Pakistan News


Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday made a pitch to Turkish entrepreneurs to invest in a 10,000-megawatt solar power project for Pakistan, saying “my investor is my master”.
The premier sought the investment while addressing a meeting of the Pakistan-Turkiye Business Council in Istanbul, where he reached later for a two-day visit.
He told the investors that his government was resolved to cut down “very expensive” imports of oil and petroleum products, on which $27 billion was spent last year. “We simply can’t afford this.”
So, he explained, his government had invited foreign investment at a conference in Islamabad around a month and a half ago for a 10,000MW solar power project.
PM had given approval for the execution of the solar project in September as part of measures to reduce the import bill.
“It’s not just a paper, or a talk, or a feasibility,” he said about the project today. “I, along with my colleagues, […] am committed to this philosophy that we shall implement this scheme with in letter and spirit with our own resources, with investment from Turkiye, from China, from Saudia Arabia, from Qatar, from the UAE (United Arab Emirates), from the United States of America, from wherever.”
He assured the investors that the Pakistan government would create a conducive, enabling and friendly environment for them to invest in the project.
“Please try to understand that past is past, and we are walking into the future with a sense of great understanding, learn our lesson from the past.
We will move forward with this commitment that my investor is my master. And that’s what I believe — not from today but from ages — and that’s what we are going to implement in times to come,“ he convinced his audience.
“Please be ready with your coffers open,” he urged them, announcing that his government would be organising a special conference for “my Turkish brothers and sisters” where a presentation would be given on the plan for the project.
He also assured the investors that speedy payments to them would be ensured.
“It will be a complete departure from the past. Within 60 days, Turkish, and of course all international investors, will be paid without recourse to any third party,” he said, adding that the payments would be speedy and transparent.
The premier said believed it would be a “gateway for a new order in Pakistan” and allow the country to save billions of dollars by cutting down on fuel imports.
“Please trust me, trust my words. Come to Pakistan and, I will show you that, God willing, we will be great partners in this great investment portfolio, which will be a win-win situation,” he urged the investors. “You will get very nice profits and we will benefit, getting energy from the sun.”
PM Shehbaz assured them that the bidding process would be transparent and fair and bureaucratic delays.
He also asked the Pakistan ambassador in Istanbul to facilitate the Turkish investors in coming to Pakistan.
“Please come to Pakistan. Brother Naveed Qamar will receive you at the airport, roll out the red carpet […] and I will be breaking bread with you and have a complete discussion over there. And we will only open the doors of the rooms once we have come to a firm and concrete understanding of everything,” he told the investors.
Pact for enhancing trade volume PM Shehbaz also urged the need to enhance trade between Pakistan and Turkiye.
He regretted that while had a long history of fraternal relations, this was not properly reflected in the volume of trade and investment between the two countries.
The premier said he was aware the entrepreneurs in Turkey were keen to invest in Pakistan and called for resolving problems impeding trade and investment between the two countries.
“Let’s learn from our experience from the past and move with speed so that we can compensate for the losses of the past … There is infinite potential and capacity on both sides. Let us synergise them. Let us put them together.”
He stressed the need to cut the red tape and simplify business regulations to promote investment, announcing that Pakistan and Turkey had signed a memorandum of understanding to increase the trade volume between the two countries to $5bn from the existing $1-1.5bn in the next three years.
He assured the Turkish businessmen that any problems they were or would be facing would be addressed and resolved.
Later, he said in a tweet that in addition to reviewing the whole spectrum of bilateral relations, “President Erdogan and I discussed ways and means to achieve the target of increasing trade volume to $5 billion in three years.
We vowed to ensure effective implementation of the Trade in Goods Agreement in this regard.“
Defence cooperation
On defence cooperation, the premier said at today’s meeting that Pakistan and Turkiye had already started the process of joint cooperation on this front and assured that the cooperation would be enhanced in times to come.
“We will have wonderful opportunities to defend our countries through our mutual cooperation,” he said.
The premier said Turkiye and Pakistan were two brotherly counties that believed in peace, in “peaceful means to exist and co-exist in this world which, unfortunately, believes might is right. And with their military progress and financial muscle, some have the habit of dictating terms.
“But we believe in peaceful means and peaceful instruments, and that has to be the world order.”
Earlier, the PM termed the launch of a Milgem Corvette ship as one of the “finest moments” in ties between Turkiye and Pakistan which will strengthen and enhance the two countries’ defence production and joint cooperation.
PM Shehbaz witnessed the inauguration of the third of four Milgem Corvette ships for the Pakistan Navy at the Istanbul Shipyard on Friday.
The Milgem project — based on a joint collaboration between Turkiye and Pakistan — was signed with ASFAT inc, a Turkish state-owned Defence contractor firm in 2018, according to which the Pakistan navy would acquire four Milgem-class ships from Turkey.
Speaking about the project today, PM Shehbaz said Milgem Corvette was a “great step forward” in terms of defence cooperation between the two countries.


ISLAMABAD: Members of two bar associations on Friday called for “effective accountability” of judiciary and registration of FIRs on journalist Arshad Sharif’s murder, Senator Azam Swati’s video clip and assassination attempt on Pakistan Thereek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan.
It may be mentioned that an FIR has been registered in the PTI chief’s case but he has rejected it, saying it lacks names of people he suspects of being behind the gun attack on his Wazirabad rally earlier this month.
The demands were made through a joint resolution issued by the Islam­abad High Court Bar Associa­tion (IHCBA) and Islamabad Bar Asso­cia­tion (IBA) after a seminar the two bodies had organised on ‘Rule of Law’.
The resolution demanded that the Supreme Judicial Council be made active and operational so that accountability of all privileged institutions could be done in a transparent manner.
IHCBA, IBA oppose ‘abuse of power’ by any institution, say FIRs should be registered as per complainants’ wishes
The two organisations emphasised that there should be “no abuse of power” by any privileged institution, lawmakers, leaders, judges, bureaucracy (both civil and military)”. They called for action against “the persons responsible for the abuse of power” and those who had violated the civil rights.
They said that all citizens, institutions and privileged persons should be held accountable without any discrimination. At the same time, they added, state institutions must be independent, impartial and custodian of the rights and liabilities enunciated under the Constitution and law.
The resolution demanded registration of FIRs in the cases of Arshad Sharif, Mr Swati and the Wazirabad incident as per the demands of the complainants.
The lawyers’ bodies said that the “Judicial Commission of Pakistan should adhere to the principle of seniority in the elevation of Supreme Court judges until and unless the rules are framed for this purpose. Moreover, the elevation of judges in the High Courts may also be made on merit”.
They supported the creation of new benches of Lahore High Court at the divisional level in Punjab to ensure dispensation of inexpensive and expeditious justice in accordance with principles laid down in Article 37(d) of the Constitution.
They sought freedom of speech and expression as guaranteed under the Constitution.
The resolution said that the elite’s capture of the system must be ended and every citizen must be treated alike and equal with the obvious principle of equal protection of law. Civilian supremacy is the key for political stability while political stability continuing with good governance is the basic factor for achieving the economic stability.
According to the resolution, “all the democratic forces must work for civilian supremacy, [and] political and economic stability.”


ISLAMABAD: Gen Nadeem Raza on Friday stepped down as the Cha­irman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee upon his retirement from military service.
“The defence of the country is impregnable and gallant soldiers will not hesitate in making it even more formidable,” Gen Raza said while speaking at a farewell ceremony at Joint Staff Headquarters.
The general, who served in the army for 41 years, said he discharged his duties “to the best of his abilities with honesty, justice and dignity”.
The ceremony, attended by senior officers of the three services and former chairmen of the joint chiefs of staff committee, marked the beginning of the transition in the army after the retirement of two four-star generals.
Rumours of Gen Abbas’ ‘retirement’ swirl amid no official word
President Arif Alvi, earlier on Thursday, notified Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza as the new chairman joint chiefs of staff and Gen Asim Munir as the new chief of army staff, on the advice of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
The government also notified the retirement of Gen Nadeem Raza and Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.
“In terms of Rule 12 of Pakistan Army Act Rules 1954, the prime minister has been pleased to approve the retirement of PA-19617 General Qamar Javed Bajwa, NI(M), inf with effect from 29th November 2022 from the Army service, with normal benefit,” a notification published by the government in the Gazette of Pakistan read. A similar notification regarding Gen Raza’s retirement was also published.
New military leaders Gen Mirza and Gen Munir were both on top of the seniority list at the time of the appoi­n­tment, which means no other general was superse­ded in this exercise. Super­seded officers traditionally retire before the new commander takes charge.
Yet, it was rumoured that Chief of General Staff (CGS) Gen Azhar Abbas, who was also considered for promotion to the rank of four-star general, had resigned. He is supposed to retire in April next year. It is also being speculated that the other two generals from PMA-76, who were considered but not promoted to the next rank, could step down in the coming days.
However, there was no official confirmation of CGS’ resignation. A military officer said the situation will become clear on Nov 28.
Analysts believe that since none of these officers had been superseded, people would interpret their resignations in a different way especially in view of the feverish speculation that preceded the new appointments.


The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said on Wednesday morning that it has received the summary from the Ministry of Defence with a “panel of names” for the appointment of the new chief of army staff (COAS) and the chairman joint chief of staff committee (CJCSC).
“The prime minister will take a decision on the appointments as per the laid down procedure,” the early morning statement said.
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif had tweeted the same late on Tuesday night, saying that the summary had been forwarded to the PMO from the defence ministry. “The rest of the steps will be completed soon,” he said.
The development comes hours after the military confirmed that it had dispatched the summary to the defence ministry.
Although multiple ministers spent Tuesday denying the impression that the summary had been received by the PMO, the brief missive from Inter-Services Pub­lic Relations simply stated: “GHQ has forwarded the summary for selection of CJCSC and COAS, containing names of 6 senior most Lt Gens, to MoD.”
Although the communique did not mention which six names have been forwarded, it is believed that the six men currently in the running to be the next chief of army staff are (in order of seniority) Lt Gen Asim Munir (currently Quarter Master General), Lt Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza (Commander 10 Corps), Lt Gen Azhar Abbas (Chief of General Staff), Lt Gen Nauman Mehmood (NDU Presi­dent), Lt Gen Faiz Hamid (Commander Baha­walpur Corps), and Lt Gen Mohammad Amir (Com­mander Gujranwala Corps).
Earlier, participating in a TV talk show, the defence minister said there were no differences between the army and government and the concerns being expressed by various quarters in that regard were unfounded.
A day earlier, several PML-N leaders, including for­mer prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, had indicated that the army was impeding the process.
But the defence minister said he had conveyed to Abbasi that his concerns would be allayed.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is, moreover, expected to hold a consultation with outgoing army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa on Thursday on the selection of his successor. It is a convention that the prime minister holds this discussion with the outgoing chief, however, it is described as “informal consultation”.
A special meeting of the federal cabinet has also been convened for Thursday to deliberate on the appointments. The government had earlier planned to complete the process by Friday.
The prime minister would after making the choice advise President Arif Alvi to appoint the general as the next army chief. It remains to be seen if the president would agree with the advice or send it back for reconsideration.


LONDON: Members of the Sharif family, including PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz, travelled to Europe on Monday for a 10-day holiday.
Sources told Dawn Mr Sharif, Ms Nawaz, Hussain Nawaz, Hasan Nawaz, Jun­aid Safdar and other family members would be travelling to various cities in Europe for a little over 10 days, going from one destination to the other via train or air. The purpose of the trip was purely leisure, the sources added.
Mr Sharif is said to be tra­velling on a diplomatic passport which was issued to him by the government last week. His passport had exp­ired last year, during the Pak­istan Tehreek-i-Insaf gov­­e­­r­nment, which had said it would cancel the passport.
It is learned that Mr Sharif at the time did not apply for a renewal as he was aware that the government would not grant a new passport.
In April this year, after PTI Chairman Imran Khan was removed from power after a vote of no confidence, Nawaz Sharif was given an ordinary passport.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) last week cleared Mr Sharif and gave the go ahead for him to rece­ive a diplomatic passport with a five-year validity.
Diplomatic passports are issued to dignitaries of the state, diplomats and other entitled categories in pursuance of Para-45 of Part-I of Passport & Visa Manual, 2006. Former prime ministers and their dependent children are also granted diplomatic passports. Approval of diplomatic passports is the responsibility of MoFA.
Separately, sources said Mr Sharif had withdrawn an appeal filed with an immigration tribunal, in which he had challenged a Home Office decision to deny an extension of his stay in the UK.
The Home Office decision came last August, but granted Mr Sharif an opportunity to appeal, which meant he was legally allowed to remain in the United Kingdom till he had exhausted all avenues of appeal.


Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Saturday said Pakistan will not default and would meet its upcoming $1 billion dollar bond payments.
The finance minister was addressing a press conference via video link from Islamabad. He said that there were rumours that the country would not be able to pay $1bn on December 5 against the maturity of five-year sukuk, or Islamic bonds.
“We have never defaulted before. We will not even be close to default … Let me clear this categorically that the bond will be paid and there is no delay in this and even arrangements have been made in principal for upcoming payments in the next year,” he said.
Dar said that no one should worry about the rumours, claiming they were being spread seemingly for political purposes. “This is highly irresponsible behaviour,” he added.
Dar said that another rumour was spread about Pakistan’s credit default swap. “Our international bonds have very small transactions … and technically there should be no impact on them,” he added.
The finance minister said that people should desist from speculation about increased risk, saying that such “irresponsible statements” would hurt the country and should be avoided.
He said there was another rumour spread about fuel reserves depleting in the next few days. “There is nothing like this. The reserves are present at the level they should be and there is no need for worry,” Dar explained, once again calling for rumours to be avoided.
Regarding the current account deficit, Dar said it was under strict watch and being monitored and managed for the national interest. He said it was $316 million in September and was expected to be below $400m in October.
“If this continues at the same pace then it will be around $5-6bn for the year [while] the projected was $12bn,” the finance minister said.
He once again said that the country came prior to any political affiliation and requested people to avoid rumours about the economy and issue statements with responsibility.
“Your statements have an effect and as a result queries come.”
He reiterated that everything was in order and that bond payments would be made on time in the first week of December.
The PTI has recently raised alarms about the economic situation and alleged that the government is not able to control it.
“Businesses are in deep crises & politicians/media have not highlighted this enough. Industry incurred heavy losses in the last six months due to exchange rate volatility and massive power rate hike and slowdown. Most financial gains made during PTI time have been reversed,” PTI leader Hammad Azhar tweeted today.
A day ago, PTI Chairman Imran Khan also raised concerns about the country’s default risk.
“As I had predicted six months back that the regime change conspiracy would throw our economy into tailspin destroying our capability to service our debts,” he tweeted.
However, Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Aisha Ghaus Pasha assured the nation on Friday that the country was not facing any danger of default.
The minister held out the assurance in the National Assembly when the PPP’s Mussarat Rafiq Mahesar put a direct question to her, “If Pakistan is going to default?”
“Alhamdulillah [Thank God], there is no such possibility. Yes, we were worried when we took over the government [in April] because at that time the IMF (International Monetary Fund) programme was suspended and the avenues of getting external finances were closed for us,” the minister had said.
She added that the situation had improved a lot after the government took some “very difficult decisions” and the revival of the IMF programme.
Pasha had said it was a fact that the country in the past was unable to borrow money from other multilateral and bilateral agencies, and even commercial markets, to finance its external needs due to the suspension of the IMF programme.
However, she pointed out, that after the successful seventh and eighth reviews of the IMF programme, there was no immediate threat of Pakistan going to default. Instead, she claimed, the country’s exports had improved, foreign remittances were coming and foreign direct investment was getting better.


LAHORE: Days after a meeting between Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Ishaq Dar and President Arif Alvi, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan claimed that the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government had approached the former ruling party for talks.
The former prime minister made these remarks while speaking about his strategy for the long march and other issues, including the appointment of the new army chief and Pakistan’s economic situation, in an interaction with media at his Zaman Park residence on Sunday.
Mr Khan said the PDM government relayed messages through President Alvi to him and the PTI, but he was not ready to sit with the government till the announcement of fresh elections — a long-held demand of the former premier.
“I would be open to talks on all issues” after the announcement of the date for the general elections, he added. He said the government was afraid to go the polls because it had lost its popularity among the masses. “I will defeat the corrupt rulers’ government with the support of people since they are motivated to get their rights and justice,” he vowed.
Rana Sana says PTI chief’s life under threat from ‘hostile’ agencies
When contacted, PML-N Punjab Information Secretary Azma Bukhari denied the claim made by the PTI chairman regarding the talks offer.
“Imran Khan tries to hold our collar in the day but keeps beseeching for an honourable way out in the dark of the night,” she quipped while reacting to the PTI chief’s remarks.
Another PML-N leader, on the condition of anonymity, said Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had called on President Alvi “only to check his reaction on the proposed summary being forwarded for the appointment of the new army chief”.
‘Surprise for all’
Mr Khan, who is recuperating in Lahore after he was injured in a gun attack near Wazirabad earlier this month, said he was all set to give a “surprise to everyone” on November 26 — the day the long marchers will converge on Rawalpindi. The party’s strategy to take the long march to Rawalpindi instead of Islamabad will also be unfolded soon, he added, referring to the ‘surprise’. Mr Khan asserted that he will be present in Pindi (even if not fully recovered) to greet the marchers and explain the next strategy of the march on Islamabad.
The PTI chairman claimed that he knew the planning of the PDM government and he had ‘counter-plans’ to surprise the government and its alleged facilitators. He went on to say that the incumbent government was “trapped between the devil and the deep blue sea”.
If the government called elections it would face “humiliating defeat” and if it refrained from calling fresh polls then it would push the country towards “bankruptcy”.
He reiterated his stance that early free and fair elections were the only solution to drive the country out of economic and political problems.
Speaking about the next chief of army staff (COAS), the former premier said that the senior-most general should be appointed as the next army chief. The PTI chairman said he did not have a problem with the government choosing to appoint the new COAS.
Imran Khan also talked about the Toshakhana scandal during his conversation. He added the PDM government despite using all the state machinery “could not find anything other than the Toshakhana gift watch. “The gift-watch propaganda will soon be exposed in the court,” he asserted.
The PTI chairman has called a meeting of the party’s central leadership, to be held in a day or two, to finalise preparations for the next phase of the long march. The meeting participants will be briefed by the party’s top leaders about the route and movement of caravans of the long march towards the garrison city.
Threats to Imran
Apprehending that he was facing life threats and can be attacked again, the PTI chief asserted that he would still reach Rawalpindi on Nov 26 and lead the long march to achieve ‘Haqeeqi Azadi’ for the people of Pakistan currently pushed into a blind alley.
Since Mr Khan had also told foreign media that he was still facing life threats, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on a private news channel’s talk show stated, “Imran Khan is facing threats to his life from the enemy countries’ agencies”.
The interior minister said the PTI chief, on the other hand, had levelled allegations against the government and security agencies for the assassination attempt on him. “The anti-Pakistan forces can benefit from the current situation,” he added.
Meanwhile, PTI’s coalition partner Chief Minister Parvez Elahi stated that Imran Khan had clarified that the establishment had no role with regard to toppling the government and in the assassination attempt on him.
The Punjab government spokesperson, Musarrat Jamshed Cheema, who was present in Mr Khan’s meeting with media persons, says the PTI would bring a maximum number of party workers to the long march in Rawalpindi. She said the PTI would do everything to get justice in the cases pertaining to the murder of journalist Arshad Sharif and the alleged custodial torture of Senator Azam Swati.

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