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Pakistan

Falling dollar, rising inflation

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Wisdom on the streets says that when the dollar soars high, inflation rises too, while a fall in the value of the greenback leads to a reduction in prices of necessities.

Tahir Malik Profile Tahir Malik

Perhaps for the very first time, the dollar has fallen by almost Rs. 15 against the Pakistani rupee, however, commodity prices have remained constant. Per unit cost of petroleum products, electricity and gas have not reduced either.

So why did the people not get any relief? A question being asked by everyone yet answered by none.

The truth is that the economy is suffering from a triple lack of planning, teamwork and expertise. Day by day, troubles faced by the country increase with alarming speed. All hopes by common folks to be able to earn and for inflation to fall have been dashed.

The government itself appears baffled and confused. The Finance Minister says GDP will grow by 4% this year. The International Monetary Fund  (IMF) and World Bank have put the figure at 1.5% and 1.3% respectively. Our population will continue to expand by 2.5% per annum. Thus, one way or the other, our GDP will go into negative growth. Experts say Pakistan needs to grow by at least 6% this year, otherwise, more than 3 million people will become unemployed.

The theory about dollar rates affecting inflation appears weak here. The government’s plans and its willingness to execute them is all that matters. Till now neither has the federal government shown us its vision, nor the direction it wishes to take the economy on. As for homework, well, the less said the better.

This sordid tale started with our own local Aristotle, Asad Umar, whose appointment was trumpeted as the gateway to Pakistan’s prosperity. Then we were informed that the IMF-sanctioned Hafeez Sheikh and Raza Baqir (Governor State Bank of Pakistan), have magic wands which will restore us to glory. Now, this responsibility lies with Hammad Azhar while Shaukat Tareen is also on the way to take up some charge or the other. How seriously the PTI-led government planned for the economy is evident from the current game of musical chairs.

Pakistan’s economy was heavily reliant on cotton and textile. Cotton is a boon, a crop that takes minimal water to grow while bringing in precious foreign exchange. Thanks to the untiring negligence of our rulers, we have had the lowest production of cotton in 30 years. Out of 212 total government organizations, 197 are running in loss. The steel mill is Rs. 480 billion in debt while for PIA this figure is close to Rs. 430 billion. The government’s bright idea about generating money is through increasing the price of basic utilities. It is now a real possibility that subsidy worth Rs. 140 billion will be abolished, transferring this amount over to the heavy ones the government is already shouldering.

Meanwhile, imports of sugar, wheat and cotton have increased too. The agriculture sector, once our economy’s mainstay, is now in tatters. In 2018, a bag of DAP fertilizer was retailing for Rs. 2200. By 2020 its price tag had soared to Rs. 3467 and today, it stands at a truly mind-numbing Rs. 5137. With such a rapid rise, how will the prices of food commodities not rise?

The desperate ruling coalition is focused only on procuring more and more loans.

We can now term the dollar-inflation theory an old wives’ tale. Unless the price of utilities and commodities goes down, nothing else will. For the immediate future, inflation remains our fate.

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Pakistan

Marriyum expresses commitment to protect journalists

Marriyum Aurangzeb said the amendment bill will be finalized after further consultation with the journalists and media organizations.

Published by Mehak Javed

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Islamabad: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb says a special committee has been formed to finalize the Journalist and Media Professionals Protection (Amendment) Bill 2022.

Talking to a delegation of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalist (Dastoor) in Islamabad, she said the committee comprises of representatives from the ministries and media organizations concerned.

Marriyum Aurangzeb said the amendment bill will be finalized after further consultation with the journalists and media organizations.

She said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, soon after coming into power, initiated the process of abolishing all the anti-media laws and regulations.

She said it is the foremost priority of the coalition government to protect journalists and ensure provision of conducive working environment for them.

The Information Minister urged media organizations and journalists to play a proactive role in curbing fake news and propaganda.

The delegation apprised the minister of the problems and professional issues faced by the journalists.

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World

Death count rises to 20 in India's Manipur landslide

Unprecedented rains lashed India’s northeastern states and neighbouring Bangladesh, killing more than 150 people.

Published by Mehak Javed

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Rescuers in India's northeast have recovered 20 dead bodies from the site of a landslide that buried a railway construction camp, the army said, after a second day of search efforts.

As per details, security forces and disaster relief teams are still racing to rescue dozens more feared trapped under debris.

Reportedly, most of the victims were reserve soldiers from the Territorial Army who had been working on the railway project.

Experts say climate change is increasing the number of extreme weather events around the world, with damming, deforestation and development projects in India exacerbating the human toll.

This month, unprecedented rains lashed India’s northeastern states and neighbouring Bangladesh, killing more than 150 people.

Millions have been displaced by the catastrophic floods in recent weeks, and in some low-lying areas, houses have been submerged.

Army helicopters were on standby and assisting in rescue operations at the site of the landslide, a statement from the Indian army said.

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Regional

LG polls: Re-polling in 8 districts of Balochistan underway

Local government elections were postponed in the aforementioned districts on May 29.

Published by Mehak Javed

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Quetta: Re-polling of local government elections in thirteen wards of eight districts of Balochistan is underway.

According to a notification of Provincial Election Commissioner Office Balochistan, polling will continue till 5:00 pm without any break.

Election Commission of Pakistan has established a Central Control Room in Islamabad and Provincial Election Commissioner’s office in Quetta for monitoring and registering complaints related to re-polling of local government elections.  

Re-polling will be held in eight districts including Dakki, Qila Abdullah, Ziarat, Loralai, Panjgor, Sibbi, Noshki and Kech.

Local government elections were postponed in the aforementioned districts on May 29, 2022, due to law and order and other incidents.   

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