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SBP allows commencement of banking business to Bank of China

Naimat Khan

KARACHI: State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has allowed commencement of banking business to the Bank of China Limited, a spokesman of the central bank told on Monday.

“Earlier, SBP had issued a banking license to the bank in the month of May 2017. The Bank of China Limited has complied with the important regulatory and operational requirements of SBP necessary to commence banking business in Pakistan,” a statement issued by the State Bank reads.

According to spokesman, the Bank of China is a subsidiary of China Central Huijin, investment arm of the Government of China. The Bank of China is the 4th and 5th largest global bank in terms of Tier-1 Capital and total Assets respectively.

“It is listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Globally, the footprint of Bank of China is spread across 50 countries out of which, nineteen are located across Chinese “One Belt One Road” initiative.”

The Bank of China is the second Chinese bank, which entered in Pakistan. The Bank of China’s entry into Pakistan will not only further strengthen the bilateral relationship of Pakistan and China but will also represent growing confidence of international investors on the country’s banking sector and the stable economic outlook.

In Pakistan, the Bank of China aims to provide specialized banking services to serve the financing needs of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) related projects by leveraging on its experience and global technology platform.

 

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Maryam needs to be cautious in her speeches, says Rafique

LAHORE (INP): Minister for Railways and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khawaja Saad Rafique Monday said that Maryam Nawaz needs to be “cautious when addressing (public meetings)”.

Speaking exclusively to Geo News, the PML-N leader said the former first daughter is like a younger sister to him. “Maryam has been working hard, however, it is not the right time to compare her to Benazir Bhutto.”

“She needs to be cautious when speaking (publicly),” he added.

Rafique said that Nawaz Sharif will soon return to the country, but denied there was any discussion within the party to make Begum Kulsoom Nawaz prime minister. He denied rumours of rifts within the PML-N and said that everyone is united under Nawaz Sharif’s leadership. “Chaudhry Nisar is our senior, he has his own opinion.”

The minister said the PTI, PPP and Jamaat-e-Islami should learn from the NA-120 by-election result. Commenting on Sharif’s ouster, he said had they confronted the establishment’s disqualification of Nawaz Sharif, then it would have made the circumstances worse. The PML-N leader said he is against family politics, however, it is the right of politicians’ children to come to the fore if they struggle.

The minister also alleged that the Indian military of fanning hatred in Afghanistan and Balochistan, Rafique said it is necessary to respond to them in a fitting manner. “India is a major country and it will have to demonstrate maturity to restore peace in the region.”

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Lawmaker of Farooq Sattar-led MQM joins Mustafa Kamal-led PSP

Naimat Khan

KARACHI: Pakistan Sarzameen Party was successful in getting loyalty of another MQM Lawmaker changed here on Monday.

A member Sindh Assembly from Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) Nadeem Razi, who is though least known to public and least important, joined the Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) during a news conference with PSP chief Mustafa Kamal.

Razi was elected as member of the Sindh Assembly from Karachi’s PS-121 constituency in general elections in May 2013.

Addressing a press conference alongside PSP leaders Raza Haroon and Anis Kaimkhani, PSP Chairman Mustafa Kamal urged other political leaders to join the PSP.

He claimed scores of MQM workers are joining the new political party every day.

He wondered how Karachi’s population stood at 14.9 million according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) data on the population and said the city’s population was not lower than 20.5 million.

Commenting on the founder of the MQM Altaf Hussain, Kamal said Hussain himself closed his chapter in Pakistani politics.

Slamming Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, he said it was weird that Abbasi still called Nawaz Sharif his prime minister. The smear campaign was underway to discredit institutions, he added.

Responding to the defection, Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan Chief Dr Farooq Sattar said his party should not be deemed as sweet dish and it will show its muscles in general polls of 2018.

“The people who claim to grab out wickets should told that no matter if they bowled our wickets we will stand 1000 more such wickets,” he said, adding that PSP is giving packages to the defectors but

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Terrorist’s plot to assassinate Shahbaz foiled

F.P. Report

LAHORE: Security agencies on Monday claimed to have foiled an assassination plot targeting Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif.

A suspected terrorist was arrested from the Model Town area of the provincial capital by security agencies.

Police claimed the suspect was working as a driver in a house located in Block H of Model Town and was employed by an officer of PITB.

The offices of PITB are located in Arfa Karim Tower, near which a bombing on July 26 claimed the lives of 26 people.

An investigation has revealed that the July 26 bombing was also meant to target the chief minister. Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah also confirmed the arrest of a suspect by security agencies.

A suicide jacket was also recovered from the suspect’s possession, added sources.

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One killed, over 20 injured in suicide blast

CHAMAN (INP): At least one person was killed and about two dozen others including security personnel, were injured in a suicide blast near the Pak-Afghan border here on Monday.

Levies sources said that a suicide bomber targeted a vehicle of security forces near a border taxi stand in Chaman.

The Pak-Afghan border was closed and the area was sealed by security forces soon after the incident.

The injured have been shifted to District Headquarter Hospital Chaman, Levies sources said five of the injured were shifted to a private hospital.

Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri issued a statement condemning the blast. He expressed regret at the loss of life and issued orders to provide the best possible medical care to the injured.

“Those involved in planning and executing the explosion must be immediately arrested and brought to justice,” the CM said.

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No rift between civil military leadership: says CoAS

F.P. Report

RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa has said that there is not any tension in the civil military ties.

He was talking to the members of defence committees of the Senate and National Assembly jointly headed by Senator Lt Gen(R) Abdul Qayyum and Sheikh Rohail Asghar that visited GHQ on Monday.

The Army Chief told the delegation that he is the supporter of strengthening of democratic institutions. All the nation would has to be united against the enemy. All the stake holders should be on one page to eradicate terrorism and extremism

“USA has known that we have serious concerns over Trump’s policy. The adoption of unanimous resolutions by the parliament in this regard is commendable. We are competing India despite the limited resources. We don’t have any difference with Afghanistan but she would has to take action against terrorists on her side”, CoAS added.

The delegation laid wreath at GHQ’s Shuhada Monument and was given a detailed briefing on evolving security environment including situation on the borders and Pakistan’s Army efforts for peace and security. The delegation also had an interactive session with General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS).

The session concluded with a resolve to continue our struggle against the menace of violent extremism through a synergetic, whole-of-the-nation approach based on the principle of “collective potential and shared responsibility”.

After the meeting the Chairman of National Assembly’s Defence Committee, Sheikh Rohail Asghar told Online that CoAS responded each and every query during long question answer session The meeting was held in open atmosphere.

He said that during the visit DGMO Maj.Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza briefed the parliamentarians on Pak –India and Pak Afghan relations.

Rohail Asghar told this scribe that Chief of Army Staff has said that no one executed ‘Do more’ than Pakistan. Now it’s the turn to do more for those who always utter the demand of do more from Pakistan .

NA’s Chairman Defence Committee said that during the meting Army Chief saifd that India is deteriorating the situation on LoC just to divert the attention of world from the atrocities in Indian held Kashmir.

 

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Rohingya refugees tell of new violence; call for Myanmar sanctions

COX’S BAZAR (Reuters): Rohingya Muslims fleeing a Myanmar military offensive arrived in Bangladesh on Monday with fresh accounts of violence and arson as a rights group called for sanctions and an arms embargo to stop what the United Nations has branded ethnic cleansing.

The latest wave of violence in western Myanmar’s Rakhine State began on Aug 25, when Rohingya insurgents attacked police posts and an army camp, killing about 12 people.

The Myanmar military response has sent more than 410,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh, escaping what they and rights monitors say is a campaign aimed at driving out the Muslim population.

Buddhist-majority Myanmar rejects that, saying its forces are carrying out clearance operations against the insurgents of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, which claimed responsibility for the August attacks and smaller raids in October.

Hundreds of refugees traveled by small boats to an island on the southernmost point of Bangladesh late on Sunday and on Monday, telling of persecution and destruction.

“The army came and they burned our homes, they killed our people. There was a mob of Rakhine people too,” said Usman Goni, 55, after he stepped off a boat with his seven children and wife, clutching two sticks tied in rope and a sack.

Many of the refugees have spoken of ethnic Rakhine Buddhist civilians joining the Myanmar army in its attacks. Myanmar denies that and has blamed Muslim insurgents for the violence.

Myanmar has largely sealed the area off to aid workers and reporters.

Rights groups say satellite images show about 80 smouldering Muslim villages. They have seen evidence of arson attacks on Buddhist villagers, but on a much smaller scale.

SUU KYI TO SPEAK

Most of the new arrivals said their villages had been torched on Friday, when huge clouds of smoke were clearly seen over Myanmar. “There’s nothing left,” said a Nurhaba, 23, who said she was from a village close to Maungdaw town.

About a million Rohingya lived in Rakhine State until the recent violence. Most face draconian travel restrictions and are denied citizenship in a country where many Buddhists regard them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Myanmar government leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has faced a barrage of criticism from abroad for not stopping the violence.

The military remains in charge of security and there is little sympathy for the Rohingya in a country where the end of army rule has unleashed old animosities. The military campaign in Rakhine State has wide support. Suu Kyi is due to speak to the nation on Tuesday about a crisis the United States has called a “defining moment” for her country. US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Patrick Murphy is due in Myanmar this week.

He will travel to Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State, to meet government officials and representatives of different communities, including Rohingya, but he is not seeking to travel to the conflict zone in northern Rakhine State.

‘STRATEGICALLY SOUND’

Human Rights Watch said Myanmar security forces were disregarding world condemnation and the time had come to impose tougher measures that the generals could not ignore.

It called for governments to “impose travel bans and asset freezes on security officials implicated in serious abuses; expand existing arms embargoes to include all military sales, assistance, and cooperation; and place a ban on financial transactions with key … military-owned enterprises”.

For years, the United States and Western allies imposed sanctions on Myanmar in support of Suu Kyi’s campaign for democracy. Its response was to forge closer ties with China.

US-Myanmar ties have been improving since the military began withdrawing from the government in 2011, and paved the way for a 2015 election won by Suu Kyi’s party. A Trump administration official said the violence made it harder to build warmer ties, and there would likely be some “easing” in the short term, but he did not expect a return to sanctions.

“People are too invested in the last five years of thawing, which is understood by everyone to be strategically sound,” said the official, who declined to be identified. “Long-term, the trajectory is probably tighter relations.”

In a rare expression of support for the Rohingya from within Myanmar, a group from the Karen ethnic minority, called for the military to halt its operations and for economic sanctions to be considered. For decades of army battled autonomy-seeking Karen insurgents that sent more than 100,000 villagers fleeing to Thailand. The insurgents have now made peace.

Bangladesh is struggling to cope with the refugees and aid workers fear people could die due to a lack of food, shelter and water, given the numbers. Bangladesh has said all refugees must go home. Myanmar has said it will take back those who can verify their citizenship. Several thousand protesters tried to march on the Myanmar embassy in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, but police kept them well back.

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Suicide bombers kill 15 in northeast Nigeria

KANO (AFP): At least 15 people were killed on Monday when suicide bombers attacked an aid distribution point in northeast Nigeria, in the latest suspected strike by Boko Haram insurgents against civilians.

The blasts occurred in the Konduga area, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, both of which have been repeatedly targeted by the jihadist group.

On August 16, at least 28 people were killed and more than 80 injured when three female suicide bombers detonated their explosives outside a camp for displaced persons in Konduga.

A rescue worker said the first blast on Monday happened at 11:10 am (1010 GMT) in the village of Mashalari. “(It) killed 15 people and left 43 others injured,” he told AFP. “It happened during aid distribution by an NGO, when people had gathered to receive donations,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“Twelve minutes later, another bomber struck, but luckily only she died.” The rescue worker said both bombers were women but did not specify which NGO was distributing aid. Northeast Nigeria is in the grip of a humanitarian crisis caused by the Islamist Boko Haram insurgency, which has left at least 20,000 people dead and displaced more than 2.6 million since 2009.

The violence has devastated farming, leading to chronic food shortages and leaving hundreds of thousands of people on the brink of starvation and dependent on aid agencies for help. Babakura Kolo, from the Civilian Joint Task Force, a militia assisting the military with security against Boko Haram, confirmed the rescue worker s account. “We have dispatched out team to the scene,” he said.

Nigeria s military and government maintains that Boko Haram is a spent force as a result of a sustained counter-insurgency campaign over the last two years. But continued attacks, particularly in hard-to-reach rural areas of Borno, suggest claims of outright victory are premature. This month, jihadists fired a rocket-propelled grenade into a camp for the internally displaced near the border with Cameroon, killing seven.

Amnesty International says Boko Haram attacks since April have killed nearly 400 people in Nigeria and Cameroon — double the figure of the previous five months. The UN children s fund said last month that 83 children had been used as suicide bombers this year, four times as many as in all of 2016.

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Afghanistan can restore peace, stability at an early date: China

BEIJING (APP): While support an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process, a Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Monday hoped that Afghanistan could restore peace and stability at an early date.

“China support the efforts made by Afghanistan to restore peace and stability,” Lu Kang told reporters during regular press briefing here. Responding to a question regarding Afghan government plan to train and arm 20,000 civilians to defend territories where militants have been driven out, he said, “We will continue to follow the relevant information.”

“In principle, I want to say that China hopes that Afghanistan can restore peace and stability at an early date.” “Right now we rely on commandos and air strikes to retake the lost territories but after the commandos leave we don’t have enough forces to hold onto the territories,” said a senior Afghan defence ministry official who asked not to be named.

“The force will operate under an army corps and will be used to fill the gaps. They will be recruited from the locals and will be numbered around 20,000.”

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India’s Supreme Court hears plea against Rohingya deportation

NEW DELHI (AFP): India´s Supreme Court on Monday began hearing a plea challenging a government decision to deport up to 40,000 Muslim Rohingya who have fled Myanmar, a lawyer said.

The petition was filed on behalf of two Rohingya living at a refugee camp in New Delhi since escaping Myanmar, where a military crackdown since August 25 has led to more than 400,000 Rohingya taking refuge in Bangladesh.

The challenge came after India´s junior home minister Kiren Rijiju said last month the government would expel all Rohingya, even those registered with the United Nations. According to media reports, the government will argue that the Rohingya are a security threat who could aid terrorists.

The Rohingya have denied any link with extremist groups. Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, representing the Rohingya, said the Indian constitution “provides equal rights and liberty to every person”, including non-citizens.

The United Nations says there are 16,000 registered Rohingya in India. But many more are undocumented. About 7,000 Rohingya live in shanties in India´s Jammu region in the Himalayas. They say they have faced hostility from the majority Hindu community there.

Mohammad Salimullah, one of the petitioners, said the authorities had always been helpful in New Delhi so he was hopeful the court would back the refugees. “In the five or six years that we have been here, we have never felt that we are foreigners here nor have we ever felt any kind of fear,” Salimullah told AFP ahead of the case.

The Rohingya have been leaving mainly Buddhist Myanmar — where the government calls them illegal migrants and refuses them nationality — in steady numbers for years before the military crackdown last month that opened the floodgates. While Bangladesh has been the main destination, some have ended up in neighbouring India and Nepal. There are also some in Pakistan.