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OMAP urges PM Shehbaz to save petroleum industry from 'brink of collapse

Petroleum association appeals to PM to intervene and save the industry from foreign exchange losses

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Lahore: The Oil Marketing Association of Pakistan (OMAP) has penned a letter to the Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif stating that the petroleum industry in the country is "on the brink of collapse."

In the letter written to the PM on Saturday, Chairman of the Association Tariq Wazir Ali appealed to the premier to intervene in the matter of foreign exchange losses amounting to Rs26 billion, which he stated, are severely impacting the petroleum industry.

Wazir Ali highlighted that the petroleum industry is already grappling with numerous challenges.

The oil companies are bearing substantial losses due to flaws in the foreign exchange system, he said adding that despite acknowledging these flaws, the Ministry of Petroleum has failed to address the issue effectively.

In April, the Director General of Oil convened a meeting to formulate recommendations, which were subsequently sent to the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA).

However, the matter is currently stalled at the Prime Minister’s office.

The chairman emphasised that the petroleum industry is facing imminent disaster due to the 'Ministry of Petroleum's delaying tactics.'

He urged PM Shehbaz to give special attention to resolving the crisis to prevent the industry’s collapse.

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Pakistan

Mufti Taqi urges nation to break free from IMF shackles

Prominent scholar urges Pakistan to break free from IMF control and focus on self-reliance

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Karachi: Islamic scholar Mufti Taqi Usmani said on Saturday that Pakistan needs to free itself from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and western influence. Speaking at a ceremony, he expressed that every Pakistani child is in debt to the IMF and described the country as being 'slaves' to its demands.

He stated that under these conditions, Islamic law cannot be implemented in Pakistan. On the economy, Usmani urged the nation to stop using imported goods and instead focus on increasing exports to revive the economy. He also called for eliminating interest in financial matters.

Usmani highlighted that traders can influence government decisions, as they are vital to any country. He lamented that Pakistan hasn't extended railway tracks since partition and hasn't built a road to Lake Saiful Malook.

He stressed that political parties should unite for Pakistan's sake, rather than complaining about election rigging.

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World

US claims Iran is near to produce bomb-grade fissile material

Secretary of State Blinken says he wants to end Iran's isolation and favours reviving 2015 nuclear deal

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(AFP): Iran is capable of producing fissile material for use in a nuclear weapon within "one or two weeks," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday.

The details on Iran's capabilities emerged following the recent election of President Masoud Pezeshkian.

He has said he wants to end Iran's isolation and favours reviving the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and global powers.

Blinken said, however, that "what we've seen in the last weeks and months is an Iran that's actually moving forward" with its nuclear program.

In 2018, the United States unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal, which was designed to regulate Iran's atomic activities in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.

Speaking at a security forum in Colorado, Blinken blamed the collapse of the nuclear deal for the acceleration in Iran's capabilities.

"Instead of being at least a year away from having the breakout capacity of producing fissile material for a nuclear weapon, (Iran) is now probably one or two weeks away from doing that," Blinken said.

He added that Iran had not yet developed a nuclear weapon.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said last month that Iran is further expanding its nuclear capacities, with Tehran informing the agency that it was installing more cascades -- or series of centrifuges used in enrichment -- at nuclear facilities in Natanz and Fordow.

According to the IAEA, Iran is the only non-nuclear weapons state to enrich uranium to the high level of 60 per cent -- just short of weapons-grade -- while it keeps accumulating large uranium stockpiles, enough to build several atomic bombs, the agency says.

Following the US withdrawal, the Islamic republic has gradually broken away from its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal.

But the country's acting foreign minister Ali Bagheri told CNN earlier this week that Iran remained committed to the accord, known as the JCPOA.

"We are still a member of JCPOA. America has not yet been able to return to the JCPOA, so the goal we are pursuing is the revival of the 2015 agreement," he said. "We are not looking for a new agreement."

Bagheri said no one in Iran had talked "about a new agreement. We have an agreement (signed) in 2015."

Blinken was speaking just days after reports that the US Secret Service had increased security for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump weeks ago, after authorities learned of an alleged Iranian plot to kill him.

Tehran has denied the allegations.

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