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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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World

Biden and Trump agree rules for first election debate of 2024

No props or notes will be allowed on stage, with candidates only given a pen, pad of paper and a bottle of water, CNN said

Published by Faisal Ali Ghumman

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Washington (AFP): President Joe Biden and Donald Trump will face off in a 90-minute debate with mutable microphones, broadcaster CNN said Saturday, as it laid ground rules for the first in-person clash between the pair ahead of November’s election.

The rules for the June 27 debate, which will have two hosts and no studio audience, were agreed by the Biden and Trump campaigns, according to CNN.

“Both candidates agreed to appear at a uniform podium, and their podium positions will be determined by a coin flip,” the channel said, adding that microphones “will be muted throughout the debate except for the candidate whose turn it is to speak.”

No props or notes will be allowed on stage, with candidates only given a pen, pad of paper and a bottle of water, CNN said.

It said the debate, hosted in Atlanta, Georgia, will last 90 minutes with two commercial breaks – during which campaign staff cannot interact with their candidate.

“Some aspects of the debate – including the absence of a studio audience – will be a departure from previous debates,” CNN said.

But, the network said, moderators Jake Tapper and Dana Bash – both star news anchors for CNN – “will use all tools at their disposal to enforce timing and ensure a civilized discussion.”

Biden and Trump agreed in May to two televised election debates, with the second hosted by channel ABC on September 10.

The last debates between the two men in 2020 were tension-filled affairs, with Biden at one point snapping “will you shut up, man?” as Trump repeatedly talked over him.

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Sports

ICC T20 World Cup 2024: Toss for India, Canada match delayed due to wet outfield

The both scheduled matches at the Florida venue have been abandoned due to the rain

Published by Hussnain Bhutta

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Lauderhill: The toss for the ICC T20 World Cup match between India and Canada at Central Broward Stadium was delayed due to a wet outfield on Saturday.

Both scheduled matches at the Florida venue were abandoned due to rain.

Although the weather forecast for Saturday’s game appeared more promising, the certain parts of the outfield remained waterlogged and required attention.

Umpires planned to inspect the field at 10:30 am local time (1430 GMT), the scheduled start time for the Group A match.

India had already secured qualification for the Super 8 stage while Canada had been eliminated.

The abandonment of Friday’s match between USA and Ireland ensured USA’s qualification for the Super Eights from Group A, with Pakistan being eliminated.

Group A matches will conclude on Sunday with a dead rubber between Pakistan and Ireland, as both teams are already out of contention.

 

 

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Sports

Pakistan needs major change after reaching 'lowest point', says Imad Wasim

The 2009 champions, beaten finalists two years ago, lost to the USA and India with their sole victory coming against Canada

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Lauderhill (United States) (AFP): Pakistan cricket is at its lowest point and needs to make radical changes, all-rounder Imad Wasim said after the team failed to get out of the group stage of the T20 World Cup.

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