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Pakistanis to face ‘more difficult times’: PM Shehbaz Sharif

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  • PM Shehbaz Sharif says “companions” suggested making election reforms and announcing elections but govt plans to complete constitutional term.
  • Terms with the IMF have been finalised and the deal will close soon: PM
  • Says PTI “saw their defeat” in March, “arbitrarily” lowered fuel prices.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday said that the country may witness more difficult times as it struggles to steer itself out of the ongoing economic crisis.

The coalition government has recently taken some “tough” decisions, including a massive increase on petroleum prices.

PM Shehbaz Sharif, while addressing PML-N senators, said that some of his “companions” suggested making election reforms and announcing elections but the government plans to complete its constitutional term.

“We faced many challenges when I took oath as the prime minister,” the premier said.

He said that the former government had struck a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to pass on the international prices of oil and gas.

PM Shehbaz Sharif said that the terms with the IMF have been finalised and the deal with the Fund will close soon, barring any other conditions set by the global lender.

Criticising the PTI government further, he said that the previous government “never felt strongly about doing anything for widows and the poor”.

“They saw their defeat in March and so they lowered fuel prices,” the prime minister said, adding that they just arbitrarily made the decision.

The previous government signed a petroleum levy of Rs30 with the IMF, he said.

Speaking of lost opportunities, the premier said that “billions and trillions of treasures” are buried in Reko Diq “but we could not dig them out”.

“This is the fault of the leadership which dealt with the matter in the wrong way,” he said.

The premier said that the PTI is facing scandals of gas and wheat exports. “They gave billions in subsidies, emptied the coffers, and the cartels had a field day,” he said.

He went on to say that “it will no do good to look back and cry”.

PM Shehbaz, referring to the recently inked $2.3bn loan agreement with a Chinese consortium of banks, said: “How long will China help us?”

“China and Saudi Arabia must be wondering when Pakistan will stand on its own feet,” he remarked.

The prime minister said it was the need of the hour to set aside politics and put the state above everything else.

“If the state survives, so will our politics.”

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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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