ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar after completing his two-day official visit to Abu Dhabi on Tuesday evening reached Kuwait, where several memorandums of understanding (MoUs) are expected to be inked between the two states in different fields.
During his two-day visit, the caretaker premier will meet Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal Al Jaber Al Sabah and his Kuwait counterpart Sheikh Ahmed Nawaf Al Ahmed Al Sabah.
As the year 2023 marked the 60th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Kuwait, the two sides are likely to sign MoUs in several fields, including food security, manpower, information technology, mineral exploration, energy and defence.
Earlier upon his arrival, Kuwait’s Minister for Electricity, Water and Renewable Energy Dr Jassim Mohammed Abdullah Al-Ostad received the caretaker premier, who was seen off at Al Bateen Airport by the UAE Minister for Energy and Infrastructure in Abu Dhabi.
Cooperation in energy, defence, food security, mineral exploration and IT part of agenda
Before leaving Abu Dhabi, PM Kakar visited Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and offered fateha at the mausoleum of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and recalled visionary leadership of the founding father of the UAE that enriched the culture of tolerance and peaceful coexistence among various nations of the world.
He recalled late Sheikh Zayed’s close relationship with the people and the leadership of Pakistan.
During the visit, the prime minister was briefed about the mosque’s noble message that highlights notions of coexistence, tolerance, and openness to other cultures, inspired by the nation’s late founder’s rich legacy. He was also apprised about the mosque’s leading role in highlighting the Islamic culture’s true essence and promoting cross-cultural communication worldwide.
Caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Syed Mohsin Naqvi and Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UAE Faisal Niaz Tirmzi also accompanied the premier.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a masterpiece of modern Islamic architecture with capacity to accommodate over 40,000 visitors. Sheikh Zayed Mosque is the largest mosque in the UAE and third largest in the world.
PM briefs Gates on polio fight
According to the Prime Minister Office (PMO), PM Kakar, amid his visit to Middle East, received a phone call from Bill Gates, co-chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).
During the conversation, the PM and Mr Gates followed up on their discussion in New York when they last met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.
The prime minister appreciated the Gates Foundation’s support to the government’s efforts to secure a polio-free Pakistan. He briefed
Mr Gates on the polio vaccination drive currently in progress across Pakistan. The issues of malnutrition and maternal health also came under discussion.
The PM expressed satisfaction at the excellent cooperation between the government and the foundation. He assured Mr Gates that the government was fully committed to delivering on the promise of a healthier, safer and financially inclusive Pakistan and counted on reliable partners such as his foundation in this endeavour.
MANSEHRA: Kolai-Palas police in Kohistan on Tuesday apprehended three members of the jirga who had decided to take the drastic step of ending the life of a young girl after the circulation of a video on social media.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Masood Khan announced the arrest of three suspects, shedding light on an ongoing effort to apprehend others who had advised the girl’s family to carry out this heinous act in response to the viral video.
The arrested men, including two paternal uncles of the deceased girl, are set to face legal proceedings as they will be presented before the local magistrate for physical remand.
Identified as Abdul Qayyum and Mohammad Naseer, these suspects played a pivotal role in the shocking decision made by the jirga, according to police.
FIA trying to establish identity of persons who uploaded video that led to killing
DSP Khan emphasised that the police force was actively conducting raids, particularly in the mountainous Barsharyal area of Kolai-Palas (Kohistan), to locate and apprehend all individuals involved in either orchestrating the murder or contributing to the jirga’s decision-making process.
The father of the victim, who was previously taken into custody, has now been handed over to the police by the Kolai-Palas magistrate on a seven-day remand.
DSP Khan said police also produced one of the young men, who could be seen with the slain girl in the video, before the magistrate of the area and recorded his statement under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
An official said the young man claimed he had no idea who uploaded the video in question, or for what purpose.
A statement issued by the DIG Hazara Circle office claimed police were actively pursuing the case and a contingent of police was still present in the mountainous Sharyal village for more arrests.
Amid the investigation, the Federal Investigation Agency’s Cybercrime wing has actively stepped in to verify the authenticity, origin, owner and operator of the Facebook account responsible for uploading the video.
FIA Cybercrime Deputy Director Mohammad Asif said a thorough inquiry would be conducted to uncover the motive behind uploading the video.
He said that the video that was made up of photos uploaded on a single account.
ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar on Sunday embarked on a seven-day official visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait.
A senior official of the Prime Minister House told that during his seven-day trip, PM Kakar will stay in Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Dubai.
The PM will spend three days in Abu Dhabi and two days in Kuwait on bilateral visits and then he will proceed to Dubai to attend 28th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP-28) on Dec 1 and 2. He will return to the country on Dec 3.
According to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), PM Kakar arrived in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
Premier to attend COP28; MoUs to be signed with UAE and Kuwait
UAE’s Minister of Justice Abdullah Sultan bin Awad Al Nuaimi and Pakistani diplomatic officials welcomed the prime minister at Al Bateen Airport, Abu Dhabi.
During the visit on Nov 26-28, the prime minister will meet President of the UAE Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
“This engagement will provide an opportunity to advance bilateral ties in all spheres including political, economic, trade, investment, cultural, defence and people-to-people relations,” the Foreign Office spokesperson said in an earlier press statement.
The visit will include the signing of MoUs between Pakistan and the UAE in a range of areas, including investment cooperation in the sectors of energy, port operations projects, waste water treatment, food security, logistics, mining, aviation, and banking and financial services.
“Pakistan and the UAE enjoy warm and long-standing fraternal ties that have stood multiple tests of time,” it was added.
The premier will then pay a two-day bilateral visit to Kuwait on Nov 28-29 where he will meet the top Kuwaiti leadership. Some MoUs are also expected to be inked during the visit.
PM Kakar will also participate in COP28 in Dubai on Dec 1-2. The summit will continue till Dec 12, but the PM will attend the main session, along with many heads of states. Later, technical sessions will start, which will be attended by officials and not world leaders, said the PMO official.
In a recent meeting the PM had said Pakistan would update the world at the COP28 conference about its experiences in the wake of climate change.
During the meeting the prime minister was apprised about the national strategy for disaster management.
It was highlighted that Pakistan was among the countries that were facing the consequences of climate change in the shape of glacier melting, floods, glacial lake outburst floods (GLOF), avalanches, landslides, and forest fires.
Many cities in Punjab, especially Lahore, are currently the worst hit by air pollution — smog. As a result, lockdowns have been enforced in many places in the provincial capital of Punjab. According to media reports, Lahore is said to be the second worst city hit by air pollution.
ISLAMABAD: A National Accountability Bureau (NAB) team visited PTI Chairman Imran Khan in the Adiala Jail on Sunday and interrogated him in connection with charges he faces in the 140 million pounds Al Qadir Trust case.
A senior official of NAB while talking to Dawn said the questioning continued for over two hours.
Officials from the anti-graft watchdog have been visiting Adiala Jail since Nov 15 to investigate Mr Khan’s role in the case.
Mr Khan and his wife are accused of obtaining billions of rupees and hundreds of kanals of land from Bahria Town Ltd for legalising Rs50 billion that were identified and returned to Pakistan by the United Kingdom during the previous PTI government.
The case relates to the alleged illegal acquisition of land for and construction of Al Qadir University involving unlawful benefit given in the recovery of prime proceeds (140m pounds) through the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) in a money laundering case against real estate tycoon Malik Riaz and his family.
Ex-PM accused of giving illegal favours to Bahria Town in return for benefits to trust
Imran Khan is also accused of misleading the cabinet by concealing the facts related to the settlement agreement. Money was received under the settlement agreement (140m pounds) and was supposed to be deposited in the national exchequer. But it was adjusted in the recovery of Rs450bn liabilities of Bahria Town Karachi (BTK).
The notice served on the accused says that the anti-graft watchdog took cognisance of the commission of offences of corruption and corrupt practices as defined under the NAB laws. It said the NCA had on Dec 14, 2018 frozen approximately 20m pounds from the bank accounts of two Pakistani nationals — Ahmad Ali Riaz and his wife Mubashra. On Aug 12, 2019, the NCA further froze 119.7m pounds lying in the bank accounts of Malik Riaz’s family and also one Hyde Park Place property, the notice added.
The NAB’s record revealed that instead of repatriation of funds to the state, the money was ‘dishonestly’ and ‘maliciously’ adjusted against liability of BTK by transferring the same to the designated account which was maintained by the Supreme Court registrar for depositing the liability of BTK.
“In return to this favour illegally and dishonestly, Bahria Town Ltd gave material and monetary benefits in shape of land measuring 458 kanals, Rs285 million, building and other kinds disguised under the garb of donations to Al Qadir University Trust in which you are one of the trustees and signed acknowledgment of donations with Bahria Town,” said a previous NAB notice to Mr Khan’s wife Bushra Bibi.
It is pertinent to mention that the Supreme Court on Nov 23 ordered that an amount of Rs35 billion, which was remitted to the apex court’s bank accounts maintained in the name of the SC registrar, in the Bahria Town settlement, be transferred to the federal government.
ISLAMABAD: As Pakistan seeks continuous and extended international support at the global climate conference (COP28) in Dubai this week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has told the government that the budget for FY2024-25 should practically be a turning point for the planning mechanism and investment portfolios based on climate adaptation.
“There is a need to be transparent on climate-related actions that have budgetary implications to support policy making and climate financing,” said the IMF as part of technical advice to the government before it starts next year’s budget preparations to garner international support and attract climate-related financing.
A high-level delegation led by caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar is attending the Conference of Parties (COP28) beginning November 30. “Pakistan is all set to plead its case in COP28,” said the Ministry of Planning and Development on Sunday.
According to the ministry, it was “aligning the future of Pakistan with the blueprint for a sustainable future, presented by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environmental Coordination”.
Last week, caretaker Finance Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar had at least two marathon sessions with multilateral and bilateral lenders as a precursor to the COP28 and made a pitch for additional international financial support, particularly those relating to ‘debt for nature and debt for social development swaps’ to help Pakistan meet climate finance targets.
The IMF asked the ministries of finance and planning — the two major leading budget-making stakeholders — “to improve transparency by presenting in budget documentation summary information on key aspects of the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) and the wider public investment programme” due to insufficient information on the implications of climate-related actions on the budget.
It said the Planning Commission should develop a proposal in concert with the Finance Division for approval by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) and an agreement on the approach should be reached by mid-2023 i.e. by the end of December for inclusion in the 2024-25 budget documentation.
“Advance the work on green budgeting, including budget tracking and publish information on climate-related costs to the budget,” the IMF said, asking the Finance Division to publish climate-related spending for FY2023-24, following budget tracking exercise.
The fund also asked the Ministry of Finance to build on the current tracking exercise in general to provide more guidance to line ministries in budget call circulars (normally issued every year in December or January) for FY24-25, and gradually extend tracking to revenue measures and extend green tracking system to all provinces, including through the support of controller general of accounts.
Fiscal risks under climate change scenarios
In the meanwhile, the economic adviser wing of the finance ministry must prepare and publish long-term fiscal sustainability analysis in the statement of fiscal risks under different climate change scenarios, and assess and publish information on discrete fiscal risks arising under these scenarios, the IMF said.
There is certain structural benchmark regarding climate public investment plans under the ongoing $3bn standby arrangement to be fulfilled by the authorities by the end of December, including cabinet approval for new public investment management assessment.
As part of the exercise, the IMF believed that the appraisal process for investment and projects should be further strengthened by December 2024 to include climate factors for which more specific guidance be developed with respect to key appraisal issues such as the valuation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate impacts in order to ensure comparability across projects in the appraisal and selection stage.
Giving high priority to allocative efficiency improvement, the IMF has set December 2023 as the deadline for the application of comprehensive selection criteria to guide allocation of development budget funding that includes climate change.
“Among other factors, these could include impact on the government’s climate targets and goals and resilience,” it said and noted at the same time that capacity constraints posed a significant challenge to the implementation of Pakistan’s climate change agenda.
Therefore, the government should step up efforts immediately to train staff to strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of Climate Change, Planning Commission, and Climate Change Authority with the support of relevant development partners to oversee and coordinate investment projects targeting the achievement of National Climate Change Policy (NCCP) announced last year and National Determined Contributions (NDC) goals.
The fund also advised that entire budget formulation and approval process should adapt to climate change requirements.
In this regard, the summary information in budget papers should include the number, total value in the PSDP, total value to completion, and the average estimated years to completion for new, ongoing and all projects in the PSDP, using estimates of available funding from the medium term fiscal framework or multiyear development budget indicative ceilings.
“Additional information should summarise the number and value of climate-related projects, projects associated with major current issues, such as flood recovery, total financing sources, and major projects of public interest not included in the PSDP, such as those carried out under CPEC or by SOEs,” it said, adding the summary data should also include all PSDP projects carried out from all financing sources and should not be split.
Caretaker Interior Minister Sarfraz Ahmed Bugti has said that a “common citizen cannot even imagine” the facilities being provided to former prime minister Imran Khan in jail.
In an interview with Independent Urdu published today, Bugti said: “The facilities provided to him (Imran) are more than those provided to an ordinary prisoner or a prime minister behind bars as he is, after all, a laadla of the courts.
“The kind of facilities being provided to him in jail, they weren’t given to any prime minister and a common citizen cannot even imagine them,” he added.
Recalling Imran’s arrest on May 9, Bugti claimed directives were issued “within two minutes” to take the PTI chief to Islamabad Police Lines in a Mercedes.
The caretaker minister also mentioned former chief justice Umar Ata Bandial’s “good to see you” remarks for Imran, saying that such instances strengthen his argument.
“We direly need judicial reforms here,” he stated.
Asked about the special court’s directives to present the ex-premier and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi before the court on Nov 28 in the cipher case, Bugti said he would follow the court orders to the letter.
The caretaker minister further said that most of the cases filed against PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif were baseless, but at the same time asserted that no favours were being given to the PML-N.
More than 99pc of returning immigrants are Afghans On the matter of deporting undocumented immigrants, Bugti said they were being sent back to their home country due to the lack of peace in Pakistan.
“This country is for Pakistanis; Pakistanis will live in it. Foreigners who want to live here should come in a legal manner. We will welcome them.
“If someone comes under a veil or by leaping over a wall, then we cannot give them the status of a guest,” the interior minister said.
Bugti stated that around 300,000 illegal immigrants had returned to their home country so far, of which more than 99 per cent are Afghan nationals.
Pakistan needs a ‘firewall’ against ‘hostile agencies’ When asked about the “failure” in dealing with the deadly clashes in Kurram district last month — that claimed over a dozen lives — Bugti said the word “failure is too big”.
The interior minister said there was no doubt that “hostile agencies in the fault lines of Pakistan” always tried to increase violence. “There is an attempt to increase fault lines,” he added.
A district and sessions court in Mardan on Friday rejected the police’s request for the physical remand of former National Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser and sent the PTI leader to jail on four-day judicial remand in a case pertaining to violent protests in the country on May 9.
Qaiser was initially arrested on Nov 3 at his Banigala residence on charges of causing losses to the national exchequer through procurement irregularities in the Gajju Khan Medical College.
On Thursday, he was granted bail by an anti-corruption court in the case. But the PTI leader re-arrested from his Marghuz residence hours later in a case pertaining to ransacking of the Charsadda Toll Plaza on the Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway on May 9 — the day violent protests broke out across the country following ex-premier Imran Khan’s arrest.
Following Qaiser’s release from Swabi prison, a joint team of Swabi and Charsadda police had arrested him. Qaiser’s brother, Waheed Khan, had told Dawn that three cases were registered against his brother in connection with May 9 violence: one was in Swabi, another in Islamabad and the third in Charsadda.
Today, the PTI leader was presented before a district and session court in Mardan. During the hearing, Charsadda police submitted a request seeking Qaiser’s five-day physical remand.
The court, however, rejected the request and sent the PTI leader to jail. It also directed police to present Qaiser on Nov 29 (Wednesday) along with the case record.
Qaiser urges party supporters to continue lawful struggle Following his arrest on Thursday, Qaiser had released a video message urging PTI supporters to continue their lawful struggle and aim for a two-thirds majority in the upcoming general election.
“I tell my Pakistani brothers that you should not be afraid. We believe in the rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution,” Qaiser had said in the video posted on X, formerly Twitter.
“It’s election time, and they (the establishment) are trying to take us to the other side, but we will continue our struggle within the limits of law.
“We have only one demand: Pakistan should be governed according to the Constitution and the law. There should be a level playing field for all political parties,” he had added.
Referring to PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, Qaiser had implied that the former’s appointment as prime minister had already been decided, but hoped that the public would defeat such a narrative and vote for the PTI.