CHRISTCHURCH: A solemn New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Friday the deadly mosque shootings in Christchurch had plunged the country into one of its “darkest days”.
“Clearly, what has happened here is an extraordinary and unprecedented act of violence,” Ardern said in an address to a shocked nation.
A gunman opened fire inside the Masjid al Noor mosque during afternoon prayers, causing multiple fatalities.
“Many of those who will have been directly affected by this shooting may be migrants to New Zealand, they may even be refugees here,” Ardern said.
“They have chosen to make New Zealand their home, and it is their home. They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not.”
“They should have been in a safe environment,” she said.
One person is in custody, but police said it was not yet clear if there were other people involved.
“There is no place in New Zealand for such acts of extreme and unprecedented violence,” Ardern added.
“For now, my thoughts, and I’m sure the thoughts of all New Zealanders, are with those who have been affected, and also with their families.”
Her comments were echoed by the leader of the opposition Simon Bridges.
“We stand with and support the New Zealand Islamic community,” he said.
“No one in this country should live in fear, no matter their race or religion, their politics or their beliefs.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was among the foreign leaders who expressed their concern.
“I’m horrified by the reports I’m following of the serious shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand,” he said.
“The situation is still unfolding but our thoughts and prayers are with our Kiwi cousins.”
Sino-Pak FMs hold strategic dialogue
BEIJING: China and Pakistan Tuesday held strategic dialogue and undertook in-depth discussions on all aspects of bilateral relations, including CPEC trade, investment, and economic cooperation, people-to-people contacts and regional and international issues.
The dialogue was co-chaired by State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi for China and Minister of Foreign Affairs Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi for Pakistan.
The two foreign ministers reaffirmed their time-tested and all-weather strategic cooperative partnership and agreed to maintain regular two-way high-level political and official exchanges.
They expressed commitment to translate the vision of the leadership to build a closer China-Pakistan community of shared future in the new era.
The two sides reaffirmed support to each other on all core issues of their national interest. They underlined that state sovereignty and territorial integrity were cardinal principles of UN Charter and international law.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi called for de-escalation of tensions in South Asia and underlined the need for dialogue and peaceful means to resolve all outstanding disputes.
The two sides also agreed to further intensify cooperation with regular meetings of all bilateral mechanisms to take forward practical cooperation in respective fields.
They agreed to strengthen people-to-people contacts, cultural cooperation, and tourism. It was noted that China and Pakistan were celebrating 2019 as the year of sister-cities exchanges.
The two foreign ministers reaffirmed the commitment to CPEC and agreed to continue the smooth implementation of CPEC projects, especially it’s Special Economic Zones.
While rejecting the negative propaganda against CPEC, they expressed a strong resolve to safeguard CPEC from all kinds of threats. The two sides agreed to enhance cooperation against terrorism by strengthening communication and coordination in relevant fields.
The Chinese side highly appreciated Pakistan’s commitment and efforts to counter terrorism. The Foreign Minister of Pakistan expressed appreciation for Chinese support for Pakistan’s efforts.
The two foreign ministers discussed the situation in Afghanistan and expressed support for the ongoing efforts for peace and reconciliation. Both sides reiterated support for Afghan-owned Afghan-led inclusive peace process and called on all stakeholders in Afghanistan to become part of an intra-Afghan dialogue.
They also urged all sides to show flexibility to find a durable solution to the Afghan conflict. The two sides agreed to continue their mutual collaboration at the regional multilateral and international forums. They expressed their support for consensus-based reform of the United Nations so that it responds to the interests and concerns of all member states.
‘Look Africa Campaign’ to augment trade with Africa!
ISLAMABAD: The Trade Development Authority has initiated ‘Look Africa Campaign ‘for increasing trade and investment ties with the African region.
“Look Africa Campaign” would play a pivotal role for bridging the trade gap between Pakistan and African region and provide a platform for enhancing the contact between the business communities of both sides, a senior official of TDAP told the Media here today.
He said that Pakistan can promote trade with African countries in different sectors including textiles items, surgical and sports goods and agro- products for increasing exports.
Replying to a question, he said that we were working on the global value chain for promoting the demanded product in the international market to enhance the trade volume of the country.
He added that Pakistan ranks 107 out of 140 economies in the Global Competitiveness Index, which needs to be improved for economic stability and growth.
He said that for expansion of the trade infrastructure in the country, we were setting up expos centers at Islamabad, Quetta, Peshawar and other cities of the country.
He said that TDAP was planning to invite trade delegation and quarantine officers for rice from Mexico, meat regulation from China, Russia, and Mauritius and Indonesia and fisheries inspector from the USA for sharing the mutual expertise.
IMF mission chief to visit Pakistan on March 26
ISLAMABAD: The mission chief of the International Monetary Fund is expected to arrive in Pakistan on March 26.
Ernesto Ramirez Rigo will hold meetings with Finance Minister Asad Umar and State Bank employees.
The government is hoping for an Rs6 billion bailout package from the new chief.
The IMF is an international organisation of 189 countries working on monetary cooperation and international monetary stability. It helps member countries in three ways:
- Economic surveillance — monitoring the economic and financial policies of its 189 member countries.
- Lending — providing loans to member countries facing some degree of economic crises.
- Capacity building — modernizing member country economic policies and institutions, and training their people
Pakistan has gone to the IMF repeatedly since the late 1980s. The last time was in 2013, when Islamabad got a $6.6 billion loan to tackle an economic crisis.