Economic and Political Weekly 21-07-2019

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World

Politics

· Iran seizes UK oil tanker in escalation of ongoing crisis.

Iran has seized a UK flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz in a sharp escalation of the crisis between the Islamic republic and the west. Amid reports that a second tanker had also been apprehended, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said the Stena Impero was “seized by Zone 1 of the guards’ naval forces” as it moved through the Strait of Hormuz. The elite force added that the tanker “failed to observe the international maritime rules and regulation

  • Afghanistan: Child suicide bomber kills five, injures 40 in wedding attack

Five people have been killed and 40 injured in a suicide bombing in eastern Afghanistan 19th July that local officials say was carried out by a minor. The bomber targeted a tribal elder and a local police chief at a wedding in Nagarhar province, local government spokesman Attaullah Khugyani said. It is not yet clear why the attack was carried out or how old the minor was. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mojahid denied responsibility for the attack in a message to media on 19th July.

· Japan election: Surge of women candidates could reshape male-dominated parliament

 

One of the world’s most unequal parliaments could be about to get a lot more female, or … maybe not. A record number of women are running for office in Japan’s general election on 21st July to fill 124 of the 245 seats in the upper House of Councilors. Half of the upper chamber of the National Diet is elected every three years and this election includes three new seats.

Of the 370 candidates running this year, 104 — or almost 30% — are women, according.

·US House of Representatives votes down article attempting to impeach Trump

The US House of Representatives on 17th July killed an attempt to impeach president Donald Trump for statements that the chamber condemned this week as racist, turning aside an accusation that he had brought “ridicule, disgrace and disrepute” to his office. The vote to table the impeachment article, drafted by lawmaker Al Green, constituted the first action by the House since Democrats took control in January on a measure to impeach Mr Trump, a significant move that house speaker Nancy Pelosi and other party leaders have toiled to avoid.

·El Chapo sentenced to life in prison over murderous drug empire

Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, the Mexican drug lord who twice escaped maximum-security prisons in that country, will spend the rest of his life in a US penitentiary, a federal judge said on 17th July after accusing him of “overwhelming evil”. Guzmán (62), berated the U.S. justice system, and a former associate described how he had paid a gang $1 million to try to kill her, before US district judge Brian Cogan imposed the mandatory sentence of life plus 30 years. Judge Cogan also ordered Guzmán to forfeit $12.6 billion (€11.2 billion) in a hearing in federal court in Brooklyn. The judge said that even if the law had allowed him any leeway, he would have imposed the harshest sentence available, adding that any redeeming qualities Guzmán might have were erased by his “overwhelming evil” actions.A jury in February convicted Guzmán of trafficking tonnes of cocaine, heroin and marijuana and engaging in multiple murder conspiracies as a top leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, long known as one of Mexico’s largest, most violent drug trafficking organizations. Guzmán, whose nickname means “Shorty”, developed a reputation as a Robin Hood-like figure that made him a folk hero to many in his home state of Sinaloa, where he was born in a poor mountain village.

·Sudanese military and protesters sign power-sharing deal

Sudan’s opposition leaders and military council have signed a political accord committing them to share power, but some of the country’s pro-democracy protesters say it’s not fit for purpose.

Mohamed Hamdan “Hemeti” Dagolo, the deputy head of Sudan’s ruling military council, said signing the agreement after all-night talks was a “historic” moment. Details are to be debated on 19th July, but it is expected the military and opposition leaders will agree to share control of Sudan’s sovereign council, a governing body, for the next three years, ahead of elections. The council would be made of five military representatives, five civilians from a coalition of protest groups, and a sixth civilian to be chosen by the other ten council members. The ministers of defense and interior would still be appointed by the military, which would also lead the council for the first 21 months.

·  Ursula von der Leyen elected European Commission president

Averting the possibility of a major EU inter-institutional rift, MEPs on 16th July night in Strasbourg confirmed Germany’s defense minister Ursula von der Leyen as the EU’s next commission president. Ms Von der Leyen, a member of the centre-right European People’s Party, who was nominated two weeks ago by the EU leaders’ summit, saw her election narrowly ratified by 383 votes to 327. She needed 374 for a majority. The tightness of the margin may affect the European Commission’s ability to get its legislative program through. Speaking on 16th July morning during the ratification debate, Ms Von der Leyen sent a strong conciliatory message to the UK in declaring that she would support another Brexit extension beyond October, “should more time be required”. She said of the Brexit decision, to jeers from Brexiteers, that “we regret it but respect it” and reiterated the EU position that the Withdrawal Agreement as it stands “provides certainty where Brexit provides uncertainty” on citizens’ rights and peace and security on the island of Ireland.

· Conjoined twins separated in UK following 50 hours of surgery

It took more than 50 hours of surgery to separate conjoined twin sisters at a London children’s hospital. The BBC followed the story of Safa and Marwa Ullah through a series of operations over a five-month period, starting in October when they were 19 months old

·More than 820m people going hungry globally, UN report finds

More than 820 million people are still going hungry in the world, according to a UN report that says reaching the target of zero hunger by 2030 is “an immense challenge”. The number of people with not enough to eat has risen for the third year in a row as the population increases, after a decade when real progress was made. The underlying trend is stabilization, when global agencies had hoped to see it fall.

·At least 33 dead in arson attack at Japan animation studio

An arson attack on a famed animation studio in Japan has left at least 33 people confirmed dead in one of the country’s worst modern mass killings. Many more were injured, some critically, in the attack in Kyoto city on 18th July morning.

 

Economy-

  • China’s economic growth has slumpedto its lowest level in nearly three decades, but the trade war with the United States isn’t solely to blame.

Gross domestic product growth dropped to 6.2% in the second quarter, the weakest since the government started publishing quarterly figures in 1992, the national statistics authority said this week. Soon after the figures were published, President Donald Trump tweeted this: “The United States Tariffs are having a major effect on companies wanting to leave China for non-tariffed countries. Thousands of companies are leaving. This is why China wants to make a deal with the U.S., and wishes it had not broken the original deal in the first place.” Despite a truce agreed between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping last month, US tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods remain in place and have already hit China’s manufacturing and agricultural sectors. Some American companies are also switching to suppliers in other Asian countries like Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea and Bangladesh. But analysts argue that the yearlong trade war is not the biggest drag on the world’s second largest economy. The slowdown has as much to do with a debt mountain and cautious consumers.

  • Leaving the European Union later this year without a Brexit deal would plunge the United Kingdom into recession.

The UK Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) warned 18th July that “heightened uncertainty and declining confidence” would deter investment while higher trade barriers would slam exports. “These push the economy into recession, with asset prices and the pound falling sharply,” said the government’s budget watchdog. UK stock markets would fall 5%, while the pound would plummet 10%. GDP would shrink by 2% by the end of 2020. The report is a stark warning ahead of October 31, the latest deadline for Britain to depart the European Union. Boris Johnson, the frontrunner to succeed Theresa May as prime minister next week, has said that he’d be willing to force Brexit on that date if he’s unable to negotiate a new exit deal with EU officials.

GLOBAL INDICES AS OF 19th and 20th July 2019

As compared to 12th and 13th July 2019

 

Global indices as of 19th and 20th July 2019
Name Current Value Open

Close

US MARKETS
 NASDAQ (Jul 19) 8,146.49 8241.34

8207.24

EUROPEAN MARKETS
 FTSE (Jul 19) 7,508.70 7493.09

7493.09

 CAC (Jul 19) 5,552.34 5580.99

5550.55

 DAX (Jul 19) 12,260.07 12302.64

12227.85

ASIAN MARKETS
 SGX NIFTY (Jul 20) 11,380.00 11432.00

11429.50

 NIKKEI 225 (Jul 19) 21,466.99 21146.50

21046.24

 STRAITS TIMES (Jul 19) 3,377.96 3368.39

3361.05

 HANG SENG (Jul 19) 28,765.40 28585.15

28461.66

 TAIWAN WEIGHTED (Jul 19) 10,873.19 10861.99

10799.28

 KOSPI (Jul 19) 2,094.36 2080.21

2066.55

 SET COMPOSITE (Jul 19) 1,735.10 1734.38

1723.44

 JAKARTA COMPOSITE (Jul 19) 6,456.54 6417.44

6403.29

 SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (Jul 19) 2,924.20 2909.68

2901.18

 

 

Global indices as of 12th and 13th July 2019
Name Current Value Open

Close

US MARKETS
 NASDAQ (Jul 12) 8,244.14 8209.20

8196.04

EUROPEAN MARKETS
 FTSE (Jul 12) 7,505.97 7509.82

7509.82

 CAC (Jul 12) 5,572.86 5559.16

5551.95

 DAX (Jul 12) 12,323.32 12318.50

12332.12

ASIAN MARKETS
 SGX NIFTY (Jul 13) 11,568.50 11556.50

11546.50

 NIKKEI 225 (Jul 12) 21,685.90 21720.14

21643.53

 STRAITS TIMES (Jul 12) 3,357.34 3354.78

3350.45

 HANG SENG (Jul 12) 28,471.62 28401.87

28431.80

 TAIWAN WEIGHTED (Jul 12) 10,824.35 10855.16

10843.42

 KOSPI (Jul 12) 2,086.66 2083.53

2080.58

 SET COMPOSITE (Jul 12) 1,731.59 1744.73

1740.45

 JAKARTA COMPOSITE (Jul 12) 6,373.34 6414.20

6417.07

 SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (Jul 12) 2,930.55 2915.34

2917.76

Pakistan

Politics

  • Former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was arrested by a 12-member National Accountability Bureau (NAB) team on 18th July in a multi-billion-rupee case related to the award of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import contract.

NAB Chairman Javed Iqbal the same day also signed the arrest warrants of another PML-N leader, Miftah Ismail, as well as former managing director of Pakistan State Oil Sheikh Imranul Haque. According to News, Abbasi was on his way to attend a press conference, accompanied by PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal and spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb, when he was arrested on the Thokar Niaz Baig interchange. Abbasi initially resisted the arrest but eventually conceded. He was shifted to NAB office in Lahore after a medical check-up. He was later taken to NAB Rawalpindi.

  • PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz, in an all-encompassing interview aired on18th July , shared that she has had to struggle within her own party in order to be accepted and make her place.

In an exclusive interview with journalist Iram Abbasi for Voice of America Urdu, the PML-N vice president and daughter of party supremo Nawaz Sharif said that in every society, whether eastern or western, a varying degree of misogynistic mindsets exists. She was of the opinion that women who were in the limelight or in the public eye, particularly in leading roles, faced harsher criticism than their male counterparts.

· Mumbai terror attacks (Claimed by India) ‘mastermind’ arrested in Pakistan

Pakistan authorities on 17th July arrested Hafiz Saeed, the alleged mastermind of a four-day militant attack on the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008, on terror finance charges, a spokesman for the chief minister of Punjab province said. The arrest came days before a visit to Washington by prime minister Imran Khan, who has vowed to crack down on militant groups operating in Pakistan. Saeed, designated a terrorist by the US and the UN, is the founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), or Army of the Pure, the militant group blamed by the US and India for the Mumbai attacks, which killed more than 160 people. He has denied any involvement and said his network, which includes 300 seminaries and schools, hospitals, a publishing house and ambulance services, has no ties to militant groups. A spokesman for the Punjab governor said Mr Saeed was arrested near the town of Gujranwala in central Pakistan.

· Pakistan ordered to review death sentence of Indian accused of spying  but not to acquit, release and return” Kulbhushan Jadhav — a serving commander of the Indian Navy associated with Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing

(Indian residents in Mumbai offer prayers next to placards showing Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian national convicted of spying in Pakistan on July 17, 2019.)

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ordered Pakistan to review and reconsider a death sentence handed down to a former Indian Navy officer convicted of spying. Jadhav was arrested in Pakistan in March 2016 and accused of being an Indian spy. Pakistan authorities claimed they detained him in the restive Baluchistan province, which is home to a separatist insurgency that Pakistan accuses India of backing. The charges leveled against Jadhav included “espionage and sabotage activities against Pakistan” and he was sentenced to death by a Pakistan military court in April 2017.

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  • THE Legislative Drafting Manual for Punjab that was launched recently in Lahore will also be found useful by law draftsmen, legislators in the other provinces and by the federation. The civil society organization Musavi that is responsible for preparing the manual and holding a workshop on it believes that the “manual employs a wider conception of legislative drafting as including both considerations in conceiving and formulating laws by legislators, and the specific act of translating the same in legislative form and style by legislative drafters”.

 

The need for adopting the principles mentioned in the above quote is particularly urgent in Pakistan where hurriedly drafted bills and lack of due scrutiny by legislators have often adversely affected the quality of legislation. While the senior federal draftsman present at the workshop assured the gathering that his department kept up with the times, the same cannot be said about legislators. The public is also aware of the need for careful drafting of legislative texts and of deciding where to put the comas, full stops and semicolons. Pakistan’s legislators will find the Regula­tory Impact Assessment methodology, devised by the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development, extremely helpful while drafting laws and policies. This RIA consists of the following 10 questions:

  1. Is the objective of the law/ regulation correctly defined?
  2. Is the government action justified?
  3. Is the law/ regulation the best form of government action?
  4. Is there a legal basis for the law/ regulation?
  5. What is the appropriate level of government for this action?
  6. Do the benefits of the law/ regulation justify the cost?
  7. Is the distribution of the effects across society transparent?
  8. Is the law/ regulation clear, consistent, comprehensible and accessible to users?
  9. Have all interested parties had the opportunity to present their views?
  • Chief selector Inzamam quits, says ‘satisfied’ with Pakistan performance in World Cup

Chief Selector Inzamam-ul-Haq on 17th July announced to step down from the chairmanship of the Selection Committee. Speaking to media at Pakistan Cricket Board headquarters, former cricketer said he is satisfied with himself as the chief selector and offered his services for any other responsibility if asked by the board. “Will not ask for renewal of contract after July 30,” he announced. Inzamam was appointed to head the panel in 2016 for three years.

  • A civil judge in Islamabad on 19th July granted three-day physical remand of Mian Tariq Mahmood — a central suspect in a case pertaining to a controversial video of accountability judge Arshad Malik — to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

Mahmood was arrested from the capital by the FIA on Wednesday and had been in custody since a civil judge approved his two-day physical remand, which expired today.

The FIA, during today’s hearing, told the judge that the investigators had recovered a 4GB device from Mahmood and also submitted its forensic report. Mahmood, at this point, told the court that the device had not been recovered by the FIA but was voluntarily submitted by him.

  • The opposition in the Senate on 19th July reiterated their resolve to remove Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjhrani from his post and once again declared that the change was ‘inevitable’.

Opposition leader Mir Hasil Bizenjo — the opposition’s joint candidate for Senate chairman — spoke to the media after a meeting of opposition leaders on Friday to inform that a letter has been submitted to the Senate secretariat. “In the letter, it has been clearly stated that the Constitution allows for a no-confidence motion to be brought against the Senate chairman. And if the motion is accepted through a majority, the chairman has to step down,” he said. Insisting that the opposition has the numbers, Bizenjo pointed out that the meeting of the opposition yesterday had included more than 50 senators. He further claimed that the next meeting, to be held on Monday, will have more than 60 senators.

  • Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa on 19th July visited the Central Police Office in Karachi and highlighted the importance of developing a police system on modern lines to solve criminal cases, Radio Pakistan reported.

Addressing a ceremony at the office, he said that the judiciary and the police are interlinked and work jointly to dispense justice. “We are conjoined twins and cannot work without each other,” he added. He said that reforms being introduced by the judiciary are also closely linked to police reforms initiated by his predecessor retired chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar — who had constituted a Police Reform Committee comprising senior police officers as well as some of the most competent judges from across the country.  “During past few months 71,452 complaints were registered and 57,000 were redressed to the satisfaction of the complainant,” the chief justice said while talking about the effectiveness of the reforms.

 

Economy

Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Shabbar Zaidi on 19th July called on the nation to pay taxes as “giving zakat, charity money and donations is simply not enough”.

The remarks came as he addressed a symposium in Islamabad, titled ‘Pakistan Economy and IMF Program: Challenges and Opportunities’ organized by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI). “I have endured enormous pressure over the past two weeks. I meet 13-14 delegations every day with whom I hold discussions.” “Everyone says the same thing: ‘Please stop charging all these taxes’. We must realise that simply giving zakat, charity and donations is not enough,” he said, adding, “Everyone is equally liable to pay taxes.”

           

F.C Exchange Rates of PKR as of 19th July 2019 as compared to 12th July 2019
Countries PKR rate as of 12th  July 2019 PKR rate as of 19th July 2019
U.S.A. 160.00 160.8
U.K. 203.00 204.00
Euro 182.50 182.50
Japan 1.48 1.48
Saudi Arabia 43.00 43.15
U.A.E. 43.80 43.95

Pakistan Stock Exchange Indices

As of 19th July 2019 As Compared

To 12th July 2019

Position as of 19th July 2019

Symbols KSE100 Index PSX-KMI All Shares Index
Advance 130 (Curr) Current 32458.77 Current 15051.60
Decline 130 (High) High 32549.31 High 15081.45
Unchanged 34 (Low) Low 31901.28 Low 14784.41
Total Change 294  149.23  128.10

 

 

Position as of 12th July 2019
Symbols KSE100 Index PSX-KMI All Shares Index
Advance 61 (Curr) Current 33672.49 Current 15713.83
Decline (High) 198 High 34001.76 High 15853.60
Unchanged (Low) 25 Low 33599.48 Low 15680.72
Total change 284  -202.91 -110.49

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