Thursday, March 5, 2020

Nisar Memon compliments Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Climate Change

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

While complimenting the Federal Climate Change and Foreign Ministries have made a visible impact internationally to keep Pakistan flag flying high, Senator Nisar Memon, a former federal minister, has noted that the challenges for even these two ministries remained enormous.

“The leadership of these ministries so far has met the challenge commendably by conceiving, launching and implementing policies and programmess to bring desired results,” he wrote in a recent newspaper article. 

“The number of productive foreign visits and representation of both the foreign minister and minister/advisor on climate change on the international bodies speak for itself the personal recognition of our representatives and the country,” he added. 

“The programme of the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, in Pakistan last month and his statements have put a seal of global approval on Pakistan’s policy of peace in the region and our response to climate change brought about by the developed economies in increasing temperature causing disasters like: melting of glaciers, floods, droughts, rising sea levels,” the Senator acknowledged. 

“The UN Secretary General recognized Pakistan’s decades of outstanding generosity and solidarity as one of the world’s largest hosts of refugees, and highlighted its commitment to climate action,” he recalled. 

“Our policy of opening up the Kartarpur corridor to facilitate Sikh pilgrims to visit Gurdwara durbar sahib and easing the tension on border towards increasing the interfaith harmony is appreciated by all including the Indian government and opposition politicians, the Indian diaspora in western world and the citizen of India,” he reckoned. 

“The efforts and successes of foreign office are remarkably backed up by our defence force working with Blue Helmet under UN flag, in the conflict areas of the world at cost of their lives, contributing to global peace Pakistan is the 6th country in UN list with its 5,093 personnel currently working in peacekeeping,” Senator Nisar Memon mentioned.

“Following the guidelines of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, our objective should be peace within and peace without. We want to live peacefully and maintain cordial and friendly relations without immediate neighbours and with world at large, we have no aggressive designs against anyone. We stand by the United Nations charter and will gladly make our contribution to the peace and prosperity of the world. This was, is and should be guideline for our foreign policy,” he observed.

Spotlight on rare diseases in Pakistan

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, in collaboration with Division of Women & Child Health, of the Aga Khan University (AKU), Karachi, is holding Multidisciplinary Conference on Rare Genetic Diseases in Pakistan from March 4 to 7. 

The conference will bring together genetic researchers, pathologists and child health specialists from public and private sector organizations across the country at one platform. 

The programme is focused at outcome and challenges in management of inherited metabolic disorders, newborn screening, rare disorders case presentations and good laboratory practices alongside the ethical challenges. 

Furthermore, international experts form USA, Italy and New Zealand will also address the symposia and facilitate workshops to train the local work force aimed at establishment of Newborn Screening in the country. 

The conference provides the opportunity to interact closely with course presenters and faculty who are national and international leaders in their respective fields. The participants can expect to learn about the latest updates in research, innovation and clinical care of rare diseases including inherited metabolic disorders.

SBP Governor foresees better economic future

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor, Dr Raza Baqir, assured the members of the English Speaking Union of Pakistan (ESUP) as well as others attending the meeting at Beach Luxury Hotel, Karachi, on March 2 that the economic conditions of the country were far better off in many areas as compared to the past.

While the audience, having gathered much before the arrival of the chief guest, stood divided in believing the contents of the speech, the SBP Governor didn’t mind replying to tough questions in the interactive session. 

Aziz Memon, the livewire President of the ESUP, showered Dr Raza Baqir with praise while introducing him formally before inviting the distinguished speaker to deliver the keynote address. At the end of the session, the SBP Governor was presented a shield by the ESUP officials.

Dr Raza Baqir, having worked at key positions in the past, including a stint with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), described the functions of the SBP, clarifying that the collection of taxes was not its responsibility. He had taken over as the Governor of the SBP last year. 

“We regulate banks in order to minimize the incidents of bad debts and write-offs. We oversee the safety of the payments, which means looking after the transactions between banks and parties. Besides overseeing the foreign exchange market, we also oversee Pakistan’s foreign reserves and set the policy rate of the SBP, which in turn helps to set market rates,” he informed. 

The SBP Governor reminded the audience that the country’s exchange rate and reserves were falling alarmingly last year but the situation was brought under control by implementing some tough measures. 

“The reserves were down to $7 billion at which point we decided to change the exchange rate system and let the market decide the exchange rate. It’s a concept that many emerging markets have been using for years but it was new for Pakistan. There were a lot of apprehensions and criticism when we adopted market-based exchange rate. But those critics and experts who predicted dollar to go sky high have become silent,” Dr Raza Baqir shared.

Quoting facts and figures, he was of the opinion that the country’s economy could have been in shambles if, the difficult reforms had not been undertaken. 

He highlighted the importance of foreign exchange reserves, reckoning that it was the single most important determinant of a country’s economic sovereignty. 

The SBP Governor stated that the monetary policy committee of the central bank had to increase the interest rates because the rise in inflation was rising. 

“One of the factors of the increasing inflation was also the pressure on rupee, the depreciation of the rupee that had occurred over the preceding months had caused the prices to rise. The last rate increase was done in July when the inflation was around 8 to 9 percent. The inflation has now gone upto 12 percent but we haven’t increased the interest rates since July last,”he added. 

Dr Raza Baqir announced that the SBP, working on reducing the reliance on printed currency notes, will soon be launching a couple of innovative products to facilitate digital transactions on a massive scale.

Al Ghazi Tractors face litigation

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

A single bench of the High Court of Sindh has issued notice to Al Ghazi Tractors, through its Chief Executive/Managing Director, for appearance on March 24 in connection with a suit filed by Owaisuddin Ahmed, proprietor of Emen Engineering and Fabrication Works. 

In his petition, the plaintiff has sought the court to order and decree against Al Ghazi Tractors for payment of differential balance amounting to over PKR 4.76 million for the original equipment and parts and components supplied during the period from November 2017 to October 2018. 

He also sought the court to declare that plaintiffs are entitled to an uninterrupted and unimpeded manufacturing, sale and marketing of their original equipment parts and components of tractors. 

It was prayed that the defendants be permanently restrained from interfering in their trade and business and the court was requested to order award recovery amounting to over Rs 4.78 million for the original equipment and components supplied to Al Ghazi Tractors and also award damages against the defendants in the sum of PKR 500 million for inter-alia loss of business, reputation, mental stress. 

Meanwhile, Farina Owais, CEO of Emen Engineering, has also filed a complaint before the Sindh Human Rights Commission alleging harassment, character assassination accusing false and fabricated allegations against MD and CEO and others of Al-Ghazi Tractors 

She alleged that the opponents were harassing her to sell out property to them at the lowest amount and were mentally torturing her. She prayed to the Commission for providing safety of woman dignity, life and property from opponents.