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Pakistan lifts some import restrictions

On May 19, the government had banned the import of over 30 luxury items including cars and fruit jams

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Pakistan lifts some import restrictions
GNN Media: Representational Photo

Islamabad: The federal government lifted the import ban on certain items -- other than cat and dog foods, the Ministry of Commerce clarified Saturday.

On May 19, the government had imposed a ban on the import of non-essential luxury items under an "emergency economic plan" to "save the country's foreign exchange".

Pet owners had raised concerns on social media, urging the government to reconsider it.

The ministry today issued the notification, announcing to lift restrictions on the import of certain items and those which were ordered before May to address the concerns of the citizenry and certain anomalies out of implementation of the SRO 598(1)2022 -- dated May 19.

The restriction "shall not apply on the import of goods for which an Airway Bill has been issued prior to the issuance of the said SRO.

On May 19, the government had banned the import of over 30 luxury items including cars and fruit jams in an austerity move to help boost the country's faltering economy.

Business

No intention to impose whole of petroleum levy: Miftah

At present, there is zero petroleum levy on the petroleum products.

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No intention to impose whole of petroleum levy: Miftah

Islamabad: Federal Finance and Revenue Minister, Miftah Ismail here on Wednesday clarified that the government has no intention to pass on the full amount of petroleum levy (Rs.50 per liter) as incorporated in the Finance Bill 2022-23 to the consumers. 

“The government has got the permission from you (the house) to impose up to Rs.50 per litter levy on petroleum products but there is no hope and intention to take the levy up to this figure”, he said while speaking in the National Assembly (NA). 

The Minister also informed the members of the house that at present there is zero petroleum levy on the petroleum products.

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World

US to enhance military presence in Europe as NATO bolsters its eastern side

NATO leaders agreed to move towards putting more than 300,000 troops at higher readiness

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US to enhance military presence in Europe as NATO bolsters its eastern side

US President Joe Biden pledged more American troops, warplanes and warships for Europe on Wednesday as NATO agreed the biggest strengthening of its deterrents since the Cold War in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Biden's commitment at the Madrid summit "to defend every inch of allied territory" came as the U.S.-led military alliance also set in motion a new plan to reinforce the Baltic states and Poland against any future Russian attack.

With more German, British and other allied troops to be on alert to deploy eastward, the United States is also adding to the 100,000 personnel already in Europe by sending more warships to Spain, planes to Britain, pre-positioned weapons to the Baltics and more soldiers to Romania.

"We mean it when we say an attack against one is an attack against all," Biden said. read more

However, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi played down a threat of a near-term armed confrontation between NATO and Russia. "There is no risk of a military escalation. We must be ready, but there is no risk," he said.

The Baltics originally sought permanent NATO bases and as much as a tenfold increase to NATO's troop presence from around 5,000 multinational soldiers prior to the Ukraine invasion, as well as adding air and maritime defences.

What NATO agreed on Wednesday falls short of that, but it means more allied troops in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, more equipment, weapons and ammunition sent to the region, and setting up a system of rapid reinforcements.

NATO leaders agreed to move towards putting more than 300,000 troops at higher readiness.

In the past, the alliance relied on far fewer troops - some 40,000 - to be first in line to respond to any Russian attack or other crises.

"President (Vladimir) Putin's war against Ukraine has shattered peace in Europe and has created the biggest security crisis in Europe since the Second World War," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference. "NATO has responded with strength and unity."

The United States will also create a new permanent army headquarters in Poland, which was immediately welcomed by Polish president Andrzej Duda, as Warsaw long sought a permanent U.S. military base on its soil. "It is a fact that strengthens our safety a lot ... in the difficult situation which we are in," Duda said. read more

As NATO also agreed a long-term military and financial aid package for Ukraine, Ukrainian refugees gathered in central Madrid to call for more arms for their nation, which is now facing a war of attrition against superior Russian artillery in the east of the country.

Ukrainian student Kateryna Darchyk, 20, told Reuters: "We ask for NATO to give us weapons because we have soldiers, we have people ready to fight for Ukraine, men and women who are ready to protect their country."

END OF NORDIC NEUTRALITY

In addition, NATO's 30 leaders invited Finland and Sweden into the alliance, a decision that once ratified would end decades of Nordic neutrality by putting the two countries under the United States' nuclear umbrella. read more

"The significance of this really can't be overstated," Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters. "We're seeing the expansion of the alliance, which is exactly the opposite of what Putin wanted. He wanted less NATO, he's getting more."

That was made possible after Turkey dropped its veto against the two countries' progress to membership following four hours of talks on Tuesday evening in Madrid, ending weeks of drama that threatened allied unity.

As part of the deal, Sweden and Finland agreed not to support Kurdish militant groups.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan had threatened to block their bids over Ankara's accusations the two countries supported a Kurdish militia in northern Syria. Turkey views the militia as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which is also deemed a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union.

Both Finland, which has a 1,300 km (810 mile) border with Russia, and Sweden, home of the founder of the Nobel Peace Prize, are now set to bring well-trained militaries into the alliance, possibly giving NATO Baltic Sea superiority.

"We are not yet covered by NATO's Article 5," Finland's Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told Reuters, referring to NATO's collective defence clause. "Our aim is that period should be as short as possible," he said.

SOURCE: REUTERS 

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Pakistan

President lauds services of armed forces of Pakistan

They are real defenders of the motherland.

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President lauds services of armed forces of Pakistan

Islamabad: President Dr. Arif Alvi has called for creating skilled human resources to compete with world in various sectors of life.

He was addressing the graduation ceremony of 35th Air War Course at Pakistan Air Force Air War College Faisal in Karachi on Wednesday.

Dr Arif Alvi said that targets of development could only be achieved today by fully mobilizing human resources and adopting technological advancements and modern methods.

The President lauded the services of the armed forces of Pakistan and said that they are real defenders of the motherland.

As per reports, 70 officers of all the three armed forces of Pakistan and friendly country passed out— 35 from Pakistan Air Force, ten from Pakistan Army and seven from Pakistan Navy. 

Participants from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Jordon, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and Iraq were also part of the course. 

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