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Some news you may have missed out on part 134.
-Rupee continues to recover, gains Rs4.16 in four months The Pakistani rupee has maintained a gradual uptrend against the US dollar since the beginning of current fiscal year in July and is anticipated to gain more ground in the remaining eight months amid expectations of increase in foreign currency inflows. The rupee gradually strengthened Rs4.16 or 2.60% in the past around four months to Rs155.88 to the US dollar in the inter-bank market on Friday, according to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). “The rupee may recover to 145 to the greenback by June 30, 2020,” Forex Association of Pakistan (FAP) President Malik Bostan projected while talking to The Express Tribune. Further: -In a positive development, Pakistani Rupee hits highest level of four months against US dollar The Pakistani rupee has shown recovery against the US dollar as the US currency reached the lowest level in four months. -ExxonMobil to help build LNG terminal in Pakistan After getting a liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply contract from private-sector consumers, US energy giant ExxonMobil is planning to build the third LNG terminal in Karachi as a joint-venture partner. Some time ago, ExxonMobil, in collaboration with Pakistan’s exploration and production companies, drilled an offshore well to search for hydrocarbon reserves in the Arabian Sea. However, the effort could not prove successful. Now, in a new venture with Energas consortium, the US firm is going to invest in setting up an LNG terminal in Pakistan. -Pakistan's Hindu community celebrates Diwali today in a renovated temple reopened by the Pakistan government after 72 years he country’s Hindu community is celebrating the annual religious festival of Diwali. The religious festivities are expected to take place in Shawala Teja Singh Temple, located in Sialkot, after 72 years. All preparations for the upcoming festival have been completed. The festival of Diwali is being seen as more of a cultural than a religious one as people from other faiths will celebrate alongside members of the Hindu community. The temple, where the festivities will take place, was closed down in 1947. The Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) and certain members of the Hindu community decided to open the temple a few months ago, after which the renewal and renovation work had begun. Now, for the first time, this temple is going to celebrate a religious ceremony. -Tax Returns Filed Per Day in 2019 Have Increased by 127 Percent: FBR Chairman Federal Board of Revenue’s (FBR) Chairman Syed Shabbar Zaidi has announced that on average, tax returns filed per day in 2019 have risen by 127 percent compared to last year. In a Twitter post, Zaidi shared details of the tax returns filed so far. As per the records, the number of tax returns filed in 2019 till October 25 stands at 918,027, as compared to 585,209 tax returns filed in the same period last year. Zaidi said that as of November, the FBR will impose strict measures against unauthorized interactions and harassement between its staff and the business community. The business community is suggested to report to FBR if any person contacts them through any manner without proper authorization. -Pakistan, Nepal agree to enhance trade ties President Dr. Arif Alvi on Saturday held a meeting with the Nepal’s Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli on the sidelines of 18th Non Aligned Movement Summit in Baku, ARY News reported. According to a statement issued by the ministry, both the leaders affirmed to enhance trade ties between the two countries and expressed their desire to further strengthen the bonds of friendship. Matters of mutual interest, bilateral relations, regional peace, grave human rights violations and humanitarian crisis in occupied Kashmir and other issues were came under discussion in the meeting. Speaking on the occasion, President Alvi briefed the Nepalese prime minister on Indian illegal actions in occupied Kashmir. He expressed hope that Nepal will play its role as SAARC chair, for strengthening peace and stability in the region. -CPEC enters into 2nd phase: Poverty, agriculture, B2B initiatives prime focus: Khusro Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Reform Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtyar Wednesday said the CPEC has now entered into its second phase with focus on poverty alleviation, agriculture and B2B industrial cooperation. “The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government's economic reform measures will strengthen the country's economy as the investors' confidence is rebounding due to corrective measures," the minister expressed these views while talking to Australian High Commissioner Dr Geoffrey Shaw who called on him on Wednesday. Secretary Planning Zafar Hasan was also present in the meeting. While discussing bilateral relations and foreign investment in various sectors in Pakistan especially in Gwadar, the minister said that ongoing phase of CPEC will bring about socioeconomic benefits for the welfare of the people. He said that CPEC offers enormous potential to boost national economy and reduce poverty. -Pakistan's Defence Exports have reached USD 212.6 MILLION IN 2018-2019 According to the Pakistan Ministry of Defence Production’s (MoDP) “First Year Performance Report,” the country had registered $212.6 million US in defence exports from August 2018 to August 2019. Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) booked the highest value at $184.38 million US, which was followed by Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) at $7.13 million US and Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT) at $1.3 million US. In addition, private sector firms booked $19.36 million US in sales. No additional breakdowns were provided by the MoDP. It is likely that PAC’s exports were fueled by co-production work for FC-1/JF-17 sales to Myanmar and/or Nigeria. Though an agreement was signed with Turkey for the sale of 52 Super Mushshak basic trainers, it is unclear if PAC has started manufacturing these aircraft. -DRAP to launch countrywide drive against substandard, spurious medicines The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) is launching a countrywide campaign against substandard medicines, the PM’s Special Assistant on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza said while addressing the federal and provincial drug inspectors in Islamabad on Thursday. He said a crackdown is being launched throughout the country to eradicate the menace of unregistered, spurious and sub-standard medicine. In addition to medicine quality, he added, DRAP will also take stern action against violation of fixed prices of medicines. -Foreign exchange: SBP reserves increase $79m to $7.89b The foreign exchange reserves held by the central bank increased 1.14% on a weekly basis, 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 October 18, the foreign currency reserves held by the SBP were recorded at $7,892.7 million, up $79 million compared with $7,813.7 million in the previous week. The report cited no reason for the increase in reserves, which stood below the $8-billion mark. -Ease of business: Pakistan up 28 places on World Bank index Pakistan has jumped up 28 places on the World Bank’s (WB) Ease of Doing Business Index and secured a place among the top 10 countries with the most improved business climate – a development that will greatly improve Islamabad’s image abroad, Pakistan carried out six reforms that helped improving its ranking from 136 to 108, according to the WB’s annual flagship report, ‘Ease of Doing Business 2020’, released on Thursday. It turned out to be the sixth global reformer and first in South Asia that brought ease in doing business in the last one year. The fewer are the regulations the better is the ranking on the index. The key to attain perfection is to cut the bureaucracy hindering business activities in the name of various regulations and procedures. -CM approves Rs 500m for Punjab Housing & Town Planning Agency Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has given approval of Rs 500 million for Punjab Housing & Town Planning Agency. He gave approval while presiding over a high-level meeting at CM Office here on Monday. During the meeting progress on Naya Pakistan Housing Project for low-income persons was reviewed and detailed briefing was also given to the participants on Naya Pakistan Housing strategy. While addressing the meeting, Usman Buzdar said that obstacles should be removed in order to ensure completion of Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme and financial conditions of common man should be kept in mind while chalking out housing policy of the project. All out attention should be paid while constructing small houses in the province, he added. It has also been decided during the meeting to launch rural housing project in 17 model villages. -KSE 100 gains 204 points amid improved sentiments The benchmark KSE 100 Index depicted remarkable progress as it gained around 204 points and concluded at 33,861-level.It was a busy start to the week at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) with earnings season hitting its peak, while volumes remained at par with previous weeks’ average. Biggest single day investment in treasury bills in the previous week of estimated US $87.5 million, increasing total investment to US$440 million since July 2019 was the major rally point in the market sentiments. The bourse recorded an intraday low of 33,572.36 soon after the commencement of the session. However, after regaining the momentum, the index marked its day’s high at 34,008.35 adding 350.89 points. It settled higher by 204.13 points at 33,861.59. The KMI 30 Index accumulated 386.53 points to settle at 55,155.92, while the KSE All Share Index managed to gain 86.13 points, ending at 24,543.78. -Sindh to reserve 0.5% job quota for transgender persons The Sindh Cabinet on Wednesday agreed to reserve 0.5 per cent quota in government jobs for transgender persons. “I want to bring transgender people into the mainstream,” said Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah during the cabinet meeting. “We want to make them an asset for our society.” CM Murad congratulated the transgender community on behalf of the cabinet and advised them to improve their education. Around 41,000 positions are vacant in different government departments across Sindh out of which 206 will be given to transgender people. A spokesperson from the chief minister’s house stated that out of the 41,000 available jobs 16,000 positions will be filled this fiscal year. Rest of the positions will be filled in the period of next three years. -Malaysia's Mahathir stands by Kashmir comments despite India palm oil boycott Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Tuesday he would not retract his criticism of New Delhi’s actions in occupied Kashmir despite Indian traders calling for an unprecedented boycott of Malaysian palm oil. The impasse could exacerbate what Mahathir described as a trade war between the world’s second biggest producer and exporter of the commodity and its biggest buyer so far this year. India’s top vegetable oil trade body on Monday asked its members to stop buying Malaysian palm oil after Mahathir said at the United Nations General Assembly last month that India had “invaded and occupied” Kashmir. -“World’s two major companies setting up solar panel plants in Pakistan” Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry announced on Monday that the world’s two major solar panel firms will establish their plants in Pakistan. The minister tweeted saying “good news gets lost in political plays, yet I am very happy that the world’s two major companies are setting up solar panel’s plants in Pakistan.” Chaudhry added that China’s second-largest Lithium battery producer will also set up its workshop in Pakistan. The Lithium battery-powered buses will also be manufactured in Pakistan, the tweet further said. The Minister for Science and Technology was recently on a visit to Beijing where he met various Chinese officials and the country’s business leaders. -Pakistan Navy organizes free medical camp in Balochistan Navy organized a free medical camp in the village Dam of Balochistan in collaboration with Sahil and Ulfat welfare foundations. According to the spokesperson of Pakistan Navy, specialist doctors of surgical, medical, skin, gynecology, child and general medically inspected patients at the camp. Over 700 patients were provided with free medical treatment, medicines and ordinary surgical facilities. -Lahore to get Tram service soon Citizens of Lahore are getting a modern-day tram service soon, based on the famous British-era tram service. In this regard, the Punjab Transport Department has inked an agreement with CRSC International, a Chinese company specializing in rail transportation control systems, and Inkon Group of the Czech Republic. The development of the project is divided into several phases. In the first phase, a 35 km track will be constructed on Canal Road, Lahore. Up to 50 trams will run on this track. Once operational, the trams will be able to carry 35,000 passengers in 1 hour. The trams will be powered through electricity and batteries. A single tram will have a service life of around 40 years. 2 tram depots will be constructed at different locations as well. -10 Pakistani Universities Ranked Among the World’s Best in ‘University Impact Rankings 2019’ Ten Pakistani universities have been ranked among the top universities in the world in the Times Higher Education (THE)’s list. THE is a weekly UK-based magazine that issues its annual list of world’s most influential universities. The list called ‘University Impact Rankings 2019’ has included 10 Pakistani varsities in different categories, including Gender Equality, Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education, Decent Work, Economic Growth, and others. According to the magazine, the rankings assess universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. -PM Imran Khan inaugurates China-Hub Power Generation Plant in Balochistan Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan has said that Pakistan is moving forward through China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects. Addressing inaugural ceremony of China Hub Power Generation Plant in Balochistan, he said this is the first joint project under the CPEC umbrella and he is very happy after inaugurating it. “The government will facilitate joint collaboration between Pakistani and Chinese businesses in various sectors.”, he said. PM Imran Khan said with the help of coal reserves in Thar, Pakistan can generate huge amount of electricity, which can be enough for at least 100 years. -Punjab Forest Department develops ‘record keeping’ mechanism Department of Forest Punjab is managing 1.6 million acres of forest land area – 67 per cent of the entire forest land area in Punjab – under the Geographic Information System (GIS), Pakistan Today learnt reliably on Friday. The program enabled the forests department to ensure sound management and introduce state of the art record-keeping and mapping methods. ‘Development of GIS-Based Forest Management Information System in Punjab’ was approved at PC-1 with a cost of Rs75 million and a gestation period of 36 months (2016-2019) has allowed for transfer of all forest resources and inventories into IT-based inventory systems and achieved extensive field surveys, rapid data collection and its processing for development of the forestry sector on efficient lines. -Hutchison Port Holdings announces $240m investment in Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has welcomed $240 million foreign investment from Hutchison Port Holdings, a Hong Kong-based port operator. A delegation of Hutchison Port Holdings, led by its Group Managing Director Eric Ip, called on Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday. Other delegation members included HPH Middle East & Africa Managing Director Andy Tsoi and Middle East & Africa Business Director Eric Ng. Maritime Affairs Minister Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, Adviser to PM on Commerce Abdul Razzaq Dawood, Special Assistant to PM on Overseas Pakistanis Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, Ambassador-at-Large for Foreign Investment Ali Jehangir Siddiqui and Board of Investment Chairman Zubair Haider Gilani were also present on the occasion. Group Managing Director Eric Ip apprised the prime minister of Hutchison’s fresh investment into Pakistan approximating $240 million which will enhance the new container terminal capacity at the Karachi Port, and increase Hutchison Ports’ total investment in Pakistan to $1 billion. -Punjab's tax collection jumps 44% Punjab’s tax collection registered a 44% growth to Rs77 billion in first quarter of the ongoing fiscal year compared to the corresponding period of previous year, despite tough conditions of the federal government for the provinces to get a share in the federal divisible pool of resources. Punjab Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht disclosed this at a review meeting of the Finance Department on Monday. The meeting was briefed that despite the financial backlog left by the previous government, the current government gave a surplus budget of Rs233 billion in order to meet financial requirements of the federal government to comply with conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan programme. -‘SECP recognised as 7th most effective regulator in world’ The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has been recognised as the “7th most effective regulator” by the World Economic Forum in its ‘Global Competitiveness Report-2019’. “Pakistan was ranked as the 52nd most dynamic economy in the world. The country secured this by improving 15 points from last year, as it stood at 67th in 2018,” said a statement issued by Mishal Pakistan, Country Partner at WEF’s Institute of the Future of Economic Progress System Initiative, on Wednesday. “The progress of Pakistan’s competitiveness was due to the achievements made during the last 12 months.” The most effective improvements were made due to the initiative and strategies adopted by the apex regulator for the corporate sector and the capital markets; supervision and regulation of insurance, non-banking financial companies and private pension schemes. The SECP improved Pakistan’s competitiveness rankings by improving the “number of days to start a business”, where Pakistan was ranked at the 90th position compared with 96th in 2018. -Pakistan China bilateral trade crosses $19 billion, highest ever in history Pakistan Ambassador to China , Naghmana Hashmi has said the bilateral trade volume between Pakistan and China has now touched US $ 19.08 billion and both countries aimed to raise it further. “The bilateral trade volume between Pakistan and China has now touched US$ 19.08. We aim to raise it further,” Ambassador Hashmi said joint ventures in defence production have led to the manufacture of the MBT 2000 Al-Khalid Tank and JF-17 Thunder, a fighter aircraft. “On the diplomatic front, the two countries are committed to protecting and promoting multilateralism and upholding the United Nations (UN)Charter, while our cooperation has extended to science and technology, socioeconomic sectors and nuclear cooperation for peaceful purposes,” she added. -Foreign Company Agrees to Drop $6 Billion Penalty, Re-Invest in Reko Diq: Reports The International Center of Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) had slapped the country with a $6 billion penalty for revoking the contract without prior knowledge back in 2009. Soon after the development, the Prime Minister had empowered his financial team to contact the executives of the Tethyan Copper Company (TCC) to reach an out-of-court settlement and avoid the penalty. Reportedly, after the Pakistan authority’s approach, the company has not only agreed to take back the penalty but has also agreed to invest in the project again. As per media reports, PM Imran Khan contacted the TCC management and discussed the prospects of the matter. He assured the company his full support if they wanted to revise the investment plan for the project. The company will reportedly withdraw its appeal from the ICSID, while Pakistan will compensate for their damages due to the cancelation of the contract. -Current account deficit shrinks massive 64pc The country’s current account deficit (cad) in the first quarter of current fiscal year declined by a huge 64 per cent mainly on the back of a 21pc reduction in the imports bill. The State Bank’s latest data issued on Friday showed the current account deficit for July-September FY20 clocked in at $1.548 billion compared to $4.287bn in the same period last fiscal year; a decline of $2.739bn. The reduced current account deficit is a positive omen for the government, which is struggling with slow economic growth and high inflation. However, despite massive decline in rupee’s value, the country’s exports have failed to register any noticeable increase during the period. -Food imports down 24pc, exports up 14pc in Q1 FY20 Food group imports into the country during the first quarter of the current financial year (July-Sept 2019-20) decreased considerably by 24.7pc, whereas exports increased by 13.98pc compared with the corresponding period of last year. The import of food commodities into the country during the period under review came down from $1.45 billion to $1 billion, whereas the exports increased from $864 million to $984.7 million, according to latest data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). -Chinese Smartphone Company Realme to build mobile phone manufacturing factory in Pakistan Chinese company Realme's Director of Marketing in Pakistan Mr He Shunzi in an interview disclosed that Realme is planning to set up the mobile phone manufacturing factory in Pakistan. He told that company is inspecting locations in Islamabad, Peshawar, and Faisalabad Industrial Estate for suitable land. Pakistani mobile market offers guaranteed capital as Realme ranked top five android brands in Pakistan in less than nine months, capturing 8% of total market share, he added. -Chinese Coal Giant Wants to Convert Thar’s Coal to Diesel China’s Shenhua Ningxia Coal Industry Group will help convert Thar’s coal into oil and the talks between the two parties are underway. The Shenhua Ningxia Coal Industry Group is a subsidiary of China’s biggest coal producer, the Shenhua Group and the company already has the world’s largest plant for converting coal into diesel, with an annual production capacity of 4 million tons in Ningxia in its portfolio. The agreement, if signed, will be a ‘game-changer’ for Pakistan, believes Adviser to Prime Minister on Petroleum Nadeem Babar, who accompanied Imran Khan on his recent visit to China. The Pakistani delegation held talks with the Shenhua Group during the trip: -In a positive development, Pakistan projected among top 20 rising economic growth engines of the World Pakistan projected among 20 top rising economic growth engines of the World that would dominate the global growth in next 5 years. Pakistan has been projected as one of 20 countries that will dominate global growth in five years time in 2024, an assessment made by Bloomberg using data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). -In a positive development, Pakistan textile exports register increase Textile exports from the country increased by 2.95pc during the first quarter of the current fiscal year (July-Sept FY20) compared with the corresponding period of the last fiscal year. The textile exports during the period under review were recorded at $3,371.974 million as against the exports of $3,275.303 million during July-September 2018-19, according to latest data by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). The textile commodities that contributed to the positive growth included raw cotton, exports of which grew by 53.65pc, from $7.047 million to $10.828 million. Similarly, the exports of yarn (other than cotton yarn) increased by 21.95pc, from $7.759 million last year to $9.462 million, while that of knitwear surged by 11.14pc, from $701.393 million to $779.548 million. -Kartarpur Corridor will open to public on November 9: PM Imran Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday announced that Pakistan will inaugurate the Kartarpur Corridor on November 9. The premier’s announcement came via a Facebook post in which he said that construction work on the Pakistani side had entered the final stage. “Pakistan is all set to open its doors for Sikhs from all across the globe,” he wrote. “World’s largest Gurdwara will be visited by Sikhs from across India and other parts of the world,” he said. -'$1.2b penalty in Karkey case likely to be waived' Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and senior lawyer Babar Awan has said that the $1.2 billion penalty that Pakistan has to pay to Turkey’s Karkey rental power plant is likely to be waived. “International institutions, through high-level backdoor contacts, have agreed to waive off the penalty. This is very good news for Pakistan,” said Awan while addressing the media on Friday. “International institutions have shown their trust in Prime Minister Imran Khan,” he added. -Punjab Govt to Introduce a Unified Tax Collection System Punjab government is contemplating the introduction of a unified tax collection system in the province. The unified system will streamline the tax collection process and facilitate the taxpayers. At the moment, Punjab Revenue Department, Excise and Taxation Department, and local administrations collect taxes in Punjab. On Sunday, Finance Minister of Punjab, Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht, headed a meeting of Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA). Bakht said that a special tax management unit will be set up at the Punjab finance department that will unify tax collection all across the country. -PM To Launch Clean Green Pakistan Index for Multiple Cities Prime Minister’s Adviser on Climate Change, Malik Amin Aslam, said that Imran Khan will launch the Clean Green Pakistan Index (CGPI) at a grand launching ceremony on October 30. The initiative is aimed at introducing competition among cities on various indicators, including public access to clean drinking water, safe sanitation, effective solid waste management, and tree plantation. The prime minister will announce a six-month competition among 19 cities of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces, he added. The adviser said that after six months, these cities will be ranked again and those with prominent progress will be rewarded with special federal and provincial government funds and more cities will be joining the competition. -PM Khan Will Lay The Foundation of Baba Guru Nanak University on Oct. 28 Prime Minister Imran Khan is going to lay the foundation stone of Baba Guru Nanak University on October 28. The establishment of this university in Nankana Sahib was announced earlier this year when PM Khan was in the town for a Spring Tree Plantation Campaign. -Sindh govt invites bids for Dhabeji SEZ The Sindh government has launched the well-connected Dhabeji Special Economic Zone in district Thatta near Port Qasim, according to a statement issued on Monday. In this connection, the Sindh Economic Zones Management Company (SEZMC), being the provincial SEZ custodian, has invited proposals for the development and operation of Dhabeji project through an advertisement published in leading national and international newspapers. Dhabeji SEZ was highlighted in the recent meeting of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Joint Working Group on Industrial Cooperation. The senior officials of China’s National Development Reforms Commission (NDRC) appreciated the Sindh government on the progress made so far. The Sindh government launched the project through an international competitive bidding process as a build-up to the upcoming 10th Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) meeting between China and Pakistan, which would be held next month. -Rice exports surge 51pc in first quarter FY20 Rice exports from the country during the first quarter of the financial year 2019-20 grew by 50.76pc as compared to the corresponding period last year. During the July-September period, about 839,356 metric tonnes of rice, worth $470.584 million, were exported as compared the exports of 551.5,86 metric tonnes, valuing $312.147 million, during the same period of FY19. According to data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the exports of basmati rice increased by 47.29pc, as 212,873 metric tonnes of basmati rice ($194.669 million) were exported during the first quarter of FY20, as compared the 127,669 metric tonnes ($132.166 million) in the same period of last year. Meanwhile, 34,090 metric tonnes of fish and fish preparations worth $79.549 million were also exported in the period under review as compared to the exports of 25,859 metric tonnes valuing $67.294 million during the same period of last year.
-Pakistan to host ‘AdAsia – Asian Advertising Congress’ this year In a logo unveiling ceremony held at Faletti’s Hotel Lahore, on Sunday, it was revealed that AdAsia 2019 —Asian Advertising Congress is going to be held in Pakistan this year. AdAsia is the largest and most prestigious advertising congress in Asia, organized bi-annually by the Asian Federation of Advertising Associations (AFAA). The AdAsia 2019 Congress will be held in Lahore at the Lahore International Expo Centre from December 3 to 5. The theme for the Congress is ‘Celebrasian: Celebration of Advertising and Creativity in Asia’. -IDB to lend Pakistan oil worth $4.5 bn The spokesperson for the Ministry of Finance on Saturday claimed that the Saudi-backed Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) will lend Pakistan oil worth $4.5 billion. “The IsDB will lend Pakistan oil worth $4.5 billion over three years. The oil will be lent in three installments of $1.5 billion each every year,” the spokesperson added. The Ministry of Finance spokesperson further said that in the first phase they have received oil worth $100 million and oil worth $270 million will be lent in the second phase. “We are also in talks with the IsDB regarding lending of liquefied natural gas (LNG),” the spokesperson added. -Economic revival: PTI government relief package earns Rs 125 billion immediately The federal government’s relief package for the stock market in the ‘Mini-budget’ on January 23 has brought positive impact. KSE-100 index settled at 40,254 points with a rise of 958 points within one week. The business-friendly concessions including abolition of the advance tax of 0.02pc on share trading under Presumptive Tax Regime and super tax in the mini-budget have been welcomed by the stockbrokers and industrialists altogether. -69 women constables complete elite commando training in K-P Over 7,000 personnel of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) police, including 69 women constables, have successfully completed a grueling Elite Commando Training Course. As per a statement issued by K-P police’s public relations, the police personnel completed training in 15 basic courses conducted at different training centres. Most policemen, including the women constables, voluntarily opted for the tough four-month long course. The communique also said another batch of women commandos is currently being trained and shall soon be elevated to the rank of elite commandos. -Karachi police chief makes surprise visits, suspends four police officials In a surprise move, Additional Inspector General Police Dr Amir Shaikh on Saturday visited different areas of the city, disguising himself as a common citizen to witness the performance the police force. A police spokesperson said that the Karachi police chief suspended four police officials, including two ASIs over violation of duty rules and harassing public. He said that the police officials were found harassing people instead of controlling traffic at MT Khan Road in Sultanabad. The officials were from Jackson and Sultanabad police stations, said the spokesperson and added that the police chief had directed SP Traffic city and DSP to submit report over the issue. In-charges of Jackson and Sultanabad police stations along with record keepers were also summoned by the AIG Dr Amir Shaikh, said the spokesperson. -In a historical move, Pakistan elected as Vice Chair of Asia Pacific Ministerial Forum Pakistan was elected as the vice chair at the third UN Environment’s Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific that was held in Singapore from January 23 till January 25. The newswas revealed in a tweet by Adviser to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam. He said Pakistan got elected to the position owing to the country’s ‘sincere and dedicated’ environment preservation endeavours. -Pakistan Army achieves historic milestone on Pakistan Afghanistan border fencing Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asif Ghafoor Sunday said work on about 900 kilometer fence along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border had been completed. Briefing a team of journalists and anchor-persons at Ghulam Khan, a bordering village in North Waziristan Agency,he said the work on erection of about 1200 km chunk, the most sensitive portion out of the total 2600 km long border with the neighbouring country, had commenced last year. Zero Point is the entry and exit point of Pakistan from Afghanistan where a formal border post was constructed last year Major Gen Asif Ghafoor said the project would cost about Rs 70 billion, which also included the cost of gadgets and surveillance equipment to keep strict vigil on the illicit movement from across the border. He said the fence had amply helped check the movement of terrorists from across the border and it would further assist after completion of the project which was expected to culminate next year. The visit of media-persons was conducted for the first time in the country's history as no such activity could have happened as all the area had been “no go area” for the civilians or even by the security forces themselves. -Foreign Media representatives visit North Waziristan, stunned with Pakistan Army successes against terrorism Local and foreign media representatives on Sunday visited Peshawar, Miranshah, and Ghulam Khan Border terminals along with Director General ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor for the first time after military operations. It was the first direct interaction of the media with local people, who while standing in Miranshah Bazar, talked to reporters about improved peace situation and administrative issues in the area. They lauded Pakistan Army for its efforts in restoring peace and development. -Pakistan Cement Exports register significant rise in first half of FY 2018 - 19 The export of cement from the country witnessed increase of 32.4 percent during first half of current fiscal year as compared to same period of last year. The export of the commodity increased to $157 million in July-December (2018-19) against the export worth of $118.586 million in sameperiod of last year, a latest data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) said. In term of quantity, the cement export recorded 55.52 percent increase to 3.671 million Metric Ton (MT) during the period under review as compared to export of 2.36 million MT cement during same period of previous year. On year-on-year basis, the cement export jumped by 78.02 percent to $25.89 million in December 2018 from $14.54 million of cement export during December 2017, the data revealed. The overall export of goods during first half of current fiscal year recorded an increase of 2.19 percent to $11.216 billion against the exports of $10.976 billion recorded during same period of last year. -KP Tourism. Potential stuns audience at International Tourism Fair in Europe A large number of visitors, tourists and investors thronged the stall of Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (TCKP) at the tourism trade fair at Feria de Madrid, Spain, and showed keen interest in the KP’s tourism potential. The TCKP team highlighted salient features of the cultural and tourist resorts through video documentaries, pictures, brochures and posters. The visitors were informed that 70 percent of tourist resorts were located in KP and the foreign tourists can now visit any place without any restriction and obtaining Non-Objection Certificate. The KP participation in fair encouraged the international tour operators to bring cultural and mountaineering expeditions to the province, which will highlight Pakistan as one of the best tourist destinations for international tourists. -Foundation stone laid for $200 million knowledge city in Pakistan, first ever in County's history Prime Minister Imran Khan Sunday inaugurated the first academic block of the NAMAL Knowledge City. The vision behind Namal Knowledge City is to create a hub of knowledge exchange and research in Mianwali. The Knowledge City will include academic blocks, a knowledge center, a sports complex, sports grounds, a hospital, technology parks, business centers, shopping malls, a dairy farm, a resort, software houses, hotels, a primary school, and a housing colony for the faculty. A total of US$ 200 million will be spent on the construction of the Knowledge City which will be built on the concept of a zero carbon foot print and completed by the year 2027. It will have a population of 11,000 with construction spread over 4 million square feet. It will accommodate 7,000 students with 600 faculty members. -E Rozgar Programme launched, Click for Registration The Punjab IT Board and Ministry of Youth Affairs has jointly launched a three-month free E-Rozgar Training Programe for the youth, aimed at imparting vocational training to the jobless, enabling them to earn their livelihood honourably. In this regard, the admission has started for enrollment in these technical courses and the last date for the on-line registration is the 9th of the next month. The requisites of getting admission include that the applicant should have an NCIC, his minimum age 16, maximum age 35 and should be jobless. -Pakistan China ink deal worth billions of dollars today: Report A Chinese company will invest billion of dollars in mineral exploration and processing projects in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A Memorandum of Understanding in this regard has been signed in China today. According to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Mineral Development Dr. Amjad Ali, the Chinese company will setup mineral industrial park in Rashakai Special Economic Zone. -Pakistan's NESPAK completes 3,900 mega projects in Pakistan and across 37 countries of World worth Rs 19,000 billions National Engineering Services Pakistan (NESPAK) has successfully completed 3,900 development projects within Pakistan and 37 in other countries with an accumulative cost of Rs 19,000 billion since its establishment, 45 years ago. NESPAK Managing Director Dr. Tahir Masood told media here Saturday that foreign countries where NESPAK has extended engineering consultancy services were mostly located in the Middle East, Far East, Central Asia and Africa. In this way, he added, NESPAK had placed the country on the export map of the world and was committed to provide multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy services with the highest level of professionalism and dedication. -Government launches Dominted Bank bond PTI government is launching yet another economic initiative for overseas Pakistanis to attract billions of dollars for balance of payment and enhancing reserves. PTI government is launching dollar-denominated diaspora bond named Pakistan Banao Certificate (PBC) on January 31st. The diaspora bond is being launched to take advantage of international savings of overseas Pakistani’s and bolstering its foreign exchange reserves. According to details shared by the Finance Minister Asad Umar , the certificates would be of two types, one of three years offering 6.25% return and the other with five-year maturity offering 6.75% return. Mr Umar said four banks had been selected to complete the transactions. -Rupee hits seven-week high at 138.78 Pakistani currency has recovered to a seven-week high at Rs138.78 against the US dollar in inter-bank market on Friday, according to the State Bank of Pakistan, after the country successfully mitigated the risk of default following receipt of $2 billion from friendly countries. Simultaneously, the rupee revived to a four-week high at retail market to 139 against the greenback on Saturday, according to a forex website. “The $2 billion inflows from the UAE and Saudi Arabia (on Thursday and Friday) has partially eased the panic at currency markets,” said a banker on condition of anonymity. -PM Imran discusses major proposals to revive PIA As Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) struggles to rein in mounting losses, Prime Minister Imran Khan discussed major proposals presented at a high-level meeting to turn around the financially troubled national flag carrier. The prime minister chaired the meeting at the PM Office earlier this month, which was attended by top cabinet members, civil bureaucracy and military officers. The premier directed the authorities to arrange additional guarantees of Rs15 billion as interim relief for PIA. A proposal was endorsed to freeze PIA’s outstanding dues, amounting to over Rs80 billion, which were payable to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) along with late payment surcharge, according to minutes of the meeting available with The Express Tribune. -World Bank releases $58m for house financing The World Bank has disbursed $58 million for house financing in Pakistan and the federal cabinet has approved the transfer of the fund to Pakistan Mortgage Refinance Company (PMRC). “It ($58 million – Rs7.8 billion) is a World Bank credit line for PMRC,” PMRC Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Mudassir Hussain Khan told The Express Tribune. “The cabinet has approved the transfer of the fund. It will take around a week to 10 days before the money reaches PMRC account.” -Talks between Pakistan, China for FTA to begin next month Federal Secretary for Trade, Younus Dagha has said that the talks between Pakistan and China for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will commence next month. Talking to a delegation of the Trade Development Authority’s officials in Lahore, he expressed optimism that the new trade agreement with China will help thrive national economy and would be in the best interests of both the friendly countries. “The trade deficit of Pakistan has decreased by five per cent during the incumbent government and our exports are increasing day by day.” He said the expansion of the trade volume with India depends on the decisions of the governments of both the countries. He informed that trade with Afghanistan is also improving. -Amended finance bill to reduce cost of doing business: PEW The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said the recently amended finance bill will reduce the cost of doing business which in turn, will reduce the prices of many items. The move will support businesses and help exporters regain ground in the international market as the government has reduced and abolished several taxes to lift economic activities, it said. The government will lose almost seven billion rupees in revenue but it will gain more in the shape of foreign exchange, said PEW President Dr. Murtaza Mughal. He said the recommendations will be applicable from the next fiscal term but it has already elevated business sentiments as many leading business groups are planning to boost investments. -Economic reforms help PSX gain 958 points in week The benchmark KSE-100 index accelerated by 958 points in the outgoing week and settled at 40,265 points, providing a weekly return of 2.44pc, owing to improved sentiment on account of the economic reforms package announced by the government. The Finance Supplementary (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019 was broadly focused on improving ease of doing business, incentivizing export-oriented/industrial sectors and elimination of domestic growth hampering impediments. A key demand from the stock market to abolish the advance tax of 0.02pc was accepted, while the government also allowed capital losses to be carried forward for three years, thereby impacting the investor sentiment positively. -Govt to announce medium-term economic framework in coming week: Hammad Azhar The Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar on Friday said the government will announce a medium-term economic framework in the coming week. The forthcoming medium-term economic framework will bring measures that will enhance exports and investments, said Azhar while speaking at a seminar on “Economic Reforms: Way forward”, organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), reports an English daily. He shared the government is moving towards execution a direct taxation regime whilst gradually restricting indirect taxes. Mr Azhar underlined that the supplementary budget which was announced on Wednesday didn’t target fiscal and monetary measures but was an economic reforms package to resuscitate and enhance growth and investment. -Economic reforms package to help boost exports, trade and investment State Minister for Revenue Hamad Azhar on Friday said that economic reforms package announced by the PTI government will help in boosting exports, trade and investment. Talking to a private news channel, he said the economic reforms package will prove to be helpful in overcoming the trade and fiscal deficit. Mr Azhar said due to effective economic policies of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, the international investors are desirous of investment in Pakistan. The government is taking many steps for the revival and betterment of the economy, he added. -Tale as old as time: Labyrinth of tunnels discovered under Lahore Fort A labyrinth of underground tunnels, as well as hidden basements, has been discovered under Lahore Fort. Immortalised in short stories, these passages have always been hidden from the naked eye. However, during excavation, the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) has discovered two underground tunnels and an arsenal which are currently under restoration. A symbol of the opulence of the Mughals, Lahore Fort has kept many a secret for hundreds of years; secrets which are now slowly being revealed. During excavation and restoration work, WCLA recently discovered a passage of underground tunnels which run underneath the fortress. This has caused tourists, hungry for information on the underground tunnels, to throng to the citadel and present their own theories on how the passages were used. -Indonesia, Pakistan ties poised for a quantum leap, says envoy Counsellor and head of cultural section Embassy of Republic of Indonesia Deny Tri Basuki has said Indonesia and Pakistan share strong socio-cultural and religious bond rooted in history. Pakistan and Indonesia stand proudly together as two of the largest Muslim populated countries and emerging economies of creative and talented people. He expressed these views on the occasion of a business gathering organised by tourism ministry of Indonesia in collaboration with the Indonesian embassy. A large number of stakeholders hailing from the travel and aviation industry of Pakistan attended the event. -Japanese aircraft take part in pre Aman-19 exercise The Pakistan Navy is hosting the 6th series of AMAN-19 – a Multinational Maritime Exercise – in February 2019 in Karachi, and two Japanese Naval P3C aircrafts of Deployed Maritime Force for Anti-Piracy Enforcement (DAPE) visited the PNS Mehran in Karachi for the pre-AMAN-19 exercise. According to a press statement issued by the navy’s Director General Public Relations (DGPR) on Saturday, the Japanese aircrew participated in various events including search and rescue (SAR) and counter piracy (CP) exercises along with the navy aircrew. The Japanese contingent also visited maritime and Pakistan Air Force (PAF) museums to learn about the historic achievements of the two forces. -‘Chinese, Russian firms keen to invest in PSM’ Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood revealed that three Chinese and three Russian firms have shown interest in investing in Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM). Addressing a ceremony held for the inauguration of International Steels Limited’s new plant, he said that the committee tasked with revival of PSM has drafted its recommendations and the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) will make a decision by March. -China has given Pakistan additional access to its market: Dawood Prime Minister’s Adviser for Trade and Industry Abdul Razzak Dawood on Saturday said the government is working to hammer out national industrial and tariff policies, ARY News reported. Dawood while talking to industrialists in Karachi, said that China has granted Pakistan an additional access to its market. “We are working to slash unnecessary imports and increase exports”. He said unnecessary items will be removed from shelves of super markets and precious foreign exchange will not be spent on such imports. The adviser said the government has taken effective steps to facilitate business in mini budget, which will be approved in next seven day. -Pakistani Teacher Shortlisted for Cambridge’s Most Dedicated Teacher Award Cambridge University Press has shortlisted a Pakistani teacher, Ahmed Saya, for the ‘Most Dedicated Teacher’ award. Ahmed Saya, an A-level teacher from Karachi, is one of the six brilliant minds around the world to be shortlisted for the prize. The competition included entries of 3500+ teachers from over 140 countries for the prestigious award. Cambridge’s official Twitter handle said it was a tough call, but they shortlisted six teachers for this year’s Dedicated Teacher Awards. -Swiss Investor to Open A Chain of Luxury Hotels in Pakistan Swiss International Hotels & Resorts is mulling to open a chain of its luxury hotels in different cities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). The President and CEO of Swiss International Hotels & Resorts, Henri (Hans) WR Kennedie informed this to Chief Minister KP Mahmood Khan during a meeting on Friday. During the meeting, Henri told CM Khan that they were already working on a plan to establish luxury hospitalities in various parts of the province.
-Karachi is Planning to Restart Tram Services Sindh Government is planning to restore the glory of old Karachi area and is planning to rebuild tram services. For the construction and operations of tram service, the provincial government is looking to acquire services of Austrian experts. The Sindh Chief Minister, Murad Ali Shah, met with the Pakistani ambassador posted in Vienna, Mansoor Ahmed Khan, at CM House Karachi. In the meeting, both discussed ways to improve relations with the Austrian government in the field of technical education, renewable hydropower and city planning for Karachi. -Pakistan’s logistics market reaches $34.2bln Pakistan’s logistics market has reached $34.2 billion with annual growth of 18 percent, a minister said on Saturday, while unveiling a plan for state-owned postal operator to enter into ecommerce business. Minister for Postal Services Murad Saeed said future initiatives of Pakistan Post would be compatible with the contemporary needs of existing times. “This would include an entry into the ecommerce business,” Saeed said at a meeting. The minister announced a pilot project for microfinance loan disbursement of Khushhali Bank through Pakistan Post. The project will be piloted by the first week of January and will formally be inaugurated by the mid of January. -Pakistan Army inducts indigenous built Multiple Launch Rocket system in Artillery Corps As per the media report, Pakistan Army has inducted A-100 rocket in Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) of its Corps of Artillery. Media wing of the armed forces, the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said A-100 rocket had been indigenously developed by Pakistani scientists and engineers. “With over 100 kilometers range the Rocket is a highly effective and potent for interdiction that can effectively disrupt enemy’s mobilization and assembly,” said the ISPR. -$15 billion investment package likely from UAE including mega oil refinery in Pakistan Pakistan is likely to get $ 10 -15 billion investment package from UAE , likely to be announced during the visit of Crown Prince, sources said. Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan is expected to announce the facility for Pakistan during his visit to the country starting January 6. The sources added that Pakistan, in collaboration with the UAE , is also starting construction of Parco Coastal Refinery in Balochistan worth over $5 billion. -Abu Dhabi crown prince to arrive in Pakistan on January 6 Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Muhammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan is scheduled to arrive in Islamabad on January 6, Express News reported. Sheikh Mohammad, who is also Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, had accepted an invitation to visit the country extended by Prime Minister Imran Khan in a telephonic conversation last year. Sources the crown prince will be accompanied by a high-level delegation. He is expected to announce investments in Pakistan. -Currency dealers offer to bring $1b a month Currency dealers have brought $13 billion in Pakistan in the past eight years, including $1 billion since August 2018, to stabilise the country’s foreign currency reserves, the dealers claim. “Dealers contribute $200-300 million a month to the country’s reserves through commercial banks,” said Pakistan Forex Association President Malik Bostan while briefing Finance Minister Asad Umar. “They (dealers) have the potential to bring up to $1 billion a month,” he told The Express Tribune after meeting the finance minister and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director General Bashir Memon in Islamabad recently. A delegation of currency dealers, headed by Bostan, asked the minister that the government should offer Rs2 per dollar in rebate to attract higher remittances from overseas Pakistanis. The incentive would help currency dealers to realise their true potential and contribute maximum dollars to the country’s foreign currency reserves, it said. -Imran, Erdoğan discuss bilateral relations, regional issues in Turkey Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday held a one-to-one meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Ankara during his two-day official visit to Turkey. Both the leaders discussed various issues including bilateral relations, national and international issues of mutual interests. A high-level delegation including Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Planning Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Adviser on Trade Abdul Razak Dawood and Special Assistant to PM Zulfikar Bukhari is accompanying the PM during his first tour to Turkey. -TLP chief Khadim Rizvi remanded to police custody for another 20 days An anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Punjab capital city has granted a 20-day physical remand of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi and others. Civil Lines police officials, after producing Rizvi in court amid tight security, sought a 30-day remand of the firebrand cleric, Pir Afzal Qadri, Pir Ijaz Ashrafi, and Hafiz Farooqul Hassan. -Pakistan prepares Terror Financing Risk Assessment Report for FATF crucial session Pakistan has prepared Terror Financing Risk Assessment Report in line with the FATF conditions that would be scrutinized in face to face upcoming meeting of the FATF scheduled to be held next week at Sydney. “We will dispatch Terror Financing Risk Assessment Report to FATF on Friday (today) that basically identifies both domestic and foreign sources of funding being utilized for execution of terrorists’ activities,” confirmed by one top official. -This city in Pakistan is going to use cow poo to power its buses In a bid to freshen its air and cut planet-warming emissions, the Pakistani port city of Karachi will introduce cleaner-running buses powered by a decidedly "unclean" fuel: cow poo. With funding from the international Green Climate Fund, Karachi will launch a zero-emission Green Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network, with 200 buses fuelled by bio-methane. Locals said the new bus system - due to start operating in 2020 - would help reduce air pollution and street noise, but doubted whether it would have enough buses to resurrect the city's ailing transport system. "(Karachi's) public transport system has totally collapsed and most people have to use online taxi-hailing services (and) auto rickshaws," said commuter Afzal Ahmed, 45, who works as a medical sales representative. After management problems forced the Karachi Transport Corporation to fold some two decades ago, Chinese-imported buses running on compressed natural gas fell into disrepair and were taken off the road, worsening public transport woes, he noted. -KP announces development package for Buddhist sites in Mardan Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government has announced a development package for preserving and promoting the Buddhist relics at Takht Bahi, Jamal Garhi and Shehbaz Garhi. Senior Minister for Culture, Tourism and Youth Affairs Atif Khan said this during his visit to Buddhist sites in Mardan on Thursday. “The K-P government will develop Buddhist sites at Takht Bahi, Jamal Garhi and Shehbaz Garhi as international tourism destinations,” he said announcing plans to construct chairlift to facilitate the tourists" -PM Imran Khan approves Rs 50 billion package for Karachi Sindh Governor Imran Ismail has said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has given approval of funds of 50 billion rupees for Karachi that would be utilized to resolve the long standing issues of the metropolis. He was talking to media in Karachi today (Friday) after attending the International Property Expo. The Governor said we intend to start work to improve the condition of roads in the city and to lift the garbage that has marred the beauty of the city for a long time now. He said work would also start soon to lift the debris of encroachments that have been razed to the ground.Talking about the transport projects, the Governor said that the Green Line Bus Service will be fully functional within 4 to 6 months. He said that work on the project by the Federal Government has been completed. He said Sindh Government is carrying out its work while provision of buses for the project by Sindh Government is also awaited. -KP government launched mega project in 25 Tehsils of tribal districts Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government launched a mega project of establishing new playgrounds and upgrading the existing ones in twenty-five different tribal tehsils. Secretary Sports Shahid Zaman said that administration is working on war footing on this project as directed by Prime Minister Imran Khan. He said besides constructing playing fields in tribal areas, it has also been decided to hold a grand tribal districts games event wherein 8 to 10 mostly popular games would be organized and players would be given kits and other facilities. -Turkey hints at buying Military Aircrafts from Pakistan Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has hinted at buying Military trainer aircrafts from Pakistan. -Pakistan becomes 5th largest Motorcycle producing country of the World With 2.5 million units produced annually in Pakistan, country has become the fifth largest motorcycle producing country of the World. -Huge weapons cache recovered by Security Forces in KP Aurakzai Scouts on Friday during a raid at compound in Baghnak area of upper Tehsil of district Aurakzai seized a huge cache of arms and ammunition dumped underground, security sources said. The raid was conducted on tip off that huge quantity of arms and weapons have been dumped at foot-hills. The weapons included 14 hand grenades with 11 fuses, four mortar-shell, explosives and 478 cartridges of machine guns. The seized weapon was dumped for use in some subversive activities, the sources added. -After British Air, Yet another leading Airline of the World wants to start flight operations from Pakistan: Report German Ambassador has hinted that German Flag carrier and one of the leading Airline of the World Lufhtansa Air wants to start operations from Pakistan. -$46 billion export target: Comprehensive strategic policy urged to boost exports President Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) Malik Shahid Saleem Friday called for formulating a comprehensive strategic policy to boost exports. He said business community was looking towards government’s concrete steps to ensure key macro indicators of the economy. "We want more information and input on the Strategic Trade Policy Framework (STPF) 2018-23 with an aim to double the country’s exports to $46 billion in next five years," he added. In a statement, President RCCI said the government should evolve a comprehensive strategy in consultation with the private sector to increase exports . -Gilgit Baltistan Tourism and Gems sector: PTI government takes important decisions Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Ali Amin Gandapur says GB has world's best tourism attractions with beautiful waterfalls, lakes, meadows, deserts, and skiing resorts. In an exclusive interview with Radio Pakistan's Correspondent Ijaz Hussain, he said government is committed to develop the untapped tourism potential of Gilgit-Baltistan. The Minister said an MoU will soon be signed with leading international companies to develop eight lakes in the first phase -ExxonMobil making $250 million investment in Pakistan: Razak Dawood Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile, Industry & Production and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood said Exxon Mobil was making an investment of $250 million in Pakistan. He said the company had re-entered Pakistan after a gap of almost three decades and setup its office in the country. Pakistan is requesting China to switch its investment focus from power & infrastructure to industrialization, agriculture and education in regard to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). -Weekly inflation decreases by 0.31pc The inflation based on Sensitive Price Index (SPI) during the week ended on January 3, for the combined income group registered a decrease of 0.31pc as compared to the previous week. The SPI for the week under review in the above-mentioned group was recorded at 237.85 points against 238.58 points registered in the previous week, according to the data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Friday. -Chinese group to set up $70 million ceramics unit in Faisalabad A prominent Chinese industrial group has decided to establish a ceramics unit in Pakistan with an investment of $70 million – a decision that is likely to lessen country’s reliance on imported tiles. “The ceramics unit is expected to become operational by March 2020,” according to a senior official of the Faisalabad Industrial Estate Development and Management Company (FIEDMC). FIEDMC, located in the heart of Pakistan’s industrial hub, is rapidly transforming into an attractive destination for well-known foreign companies, which are planning to set up their units following lack of progress on the Special Economic Zones (SEZs), which are planned to be constructed under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). “The Chinese industrial group already enjoys its presence in 50 countries,” said FIEDMC Chief Executive Officer Aamir Saleemi. “The group plans to import machinery from China and aims to complete work by March 2020.” -Prime Minister Imran Khan invites Turkish investors to join CPEC Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is on his first official two-day visit to Turkey, on Thursday said that it's time for Islamabad and Ankara to take their bilateral trade to a higher level, citing Pakistan’s ideal geo-strategic location and its huge potential for investment in infrastructure and tourism. Addressing a business forum of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) in Ankara on Thursday night, he said his government will provide all possible assistance and support to the Turkish investors in Pakistan, Khan said that Pakistan is a virgin territory as a lot of trade areas have not been exploited yet, adding that huge reserves of oil, gas, copper, coal and other admirals are yet to be unexplored. He said tremendous trade and economic activities will start due to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). He said special economic zones are being established through this mega project.
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