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Finance Minister Ishaq Dar says Pakistan fully supports the Chinese One Belt One Road initiative for promotion of intra-regional trade and connectivity.

He was expressing his views over the reservations voiced by Indian Finance Minister Arun Jailtly on the vision of connectivity during a debate on trade, hosted by CNBC in Yokohama, Japan.

The Minister said regional trade, economic cooperation and connectivity is a way forward to get the economic objectives realized, ensure economic prosperity and check the menacing problem of poverty.

To a query, Ishaq Dar said the economic approach of connectivity is also aimed at eliminating protectionism, abolishing barriers and facilitating trade.

Ishaq Dar said another important initiative namely China Pakistan Economic Corridor has been taken, which could not only ensure economic cooperation among China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Iran but will also pave level playing course for all in terms of economic dividends.

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Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir says the government has taken a number of steps to enhance country's exports.

In an interview, he said the industrial sector has been exempted from load-shedding since 2015.

The Minister said with the government's efforts overall law and order has improved and energy shortage has been significantly overcome.

Khurram Dastgir said revenue of the country has increased up to sixty percent, which is a great achievement.

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Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria says Pakistan believes in peaceful co-existence and desires to have good ties with the neighboring countries.

In an interview, he said an effective border management between Pakistan and Afghanistan is need of the hour to defeat enemies of peace.

In response to a question, the Spokesperson said Pakistan and Iran enjoy fraternal and cordial relations. 

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Indian troops have committed ceasefire violation and targeted civilians with mortars in village Thruti in Nakyal sector at the Line of Control.

According to ISPR, four civilians were injured in the unprovoked firing.

Pakistani troops effectively responded to silent the Indian firing.

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A colorful reception was arranged on board at visiting Pakistan Navy Ship "Zulfiquar" in Sri Lanka.

While welcoming the guests, Commanding Officer of the Ship, Capt. Faisal Javeed Sheikh thanked the Sri Lankan Navy and the people of Sri Lanka for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to PNS "Zulfiquar" and its crew.

The reception was attended by a large gathering of guests including Sri Lankan parliamentarians, diplomats, senior officers of armed forces and members of Pakistani community.

The ship has been on a five-day goodwill visit i Sri Lanka, which reflects strong multifaceted relationship and engagement between the two friendly countries.

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Prime Minister's Office has refuted media reports that Secretary to Prime Minister Fawad Hasan Fawad has applied for leave.

According to a press release issued by Prime Minister's Office, news reports regarding Fawad Hasan Faward’s leave application are baseless.
**APP..

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Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid says Rewaj Bill 2017 has been finalized in line with the wishes of the people of FATA.

In a statement, he said the Prime Minsiter has approved the introduction of the Tribal Areas Rewaj Bill, 2017 in the National Assembly.

The Minister said the proposed law will give full protection to the traditions of the tribal people as well as bringing them in the national mainstream by introducing normal system.

He said proper judicial system will be introduced
wherein the role of tribal jirga has been duly legalized.

The black provisions of Fronter Crimes Regulations are proposed to be deleted and all fundamental rights are to be provided effectively.

Zahid Hamid said another important recommendation is allocation of three percent of the federal divisible pool on annual basis for FATA for ten years in addition to existing Public Sector Development Programme allocation of twenty-one billion rupees. 

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Minister of State for Education Balighur Rehman says the government has increased funds for the education sector.

Addressing National Science Conference in Bahawalpur, he said youth are being trained through professional and vocational training and they will play a vital role to end unemployment in the next five to ten years.

The minister of state said scientific education is not only playing a role for human welfare but also helping increase production of crops. 

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Minister of State for National Health Services Saira Afzal
Tarar says the government has spread networks of roads, provided free medicines in hospitals and recruited teachers purely on merits.

She was speaking to public gatherings in different villages in Hafizabad district.

The Minister said some politicians are indulging in
negative politics and creating unnecessary obstacles in
development of the country while the government
is working sincerely for progress and prosperity of the nation.

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Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif paid a surprise visit to Head Sulemanki Wheat Procurement Centre at Tehsil Depalpur, Okara.

He inspected provision of facilities to farmers and distribution of gunny bags at the centre.

Taking strict notice of complaints of the farmers, he issued on the spot instructions.

Punjab government has set a target of procurement of four millin ton wheat this year. 

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Sindh Governor Muhammad Zubair has emphasised upon the need for highlighting improved security and economic environment in the country.

He was talking to newsmen after a meeting with artists, producers and cinema owners about the formulation of Pakistan's first film policy.

The Governor said film industry could prove to be an effective medium to promote Pakistan's soft image not only within the country but also at the international level.

He lauded the federal government for its move to formulate film policy after consultation with all stakeholders.

Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb was also present on the occasion.

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In France, people are voting in the second and final round of presidential elections today.

Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen are vying to win over the electorate.

In the first round of the election, pro-European Union centrist Emmanuel Macron emerged as the top candidate securing 23.8 votes. He was followed by anti-EU and anti-immigration far-rightist Le Pen with 21.5 percent votes. 

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In Italy, around 3,000 migrants were rescued today in the Mediterranean sea, as they were trying to reach Europe.

In a statement, Italy's coast guard said the people were picked up in more than 20 separate rescue operations.

According to the International Organisation for Migration, so far this year 43,490 migrants have arrived in Europe by sea and more than 1,000 have died or are missing.

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In Nigeria, the Boko Haram group has released atleast 83 girls from a group of 276 abducted from the north-eastern Chibok three years ago.

In an statement, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said the government remained in constant negotiations with the group, through local intelligence to secure the release of the girls unharmed.

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Jashn-e-Baharan Polo Tournament begins in Gilgit today.
Twenty-seven teams, including eight senior and nineteen junior polo teams, will take part in the competition.

The first match will be played between Danyore red and Chilas B team at 3 pm.

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Mainly hot and dry weather is expected in most plain areas of the country during the next twelve hours.

However, rain-thunderstorm with gusty winds is expected at a few places in Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Gujranwala, Malakanad, Hazara, Peshawar, Kohat, Bannu, Makran and Zhob divisions, FATA, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir.

Temperature of some major cities recorded this morning was:-

Islamabad twenty-two degree centigrade, Lahore twenty-six, Karachi twenty-eight, Peshawar twenty-three, Quetta thirteen, Gilgit and Murree fifteen and Muzaffarabad sixteen degree centigrade.

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