Bangladesh’s Mushfiqur Rahim declines to visit Pakistan

In this file photo, Bangladesh cricketer Mushfiqur Rahim walks back to the pavilion after his dismissal during the first one day international (ODI) cricket match between Bangladesh and England at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka on Oct. 7, 2016. (AFP)
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Updated 17 January 2020

Bangladesh’s Mushfiqur Rahim declines to visit Pakistan

  • Bangladesh will play three Twenty20 internationals in Pakistan starting January
  • International cricket gradually returned to Pakistan in the last four years after 2009 terror attack on Lankans

DHAKA: Bangladesh’s wicketkeeper-batsman Mushfiqur Rahim has declined to visit Pakistan for the forthcoming series, a team official said on Thursday.
“Mushfiq(ur) rang me today to inform that he will not go to Pakistan. We are now waiting for his formal letter. Once he does that, we will leave him out of the series,” chief selector MinHajjul Abedin told AFP.
Bangladesh are scheduled to play three Twenty20 internationals, two Tests and one one-day international in Pakistan between January and April.
Mushfiqur’s absence could be a blow for Bangladesh who are already without suspended all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan.
MinHajjul said they are likely to announce the squad for the series in a day or two.
International cricket has gradually returned to Pakistan in the last four years after it was suspended in the wake of terrorist attacks on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in March 2009.


Pakistan’s forex reserves slump 12% in just weeks amid coronavirus outbreak

Updated 9 min 52 sec ago

Pakistan’s forex reserves slump 12% in just weeks amid coronavirus outbreak

  • Hit by cash outflow, Pakistani rupee dropped 8% in March
  • Currently at $11.2 bn, the reserves are expected to fall further in coming weeks, expert says

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s foreign exchanges reserves plunged more than 12% or $1.6 billion over just three weeks in March as the coronavirus outbreak roiled global financial markets, the latest data from the central bank showed.
As on March 27, forex reserves totalled $11.2 billion, down from $12.8 billion as on March 6.
Pakistan last year had entered into a program with the International Monetary Fund amid a yawning current account deficit and depleting reserves that have been shored up with temporary deposits from friendly countries like Saudi Arabia and China.
The situation improved until March aided by inflows into treasury bills that had attracted foreign carry trade money on the back of high interest rates and a fall in imports.
But with the first coronavirus case being reported in the country on Feb. 26, things have started to change.
“This is an alarming situation, because Pakistan came out of an external account crisis just last year through IMF funding,” said Muhammad Sohail, CEO of Topline Securities, a Karachi-based advisory firm.
The fall in reserves is due to multiple factors, including panic selling of debt and equities, and reserves are expected to fall further in coming weeks, Sohail said.
Data as of Friday showed a net outflow of $1.9 billion of foreign investments from Pakistan in March from government treasury bills, equity and bonds, more than halving the total net inflow for the ongoing fiscal year which now stands at $1.15 billion.
The outflows have also hit the Pakistani rupee, which has dropped 8% in March to 166.5 per dollar as of Friday.
To mitigate the pressure, the government in late March asked fuel retailers and refiners to cancel imports from April and increase purchases from national refiners.
Refineries had said they were close to shutting down operations due to a drop in demand due to large scale movement restrictions across the country.
Experts, however, believe the decision was driven primarily to protect foreign currency reserves.
“Demand is collapsing for petroleum products because of the lockdowns and the situation we’re in; but this policy is largely driven by the fact that there is pressure on the reserves and the currency,” Sakib Sherani, the head of an Islamabad-based macroeconomic consultancy firm, told Reuters.
Shernai, who is also a former member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, said that the fall in reserves was also due to a fall in export receipts.
“In March we’ve only seen the beginning of the dip in exports. The bulk of the coronavirus hit will come in April, May and June and we’ll see a very substantial decline,” he said.