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Pakistan

Govt coalition agrees on name of Justice (r) Maqbool Baqar as Chairman NAB

The government believes the Opposition Leader will also support the government's pick

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Islamabad: The government and its coalition partners have agreed on name of Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqar as the new Chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

According to sources privy with the development, the name of a former Supreme Court judge came under discussion during a meeting of Prime Minister Imran Khan and former president Asif Ali Zardari.

Sources further said that Government believes the Opposition Leader of the National Assembly will also support the government pick as Maqbool Baqar’s judicial career is spotless.

Government members are hopeful that if all goes smoothly, Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqar will be the new head of the anti-graft watchdog. 

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Business

Government is trying best to provide maximum relief to poor: Miftah Ismail 

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced a relief program for the nation on Friday.

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Islamabad: Federal Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on Saturday said that government would try its best to provide maximum relief to the poor of the country, adding that deserving families can avail the subsidies on petrol and diesel under the relief program announced by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

While sharing the details of Rs28 billion relief package, announced by Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Minister for Finance and Revenue, Miftah Ismail said that the staff level agreement with International Monetary Fund would be signed next month (June).

The minister said that the funds under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) would be released after final approval by the IMF board. The minister was flanked by Minister of State for Finance, Ayesha Ghous Pasha.

Miftah said that the fund, which had to provide $3 billion, has been requested to extend the program by one year and provide additional $2 billion, adding accordingly the country expects around $5 billion from the fund.

He said, that the programme with IMF was not important just because the country gets money from the fund rather, it is important because it opens ways for getting funds from other multilateral organization like Word Bank and Asian Development Bank.

He said, once unlocked by IMF, Pakistan would get money from multilateral organization adding that around $8.9 billion were already in pipeline from World Bank.

The minister justified increase in petrol prices, saying that no doubt it would increase inflation but if the increase had not been done, it would lead to more inflation as the burden would fall on the government and resultantly more devaluation of rupee.

He said, after increasing the prices of petrol, not only rupee was strengthened against Dollar by around 2.5 but stock market also moved positively adding that it would also have positive impact on banks, Kibor would also reduce and mitigate the liquidity pressure faced by government.

The minister said, the government intended to provide relief to the poor against the inflationary pressure which was created due to inability of the previous government.

He said the government would try its best to provide maximum relief to the poor of the country.

Giving details about the PM relief package, the minister said ‘Sasta Petrol and Sasta Diesel’ scheme would benefit around one third population of the country by providing cash to 14 million households (84,000,000 people).

Disbursement of Rs2,000 to each household would start from June, bringing the total relief amount to Rs28 billion in June.

He said around 7.3 million recipients were already registered with Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) and if these are excluded there are 6.7 poor households having below 37 poverty score.

He said, the BISP participants would be provided immediate relief or Rs2, 000 whereas women head of those households who are not registered should send their CNIC on phone number 786 for registration for the program. Accordingly, all the people having income less than 40,000 would be eligible for the relief.

He said, the relief scheme would be incorporated in the federal budget for the fiscal year 2022-23.

To a question on privatization, the minister said, there was no talk on privatization with IMF this time. However, he added, the country needed to privatize certain entities including Discos and power companies for its own interest to reduce burden on national exchequer.

He said that Saudi Arabia has already announced extension of its $3 billion deposits to Pakistan and hinted that some more support was expected from that country the details of which would be shared in July.

To a question on import ban, the minister said that ban was imposed on import of chocolates and perform in bulk, however personally anyone can get it for personal use

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Pakistan

Court extends interim bail of PM Shehbaz, Humza Shehbaz till June 4

The court allowed PM Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza Shehbaz to leave.

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Lahore: A special court in Lahore extended on Saturday the interim bail of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz until June 4 in the hearing of a Rs16 billion money laundering case against them.

According to details, a special court conducted a hearing of a money laundering case against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Chief Minister Punjab Hamza Shehbaz.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza Shehbaz were present in the courtroom during the hearing.

Judge Ijaz Hassan Awan expressed resentment over the FIA's investigation officer’s report about arrest warrants of absconding accused Salman Shehbaz, Malik Maqsood and Tahir Naqvi.

The judge remarked that a report was submitted an year ago about sending notices to the accused to their addresses. Now, the report said that accused were not found at their concerned address. “Which of the reports to be believed”, he questioned.

Shehbaz Sharif’s counsel Amjad Pervaiz argued that the facts are wrong in the challan. The cases were made by using government machinery, the prosecution was aware that these could not be proved in the court, the counsel said.

The court allowed PM Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza Shehbaz to leave.

The counsel also argued over a plea for a permanent exemption to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in the case.

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