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Building close relations with Iran our top priority: Foreign Minister Bilawal

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  • “We have come closer to resolving major obstacles in expanding trade,” Bilawal says.
  • The foreign minister is in Iran on a two-day official visit.
  • He adds the two sides have also committed to enhancing energy cooperation.

TEHRAN: Pakistan and Iran on Tuesday reiterated the resolve to further strengthen bilateral relations in all dimensions during the maiden visit of Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Radio Pakistan reported.

Addressing a joint news conference alongside his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in Tehran, the foreign minister said Iran is an important neighbour and brother of Pakistan and building close relations with Iran remains “our high priority”.

Bilawal, while sharing the details of his meeting with the Iranian foreign minister, said they took stock of the entire gamut of bilateral relations and identified ways to further strengthen the bilateral relations in trade, investment, connectivity, border management, facilitation of pilgrims, cultural and educational cooperation and enhancing people to people contacts.

“We have come closer to resolving one of the major obstacles in expanding trade through operationalisation of party trade mechanism, formalisation of cross border exchanges through opening new border crossings and promotion of trade through cross border markets,” said Bilawal.

Reiterating the commitment to enhance commercial and economic activities for the prosperity of the two peoples, Bilawal said: “We have also committed to enhancing energy cooperation by importing additional electricity from Iran.”

He further added that during his meeting with the Iranian foreign minister, they also discussed the exchange of sentenced prisoners under the existing legal frameworks to allow them to complete their sentences in their respective countries.

Appreciating Iran’s facilitation of Pakistani pilgrims, the foreign minister said he discussed additional facilities for pilgrims.

Bilawal said: “We also discussed the latest developments in Afghanistan especially the dire humanitarian saturation there as both Pakistan and Iran are directly affected by conflict and instability in Afghanistan.”

He stated that the two sides have agreed that the Afghan people should be supported including through access to frozen assets. He said the world expects from Afghan authorities a move towards inclusivity and an effective counter-terrorism action.

The foreign minister said he has briefed his Iranian counterpart about the serious human rights situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK).

Bilawal said he also discussed the rising tide of Islamophobia and the recent derogatory remarks made by officials in India that deeply offended Muslims across the world. He revealed: “We have agreed that it is time for the international community to show common resolve against Islamophobia, Xenophobia and intolerance and incitement to violence on the basis of religion or belief.”

Referring to Iran’s engagement with western partners on 2015 Nuclear Deal, the foreign minister said they look forward to the day when the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) reaches a conclusion that is right of the people of Iran and creates a more conducive environment.

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Meeting with the President: The Need for Preventive Measures to Avoid Expensive Treatment

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According to President Dr. Arif Alvi, adopting preventative measures against various ailments is essential to avoiding costly treatment, and these practices would also lessen the strain on the healthcare system.

He was speaking with a Pakistan National Heart Association team when they paid him a visit at Aiwan-e-Sadr.

The President received a report from the delegation detailing the organization’s successes and operations.

The President emphasised the need to raise public awareness of the need of taking preventative steps to ward off heart disease and non-communicable illnesses.

In addition, he emphasised the need of the media, the local populace, mosques, and non-governmental organisations in raising this kind of knowledge in addition to using the newest media outlets to disseminate awareness.

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Meeting with COAS: Gen Asim to Reach National Agreement on Reducing Intolerance, ASP Shehrbano

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Lady Police Officer Syeda Shehrbano Naqvi has received praise from Army Chief General Syed Asim Munir for calming a tense situation and defending a woman in Ichra Bazaar, Lahore, from a violent crowd.

When the Army Chief met with Assistant Superintendent of Police Syeda Shehrbano Naqvi in Rawalpindi, he emphasised the value of social cohesion and the necessity of national agreement on reducing bigotry.

He acknowledged the important role Pakistani women have played in all spheres of society since the country’s independence and stated that because of their skill, perseverance, and dedication, they have made a name for themselves both domestically and internationally.

According to the Army Chief, women play a crucial role in Pakistani culture and are respected in both our social and religious ethos.

He placed a strong emphasis on the rule of law and cautioned against enforcing laws on oneself when there are legal channels available to resolve issues and complaints.

Syed Asim Munir emphasised the enduring theme of love and generosity found in Islam, pointing out that arbitrary measures based on heresy damage society’s perspective.

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The departing caretaker government gives NEPRA and OGRA the authority to announce tariffs.

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The NEPRA and OGRA were given the authority to announce tariffs at the eleventh hour by the departing caretaker administration.

Reportedly, the caretaker administration changed the regulation to remove the government’s involvement in tariff announcements and made this significant decision over rising gas and electricity rates.

According to the sources, the federal cabinet has authorised changes to the OGRA and NEPRA regulations, allowing them to publish tariff alerts independently.

According to reports, the caretaker federal cabinet has adopted steps that would allow Nepra to notify consumers about gas and electricity rates.

According to the sources, the modifications will establish appellate tribunals for public complaints.

The already suffering customers were further burdened by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority’s (NEPRA) announcement earlier on Tuesday of yet another hike in power costs.

As part of the fuel price adjustment (FCA) for January 2024, an increase in power prices of Rs 7.5 per unit has been authorised. The higher cost would be seen in consumers’ bills in March 2024.

Approved under the FCA, this hike affects all consumer groups with the exception of K-Electric (KE) and lifeline users. According to estimates, customers who are already struggling with high expenditures would bear an extra burden of Rs66 billion as a result of this raise.

Previous reports suggested that tariffs may increase, as the Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA) requested that NEPRA boost prices by Rs7.13 per unit due to FPA

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