that they should not be demoralised when faced with setbacks. The park would be located in the vicinity of National University of Science and Technology (NUST), which had earlier secured the approval of the Public-Private Partnership Authority’s (PPPA) Board to initiate the process for its flagship project.
-Pakistan, Qatar to sign trade pacts soon
Pakistan and Qatar have agreed in principle on a preferential trade agreement (PTA) and a free trade agreement (FTA) to enhance bilateral trade. The agreements will soon be signed after necessary formalities.
Pakistan has also offered to establish a plant in Qatar to manufacture footballs for the FIFA World Cup 2022 as well as subsequent football tournaments. Nebras Power, a major investment group in Qatar’s energy sector, has expressed an interest in investing directly in Pakistan’s power sector. The Pakistan’s commerce and energy ministries attended the 5th Pak Qatar Joint Ministerial Commission meeting held in Qatar last month.
-‘Govt to set up biotech economic zone in Jhelum’
Science and Technology Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said on Monday that the government would set up a biotechnology economic zone in Jhelum, which would be the biggest economic zone in South Asia. In an interview with Radio Pakistan, the minister said that the government would establish eight to ten science and technology economic zones within the next three years.
On a query, he said the National Science and Technology Park in Islamabad was the first special economic zone related to technology. He said the park would bring together the academicians, researchers and entrepreneurs so that they can share their experiences and ideas.
-Russian Delegation Visits Pakistan to Confirm Investment in PSM, PIA & Gas Pipeline
Russia is keen to develop its stakes in Pakistan’s economy. For this, a 64-member delegation headed by Minister for Trade and Industries for the Russian Federation, Denis V Manturov, is visiting Pakistan for four days to attend an Inter-Governmental Commission.
According to the latest updates, Russia has shown willingness to help reconstruct Pakistan Steel Mills making it economically viable and play its role in Pakistan’s energy sector. Russia also wants to construct the railway track from Quetta to Taftan. It will offer Sukhoi SuperJet-100 passenger planes to Pakistan for PIA, confirmed senior officials at Economic Affairs Division, ministries of Industries & Production and Commerce. Russia and Pakistan will also figure out the much-delayed North-South gas pipeline project.
While mentioning the Russian offer of SSJ-100 aircraft for PIA, the official said that the said planes will be available on direct purchase and lease to purchase options and can be positioned immediately on wet lease to meet the immediate operational requirements of PIA.
-Pakistan Supports Malaysia’s Muslim-5 Initiative
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has shown Pakistan’s full support for the Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad’s initiative of a collaboration of five Muslim nations, which include Pakistan, Indonesia, Turkey, Qatar, and Malaysia, for socio-economic development in the region.
Qureshi made these remarks while speaking at the second Kuala Lampur Summit Ministerial Meeting in the Doha. Addressing the meeting, Qureshi maintained that the challenges faced by Muslim countries in the field of governance, development, climate change, terrorism, and Islamophobia required a comprehensive response. The foreign minister noted that the ‘juggernaut of globalization’ was causing civilizational and cultural erosion for Muslim Ummah and underscored the need for preventive measures.
-Foreign investors rush into Pakistan, with inflows surging 200% in first half of the year
Pakistan has seen unprecedented inflows of foreign money this year. Global investors bought 1-year bonds worth $642 million in November alone. That is expected to reach a record $3 billion by the end of the fiscal year as investors are lured by high interest rates and promises of economic reform.
According to Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, financial adviser to Prime Minister Imran Khan, foreign direct investment surged 200 percent in the first half of 2019. Stocks have also risen, with the main Karachi stock index up by 13 percent over the past month, making it the best-performing stock exchange of the 94 tracked by Bloomberg.
-Foreign exchange: SBP reserves hit eight-month high at $9.11b
The foreign exchange reserves held by the central bank surged 5% on a weekly basis, hitting an eight-month high, according to data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Thursday.
Earlier, the reserves had spiralled downwards, falling below the $7-billion mark, which raised concern over Pakistan’s ability to meet its financing requirements. However, financial assistance from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and other friendly nations helped shore up the foreign exchange reserves.
On November 29, the foreign currency reserves held by the SBP were recorded at $9,112.9 million, up $430.6 million compared with $8,682.3 million in the previous week. According to SBP data, such levels were last seen on April 26, 2019.
-Economists present sustainable growth framework at SDPI conference
The second day of the three-day International Sustainable Development Conference, organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute, saw some statistical, practical, and policy-oriented suggestions being presented for the improvement of Pakistan’s economy. In the keynote address for the session titled “Pakistan Economy: Stabilisation with a Human Face”, former finance minister Dr Hafeez A Pasha presented a five-pronged strategy to bring Pakistan out of its vicious cycle of economic deterioration.
He started his address by pointing out the findings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) regarding Pakistan’s economy, the policy framework being seen in today’s time from the authorities, as well as underreporting of the actual intensity of the poverty and economic issues by organizations like Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). He said in order to bring improvement to the current deplorable state of the economy, the tax to GDP needs to go up from 11 to 17pc. “Our public debt is exceeding at an alarmingly fast pace even though the law dictates that it should not be more than 60pc. However, the real determinant of the economy will be external debt.”
-World Beating Pakistan Stocks have Juice As Funds To Join Rally
Pakistan's KSE-100 has risen to the highest level in 7 months.
-PSX Surges Past 40,000 Points For the First Time in 10 Months
Pakistan Stock market started the week with a bullish momentum as the market surged above 40,000 points after almost 10 months. Previously the bourse had traded at this level in February 2019.
Pakistani equities closed on a positive note with benchmark KSE-100 index gaining 836 points, closing at 40,124 levels, up 2.08%, as Moody’s affirmed the government of Pakistan’s local and foreign currency long-term issuer and senior unsecured debt ratings at B3. The announcement pushed Pakistan’s stock market above 40,000 points on closing day basis.
The exchange-traded in the green zone throughout the trading session reaching a high of 856 points. Banks, Cement and Other sectors pulled the overall sentiment of the market upward on the back of contraction of trade deficit and the Ministry of Commerce released trade data which revealed that the trade deficit contracted significantly and exports increased by 9.6% in the month of November 2019.
Further: -Foreign investors push into Pakistan’s rupee bonds
-Moody’s changes Pakistan’s outlook from negative to stable
Moody's Investors Service affirmed on Monday Government of Pakistan's local and foreign currency long-term issuer and senior unsecured debt ratings at B3 and changed the outlook to stable from negative. Giving the rationale, Moody said, “The change in outlook to stable is driven by Moody's expectations that the balance of payments dynamics will continue to improve, supported by policy adjustments and currency flexibility."
Back in November, Moody's changed the outlook on the Government of India's ratings to negative from stable and affirmed the Baa2 foreign-currency and local-currency long-term issuer ratings. Moody's also affirmed India's Baa2 local-currency senior unsecured rating and its P-2 other short-term local-currency rating. Meanwhile, talking about Pakistan Moody said that such developments reduce external vulnerability risks, although foreign exchange reserve buffers remain low and will take time to rebuild.
-Cement sales signal recovery in construction industry
The Pakistani cement sector – widely seen as a proxy for home and commercial construction and infrastructure development activity – has seen sales increase by 5% over the first four months of the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020, according to data released by the All Pakistan Cement Manufacturers Association (APCMA), signaling what some analysts believe is at least a temporary recovery in the construction industry. The news came as something of a surprise to market analysts, who had anticipated a continuation of the slump that had appeared to affect the industry over the last several months.
“The surprise rebound can be attributed mainly to the demand from private sector where housing schemes resuming/starting production played a part,” wrote Shahrukh Saleem, a research analyst at AKD Securities, an investment bank, in a note issued to clients on November 4, 2019. The data backs up Saleem’s comments: while export sales were up 17% in the first four months of fiscal year 2020 compared to the same period last year, they account for just 17.4% of total cement sales during that period. The much bigger impact came from domestic sales, particularly in the northern part of the country, which saw a 12% increase during that same period, compared to a 31% decline in the southern part of the country.
-Cement sector posts 10.6pc growth in November
The domestic cement despatches increased 5.11pc to 3.538 million tonnes, while exports surged 43.53pc to 0.808 million tonnes in November 2019. The overall cement despatches grew by 10.61pc to 4.346 million tonnes in Nov 2019, when compared with the same last year. The cement mills based in the northern part of the country despatched 3.241 million tonnes while southern mills despatched 1.105 million tonnes clinker and cement.
Domestic consumption in the north was 2.976 million tonnes while exports were 0.264 million tonnes. Similarly, domestic cement consumption in the south was 0.562 million tonnes while exports stood at 0.544 million tonnes in November.
-Korean investors eager to explore Pakistani market: envoy
South Korean Ambassador to Pakistan Kwak Sung Kyu said on Friday that the investment companies of his country were eager to invest in various sectors of Pakistan. Talking to Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Minister Ali Amin Khan Gandapur In Islamabad, the envoy lauded the measures of the incumbent government regarding investment and economic development.
“Pakistan has a huge potential to become one of the strongest economies of the world, given that it makes consistent economic policies,” he remarked. Both sides discussed in detail bilateral relations between the two countries with particular reference to economic and social cooperation and other issues.
-Samsung, LUMS join hands to accelerate social startups in Pakistan
Samsung Electronics Pakistan and Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) have joined hands to support and empower social startups contributing towards the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through this collaboration, Samsung and LUMS aim to accelerate start-ups delivering on their full entrepreneurial potential and create a positive impact.
The official MoU signing ceremony for the collaboration took place at the National Incubation Centre Lahore (NICL). The MoU was signed by Samsung Pakistan Managing Director Roy Chang and LUMS Vice-Chancellor Dr Arshad Ahmad. Speaking on the occasion, Chang said, “Everything we design and create at Samsung, anticipates human behaviour and solves a problem, clearly. Samsung is determined in its quest for innovation that inspires meaningful human progress and that’s the culture we want to promote through this initiative to contribute towards a more innovation-driven economy and solving key local challenges identified by the United Nations.”
-World’s largest electric vehicles manufacturer BYD all set to enter Pakistan
BYD, the Chinese multinational company and world's largest electric vehicles manufacturer with turnover of $250 billion, is all set to enter Pakistan. The development was announced by Pakistan Electric Vehicles & Parts Manufacturers and Traders Association (PEVPMTA) General Secretary Shaukat Qureshi while talking to local media.
“Toyota, the world auto giant, for the first time signed an agreement on November 7, 2019, to develop Electric Vehicles with BYD, the world's largest electric vehicles manufacturer, with 44 plants around the globe employing 250,000 personals, with turnover of $250 billion," he said. “Scenario will definitely change in Pakistan as well, with the Japanese companies roll out their models by 2024," he added. Qureshi said that the country's auto sector was totally dominated by the Japanese brands, which had yet to come up with a comprehensive response towards EV and its technology. It is pertinent to inform that Pakistan auto sector is dominated by three Japanese automakers i.e. Suzuki, Toyota and Honda.
-Pakistan Records Handsome Growth in Software Consultancy Exports
Pakistan’s IT companies continued to strengthen their niche in software consultancy services as they attracted over $100 million in receipts in first four months of the current financial year 2019-20.
According to the data released by State Bank of Pakistan, the country’s exports in the core field of software consultancy have surged to $129 million during the period of July to October 2019 as compared to $113 million in the same period last financial year, showing a staggering growth of 14.7 percent year-on-year.
The growth in the field of software consultancy is prominent among other areas of IT exports such as telecommunication services, hardware consultancy services and call centers. The overall growth in this field was seen due to the improvement in demand and acceptance of Pakistani companies. The exports of software consultancy have not only grown this year but they have shown an upward trajectory for the past couple of years including the dominating contribution to the overall exports of Pakistan’s ICT sector.
-Revised Pak-China FTA to be implemented from Jan 1
The Ministry of Commerce announced on Monday that the tariff concessions under Phase-II of the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (CPFTA) would be implemented between the governments of Pakistan and China from 1st January 2020. The protocol to amend the CPFTA-II had entered into force on 1st December 2019 through a notification. Pakistan Today had earlier reported that that the revised FTA would be implemented by January 2020.
As per the commerce ministry officials, the CPFTA-II shall immediately eliminate tariffs on 313 tariff lines of Pakistan’s export interest, giving Pakistani exports a preferential treatment, similar to that given to the ASEAN region. These 313 tariff lines cover over $8.7 billion worth of Pakistan’s global export and $64 billon worth of global Chinese imports. Moreover, this would result in 75pc of total trade liberalisation for Pakistan in terms of tariff lines and 92pc in terms of trade volume.
-Civil Govt Expenditure Fell by Rs. 9 Billion in Q1 2019-20: Ministry of Finance
The Civil government’s expenditure has reduced by Rs. 9 billion in the first quarter of the current fiscal year (2019-20) compared to the same period of the last fiscal year (2018-19) claims the Ministry of Finance.
According to the report by the local newspaper, the expenditure of the civil government for the first quarter of the fiscal year (2019-20) has fallen by Rs. 9 billion. They further stated that the recommendations to prioritize PSDP’s spending for completion of ongoing projects will be implemented during the current and next financial year. In order to revamp the entire Public Financial Management System, Finance Division has presented the Public Finance Management (PFM) law which has been approved and enacted.
-Edotco Group to Expand Investment in Pakistan
A delegation from Malaysian Tower Company, edotco Group Sdn. Bhd, led by CEO edotco Group, Suresh Sidhu and Managing Director edotco Pakistan, Arif Hussain met the Foreign Minister to discuss opportunities for future investment in the telecom sector and exchanged ideas on the expansion of business in the country.
The delegation gave an in-depth briefing to the Foreign Minister about the company’s latest ventures in Pakistan and highlighted that edotco Pakistan has long term agreements with all four telecom operators of the country including Jazz, Ufone, Telenor and Zong. edotco Group plans to expand investment in Pakistan from $200 Million to over $350 million.
Being the only independent tower company in the country, edotco brings regional operational strength of 29,900 towers across its footprint combined with experience in rolling out next-generation’ shareable infrastructure like lightweight carbon fiber towers, energy as a service and smart street furniture that support fast and cost-effective 4G rollout for mobile operators.
-Govt All Set to Manufacture SIM and Smart Cards in Pakistan
On the instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the Ministry of Information Technology is all set to manufacture SIM and smart cards locally for the first time in history. In this regard, the ministry has completed its homework and prepared the final design of local SIM cards after taking all relevant stakeholders on board. The said items were earlier imported from China and other countries. MoIT has acquired the technology to manufacture these cards in Pakistan, which would help reduce the imports bill of the telecom sector. The ministry has also directed the telcos to adhere to the quality standards and standardize prices for the consumers.
-Pakistan among top 15 countries reducing extreme poverty: World Bank
Pakistan is among the countries that have substantially reduced extreme poverty in between 2000-2015, states the latest World Bank report. Pakistan and neighboring India are included in the list of top 15 countries along with other sub-Saharan African and a few Asian and Central Asian countries.
According to the data, Pakistan has witnessed a 1.8% decline in extreme poverty in the said period. This implies that nearly 33.8 million have been lifted from extreme poverty in Pakistan. The report claims the extreme poverty rate in Pakistan stood at 28% in 2000.
-Pakistan’s Promise to Hindus Pilgrims: Sharda Temple Corridor
After opening up the Kartarpur Corridor, Pakistan is ready to give a green signal to the Sharda Temple Corridor in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) for Hindu pilgrims in India and across the world.
The idea was initially launched in March this year, but after the successful inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor and its unprecedented success amongst the Sikh community, Pakistan is even more devoted to fulfilling a commitment towards its own religious minorities, and those across the world.
-PIA set to kick off direct flights to US
Amid a marked improvement in the relationship between Pakistan and the US, ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Washington next week, Islamabad has geared up to take direct flights to New York for the first time in the country’s history.
“US security officials visited the Islamabad airport and expressed concern over direct flights to the US, which has been addressed,” revealed Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan at a press conference at the SQMS Auditorium, Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) headquarters on Thursday. “Flights are expected to begin after the upcoming prime minister’s visit to the US,” he said.
-CPEC effect: Taiwanese textile companies may relocate to Pakistan
Being a cheap labour market, Pakistan can transform into an excellent destination for Taiwanese textile companies, which are willing to relocate their units outside Vietnam, said Taiwan Textile Federation President Justin Huang.
“At present, Vietnam is crowded, which causes difficulties for Taiwanese textile firms there, such as labour shortages,” Justin said in an interview with The Express Tribune. “In Pakistan, however, labour issues will not emerge at least for the next 10 years and this is something attractive for us.”
He pointed out that China had invested massively in Pakistan’s infrastructure development projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and stressed that Taiwanese businessmen could take maximum advantage from such investment. Pakistan had a duty-free export agreement with the European Union and in December, the second phase of a free trade agreement (FTA) with China would also become functional, which would prove to be helpful for the Taiwanese investors and trade and industrial development in Pakistan, he said.
-Pakistan Wants to Introduce a Single Tourist Visa for Pakistan & Central Asia
Pakistan wants to introduce a single visa for tourists visiting the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) sub-region, to facilitate tourist movement and increase the likelihood of tourists doing multi-country visits, increasing the average time of stay and spending per tourist.
This has been revealed in the Asian Development Bank (ADB) report “Asian Economic Integration Report 2019-2020, demographic change, productivity, and the role of technology”. The report further maintained that strengthening the intra-subregional ties would also help CAREC “brand” itself better as a future tourist destination for visitors from other countries in Asia, which makes up at least 60% of its market. Pakistan has recently introduced changes to its visa policy — 50 countries are eligible to apply for a visa-on-arrival under the tourist category, while its online visa system is open to 175 countries.
-Treasury bills attract record foreign investment of $713m
Foreign investment in treasury bills reached a new high of $712.8 million in the first four months of this fiscal year. The recent State Bank of Pakistan data indicates investment in government-backed securities has become attractive for foreigners. The financial sector believes that foreign investors’ growing interest in government papers reflects their confidence in the economic reforms being implemented in the country.
-NOV 15th - Trade deficit shrinks 34pc to $7.77bn
The country’s trade deficit fell by 34 per cent in the first four months of current fiscal year led by a paltry growth in exports and a double digit decline in imports of non-essential products.
The data showed trade deficit in the first four months dipped to $7.77 billion from $11.69bn over the corresponding period last year, reflecting a decline of $4.19bn or 33.52 per cent.
The trade deficit has been on the declining trend in the ongoing fiscal year mainly due to government’s corrective measures to slow down imports in order to reduce pressures on foreign exchange reserves and slump in overall demand, data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) showed on Thursday.
-China setting up 19 factories in Gwadar: envoy
Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing has announced that China is setting up 19 factories in Gwadar, saying that the measure will help create job opportunities for Balochistan’s youth. “China seeks to contribute to the development of Balochistan’s mining, agriculture, fisheries and water sectors while the Chinese consulate is easing visa procedure for the provincial business community,” said Jing while talking to journalists in Quetta.
-State Bank eases rules to facilitate exporters
The central bank has relaxed the import and export regimes in an attempt to facilitate exporters and turn Pakistan into an export-led economy in the long run from a heavily import-oriented economy at present. “The central bank has lifted the ban on advance payment of up to $10,000 per invoice for the import of goods and services,” State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Reza Baqir announced while speaking at a press conference on Tuesday.
He also announced that the financing limit had been enhanced for exporters under the subsidised loan schemes including the Export Finance Scheme (EFS) and Long Term Finance Facility (LTFF). “The State Bank will (alone) increase the financing limit by Rs100 billion for the full year,” he said. The government and commercial banks may also increase their financing limits under the subsidised loan schemes in consultation with the central bank.
-PIA’s operational losses cut to half
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Chief Executive Officer Air Marshal Arshad Mahmood Malik has said that monthly operational losses of the national flag carrier have been brought down to Rs1.5 billion as compared to more than Rs3 billion suffered earlier.
“The reduction in operational losses became possible only due to day and night efforts of the PIA team, comprising those officers who have been working in PIA for the past many years,” Malik said during a visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Tuesday. “However, a lot more still needs to be done to deal with PIA’s liabilities as whatever is earned by the airline is mostly spent on debt servicing.”
-Exports to China can grow 20 times: Dawood
Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce, Investment, Industries and Textile Abdul Razak Dawood has said that the second phase of a free trade agreement (FTA) with China is going to be operational from the beginning of December 2019.
“This will help Pakistan to come on a par with Asean states in the Chinese market, providing a huge opportunity in shape of tariff relaxation to the manufacturers, especially the garment sector, to enhance their export volume with the potential to grow 20 times,” he said.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the 35th International Apparel Federation World Fashion Convention, organised by the Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (Prgmea) on Tuesday, Dawood pointed out that garment exports were on an upward trajectory because of the additional market access secured by the government.
-Pakistan to export more goods to China
Pakistan is looking for a wide range of cooperation with China in geographical areas and products, said Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood.
In an interview with the China Economic Net, the adviser said Chinese government had provided Pakistan with an opportunity to export more than just textile, leather and agricultural products and now the country would export chemicals and engineering goods as well.
“We see it as the perfect opportunity to enhance collaboration with Chinese companies,” he told the China Economic Net. “The second phase of Pakistan-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will become operational from the first of December.”
-E-commerce market taking off
Pakistan’s e-commerce market is taking off following an increase in public trust in the online network of buying and selling goods of all types.
Sales of online merchandise in the country increased manifold during the commercial bonanza of November 11 – known as 11.11 or ‘Gyara Gyara’.
“We have seen a 300% rise in orders compared to the previous year,” said Sastaticket CEO Shazil Mehkri in an email reply to a query regarding sales on 11.11. He elaborated that Pakistan’s e-commerce market was moving out of the infancy phase as people were trusting online dealers more than ever. Earlier, there was widespread doubt over the quality of merchandise bought online coupled with the fear of scamming.
-Foreigners invest $678m in debt instruments
Foreigners have continued to step up investment in Pakistan’s debt instruments, mostly in short-term treasury bills (T-bills), and have partly helped strengthen the country’s foreign exchange reserves to over $8 billion at the beginning of November.
The return of stability to the rupee-dollar parity coupled with high rates of return on debt instruments encouraged foreigners to resume investment in Pakistan. They invested a net $678 million in the debt instruments in the past around five months – July-November 2019, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) reported.
-KP School Bag Act 2019 to be presented in provincial assembly soon
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has drafted the ‘Khyber Pakhtunkhwa School Bag Act 2019’ and is expected to soon present its final draft in the provincial assembly. The aim of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa School Bag Act 2019 is to relieve school-going students from carrying heavy schoolbags and if not complied with, a fine worth Rs500,000, as well as other punishments, would be imposed on the institutions violating the law.
The proposed act states that the schoolbag’s weight should not be more than 10 percent of a student’s total weight. Further, all public and private schools would be obligated to provide drawers and desks to their pupils in classes in order to make sure the study materials were kept in the school premises. The act further notes that the use of wooden slates would be mandatory for all students of up to Class 8.
-Yuantong Airlines Starts Weekly Kashgar-Karachi Cargo Route
After successfully launching Kunming-Karachi Air Cargo Route in September, Yountong Airlines has now started regular cargo service between China’s Xinjiang Kashgar and Karachi. The first cargo plane loaded with 9.25 tons of goods, including chilled marine products, landed at Kashgar Airport today. The said route is the first international regular cargo route between Karachi and Kashgar, and the sixth international full cargo flight route by Xinjiang Airport Group this year.
-Sino Tires to Invest $600 Million in the Pakistani Market
A new collaboration is on the cards with Sino-Pak Tire seeking to explore import substitution prospects in the country. The local stakeholder in this venture is MSD Tires and Rubber, which manages a wholesale business in Pakistan.
Officials from this joint-venture have stated that the partnership aims to tap the increasing demand for vehicle tires in the country coupled with its locational edge. The majority shares of this venture are held by the investment bank. The partnership is looking into investing close to $600 million in the Pakistani market and setting up its production plant in either Karachi or Gwadar with a signed agreement between M/s Doublestar, MSD Tyre and Daewoo Pakistan Express Bus Service Limited already in place. They are hoping to produce 6 million tires annually with half for cars and the rest for trucks and heavy-duty vehicles.
-Pakistani Engineering Degrees Are Now Accepted Worldwide: Senator Rukhsana Zuberi
As Pakistan is now a permanent member of the Washington Accord, engineering degrees issued by local higher education institutions are now accepted worldwide. The Washington Accord is an international accreditation agreement that recognizes educational degrees of its signatory countries.
Pakistan Engineering Council has worked hard to gain this membership. It will allow Pakistani engineers to get jobs and admissions around the world without any additional qualifications.
-Pakistan to restore, hand over 400 Hindu temples
Pakistan's federal government has decided to reopen Hindu temples across the country in phases, fulfilling the longstanding demand of the minority Hindus that their places of worship be restored to them. When most Hindus left Pakistan during Partition, many temples were lost to encroachment; even in places where some Hindu families stayed back, local strongmen muscled in and occupied temple land. Many temple complexes ended up being used as a common facility and some even became madrassas.
Now the Pakistan government wants to reclaim temples and hand them over to the Hindu community. The government has decided to reclaim and restore 400 temples to the Hindu citizens of Pakistan.
The process will begin with two historic shrines in Sialkot and Peshawar. Sialkot has a functioning Jagannath Temple and now the 1,000-year-old Shivalaya Teja Singh is set to be restored. Hindus had stopped visiting the shivalaya (shawala) after a mob attack during Babri mosque demolition protests in 1992. In Peshawar, the Pakistani courts had ordered reopening of the Gorakhnath Temple and it's been declared a heritage site.
-NOV 12th - ATC charges Khadim Hussain Rizvi, others in case against violent protests
An anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Lahore on Tuesday formally charged Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi and others in a case concerning the violent protests initiated by TLP following a Supreme Court verdict acquitting Aasia Bibi last year.
ATC-I Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta announced the charges brought against the religio-political leaders. Strict security arrangements had been made for the proceedings.
A total of 26 suspects — including Rizvi and TLP patron-in-chief Pir Afzal Qadri — were issued copies of the challan. Some of the suspects appeared in court today along with counsels Tahir Minhas and Nasir Minhas.
-Govt Recovers Embezzlement Worth Rs. 10.8 Billion in Hazara Motorway Project
Minister for Communication and Postal Services, Murad Saeed, has announced to open Hazara Motorway for the public on November 15. The opening was delayed due to changes in design. Responding to the point of order of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz’s (PML-N) Murtaza Javed Abbasi, the minister said he had requested FIA to look into the causes of adding a suspicious bridge in the Hazara motorway project.
The changes were ordered by a former prime minister, which, according to him, caused the delay and escalated the cost as well. Murad said that he launched an internal inquiry into the matter, which led to recoveries of Rs. 10.8 billion.
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