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Pakistan

No choices, no options

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After an American intelligence report stated that Saudi Prince Mohammad Bin Salman was directly involved in the murder of Washington Post columnist and journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the US State Department placed restrictions and travel bans on 76 individuals belonging to the desert kingdom.

Tahir Malik Profile Tahir Malik

They were responsible for the murder, the State Department said.

Pakistan, however, immediately rejected the report and stood by its old ally.

Questions are being asked now, whether standing by Saudi Arabia instead of the only super power in the world, was a wise thing to do.

There are no permanent friends nor permanent enemies in the world of International Relations. Permanence is granted only to benefits. In our foreign policy, money, whether in the form of foreign aid or in the form of remittances, constitutes a very important cornerstone. Pakistan’s Achilles heel, if you will.

During the past 7 months, remittances have been rising steadily, now averaging about $2 billion monthly or more. From July last year till January, a record increase of 24.9% saw the amount reach $14.2 billion.

Approximately 60% of this amount is sent from Gulf countries, mainly Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. Between July and December 2020, the country received $4 billion from the former and $3 billion from the later. A combined $1.2 billion came from the other gulf countries. One of the reason for this increase is the preference for banking channels instead of hundi. “Roshan Digital Accounts” have made it easy for the   diaspora to send money back home. I am happy that in just six months, over 86000 accounts were opened and $550 million made their way over to our banks.

More than 9 million Pakistanis are settled or working abroad. If just half of them open these accounts, then a sizable amount will start pouring in, providing much needed stability to our foreign reserves.

Perhaps it is now easier for the reader to understand why Pakistan stood by Saudi Arabia. Its not just about the brotherly or friendly relations between two Islamic countries but also the much needed foreign reserves. At no cost whatsoever, will Pakistan spoil its equation with the desert kingdom. Especially not now when it is going through a particularly rough patch. Loans from fleecing international organisations such as IMF and ADB have become a given; we just cannot survive without them.

Just recently, Pakistan revived the IMF program of $6 billion, implementing harsh conditions which were a prerequisite for the loan. Foreign loans have now reached the sum of $113 billion.

Can we afford to oppose Saudi Arabia? Do we have a choice here? No. Not in such a severe financial crunch. 

Tahir Malik

Tahir Malik is a seasoned journalist and analyst at GNN

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Pakistan

Pakistan, UK agree to bolster cooperation on climate change

Both countries have reached an agreement during the meeting between PM coordinator and UK delegation

Published by Hussnain Bhutta

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Islamabad: Pakistan and United Kingdom have agreed to bolster cooperation to combat the pressing issues of climate change and environmental degradation.

An agreement to this effect reached at a meeting between Coordinator to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Romina Khurshid Alam and a UK Embassy delegation led by Development Director, Jo Moire in Islamabad today.

Highlighting the threats related to climate change, Romina Khurshid Alam said shifting weather patterns significantly impacted agricultural productivity and threatening food security and livelihoods.

She said Pakistan has suffered from an economic loss of billions of dollars from climate-related disasters in the past.

The Coordinator stressed the importance of bridging civil society, academia, and corporate sectors of both nations to address the emerging threats of climate change.

Romina Khurshid Alam also highlighted the urgent need for tangible actions to mitigate global warming impacts, pre-emptively address flood risks, and support vulnerable farming communities. 

 

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Pakistan

Govt to initiate solar energy project in Islamabad schools

Spokesperson further said that this initiative is expected to save millions of rupees annually in electricity costs

Published by Noor Fatima

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Islamabad: The Federal Ministry of Education has decided to start solar energy projects in schools of Islamabad.

According to the spokesperson of the Federal Ministry of Education, 100 primary schools in Islamabad will be run by solar energy in the next two months which is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The project aims to reduce the cost of electricity and promote sustainability.

The spokesman for the Ministry of Education said the initiative is part of a larger effort to use renewable energy sources and reduce the city's carbon footprint. It will also provide a clean and sustainable source.

According to the spokesman, the project will include the installation of solar panels on the roofs of selected schools, with the solar energy system designed to meet the energy needs of each school.

The spokesperson of the Ministry of Education further said that this initiative is expected to save millions of rupees annually in electricity costs. The savings from the project will be used to improve educational facilities.

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Pakistan to prosecute banned TTP leader Noor Wali Mehsud

In secret call recording, Noor Wali instructed Ahmed Hussain to blow up hospitals, government properties, and schools

Published by Noor Fatima

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Pakistan has decided to take strict legal action against Noor Wali Mehsud, the leader of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Yesterday, an alleged audio leak of Noor Wali, the head of the TTP in Afghanistan, was revealed, in which he was giving instructions for terrorism in Pakistan.

In the secret call recording, Noor Wali instructed Ahmed Hussain to blow up hospitals, government properties, and schools.

According to the reports, the concerned authorities have decided to conduct a forensic investigation of the secret audio leak of Noor Wali Mehsud and Ghat Haji. After the forensic report, strict legal action will be taken against Noor and Haji inside and outside the country.

It is also reported that there will be a protest against the Afghan interim government for Noor Wali Mehsud's presence in Afghanistan and direct terrorism in Pakistan.

The reports also suggest that the Afghan Taliban will also be asked to hand over the terrorists to Pakistan for committing serious crimes and terrorism against Pakistan.

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