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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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Caretaker PM visits memorial of UAE's national heroes in Abu Dhabi

Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar attends  the solemn Guard of Honour ceremony.

Published by Hussnain Bhutta



Abu Dhabi: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar on Tuesday visited national and cultural landmark, Wahat Al Karama in Abu Dhabi, to pay homage to the sacrifices of UAE heroes who laid down their lives in the services of their country.

The Prime Minister was welcomed by  Sheikh Thayeb bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the office of  Development and Martyrs Families affairs at the Presidential Court.

The Prime Minister attended the solemn Guard of Honour ceremony.

Afterwards, he laid a wreath at the Martyrs’ Monument.

The Monument comprises 31 panels leaning on one another to symbolize the unity and solidarity between the UAE’s leadership, people and heroic soldiers.

The Prime Minister was briefed about the memorial, which embodies the sacrifices of valiant Emirati soldiers.

At the end of the tour, Prime Minister noted his remarks on the memorial’s guest book, expressing his appreciation for the UAE’s brave martyrs.      

Wahat Al Karama is a national and cultural landmark in UAE’s capital, Abu Dhabi, which was established to commemorate the heroic actions of the UAE’s martyrs and their sacrifices in defence of the UAE.

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Imran’s trial in cypher case will be in jail, court’s decision

The next hearing of cypher case will be held on Friday in Adiala Jail.

Published by Noor Fatima



Rawalpindi: The Special Court of Official Secrets Act Tuesday pronounced the verdict in the cypher case and said that in the light of security report of Superintendent Adiala Jail, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan's trial will be held in Adiala Jail.

According to the details, the Official Secrets Act court pronounced a protective decision regarding whether to produce Chairman and Vice-Chairman of PTI in the court or not in the cypher case.

Official Secret Act Special Court Judge Abul Hasnat Muhammad Zulqarnain heard the cypher case in the judicial complex of Islamabad.

On this occasion, Chairman PTI's lawyer Salman Safdar, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Prosecutor Shah Khawar and Zulfiqar Abbas, sisters of Chairman PTI and Shah Mahmood Qureshi's daughter also reached the court.

Lawyer Salman Safdar said that two different cases are in the court today. It was hoped that the PTI chief chairman would be presented, however it did not happen. This is a record case as no case ever proceeds with such speed.

Meanwhile, Judge Abul Hasnat directed the court staff to present the record of the case.

Jail authorities letter to court

Superintendent Adiala Jail wrote a letter to the court which was read by FIA Special Prosecutor Shah Khawar.

The letter stated that PTI Chief cannot be produced in the court due to security concerns. Islamabad Police has been written a letter for additional security as Khan has serious security concerns.

Superintendent Adiala Jail also attached the report of Islamabad Police with the jail report.

Salman Safadr’s objection 

Responding to the letter of Superintendent of Adiala Jail, the lawyer said that neither terrorists are in Islamabad nor any terrorism incident took place in the capital. Chairman PTI will have to appear in the court today. Following the report of which intelligence agencies, the Superintendent of Adiala Jail did not appear to the Chairman PTI. I have appeared in court with Imran Khan in 50 to 60 cases.

Salman Safdar added that what kind of sabotage has taken place that Imran was not brought to the court. ‘I had seen signs since the morning that he shall not be brought. The superintendent of Jail has acted against the Islamabad High Court (IHC) and your decision.

He appealed that if there are security threats, then the hearing of this case should be postponed for an indefinite period.

Appeal to present Shah Mehmood Qureshi in court

Meanwhile, Shah Mehmood Qureshi's lawyer Ali Bukhari argued that FIA prosecutor Shah Khawar has read the letter of the jail superintendent, why Shah Mehmood Qureshi has not been produced yet?

Ali Bukhari plead Shah Mehmood Qureshi to be produced in the court stating that this is an open trial and the accused must be produced in the court. It is the responsibility of the court to produce the accused and if court orders are not followed you hold the power to send the state official to the jail.

After the arguments of Shah Mehmood Qureshi's lawyer were completed, Judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain remarked that the court will make an appropriate order.

He also inquired if the court had summon the accused to which the FIA prosecutor replied that the court had summoned the accused.

The FIA prosecutor said: “The trial could be conducted in jail if all legal requirements were met”. Jail officials told the court with documentary evidence that they could not present them on the basis of security concerns.

Judge Abul Hasnat Zulqarnain remarked: “It does not matter to the court where the trial will take place, the court wants to do what it wants to do for those who want to see the trial, they will not compromise on the application of Section 352”.

Ali Bukhari inquired that there is no correspondence to the extent of Shah Mahmood, why was he not produced?

Salman Safdar Advocate inquired as to what incident happened here, from which there is any threat. Every day terrorists are brought from Adiala Jail, now either they should be presented or action should be taken against those responsible.

The FIA prosecutor stated that the relevant Inspector General (IG) should be summoned if the court order is not implemented, it is not the job of the FIA prosecutor to give explanations. We have nothing to do with the correspondence between the law enforcement agencies and the jail superintendent.

Meanwhile, the court reserved the decision after the arguments of the parties. Judge Abul Hasanat remarked that he will pass the order in this regard.

Later, the court gave a protective verdict that in the light of security report of Superintendent Adiala Jail, there will be a trial in the jail which will be open. Media, public and five family members of each accused will also be allowed to participate. The next hearing of cypher case will be held on Friday in Adiala Jail.

It is pertinent to note that the court had ordered to produce Chairman PTI and Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

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WB opposes further hike in power prices in Pakistan

The process of economic reforms should continue, and the implementation of economic policies is necessary.

Published by Noor Fatima



Islamabad: The World Bank opposed the further increase in electricity prices in Pakistan.

Martin Reiser, Vice President of the World Bank, said that there is no need to increase electricity prices, however the power line loses should be reduced.

He also objected to deferment of local loans and stated that deferment of local loans may affect the banking sector and investment, therefore Pakistan has to be careful in the process of deferment of local loans.

The Vice President of World Bank added: “Before the election, discussions on economic reforms have been held with the political parties. The process of economic reforms should continue, and the implementation of economic policies is necessary”.

Martin Razor further said that Pakistan has to increase the tax to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio from two to three percent, simply collecting taxes is not enough. There is a need to work together on spending and tax reforms, increasing tax revenue without providing facilities to the agricultural sector.

In addition, World Bank Country Director Naji bin Hussain added that the meeting of the Board of Directors of World Bank will be held at the end of December, where two billion dollars will be provided to Pakistan in this financial year.

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