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JOINT DECLARATION: 6th SESSION OF PAKISTAN – TURKEY HIGH-LEVEL STRATEGIC COOPERATION COUNCIL “TOWARDS AN EVER-CLOSER STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP”

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Reaffirming the time-tested and unparalleled relations between the peoples and the governments of the two brotherly countries that are embedded in a common historical, religious and cultural heritage;

Recalling the historic bonds between the peoples of the two regions, manifested through the legendary support provided by the Muslims of South Asia to their Turkish brethren in early 20th century as well as the resolute support provided by Turkey to the people of Pakistan in the face of all challenges;

Emphasizing that the fraternal relations between Pakistan and Turkey are a sacred trust, that must be protected, nurtured and transmitted onwards to successive generations as common heritage;

Reiterating their resolve to transform this fraternal relationship into an ever-expanding, mutually beneficial, strategic partnership;

Underlining the importance and centrality of Turkey-Pakistan High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council (HLSCC) mechanism in expanding Turkey-Pakistan bilateral relations;

Welcoming the finalization of the landmark Pakistan-Turkey Declaration of Strategic Economic Framework (SEF) and Action Plan;

Reiterating their common resolve to fight the scourge of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations; underscoring the need for addressing the root causes of terrorism, including by resolving prolonged conflicts and ending situations of foreign occupation; reaffirming that terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality or civilization; and calling for extending the scope of the UNSC 1267 sanctions regime to individuals and entities currently outside its ambit.

Expressing deep concern at the rising tide of Islamophobia, and condemning in the strongest terms the recent terrorist and racist attacks against Muslims across the globe;

Recalling all the previous Joint Declarations signed between the two sides under the framework of Pakistan-Turkey High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council (HLSCC), and the decisions made therein;

Having endorsed the outcomes of the meetings of the respective Working Groups of the Pakistan-Turkey High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council (HLSCC) held on 13 February 2020 and expressing satisfaction at the progress achieved therein;

We, the Co-chairs of the 6th Meeting of the Pakistan-Turkey High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council (HLSCC), held in Islamabad, on 14 February 2020 have agreed as follows:

Political Cooperation

Bilateral institutional mechanisms:

The High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council (HLSCC) shall continue to be the main political forum that guides bilateral relations in all fields with an effective and expeditious follow-up on its decisions.

The two sides will review, update and amend, as appropriate, the agreements, protocols and MOUs signed under the umbrella of the HLSCC, in order to streamline their implementation.

The ongoing consultations between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the two countries shall be further intensified and their scope broadened to new areas.

Fight against terrorism:

Being victims of terrorism themselves, both countries will continue to cooperate in the fight against this scourge, including through the exchange of best practices and experiences in the area of law enforcement, legislation, capacity building and strengthening of the respective AML/CFT regimes.

The two sides reiterate their resolve to fight against the Fetullah Gulen Terrorist Organization (FETO). In this regard, Turkey notes with appreciation the measures taken by Pakistan against FETO in line with its domestic law, through inter alia designation of FETO as a terrorist organization, and handing over of all linked schools to the Turkish Maarif Foundation.

The two sides will continue to cooperate at all international forums, in particular at the United Nations and relevant inter-governmental organizations, to make international counter-terrorism and AML/CFT regimes more transparent, apolitical, non-discriminatory and objective, as well as to counter laws or administrative measures discriminating against and stigmatizing Muslims.

Islamophobia:

The two countries will work closely to combat Islamophobia, hate speech, efforts to link terrorism with Islam, and other manifestations of intolerance towards Muslims, including stereotyping of Muslims.

Joint initiatives will be taken to counter stereotyping and defamation of Islam and Muslims, including incitement to acts of violence, xenophobia, and related intolerance and discrimination against Islam, its religious symbols, and venerated personalities, by means of print, audio-visual & electronic media, the Internet, as well as entertainment media such as movies, videos and digital games.

The two countries note with appreciation the UN Secretary General’s Strategy and Action Plan on Hate Speech and call for convening a special session of the UN General Assembly on measures to combat Islamophobia;

Both sides also call for establishment of an observatory under the auspices of OHCHR (or any other relevant UN body/authority) to monitor acts of hate speech, Islamophobia, incitement to hatred and violence against Muslims;

The two countries call on the UN Human Rights Council to appoint a Special Rapporteur to monitor and combat Islamophobia.

Regional and international issues:

The unilateral actions by India on 5 August 2019, as well as the further deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in the region as a result of these actions, have further increased regional tensions, and, the situation must, therefore, be urgently addressed for regional as well as global peace and security.

The two sides underscored need for resolution of all outstanding disputes between Pakistan and India, including the core issue of Jammu & Kashmir through a sustained dialogue process and in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. In this regard, Pakistan expresses its deep appreciation for Turkey’s principled stance on the issue as well as its offer for mediation.

Sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan can only be achieved through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. Turkey appreciates Pakistan’s support to the Afghan peace process. Pakistan supports Turkey’s efforts in achieving these objectives and welcomes the Istanbul Declaration adopted at the Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference, held on 11 December 2019.

The two countries reiterate full and resolute support for the efforts towards the comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus issue on the basis of the political equality of the two communities on the Island, and with a view to building peace and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean;

Both sides noted with concern the trend towards exceptionalism and sidelining of non-proliferation objectives. This trend is regarded as detrimental to the credibility of the global non-proliferation regime and, in this regard, also to the strategic stability in South Asia.

Turkey appreciates Pakistan’s strong commitment to non-proliferation and its adherence to the Nuclear Suppliers Group’s (NSG) Guidelines. Turkey recognizes that as a country with an extensive experience in this area, Pakistan’s membership of the NSG will contribute to the global non-proliferation objectives.

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The United Nations Security Council needs to be made more representative, democratic, transparent, and accountable through comprehensive UN Security Council reform process, based on widest possible consensus. In addition, the need for the implementation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions to resolve the long-standing disputes on the agenda of the Security Council, especially those pertaining to the Muslim Ummah, is underlined;

Cooperation at the multi-lateral forums:

The two countries shall continue to cooperate and coordinate at regional and international forums, particularly the United Nations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), and the D-8 Organization, etc. through, inter alia, mutual support for joint initiatives, policies and candidacies.

Other issues:

The two countries agree to work together bilaterally as well as at the global forums to address threats posed by the adverse effects of climate change; and explore avenues to enhance cooperation with regard to implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The two countries shall continue to work closely to address irregular migration and agreed to further develop cooperation on irregular migration and to combat human trafficking and migrant smuggling. Turkey acknowledges and notes with appreciation the measures being taken by Pakistan towards implementation of the Agreement on the Readmission of Persons Residing without Authorization as well as facilitation with regard to provision of documents of irregular migrants exiting from Turkey.

Security and Defence Cooperation

The two sides agreed to:

  • further intensify and expand cooperation in the defence and security spheres, including by sourcing their defence purchases from each other to the extent possible, and prioritizing joint research, development and production ventures.
  • work for global disarmament, non-proliferation objectives, safeguarding and strengthening international as well as regional security and promoting strategic stability, including in each other’s respective regions.
  • enhance cooperation between the law enforcement institutions, departments and agencies of both countries through, inter alia, training activities and sharing of best practices, information, experiences and expertise, etc.
  • cooperate through relevant counter-terrorism institutions to develop methods and avenues of cooperation in keeping with the evolving nature of the threat, including in the areas of cyber-terrorism and cyber-crime.

Energy Cooperation

Both countries agreed to:

  • Enhance cooperation in human capacity building, especially in the fields of human safety, management of the distribution systems and senior management training modules.
  • That the Turkish experience and expertise in human resource development and the expertise would be utilized to upgrade and improved Pakistan’s electricity sectors institutional framework, curriculum, and modules at different levels.
  • Cooperate in the capacity building of National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (NEECA) Pakistan.
  • Enhance investment opportunities in the power transmission and distribution sectors of Pakistan.
  • Enhance cooperation in the field of hydrocarbons, especially in oil and gas exploration and production projects, supply and trade of LPG and petroleum products.
  • Creation of a joint monitoring group of the Ministries of Energy that would meet at least once a year to review the progress against the decisions made in this joint working group.

Trade and Investment

Both sides reviewed the existing bilateral trade and agreed to increase the level of economic engagement to mobilize the untapped potential for increasing trade and investment.

Both parties agreed to conclude the FTA with the broader purpose of increased economic and trade integration and as per the “Joint Declaration on Pakistan-Turkey Strategic Relationship for Peace and Prosperity” made during the 5th meeting of Pakistan – Turkey High Level Strategic Cooperation Council held on 22-24 February 2017 under which both sides agreed that the “Free Trade Agreement negotiations will be conducted taking into consideration the sensitivities of economies of both countries.”

In this regard, both sides have also agreed to conduct and finalize a Joint Scoping Study by end of March, 2020 which would identify potential sectors where opportunities are not being exploited at present. This Study would form the basis for future roadmap of Pakistan Turkey FTA negotiations.

In the light of above and the progress achieved in the Joint Scoping Study, both sides would consider reinitiating negotiations on Pakistan Turkey FTA in the second quarter of 2020.

Both sides agreed to encourage their businessmen to establish Joint Ventures in industrial sectors and cooperate in the field of e-commerce.

Banking & Finance

Both sides discussed the proposed credit line facility of USD 350 million for implementation of eligible projects in Pakistan. A draft MoU was shared by Pakistan with their counterparts from Turkey. The Turkish side agreed in principle to consider the proposal for extending credit facility of USD 350 million to Government of Pakistan on terms mutually agreed between the two sides. In this regard, both sides agreed to formulate the draft MoU through mutual consultations by the end of May 2020.

Both sides agreed to encourage their banking sectors to enhance cooperation in banking and finance for promotion of trade and investment between the two countries and facilitate each other for opening bank branches on reciprocal basis.

Both sides expressed their mutual desire to enhance bilateral cooperation between their Central Banks by initiating a dialogue with a view to finalize an MoU on Technical Cooperation and Renewal of the Currency Swap Agreement (CSA).

Both sides agreed to enhance technical cooperation in the following fields:

  1. Establishment of a Communication Line Between Credit Guarantee Institutions of Both Countries for SME Promotion.
  2. Public Debt Management, Cash Management and Risk Management.
  3. Development of Housing and Housing Finance Industry in Pakistan
  4. Public Private Partnership Framework

In this regard, Pakistan shared draft MoUs/Protocols with Turkish side. The Turkish side agreed to respond within due course of time.

Both sides agreed on knowledge sharing and mutual technical assistance in the areas of Risk Based Approach for Supervision on anti-money laundering, misuse of payment system including new payment method, UNSC sanctions regime, money laundering and terrorist financing typologies.

Both sides agreed on cooperation for capacity building in the areas of Islamic Banking, Project Management, Taxation, Strategic Planning, Sectoral Planning & Development and other areas of mutual interest.

Pakistan appreciated the endeavors made by Turkish International Cooperation & Development Agency (TIKA) for implementing small grant projects in social sectors in Pakistan and assured them of continued cooperation.

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Transport and Communications Cooperation

The two sides agreed to:

  • Implement bilateral agreements in all the modes of transport i.e. Road, Rail, Sea and Air, as a step towards promoting bilateral trade and cooperation between the two countries.
  • Devise all required mechanisms for boosting activities in various fields of Communications & Transport Sector including Roads, Rail, Air, Sea, Postal and IT & Telecom to their full potential by utilizing all available options.
  • Enhance their commitment in the implementation of bilateral and multilateral Transport Agreements. Turkey appreciated and welcomed Pakistan’s Accession to International UN-TIR Convention 1975 and CMR Convention that has paved the way of harmonizing    Pakistan’s procedures and standards with the globally accepted and recognized guaranteeing mechanisms.
  • Both sides decided to organize a pilot run of at-least 10 trucks on Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul (ITI) Road Corridor by June 2020 in consultation with the Transport Associations of both sides under framework of already signed bilateral Road Transport Agreement. This will further boost the bilateral cooperation and trade activities between the two countries.
  • Consider participation in potential projects of highways and motorways of Pakistan by Turkish companies on BOT/Public Private Partnership basis.
  • Both sides agreed to explore the possibilities of joint cooperation in railway sector mainly in the areas of business planning, management, railway operations, railway infrastructure, IT & Technology in railways, capacity building etc., in addition to manufacturing, rehabilitation, maintenance and repair of locomotives, freight wagons and passenger coaches in the framework of MoU which has been signed at High level Strategic Cooperation Council. This has also been reflected in the Strategic Economic Framework. Both sides affirmed to proactively engage in promoting joint cooperation in railways.
  • The Turkish side agreed to explore the possibility of Pakistan’s proposal for the renewal of MoU between Pakistan Railways & Union of Chamber of Commerce and Commodity Exchange (TOBB) through its logistic company BALO.
  • The two sides recognized the significance of ITI train for integration of the region with Europe and beyond. The two sides agreed to take measures necessary for resumption of ITI train operations at the earliest.
  • Pakistani side also encourages Turkish companies to participate in the biding process of potential railways projects funded through own resources and BOT/PPP basis.
  • Collaborate in the field of (a) international and local remittance and IT innovative services between Turkey and Pakistan, (b) Express and Logistic Services and E-commerce through   Postal Network to enhance cooperation in ICT based postal services between the two countries.
  • Cooperate and exchange of experiences and collaboration in Maritime Education & Trainings, Maritime Trade and Port Management. The geographical location of the Izmir Port of Turkey and Karachi Port need to be utilized to harmonize each other’s capabilities for an effective trade and cargo handling.
  • Both sides may finalize the Annex-I of the MoU signed in 2015 with a view to further deepen the bilateral ties in the field of aviation. It was further agreed to discuss the traffic rights and frequencies between the two brotherly nations during a forthcoming meeting in Turkey at the invitation of Turkish side as per mutually agreed schedule.

Culture and Tourism Cooperation

Both sides agreed to:

  • Organizing the 4th meeting of Turkey-Pakistan Joint Commission on Tourism.
  • Promoting the regular exchange of media delegation.
  • Cooperation in the area of Information, Culture, Tourism, Film and drama to further strengthen people to people interaction and brotherly relations with the two countries.
  • Initiate Joint-ventures in film production and release of feature films in each other market on reciprocal basis.
  • Enhance cooperation between TRT and PTVC/PBC in order to exchange programs, information and expertise on a reciprocal basis.
  • Cooperation on restoration of cultural heritage.
  • Encouraging joint initiatives for the development, planning and standardization of tourism attractions in Pakistan.
  • Providing technical information and support on promotion and marketing in the field of tourism.
  • Exchange of culture groups and tourist festivals within the framework of reciprocity.
  • Exchange expertise in the fields of archaeology as well as conservation and restoration of archaeological and historical sites as well as museums.

Education Cooperation

Both sides agreed on the following by taking into account the applicable legislation of both countries within the bounds of financial and personnel resources:

  • Promoting exchanges between universities, technical and vocational institutes and other academic institutes and in this regard continue collaboration on higher education scholarships.
  • Promoting the relationship between the Technical and Vocational Training Institutes Schools of Turkey and Pakistan through International Sister Schools practice.
  • Sharing of curricula and qualification standards to assist Pakistan in standardization and modernization of its TVET sector.
  • Exploring possibilities of training Pakistani TVET teachers in Turkey and in Pakistan to ensure Pakistani TVET teachers acquire modern skills and help them improve the quality standards.
  • TIKA will be preparing to establish Centre of Excellence of Hospitality and Tourism management in Islamabad in collaboration with NAVTTC
  • Cooperate in the field of curriculum development.

Both sides agreed to finalize the ongoing negotiations on Memorandum of Understanding between Ministry of Federal education and Professional Training and Turkish Maarif Foundation in the second quarter of 2020.

Both sides agreed to start negotiations in the second quarter of 2020 and finalize as soon as possible the Cooperation Agreement in the field of Education between the Government of the Republic of Turkey and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The date and place of negotiation will be mutually decided through diplomatic channels.

Follow-Up

The two leaders decided to establish two more Joint Working Groups on:

  1. Defence Industry
  2. Agriculture and Water

The Joint Working Groups of the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council shall continue their work to develop specific programmes and projects.

In this regard, the Joint Working Groups, will meet before the meetings of the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council at least two times in Ankara, in Islamabad, or through video conference.

The next meeting of the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council shall be held in Ankara. The dates shall be agreed upon through diplomatic channels.

Done in Islamabad on 14 February 2020 in English and Turkish languages, both texts being equally authentic.

Imran Khan                                                                Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Prime Minister of the                                                  President of the

Islamic Republic of Pakistan                                      Republic of Turkey

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The Right-Wing Politics in United States & The Capitol Hill Mayhem

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The radicalized right-wing politics during the Trump Administration is responsible for creating severe unrest in the US, and subsequently, in the global community. There is a dire need to change the political structure in the US to safeguard the true spirit of democracy.

The US witnessed one of the tumultuous transitions of power as the republicans shook the very roots of a model democracy in the US after the Capitol Hill mayhem.

Trump administration during the four-year Presidential Term has been worst on all fronts -be it Internal Policy, Health Policy, unemployment, Governance, Foreign Policy, security and Trade policy.

Trump, being afraid of defeat resorted to inciting voters, supporters and workers to attack Capitol Hill, and his racial tirade and overtures drowned him in last year’s most trumpeted Presidential Elections when the country appeared divided between the rightist and leftists.

Trump and his attack on democracy

The elections witnessed the bloodshed, torture, violence and sheer violation of legislative laws that warranted immediate legal action. From his election to the Presidential slot, Trump behaved like an amateur.

He ran the political affairs as a personal business rather than a statesman. He, being an actor, took the job as a mere role but the presidency demands prudence and sensible decisions to avoid any worst repercussions.

Trump’s aggressive response to matters of importance further exacerbated the situation, especially with China and Iran.

The leftists or change agents wanted a people-friendly government where the rights of people should be protected regardless of their political affiliation or association, caste, colour, creed, religion, ethnicity.

For the years, US democracy has been a model for many developing countries owing to its non-radicalized and people-friendly Governments.

All the democratic forces were stunned over the unfortunate incident of  Capitol Hill mayhem and were shocked that even developed nations like America can be enthralled, enticed and incited to the level that will shake the very roots of  Democracy i.e  Capitol Hill.

The world responded with regrets that it was unfortunate that Trumpism radicalized supporters to the extent that they were instigated and incited to influence the Presidential Elections results so that Biden’s Victory may not be validated.

America in disgrace

The world might have moved to tears when Trump supporters and workers ransacked Capitol Hill and brought disgrace for America around the world.

All experts, analysts and pro-democracy leaders condemned such act since it was against the norms of civilized nations of the world.

All the mayhem that stormed the US was orchestrated and masterminded by a Business Tycoon, Actor turned Politician Donald Trump who already lost his credibility for his election to the office of President since he was facing rigging and horse-trading charges in his first term that led to his impeachment Trial but luckily he was set free twice from impeachment during his presidency.

Furthermore, his complete failure to tackle the issue of pandemic also contributed to his humiliating defeat since he ridiculed the pandemic by terming it China Virus owing to trade war with China.

Later, when the pandemic went out of control, he took initiative but it was too late to restrict the covid-19 infections since the US had the highest ratio of infections in the world.

Diplomatic relations ruined by Trumpism

Trump escalated the situation with Iran by killing General Qassem Suleimani in Iraq. Later, Iran attacked American Military bases in Iraq but there were no causalities reported for the incident. Iran also shot down a passenger plane by mistake and all passengers were killed.

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Trump’s diplomatic relations with China worsened due to the Trade war. American relations with North Korea did not improve though both Trump and KIM met in Singapore to reach a possible peace agreement.

His amnesty or pardon for his friends also came under heavy criticism since he was afraid that they might be prosecuted as his term ended.

His blunders contributed a lot to his worst defeat though, being stubborn did not accept defeat but later, Supreme Court rejected his claims of any rigging in elections.

Republicans being a right-wing party radicalized the political workers and community to that extent that people violated law without any fear as they enjoyed the support from the white house.

The right-wing politics of Donald trump sowed the seeds of hatred and hostility that will have serious repercussions in the long run as long as the Trumpism pandemic exists among the people.

His failure to implement a deal of the century plan in the Middle East that was aimed merely on supporting Israel by giving a greater share of settlements. The deal came to a logical end as it was heavily criticized and Palestinians called it to suicide if accepted.

Despite signing the deal with the Afghan Taliban with the help of Pakistan to end 20 years longest war on terror and paving the way for US troops’ withdrawal, the law and order situation has not improved so far as the peace dialogue between the Afghan Taliban and Government yet to take place.

Biden as a saviour

Right-wing politicians led by Trumps have serious implications that will ultimately create problems for Biden to cope with during his presidency.

Biden has to overhaul the whole system to restore the Trust and reputation in the world and strengthen the US through unity by abolishing the discriminatory approach.

The Selection of an Afro-American lady as Vice President has already laid the foundation to put the country on right track and building the trust of all the communities whether voted for him or not as he called himself the president of all Americans rather than of those who voted and supported him during his victory speech.

The Vote is the great tool of people to bring in the choice of leadership as it is the constitutional right of every American and can be exercised on free will without any pressure

The Afro-American community still recalls the cold-blooded murder of George Floyd by Police, supported Joe Biden after he chose Kamala Harris as Vice President candidate.

On the other hand, though Trump was given clean chit in impeachment since he was charged with inciting the supporters to attack Capitol Hill that will be marked as a black day in American history, yet he has sown the seeds of intolerance, political victimization and radicalizing the peaceful Americans.

This aspect of populist or right-wing politics always plagues the peaceful and vibrant societies in a developed nation like the US, UK, France and Germany.

Trump promoted racism through his flowery speech that incited and enthralled mob violence to exert pressure through street power as practised in Asian states such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China and Japan.

How will Biden make America ‘great’ again?

Political analysts term Trump as an existential threat for Biden as he still enjoys the second largest votes in key states and may create problems especially the legislation for key issues.

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Biden will have to fix diplomatic relations with all nations of the world especially Tehran and Beijing as Former President Donald Trump escalated the diplomatic relations with these countries with his insensible and aggressive attitude.

He will have to take immediate steps to clear the mess that was stalled by Trump’s radicalized and extremist approach to right-wing Politics whose price is being paid by citizens through isolation and hatred.

Biden and Kamala Harris will have to chalk out such policies that deal with communities with equality and justice and especially deal with the pandemic situation through vaccination drive to minimize the covid-19 infections. The causalities have surpassed thousands whereas long lockdowns have created unemployment and an economic crisis impacting many industries.

They need to sit with health experts and Economists to get the country out of the crisis. It will be better to take help from the nations that managed to defeat this pandemic with SOPs and measures.

Beyond ego, the US may seek help from Russia, China, Singapore and the UK to win against the pandemic situation, though the ratio of the infections dropped worldwide as the cold winter departs.

Joe Biden will have to support Kashmiris against the unilateral move of India as he had promised in the election campaign.

He should play his role for the Middle East peace plan of the two-state solution so that Palestinians may have a state as per their wishes and the map they have in mind.

It was the sensible decision from him that troops’ withdrawal option was postponed, given the critical situation in Afghanistan. Rather, he should not jeopardize or sabotage the peace deal with the Taliban.

Biden should engage person like Zalmay Khalilzad to strengthen the dialogue process between the Afghan Taliban and other stakeholders including the existing Government of Ashraf Ghani so that peace could be restored as it will benefit all the countries and play a pivotal role in regional stability and prosperity.

The pandemic has united the world as human conscience has roused again.

Republicans and Democrats

Finally, Democrats have always saved America and promoted justice, equality and opened doors for the world for immigration but Trump wreaked havoc with all the social norms and promoted intolerance, racism and inequality that shook the very roots of the country and gave birth to happenings of Capitol Hill and distrust on the electoral system.

Biden Administration is expected and mandated by the masses to clear that mess and pave the way for his second term if he succeeds to bring change to the country.

Right-wing politics has its pros and cons but the version introduced by Republicans radicalized the whole system and divided the country even in times of emergency.

Populist leaders all around the world have impacted various governments, especially in the Asian States as they are elected on popular vote.

The version introduced by Trump may give birth to the dissent voices as left-wing whose critique may be beyond rectification whereas the ethnic divide, will promote separatism as happened in the UK, Spain, Russia and the Subcontinent when people’s rights were compromised and the freedom of expression was annulled.

The US cannot afford further isolation and division of communities on the basis of ethnicity, colour or radical thoughts since it has already paid the price during the Trump regime.

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Development

The Development of microfinance industry depends upon the resilience and risk management: SECP Chairman Amir Khan

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Islamabad : SECP Chairman, Aamir Khan emphasized that in these challenging times the development of microfinance industry depends upon the resilience and risk management, achieved through quintessential pillars of liquidity-tapped through private capital and technology embracement. Khan was addressing the Non-Bank Microfinance Companies Stakeholders Forum organized by SECP to devise a way forward and collaborate strategic response to cope the challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdowns.

The SECP Chairman Amir Khan, along with Commissioner Specialized Companies Division, Farrukh Sabzwari chaired the session. Representatives of Pakistan Microfinance Network (PMN), State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), Pakistan Microfinance Investment Company Limited (PMIC), Karandaaz Pakistan and multilateral donor agencies including the World Bank, International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Department for International Development (DFID) attended the session.

 The Chairman SECP advised NBMFCs to go far product diversification to insurance solutions and saving products and build capacity of their workforce to attain business development and operational efficiency. He endorsed formation of a working group consisting of nominees from SECP, PMN, PMIC and NBMFCs to further analyze the situation. The working group will also take up the matters with relevant forums including ministry of finance, SBP and multilateral donor agencies for possible solutions.

Khan expressed SECP’s firm commitment to providing all possible support to industry not only during the current pandemic times but also in developing the industry on a strong footing. SECP Commissioner, Sabzwari highlighted the measures taken by SECP to provide relief and flexibility to the NBMFCs and their wholesale lender in managing funding requirements. He also talked about SECP’s advice to NBMFCs to defer and reschedule borrower loans.

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Participants acknowledged SECP’s timely intervention to provide regulatory relief to NBMFCs in managing their credit lines and funding requirements. However, industry representatives expressed their concerns on potential defaults by borrower and liquidity crunch that may lead to capital crisis in the industry.

They raised the need of new money injection into the industry through collaborative efforts of microfinance regulators and the government. Representatives of international donor agencies attending the Forum expressed their resolve to extend fullest possible support to Pakistan’s microfinance sector.    

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Development

Gov’t releases Rs 533.33 billion for various development projects so far

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Islamabad: The federal government has so far authorized release of Rs 533.33 billion for various ongoing and new social sector uplift projects under its Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2019-20, as against the total allocation of Rs 701 billion.

Under its development programme, the government has released an amount of Rs 230.3 billion for federal ministries, Rs 175.65 billion for corporations and Rs 43.46 billion for special areas, according to a latest data released by Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform.

Out of these allocations, the government released Rs 38.5 billion for security enhancement in the country for which the government had allocated Rs 53 billion during the year 2019-20.

An amount of Rs 81.37 billion has also been released for the blocks managed by finance division under the government’s 10 years development programme.

Similarly, for Higher Education Commission, the government released an amount of Rs 27.07 billion out of its total allocation of Rs 29 billion while Rs 301.47 million were released for Pakistan Nuclear Energy Authority for which the government had allocated Rs 301.48 million in the development budget.

For National Highway Authority, the government released Rs154.94 billion. Under annual development agenda, the government also released Rs 10.7 billion for Railways Division out of total allocation of Rs16 billion, Rs 7.7 billion for Interior Division, and Rs 8.38 billion for National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination Division.

Revenue Division received Rs 4.3 billion whereas the Cabinet Division also received Rs 30.18 billion for which an amount of Rs 39.986 billion has been allocated for the year 2019-20.

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The government also released Rs 26.9 billion for Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) block and other projects out of its allocations of Rs 27.26 billion and Rs 16.54 billion for Gilgit Baltistan (Block and other projects).

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