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How Brexit will Impact on the Middle East?

If you were to listen to some hard line Brexiteers, you could be forgiven for thinking that the British Empire was still in full force. After all, little else explains the notion that the UK will be able to strike up beneficial trade deals within months of leaving the EU, with such an entrenched and partisan outlook capable of ignoring bare facts and practical inconveniences.

Still, there’s no doubt that the British electorate’s decision to leave the EU has had a seminal impact, and one that resonates well beyond the shores of the UK and the boundaries of the single market. Make no mistake; other nations and regions will also feel the force of Brexit, with some profiting and others struggling to cope in the aftermath.

The impact will arguably be mixed in the Middle East and the MENA region, where complex politics and an increasingly diverse economy make the precise influence of Brexit hard to define. In this post, we’ll look at how the Middle East will be affected and what this means for the region:

How Brexit is Progressing and When will it Come into Play?

The spectre of Brexit continues to loom large over the world’s market and the global economy, with negotiations between the UK and the EU continuing in earnest. While the level of acrimony between the two partners appears to have quelled slightly in recent times, with British Prime Minister Theresa May struggling under pressure from her own party to deliver a so-called ‘hard Brexit’ and a clean break from the EU.

This represents the latest challenge for the UK government, who despite clearing a number of initial hurdles concerning the rights of EU nationals Northern Ireland continue to present a divided and uncertain front in the quest to secure Brexit.

Still, there is nothing to suggest that the UK will not exit the EU on March 29th 2019, as per the terms of Article 50. With this in mind, the only question that remains is whether the government will be able to secure a progressive trade deal with the EU, or sever their ties completely with the Union and exit without an agreement in place,

How will Brexit Impact on the Middle East?

Ultimately, the nature of the UK’s exit and any deal that is agreed with the EU will have a significant impact on how the Middle East is affected by Brexit. There are some universal considerations that may be worth considering, however, particularly from the perspective of prominent Gulf states and leading MENA nations.

MENA’s financial markets have certainly suffered during the Brexit negotiations, after initial gains were recorded when the UK referendum result was announced in 2016. In fact, sustained political uncertainty caused by the unprecedented nature of Brexit and a defined lack of leadership have caused the markets to decline again recently, with stocks and commodities such as oil particularly badly hit.

This has been partially offset by the introduction of cryptocurrency in Middle Eastern markets, of course, as trading Bitcoin and similar assets has enabled investors to profit by branching out into new markets. This, combined with the sustained diversification of Middle East economies, is helping the markets to cope with continued volatility and drive sustainable growth in the near-term.

As economies become less reliant on oil and successfully branch out into sectors such as tourism, media and financial services, it may even be argued that Brexit will offer an opportunity for further growth and development once the March 29th deadline has passed.

In the case of the UK, for example, nations such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE should be able to agree mutually beneficial trade deals directly with the UK, while perhaps leveraging a competitive advantage as Britain looks to secure quick agreements. As a result, key British products (or more pertinently, services) could make their way to the Middle East with greater ease, helping the region’s diversification plans and boosting economic growth.

On a similar note, it’s also important to note that a more inward-focused EU (and an increasingly self-interested UK) could see the world’s political landscape shift significantly, allowing new regional alliances to form. There’s certainly scope for global powers such as China to develop further, strategic alliances with nations in the Middle East, for example, while the balance of power could also shift outside of the single market in the near-term.

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Accountability court reserves verdict on Sharif’s objection on NAB supplementary references

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court hearing corruption references against Nawaz Sharif and his family, has reserved its decision on two supplementary references including Al-Azizia Steel Mills, Flagship Investment and Hill Metal Establishment cases.

The court proceeding was resumed after former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain (retd) Safdar have reached the court.

During the hearing, Ayesha Hamid, counsel for Nawaz Sharif, submitted her objections over the supplementary references which were filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

She claimed that there is nothing new in the supplementary references and asked the court to reject them.

Ayesha Hamid also requested the court to request the monitoring judge of the case, Supreme Court Justice Ijazul Ahsan, to extend the six-month deadline as recording statements of witnesses will take time.

However, the NAB prosecutor presented argument against the petition after which the judge reserved its verdict.

The former prime minister and his sons, Hasan and Hussain Nawaz have been nominated in three references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills, Flagship Investment and Avenfield.

However, Nawaz, his sons, Maryam and Safdar are named in the London properties case.

The court will resume hearing of Avenfield properties reference later today. However, Nawaz and Maryam will not attend the hearing of London properties as appearance exemption for today has been granted to them.

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Three IS militants killed in US Drone strike

Monitoring Desk

NANGARHAR: At least three Islamic State (IS) militants group were killed and one other was injured in a US drone strike in Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

The Afghan Military official told Afghan media outlet the recent drone strike was carried out in the Deh Bala district of Nangarhar.

Nangarhar is among the relatively calm provinces in the East but the terrorist and anti-government armed militant groups have started their operations in some of its remote districts during the recent years.


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Seven injured in gas pipeline explosion in Karachi

F.P. Report

KARACHI: As many as seven persons were injured in Nustral Bhutto Colony of Karachi after a gas pipeline exploded on Wednesday night.

Three women and children were also included in the injured persons and they were shifted to nearby hospital after the incident.

Following the gas pipeline explosion, the nearby houses were collapsed and the people were injured because of debris and flames.

The residents of the area criticized the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC for failing to repair the gas leakage which was present for quite a few days and despite several complains the SSGC didn’t take any action in this regard.

Hospital sources, however, added that two of those injured in the incident were in critical condition.



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Apex court recent decisions ‘person-specific’, says Nawaz Sharif

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has said that yesterday decision was not election act decision it was only targeting a specific person.

Nawaz Sharif, who was disqualified by Supreme Court on Wednesday as the head of the political party, he said that it is clear that only person is being target in the whole process.

While talking to media representative outside the accountability court hearing corruption cases against him and his family on Thursday. Former premier said apex court decision was an expected one for him as we know that they are targeting a specific person in their decisions.

Nawaz added that it judiciary is snatching the right of the parliament and the recent example is by rejection of Election Act 2017 and it was also said by the prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in the parliaments.

These decisions are based on only part of a victimization process nothing more than this, he added.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court struck down a specific clause of the Elections Act 2017, which led to Nawaz’s re-ascent as party president following his disqualification.


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ECP removes Nawaz Sharif’s name PML-N president

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) removed former disqualified prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s name as head of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) after the supreme court decision verdict on Wednesday.

After the removal of Nawaz Sharif’s name as the party president from its record, ECP said that the position now stands vacant.

The ECP added that Nawaz’s name will also be consider to removed as party president from its election record from July 28, 2017.


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Dangal girl partially shaves off eyebrows for ‘Thugs of Hindustan’

Monitoring Desk

MUMBAI: Dangal girl, Fatima Sana Sheikh has partially shaved off her eyebrows for the ‘Thugs of Hindustan’ as she is playing an important role in the much awaited movie.

The actress shared a picture with Aamir Khan and Katrina Kaif from the set of ‘Thugs of Hindustan’.

Aamir Khan and Fatima Sana Shaikh played father and daughter in the much-acclaimed film Dangal, however in the Vijay Krishna Acharya directorial ‘Thugs of Hindustan’, the two would be seen sharing the dance floor.

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Sylvester Stallone dead hoax, Rambo star tells fans he’s alive and well

Monitoring Desk

NEW YORK: Senior Hollywood actor, Sylvester Stallone has rebuffed rumors regarding his death and adding that he is alive, happy and still punching.

Sylvester Stallone shared his picture and rejected all the rumors claiming of his death and said that he is healthy and happy and still punching.

Meanwhile, Frank Stallone, younger brother of Rambo star also criticized the fake news and people who are spreading such news and suggested that such people needs doctors as they are must be mentally ill.

On the other hand, his fans on social media shared “rest in peace” graphics to mourn his death even after he spoke out on Twitter about the hoax.



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Ghani asks Taliban to choose between peace and war

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday again invited the Taliban to enter into purposeful peace negotiations with the Afghan government and to stop waging war in the country.

Ghani spoke at the closing session of a two-day consultative meeting on peace where he outlined his administration’s vision for durable peace in the country.

The meeting was held ahead of the Kabul Process peace meeting next week, a gathering of 23 nations, the EU, UN and NATO, which is intended to discuss security and political issues in the country

Ghani also stressed the need for more efforts to be made to further promote rule of law and the reform process in the country.

“We will give them (Taliban) options to decide, they must think whether they have the intention to surrender to the will of Allah. Do they realize the expectation of the people or not,” said Ghani.

“There should a dignified peace which involves all. When we say dignified it involves even those who are fighting and then denounce the war and halts relations with terrorist groups and say that I am coming to join my people, his dignity must be persevered,” said CEO Abdullah Abdullah.

Wrapping up the meeting on Wednesday, delegates meanwhile issued a 14-item declaration in which they encouraged insurgents to join the peace process.

“Our demand from the Taliban is to stop paving the way for meddling of intelligence agencies of regional and ultra-regional countries in Afghanistan by continuing the war,” said one participant Haleema Sadaf.

Ghani went on to say that his administration will announce its peace and war strategy at the upcoming Kabul Process conference in Kabul, adding government will call on the Taliban to choose between peace or war.

“People have consensus, those who think that they can pursue their objectives in the conflict, they must rethink their approach. The nation will not allow anyone to create conflict,” added Ghani. The Afghan government says that at the meeting, it will try to create a regional and international consensus on the peace process in Afghanistan.

The Taliban has steadily expanded its reach since US and NATO coalition formally concluded their combat mission in 2014 and transitioned their military mission to a support and counterterrorism role.

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KP to establish independent, autonomous PHEC: Mushtaq

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Higher Education, Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani Wednesday told the provincial assembly that the government is going to establish an independent and autonomous Provincial Higher Education Council (PHEC) to look after the affairs of the public sector universities in the province.

He was responding to a question of the Mufti Fazal Ghafoor of JUI-F regarding the quality of education in the public sector universities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Through his question, Maulana Fazal Ghafoor have asked that the ranking of the universities is on decline, saying that in the ranking announced in 2006, University of Peshawar (UoP) was fourth among the universities of the country while in 2014 it decline to number six while in the recent ranking it had went down to No.13.

The opposition legislator lamented that on one hand the standard of education in the universities is deteriorating while on the other hand difference between the fees of public and private sector universities is closing to each other.

However, the provincial minister instead of accepting responsibility of the situation held the administration of universities responsible for it.

Mushtaq Ghani said that as the public sector universities are getting funds through Higher Education Commission (HEC) and are responsible only to it. Therefore, he said the provincial government has decided the establishment of Provincial Higher Education Council.

He said that after the establishment the provincial government will provide funds to universities through it and will also be responsible for the financial and quality audit.

Similarly, in response to the question of Meraj Hamayun Khan, the provincial minister for higher education said that that four-year BS Programme has been introduced in 100 colleges of the province and would be extended to the remaining 120 colleges next year.