T20 World Cup: Pakistan retain semifinal supremacy against New Zealand to storm into final

Pakistans cricketers are cheered by supporters as they celebrate after victory in the ICC men's Twenty20 World Cup 2022 semi-final cricket match between New Zealand and Pakistan at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney on November 9, 2022. (AFP)
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Updated 09 November 2022
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T20 World Cup: Pakistan retain semifinal supremacy against New Zealand to storm into final

  • Babar Azam, Muhammad Rizwan score another 100-run partnership 
  • Pakistan will either face England or India this Sunday at Melbourne 

ISLAMABAD: Clinical Pakistan thrashed New Zealand by seven wickets on Wednesday to qualify for the final of the T20 World Cup 2022, courtesy of a captain’s knock by skipper Babar Azam and a valuable half-century by Muhammad Rizwan. 

Set a target of 153 runs to win, Pakistan thrashed the Kiwi bowlers and took full advantage of the Powerplay overs. Azam and Rizwan found their form, with the former scoring 53 runs from 42 balls while the latter made 57 off 46 deliveries. 

Mohammad Haris made an impressive 30 runs from 26 balls. He was dismissed by Santner when Pakistan needed 2 runs to win, with Shan Masood finishing the match for Pakistan. 

Pakistan will face either India or England in the final of the World Cup, depending on the outcome of the second semifinal. 

The green shirts were headed for an early exit from the tournament till last Sunday before the Netherlands pulled off arguably the biggest upset of the tournament, beat South Africa and paved the way for Pakistan to qualify after beating Bangladesh. 

Pakistan have a stellar record against New Zealand in knockout stages of ICC tournaments. In 1992, the green shirts, led by Imran Khan, defeated New Zealand by four wickets. Seven years later, in 1999, a Wasim Akram-led squad defeated New Zealand again in the semifinal of the 50-over World Cup. 

In the 2007 T20 World Cup semifinal, Pakistan again beat the Black Caps to qualify for the final. There, they lost to India in a thriller. 

The final will be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), over 30 years after Imran Khan lifted the trophy for the green shirts during the final of the 1992 World Cup. 

Earlier, Pakistani bowlers bowled intelligently to restrict the Kiwis to 152/4 from their 20 overs. Shaheen Shah Afridi finished with figures of 2/24, while Nawaz picked up a wicket and finished with 1/12 from his two overs. 

New Zealand won the toss and put Pakistan to field. 


Bushra Bibi, wife of Pakistan’s Imran Khan, likely to be indicted in land graft case today — party 

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Bushra Bibi, wife of Pakistan’s Imran Khan, likely to be indicted in land graft case today — party 

  • Khan and his wife are accused of receiving land as a bribe through the Al Qadir charitable trust set up in 2018
  • Bushra is already convicted in two other cases involving illegal sale of staff gifts and non-Islamic marriage to Khan

ISLAMABAD: Bushra Bibi, the wife of jailed former prime minister Imran Khan, was brought to a prison in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi on Friday for a hearing in a land graft case, with the ex-premier’s party saying indictment was “very much on the cards.” 

Bushra has been living under house arrest at her husband’s sprawling Bani Gala mansion, declared a sub-jail, in Islamabad since Jan. 31 when both were sentenced to 14 years in prison in a case that relates to accusations they undervalued gifts from a state repository and gained profits from selling them while Khan was prime minister from 2018-22. 

Earlier this month, Khan and his wife are also sentenced to seven years on charges they violated the country’s marriage law when they wed in 2018 — the fourth sentence so far for Khan and the second for his wife.

“Former first lady Bushra Bibi has been brought to Adiala Prison from Bani Gala sub prison for 190 million case trial,” the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party said in a message to reporters, referring to the Al Qadir Trust case. “Indictment very much on the cards today.”

The former premier and his wife are accused in the case of receiving land as a bribe through the Al Qadir charitable trust set up in 2018 when Khan was still in office. Pakistani authorities have accused Khan and his wife of receiving the land, worth up to 7 billion rupees ($25 million), from a property developer charged in Britain with money laundering. The bribe, authorities say, was in exchange for a favor to the property developer by using 190 million pounds repatriated by Britain in the money laundering probe to pay fines levied by a court against the developer.

Khan’s aides say the land was donated to the trust for charitable purposes. The real estate developer has also denied any wrongdoing.

“OTHER CASES”

Khan and most senior leaders of his party were rejected as candidates for Feb. 8 general elections in what they say was a state-backed campaign to thwart their participation. Khan, 71, was ousted in April 2022 after falling out with Pakistan’s powerful military leaders who are widely believed to have backed him into power in 2018. In opposition, he waged an unprecedented campaign of defiance against the military establishment which has directly ruled the nation for almost half of its history but says it no longer interferes in politics. 

Khan was also convicted last month for making public a classified cable sent to Islamabad by Pakistan’s ambassador in Washington in 2022, in what is commonly known as the Cipher case. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He denies the charge and has said the contents appeared in the media from other sources.

In August last year, he was convicted in the Toshakhana or state treasury case and handed a three-year prison sentence by the election commission for selling gifts worth more than 140 million rupees ($501,000) in state possession and received during his 2018-2022 premiership.

He has also been indicted under Pakistan’s anti-terrorism law in connection with violence against the military that erupted following his brief arrest related to the Al-Qadir case on May 9. A section of Pakistan’s 1997 anti-terrorism act prescribes the death penalty as maximum punishment. Khan has denied the charges under the anti-terrorism law, saying he was in detention when the violence took place.


Pakistani anchorman, recently released after four-month custody, rearrested over ‘anti-judiciary’ campaign 

Updated 23 February 2024
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Pakistani anchorman, recently released after four-month custody, rearrested over ‘anti-judiciary’ campaign 

  • Imran Riaz Khan was arrested from his home in Lahore, his brother confirmed on X
  • The prominent journalist was last picked up in May and returned home in September

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani anchorman Imran Riaz Khan was arrested from his house in Lahore, his brother said on Friday, less than five months after the journalist returned home after a nearly four-month long incarceration in which his whereabouts had been unknown.

The prominent TV journalist turned promoter of jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s political party was picked up from his home in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore late on Thursday night. Footage of police vans outside his house were widely shared on social media. 

Riaz, who has more than 5.5 million followers on X, had taken on the Pakistani military and its intelligence agencies after ex-PM Khan was removed from power in April 2022 and blamed the army for his ouster. He was picked up in May and returned home in September, with authorities giving no indication of where he had been.

“They have picked up my brother, it’s been seven hours,” Riaz’s brother Usman Riaz Khan, who is also a journalist, said on X early on Friday morning. “A cloth was placed over his head and he was dragged away.”

He said he hoped Riaz would be presented before a court and due process followed. 

Earlier this week, the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Cybercrime Wing had summoned Riaz over his alleged involvement in an anti-judiciary campaign on social media platforms. The issue revolves around a controversial judgment given by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa that many political and religious leaders have viewed as insulting to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and blasphemous. 

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, for which there is widespread acceptance, are often misused against Pakistan’s tiny minority religious groups and even sometimes against Muslims to settle personal scores, critics say. Although no one has ever been executed, blasphemy convictions are common in Pakistan. Most convictions are thrown out on appeal by higher courts, but mobs have lynched dozens of people in vigilante attacks even before a case is put on trial.

In an X post on Thursday following the FIA summons, Riaz’s lawyer Mian Ali Ashfaq said his client had responded to the agency’s notice. 

“Such notices have come to dozens of journalists across Pakistan and after answering the first notice, Imran Riaz Khan has also answered this second notice,” the lawyer said. 

“More than two dozen such cases have been dismissed, this one will also be dismissed.”

Human rights groups have widely accused Pakistani security agencies of being behind the disappearances of political workers, leaders and rights activists, allegations that authorities deny.


Pakistan to seek at least $6 billion in new IMF Loan program

Updated 23 February 2024
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Pakistan to seek at least $6 billion in new IMF Loan program

  • Country to negotiate an Extended Fund Facility, with talks with IMF expected to start in March or April
  • Pakistan averted default last summer thanks to a short-term International Monetary Fund bailout

Pakistan plans to seek a new loan of at least $6 billion from the International Monetary Fund to help the incoming government repay billions in debt due this year, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday, citing a Pakistani official.

The country will seek to negotiate an Extended Fund Facility with the IMF, the report said, adding that the talks with the global lender were expected to start in March or April.

Pakistan averted default last summer thanks to a short-term International Monetary Fund bailout, but the program expires next month and a new government will have to negotiate a long-term arrangement to keep the $350 billion economy stable.

Ahead of the bailout, the South Asian nation had to undertake a slew of measures demanded by the IMF, including revising its budget, a hike in its benchmark interest rate, and increases in electricity and natural gas prices.

The IMF staff continues a dialogue with authorities on needed longer-term reform efforts, a spokesperson for the fund said, adding that the fund is available, if requested, to support the post-election government through a new arrangement to address Pakistan’s ongoing challenges.

Pakistan’s caretaker finance minister did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on the Bloomberg report.

Pakistan’s vulnerable external position means that securing financing from multilateral and bilateral partners will be one of the most urgent issues facing the next government, ratings agency Fitch said on Monday.

“A new deal is key to the country’s credit profile, and we assume one will be achieved within a few months, but an extended negotiation or failure to secure it would increase external liquidity stress and raise the probability of default,” it said.


Pakistan’s leading car assembler announces Rs3 billion investment in localization of parts

Updated 23 February 2024
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Pakistan’s leading car assembler announces Rs3 billion investment in localization of parts

  • Indus Motor’s investment aims to reduce company’s reliance on imports, support local auto industry
  • Pakistan’s auto sector has faced challenges due to slowing economic growth, high inflation and interest rates

KARACHI: Pakistan’s leading car assembler, Indus Motor Company (IMC), announced this week it would invest Rs3 billion ($10.7 million) to increase domestic production of parts and components of its Toyota-brand vehicles.

The investment plan aims to reduce the company’s reliance on imports and support the local auto industry, the joint venture between Toyota Motor Corporation and House of Habib said. 

“We are pleased to announce that the board of directors, in its meeting held on 21 February 2024, has approved an investment of around Rs3 billion to be made by the company for additional localization of parts and components of various existing vehicles,” the company said in a statement to the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on Thursday, adding that the move would allow the company “to reduce outflow of foreign exchange and promote the local auto industry.”

“The announced investment shall be made toward expenditure in plant and machinery, molds, dies, equipment and related expenses for localization of parts and components to be manufactured locally for various existing vehicles.”

The planned investment will be completed by the third quarter of the calendar year 2025. 

Indus Motor has been increasing the localization of parts and components for its vehicles, which include popular models of the Corolla. Last year, the company launched its first hybrid electric vehicle, the Corolla Cross, which it said was 50 percent localized.

Pakistan’s auto sector has faced challenges, particularly since last year, due to slowing economic growth and high inflation and interest rates, which have dampened the demand for cars. The sector has also been hit by the depreciation of the rupee against the US dollar, which has spiked the cost of imports and forced automakers to significantly raise prices.


Pakistan can save $10 billion yearly through agri exports to Gulf states, China — army

Updated 23 February 2024
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Pakistan can save $10 billion yearly through agri exports to Gulf states, China — army

  • Third annual Dairy Agriculture, Livestock Fisheries and Advance Technology Cattle Show kicks off in Karachi 
  • Show aims to highlight investment opportunities and technology in dairy, livestock, agriculture, and fisheries sectors 

KARACHI: Pakistan can save $10 billion per year through import substitution in the agriculture sector and exporting commodities to Gulf states and China, a senior military official said on Thursday at the inauguration ceremony of the third annual cattle show in Karachi.

The Dairy Agriculture, Livestock Fisheries and Advance Technology (DALFA) Cattle Show is held each year to highlight investment opportunities and advanced technology in the dairy, livestock, agriculture, and fisheries sectors of Pakistan.

Major General Shahid Nazir, Director General of Strategic Projects of the Pakistan Army, said the country imported more than $10 billion worth of agricultural products, calling for the production of exportable surplus to earn much needed foreign exchange.

“Pakistan can save about $10 billion per year through import substitution in the agriculture sector and exporting commodities to Gulf states and China,” Nazir told reporters after the inauguration of the cattle show.

A handler stands next to cattle at the Dairy Agriculture, Livestock Fisheries and Advance Technology (DALFA) cattle show in Karachi, Pakistan on February 22, 2024

He said the recently launched Green Pakistan Initiative, a joint effort between the Pakistan government and the army, would help improve the country’s agricultural development and grant unutilized lands to farmers to produce better yields using advanced technology. 

“Under the initiative advanced technology will be incorporated and the actual potential of Pakistan’s agriculture sector will be explored to achieve self-reliance,” Nazir said.

“We are facing the big challenge of foreign exchange and so there are two ways to earn the foreign exchange by saving $10 billion plus which are being spent on the import of agriculture products.”

He said collaborations in the agriculture sector had already started with Gulf countries.

Cattle displayed at the Dairy Agriculture, Livestock Fisheries and Advance Technology (DALFA) cattle show in Karachi, Pakistan on February 22, 2024

“We have cultivated wheat on about 100,000 acres of land and are preparing for cotton and sunflower. In Sindh [province], for the first time, more than 4 million bales have been produced,” Nazir said. 

A new Special Investment Facilitation Council was set up in July last year to serve as a “one window operation” for foreign investors, with a special focus on attracting funds from Gulf nations. The initiative is a collaboration between the Pakistan army and government, with military officials including the arm chief holding key positions.