Pakistan shuts down Chaman and Torkham gates

Pak-Afghan border at Chaman. (AFP/File)
Updated 19 October 2018
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Pakistan shuts down Chaman and Torkham gates

  • Initiates move for two days on Afghanistan’s request
  • Follows killings of top Kandahar officials on Thursday

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s government on Friday said it had closed the gates along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border for two days according to a circular issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad.
The decision – to shut down the crossings along the Chaman and Torkham border today and tomorrow – was taken at Kabul’s request to help it conduct its parliamentary elections seamlessly. “Both the crossing points will remain closed for all kinds of traffic, except emergency cases,” it added.
However, on Friday, the Afghan government said that it had decided to postpone the polls to maintain security in the Kandahar province, following the killings of two top officials in Kandahar city on Thursday in an attack initiated by a Taliban militant. The officials included Kandahar’s governor, its police and intelligence chief who had congregated to attend a security meeting with American officials and discuss security measures for the upcoming elections.
Afghanistan remains prone to extremist violence, though its security forces have been fighting against militant factions with international assistance for years. It has frequently blamed Pakistan for its security deficit, though Islamabad has also accused Kabul of providing a sanctuary to groups and individuals who have been targeting Pakistani state and society with impunity.


Pakistan likely to receive first tranche of $1bn from KSA today

Updated 19 November 2018
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Pakistan likely to receive first tranche of $1bn from KSA today

  • Saudi Arabia pledged $6 billion financial bailout package for Pakistan in October
  • The remaining amount will be received in the next two months

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance Asad Umar said that Pakistan is likely to receive the first tranche of $1 billion under the balance of payments support from Saudi Arabia on Monday, the Pakistan media reported.
The amount of the first tranche will reach the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), according to the Finance Minister.
Umar added that the second and third tranche will be received over the next two months.
In October, Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Saudi Arabia and the kingdom agreed to give a bailout plan of $6 billion for Pakistan under which Saudi Arabia agreed to hand over $3 billion to Pakistan “as balance of payment support,” while another one-year deferred payment facility of up to $3 billion for oil imports was agreed.
Umar reiterated that Saudi Arabia is taking a keen interest in investments in different projects in the Gwadar Port.
Last week in a meeting with President Arif Alvi, Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki revealed that “Saudi Minister for Energy will soon visit Pakistan to sign MoU on establishing an oil refinery in Pakistan, apart from finalizing other major projects in which Saudi Arabia has shown interest,” President office said in a statement after the meeting on November 06.
Since assuming office in August this year, Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Saudi Arabia twice and Pakistani leadership terms these trips very successful, resulting in enhanced and multi-faceted economic cooperation between the two brotherly countries.
Prime Minister Imran Khan and his economic team are also in talks with China for financial backing and PM Khan early this month visited China.
Pakistan is also holding talks with International Monitory Fund (IMF) for another loan to meet the economic challenges.