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US wants to work with new Pakistan government on regional, international issues

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  • US views Pakistan as an important stakeholder and important partner, says Ned Price. 
  • We look forward to working closely with Shehbaz Sharif government, he says.
  • US has already congratulated new Prime Minister of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif, says Ned Price.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price on Tuesday said the United States wants to work closely with the new government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on regional and international issues.

The latest statement by the US government is of utmost important as  ex-prime minister Imran Khan had repeatedly blamed the US for backing the joint Opposition to oust him from power through a no-trust motion.

Imran Khan was of the view that the US government supported the government change in Pakistan and to prove his point of view, Khan had also highlighted a letter and claimed that the US government threatened Pakistan of dire consequences if he remains in power.

However, after a series of events, eventually on April 10, Imran Khan was ousted as the prime minister of Pakistan from office through a no-confidence motion after the National Assembly debated on the matter for more than 12 hours and the political situation in the country took a critical turn.

Shehbaz Sharif then took oath as the 23rd Prime Minister of Pakistan after he being elected by the joint Opposition.

Today, during a regular press briefing, the US State Department spokesperson termed Pakistan an important partner of the US government.

“We view Pakistan as an important stakeholder and important partner with whom we are engaging and have engaged as we work together to bring about an Afghanistan that is more stable, is more secure, is more prosperous, and importantly an Afghanistan that respects the basic and fundamental rights of its people, all of its people, including its minorities, its women, its girls,” he said. 

Price also appreciated the US relationship with Pakistan and vowed to continue working with the new government.

“For almost 75 years, our relationship with Pakistan has been a vital one and we look forward to continuing that work with the new government in Pakistan across regional and international issues,” he said.

“This is work that has a potential to promote peace and prosperity in Pakistan and throughout the region,” he added.

Price went on to say, “we have already congratulated the new Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on his election, adding, “We look forward to working closely with his government.” 

US Secretary of State congratulates PM Shehbaz Sharif 

On Thursday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had congratulated Shahbaz Sharif on becoming the new Prime Minister of Pakistan and vowed to continue cooperation with his new government.

“Pakistan has been an important partner on wide-ranging mutual interests for nearly 75 years and we value our relationship. The United States congratulates newly-elected Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and we look forward to continuing our long-standing cooperation with Pakistan’s government,” a statement from the US State Department read.

Pentagon sees continuation of military-to-military ties with Pakistan 

After Shehbaz Sharif’s election as the new Prime Minister of Pakistan, the US Department of Defense also issued a statement and hoped to continue its “healthy” military-to-military ties with Pakistan despite the change in the government.

“We do have a healthy military-to-military relationship with Pakistani armed forces. And we have every expectation that that will be able to continue to be the case,” Pentagon Press Secretary John F Kirby had said.

The Pentagon official said the US recognises that it has shared interests with Pakistan with respect to security and stability. “We recognise that Pakistan plays a key role in the region.”

Ruling out any US military role in Pakistan, he said that America recognises that Pakistan and its people are, themselves, victims of terrorist attacks “inside their own country”.

“I don’t foresee any US military role here. And I’m certainly not going to, again, wade into internal domestic politics in Pakistan,” he told a journalist at the press briefing.

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government contests Imran Khan and Qureshi’s exoneration in the cipher case

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On Thursday, the federal government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court contesting the exoneration of former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and former Prime Minister Imran Khan in the well-known cipher case.

Citing procedural and jurisdictional issues, the Ministry of Interior has appealed the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) ruling.

In hearing the cipher case, the High Court allegedly overreached its power, arguing that judges cannot change laws where Parliament has not expressly passed legislation.

Despite receiving government-funded legal representation, the petition emphasized Imran Khan and Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s lack of cooperation during the trial, submitting 65 separate motions and neglecting to cross-examine witnesses.

The petition contended that in order for a retrial to satisfy legal standards, the High Court should have ignored important evidence that was given during the trial. It requests that the appeals contesting the IHC’s June 3 acquittal be given a hearing date by the Supreme Court.

Case history

The cipher issue concerns a supposed diplomatic document that disappeared from Imran Khan’s custody. The cipher allegedly contained threats from the US to remove Khan from office, according to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party. Shah Mehmood Qureshi and several aides, including Asad Umar, are named in the First Information Report (FIR) submitted by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in accordance with Section 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code and Sections 5 and 9 of the Official Secrets Act.

The then-foreign secretary received a diplomatic cipher from Washington on March 7, 2022, according to the FIR. The lawsuit claims that by manipulating the data for their own benefit, Khan and Qureshi put the safety of the country at risk. It alleges that on March 28, 2022, Khan secretly met at his Bani Gala home and gave his Principal Secretary, Muhammad Azam Khan, instructions to change the content of the cipher to his advantage, jeopardizing national security.

The document asserts that Khan still has custody of the cipher, jeopardizing Pakistan’s encrypted messaging systems and possibly helping foreign forces, which would be detrimental to the nation. A complaint has been filed by the FIA’s Anti-Terrorism Wing against Khan, Qureshi, and other individuals for improper use of state secrets and unapproved possession of the cipher.

Acquittal by the Islamabad High Court

In the cipher case, on June 3, the IHC cleared Khan and Qureshi when Justice Aamir Farooq issued a succinct ruling in their favor. Their sentences were appealed in the case, which has since been a source of political and legal controversy, leading to their acquittal.

This acquittal and the ongoing legal and political struggles surrounding the cipher case are highlighted by the government’s subsequent move to contest it.

With potentially huge ramifications for the parties involved and the larger political scene, the Supreme Court’s decision over whether to hear the appeal will be keenly scrutinized.

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Shahid Khaqan Abbasi urges political stability in order to accelerate economic expansion.

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Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the former prime minister, emphasized on Thursday how important political stability is to Pakistan’s economic development and how the nation cannot prosper without it.

His concern was that export growth had not progressed, and he emphasized that stability in the current climate is vital to draw investments and carry out the necessary reforms.

In his criticism of the tax system, Abbasi brought up the erratic nature of tax laws and the transient nature of the most recent tax slab implementation. Insisting that difficult choices are unavoidable for economic recovery, he emphasized the necessity of designing a tax system that is equitable and does not burden the people.

Furthermore, arguing that the effectiveness of organizations like the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is essential for economic governance and transparency, Abbasi urged for changes within these and other organizations.

Abbasi, in his discussion of more comprehensive fiscal plans, suggested that the National Finance Commission (NFC) award be reviewed again and that power distribution companies (DISCOs) be decentralized to the provinces.

In order to reduce inefficiencies and corruption at the provincial level, he recommended looking into ways to share the cost of defense spending and decentralize the management of energy resources.

In closing, Abbasi emphasized that Pakistan’s economic trajectory will stay stagnant unless comprehensive changes are implemented immediately. To move the nation towards sustainable progress, he urged policymakers to give stability and structural reforms first priority.

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Through in-app QR payments, Zindigi and SBP streamline transactions involving sacrificial animals.

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With its in-app QR code payment system based on Raast, Zindigi—powered by JS Bank—has elevated the convenience of cashless payments for the procurement of sacrificial animals to a whole new level for Eid ul Adha.

This program uses QR code payments to streamline transactions for sacrificed animals for the general public and traders. It is a component of the State Bank of Pakistan’s Raast quick payment service.

This feature enables users of Zindigi and users of any digital banking apps or wallets to safely and easily make payments at certain cattle markets throughout Pakistan using Zindigi QR. The consumer must scan the QR code of the livestock merchant and pay the transaction amount in order to complete the payment.

In order to further financial inclusion and digital innovation in Pakistan’s developing economy, Zindigi and the State Bank of Pakistan have partnered. Both organizations are committed to improving the efficiency and accessibility of financial services, especially on holidays such as Eid ul Adha, by utilizing the most recent developments in fintech.

One of the most important steps toward promoting financial inclusion and economic empowerment at the local level is the integration of livestock markets into the digital economy. Farmers and retailers may take charge of their financial operations and help realize the larger goal of an inclusive digital Pakistan by adopting digital payments.

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