Govt short on money to clear containers of onions: Shaukat

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Ex-federal minister for finance Shaukat Tarin has stated that central federal government did not have enough money to clear the containers of onions and pulses. Former minister in a statement viewed that due to the closure of import LCs and the non-availability of dollars, traders were protesting and staging sit-ins outside the State Bank. Confidence in the banking sector was also declining, he added.

He blamed the government’s lack of vision for the delay in scheduling formal talks on the overdue ninth review of a $7 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan programme. Pakistan entered a $6 billion IMF programme in 2019, which was increased to $7 billion last year. Its ninth review is currently pending with remote talks being held between the IMF officials and the government for the release of $1.12 billion tranche.The 9th IMF review to clear the release of the next tranche of funds for Pakistan has been pending since September, as the country faces a severe economic crisis with its central bank’s foreign exchange reserves falling to a critical level of below $5 billion, which is barely enough for three months of imports.

While welcoming the world community’s generous response at the recently held donors’ conference in Geneva where pledges for flood recovery exceeded $8 billion at a news conference at the Karachi Press Club, the former finance minister said the proportion of loan in the total commitments was a cause for concern. “There is a concern that donors and lending countries may make the loan and aid payments conditional to the revival of the IMF programme.”

He said that due to the non-fulfilment of required commitments to reduce the fiscal deficit to 4% of the GDP as well as the government expenditure, debt servicing, elimination of two exchange rates and controlling the increasing volume of revolving debt of the energy sector, the case with the IMF was delayed.

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US President urged for reunion of Aafia with her children on humanitarian grounds

Pasban Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman Altaf Shakoor here Sunday appealed to the US President Jeo Biden to take steps of the reunion of Pakistani mother Dr Aafia Siddiqui to her children on humanitarian grounds.

He said Aafia Siddiqui is the victim of Afghan War and now when the Afghan War is over, Taliban fighters pardoned, released from the US jails and NATO forces returned from Afghanistan what is the logic to keep an innocent mother still imprisoned in a US jail.

He said meeting her children and family is the basic human right of Dr Aafia but she has been denied of this right for decades. He said the case of Aafia is the biggest violation of human rights of this century. He said it further compounds the gravity of the matter that this violation is committed non but the USA, the world champion of human rights, as well as, the rights of women and children.

Altaf Shakoor said that sadly the Pakistani government is too afraid to raise the issue of Aafia, a noted woman scientist, with the US authorities due to its slave-master relations with the world power.

He said human rights activists all over the world have been raising voice for the release of Aafia Siddiqui but their cried fall on deaf ears. He said the world history would depcit the name of the US and Pakistani rulers in condemnable words for their inhuman silence towards the plights of an innocent woman and helpless mother.Altaf Shakoor earnestly appealed to the people and administration of the USA to consider the case of Dr Aafia Siddiqui with a humanitarian angle and ensure her release and reunion with her children as soon as possible.

He said though appealing the Pakistani authorities is futile but even so the government of Pakistan is once again appealed to summon courage and talk to the US administration of official level to secure a honourable solution to the case of Dr Aafia so that she could be released soon to meet her children.