Pakistan, UAE ink multi-billion-dollar deals across diverse sectors — PM Kakar 

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Pakistan's Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar (left) meets President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in Abu Dhabi, UAE on November 27, 2023. (Prime Minister's Office)
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Pakistan's caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar (left) meets UAE's Minister of Justice, Abdullah Sultan bin Awad Al-Nuaimi, in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on November 26, 2023. (PID)
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Updated 27 November 2023
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Pakistan, UAE ink multi-billion-dollar deals across diverse sectors — PM Kakar 

  • PM Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar says development marks ‘new era of economic cooperation, regional stability and strategic collaboration’ 
  • The Pakistani premier, currently in UAE, is slated to head to Kuwait on Nov. 28 and attend the COP28 climate conference on Dec. 1-2 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has signed multi-billion-dollar memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) across diverse sectors, Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar said on Monday, during his visit to the Gulf nation. 

PM Kakar arrived in the UAE on Sunday on a bilateral visit until Nov. 28, aimed at sign multiple investment and cooperation agreements, according to the Pakistani foreign office. 

He will subsequently embark on a two-day visit to Kuwait, which will conclude on Nov. 30. 

“Today in Abu Dhabi, multi-billion-dollar MoUs were signed between Pakistan and the UAE, spanning various sectors,” Kakar said in televised comments Monday night. 

“This marks a new era of economic cooperation, regional stability, and strategic collaboration between Pakistan and the UAE.” 

The prime minister congratulated the people of both nations, saying the friendship initiated by Sheikh Zayed in the 1970s had now entered a new phase under the leadership of UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. 

“These tangible projects will have a significantly positive economic impact on the Pakistani economy in the days to come,” Kakar added. 

The development came after a meeting between PM Kakar and the UAE president in Abu Dhabi. 

“During the meeting, regional and global developments were also discussed with particular reference to the deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestine,” PM Kakar’s office said. 

“The Prime Minister expressed Pakistan’s support to a just and durable solution of the Palestinian question anchored in international law and in line with relevant United Nations and OIC resolutions.” 

The two leaders reaffirmed the resolve to further strengthen bilateral strategic cooperation and dialogue between Pakistan and the UAE. 

They witnessed signing of the MoUs between Pakistan and the UAE, relating to energy, port operations projects, waste water treatment, food security, logistics, minerals, and banking and financial services sectors. 

“These MoUs will unlock multi-billion dollars of investment from United Arab Emirates into Pakistan and will help realize various initiatives envisioned under [Pakistan’s] Special Investment Facilitation Council,” the statement read. 

Pakistan and the UAE are close allies. The Gulf nation is Pakistan’s third-largest trade partner after China and the United States. It is also viewed as an ideal export destination by policymakers in the South Asian country due to its geographical proximity with Pakistan. 

The UAE is also home to an estimated 1.8 million Pakistani expatriates and, after Saudi Arabia, is the second-largest source of remittances for the South Asian nation of more than 240 million. 

During the meeting with President Sheikh Mohamed, PM Kakar expressed his profound gratitude for the UAE’s firm support to Pakistan in economic and financial domain. 

“The prime minister reiterated Pakistan’s full support to the UAE’s Presidency for COP 28, underlining its importance as an opportunity for meaningful progress toward effective and result-oriented global actions in key areas to mitigate climate impact, including establishment of the Loss and Damage Fund,” his office said further. 

PM Kakar is slated to attend the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai on December 1-2. 

On his visit to Kuwait, the prime minster will meet Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmed Nawaf Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, the Pakistani foreign office said in a statement. 

“The visit will include signing of various MoUs in the field of Manpower, Information Technology, Mineral exploration and Food Security, Energy and Defense,” the statement read. 

Speaking to Arab News, Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, a Pakistani foreign office spokeswoman, said PM Kakar would participate in the World Climate Action Summit, scheduled to take place in Dubai on Dec. 1-2 as part of COP28, following the Kuwait visit. 

“Prime Minister Kakar’s program in Dubai includes participation in high-level events at the summit and bilateral meetings with counterparts from participating countries,” she said. “He will underline the centrality in the climate change debate of the established principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities.” 

At COP27 in Egypt last year, Pakistan led negotiators from developing countries to a breakthrough deal to create a “loss and damage” fund, overcoming years of resistance from wealthy nations. But since the summit, governments have struggled to reach a consensus on the details of the fund, such as who will pay and where the fund will be located. 

A special UN committee tasked with implementing the fund met for a fifth time in Abu Dhabi earlier this month, following a deadlock in Egypt last month, to finalize recommendations that will be put to governments when they meet in Dubai next week. The goal is to get the fund up and running by 2024. 

At COP28, Baloch said Pakistan would work with other developing countries and seek operationalization of the loss and damage fund for all climate-vulnerable developing countries as well as a meaningful outcome of the first Global Stocktake (GST), a two-year process scheduled to happen every five years, to coordinate efforts on climate action, including measures to bridge gaps in progress. 

The first Global Stocktake got under way in 2022 and will conclude at COP28. The next Stocktake will occur in 2028 and again in 2033. 

“Pakistan will also reiterate its call for the developed countries to urgently and fully deliver on the long overdue goal of mobilizing $100 billion per year as climate finance for developing countries,” Baloch added. 


Rain wipes out first Pakistan-New Zealand T20 after just two balls

Updated 18 April 2024
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Rain wipes out first Pakistan-New Zealand T20 after just two balls

  • Fast bowler Mohammad Amir returned to international cricket after nearly four years
  • Having come out of retirement last month, Amir’s participation was limited to just fielding

RAWALPINDI: Heavy rain caused the first Twenty20 international between Pakistan and New Zealand to be abandoned after just two deliveries in Rawalpindi on Thursday.
New Zealand skipper Michael Bracewell won the toss, which had also been delayed by 30 minutes, and opted to bat but no action was possible for two-and-a-half hours.
Umpires Ahsan Raza and Aleem Dar then announced a five-over-a-side game at 10:10 local time (9:10 GMT).
Pakistan paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi conceded two leg-byes to debutant Tim Robinson off the first ball before bowling the batsman with a sharp delivery off the next.
But as soon as the Pakistan fielders started celebrating the wicket, the rain returned to force an abandonment.
Fast bowler Mohammad Amir returned to international cricket after nearly four years, having come out of retirement last month, but his participation was limited to just fielding.
The 32-year-old retired in December 2020 after being dropped from the side but changed his mind last month and decided to restart his career, which had already been stalled by a match-fixing ban in 2010.
Pakistan handed T20I caps to batsman Usman Khan, spinner Abrar Ahmed and all-rounder Muhammad Irfan Khan, while Robinson debuted for New Zealand.
The remaining matches are in Rawalpindi on April 20 and 21 and in Lahore on April 25 and 27.
The series gives a chance to both teams to test their bench strength ahead of the Twenty20 World Cup to be held in June in the United States and the West Indies.
New Zealand are without nine key players, including skipper Kane Williamson, who are playing in the ongoing Indian Premier League.


Five custom officials among six killed in gun attack in northwest Pakistan

Updated 18 April 2024
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Five custom officials among six killed in gun attack in northwest Pakistan

  • Officials of the custom department attacked while on routine patrol in Dera Ismail Khan 
  • Latest killings come amid renewed violence in northwestern and southwestern regions

PESHAWAR: Six people, including five officials of the customs department, were killed and another wounded on Thursday when gunmen opened fire on their vehicle in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, police and rescue officials said.
Officials of the custom department were out for routine patrol in Dera Ismail Khan city when their vehicle came under attack in the jurisdiction of Draban Police Station, Regional Police Officer Nasir Hussain Satti told Arab News.
“As terrorists started firing on the custom officials, the driver lost control of the vehicle,” Hussain said. 
“As a result, their car collided head-on with another vehicle coming from the opposite direction, leaving five officials and a girl dead on the spot while one person suffered injuries.”
KP Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur condemned the incident.
“The incident is extremely tragic. Police should take all measures to arrest elements behind the attack,” a statement quoting the chief minister said.
Aziz Dotani, a spokesman at DI Khan district’s Rescue 1122 service, said a relief team promptly rushed to the area to transport bodies to the nearest medical facility.
The latest killings come at a time of renewed militant violence in Pakistan’s northwestern and southwestern regions, especially after the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) called off its fragile, months-long truce with the government in November 2022.
While there has been a spike in militant attacks across the northwest and southwest of the country, militants have particularly attacked policemen in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in recent weeks. 
Earlier this month, unidentified gunmen shot dead a policeman in the restive North Waziristan tribal district. Separately, an official working with the provincial counterterrorism department and a senior cleric affiliated with the Jamiat Ulema Islam religious political party were shot dead in two separate incidents of “targeted killings” in the North Waziristan tribal district, according to police.
While no group immediately claimed responsibility for the latest killings, suspicion is likely to fall on the TTP, which has had a significant presence in KP before being driven out as a result of successive military operations over the years. Pakistan says the TTP is now mostly based in hideouts in neighboring Afghanistan, which the Taliban denies. 
Last month, seven Pakistani soldiers, including two army officers, were killed in a militant attack in North Waziristan, according to the Pakistani military. The attack led the Pakistani military to carry out rare airstrikes against suspected TTP hideouts inside Afghanistan on March 18, killing eight people. The strikes prompted Afghan forces to fire back at Pakistani soldiers along the border.
Afghan Deputy Interior Minister Mohammad Nabi Omari has urged Pakistan and the banned TTP to start negotiations afresh but Pakistan has rejected the Afghan minister’s suggestion, urging Kabul to take action against militant groups operating from its soil.
Both Pakistan and Afghanistan have traded blame in recent months over who is responsible for the recent spate of militant attacks in Pakistan. 
Islamabad says the attacks are launched mostly by TTP members who operate from safe havens in Afghanistan. Kabul denies this and blames Islamabad for not being able to handle its own security challenges.


Seven killed in southwest Pakistan as heavy rains continue to wreak havoc nationwide

Updated 18 April 2024
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Seven killed in southwest Pakistan as heavy rains continue to wreak havoc nationwide

  • At least 33 people killed and 46 injured in various rain-related incidents in northwestern Pakistan
  • Pakistan is ranked fifth most vulnerable country to climate change according to Global Climate Risk Index

QUETTA: Seven people including a woman were killed in southwestern Pakistan as rains continue to wreak havoc in the South Asian nation ranked as the fifth most vulnerable country to climate change according to the Global Climate Risk Index.
Heavy rains in the last three weeks have triggered landslides and flash floods in several parts of Pakistan. 
On Thursday, seven people were killed in the southwestern Balochistan province, officials in the town of Chaman here the deaths took place said. 
“In the first incident a car drove into flood waters in Mashan Talab situated on the outskirts of Chaman,” Deputy Commissioner Chaman Raja Atthar Abbas told Arab News.
“Five men sitting inside the vehicle drowned in flood water while two people including a woman were killed after a mud wall fell on them on College road.” 
Torrential rains had caused “severe damage” in Chaman and its surrounding areas as dozens of mud house collapsed in the last two days of rains, Abbas added. 
Separately, at least 33 people were killed and another 46 injured in various rain-related incidents in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province in the last six days, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) said on Thursday.
Rains that began last Friday had completely destroyed 336 houses and partially damaged another 1,606 in different districts across the province, according to the PDMA.
The incidents occurred in Khyber, Upper and Lower Dir, Upper and Lower Chitral, Swat, Bajaur, Shangla, Karak, Tank, Mardan, Peshawar, Charsadda, Hangu, Battagram, Dera Ismail Khan and other districts.
“The deceased include 17 children, eight men, eight women, while the injured included 32 men, six women and eight children,” the PDMA said in its daily situation report on Thursday.
On Wednesday, the authority had warned of another spell of heavy rains in the province from April 17 till April 21, which could trigger landslides and flash floods.
In 2022, downpours swelled rivers and at one point flooded a third of Pakistan, killing 1,739 people. The floods also caused $30 billion in damages, from which Pakistan is still trying to rebuild.


Amir returns to international cricket as New Zealand bat in first T20I

Updated 18 April 2024
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Amir returns to international cricket as New Zealand bat in first T20I

  • Amir retired in December 2020 after being dropped from the side but changed his mind last month
  • Fast bowler decided to restart his career, which had also been stalled by a match-fixing ban in 2010

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Amir returns to international cricket from an absence of almost four years after New Zealand won the toss in their rain-delayed first Twenty20 in Rawalpindi on Thursday.
The 32-year-old retired in December 2020 after being dropped from the side but changed his mind last month and decided to restart his career, which had also been stalled by a match-fixing ban in 2010.
Pakistan have handed T20I debuts to batter Usman Khan, spinner Abrar Ahmed and allrounder Muhammad Irfan Khan to gauge their bench strength ahead of June’s World Cup in the United States and the West Indies.
New Zealand, missing nine players due to the Indian Premier League, handed a T20I debut to batter Tim Robinson.
The remaining matches are in Rawalpindi on April 20 and 21 and in Lahore on April 25 and 27.
Teams:
Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Usman Khan, Abrar Ahmed, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Amir, Muhammad Irfan Khan, Naseem Shah, Saim Ayub, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi
New Zealand: Michael Bracewell (captain), Mark Chapman, Josh Clarkson, Jacob Duffy, Dean Foxcroft, Ben Lister, Jimmy Neesham, Tim Robinson, Ben Sears, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi
Umpires: Ahsan Raza (PAK) and Aleem Dar (PAK)
Tv umpire: Faisal Afridi (PAK)
Match referee: Andy Pycroft (ZIM)


US says Pakistan’s prosperity and security remains a ‘top priority’

Updated 18 April 2024
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US says Pakistan’s prosperity and security remains a ‘top priority’

  • Blome’s comments come amid a spike in militant attacks in Pakistan
  • Pakistani finance chief has launched negotiations for a new IMF bailout 

KARACHI: US Ambassador Donald Blome met Pakistani Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar on Thursday and said the South Asian nation’s prosperity and security remained a ‘top priority’ for Washington.
Blome’s comments come amid a spike in militant attacks in Pakistan and while its finance chief is in discussions with the International Monetary Fund in Washington on a potential follow-up program to its nine-month, $3 billion stand-by arrangement.
“US Ambassador Donald Blome met today with Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar to discuss recent events in the region,” Acting US Mission Spokesperson Thomas Montgomery said. 
“Ambassador Blome conveyed the United States’ commitment to working with the government and people of Pakistan, underscoring that prosperity and security for Pakistan remains a top priority for the United States.”
Pakistan went to the polls on February 8 in a vote marred by a mobile Internet shutdown on election day, arrests and violence in its build-up and unusually delayed results, leading to accusations that the vote was rigged. 
However, the US has repeatedly said it will work with the new government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, though it has expressed concerns about reported election irregularities and urged a probe.
Although defense and key foreign policy decisions are largely influenced by Pakistan’s powerful military, Sharif will have to juggle relations with the US and China.
Islamabad has close economic ties to both the nations, which has put it in a tricky position as the two countries have embarked upon a costly trade war.
“From our perspective it has to be an and-and discussion,” finance minister Muhammad Aurangzeb said in an interview this week when asked how the Sharif government plans to conduct its trading relationships with the world’s two largest economies.
“US is our largest trading partner, and it has always supported us, always helped us in terms of the investments,” he said. “So that is always going to be a very, very critical relationship for Pakistan.”
“On the other side, a lot of investment, especially in infrastructure, came through CPEC,” he said, referring to the roughly 1,860-mile-long China-Pakistan Economic Corridor designed to give China access to the Arabian Sea.
Aurangzeb said there was a “very good opportunity” for Pakistan to play a similar role in the trade war as countries like Vietnam, which has been able to dramatically boost its exports to the US following the imposition of tariffs on some Chinese goods.
“We have already a few examples of that already working,” he said. “But what we need to do is to really scale it up.”
Militancy has also spiked in recent months, creating a major challenge for the new government, with religiously motivated groups like the Pakistani Taliban as well as ethnic separatists showing an enhanced ability to hit high-value targets.
In an attack last month that has so far been unclaimed, a suicide bomber rammed a vehicle into a convoy of Chinese engineers working on a hydropower project at Dasu in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, killing five Chinese nationals and their Pakistani driver. 
The Mar. 26 assault was the third major attack in little over a week on China’s interests in the South Asian nation, where Beijing has invested more than $65 billion in infrastructure projects as part of its wider Belt and Road initiative.