JUNE 13, 2017


The National Assembly has passed Federal Budget for the next fiscal year by approving "The Finance Bill 2017".

The House approved 150 Demands for Grants relating to different ministries, divisions and departments for the next fiscal year.

Punjab Assembly has passed provincial budget for the next financial year.

Saudi Envoy to Pakistan says visa problems faced by Umrah pilgrims will be resolved during the next couple of days.

The United Nations Development Programme has expressed readiness to help Pakistan cope with adverse impact of climate change.

In Occupied Kashmir, Indian troops resorted to use of brute force against people celebrating Pakistan's victory over Sri Lanka in the ICC Champions Trophy.

Britain and France have agreed to make joint efforts for eliminating online terrorism and extremism.

The first semi-final of ICC Champions Trophy will be played between Pakistan and England at Cardiff tomorrow.


The National Assembly today passed "The Finance Bill 2017" giving legal cover to the budgetary proposals for the next financial year.

The House adopted a number of amendments proposed by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Senators and MNAs during the debate.

The new budget, with a total outlay of over 4700 billion rupees, is aimed at to spur growth and development in the country.

The provincial share in federal taxes is estimated at 2,384.2 billion rupees, which is 11.6 percent higher than the budget estimates of the outgoing fiscal year.

The external receipts during next year are estimated at 837.8 billion rupees.

Finance Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar says prudent economic policies initiated by the government will bring prosperity and prosperty to the country.

Winding up debate on budget 2017-18 in National Assembly this afternoon, he said that government has set six per cent growth rate for next year which is realistic and achievable.

The Minister hoped we will achieve seven per cent GDP growth rate in 2018-19.

Ishaq Dar said 75 budget proposals of the Senate have been accepted totally or partially out of total 276 while 147 suggestions have been forward to the planning division with favourable remarks.

He said the government wants to complete National Finance Commission Award at the earliest in consultation with all the provinces.

Finance Minister said net debt to GDP has decreased from 60.23 per cent to 59.3 per cent.

He said foreign debt of the country was 48.1 billion dollars in 2013 and now it is 41.9 billion dollars.

He said the government is providing all necessary resources to the security forces for anti-terrorist operations across the country.

He said rehabilitation of TDPs and reconstruction in Tribal Areas is also underway and for this purpose 90 billion rupees have been allocated in the next budget.

Ishaq Dar said the government has decided to reduce sales tax and other duties for promotion of exports.

He said a power subsidy of 22 billion rupees is being provided to industrial sector.

About agriculture, the Finance Minister said interest rate on agriculture loans has been decreased from 14 percent to 9.9 percent, and ceiling of loan for small farmers has been enhanced to 75,000 rupees.

The Minister said the government has abolished sales tax on the diesel-run peter engines and duty on import of diesel engine parts has also been decreased from 20 to 3 percent, which will benefit small farmers.

Ishaq Dar said several incentives have been given, including exemption of sales tax and tax-concession, to encourage Islamic banking in the country. He said double sales tax on Islamic banking products is being abolished.

He said minimum labor wages have been enhanced to 15400 with the increase of 10 percent in the previous wages.

He said the concessions announced in the budget for services sector are being extended to IT-enabled services.

Ishaq Dar said a special package is being prepared for entertainment industry and revival of drama and film industry.

The National Assembly has approved 71 Demands for Grants relating to different ministries, divisions and departments for the next fiscal year.

The Opposition did not move any cut motion of these demands for grants as they boycotted the House for not airing Opposition's speeches live on PTV.

In his concluding remarks, the Finance Minister said five years economic vision of the government carries special features of self-sufficiency, poverty alleviation, food security and sustainable economic development.

He said if we agree on an economic charter it will send a positive message to world and political change will not have any impact on future economic policies.

Taking floor of the National Assembly, Leader of Opposition Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should personally come to the Parliament and brief the House about his talks with Saudi leadership over the evolving situation in the Gulf region.

He said Prime Minister should take Parliament into confidence over Pakistan's future foreign policy regarding Gulf countries and 35-member Islamic Military Alliance.

Later, members belonging to opposition parties staged a walkout from the House to press their demand for live broadcast of speech of Leader of the Opposition on PTV.

Punjab Assembly passed the Punjab Finance Bill 2017 with majority during its session today.

Punjab Minister for Finance Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha moved the bill in the Assembly.

Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Rana Sanaullah Khan tabled the Punjab Destitute and Neglected Children (Amendment) Bill and the Punjab Education Standards Development Authority Bill 2017.

The Deputy Speaker referred both the bills to the concerned standing committees.

Later, the House was adjourned to meet again tomorrow morning at 11.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly in Peshawar today approved four demands for grant amounting to about five billion rupees.

These demands for grant are pertaining to the Provincial Assembly, Chief Minister Secretariat, Planning and Development and Finance Departments.

Responding to various cut motions, Finance Minister Muzaffar Said said the provincial government is taking steps to release maximum amount for the developmental projects.

The opposition members withdrew their cut motions after assurance by the finance minister.

Leader of the House Pervez Khattak informed the house that the government will make legislation to release fifty percent funds for launching of development projects in the new fiscal year. He said the provincial government has signed MoUs with China about eighty development projects.

The House will now meet tomorrow at 02:00 pm.

Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique says PML-N has always respected constitutional institutions of the country.

Talking to media persons in Islamabad today, he said opposition should avoid giving such statements which cause damage to the country's repute.

Khawaja Saad Rafique said PTI Chairman is making attempts to derail democracy and halt the process of country's development for vested interests.

Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Chaudhary Barjees Tahir says PML-N and its leadership believes in rule of law.

In a statement today, he said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will make a history by presenting himself before Joint Investigation Team.

The Minister said PML-N fully cooperated with courts of the country in the past as well.

He said government believes in politics of service of masses not politics of false allegations.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Political Affairs Asif Kirmani says Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has asked party workers not to come at Federal Judicial Academey Islamabad on eve of his appearance before Joint Investigation Team probing Panama Papers on Thursday.

He said Prime Minister has thanked workers for their love, affection for him and termed party workers as great asset.

Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Pakistan Marwan Ridwan Mirdad says with increase of twenty percent quota around one hundred and eighty thousand Pakistanis will perform Hajj this year.

He was talking to media persons in Islamabad today in the wake of visa problems being faced by the Pakistani Umrah pilgrims.

He said delay in issuance of visas was due to shortage of visa stickers and the problem will be resolved in the next three days.

Prime Minister's focal person on Polio eradication Ayesh Raza Farooq has said Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has made a commitment to a polio-free world for the current and future generations of Pakistani children.

Addressing the global leaders at an event for Polio Eradication in Atlanta, she said Polio eradication has become our national imperative and enjoys broad political support.

She said our National Emergency Action Plan for Polio Eradication is clearly delivering results.

The United Nations Development Program has expressed readiness to help Pakistan at technical and operational level for implementation of prgorams to cope with adverse impact of climate change.

An understanding to this effect came during a meeting between UNDP Regional Director Haoling Xu and Minister for Climate Change Zahid Hamid in Islamabad today.

Speaking on the occasion, the Minister said Pakistan is also developing hydro power projects and wind energy projects to meet energy requirements.

UNDP Regional Director said Pakistan is first country in the region to secure Green Climate fund.

Sub-Committee of Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication was held under the chairmanship of Senator Taj Afridi.

The meeting was told that a no objection certificate has been issued by FATA Secretariat to Mohmand, Khyber and Bajaur agencies for setting up of telecom towers.

Universal Services Fund officials will visit these agencies along with political agents after Ramazan.

Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif says a project for provision of clean drinking water to people will soon be executed in southern Punjab.

He was chairing a meeting in Lahore today to review various aspects of clean drinking water programme.

He said twenty five billion rupees have been allocated for supply of clean drinking water project.

The Chief Minister said execution of the project will help prevent spreading of epidemics and water borne diseases.

Punjab Chief Minister has said that the Provincial Government is spending billions of rupees to provide relief to the masses during the holy month of Ramazan.

Governor Sindh Muhammad Zubair says restoration of law and order has revived hope for holding of international level cricket matches and other sports events in the country.

Speaker Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Asad Qaiser says capacity building program of MPAs started with collaboration of United Nations Development Programme has yielded positive results.

He was talking to Chief Technical Advisor of the UNDP Daren Nines who called on him in Peshawar today.

Asad Qaiser said it has improved performance and efficiency of the staff of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.

Chief Technical Advisor of the UNDP assured Speaker that it will continue supporting the provincial government.

The Karakoram Highway will remain closed for traffic from 5 am to 8 am in the morning for six days starting from today.

The reason of this suspension is construction work on Dasu Hydropower Project in Barsin area of Upper Kohistan.

Police said tourists and local commuters could travel on the road during nighttime and routine traffic on the road would be restored from 18th of this month.

The Higher Education Commission’s deadline for higher education institutions regarding implementation of the Commission’s decision to raise minimum qualification for appointment of Lecturers to 18 years of education is 30th of this month.

HEC had also extended cut-off date for raising minimum qualification of Assistant Professors in universities and degree awarding institutions to PhD by January 1 next year.

Pakistan State Oil and Pakistan Railways have signed Fuel Supply Agreement under which PSO will meet Railways fuel requirements.

The agreement was signed in Islamabad today.

Addressing the ceremony, the Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique said Pakistan Railways is working for long term agreements with big national and international suppliers to make the system effective.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbassi said cooperation between Pakistan Railways and PSO will be further bolstered in future.

National Disaster Management Authority organized a Pre-Monsoon Preparedness Conference in Islamabad today.

It was chaired by Chairman NDMA Lieutenant General Omar Mahmood Hayat.

The conference was aimed at reviewing preparatory efforts at Federal and Provincial level for upcoming Monsoon Season with regard to flood fighting, rescue and post flood rehabilitation.

Pakistan Metrological Department forecast normal rainfall in the month of July while less than normal rain falls in the months of August and September.

However, some extreme localized rainfall events are likely to occur which may generate localized flash flooding in mountainous regions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.

Some heavy downpour events may produce Urban Flooding in big cities.

The conference was informed that the Monsoon Season may also cause Riverine Floods, Flash Floods, Urban Flooding and Glacier Lake Outburst Floods.

The AJK budget for the next fiscal year will be presented in the Legislative Assembly in Muzaffarabad on Thursday.

AJK Minister for Finance and Planning Dr. Najeeb Naqi will present the budget.

It would be first time in the history of the state that development budget of the state has been increased hundred percent on the directives of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

The Azad Jammu and Kashmir President Sardar Muhammad Masood Khan has strongly condemned the recent incidents of unprovoked Indian firing along the Line of Control.

In a statement in Muzaffarabad today, the AJK President expressed deep grief and sorrow over the martyrdom of two civilians in the recent unprovoked firing by Indian forces at LoC.

He said Indian shelling is a sheer violation of international laws and bilateral peace agreements.

AJK President said that India could not frighten the people of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, who will continue to raise voice for the rights of their brethren Kashmiris in the Held Valley.

In Occupied Kashmir, dozens of people were injured after Indian troops barged into their houses and ruthlessly beat them in Shopian district over celebrating Pakistan's win against Sri Lanka in the ongoing Champions Trophy in England.

According to Kashmir Media Service, Indian troops rushed to the Vehil and Turkwangam areas of the district, smashed windowpanes and beat the inmates. The troops also ransacked shops and vandalized vehicles. The brutal action of Indian troops led to massive protests in Shopian. The protesters raised high-pitched anti-India and pro-freedom slogans.

Addressing a condolence meeting in Islamabad District of South Kashmir, Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, Muhammad Yasin Malik said that India unleashed a reign of terror against unarmed Kashmiris, but failed to force the Kashmiris into submission.

Dukhtaran-e-Millat General Secretary Nahida Nasreen in a statement in Srinagar reiterated her appeal to the world human rights organisations to take notice of the continued illegal detention of Aasiya Andrabi and Fehmeeda Sofi.

Meanwhile, the puppet authorities placed Chairman of Hurriyat forum, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq under house detention and arrested JKLF Chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik to prevent them from attending a programme, called by the joint resistance leadership in connection with the 50th death anniversary of renowned Kashmiri politician Mirwaiz Yusuf Shah in Srinagar today.

China and Panama will forge cooperation in diverse sectors, including trade, investment, maritime matters and tourism.

This was stated by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi while commenting on establishment of formal diplomatic ties between the two countries. The minister said China would welcome Panama to participate in the Beijing-led "Belt and Road" initiative.

Earlier, Panama's government cut long-standing diplomatic ties with Taiwan and established relations with China.

The United Kingdom and France have agreed to take joint measures to eliminate online terrorism and extremism.

This was stated by UK Prime Minister Theresa May ahead of her scheduled visit to Italy to meet French President Emmanuel Macron in Taormina later today.

She said the joint campaign would aim at ensuring that internet cannot be used as a safe space for terrorists and criminals.

Under the campaign, tech companies such as Facebook and Google wouled be fined, if they do not step up efforts to combat online radicalisation.

Turkey has urged Saudi Arabia to make sincere efforts for resolving the ongoing Gulf countries crisis with Qatar.

Addressing the ruling Justice and Development Party's parliamentary group meeting in Ankara today, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said isolation of Qatar was neither Islamic nor humanitarian.

Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says Qatar is moving in the right direction, but common ground needs to be found to resolve the crisis.

Addressing the US House Armed Services Committee meeting in Washington, he said President Donald Trump focusing on stopping all terrorist funding.

In Iraq, at least two people died and hundreds more fell ill in a mass outbreak of food poisoning at a camp for displaced people in east of Mosul.

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