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No decision taken yet about next army chief: PM Shehbaz

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  • PM Shehbaz is not in a hurry to make topmost military appointments and has said that the decision will be taken at an appropriate time.
  • Military authorities have not yet moved summary containing a panel of three-star generals for the topmost army appointments.
  • Issue of these appointments is informally discussed among the ruling PML-N and its coalition partners.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is not in a hurry to make the topmost military appointments and has said that the decision will be taken at an appropriate time.

Talking to The News, the premier said that no decision has been taken so far as to who would be the new Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) and the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS).

It was also learnt that the military authorities have not yet moved the summary containing a panel of three-star generals for the topmost army appointments. It is the PM’s discretion to appoint the CJCSC and COAS. Generally, the process of initiating the summary for the prime minister, containing the panel, starts in the second half of November unless the PM wants the panel early.

However, the issue of these appointments is informally discussed among the ruling PML-N and its coalition partners. Though the PM is the competent authority, he can consult anyone for these appointments. In the present situation, it is said the premier’s consultation with PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif appears to be really important.

Before announcing the appointment, the PM is also expected to take into confidence his key coalition partners. According to a PMLN source, unlike in the past, the prime minister may have more emphasis on seniority. Though not mandatory, the prime minister may also informally seek the outgoing army chief’s advice.

A senior journalist in a recent tweet suggested that the name of a top lieutenant general would not be considered for promotion and appointment because his retirement date falls just a couple of days before November 29. However, defence sources, when approached, confided to The News that at the time of initiating the summary for the topmost appointments, names of all the most senior general officers are included in the panel and the premier can appoint anyone of them to the key military posts. Generally, three officers are considered for one post.

In order of seniority, the following six officers are expected to be considered for the top military appointments: Lt Gen Asim Munir, Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza, Lt Gen Azhar Abbas, Lt Gen Nauman Mehmood, Lt Gen Faiz Hamid, and Lt Gen Mohammad Amir.

These appointments always attract a lot of focus and attention from the media, politicians and civil and military bureaucracy. However, this time Imran Khan’s repeated statements demanding the deferment of these appointments until the next elections generated controversy. Khan suggested extending COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa’s tenure until the next election.

Khan was of the view that these appointments should be made by the future PM. He had said the present government has no right to make these appointments. Strangely, President Arif Alvi also talked about consultation between the government and the Opposition for these appointments.

Not only did Gen Bajwa decline to continue beyond November 29, but the PM and his coalition partners also rejected the demands of Khan and President Alvi, insisting that as per the law and Constitution, it is the discretion of the prime minister to make these appointments.

Of late, the DG ISI in his press conference had disclosed that Khan, during his premiership in March this year, had offered an extension to General Bajwa for an indefinite period to save his government from the opposition’s no-trust move. Gen Bajwa had rejected the offer and refused to interfere in political wheeling and dealing.

Business

Moody’s says the IMF programme will increase Pakistan’s foreign financing.

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Moody’s, a reputable international rating agency, has stated that Pakistan’s chances of acquiring funding will increase as a result of the recent agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which offers dependable sources for that purpose from both friendly countries and international financial institutions.

According to a recent Moody’s analysis on Pakistan’s economy, social unrest and tensions could result from Pakistan’s ongoing inflation. The country’s economic reforms may be hampered by increased taxes and potential changes to the energy tariff, it continued.

Moody’s, on the other hand, agrees that the coalition government headed by Shehbaz Sharif of the PML-N is in danger of failing to secure an election mandate, which may potentially undermine the successful and long-lasting execution of economic reforms.

The government’s capacity to proceed with economic changes may be hampered by societal unrest and poor governance, according to Moody’s.

In order to appease the IMF by fulfilling a prerequisite for authorising a rescue package, the government raised the basic tariff on electricity, which coincided with the most recent increase in fuel prices announced on Monday. This report was released by Moody’s.

Food costs have increased in the nation, where the vast majority is experiencing an unprecedented crisis due to the high cost of living, following the government’s earlier presentation of a budget that included a large increase in income tax for the salaried classes and the implementation of GST on commodities like milk.

The most recent comments were made following Islamabad’s achievement of a staff-level agreement for a $7 billion contract that spans 37 months and is contingent upon final approval by the IMF Executive Board.

It states that Pakistan will need foreign financing totaling about $21 billion in 2024–2025 and $23 billion in 2025–2026, meaning that the country’s present $9.4 billion in reserves won’t be sufficient to cover its needs.

Therefore, according to Moody’s, Pakistan is in an alarming position with regard to its external debt, and the next three to five years will be extremely difficult for the formulation and implementation of policies.

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Base Of bilateral relations: China And Pakistan Reiterate Their Support For CPEC

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China-Pakistan economic corridor is a major project of the Belt and Road Initiative, and both countries have reiterated their commitment to it. It remains a fundamental aspect of their bilateral relations.

Vice Chairman Zhao Chenxin of the National Development and Reform Commission of China and Minister Ahsan Iqbal of Planning and Development met in Beijing, where Ahsan Iqbal made this assurance.

The summit made clear how committed China and Pakistan are to advancing their strategic cooperative partnership in all weather conditions.

The focus of the discussion was on how the CPEC was going, with both parties reviewing project development and discussing how the agreement made at the leadership level will lead to the launch of an enhanced version of the CPEC.

In order to improve trade, connectivity, and socioeconomic growth in the area, they emphasised the need of CPEC projects.

The Ml-I Project, the KKH realignment, and the Sukkur-Hyderabad motorway—the last remaining segment of the Karachi-Peshawar motorway network—were all to be expedited.

Expanding the partnership’s horizons to include technology, innovation, education, connectivity, and renewable energy sources was another topic of discussion.

Specifically in the special economic zones being built under the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation (CPEX), Vice Chairman NDRC emphasised the possibility of China investing more in Pakistan.

In addition to expressing confidence in the ongoing success of the two nations’ collaboration, Zhao Chenxin reiterated China’s support for Pakistan’s development aspirations.

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9th Muharram: Processions Happen Throughout the Nation Today Under Strict Security

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Nineth Muharram: Today, the nation observes the ninth day of Muharram with the appropriate seriousness and respect, honouring the ultimate sacrifice made by Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA) and his followers.

In addition to Tazia and Alam processions being held in certain cities, Majalis will take place in all major and minor cities.

A thorough traffic and security strategy for the ninth day of Ramadan has been finalised by the Islamabad police.

Starting from the Imambargah at G/6-2, the main 9 Muharram al haram procession will travel a predetermined itinerary before ending back at its starting position.

The traffic measures are in place to guarantee the parade proceeds smoothly. General traffic will not be allowed on the route that runs from Fazal Haq Road, Polyclinic, to Kulsoom Plaza.
Today, amid strict security, there are processions across the nation.

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