Pakistan government and a Chinese company signed an agreement today to build a 300-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Gwadar. The project will be established under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The agreement to this effect was signed between Private Power and Infrastructure Board and China Communications Construction Company. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif chaired a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Energy in Islamabad to follow up on urgent measures being carried out to reduce load-shedding.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar says improving well-being of general public and addressing their needs is main priority of budget for FY 2017-18

Chairing a meeting on matters related to Finance Division in Islamabad, he says like each year, the present government has held comprehensive consultations with all stakeholders and various experts during budget preparations this year. The Finance Minister urged the officials of Finance Division to continue their hard work and undertake all necessary efforts to fulfill the targets for the ongoing fiscal year. On the occasion, Ishaq Dar congratulated the officials of Finance Division on successfully undertaking all budget related activities, culminating in the budget speech by the Finance Minister and the laying of Finance Bill 2017 in Parliament. The Finance Minister expressed confidence that ongoing budget session will conclude smoothly, and reiterated that all constructive suggestions from parliamentary colleagues will be welcomed and given due consideration before the final approval of the budget.

In India, a special court has charged senior BJP leaders with criminal conspiracy to demolish Babri Masjid 

In India, a special CBI court has charged senior leaders of ruling party including former BJP chief Lal Krishna Advani with criminal conspiracy in connection with destruction of 16th century Babri mosque. Veteran leader Murli Manohar Joshi and Union Minister Uma Bharti are also among those charged by the court in the Babri mosque demolition case.

Host: Hafiz Majid

Co-host: Fauzia Shahid

Analysts on Telephone:

Maj. Gen. Retd. Zahir Shah (CPEC Expert):

Gwadar is a gateway of CPEC and its development is very much important. The energy and water issues of Gwadar should be resolved. It is important for progress that sustainable development programs should be initiated. The economic zones and industrial parks will be established in Gwadar so its development is important. The Gwadar port shall be independent of water, energy and infrastructure issues. We need an enabling environment in Gwadar. The project initiated by Chinese company is a useful development. We need a comprehensive strategy to overcome energy loadshedding. With urbanization and industrialization, the requirements of energy are also increasing.

Dr. Hummayun Iqbal Shami (Chairman, Pakistan Economic Forum):

The finance ministry of Pakistan always has very limited options in budget. There are some compulsory expenditures in our budget. The governed has to make defence payments to maintain law and order. The government has done a good job in this budget. A huge agriculture package is given to farmers of Pakistan. The BISP funds are also increased. The labor class and pensioners are also given relief in this budget.

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