IMF nudges govt on PIA, urges solid deficit cut plan


ISLAMABAD (INP): The International Monetary Fund has advised the government to take compact measures to reduce the deficit of billions of rupees which the government-owned entity Pakistan International Airline is suffering, it surfaced on Monday.
The global lender has suggested to the Government of Pakistan to chalk out a solid plan to turn the state-owned entity into a profit-making concern by reducing its deficit. According to sources in the PIA, the IMF team proposed to increase the income of the national flag carrier in order to improve its financial health. They said that the PIA’s total financial deficit has exceeded Rs400 billion. The IMF mission led by Nathan Porter is currently in Pakistan and is holding talks with the government. The talks began on January 31 with the Pakistan side headed by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar for the ninth review of the $7 billion bailout package. Cash-strapped Pakistan is seeking an IMF lifeline to save the nation from economic collapse. After the first round of technical talks between the IMF team and the Pakistani government concluded on Friday, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif observed that the lender was imposing conditions that were ‘beyond our wildest dreams’. He said the IMF delegation was giving Finance Minister Ishaq Dar a tough time. “Our economic challenges at this moment are unimaginable. The conditions we have to fulfill are beyond our imagination.” However, he acknowledged that the country had no choice. During its technical level talks, the IMF mission chief demanded clear action to bridge the daunting fiscal gap between 2 to 2.5 trillion rupees. The lender has set several conditions for resuming the bailout, including an increase in power tariff, restoration of unrestricted imports, and raising the petroleum development levy on diesel.
The IMF views the poor performance of the power sector, whose circular debt has reached Rs2.9 trillion, as a major threat to the economy. The IMF’s demand to discontinue the exemption for “lifeline electricity consumers”, i.e. those consuming under 300 units, can be a widely unpopular decision as almost 88 percent of the country’s power consumers fall under this category. The two sides have almost completed the technical-level talks in the first round which will be followed by the policy-level negotiations to be completed by February 9.
The IMF after a successful ninth review would provide over USD 1.1 billion and the gesture would open venues for bilateral loans from different friendly countries and multilateral institutions. Pakistan secured a $6 billion IMF bailout in 2019, which was topped up with another $1 billion last year.

India invites Bilawal to the SCO meeting in May

MUMBAI: According to Indian media on Wednesday, India has extended an invitation to Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari to attend a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) that it is holding in May, indicating a potential warming of relations between the nuclear-armed foes.

Following a request for negotiations with India over all outstanding issues, including the illegally occupied region of Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif extended the invitation.

Just one month earlier, Bilawal’s remarks about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the margins of a UN Security Council meeting sparked public riots in India. India referred to the foreign minister’s remarks as being “uncivilized.”

Requests from Reuters for comments on the media claims that Bilawal had been invited to the SCO foreign ministers meeting being held in Goa went unanswered right away by the foreign ministry spokespersons for the two nations.

China, India, Russia, Pakistan, and four Central Asian nations make up the SCO.

The Indian High Commission in Islamabad reportedly delivered the invitation, according to the Indian Express newspaper.

If Pakistan agrees, Bilawal would travel to India for the first time in almost 12 years as its foreign minister.

Since 1947, when they gained independence from British rule, Pakistan and India have fought three wars. Two of the wars had their origins in the partitioned Kashmir area of the Himalayas.

India charges Pakistan with fomenting the long-running uprising in Kashmir, which is largely under its control. Pakistan refutes the charge made by India.

When India unilaterally abolished Kashmir’s autonomous status, tensions erupted once more in late 2019. The actions of New Delhi, according to PM Shehbaz, led to “flagrant” human rights breaches there.

However, there have been some efforts to restart negotiations through covert diplomacy following the suspension of official talks between the two nations. The United Arab Emirates mediated the previous effort in 2021, and PM Shehbaz has once more enlisted their help to help restart negotiations with India.


PTI: Fawad was “taken up” from Lahore following criticism from the ECP

After a former minister accused the electoral tribunal of siding with the army and warning “those going after PTI” of Article 6 proceedings, an arrest was made.

LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: Fawad Chaudhry, senior vice president of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), was “taken up” from outside his home in the wee hours of Wednesday, according to the opposition party. He was then brought before a judge in Lahore.

Faisal Chaudhry, Chaudhry’s brother, described the arrest as “illegal,” adding that the family has not yet been told of the charges or whereabouts of the arrestee. The arrest was made by unidentified individuals in four Toyota Hilux pickup trucks without license plates.


The opposition party reported on Twitter that Chaudhry was now being escorted by police and counterterrorism department (CTD) officers to a court in the Cantt neighborhood.


After a First Information Report (FIR) was filed against the former minister at the Kohsar police station in Islamabad on the complaint of Umar Hameed, the secretary of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the former minister was arrested a short time later.

The complaint claims that Chaudhry disparaged the commission by comparing it to a munshi (secretary) and implying that it takes orders from higher-ups, a reference to the military.


Furthermore, it asserts that Chaudhry threatened the tribunal by stating during a speech outside the home of former prime minister Imran Khan that “those who join the caretaker government [in Punjab] will be pursued till they are punished.”

The FIR refers to the Pakistan Penal Code’s sections 153-A (promotion of enmity between groups), 506 (criminal intimidation), 505 (statement conducing to public mischief), and 124-A (sedition).

Chaudhry allegedly tried to “incite violence against a constitutional institution” and “inflame the people’s sentiments,” according to a later tweet from the Islamabad police.

The case would be handled in accordance with the law, the police added.





The US claims that India and Pakistan’s conversation is “a matter for those two countries.”

While urging regional peace in South Asia, the US has stated that “the nature of any discussion between India and Pakistan is an issue for those two countries.”

During the department’s weekly press briefing, Ned Price, a spokeswoman for the US State Department, was asked about how India turned down Pakistan’s request to discuss “burning concerns” between the two neighbors.


He continued by saying that the US does not view its relations with Pakistan and India as a “zero-sum game” and that they stand on their own in terms of Washington.

India requested “serious” negotiations on the Kashmir conflict.

The pace, breadth, and character of any engagement between India and Pakistan are a matter for those two countries, Price continued, thus they “stand on their own.”

After asking Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to hold negotiations to settle disputes, Shehbaz Sharif, the Pakistani prime minister, made his speech.

In an interview with the Al Arabiya news station, the prime minister said, “Let us sit down at the table and have genuine and sincere talks to settle our burning concerns, like Kashmir. That is my message to the Indian leadership and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”

“Minorities in India face discrimination. This needs to cease so that the world will know that India is willing to engage in dialogue, he continued.

The message I want to convey to Prime Minister Modi is that we want to reduce poverty, achieve prosperity, and provide jobs, healthcare, and educational opportunities for our citizens rather than squandering our money on bombs and ammunition.

He said, “God forbid a conflict breaks out, we are nuclear powers, armed to the teeth, and who will live to tell what occurred.”

Later, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) issued a statement that made it clear that discussions with India could only begin once that nation reversed its “illegal action of August 5, 2019” in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

Negotiations are impossible, according to the PMO, without India rescinding its illegal move from August 5, 2019.



Pakistan suffers a severe power outage.

LAHORE/KARACHI/QUETTA/ISLAMABAD: Large portions of the nation, including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, and Quetta, are currently without energy due to a nationwide power outage that was caused by a “frequency difference” in the national system early on Monday morning.

That was said by Power Minister Khurrum Dastagir in an interview. As a cost-cutting strategy to lower fuel costs during the winter, the power-generating units are momentarily turned off at night.

“Frequency fluctuation was seen between Jamshoro and Dadu in the southern region of the country when the systems were turned on one by one this morning at 7:30. Voltage fluctuated, and as a result of cascading effects, power generating units were turned off one by one.

The federal minister declared as the nation descended into darkness for the second time in four months, “This is not a significant crisis.

The minister announced that some grid stations in Tarbela and Warsak have begun to be restored by his ministry.

Some of the grids of the  (PESCO) and (IESCO) have already been restored, according to the minister.

The minister explained that Karachi’s breakdown is problematic because the port city has a complete electric supply system.

“We typically supply K-Electric with 1,000–1,100 megawatts, but it will be back online in a few hours. How long it will take to resolve this issue is unknown.

The minister stated, “However, my goal is to restore energy throughout the nation within the next 12 hours.

The failure had already been confirmed by many power distribution firms before the energy ministry made its announcement.

According to Quetta Electric Supply Company, the two transmission lines have tripped, leaving 22 districts of Balochistan—including Quetta—without energy (QESCO).

Update on power in Karachi

At roughly 7:34 this morning, K-Imran Electric’s Rana made the statement. The national grid lost frequency, which had an effect on how electricity was delivered to various cities across Pakistan.

The network of the KE is safe and secure, Rana continued. This has also affected KE’s network, causing Karachi’s electricity distribution to be disrupted.

Our teams are keeping an eye on the situation and assisting with restoration efforts.

According to an IESCO representative, all 117 of its grid stations are without power.

In the meantime, PESCO acknowledged the power outage in areas where it provides electricity.

This is the second time in four months that a nation has had a serious power outage.

Earlier breakdown

Power outages occurred in October of last year in Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Quetta, Multan, and Faisalabad.

The electricity minister reported that at that moment, around 8,000 megawatts of power were lost.

Dastagir had previously stated that the government was concerned about the simultaneous faults in two power lines that had caused the breakdown. Along with promising action, he had also declared that a thorough investigation had been mandated.



A further 35 PTI MNAs quit, according to NA Speaker Raja Pervaiz.

KARACHI – Another 35 Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MNAs resigned on Friday, with the approval of National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf (PTI).

A report that President Arif Alvi is prepared to ask Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to accept a vote of confidence from the lower chamber of parliament prompted the development.

The announcement was tweeted by Pakistan’s National Assembly.

The Hon’ble Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan has been pleased to accept the resignations of the following Members of the National Assembly with effect from April 11, 2022, the date the respective resignation letters were submitted, according to clause (1) of Article 64 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, read with Rule 43 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly of Pakistan 2007.

After Imran Khan’s administration was overthrown by a motion of no confidence in April of last year, roughly 131 PTI-affiliated MNAs collectively offered their resignations.

Previously, on January 17, the NA speaker accepted 34 resignations. On July 28, 2022, he also accepted the resignations of 11 PTI legislators.

The following lawmakers’ resignations have been accepted:

Dr. Haider Ali Khan  (NA-2)

Saleem Rehman,  (NA-3)

Sahibzada Sibghatullah  (NA-5)

Mehboob Shah (NA-6)

Muhammad Bashir Khan  (NA-7)

The sixth Junaid Akbar (NA-8)

Sher Akbar Khan, number (NA-9)

Ali Khan Jadoon,  (NA-16)

Engineer Usman Khan Tarakai (NA-19)

Mujahid Ali  (NA-20)

Arbab Amir Ayub,  (NA-28)

Sher Ali Arbab  (NA-30)

Shahid Ahmed  (NA-34)

Gul Dad Khan (NA-40)

Sajid Khan,  (NA-42)

Muhammad Iqbal Khan  (NA-44)

Aamer Mehmood Kiani,  (NA-61)

Syed Faiz ul Hassan. (NA-70)

Chaudhry Shoukat Ali Bab. (NA-87)

Umar Aslam Khan  (NA-93)

Amjad Ali Khan (NA-96)

Khurram Shahzad  (NA-107)

Faizullah,  (NA-109)

Malik Karamat Ali Khokhar, number (NA-135)

Syed Fakhar Imam, number, (NA-150)

Zahoor Hussain Qureshi, number (NA-152)

Ibraheem Khan. (NA-158)

Tahir Iqbal  (NA-164)

Aurangzeb Khan Khichi, number (NA-165)

Makhdoom Khusro BakhBar  (NA-177)

Abdul Majeed Khan, (NA-187)

Andaleeb Abbas,  (reserved seat)

Asma Qadeer (reserved seat)

Maleeka Ali Bokhari,  (reserved seat)

Munawara Bibi Baloch, number  (reserved seat).


To restart a delayed IMF program, PM Shehbaz Sharif is prepared for “difficult decisions.”

ISLAMABAD: According to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday vowed to enforce tough decisions to end the impasse with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The difficult choices include raising the prices for gas and electricity as well as announcing a minibudget for enacting additional taxing measures to raise Rs150-200 billion.

The premier presided over an online conference Wednesday evening for almost three hours and thirty minutes, according to official sources.

The State Minister for Petroleum Musadik Malik did not respond when questioned about the potential increase in the cost of gas and electricity.

However, in accordance with people familiar with the circumstances. It is anticipated that the cost of gasoline will rise from Rs650 to Rs1,100 per MMBTU.

The government intends to recoup between Rs800 and Rs850 billion through the new price increase from the enormous circular debt of Rs1,640 billion owed by SNGPL and SSGCL.

In the meantime, during the current fiscal year, the government is proposing increasing the energy rate from Rs4.50 per unit in the first phase to Rs3 per unit in the second.

The government had set a target for FBR tax collection of Rs7,470 billion, however, up till December, FBR fell short by Rs225 billion. By a margin of Rs82 billion for the end of December 2022, the collection fell short of the IMF’s target.

According to the FBR’s internal estimate, the tax collection system will experience a shortfall of Rs170 billion for the current fiscal year, resulting in a tax collection of Rs7,300 billion as opposed to the earlier anticipated target of Rs7,470 billion.

The government will need to take further measures that could generate Rs300–400 annually in order to make up for the FBR’s shortfall. It would be a painful process for the government to impose extra taxes and rate increases through a potential presidential ordinance.

A 1–3% flood levy on imports is what the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) administration proposes to impose in order to raise Rs100 billion.

Second, the government is reportedly considering levying a 60–70% tax on the purported profits made by commercial banks from manipulating the currency rate. The banks calculated that in the first nine months of the year 2022, unusual earnings totaled about Rs100 billion.

There will undoubtedly be an increase in the Federal Excise Duty (FED) on cigarettes and sugary drinks. Additionally, it’s likely that POL products will be subject to GST. Ishaq Dar, the finance minister, vehemently opposed placing a 17% GST on POL items in the past, claiming that it would be extremely inflationary.

It is unclear how the government will react to the IMF’s request to permit the rupee to weaken versus the US dollar. Ishaq Dar, the finance minister, will never let a free fall in the exchange rate, but he will need to increase the inflow of dollars in the next weeks and months to alleviate the dollar liquidity crisis.




Pakistan had problems as a result of PTI’s “appeasement” of TTP: Bilawal

The Tahreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, according to Pakistan’s foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari. The PTI-led administration “appeased” an illegal group, which created issues for Pakistan (TTP).

Bilawal reiterated that the present administration has abandoned PTI’s agenda in an interview with Al Jazeera, calling Khan’s plan “wrong.”

According to Bilawal, the government agreed to “not tolerate” terrorist organizations in Pakistan and lawbreakers during its National Security Meeting (NSC), which was attended by senior political and military authorities.

Following the TTP’s announcement that the truce with Pakistan will expire, there has been a substantial increase in terrorism attacks in Pakistan over the past few months, particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

The Taliban leaders in neighboring Afghanistan share certain ideological similarities with the Pakistani Taliban, which is primarily made up of local combatants.

Afghanistan has always refuted Islamabad’s allegations that it is using its territory against Pakistan.

Without naming it, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has also requested that the Kabul administration refrains from giving terrorist organizations safe refuge on its territory.

Even though women are not permitted to work for NGOs by the Afghan government, the foreign minister emphasized the importance of talking to the Taliban.

Engaging and convincing the Afghan government in matters pertaining to women’s rights or the war against terrorism. The wisest course of action, according to Bilawal, is to honor their promises to the international community.

PPP representative claimed that due to their shared border’s length and porousness, disengagement is not even an option for Pakistan.

That was said by the foreign minister. In response to the assault on Pakistan’s Head of Mission in Kabul, he hasn’t called Ubaid-ur-Rehman Nizamani back home.

He had to return for some discussions and briefings. I’m hoping we’ll soon have the security we need to send him,” he said.

In 2022, terrorism

Data provided by (PICSS), a think tank with a base in Islamabad, support this. When compared to November 2022, the number of militant attacks climbed by 44% in December.

The extremists carried out 49 strikes in December, which resulted in 56 fatalities, including 32 children.

In December, the militants conducted 49 attacks, which led to the deaths of 56 people. 32 members of the security services and 17 civilians are included.

81 other persons were hurt in these attacks, including 50 civilians and 31 members of the security forces.

According to the research, December 2022 saw the most militant attacks in a single month.

The PICSS figures show a 28% increase in terror occurrences from 2021 to 2022. Additionally, it was the year with the most attacks in the preceding five.



PM requests UAE to help facilitate discussions over India-held Kashmir

ISLAMABAD: Shehbaz Sharif, the premier of Pakistan, requested communication from Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India. On Monday, in real conversations to address immediate problems. Such as Kashmir, where his leadership of the United Arab Emirates might play a crucial role in bringing Pakistan and India to the bargaining table.

In an interview with Al Arabiya News, the prime minister. proclaimed, “My appeal to the Indian government. Its leadership, especially Prime Minister Narendra Modi, made it feasible for us to eat together. And engage in sincere, honest dialogues to address our pressing challenges, including the strife in Kashmir.


PM requests UAE to help facilitate discussions over India-held Kashmir

India, according to the Prime Minister, has reclaimed any semblance of autonomy. Due to the removal of autonomy in August of this year.

Minorities in India are being targeted for persecution the minister said, adding that India must end this persecution in order to signal all over the globe that India is prepared for serious discussions.

In an interview, Shehbaz tells Modi ‘let us all sit at the table and engage in serious, honest talks’The world was reminded by Mr. Shehbaz to remember that India as well as Pakistan were neighbors, and were required to live alongside one another. “It is our responsibility to be peaceful and progress, or fight with each other and waste our time and resources.

. We’ve learned our lesson and are now ready to live peacefully if we are able to solve the root of our problems. We are determined to end the burden of poverty, increase prosperity and also provide health and education facilities and jobs to our people, and not squander our money on bombs or ammunition. That’s my message to convey to Prime Minister Modi,” he added.

He said, “We are nuclear powers, fully equipped, and if God forbid a war breaks out. Who will live to recount what happened?”

He claimed that Saudi Arabia was a friendly and open-minded country and had special friendships for centuries.


According to the PM, the UAE is a second home for millions of Pakistanis. He had a fruitful visit as the prime minister of the nation. He claimed that Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed was a beloved friend and a huge advocate for Pakistan and wished for his people in Pakistan to advance and prosper. Sheik Zayed Al Nahyan was also a very good friend to Pakistan in general and Pakistan was in his heart.

“Leadership in Pakistan and Gulf countries have resolved to collaborate in the fields of culture. And trade and promote Islam as a faith that fosters peace.” It is a religion that rejects any form of terrorist acts. We have joined forces to be strategic allies,” he added.

According to the prime minister, Saudi Arabia and brotherly Gulf nations would not have provided Pakistan with problems and challenges. It did without genuine and considerable aid from these trustworthy partners. The prime minister said that the Pakistani nation is resilient and strong and would take on the world by promoting investment and trade.


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