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A parliamentary panel was told that the budgetary allocation of Rs 525 billion for the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) of fiscal year 2014-15 was not enough to cater to the needs of 190 million people. Secretary Planning and Development Commission Hassan Nawaz Tarrar told the Senate Standing Committee on Communication that several resources and responsibilities were transferred to provinces subsequent to the passage of the 18th constitutional amendment and now modest development projects were the responsibility of provinces.

The government is likely to wind up Benazir Employees Stock Option Scheme (BESOS), which offers a 12 percent share in public sector enterprises (PSEs) to their employees, though a notification to that effect has not been issued by the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation yet, an official of Privatization Commission (PC) told Business Recorder. However, internally, the PC board is not in favour of continuing the scheme, an initiative of Pakistan People's Party government.
Pakistan and the United States on Monday agreed to further deepen their bilateral ties and strengthen mutual consultations on Afghanistan post-2014 with a view to advancing the shared objectives of peace and economic development in the region. The understanding was reached during a meeting between Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz and US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins, who in his visit held farewell meetings with Pakistan's civil and military leadership.
Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, who arrived here in the early hours of Monday, performed Umrah and prayed for the progress, prosperity and solidarity of Pakistan. He will also be meeting Saudi leadership to discuss the Middle East crisis and bilateral relations between the two countries. The Prime Minister would also visit Madinah Munawarrah, where he would offer special Nawafil.
Israel pummelled Gaza for a 14th day on Monday, hiking the Palestinian death toll to more than 570, as Cairo took centre stage in world efforts to broker a cease-fire. With air strikes and shelling raining down across the besieged coastal enclave, Israel's army said seven of its soldiers had been killed, bringing the Israeli toll to 25 troops and two civilians in the bloodiest Gaza conflict since 2009.
Turkey on Monday declared three days of national mourning for the Palestinian victims of Israel's military operation in the Gaza Strip, denouncing the assault as a "massacre". "We condemn Israel's massacre of the Palestinian people," Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told reporters in Ankara in televised comments after a cabinet meeting as the Palestinian death toll topped 500. "In a show of solidarity with the Palestinian people, three days of mourning have been declared starting from tomorrow (Tuesday)."
The UN Human Rights Council said it will hold an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday to discuss Israel's ongoing military offensive in Gaza. Monday's announcement followed the deadliest day of fighting between Israel and Hamas in six years, with more than 150 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers killed on Sunday. The meeting was requested by Egypt on behalf of Arab states, as well as Pakistan on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation, and the Palestinians.
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