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Will cryptocurrency ever be legalised in Pakistan?

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Pakistan has decided to suspend cryptocurrency services available on the internet in the country to prevent illegal digital currency transactions as per the guidelines of the global anti-terror financing watchdog, the federal government said Wednesday.

Adhering to the directives, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and the Ministry of Information Technology have initiated work on banning cryptocurrencies.

Briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Finance, Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Dr Aisha Ghaus Pasha asserted that cryptocurrency will “never be legalised in Pakistan”, revealing that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has also imposed restrictions.

“FATF had set a condition that cryptocurrency will not be legalised,” she maintained.

Endorsing Pasha’s views, SBP Director Sohail Jawad said that crypto transactions involve “high risk”; therefore, it will never be granted permission in Pakistan.

“Cyrtocurrency is virtual currency and more than 16,000 types have been formed so far,” he said, adding that the $2.8 trillion market has now shrunk to $1.2 trillion.

Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) Senator Saleem Mandviwalla raised concerns over the billions of dollars invested in the market. Addressing the concerns, the SBP official said that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) — a financial intelligence unit which helps Pakistan to fight against terrorism financing and money laundering — are working on this.

Pakistan has seen a boom in trading and mining cryptocurrency, with interest increasing in thousands of views of related social media videos and online exchange transactions.

Cryptocurrency mining flourished in Pakistan until April 2018 when the government banned trading and mining virtual currencies. There is still a growing mining industry despite the fact that many mining farms have been shut down since this ban was implemented.

Most exchanges operate through ghost partners and never show on the regulatory radar. However, the government has been making continuous efforts to stop crypto trading.

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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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Pakistani government raises petrol prices

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A recent announcement states that the price of petrol has increased by Rs 9.99 per litre, to Rs 275.60 per litre.

The cost of high-speed diesel has also increased significantly, rising by Rs 6.18 a litre. Diesel is now priced at Rs 283.63 a litre.

Furthermore, kerosene now costs Rs 0.83 more per gallon.

The cost of products and services is predicted to rise in response to the increase in petroleum prices, further taxing household budgets and jeopardizing the stability of the economy.

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