ISLAMABAD: Senior officials and analysts Monday hailed the visit of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince in Pakistan, termed the Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Pakistan presents a “historic opportunity” to expand collaboration in all sectors.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Pakistan is highly anticipated and presents a historic opportunity to expand collaboration between our two friendly countries in all fields,” Analysts said.
Expert on International Relations Dr. Huma Baqai said, the high-profile visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman visit was manifestation of the strength of relationship and it would go a long way in building strategic and economic relations that has been the hallmark of two brotherly countries.
She said, Pakistan has an opportunity to present its stance in front of Saudi Crown Prince regarding Pulwama’s tragic incident as India is continuously alleging Pakistan of involvement in the incident, adding, Saudi Arabia was the country that supported Pakistan in critical times and the recent visit of Saudi Crown Prince would strengthen Riyadh’s diplomatic support to Islamabad and reinforce relations between both countries.
Economist Mirza Ikhtiar Baig said Pakistan has facing several economic challenges and the Saudi investment in development projects in the country would send across a positive message to the world about Pakistan.
Saudi Arabia was investing in long-term projects, which showed that the Middle East countries have sighted Pakistan to be a developed country in near future, he added.
The economist said main focus of Pakistan is to strengthen trade, agriculture, tourism and other relations with Saudi Arabia. Riyadh is interested to establish an oil refinery in Gwadar.
He said Saudi Arabia wants to make Pakistan’s economic development stable by establishing an oil refinery and having partnership with Pakistan in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Former Foreign Secretary Najam-ud-Din Sheikh said the Saudi relationship with Pakistan was considered to be one of the exemplary and exceptional.
He further said Pakistan supported the Saudi role and provided all out assistance to the Kingdom at political, military and diplomatic levels.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoyed fraternal relations and all Pakistanis have a special place for Saudi Arabians in their hearts, he added.
He explained, Saudi Arabia stepped forward with a US$ 6 billion bailout package for Pakistan’s ailing economy, adding, the package included US $ 3bn balance of payments support and another US$ 3bln in deferred payments on oil imports.
Financing facility for special persons
KARACHI: SBP has issued a concessionary small enterprise financing and credit guarantee facility for the special persons.
SBP Governor announced this special facility in the 7th meeting of National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs held at State Bank Building here on Tuesday. Members of the Standing Committee and senior executives of State Bank were present on the occasion, said a SBP statement.
“Realizing the vulnerability of persons with disabilities in the country and cost associated with their exclusion for the economy, SBP in-line with its priority sector development has devised a scheme for special persons”, said Tariq Bajwa.
This financing facility is expected to improve access to finance for special persons falling under small enterprises category at a concessional rate of 5% per annum. Under the scheme, banks and DFIs will provide financing facilities to special persons for establishing new business enterprises or for expansion of existing businesses.
State Bank of Pakistan will provide refinance to banks/ DFIs up to 100 percent of finance extended by them. Special persons can avail financing up to Rs 1.5 million for a maximum period of 5 years including a grace period of six months.
SBP will also provide risk coverage of 60 percent to banks/DFIs on their outstanding loans under the scheme. This financing facility has been issued with the main objective of improving the socio-economic life of special persons in Pakistan.
Musharraf to record his statement in treason case
ISLAMABAD: The Special Court constituted to try former President Pervez Musharraf in the high treason case has decided to prepare a questionnaire to record his statement.
The three-member Special Court bench headed by Justice Tahira Safdar accepted the credentials of Salman Safdar as Musharraf’s counsel.
The court directed that a questionnaire should be prepared for Musharraf. Defense counsel Salman Safdar opposed recording the former president’s statement through video link or a commission. He said Pervez Musharraf was ill and his statement could not be recorded through video link as his presence was mandatory. The statements of eight witnesses were recorded in his absence, he added.
The court, however, rejected his argument, observing the statements of witnesses were recorded in his presence. The prosecution’s counsel, however, said the former president did not want to record his statement. The course of law could not be hindered and the court should proceed with the trial, he added. The court adjourned the hearing till 28th March.
Resolving issues of blocked NICs
ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Standing Committee on Government Assurances was told on Tuesday that 149.6 million Pakistanis had NICs while cards of 155460 persons were blocked by NADRA.
Director General Operations of NADRA Brig (Retd) Nasar Ahmed Mir told the committee that most of the blocked cards were of those persons who failed biometric tests, were not cleared by security agencies or courts issued orders against them.
On the instructions of Ministry of Interior, District Level Committees (DLC) was formed to either unblock or cancel cards of the citizens, he said adding these committees unblocked cards of 38,000 citizens while 7000 cards of aliens were canceled in the country.
He said members of National Assembly could oversee the work being done by the district committees headed by deputy commissioners and comprising members from intelligence agencies. The members of the committee belonging to erstwhile federally administered areas told that their constituents came to them with complaints of blocked cards.
The committee also took up the issue raised by MNA Ahmad Hussain Dehar through a calling attention notice in the National Assembly regarding maintenance of Pakistan Code by the Ministry of Law and Justice with regard to the amendment made in section 182 of Pakistan Penal Code.
An official of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa told the committee that no citizen was detained in the province in the name of regional responsibility.
The committee chair Amir Dogar directed that members from erstwhile FATA areas should be invited to the meetings for development activities.
The committee was given assurance by NADRA that shortage of staff and buildings in Khazai and Bazai areas of FATA would be met. Some members were of the view that the process of verification of a citizen should be made easy while others held the opinion that lowering guard on the issue could endanger security. The committee was told that a person could present seven types of documents to prove his citizenship, he added.