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NSC session with top brass underway

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ISLAMABAD: An in-camera session of the National Assembly’s National Security Committee (NSC) is underway at the lower house, in which the military leadership is expected to brief the lawmakers on the country’s prevailing national security situation.

The session is being chaired by NA Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf.

According to sources, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Chief Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmed Anjum will give a detailed overview of the current situation to the members.

The development comes after a national security huddle — headed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif — decided last week to launch fresh military operation to flush out rising militancy in the country.

Notices have been issued by the National Assembly Secretariat and all federal ministers, advisers and MNAs have been invited to attend the meeting.

Secretaries of interior, foreign affairs, finance, defence and information and broadcasting have also been invited to attend the meeting while the four provincial chief ministers, chief secretaries and IGPs were issued special invitations by the NA Secretariat.

‘Healthy interaction’

On Thursday, Prime Minister Shehbaz announced that the National Assembly would be given an in-camera briefing on national security matters on Friday (today).

Responding to a point raised by MNA Ali Wazir from Waziristan, PM Shehbaz informed the house that during the in-camera briefing, parliamentarians would also be able to put their respective questions on the relevant subject.

He assured the MNA that all of his reservations would be listened to and responded positively to satisfy his concerns.

“This would be a healthy interaction. There would be no discussion to spoil the situation, rather it would be an attempt to rectify the matters,” the prime minister remarked.

Speaking on the occasion, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif had said the military leadership would attend the National Assembly session and respond to the queries of the members. He further added that the military leadership was cognisant of the challenge posed by terrorism.

He voiced serious concerns over the surge in terrorism and demanded that terrorists’ facilitators settled in the civilian areas must be held accountable.

Asif, who recently visited Kabul along with DG ISI to convey Pakistan’s concerns on the TTP activities, said terrorism increased after people from Afghanistan settled in Pakistan.

“Terrorists have settled in the residential areas. Action should be taken against the people who have helped them settle,” he said while referring to the previous Imran Khan-led government.

“These people have political support, as they are also present at Zaman Park. They have the support of Khan,” he said.

The defence minister added that the first Afghan war took place during the reign of General Zia, while the second war happened during the rule of General (retd) Musharraf after 9/11.

He seconded MNA Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir and said they were correctly saying that the people in those areas were suffering for the sins they did not commit.

Speaking on a point of order, Ali Wazir appealed to the government to stop the military operation in the tribal areas. He said another operation in the tribal areas had been discussed in the NSC huddle.

“We have come to know that even the GHQ has not been taken into confidence and the generals who had retired should be dealt with first,’” he said.

He said the people who spread mistrust had now come to the settled areas of the country.

“When the Taliban came to Afghanistan, sweets were distributed in the country, as Pakistan had problems and differences with the past Afghan rulers,” he recalled.

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The Pakistan Army’s pivotal role in the socioeconomic development of Balochistan

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Along with the province administration, the Pakistan Army has played a key role in leading a number of socioeconomic projects. A determined effort has been undertaken to solve the issues and utilise the potential of the province, realising the intrinsic relationship between the development of Balochistan and the advancement of Pakistan overall.

In the face of security problems, the Pakistan Army has adopted a multipronged strategy that includes peacekeeping as well as socioeconomic development. By means of focused awareness initiatives, communities have been motivated to seize mainstream chances, which has resulted in the voluntary surrender of militants and opened the door to a peaceful cohabitation.

The Army and the Balochistani administration have placed a high priority on the construction of educational facilities, particularly in outlying areas, recognising the role that education plays as a catalyst for advancement. By equipping the public with the knowledge and skills necessary for a better future, this strategic focus seeks to free the people from the hold of extremism.

In addition, the Pakistan Army’s unflinching security has helped to usher in a new era of growth, supported by strategic initiatives like the Gwadar Port and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The Army’s actions to protect CPEC projects have received international recognition, and the Chinese Minister of National Defence has praised them for their commitment to regional peace.

The Reko Diq project is a highly promising venture that has the potential to become the largest gold and copper mine globally. This grand project has the potential to reduce Pakistan’s debt load and spark massive economic expansion, drawing in international capital and improving the nation’s economic prospects.

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$13.44 billion in liquid foreign reserves

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The State Bank’s foreign reserves were $8,040.3 million, whereas Pakistan’s total liquid foreign reserves as of the week ending April 5, 2024, were US$ 13,441.7 million.

The State Bank of Pakistan said that during the week under review, the central bank’s foreign exchange reserves dropped by $0.1 million to $8,040.3 million in a statement released here on Monday.

It further stated that commercial banks’ net foreign reserves were reported to be $5,401.4 million.

The nation’s total liquid foreign reserves as of the previous week, which concluded on March 29, 2024, were $13,378.9 million.

These included the $8,040.4 million in foreign reserves held by the central bank and the $5,338.5 million in net foreign reserves held by commercial banks.

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Today, IHC will hear Qureshi, the founder of PTI,’s arguments against his conviction in the CCI case.

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The PTI founder and Shah Mehmood Qureshi will appeal their convictions in the cipher case to the Islamabad High Court today (Tuesday).

The hearing will be conducted by a division bench that consists of Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Chief Justice Aamir Farooq of the Islamabad High Court.

The attorneys will present their arguments regarding the appeals against the sentencing during the hearing.

However, Bushra Bibi, the wife of the PTI founder, has filed a petition to have her medical examined, and this plea will also be heard today.

Bushra Bibi’s application will be considered by Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb. The petitioner has voiced her concern that the food she was provided was toxic.

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