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Anwaarul ul Haq Kakar urged the global community on Friday (22.09.2023) to fulfil the commitments they made to Pakistan after last year’s devastating floods and help implement its recovery plans. Mr. Kakar, who is the first interim leader to address the UN General Assembly, used his maiden UN speech to highlight the country’s efforts to revive its ailing economy but also talked about the threat of terrorism confronting Pakistan and Islamabad’s efforts to improve ties with all neighbouring states.

He also touched on issues of peacekeepers facing challenges from terrorist groups, Islamophobia, etc. At an UN-sponsored conference in Geneva in January, dozens of nations and international institutions had pledged more than $10 billion to help Pakistan recover and rebuild from the last year’s floods that the UN called “a climate disaster of monumental scale”.

“Pakistan is gratified by the commitments of over $10.5 billion for its comprehensive plan for recovery, rehabilitation, and reconstruction,” Prime Minister Kakar told the UNGA on Friday. “Specific projects are being submitted to ensure timely funding and execution of the plan,” he said. “I hope our development partners will accord priority to allocation (release) of funds.”

Mr. Kakar pointed out that recovery efforts had already cost Pakistan $13bn. The epic floods submerged a third of the country, killed 1,700 and displaced over 8 million people, destroyed vital infrastructure, and caused over $30bn in damage to Pakistan’s economy. But UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric told a news briefing in March that only 40 per cent of the pledges were fulfilled, as donor-fatigue prevented greater contributions.

Prime Minister Kakar, however, called for a better understanding of Pakistan’s problems.


“Pakistan’s triple food, fuel and finance  challenge, is a prime illustration of the impacts of Covid, conflicts and climate on developing countries,” he said. “Pakistan is also one of the worst affected countries from the impacts of climate change.” The prime minister recalled that far-reaching commitments were also made at Thursday’s UN-sponsored summit on sustainable development goals (SDGs) in New York. But “we must ensure” that those pledges are fulfilled, he stressed.

He highlighted several key pledges that must be fulfilled: implementation of the SDG stimulus; the re-channeling of unused Special Drawing Rights (finances) for development; the expansion of concessional lending by Multilateral Development Banks; and resolution of the debt problems of the 59 countries in debt distress. Mr. Kakar said Pakistan was also looking forward to the fulfillment of the climate change commitments made at COP28 by the developed world: to provide over $100bn in annual climate finance.

He suggested allocating at least half of such finance for adaptation in developing countries; opera­tionalising the Fund and funding arrang­ements for loss and damage; and accelerating the carbon emission mitigation targets to “keep alive” the goal of restricting global warming to 1.5 degrees centigrade. “Attempts to selectively provide these funds on the basis of geo-political considerations should be resisted,” he warned.


The caretaker premier also underlined Pakistan’s commitment to rapid economic recovery. “We will stabilise our foreign exchange reserves and our currency; expand domestic revenues and, most importantly, mobilise significant domestic and external investment,” he said. Pakistan has established a Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) to expedite investment decisions. Twenty-eight projects have been identified in priority sectors agriculture, mining, energy, and IT for implementation in collaboration with Pakistan’s partners.

“Pakistan’s long-term shift to geo-economics is well underway. The second phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been initiated covering railway, infrastructure, and manufacturing projects,” Mr. Kakar said. “Pakistan also looks forward to the early implementation of the connectivity projects with Central Asia.” Noting that development depends on peace, he said Pakistan was situated in one of the least economically integrated regions in the world.


“Pakistan believes that regions develop together. Therefore, Pak­is­tan desires peaceful and produ­ctive relations with all our neighbours, including India. Kashmir is the key to peace between Pakistan and India,” he said, The prime minister, however, reminded the UN community that the Jammu and Kashmir dispute was one of the oldest issues on the agenda of the Security Council. Since August 5, 2019, Delhi has deployed 900,000 troops in India-held Jammu and Kashmir to impose the “final solution” for the disputed region.

“The UN Security Council must secure the implementation of its resolutions on Kashmir. The UN Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan should be reinforced. Global powers should convince New Delhi to accept Pakistan’s offer of mutual restraint on strategic and conventional weapons,” Mr Kakar said. The prime minister assured the international community that peace in Afghanistan was a strategic imperative for Pakistan and Islamabad shared their concerns with respect to Afghanistan, particularly the rights of women and girls.

“Yet, we advocate continued humanitarian assistance to a destitute Afghan population in which Afghan girls and women are the most vulnerable,” he said. Mr Kakar also called for the revival of Afghan economy and implementation of the connectivity projects with Central Asia.


“Pakistan’s first priority is to prevent and counter all terrorism from and within Afghanistan. Pakistan condemns the cross- border terrorist attacks against Pakistan by the [banned] TTP, Daesh and other groups operating from Afghanistan,” he said, “We have sought Kabul’s support and cooperation to prevent these attacks. However, we are also taking necessary measures to end this externally encouraged terrorism.”

Courtesy: Daily Dawn.


The foreign ministers of Japan, the United States, Australia and India on Friday urged all U.N. members not to trade weapons with North Korea, as Pyongyang has been trying to expand its military collaboration with Russia. At their talks on the sidelines of the annual session of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, the ministers from the four-way grouping, known as the Quad, also agreed to enhance cooperation toward achieving their vision of a “free and open Indo-Pacific.”

The ministers shared the view that their countries will oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo by force, apparently with Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and China’s growing maritime assertiveness in the Asia-Pacific region in mind. Yoko Kamikawa, Japan’s first female foreign minister, confirmed with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar that the Quad ministerial meeting will take place in Japan next year.

“We strongly support the principles of freedom, the rule of law, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and peaceful settlement of disputes” as well as oppose unilateral attempts to change the status quo, the ministers said in a joint readout released after the gathering. “We concur that the use, or threat of use, of nuclear weapons would be unacceptable,” the readout said, with fears lingering that Russia may use such arms against Ukraine.

The Quad top diplomats reaffirmed that they will work together to promote reform of the United Nations, whose dysfunction has hampered its responses to international disputes, particularly over Russia’s war in Ukraine. The Quad ministers, meanwhile, exchanged views on North Korea’s nuclear and missile development. Russian President Vladimir Putin held bilateral talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Russia last week.

Kamikawa spoke to her U.S., Australian and Indian counterparts about the safety of Japan’s discharge of treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean, which started on Aug. 24. The Quad foreign ministers gathered for the first time since March, when they met in New Delhi.

Courtesy: Nikkei Asia.


IMF to collect taxes from the wealthy shines a light on the country’s inequitable tax system, which is the primary source of almost all our economic woes, including an unsustainable fiscal deficit, elevated inflation, a low investment rate and a frail balance-of-payments position. “I do believe that this is in line with what people in Pakistan would like to see for the country,” she said after meeting caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.

“We agreed on the vital need for strong policies to ensure stability, foster sustainable and inclusive growth, prioritise revenue collection, and protection for the most vulnerable in Pakistan,” she told Pakistani journalists. “What we are asking in our programme is, please collect more taxes from the wealthy and please protect the poor people of Pakistan.” Mr. Kakar was less forthcoming on the gist of his brief discussion with Ms. Georgieva, characterising the meeting as “constructive” and “focused on mutual commitments”.

This is not the first time the IMF boss has urged Pakistan to tax the wealthy to boost its tax revenues. Back in February, she stated that, in order to function as a country, Pakistan must ensure that its high earners pay taxes and only the poor get subsidies.

Courtesy: Daily Dawn.


The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) on Friday allowed the federal government to increase electricity rates by Rs3.28 per unit for all consumers across the country for six months October 2023 to March 2024  with additional revenue impact going beyond Rs200bn. The increase has been allowed under quarterly tariff adjustment (QTA) mechanism to finance the additional impact of capacity charges due to currency devaluation, interest rate hike and other factors.

The power division of energy ministry had originally sought Rs6.20 per unit adjustment for the fourth quarter of 2022-23 fiscal year for ex-Wapda distribution companies (Discos) to fill an Rs146bn financing gap within three months but later sought its staggered recovery at the rate of Rs3.55 per unit in six months amid public protests against skyrocketing tariff hike. Subsequently, the power division also asked Nepra to allow application of similar rates on K-Electric consumers to ensure uniformity and reduce subsidy payable against them.

Courtesy: Daily Dawn.


More than a month after the dissolution of the National Assembly, the Election Commission of Pakistan on Thursday (21/09/2023) announced that general elections would be held by the last week of January over two months after the constitutionally mandated deadline of 90 days. The statement of the ECP did not mention the exact date of polls, leaving room for some flexibility in its schedule expected to be released after the final notification of the delimitation exercise likely on Nov 30. Informed sources told Dawn Jan 28 would most probably be the polling day.

According to the ECP, the preliminary delimitation list will be published on September 27. After hearing the objections and suggestions on the constituencies, it said, the final list would be released on Nov 30, followed by the issuance of a 54-day poll schedule. The announcement ended uncertainty and speculations about an indefinite delay in polls, but it still failed to satisfy several stakeholders who wanted elections within 90 days after the dissolution of the assembly as required under the Constitution.

Courtesy: Daily Dawn.

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