Economic and Political Weekly 22-09-2019




  • At least 30 civilians were killed and 40 injured in an air strike conducted by the Afghan security forces, backed by US air support, in eastern Afghanistan, officials said on 19th sept.

The attack on 18th Sept night was aimed at destroying a hideout used by Islamic State (IS) militants, but it accidentally targeted farmers near a field in Wazir Tangi area of Khogyani district in Nangarhar province, three government officials told Reuters. Sohrab Qaderi, a provincial council member in eastern Nangarhar province, said a drone strike killed 30 workers in a pine nut field and at least 40 others were injured.

  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on 19th Sept on his main rival, former General Benny Gantz, to join him in a broad, governing coalition after Israel’s election ended with no clear winner but he received response in negative.

A spokeswoman for Gantz, leader of the centrist Blue and White party, had no immediate response to the surprise offer from Netanyahu, head of the right-wing Likud party. The change of strategy reflected Netanyahu’s weakened position after he failed again in Tuesday’s election, which followed an inconclusive ballot in April, to secure a parliamentary majority. “During the election campaign, I called for the establishment of a right-wing government but to my regret, the election results show that this is impossible,” Netanyahu said. “Benny, we must set up a broad unity government, as soon as today. The nation expects us, both of us, to demonstrate responsibility and that we pursue cooperation.” On 18th Sept, Gantz said he hoped for a “good, desirable unity government”. But he has also ruled out forming one with a Netanyahu-led Likud, citing looming corruption charges against the prime minister. Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing.

  • A powerful early morning suicide truck bomb devastated a hospital in southern Afghanistan on 19th Sept, killing at least 20 people and wounding more than 90 others, an official said.

The Taliban took responsibility for the attack, which destroyed part of the hospital in Qalat, the capital of southern Zabul province, and left a fleet of ambulances broken and battered. Residents, many of whom had come to see their sick family members, used shawls and blankets to carry the wounded inside the destroyed building, while authorities scrambled to take the worst of the wounded to hospitals in nearby Kandahar.

· Brexit: UK seeks postponement of backstop discussion until December 2020

The UK has again demanded that talks on guaranteeing a soft Northern Ireland border be postponed until the end of the withdrawal transition period.  Attacking the EU for its lack of flexibility in the Border discussions, Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay elaborated the case against the backstop while not suggesting any alternative. He insisted that that “the alternative to the backstop is not necessary until the end of the implementation period in December 2020 . . . why risk crystallizing an undesirable result this November, when both sides can work together – until December 2020?” Mr Barclay, who returns to Brussels on Friday to continue talks with the EU’s task force, was speaking at a meeting for the press in Madrid this morning. The EU has long insisted that it needs the backstop as part of the withdrawal agreement as an insurance policy ahead of and in case discussions on the future relationship during transition are prolonged or do not produce a result that would guarantee a soft border in Ireland.

· Trump names his new national security adviser

US president Donald Trump named his fourth national security adviser in three years on Wednesday as he selected Robert C O’Brien to replace John Bolton. Mr O’Brien is currently the state department’s top hostage negotiator and recently travelled to Sweden to try to negotiate the release of rapper A$AP Rocky.

·  Spain to hold fourth election in four years after talks fail

Spain will hold a fourth general election in four years after the country’s political parties failed to end a months-long standoff. Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez has been unable to win the parliamentary support that would have allowed him to form a government by September 23rd, the deadline for the triggering of a new election.

  • Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg met on 19th Sept with US President Donald Trump and members of Congress on a political reconnaissance mission to Washington, where he rejected calls to break up the world’s biggest social network.

Zuckerberg’s visit comes as Facebook faces a myriad of regulatory and legal questions surrounding issues like competition, digital privacy, censorship and transparency in political advertising. A Facebook spokesman said discussions were focusing in part on future internet regulation. Senate Democrat Mark Warner, one of the lawmakers who have taken the lead in Washington on digital security, signaled they gave Zuckerberg an earful. The visit, including a 18th Sept night private dinner with Warner and other lawmakers, comes after his stormy appearance last year before Congress, where he was grilled on Facebook’s data protection and privacy missteps.

·Justin Trudeau ‘can’t recall’ how many times he wore blackface

Justin Trudeau Canada’s PM is scrambling to halt further damage to his re-election campaign after a string of racist images from his past put Canada’s image-conscious prime minister at the centre of yet another scandal. Less than five weeks before the federal election on October 21st, the Liberal leader’s campaign was rocked when images emerged of Trudeau wearing blackface makeup.


  • The Indian government on 20th Sept announced a slew of concessions aimed at boosting the economy that will reduce most corporate taxes for local companies to about 25 per cent from 30pc.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the lower tax rates will retroactively apply from April 1, the beginning of India’s fiscal year. Share prices surged, with the Sensex in Mumbai jumping more than 5pc to its highest level since July. India’s economy, the world’s 6th largest, was booming until recently but it has slowed in recent months, with growth in manufacturing dropping to 0.6pc in the last quarter from 12pc a year earlier. Overall, the economy grew at an annual rate of 5pc in the April-June quarter, its slowest annual pace in six years. Many economists believe Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s signature economic policies are at least partly to blame.


GLOBAL INDICES AS OF 20th September 2019

As compared to 13th September 2019  

Global indices as of 20th September 2019
Name Current Value Prev.


 NASDAQ (Sep 20) 8,117.67 8182.88
 FTSE (Sep 20) 7,344.92 7356.42     
 CAC (Sep 20) 5,690.78 5659.08     
 DAX (Sep 20) 12,468.01 12457.70     
 SGX NIFTY (Sep 21) 11,327.00 11340.00     
 NIKKEI 225 (Sep 20) 22,079.09 22044.45     
 STRAITS TIMES (Sep 20) 3,159.68 3158.80     
 HANG SENG (Sep 20) 26,435.67 26468.95     
 TAIWAN WEIGHTED (Sep 20) 10,929.69 10894.70     
 KOSPI (Sep 20) 2,091.52 2080.35     
 SET COMPOSITE (Sep 20) 1,636.20 1640.66     
 JAKARTA COMPOSITE (Sep 20) 6,231.47 6244.47     
 SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (Sep 20) 3,006.45 2999.28

Global indices as of 13th September 2019
Name Current Value Prev.


 NASDAQ (Sep 13) 8,176.71 8194.47
 FTSE (Sep 13) 7,367.46 7344.67
 CAC (Sep 13) 5,655.46 5642.86
 DAX (Sep 13) 12,468.53 12410.25
 SGX NIFTY (Sep 14) 11,130.00 11111.00
 NIKKEI 225 (Sep 13) 21,988.29 21759.61
 STRAITS TIMES (Sep 13) 3,211.49 3194.96
 HANG SENG (Sep 13) 27,352.69 27087.63
 TAIWAN WEIGHTED (Sep 12) 10,827.55 10790.35
 KOSPI (Sep 11) 2,049.20 2032.08
 SET COMPOSITE (Sep 13) 1,661.96 1660.68
 JAKARTA COMPOSITE (Sep 13) 6,334.84 6342.17
 SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (Sep 12) 3,031.24 3008.81



  • Prime Minister Imran Khan — currently after his visit to Saudi Arabia and Umrrah — has reached the United States on 21st Sept to highlight the occupied Kashmir situation at the UN General Assembly session and other forums.

According to the Foreign Office, PM Imran will lead the Pakistan delegation during the high-profile week of the UN General Assembly Session in New York from September 21-27. “The prime minister will deliver his address to the UNGA on Friday, September 27, and share Pakistan’s perspective and position on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute and its current human rights and related dimensions,” an FO statement said, adding that the premier will also articulate Pakistan’s perspective on some key contemporary issues.

  • A documentary about Pakistan’s first and only Nobel Laureate in Science, Dr Abdus Salam, will be on Netflix in October.

Salam — The First ****** Nobel Laureate, a feature-length film, has already won accolades on the international film festival circuit, including DFW South Asian Film Festival, South Asia Human Rights Festival, South Asian International Film Festival and the South Asian Film Festival of Montreal, among others. Born in 1926 in a remote village in Punjab, British India, Salam was a child prodigy. He came from humble beginnings, growing up in a small brick house with a large family of eleven. While Salam’s legacy looms large in the world of physics, he is largely forgotten in Pakistan because of his faith, since he was Qadiani.

  • The National Accountability Bureau has arrested a former director general of parks and horticulture of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation in the city.

“NAB Rawalpindi arrested Liaqat Ali Khan Qaimkhani, ex-DG parks and horticulture, KMC, in Bagh Ibne Qasim scam,” said a spokesperson. The anti-graft body seized eight vehicles, arms, property files, jewellery and official records of the KMC from his custody. NAB sources said that the eight recovered vehicles were luxury ones and the weapons sophisticated ones. They added that documents of seven bungalows in Karachi and Lahore were also found in his home during a search in PECHS, Block-6. ‘Original files’ of the KMC were also seized from the held suspect’s home. Two lockers, six and four feet high, were also seized, which have not been opened so far, said the sources. They revealed that the held suspect had granted a “fake contract” of Bagh Ibne Qasim when he was parks DG of the KMC.

  • Seven years after the deadly fire that killed more than 250 workers in a Baldia garment factory, an owner of the industrial unit identified a Muttahida Qaumi Movement lawmaker and six others as accused persons, who allegedly planned and set fire to their business over non-payment of ‘protection money’.

While recording his statement from the Pakistan consulate in Dubai through a video link, Arshad Bhaila deposed before an antiterrorism court that the fire in their factory in which over 250 workers perished was an act of terrorism intentionally carried out by the accused persons on the instructions of the MQM leadership. In July, the trial court had allowed an application moved by Arshad Bhaila and Shahid Bhaila through their counsel Afaq Ahmed pleading to the court to record their testimonies from the Gulf state through a video link citing purported threats to their lives in the country.


  • Indus Motors Company (IMC), the maker of Toyota vehicles, has decided to shut down all production for the remaining days of September, due to continuing fall in demand. Bike sales also showed contrasting trend as some assemblers, after enjoying a good FY19, faced precarious sales during the first two months of FY20 while for many manufacturers the current fiscal year is almost as volatile as the preceding one.

An IMC official, who asked not be named, said the company had already observed eight NPDs in July and 11-12 NPD in August. He said the federal excise duty (FED) of 2.5-7.5 per cent on various engine capacity cars, sky rocketing prices on account of rupee-dollar parity coupled with additional customs duty on imported parts and raw material and high interest rates had priced most of their vehicles out of the market. For September, “half of the current month is off,” the official said. The country’s total bike production fell by 13 per cent to 2.459 million units in FY19 from 2.825mn units in FY18, showed Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) data.

F.C Exchange Rates of PKR as of 20th September 2019 as compared to 13th September 2019
Countries PKR rate as of 13th September 2019 PKR rate as of 20th September 2019
U.S.A. 156.50 156.60
U.K. 194.50 197.00
Euro 174.50 175.00
Japan 1.47 1.47
Saudi Arabia 41.70 41.65
U.A.E. 42.75 42.65


Pakistan Stock Exchange Indices

As of 20th September 2019 As Compared

To 13th September 2019 


Position as of 20th September 2019
Symbols KSE100 Index PSX-KMI All Shares Index
Advance 128


Current 32077.84 Current 14929.05
Decline 163 (High) High 32332.73 High 15092.84
Unchanged 19 (Low) Low 32055.30 Low 14916.42
Total Change 310  -106.19                   -64.32


Position as of 13th September 2019
Symbols KSE100 Index PSX-KMI All Shares Index
Advance 134 (Curr) Current 31481.31 Current 14594.62
Decline 142 (High) High 31630.07 High 14643.58
Unchanged 29 (low) Low 31279.83 Low 14481.69
Total Change 305  -65.30  24.11


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