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‘Pakistan safe haven for direct foreign investment’

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Senior Vice President SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Iftikhar Ali Malik Monday recognizing Saudi Arab’s timely incentive packages for cash-strapped Pakistan a great blessing urged the Saudi investors and businessmen to invest generously in different sectors as it is safe heaven for foreign investment.

He expressed these views during business to business meeting with Saudi Arabia traders’ delegation at federal capital. He said there is great potential of foreign investment in Pakistan and owing to government’s investors friendly policies, foreign investment is pouring into the country.

Iftikhar Malik said the Saudi investment in Pakistan would enhance opportunities for the merchants of both sides, which would subsequently boost bilateral trade between the two Muslim countries. He also acknowledged the steady support extended by Saudi Arabia to Pakistan in these difficult times and said there was an urgent need to strengthen the bilateral relations on the trade front too.

“Despite the fact that the two countries pledged to strengthen their economic ties through a preferential trade agreement, which also fits the crown prince’s vision 2030, the total value of bilateral trade stands at around only $2.5 billion,” he added. He said Pakistan is cheaper country with regard of human resources and labour and if Saudi Arab invests in Pakistan, it would get maximal benefit. He said there is dire need of exchanging trade delegations between both the countries and the governments of both the countries should announce free business visas for the business communities.

Iftikhar Malik also suggested that the Saudi Arab should also announce special incentive package for those Pakistani investors and businessmen who are interested to invest in Saudi Arabia. He said Saudi Arabia has always stood with Pakistan in difficult times and the Pakistani government and the business community highly acknowledged it.”

He said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have always enjoyed close relations, primarily because of religious ties. Both countries are affiliated with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Iftikhar Malik further said the Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman is not only a crown prince of Saudi Arab but also a jewel in the crown of all the Muslim countries. “The Saudis have been very generous when it comes to providing aid to Pakistan. For example, when a devastating earthquake hit Balochistan in 2005, Saudi Arabia supported Pakistan with $10 million in humanitarian aid. Moreover, when floods swept across Pakistan in 2010 and 2011, Saudi Arabia granted Pakistan $170 million for relief operations and reconstruction activities in the affected areas,” he pointed out.

He also viewed the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan and his commitment of ensuring transparency in Pakistan are the reasons behind much ambitious foreign investment in the country from our brotherly countries. He said it is first time in history of Pakistan that after its founder father Qauid-e-Azam, Imran Khan is the only Prime Minister who is introducing fair and merit based policies to make the country economic power in the region. He further said Pakistan is a citadel of Islamic world and only Muslim country possessing nuclear power which will be a great blessing for ummah.

Iftikhar Malik said if Pakistan strengthens, all the Muslim ummah will reap dividends and Pakistan will render all its duties and responsibilities to defend the holy places of Saudi Arabia.

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SC acquits murder suspect on ‘benefit of doubt’

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday acquitted a man who was awarded capital punishment for allegedly murdering a citizen in Rawalpindi back in 2011.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Asif Saeed Khosa overturned the Lahore High Court (LHC) verdict that had upheld the death sentence handed to Muhammad Zaman.

It exonerated the accused from murder charges on the benefit of doubt.

Zaman along with two other suspects, Muhammad Azad and Muhammad Shehzad were handed death penalty for murdering a citizen and injuring his son in a Rawalpindi neighbourhood in 2011.

However, the high court acquitted Shehzad while upheld the conviction of the two other accused. Subsequently, they approached the apex court requesting it to set aside their conviction.

It is important to mention here that accused Muhammad Azad had died inside prison.

Earlier, on Feb 13, a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa upheld death sentence awarded to the killer of five people in Peshawar.

The court heard a plea of the man, convicted for killing a woman and four children in Peshawar, seeking his acquittal or commuting death sentence into life term.

The bench turned down the plea of murder convict Faisal.

Chief Justice Khosa remarked that the woman and four children were murdered to steal gold ornaments.

The children were killed only to avoid them to become witnesses, the top judge remarked. The house was set on fire to hide the murder crime.

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FM Qureshi, UK minister discuss trade ties

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: United Kingdom’s Minister of State for Commonwealth and United Nations Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on Monday called on Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad.

matters of mutual interest, trade ties, investment, education and other matters were came under discussion in the meeting.

FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi underscored the need to increase cooperation in diverse fields. He lauded the contribution made by the Pakistani Diaspora in the UK, especially in deepening people-to-people contacts.

The foreign minister apprise the UK minister about the immense potential and opportunities for tourism in Pakistan and steps taken by the current government to promote this sector.

He also briefed Lord Ahmad on the human right violation and Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir.

While Lord Ahmad appreciated the PTI-led government’s reforms in socio-economic sectors and recognized the improved law and order situation in the Pakistan.

He expressed keen interest to work closely with the Pakistani government and the Pakistani diaspora in UK to further deepen bilateral ties.

The UK minister discussed the prospects of post-Brexit trade and assured his government’s continued support in this regard.

Earlier, terming the country’s overall security situation “peaceful”, British Airways on December 18, had announced to resume its flight operations in Pakistan.

Addressing media alongside Special Assistant to PM on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfiqar Bukhari, the airline’s Head of Asia-Pacific Sales, Robert Williams had announced that the airline which halted its flight operations in Pakistan in the year 2018, wasa returning to the country.

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ATC rejects requests of TLP, TLYRA chiefs for bail

F.P. Report

LAHORE: An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Lahore on Monday rejected requests of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi and Tehreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYRA) chief Pir Afzal Qadri for bail.

Stringent security measures were taken outside the ATC premises, while Rizvi was presented before the judge in ATC-IV.

Rizvi’s counsel argued in the court that a suitable environment should be provided for the betterment of health condition of his client.

He said in the bail petition that the provision of the Anti Terrorism Act was falsely included in the case. The lawyer said Khadim Rizvi and other accused had not committed any offence against the state, but had been politically victimised.

The counsel stated that the petitioner had been jailed since his November 23 arrest and he was facing serious health issues because of his disability. He requested the court to grant Rizvi bail.

Following hearing arguments from both sides, the IHC rejected the request for bail.

Rizvi was taken into ‘protective custody’ by police on Nov 23 last year, from Lahore as law enforcement agencies launched crackdown against workers of his group.

The government figures said, a total of 2,899 people were taken into protective custody from Punjab, 139 from Sindh and 126 from Islamabad during the crackdown.

The law enforcement agencies launched crackdown two days before the TLP announced to resume its protest against the Supreme Court’s verdict acquitting Aasia Bibi, a blasphemy accused.

The workers of of TLP and other religious parties took to the streets and blocked major roads and intersections through sit ins against the apex court verdict in different parts of the country.

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Overseas Pakistani released on fake documents sent to jail

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday sent Qamar Abbas, the overseas Pakistani released on fake documents, sent to the prison to complete his jail term.

A three-member SC bench headed by Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa heard the case and ordered to send Qamar Abbas to prison so as the convict could complete his jail term as per rule.

The court also asked the government to make efforts to restore the prisoners transfer agreement with other countries. Justice Asif Saeed Khosa stated that only due to this act, thousands of Pakistani prisoners were rotting out in foreign countries’ lockups. He said that that such phony acts had destroyed the country’s image around the world.

The chief justice stated that Qamar Abbas was arrested in London and after a brief period, he was sent to Pakistan to complete his jail terms but he was freed prematurely after few days of arrival when a section officer prepared a fake circular letter for his release.

The attorney general apprised the judge that the section officer had died. He said that the convict’s jail term will complete in 2019.

The Interior Ministry, on September 13, in a report revealed that at least 11,803 Pakistanis were serving jail terms in foreign countries.

According to the report, 8.8 million Pakistanis were living abroad and 11,803 of them are in different jails. Most of the jailed Pakistanis are in Saudi Arabia — 2,937.

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Quddus wants govt to enhance Balochistan’s NFC share

F.P. Report

KARACHI: Balochistan Assembly Speaker Mir Abdul Quddus Bijenzo said on Monday that while the province’s security situation has improved, terrorism is yet to be eradicated completely.

Speaking at the Karachi Press Club, he said that those killing innocent people in Balochistan were terrorists, adding that foreign elements were behind attacks on security forces.

Bijenzo said Indian involvement in fomenting unrest in the province is still ongoing.

He expressed the hope that Prime Minister Imran Khan will address the issues facing the people of Balochistan.

Slamming the previous Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) government, he said it did wrong to the province.

“A mere Rs3 billion are earmarked for the country’s largest province,” he lamented and demanded that the federal government enhance its share in the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award.

Earlier this month, the first meeting of ninth National Finance Commission (NFC) agreed that fiscal allocation should reflect true spirit of 18th amendment.

Finance Minister Asad Umar chaired the meeting in Islamabad, attended by the provincial representatives.

The meeting formed six sub groups to put forward proposals for FATA affairs, ease of doing business, macro economic issues and horizontal and vertical distribution of resources.

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Court defers Faisal Raza Abidi’s indictment until Feb 25

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Anti-Electronic Crime Court on Monday deferred the proceedings to indict former senator Faisal Raza Abidi, in a case related to contemptuous remarks against the top court, until February 25.

Judge Tahir Mehmood took up the case in Islamabad today, in which Abidi appeared before the court.

However, the court decided to delay the indictment proceedings as one of the co-accused Hans Masroor failed to show up before the court today.

The court ordering the accused to make sure their presence before it on next hearing for indictment adjourned the hearing of the case until February 25.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday (December 20) had approved Abidi’s bail plea after a medical report confirmed that he was suffering from multiple illnesses.

He was granted bail in two cases of contempt of court, meanwhile, the IHC instructed the firebrand leader to submit a Rs100, 000 surety bond.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had booked Abidi under the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (Peca) 2016.

According to the FIR registered against the former senator with criminal intent had used sarcastic, derogatory and defamatory language against the then chief justice of Pakistan and was prima facie guilty of offences punishable under sections 10(a), 11 and 20 of Peca, read with sections 109 and 509 of the PPC.

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Saudi economic package to guarantee country’s prosperity: Ch. Sarwar

F.P. Report

LAHORE: Governor Punjab Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar has said that Saudi economic package is a precious gift for Pakistan as it will prove guarantee of prosperity of the country.

Talking to various delegations which called on him here on Sunday, Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar expressed the hope that due to Saudi investment, Pakistan will get rid of problems of load shedding and unemployment.

He said that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman has set new example of brotherhood with Pakistan. Pakistan has been paved on path of prosperity which is unbearable for our enemies, but we will defeat them on every front, he added.

The Governor Punjab further stated that we will make Pakistan country of Allama Iqbal and Quid-e-Azam in true letter and spirit and Prime Minister Imran Khan is translating national manifestations into reality.

He said that due to honesty and good governance of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the global community is moving close to Pakistan and investment is coming. Chudhry Sarwar said that it is without doubt that Saudi Arabia always stood by Pakistan especially during time of need and every child of country is proud of Pak-Saudi friendship.

In every difficult time, Saudi Arabia always helped Pakistan and we are taking long term steps to permanently solve crisis, he added. The Governor Punjab said enemies are making anti-Pakistan propaganda because they are unable to digest progress of country but they will not succeed in their propaganda.

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‘Punjab to play compelling role in uplift of Balochistan’

F.P. Report

LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has said that Punjab will surely play a compelling role in development of Balochistan and all resources would be utilized in this connection.

Talking to Balochistan Minister for Trade and Industry Muhammad Khan who called on him here on Sunday, Sardar Usman Buzdar said that Balochistan is very close to his heart and people of the province are his brothers.

During the meeting of the CM and the Provincial Minister, matters of mutual interest and promotion of inter-province harmony came under discussion.

Usman Buzdar said that although Balochistan was neglected during former regimes but the PTI government is vigilant for its development and progress. We are working together for new Pakistan and a common man here will cherish same facilities as that of a rich man, he added.

The Chief Minister said that we altogether will form new Pakistan and role of Balochistan is this regard is remarkable. He said that they will cooperate to setup Cardiology Centre at Balochistan and we will move forward altogether of developments and progress of Pakistan.

Usman Buzdar said that inter-province harmony, brotherhood and unity will be promoted as coordinated effort to make Pakistan developed is the need of hour.

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Govt to provide all possible facilities to Hajj pilgrims: Qadri

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony, Dr Noor-ul-Haq Qadri has said that the investment of Saudi Arabia in Pakistan will play an important role in the economic stability of the country.

In an interview, he said Pakistan has vast opportunities of investment in diverse fields including energy. He said Gwadar is an emerging economic city of the region and it will be the economic hub in future.

About corruption, he said Prime Minister Imran Khan is committed to eradicate this menace from the country.  He said the government will provide all possible facilities to the Hajj pilgrims during Hajj this year.