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How unfortunate it is that the government has pushed through a bill in the National Assembly providing for party-less elections in Islamabad amid a strong protest by opposition. A Supreme Court decision on holding party-less elections in cantonment boards seems to have emboldened the PML-N government at Centre to pave way for a similar arrangement not only in Islamabad but also in its stronghold Punjab at a later stage. This amounts to depoliticising society.

The performance of services sector during the last fiscal year was not impressive as the services sector posted a deficit of $2.637 billion with $7.9 billion imports and $5.3 billion exports. It is, therefore, highly encouraging to note that the country's services sector has now posted a surplus after a long gap.
Why doesn't finance minister Ishaq Dar admit the fact that the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform has revised downward the GDP growth rate of 2014-15 to 4.5 percent against the original target of 5.1 percent due to impediments in agriculture and industrial sectors besides energy shortfalls and law and order?
That leaders from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan have signed a co-operation deal over a giant Ethiopian hydroelectric dam on a tributary of the river Nile, in a bid to ease tensions over regional water supplies, is a development that throws up an opportunity for both India and Pakistan to resolve their water disputes amicably-in the light of the Indus Water Treaty and beyond.
It was interesting to note that Israel's representative was conspicuously missing when the UN Human Rights Council started a special session on the situation in the Palestinian territories and the 2014 Israeli attack on an impoverished Gaza. Israel, in other words, had boycotted a meeting on a highly important issue while offering no plausible reasons for its decision. Its absence, however, did not mark the first time it had boycotted the council. It cut all ties with the council in March 2012 over its plans to investigate how Jewish settlements were harming Palestinian rights, and did not resume relations until late 2013. The Monday's meeting was dedicated overwhelmingly to discussion of its policies and abuses. Not only was Israel absent, the United States too was conspicuous by its absence.
The Middle East unrest has taken a profound turn with warplanes from a Saudi-led coalition bombing rebel militants in Yemen in support of Yemen's embattled President Hadi who has reportedly reached Riyadh. That the situation is highly volatile is a fact that could be ascertained from media reports on how strongly Iran has reacted to the Saudi intervention in Yemen. The Saudi decision backed by a host of Arab and non-Arab countries is said to have been warranted by fears that rebels would seize control of the whole of Yemen and take it into the Iran orbit.
That the intentions and goal of former President and co-chairman of Pakistan People's Party (PPP) suggest that the 'founder of politics of reconciliation' in Pakistan is patient to Petrosian-like extremes is a fact that has found its best expression in his approach to the recent agreement or a deal between Pakistan Muslim League (N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) over the formation of a judicial commission to investigate vote rigging allegations with regard to the 2013 general elections.


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ICT 2014

Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-999 mln
Exports $2.064 bln
Imports $3.063 bln
WeeklyMarch 20, 2015
Reserves $16.132 bln