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Last update: Sun, 25 Sep 2016 06pm

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Russia and Pakistan will carry out their first joint military exercise this weekend, the Pakistani military said Friday, at a time of heightened tensions between Islamabad aand nuclear-armed rival India. The exercise is being seen as a demonstration of closer defence ties between the two countries after they signed a military cooperation pact in 2014. It comes after intense drills by the Pakistani Air Force (PAF) earlier this week that officials said had been long-planned, including landing combat aircraft on the Islamabad to Lahore motorway.
A contingent of Russian army arrived in Pakistan on Friday morning to take part in the first ever joint military exercises between the two countries, dubbed as 'Friendship-2016?, according to statement of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR). About 200 soldiers from each side will join the two-week exercise "Druzhba 2016" (Friendship 2016). Lieutenant General Asim Bajwa said, "A contingent of Russian ground forces arrived in Pakistan for the first ever Pak- Russian joint exercise (two weeks) from September 24 to October 10". The Russian contingent was warmly welcomed by senior Pakistan Army officials before it left for the training venue.
Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar has obtained blank approval of the Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet regarding size, maturity and pricing for proposed Pakistan International Sovereign Sukuk, 2016 against assets of Lahore-Islamabad Motorway, A summary was moved by the Finance Division to the Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet presided over by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Friday for taking approval to authorise Finance Minister to decide about the size, maturity and pricing of the proposed Sukuk.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar have reportedly expressed annoyance at the Planning Commission for clubbing non-CPEC projects with CPEC projects as such attempts are giving a wrong impression to the provinces, sources close to Minister for Water and Power told Business Recorder. At a recent cabinet meeting, Prime Minister urged the federal government to focus on projects which are yet to start and directed that forward planning is required adding that projects in the next phase were much bigger in size and far more complex for which greater efforts and resolve were required, the sources added.
Pakistan's economy is back on an upward growth trajectory, with liberalised investment sector and improved security environment generating enhanced investor interest, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told US business and industry leaders on Thursday. "Our economic rebound is particularly remarkable because we achieved it while being engaged in major counter-terrorism operations that we have launched against terrorists across Pakistan," he said in a speech at a luncheon co-hosted by the US-Pakistan Business Council (USPBC) and the US Chamber of Commerce.
The government and exporters were unable to agree on a mechanism to increase declining exports as exporters want relief in taxes and rebate which was unacceptable to the Finance Ministry for its impact on budget deficit. Sources said exporters have pointed out that they were unable to compete with other regional countries due to high cost of doing business - especially taxes and surcharges on energy and some 4 to 5 percent taxes on domestic industry - not passable to the international consumers. Thus exporters said to have proposed relief in taxes and rebate on exports to increase the exports.
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) will announce its Monetary Policy today (Saturday) with expectations of a status quo due to pressure on the external account. Independent Monetary Policy Committee will meet on September 24, 2016 to review developments in key macroeconomic variables during the last two months and take a decision on discount rate. After the meeting, policy will be announced through a press statement. In the previous monetary policy, announced on July 30, 2016, the committee maintained the policy rate at 5.75 percent.