Economic & Political Weekly 26-05-2019

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Politics

·Police seek suspect after package bomb explosion in France. Twelve people injured in incident described by Emmanuel Macron as an attack

 A frame grab from a surveillance video showing a man pushing a mountain bike in the vicinity of a suspect package bomb blast in Lyon. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Police in France is hunting a suspect following a blast in a pedestrian street in the heart of Lyon that wounded more than a dozen people just two days before the country’s fiercely contested European parliament elections. The president, Emmanuel Macron, called 24th May explosion, apparently from a package packed with shrapnel and placed in the street, an “attack” and sent his interior minister, Christophe Castaner, to Lyon. Police issued an appeal for witnesses on Twitter as they sought the suspect, a man believed to be in his early 30s on a mountain bicycle caught on security cameras in the area immediately before the explosion. They posted an image of the man, wearing light-colored shorts and a long-sleeved dark top and described him as “dangerous”. The country’s justice minister, Nicole Belloubet, told BFM television it was too soon to say whether the blast was a “terrorist act”. A police source said the package contained “screws or bolts” and had been placed in front of a bakery. The number of injured stood at 13 people, with 11 taken to hospitals. None of the injuries was life-threatening. Macron said: “It’s not for me to give a toll, but it appears there are no casualties. There have been injuries, so obviously I’m thinking of these injured and their families.” Denis Broliquier, the mayor of the city’s second arrondissement, said: “An eight-year-old girl was wounded … We’re fairly relieved because apparently there were no serious injuries but, on the other hand, we are certain it was an explosive device.” France has been on high alert following a wave of deadly terror attacks since 2015 that have killed more than 250 people.

  • At least 32 people were killed in a prison riot in Tajikistan, including 24 members of the militant Islamic State group and three guards, authorities said on Monday.

Five inmates and the three guards were initially killed by prisoners in the riot that erupted on Sunday evening, and the others died in clashes with security forces trying to restore order, the justice ministry said in a statement. The prison in Vakhdat, 17 kilometers east of the capital Dushanbe, holds 1,500 inmates. The ministry said the rioters first stabbed to death three guards, and then five other inmates “in order to intimidate” others. They then took other prisoners hostage before opening fire on the jail’s medical facilities. “Following a reprisal operation, 24 members of this group were killed and 35 others arrested. The hostages were freed” and calm restored to the prison, the statement said.

·Wildfires force nearly 5,000 Canadians out of their homes as firefighters continue to battle-growing-blazes

Nearly 5,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in northern Alberta, Canada, to escape a monstrous blaze that has reached nearly 230,000 acres, officials in the province said.  Chuckegg Creek Wildfire, burning in Mackenzie County just two miles south of the town of High Level, has been torching ground for more than two days. It is just one of a “number of out-of-control wildfires” burning in the province.

  • Six dead, 200 injured in protests over Indonesia’s election result

Six people were killed and more than 200 injured in Indonesia’s capital amid angry protests against the results of the country’s recent general election. On 21st May, the General Elections Commission confirmed that incumbent President Joko Widodo — known as Jokowi — had won 55.5% of the vote, securing a second term as leader of the world’s third largest democracy. His longtime rival, Prabowo Subianto, has claimed widespread ballot-rigging, and his camp said he plans to challenge the election results by filing a lawsuit with the Constitutional Court.

·India’s minorities fear return of Modi but that has happened

It’s not even been one year. I really miss him,” says Sahila Khan, her head bowed and sitting in a small room that belonged to her father, Rakbar, a Muslim farmer who was lynched by a group of Hindu men in India’s Rajasthan state. Khan, 28 was killed in July last year and left behind 7 children, including 14 year-old Sahila. Khan and a friend had been walking two newly bought cows through the fields of Alwar in the country’s north, towards their home across the border in Haryana when they were attacked by a group of Hindu men, according to his family. But it wasn’t an isolated case. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), Hindu vigilante groups have killed dozens of people in recent years, many of them Muslims, for allegedly slaughtering or transporting cows — an animal that is considered sacred by many Hindus. The attacks have sparked concern about the spread of violent Hindu nationalism since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his right wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014. Critics say the presence of a Hindu nationalist government in Delhi has encouraged vigilantism by their hard-line supporters against cattle traders, especially Muslims, a minority in India. Even minority groups within the Hindu community, such as lower caste Hindus previously known as “untouchables,” have faced violence from hard-line nationalists.”There is fear. There was one incident and so we fear that there will be another,” said Suraj Pal, a farmer in Khan’s village, Kolgaon.

  • Between May 23 and May 26, citizens from 28 member countries will have the opportunity to vote for who will represent them in European Parliament over the next five years.

More than 500 million citizens of the European Union will have the opportunity to take part in the world’s single biggest multi-country election next week. The biggest challenge for these elections, however, is communicating to voters what the parliament and its members actually do, according to Simon Usher wood, deputy director of the research initiative, UK in a Changing Europe. “A difficulty for the European Parliament is that it does have a lot of power, but its fame is fairly limited,” Usher wood said. “I think a lot of people don’t really know about it, they don’t understand what the parliament does and doesn’t do.” Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming vote: At the European Parliament, 512 million people from 28 member states are represented by 751 members. All EU citizens and qualifying Commonwealth citizens have the right to vote, as long as they have registered. Voting will begin in the Netherlands and the UK on May 23. However most of EU countries will vote on May 26, with results expected later that evening or early on Monday morning. Recently, the turnout to vote in these elections has been steadily dropping. In the last election, in 2014, there was a turnout of just 43% — ranging from 90% in Belgium, where voting is compulsory, to just 13% in Slovakia. Anyone can stand to become a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) in each country as long as they’re a citizen of the European Union, and they can run as a representative of a political party or as an individual. It’s also not a requirement for them to have any previous experience as a politician in their home country. “It’s like a national election but the difference is that EU citizens who live in other countries — other member states — are allowed to vote and stand as candidates in that country,” Usher wood explained. “The idea is to give all EU citizens to have someone represent them, wherever it is they live in the European Union.” Each country is allocated a certain amount of seats in parliament, depending on its population. Malta for instance — which is the EU’s smallest nation — receives six seats, while Germany — the largest — has 96. “Roughly speaking, the larger you are as a member state, the more seats you get but because we have quite a lot of smaller member states they are generally over represented,” Usher wood explained.

·What will happen after Brexit?

The UK currently has 73 MEPs but if and when Brexit does happen, 46 of its seats will be abolished while the remaining 27 will be redistributed to other countries. Usher wood said the removal and redistribution of those seats could influence current political groupings, such as where some may no longer be large enough to qualify for funding. It could also affect the amount of speaking time that each group receives. Ahead of the European Parliamentary electins, former UKIP leader Nigel Farage launched the Brexit Party. If the UK can agree a deal before European Parliament returns on July 2, he said, the UK MEPs who were elected during these elections will not have to take up their seats, but adds that it’s unlikely. “I think you’re likely to see … that the 73 British MEPs will take their seats in Parliament and they’re going to have a real influence on a number of decisions, not least determining who gets what job within the new parliament,” Usher wood said.

  • Iran will “under no circumstances” enter a war either directly or indirectly with the United States, a prominent reformist Iranian lawmaker said 22nd May, as both Washington and Tehran try to ease heightened tensions in the region.

The reported comments by Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh come after the White House earlier this month sent an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the region over a still-unexplained threat it perceived from Iran. Since that development, Iran has announced it will back away from the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, an accord that President Donald Trump pulled America out of a year ago.

  • The man in the saffron robe sat cross-legged with his eyes closed, back to the wall of a cave framed by the Himalayas is now again on winning seat.

This is India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s latest production, traveling to a remote mountain temple with a preferred TV news crew to show the world India’s leader meditating days before the end of the country’s marathon general elections. As official results on 23rd May showed Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party leading in the race for the lower house of Parliament, the party already declared victory. Modi, 68, has carefully constructed an image of himself as a pious man of the people, a would-be monk called to politics who has elevated India’s status globally and transformed its parliamentary elections from a contest of political parties on social and economic issues into a cult of personality. Finally BJP has grabbed 303 seats out of 543, while Congress managed to win a mere 52.

  • British Prime Minister Theresa May announced her resignation in an emotional address on 23rd May, ending dramatic three-year tenure of near-constant crisis over Brexit.

“It is and will always remain a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit,” May, her voice breaking, said outside her Downing Street office. May, 62, said she would step down as Conservative Party leader on June 7. She would remain as prime minister in a caretaker role until a replacement is elected by the party. The leader of the party automatically becomes prime minister. May, who took charge in the aftermath of the 2016 EU referendum, was forced to make way following a mutiny in her cabinet and Conservative Party over her ill-fated strategy to take Britain out of the European Union. She will become one of Britain’s shortest-serving post-WWII prime ministers, remembered for presiding over one of the most chaotic periods in the country’s modern political history and for her inability to deliver Brexit.

  • At least 15 students died on 24th May in a fire in a building in India housing a college, officials said, with images on television and social media showing people jumping to escape the blaze.

“The students lost their life both because of the fire and jumping out of the building,” Deepak Sapthaley, a fire official in the western city of Surat, told AFP. Ten of them died from the jump and five from the fire, with up to 20 being treated in hospital, he said. The images showed blazing orange flames and black smoke billowing out of the building. Sapthaley added that 50 or 60 people were inside the coaching institute on the top floor of the building when the blaze began. The cause was not yet known. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who comes from Gujarat state where the fire broke out, said on Twitter: “Extremely anguished by the fire tragedy in Surat.

·  Everest traffic jam creates lethal conditions for climbers

 

Two mountaineers have died on Mount Everest after crowds of people became stuck in a queue leading to the summit of the world’s highest mountain. Indian climber Anjali Kulkarni, 55, died on her way back from climbing to the summit of Mount Everest on Wednesday, her son Shantanu Kulkarni told CNN. She had become stuck in the “traffic jam” above camp four, which, at 8,000 meters (26,247 feet), is the final camp before the summit. American mountaineer Donald Lynn Cash, 55, also died Wednesday after fainting from high altitude sickness while descending from the summit, according to the Nepalese expedition company Pioneer Adventure Pvt. Ltd. The summit of Mount Everest has an elevation of 8,848 meters (29,029 feet). At that level, each breath contains only one-third of the oxygen found at sea level. The human body is also rapidly deteriorating at that altitude, meaning most people can spend only a matter of minutes at the top, without extra oxygen supplies, before it becomes intolerable. “The weather has not been very great this climbing season, so when there is a small window when the weather clears up, climbers make the move,” Ghimire said. “On May 22, after several days of bad weather, there was a small window of clear weather, when more than 200 mountaineers ascended Everest. The main cause of deaths on Everest has been high altitude sickness which is what happened with most of the climbers who lost their lives this season as well.”

Economy-

  • Global stocks were rebounding on 24th May following 23rd May sell-off, with markets hoping for an easing in the US-China trade disputeand after British Prime Minister Theresa May said she plans to resign as of June 7.

Investors appear to hope May’s pending resignation could unblock the political stalemate over Brexit. Some analysts are warning it could simply mean another delay to the EU departure.

GLOBAL INDICES AS OF 24th and 25th May 2019

As compared to 17th and 18th May 2019

Global indices as of 24th and 25th May 2019
Name Current Value       Prev.

Open/Close

US MARKETS
 NASDAQ (May 24) 7,637.01 7675.57

7628.28

EUROPEAN MARKETS
 FTSE (May 24) 7,277.73 7231.04

7231.04

 CAC (May 24) 5,316.51 5307.80

5281.37

 DAX (May 24) 12,011.04 12027.31

11952.41

ASIAN MARKETS
 SGX NIFTY (May 25) 11,854.00 11880.00

11877.50

 NIKKEI 225 (May 24) 21,117.22 20980.79

21151.14

 STRAITS TIMES (May 24) 3,169.89 3152.08

3160.72

 HANG SENG (May 24) 27,353.93 27368.68

27267.13

 TAIWAN WEIGHTED (May 24) 10,328.28 10313.15

10308.37

 KOSPI (May 24) 2,045.31 2047.30

2059.59

 SET COMPOSITE (May 24) 1,614.12 1604.67

1609.79

 JAKARTA COMPOSITE (May 24) 6,057.35 6042.58

6032.70

 SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (May 24) 2,852.99 2847.84

2852.52

Global indices as of 17th and 18th May 2019
Name Current Value Prev.

Close

.
US MARKETS
 NASDAQ (May 17) 7,816.28 7898.05
EUROPEAN MARKETS
 FTSE (May 17) 7,348.62 7353.51
 CAC (May 17) 5,438.23 5448.11
 DAX (May 17) 12,238.94 12310.37
ASIAN MARKETS
 SGX NIFTY (May 18) 11,434.50 11434.50
 NIKKEI 225 (May 17) 21,250.09 21062.98
 STRAITS TIMES (May 17) 3,205.46 3230.26
 HANG SENG (May 17) 27,946.46 28275.07
 TAIWAN WEIGHTED (May 17) 10,384.11 10474.61
 KOSPI (May 17) 2,055.80 2067.69
 SET COMPOSITE (May 17) 1,608.11 1614.75
 JAKARTA COMPOSITE (May 17) 5,826.87 5895.74
 SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (May 17) 2,882.30 2955.71

Pakistan

Politics

  • Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa on 23rd May took the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to task while rejecting the bureau’s appeal against the acquittal of a suspect in a corruption case and asked what the role of the accountability watchdog was.

“What does the NAB do after all? Is NAB’s only purpose to make cases?” he asked.

A three-member bench of the Supreme Court headed by CJP Khosa heard the accountability bureau’s appeal against the acquittal of a suspect named Attaullah during which the top judge remarked: “NAB should think about how its only purpose is not to make cases, the only purpose is not to ‘pakar dhakkar’[catch and push] around [suspects].” “NAB should also attach evidence for those who it has made cases against,” he added. The suspect, who was accused of corruption as a cashier at National Bank, was acquitted by a high court four years ago. NAB had appealed the SC against his acquittal. “For 19 years, the suspect was being troubled,” the chief justice remarked, adding that there was not enough evidence to prove corruption. While asking what the purpose of the bureau was, the top judge remarked: “NAB’s purpose is also to prove a case and have a suspect punished,” he said, adding that because of the bureau’s attitude, people were under mental pressure. Separately, the apex court also rejected another appeal by NAB against a high court order regarding a deputy superintendent of police Jahan Khan in an asset beyond means case. The SC said that a trial court had given the suspect a ten-year sentence and fined him. They added that in light of evidence, a high court had revoked the trial court verdict and acquitted the suspect. The apex court said that the high court order was on the basis of the law and of evidence, and rejected NAB’s request while maintaining the high court order. The SC noted that the suspect had received 120 kanal of property from his father, mother and sister.CJP Khosa said that NAB themselves had written that the suspect had over Rs8 million in assets and had bought property for Rs4.6 million. The top judge expressed displeasure at the accountability bureau and said that NAB should be fined for this.

  • Prime Minister Imran Khan on 23rd May congratulated India’s premier Narendra Modi on his victory in the country’s national elections.

 

With around half the 600 million votes cast counted by 5pm, Indian Election Commission’s data showed Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) winning more thnan 300 of India’s 543 elected lower house seats. Seeing this Pakistan PM Imran Khan sent his congratulation message on twitter immediately.

  • Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj held an informal dialogue on the sideline of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on Wednesday.

“Today [I] met Sushma Ji. She had a complaint that we sometimes talk in a bitter manner. She brought sweets today so we could also speak sweetly,” Qureshi was quoted as saying by the Foreign Office. “We made it clear to her that we want all the matters resolved through dialogue, and that Prime Minister Imran Khan had said in his very first speech that if India takes one step forward, we would take two steps forward.” “Even today we are ready for a dialogue,” he added. The two foreign ministers’ interaction came at the end of a two-day SCO Council of Foreign Ministers’ meeting. They were initially scheduled to meet on the sideline of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York last September. However, New Delhi had scrapped that meeting just a day after agreeing to it, and had cited “unclean intentions” on Pakistan’s side as the reason for doing so.

  • The administration of Darul Sehat Hospital and parents of Nashwa — a minor who passed awaylast month after being injected with the wrong dosage of a solution at the said facility — have reached an out-of-court settlement, com reported on Wednesday.

The written agreement dated May 18, was signed between Nashwa’s parents Qaiser Ali and Shumaila Qaiser, and Darul Sehat hospital through its Chairman Amir Waliuddin Chishti and Vice Chairman Syed Ali Farhan. As per the agreement, Nashwa’s parents will not claim any damages or compensation as long as the hospital abides by the conditions of the agreement. The family will also not pursue the case lodged at the Shahrah-i-Faisal police station. Furthermore, if the police investigation against the hospital’s nurse Sobia and nursing assistant Agha Moiz leads to a court case, it “shall be withdrawn or compounded” by Nashwa’s family. It is not yet clear if the family has submitted a formal request to the police to call off the investigation. Meanwhile, the hospital will build a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), which is only available in a few hospitals in Pakistan by May 31, 2020. The unit will be named Baby Nashwa PICU. The hospital, as part of the settlement, will also set aside Rs5 million annually in the “Nashwa Fund” to provide free treatment to the “poor and needy patients”. Darul Sehat will also provide a scholarship to one student of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery or Bachelor of Dental Surgery every year. The candidate for Nashwa Scholarship — named after the deceased infant — will be selected by her parents and shall fulfill the requirements for admission set by regulatory authorities. If the candidate does not fulfill the requirements and is rejected, Nashwa’s parents will select another student. The agreement says that the hospital has taken all the measures recommended by the Sind Health Care Commission and “undertaken to further abide by any directions of the regulatory authorities”.

  • The Petroleum Division has granted Kirthar Pakistan BV — a subsidiary of Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (Kufpec) — the license for exploration of oil in the Makhad block, a press statement by the energy ministry said on 22nd May.

The division said that the government has executed an Exploration License (EL) as well as a Petroleum Concession Agreement (PCA) — signed by Petroleum Division Secretary Mian Asad Hayauddin and Qazi Mohammad Saleem Siddiqui, the director general of Petroleum Concessions, and the CEO of Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company (KUFPEC) at a ceremony also attended by Minister for Petroleum Omar Ayub Khan. On the occasion, the petroleum minister said that “the execution of PCA and EL will attract foreign investment in the petroleum sector and bridge the demand and supply gap in the energy sector.” Khan further said that the efforts will bear fruit in future years in the form of hydrocarbon reserves. The Makhad block, according to the press release, is situated in Attock, Mianwali and Chakwal in Punjab as well as Kohat in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It is said to be spread over 1,562.92 square kilometres. Kufpec will invest at least $9.8 million in the block, as per the press release issued. Apart from the minimum firm work commitment, the company is also obligated to spend a minimum of $30,000 per year in Makhad block on social welfare schemes.

  • SOC Films has always been committed to making content that’s educational about social injustices.

In her latest animated series, Academy Award winner, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is focusing on raising awareness about the plight of children. Shattering the Silence is a 4-part animated series, a social awareness campaign in Urdu, which aims to critically engage audiences, and children specifically with real-life stories of child abuse. The goal is also to educate them with the corresponding laws, the resources which can be accessed and the steps which can be taken if they, or any other children they know of, are forced into situations of marriage, labour, trafficking or physical abuse. The first of these episodes is called ‘Cheena Hua Bachpan’ which is told through the character of a young girl trafficked into working at an influential family’s home, where she’s deprived of basic human rights such as education.

  • Pakistani children worst affected in HIV outbreak

 

The first sign that something was wrong in the small southern Pakistani town of Ratto Dero appeared in February.  A handful of worried parents had taken their children to the doctor, complaining that their little ones could not shake off a fever. Within weeks, more children came forward suffering from a similar illness. Bemused, Dr Imran Aarbani sent the children’s blood away for testing. What came back confirmed his worst fears. The children were infected with HIV – and no-one knows why. “By 24 April, 15 children had tested positive, though none of their parents were found to be carrying the virus,” the hospital doctor told the BBC. It was only the tip of the iceberg. In the past month, more than 607 people – 75% of them children – have been diagnosed with the virus after rumours of an outbreak sent families rushing to a special camp set up at the town’s government hospital by the health department of Sindh province. Perhaps more surprising, however, is the fact that this is not the first outbreak to hit the region in recent years.

  • At least two people were killed and 20 were wounded in a blast inside Rehmania mosque in Quetta’s Pashtoonabad area during Friday prayers i.e 23rd May, according to Civil Hospital medical superintendent (MS) Dr Saleem Abro.

The injured were shifted to Civil Hospital Quetta. Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Quetta Abdul Razzaq Cheema confirmed the casualties and said that the attack was carried out through an improvised explosive device (IED). According to Cheema, the blast occurred before Friday prayers started. There has been no claim of responsibility as yet. The DIG said that out of 618 mosques, 100 have been provided with security. He added that 1,500 police officials have been posted across the city. Baluchistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani condemned the blast and summoned a report on the incident. He expressed grief over the deaths and multiple injuries caused by the blast. “Those who make innocent people the target of terrorism in this blessed month and on this blessed day deserve a severe punishment,” he said, while ordering security measures in the city to be further strengthened. Alyani condoled with the family of the deceased and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured.

  • A prayer leader was shot dead in a suspected targeted attack in Karachi’s Sachal area on 23rd May morning, officials said.

 

Mohammed Arbab, 55, was coming out of the Minarul Huda Masjid in Sachal Goth near Murtaza Chowk after offering Fajr prayers when armed pillion riders opened indiscriminate fire on him and fled, said Malir SSP Irfan Bahadur. He sustained 11 bullet wounds and was transported to Dr Ruth Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi. He was shifted to the operation theatre and died within half an hour, according to police surgeon Dr Qarar Ahmed Abbasi.

  • The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) has issued a show-cause notice to News One TV channel for airing what it called “defamatory” news items and clips in which National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Javed Iqbal was allegedly shown in conversation with a woman, it emerged on 24th

Some footage and a few audio clips — first aired by News One — in which a male could be heard talking to a woman and making inappropriate remarks at various points had emerged earlier this week. NAB had denied that the audio clips had anything to do with its chairman, branding them “baseless, fake and based on lies”. In the notice sent to the chief executive officer of M/s Airwaves Media Pvt. Ltd. (News One), a copy of which was obtained by TV channels, Pemra stated that the TV channel had on May 23 “repeatedly flashed” breaking news “targeting” the NAB chairman along with audio and video clips. According to the authority, “the channel continued claiming that the defamatory statements and clips were being aired in the public interest”, but it stopped airing the news items and issued an apology around an hour later which stated that the clips were found to be “unconfirmed and unverified”. The broadcaster also apologised to the NAB chief for airing the news, the notice said.

·Father of murdered 10-year-girl says she was raped and acid thrown on her.

The murder of a 10-year-old Pakistani girl who was allegedly raped has sparked public outrage in the South Asian country, with police under fire for inaction and authorities accused of failing to protect children. Farishta Mohmand’s body was found in woodlands near her home in the capital Islamabad; five days after her father first raised the alarm. Gul Nabi reported her disappearance the night she went missing, but police said Tuesday that officers waited four days to file a missing person’s report. He said that when he made his report, police said she had likely run away with someone. “The body was in bad condition, it felt as if someone had thrown acid on her,” he said. Farishta’s death has become a lightning rod in a country where there is widespread violence against children and women. Many have seized on the delay in police action as proof of institutionalized gender discrimination. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said the latest case bore a “chilling resemblance” to the 2018 killing of seven-year-old Zainab Ansari, whose body was found dumped on a garbage pile in the eastern province of Punjab. Following Zainab’s death, protesters took to the streets complaining that authorities were failing to keep their children safe after a series of similar killings. A man called Imran Ali was arrested over her death, and hanged last October after being found guilty of murder, rape, abduction and sodomy of a minor. Rights commission chairperson Mehdi Hasan said Farishta’s death suggested Pakistan was becoming “an increasingly brutal society in which children are abused and discarded at whim.” “It is critical that stronger, more vigilant mechanisms be enforced to protect young children — and young girls in particular — who are among the most vulnerable members of our society,” Hasan said. “No society can afford to be this callous where its children are. Over 3,830 cases of child abuse were reported in newspapers in 2018, an increase of 11% on the year before, according to a Pakistan NGO called Sahil that campaigns against child sexual abuse. Some 55% of the victims were girls. The most common reported crimes against children were abduction, sodomy and rape. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said in its annual report that the country had failed to protect children, “with nearly all their fundamental rights and freedoms infringed on or put at serious risk of violation.” Very few victims of physical or sexual violence received protection, counseling or legal services

Economy

 

  • Has announced its financial targets for FY 2019.

 

According to a detailed revenue plan drawn up by the tax bureaucracy, and shared with the International Monetary Fund in the last round of meetings, the government is aiming to introduce new tax measures equal to Rs775 billion in the forthcoming budget for the fiscal year 2019-20. Fixing the budget announcement date on June 11, the government on Thursday approved a consolidated development portfolio of Rs1.837 trillion, targeting an economic growth rate of 4 four per cent for the next fiscal year by slashing Rs 575 billion of PSDP.

  • Saudi Arabia’s promised deferred payment facility to Pakistan for the latter’s oil imports will kick in from July 1, under which Pakistan will receive petroleum products worth $275 million every month, Radio Pakistan reported on Wednesday.

Quoting a tweet by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Hafeez Shaikh, Radio Pakistan stated that the kingdom will export petroleum products worth $3.2 billion to Pakistan every year for the next three years. The finance adviser said that the facility will “strengthen Pakistan’s balance of payments position”, and thanked Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for “his continuous support for the people of Pakistan”. Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Khusro Bakhtiar also hailed the news, adding that the facility would have a positive effect on the stock market.

  • Mohammad Younus Dagha was removed as the secretary finance on Thursday, a notification issued by the Cabinet Secretariat/Establishment Division said and Naveed Kamran Baloch has been appointed as new Secretary Finance.

A separate notification announced the transfer of Naveed Kamran Baloch, who was posted as cabinet division secretary, to the role of finance secretary. Baloch has previously served as Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Chief Secretary. He joined the civil services on October 22, 1985. He was previously a grade 22 officer with the Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS), posted as Secretary National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination Division. He will retire on March 7, 2021.                                                       

F.C Exchange Rates of PKR as of 24th May 2019 as compared to 17th May 2019
Countries PKR rate as of 17th May 2019 PKR rate as of 24th May 2019
U.S.A. 151.00 151.70
U.K. 190.00 194.00
Euro 166.00 170.00
Japan 1.3900 1.3700
Saudi Arabia 40.20 40.00
U.A.E. 41.20 41.00

 

Pakistan Stock Exchange Indices

As of 24th May 2019 As Compared

To 17th May 2019  

 

Position as of 24th May 2019
Symbols KSE100 Index PSX-KMI All Shares Index
Advance 138 (Curr) Current 35703.81 Current 16709.54
Declined (High) 137 High 35766.70 High 16766.99
Unchanged Low 15 Low 35435.91 Low 16612.28
Total Change 290  122.47  -57.45
Position as of 17th May 2019
Symbols KSE100 Index PSX-KMI All Shares Index
Advance 32 (Curr) Current 33166.62 Current 15541.89
Declined High 260 High 33971.12 High 16011.33
Unchanged Low 13 Low 33005.99 Low 15481.06
Total Change 305  -804.50  -469.44

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