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PM Shehbaz offers ‘sincere’ talks with India to resolve disputes including Kashmir

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  • PM says human rights violations rampant in IIOJK.
  • Says minorities in India are being persecuted.
  • Says Pakistan, India have to live with each other.

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, in an effort to resolve the burning issues with New Delhi, including the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu Kashmir (IIOJK), asked his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to hold serious and sincere talks.

Speaking during an interview with Al Arabiya news channel, the prime minister said: “My message to the Indian leadership and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is that let us sit down on the table and have serious and sincere talks to resolve our burning issues like Kashmir.”

PM Shehbaz said that flagrant human rights violations were taking place day in and day out in the IIOJK, adding that the neighbouring country had usurped any semblance of autonomy given to the Kashmiris according to Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The autonomy was revoked in August 2019.

The premier also said that the minorities in India were being persecuted. “This must stop so that message can go around the globe that India is ready to have talks.”

PM Shehbaz said Pakistan and India are neighbours and have to live with each other.

“It is up to us to live peacefully and make progress or quarrel with each other, and waste time and resources. We have three wars with India and it only brought more misery, poverty and unemployment to the people. We have learnt our lesson and we want to live in peace provided we are able to resolve our genuine problems.

“We want to alleviate poverty, achieve prosperity, and provide education and health facilities and employment to our people and not waste our resources on bombs and ammunition, that is the message I want to give to Prime Minister Modi,” he added.

The premier remarked that both countries are nuclear powers and armed to teeth. “If God forbid a war breaks out who will live to tell what happened,” he said. 

He said the leadership of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) could play an important role to bring Pakistan and India together, adding he would hold talks with the Indian leadership with the sincerity of purpose.

He said Saudi Arabia was a friendly and brotherly country, and they had unique brotherly relations for centuries.

Before Pakistan came into being and carved out of India, millions of Muslims had brotherly relations with Saudi Arabia and they were visiting Makkah and Madina, he recalled.

UAE second home for Pakistanis

Speaking about his official visit to the UAE, the PM said that the Gulf country was a second home for millions of Pakistanis and as prime minister. 

He said that UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was an affectionate brother and great supporter of Pakistan and wanted the people of Pakistan to progress and become prosperous. 

“Leadership of Pakistan and Gulf countries have resolved to cooperate with each other in the realm of trade and culture and project Islam as a religion of peace and shun all forms of terrorism. We are working together as strategic partners.”

The prime minister said Pakistan’s woes and difficulties would not have decreased without the tangible and substantial support of the brotherly Gulf countries and Saudi Arabia, who were reliable and trustworthy partners.

He said the Pakistani nation was resilient and brave, and it would stand on its own feet by promoting trade and investment.

To a question, he said the survival of the world lay in co-existence and what was happening in eastern Europe had devastated the world and commodity prices had skyrocketed.

PTI rejects premier’s offer for talks

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry expressed shock at PM Shehbaz’s statement, saying that the party “strongly rejects” the premier’s approach to hold talks with the Indian prime minister. 

Chaudhry said that the prime minister “cannot be allowed to sell Kashmir”. He stressed that the Modi leadership reserve the constitutional position of Kashmir to its original.

‘No talks sans restoration of IIOJK’s special status’

Later, Prime Minister’s Office spokesperson issued a clarification on the PM’s statement, saying that the premier has “repeatedly stated on record that talks can only take place after India has reversed its illegal action of August 5, 2019”.

“Without India’s revocation of this step, negotiations are not possible,” the PMO spokesperson said in a statement issued on Twitter, adding that the premier had made his position very clear in his interview with Al Arabiya.

The PMO spokesperson stated that PM Shehbaz Sharif has always highlighted the resolution of Kashmir issue between Pakistan and India via “dialogue and peaceful means”.

“In reference to PM Shehbaz Sharif’s interview to Al Arabiya, the spokesman of the PM Office has said the PM has consistently maintained that Pakistan and India must resolve their bilateral issues, especially the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir, through dialogue and peaceful means,” the tweet read.

It further stated that the Kashmir dispute must be settled as per the United Nations resolutions and “aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir”.

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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Business

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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