Economic & Political Weekly 17-03-2019




·  New Zealand terror attack

Fifty people have been killed and three people are in custody after an attacker opened fire during Friday prayers i.e. 15th March at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch. At least 30 people were killed at the Masjid Al Noor mosque in central Christchurch, at least seven people died inside the suburban Linwood Masjid Mosque, and at least three others died outside the same mosque. In all, a total of 50 people were killed. 48 others, including young children, are being treated in hospital for gunshot wounds. A male in his late 20s has been charged with murder and is due to appear at a Christchurch court. Three people are also in custody over the attacks. New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern said the national security threat level has been lifted from low to high, adding the shootings appeared to have been a well-planned “terrorist attack”. She described it as “one of New Zealand’s darkest days”. The suspected attacker — Brenton Tarrant — appears to have live-streamed the attack on Face book.The 28-year-old Australian described his anti-immigrant motives in a manifesto. Police said they are not actively looking for any identified suspects but said it would be “wrong to assume that there is no-one else”. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said one of those arrested was an Australian citizen and described the suspected attacker as an “extremist right-wing violent terrorist”.

MPs have voted overwhelmingly to reject Theresa May’s Brexit deal

MPs have overwhelmingly rejected the British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexitdeal in the House of Commons. Vote on her latest proposals agreed in Strasbourg on 11th March night were rejected in a vote after 7pm on 12th March. Later on MPs narrowly rejected an amendment that would have given Parliament rather than the government control over how Brexit should proceed. The amendment tabled by Labor’s Hilary Benn was defeated by 314 votes to 312, with 15 Conservatives defying their party whip to support it and six Labor MPs voting against.

· Families keep vigil at hospital after Nigerian school collapses

Families kept a vigil at a hospital on 14th March for children pulled from the wreckage of a collapsed school building in the Nigerian city of Lagos, as rescue operations came to an end.

Authorities have not yet been able to give a final death toll after the four-storey building housing the school, homes and shops collapsed on 13th March.

· Battle for Islamic State’s final enclave ‘as good as over’

Islamic State faced imminent defeat in its final enclave on 12th March as hundreds of jihadist fighters and their families surrendered and the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces said the battle was as good as over. The besieged enclave of Baghouz is the last shred of territory held by the jihadists who have been driven from roughly one-third of Iraq and Syria over the past four years.

· Iran signs new trade and energy deals with Iraq

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani will conclude his first official visit to Iraq on 13th March after signing agreements on energy, trade and the construction of a railway linking the neighbors. These deals reinforce the close connections between the two majority Shia countries and defy the Trump administration, which has stepped up pressure on Baghdad to reduce ties to Tehran and abide by the punitive US sanctions regime.

·  Stephen Hawking’s former nurse struck off for failures in his care

The former nurse of Prof Stephen Hawking has been struck off the nursing register after a panel found she did not give appropriate care to the renowned physicist. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) said on 12th March that Patricia Dowdy “failed to provide the standards of good, professional care that we expect and Prof Hawking deserved”.

· Ethiopian Airlines crash: Tributes to victims from more than 30 nations


Joanna Toole, a 36-year-old from Exmouth, Devon, was heading to Nairobi to attend the UN Environment Assembly when she was killed in the Ethiopian Airlines crash. People from more than 30 countries were on board the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 which crashed shortly after take-off from the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa on Sunday morning, killing all 157 people on board.

· Algerian president will not seek fifth term following mass protests

Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika abandoned his bid for a fifth term in power on11th March, bowing to weeks of mass demonstrations against his 20-year rule by people demanding a new era of politics in a country dominated by the old guard. He also postponed an election that had been set for April, and promised social and economic reform.

·US air strikes kill hundreds in Somalia as conflict escalates

The US military has escalated a battle against al-Shabab, an extremist group affiliated with al-Qaida, in Somalia even as president Donald Trump seeks to scale back operations against similar Islamist insurgencies elsewhere in the world, from Syria and Afghanistan to West Africa.

A surge in US airstrikes over the past four months of 2018 pushed the annual death toll of suspected al-Shabab fighters in Somalia to the third record high in as many years. Last year, the strikes killed 326 people in 47 disclosed attacks, defense department data show.


  • Global indices as of 15th March 2019  as compared to 8th March 2019 


Global indices as of 15th March 2019
Current Value Prev.


 NASDAQ (Mar 15) 7,688.53 7630.91
 FTSE (Mar 15) 7,228.28 7185.43
 CAC (Mar 15) 5,405.32 5349.78
 DAX (Mar 15) 11,685.69 11587.47
 NIKKEI 225 (Mar 15) 21,450.85 21287.02
 STRAITS TIMES (Mar 15) 3,200.18 3197.92
 HANG SENG (Mar 15) 29,012.26 28851.39
 TAIWAN WEIGHTED (Mar 15) 10,439.24 10348.65
 KOSPI (Mar 15) 2,176.11 2155.68
 SET COMPOSITE (Mar 15) 1,625.57 1635.88
 JAKARTA COMPOSITE (Mar 15) 6,461.18 6413.27
 SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (Mar 15) 3,021.75 2990.69
 SGX NIFTY (Mar 16) 11,506.50 11474.00
Global indices as of 8th March 2019
Name Current Value Prev.


 NASDAQ (Mar 08) 7,408.14 7421.46
 FTSE (Mar 08) 7,104.31 7157.55
 CAC (Mar 08) 5,231.22 5267.92
 DAX (Mar 08) 11,457.84 11517.80
 NIKKEI 225 (Mar 08) 21,025.56 21456.01
 STRAITS TIMES (Mar 08) 3,195.87 3229.48
 HANG SENG (Mar 08) 28,228.42 28779.45
 TAIWAN WEIGHTED (Mar 08) 10,241.75 10311.68
 KOSPI (Mar 08) 2,137.44 2165.79
 SET COMPOSITE (Mar 08) 1,630.12 1633.21
 JAKARTA COMPOSITE (Mar 08) 6,383.07 6457.96
 SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (Mar 08) 2,969.86 3106.42
 SGX NIFTY (Mar 09) 11,024.50 11058.00




  • Prime Minister Imran Khan on 14th March expressed “extreme disappointment” at the Punjab Assembly’s decision to raise the salariesof Punjab’s public representatives.

On 13th March in the Punjab Assembly, the bill to raise the salaries of public representatives sailed through with complete consensus and within five minutes as it had raised salaries and fringe benefits of all assembly members, including the chief minister, ministers, speaker, deputy-speaker. After the passage of the bill, the speaker’s salary has jumped from Rs37, 000 to Rs200, 000 per month and his deputy would now get Rs185, 000 instead of Rs35, 000 and so would be cabinet members and advisers. The members of Punjab Assembly (MPAs) are now entitled to Rs80, 000 per month rather than Rs18, 000 and their utility bills entitlement has gone up to Rs200, 000 instead of earlier Rs120, 000. This fiscal adjustment, naturally, had no one to oppose in the House and the bill was passed with a few minutes.

  • Prime Minister Imran Khan on 15th March launched the new online visa system for foreign tourists during a ceremony held in Islamabad.

A new e-visa scheme is being introduced to facilitate visitors from 175 countries. This newly launched policy will open Pakistan’s doors to the world, making it more accessible to tourists and investors from across the globe. #DiscoverPakistan. According to National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), with the introduction of the online facility, tourists seeking to obtain visas to Pakistan will be able to do so within the comforts of their home, without having to visit a Pakistan embassy or consulate. They simply have to log in to, fill out the application, upload the required documents and make the visa fee payment. Successful applicants will be sent a notification via email and SMS which will be reviewed upon entry into Pakistan.


F.C Exchange Rates of PKR as of 15th March 2019 as compared to 8th March 2019
Countries PKR rate as of  8th March 2019 PKR rate as of  15th March 2019
U.S.A. 138.95 139.30
U.K. 183.00 184.30
Euro 157.10 157.50
Japan 1.2600 1.2600
Saudi Arabia 36.90 37.05
U.A.E. 37.85 37.95

Pakistan Stock Exchange Indices

As of 15th March 2019 As Compared

To 8th March 2019  



Position as of 15 th March 2019
Symbols KSE100 PSX-KMI
Advanced (Curr.) 61
Declined (High) 249
Unchanged (Low) 14
Total (Change) 324


Position as of 8th March 2019
Symbols KSE100 PSX-KMI
Advanced (Curr.) 81
Declined (High) 222
Unchanged (Low) 28
Total (Change) 331



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