Pakistan says Israel-UAE agreement will have 'far-reaching implications'

In this photo, DG south Asia, Mr. Zahid Hafeez who took additional charge as spokesperson of foreign office on August 6, 2020 giving weekly media briefing in Islamabad. (Foreign Office)
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Updated 15 August 2020

Pakistan says Israel-UAE agreement will have 'far-reaching implications'

  • The country’s foreign office noted that peace in the Middle East was Islamabad’s key priority
  • Pakistan 'has an abiding commitment to the full realization of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people' – FO

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday described the normalization process between the United Arab Emirates and Israel as a development with significant consequences for the region. 

“We have noted the Joint Statement announcing agreement of UAE and Israel to have full normalization of relations,” the new foreign office spokesman, Zahid Hafeez, said in a statement while responding to an Arab News query. “This is a development with far-reaching implications.” 

The UAE and Israel announced their decision to normalize diplomatic ties and build a more functional relationship on Thursday. The peace deal was facilitated by United States President Donald Trump who described it as a “huge breakthrough” and a “historical peace agreement.” 

Responding to the development, Pakistan said it had an abiding commitment to the full realization of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination. 

“Peace and stability in the Middle East region are also Pakistan’s key priority,” the statement said, adding that for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace, Pakistan had consistently advocated a two-state solution in accordance with the relevant United Nations and Organization of Islamic Cooperation resolutions. 

While the deal was made after Israel decided to suspend its planned annexation of the occupied West Bank, it surprised Palestinian leaders and prompted President Mahmoud Abbas to demand an urgent Arab League meeting. 

Reading a statement outside the presidential office in Ramallah, Abbas’s senior adviser Nabil Abu Rudeinah said: “The Palestinian leadership rejects and denounces the surprising UAE-Israeli-US trilateral announcement.” 

He also termed the development as a “betrayal of Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa and the Palestinian cause.” 

Meanwhile, Pakistan, which has been striving to protect the rights of Kashmiris in the region, said its approach would be guided by its “evaluation of how Palestinians’ rights and aspirations are upheld and how regional peace, security and stability are preserved” by the deal.


35 percent Pakistanis say coronavirus pandemic has reduced incomes — survey

Updated 22 September 2020

35 percent Pakistanis say coronavirus pandemic has reduced incomes — survey

  • Labor experts say a large number of workers laid off by their organizations in the name of social distancing
  • Standard Chartered Bank survey shows 87 percent respondents said they were willing to adapt to emerging environment by using more technology

KARACHI: The coronavirus pandemic has reduced incomes for at least 35 percent of Pakistanis, a survey conducted by a leading international bank said, while a large number of people had lost their livelihoods to the virus.
According to an online study carried out by Standard Chartered Bank, one-third or 35 percent of Pakistanis, including 36 percent of the country’s youth, reported a reduction in their salaries.
The study was conducted in July this year in 12 different markets, including the United States, United Kingdom, India and China. Its findings were released last week.
The study involved 12,000 individuals above the age of 18, Farhan Ahmed, the bank’s communications head in Pakistan, told Arab News on Tuesday. Among the respondents were 1,000 Pakistanis from various urban centers working in different fields, he said.
The survey showed that 88 percent people preferred to work harder for a fewer number of hours and less pay, while 72 percent were looking for a second source of earning to add to their income stream. Over 50 percent anticipated major changes in the next three to six months, with 48 percent expecting reduced pay and 49 percent fearing redundancy.
“Business owners have found a plausible excuse to cut down workforce in the name of implementing the prescribed precautionary measures that require fewer people to operate in a given space,” Nasir Mansoor, deputy general secretary of the National Trade Union Federation Pakistan, told Arab News.
“In the first place, people over 50 years of age were asked not to come to work,” he said. “These senior employees did not get their salaries and other benefits. After that, organizations relieved a majority of their workforce in the name of social distancing. In such cases, they reduced the number of employees by about 50 percent. The remaining staff was either laid off or retained without pay.”
In April, the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), a government entity, projected that the coronavirus pandemic, ensuing lockdowns, and falling growth rates were likely to drive between 12.3 million and 18.5 million people out of jobs.
“Such estimates inadvertently downplay the actual impact of the economic downturn since they usually focus on small regions or areas of economy. It should be clear that even the primary sectors, such as agriculture, manufacturing and mining etc., have also suffered a lot,” Dr. Vaqar Ahmed, joint executive director of Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), told Arab News. “The second wave of virus is already hitting our trade partners in the West and that will make current estimates outdated in the coming days.”
According to Farhan Ahmed of Standard Chartered Bank, 87 percent of survey respondents said they were willing to adapt to the emerging environment by using more technology. Similarly, 83 percent respondents were confident they had the necessary skills to thrive in an increasingly digital world and were willing to explore greater opportunities by working more relentlessly in the post-COVID-19 environment.
Sixty-six percent people also said they wanted to start new businesses.
“There are many opportunities emerging for our youth who are willing to adapt,” Ahmed said. “The changing business models are providing opportunities to urban and rural dwellers alike.”