Pakistan, KSA set to ink multi-billion dollar Aramco oil refinery deal

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A 15-member Saudi delegation visited Gwadar the port city in Balochistan on Wednesday as part of the finalization process of MoU for the Aramco oil refinery. (Photo courtesy: Saudi Embassy in Islamabad)
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Pakistani authorities expect to sign a number of investment deals including the construction of mega oil refinery during the upcoming visit of Saudi crown prince to Pakistan. (Photo courtesy: Saudi Embassy in Islamabad)
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A 15-member Saudi delegation visited Gwadar the port city in Balochistan as part of the finalization process of MoU for the Aramco oil refinery. (Photo courtesy: Saudi Embassy in Islamabad)
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Pakistani authorities are briefing visiting delegation of Saudi Arabia at Gwadar, Balochistan. (Photo courtesy: Board of Investment)
Updated 05 January 2019
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Pakistan, KSA set to ink multi-billion dollar Aramco oil refinery deal

  • MoU for construction of mega oil refinery will be inked in February, says information minister
  • Pakistan expects $15 billion investment from Saudi Arabia in the next 3 years

KARACHI: Pakistan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have finalized the Memorandum of Understand (MoU) for the construction of multi-billion dollar Saudi Aramco oil refinery in Gwadar deep seaport city, located in Balochistan province, officials said on Thursday.
Pakistan is expecting to sign a number of investment deals including the construction of mega oil refinery in the month of February in the presence of a high-level Saudi delegation, confirmed Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry. 
“The oil refinery project is the biggest investment project of Saudi Arabia in Pakistan,” he added.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have lately expressed renewed interest in enhancing bilateral strategic and trade engagements while the Kingdom also pledged $3 billion in a financial assistant to help Pakistan out of its economic woes. 
“A 15-member delegation of Saudi Arabia visited Gwadar from Karachi as part of the finalization process of the MoU for Aramco oil refinery,” Haroon Sharif, Minister of State and Chairman of Pakistan Board of Investment (BoI), told Arab News.
“We have finalized the MoU for the construction of Aramco oil refinery,” Sharif said adding that “overall directions have been agreed upon and the agreement will be signed at an ‘appropriate time’.”
Pakistani authorities expect $15 billion investment from Saudi Arabia after Prime minister Imran Khan chose the Kingdom for his maiden visit and consequently made two official visits.
Earlier, the BoI chief had said that “We are going to sign MoUs with Saudi Aramco and Acwa Power within few weeks. Saudi Aramco is going to set up oil refinery and petrochemical complex in Pakistan while Acwa Power will invest in Pakistan renewable energy sector”, Sharif informed.
As part of the investment plan, the Saudi Aramco will construct petrochemical complex housing multi-billion dollar oil refinery.
“I am expecting around $15 billion investment from Saudi Arabia in the next 3 years. The inflow of investment for oil refinery and petrochemical complex in Pakistan is estimated to be between $6 billion to $10 billion,” BoI Chairman told Arab News. 
Pakistan hopes to attract more than $40 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) during the next five years. “We estimate that roughly around $40 billion investment will be made by these three countries (Saudi Arabia, UAE, and China) in the next three to five years,” Sharif had told Arab New during his recent interview. 
During the recent visit of the Saudi delegation to Gwadar, the Chairman of Gwadar Port Authority, Dostain Khan Jamaldini, on Wednesday gave a briefing about the current developments including the port, progress on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Gwadar Master Plan.


Punishment unless first wife and arbitration body approve second marriage, Pakistan court rules

Updated 25 June 2019
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Punishment unless first wife and arbitration body approve second marriage, Pakistan court rules

  • Verdict a “big win” for me and all women fighting against patriarchy, petitioner Dilshad Bibi says
  • Council of Islamic Ideology Chairman says no need to seek permission under Sharia law

ISLAMABAD: Dilshad Bibi, a woman who moved the court eight years ago against her husband for marrying for a second time, said on Tuesday the Islamabad High Court’s recent decision recommending punishment if male spouses did not get permission to remarry from an arbitration council as well as the first wife was a “big win” for women.
In a ruling on Monday, Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah said a man would be punished if he entered into a second marriage unless it was approved by a reconciliation council and his wife.
“It [the verdict] is a big win for me and all women who have been fighting against patriarchy and injustices in society,” Bibi told Arab News. “I never lost hope and faith in our justice system, and finally won the case after eight years of long struggle.”
Bibi and husband Liaqat Ali Meer tied the knot in May 2011. Meer remarried in January 2013 without seeking permission from his first wife or a reconciliation council whose permission is binding under Muslim family law in Pakistan.
Subsequently Bibi moved a local court against her husband which sentenced him to one month in prison and a fine of Rs5,000 ($32). The punishment was overturned by an appellate court in February 2017, after which Bibi went to the IHC.
On Monday, the IHC overturned the verdict that acquitted Bibi’s husband. Meer will now have to serve his term and pay the fine, and an appellate court will reexamine whether additional punishment is required.
“During the subsistence of an existing marriage, no man shall contract another marriage except with the previous permission in writing of the Arbitration Council,” the court ruled in a 12-page verdict, quoting a section of the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961 related to polygamy.
According to Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government Act, 2015, the federal government is responsible for establishing an “arbitration council” for the amicable settlement of disputes in a locality. The council comprises a panel of seven members, including at least one woman, who are nominated for a term of five years.
With Monday’s verdict, the court had not banned second marriage, Bibi’s lawyer Ali Hussain Bhatti said, but made it “compulsory for men to follow a due process before contracting a second marriage.”
“This is still a historic verdict and will help protect the rights of women,” he told Arab News.
Bibi said the IHC’s verdict would now serve as a precedent for future court cases and “help women get justice and equal rights.”
Having multiple wives is common in about a quarter of the world’s nations, predominantly conservative male-dominated communities in Africa and Muslim-majority countries where it is part of traditional or religious customs.
But campaigners say most polygamous marriages fuel poverty — with husbands neglecting one family over another — leaving thousands of women and children impoverished and easy prey for exploitation.
In Pakistan, polygamy is not widespread and is mostly common in rural areas in families without a male heir or in cases when men fell in love with another woman.
Rights campaigner Farzana Bari said Monday’s verdict would “encourage more women to fight for their rights and approach courts for justice in case of any unfair treatment by their husbands.”
Dr. Qibla Ayaz, chairman of Pakistan’s Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), a body that advises the government on the compatibility of laws with Islam, said Pakistani law was in contradiction with Sharia law which did not bind a man to seek permission from his first wife to contract a second marriage.
“If a man does not seek permission from his wife and the conciliation council before remarrying, he will be punished under the law of the land, but his second marriage will still remain valid,” Ayaz told Arab News, “Under Sharia law, there is no need to seek permission of the first wife.”