Saudi Arabia to activate Pakistan’s deferred oil payments facility from July 1

Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, the Pakistani prime minister’s advisor on finance. (AFP/File)
Updated 24 May 2019
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Saudi Arabia to activate Pakistan’s deferred oil payments facility from July 1

  • Islamabad will receive $3.2 billion per year for three years to help stave off current account crisis
  • Pakistani finance adviser thanks Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman for his “continuous support”

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia will activate a deferred payment facility for oil imports to Pakistan starting July 1, Pakistan’s top finance official said on Wednesday, a move that will see Islamabad receive $3.2 billion per year for three years.
The facility is badly needed at a time when Pakistan’s rupee reached a new record low this week, selling at 153 against the dollar in the interbank market on Monday to continue a slide that saw it lose more than 5 percent last week. The devaluation comes after Pakistan signed a $6 billion loan accord with the International Monetary Fund which has harsh reform conditions attached to it.
“1st July 2019 KSA is activating the deferred payment for petroleum products facility of $ 275mn per month amounting to $3.2 Billion per year for 3 years,” Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, the Pakistani prime minister’s adviser on finance, said in a Twitter post. “This will strengthen Pakistan’s Balance of Payments position.”
“Would like to Thank The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, His Highness Muhammad Bin Salman for his continuous support for the people of Pakistan,” Shaikh said.


Last year, Saudi Arabia agreed to give Pakistan $3 billion in foreign currency support for a year and a further loan in deferred payments for oil imports.
Pakistan’s central bank raised its key interest rate to 12.25% on Monday, warning that already soaring inflation risked further rises on the back of higher oil prices and reforms required for the new IMF bailout.
The 150 basis points increase follows a preliminary agreement last week with the IMF for a $6 billion loan that is expected to come with tough conditions, including raising more tax revenues and putting up gas and power prices. It was the eighth time the central bank has increased its main policy rate since the start of last year.
With economic growth set to slow to 2.9% this year from 5.2% last year, according to IMF forecasts, the rate rise adds to pressure on Prime Minister Imran Khan, who came to power last year facing a balance of payments crisis that has now forced his government to turn to the IMF.
Higher prices for basic essentials including food and energy has already stirred public anger but the central bank suggested there was little prospect of any immediate improvement.


‘They have crushed our voices’, Kashmiris on not being allowed to pray

Updated 15 min 57 sec ago
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‘They have crushed our voices’, Kashmiris on not being allowed to pray

  • More than 3,000 people have been arrested from different parts of the valley, media reports
  • Most of the big mosques have been shutdown to avoid people amassing for a large congregation

SRINAGAR, Kashmir: A strange silence engulfs Kashmir valley three weeks after the abrogation of the Article 370 that ensured a special autonomous status for Jammu and Kashmir in the Indian union.
This is the silence enforced by the fear of the gun after arrests of a large number of politicians, activists, lawyers, businessmen, and commoners.
“I have been summoned at least four times by the Indian troops and harassed, barring me from offering my prayers. I requested them, explaining that no one indulges in agitation in this area...” Hafiz Altaf Ahmed Shah, an imam at the local mosque told Arab News.
Media reports suggest that more than 3,000 people have been arrested from different parts of the valley and put in special detention centers in the semi-autonomous state or outside.
For those spared or lucky to avoid arrest, a lurking danger looms if they resist – be it a cleric or a professor, male or female, exercising restraint is the only option left.
In Srinagar and outside, most of the big mosques have been shutdown to avoid people amassing for a large congregation – a potential recipe for resistance.
“Our three story mosque is usually at full capacity but today, only 10 to 12 people offered Friday prayers because of the curfew,” Shah said.
Small and medium-sized mosques are under constant vigil. The clerics of these mosques have been ordered to lie low and not lead prayers in their mosques.
“We are being subjected to injustice by the Indian government and the world is aware. But no one is speaking on these issues. They have shut down our communication. They have silenced and crushed our voices,” Shah said.
Watch this exclusive video by Arab News to get a sense of what’s happening in the area.