Economic and Political Weekly 27-10-2019

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World

Politics

· Bangladesh sentences 16 to death for killing teenager girl

The principal of a religious school in Bangladesh was among 16 people sentenced to death on 24th Oct for the murder of a teenage girl who refused to withdraw a complaint of sexual harassment against him, the public prosecutor said. The perpetrators poured kerosene over Nusrat Jahan (18), and set her on fire on the roof of her madrasa in April in the southeastern district of Feni. Police said in their charge-sheet the murder was carried out on the orders of the principal. “The judgment proves that no one is above the law,” public prosecutor Hafez Ahmed told reporters after the court verdict.

· Iraqi security forces used tear gas and stun grenades to repel demonstrators on 25th Oct morning who had marched towards government buildings in protest against corruption and economic hardship.

The incident marked a renewal of the anti-government protests after security forces killed about 150 people in confronting a round of demonstrations at the start of the month. About 1,000 people, some of whom had camped overnight in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, were marching towards the city’s fortified Green Zone, which houses government buildings and foreign embassies, when they were stopped by security forces.

·Thirty-nine people found dead in a container in Essex

A murder investigation has begun after 39 bodies were found inside a container on a Bulgarian-registered lorry at an industrial estate in Essex in southern England. The victims, found at the Water glade Industrial Park in Grays, included one teenager, Essex Police said.

·Brexit extension seemed likely as Johnson’s bid to fast-track. However Bill has been defeated and EU27 failed to agree on length of extension and deferred it until next week. Further Boris is looking for elections on 12 Dec 2019.

Boris Johnson was last night preparing to discuss with EU leaders the terms of a delay to Brexit after MPs voted in favor of his withdrawal agreement Bill but rejected a timetable that would have passed it by October 31st. MPs approved the Bill’s second reading by 329 to 299, a majority of 30 and the first time the House of Commons has voted for any Brexit deal. EU ambassadors have postponed a decision on a British Brexit extension until next week.

· Hong Kong withdraws extradition bill

Hong Kong authorities have withdrawn an unpopular extradition bill that sparked months of protests that have evolved into a campaign for greater democratic change. “I now formally announce the withdrawal of the bill,” secretary for security John Lee told the city’s legislature.

·  Erdogan strikes deal with Putin on Syrian operation

Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan reached a broad agreement to establish a buffer zone free of Kurdish forces in north Syria during high-stake talks in the Russian resort of Sochi on 22nd Oct . The two men met in the tense hours before a five-day US-brokered ceasefire between Turkish and Kurdish forces expired in north Syria, risking a fresh outbreak of hostilities.

·  World is off course in bid to achieve zero hunger by 2030, warns agriculture expert

The world is off course in its efforts to achieve zero hunger by 2030 and failure to address the issue risks undermining other UN sustainable development goals such as good health and poverty eradication, the head of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has warned. Speaking in Dublin on 22nd Oct IFAD President Gilbert Houngbo said there was probably a window of just two years to get global efforts back on track through building political commitment and mobilizing resources. Given €115 billion a year was needed, and actual funding for agriculture was €10 billion a year, the scale of the gap was obvious, he added.

·Lebanon protests: Laughing, dancing and a deadly seriousness. Lebanese president Michel Aoun however said on 24th Oct, he was ready for a dialogue with protesters to help save the country from collapse after days of demonstrations against the ruling elite, and suggested a government reshuffle was possible.

Tens of thousands of men, women and children continued on Tuesday to pour on to streets and squares of cities and towns across Lebanon to demand the removal of the country’s government. The protesters rejected a package of reforms unveiled on Monday by Prime Minister Saad Hariri in a bid to end the unrest, which erupted last week after the government approved a tax on messaging services, including WhatsApp.

· Trudeau’s victory raises questions over the future of Canada’s right

Liberal supporters trickled into the party headquarters in downtown Montreal on 21st Oct night, apparently worried that they were about to witness an electoral comeuppance for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Yet any jitters quickly turned to cheers as the party secured a minority government, thereby rescuing Trudeau’s legacy – and probably tilting Canada’s political landscape further to the left in the process.

·   Allegations of human rights violations to be investigated – Chilean military

Chile’s military said it would investigate allegations of human rights violations in days of riots, looting and protests throughout the country that have left 15 dead and led to the arrest of more than 2,600. Ten cities have been placed in a state of emergency and under evening lockdown since riots broke out last Friday during protests at high living costs and inequality.

· Protests erupt in Bolivia as Morales claims election win

Demonstrators have taken to the streets in Bolivia after the counting of votes in 20th Oct presidential election descended into controversy with the result still poised on a knife-edge on 22nd Oct evening. The country’s opposition has accused the government of President Evo Morales of fraud after the count was mysteriously suspended on Sunday night just as returns pointed to the need for a December run-off round between the incumbent and his closest rival Carlos Mesa. But when the count restarted Monday night Mr. Morales had pulled far enough ahead of Mr Mesa to allow him claim outright victory on the first roun

·  Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu fails to form government

Binyamin Netanyahu has abandoned attempts to build a governing coalition in the wake of Israel’s second deadlocked elections this year. He blamed his rivals on 21st Oct for not agreeing to make him prime minister, a stalemate that raises the possibility of an unprecedented third poll.

·Spanish PM and Catalan leader at odds over recent riots

Relations between the Spanish and Catalan governments appear to have hit a new low in the wake of the tumultuous events in Barcelona last week. The Spanish acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has refused to meet the Catalan president, Quim Torra, who has called for negotiations in an attempt to find a political solution to the ongoing crisis.

  • People are protesting around the world.

Across the globe, from Lebanon to Iraq, Chile to Haiti and Hong Kong, Italy people are taking to the streets in thousands, telling their leaders: enough is enough and they are not going to tolerate increase in prices, taxes, unemployment with no governance.

  • Japan’s new emperor formally takes the throne

Japan’s Emperor Naruhito has officially proclaimed his enthronement, in a ritual-bound, centuries-old ceremony attended by more than a hundred dignitaries from around the world.

·Saudi Arabia has appointed a new foreign minister with experience in Western capitals and loyalty to the powerful crown prince, in what observers say is a generational shift being driven by the young ruler.

Prince Faisal bin Farhan — a one-time adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and currently ambassador to Germany — will replace Ibrahim al-Assaf who was in the role for less than a year. Assaf, who was appointed in the aftermath of the murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate, was demoted to minister of state.

Economy

GLOBAL INDICES AS OF 25th October 2019

As compared to 18th October 2019

Global indices as of 25th October 2019
Name Current Value Prev

.Close

US MARKETS
 NASDAQ (Oct 25) 8,243.12 8185.80
EUROPEAN MARKETS
 FTSE (Oct 25) 7,324.47 7328.25
 CAC (Oct 25) 5,722.15 5684.33
 DAX (Oct 25) 12,894.51 12872.10
ASIAN MARKETS
 SGX NIFTY (Oct 26) 11,664.00 11603.50
 NIKKEI 225 (Oct 25) 22,799.81 22750.60
 STRAITS TIMES (Oct 25) 3,185.53 3168.87
 HANG SENG (Oct 25) 26,667.39 26797.95
 TAIWAN WEIGHTED (Oct 25) 11,296.12 11320.14
 KOSPI (Oct 25) 2,087.89 2085.66
 SET COMPOSITE (Oct 25) 1,593.28 1620.97
 JAKARTA COMPOSITE (Oct 25) 6,252.34 6339.65
 SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (Oct 25) 2,954.93 2940.92

 

 

Global indices as of 18th October 2019
Name Current Value Prev.

Close

US MARKETS
 NASDAQ (Oct 18) 8,089.54 8156.85
EUROPEAN MARKETS
 FTSE (Oct 18) 7,150.57 7182.32
 CAC (Oct 18) 5,636.25 5673.07
 DAX (Oct 18) 12,633.60 12654.95
ASIAN MARKETS
 SGX NIFTY (Oct 19) 11,669.50 11681.50
 NIKKEI 225 (Oct 18) 22,492.68 22451.86
 STRAITS TIMES (Oct 18) 3,114.16 3126.14
 HANG SENG (Oct 18) 26,719.58 26848.49
 TAIWAN WEIGHTED (Oct 18) 11,180.22 11186.88
 KOSPI (Oct 18) 2,060.69 2077.94
 SET COMPOSITE (Oct 18) 1,631.43 1632.80
 JAKARTA COMPOSITE (Oct 18) 6,191.95 6181.01
 SHANGHAI COMPOSITE (Oct 18) 2,938.14 2977.33

Pakistan

Politics

Maulana Fazlur Rehman, chief of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F), has ruled out any change in the schedule of ‘Azadi March’ “come what may”.

Talking to journalists at Gulshan-i-Shaheed Jamia Islamia on 25th Oct night, he said the houses of his party’s central committee members and those of provincial leaders were being raided throughout the country. The Maulana said he was not hopeful about the success of talks being held with the government. “If barricades and other obstacles are placed, it will trigger clashes. But come what may, the march will take place. No matter if highways remain closed for one month, we will move to Islamabad,” the JUI-F chief expressed his resolve. He accused the government of harassing transporters, small shopkeepers and petrol pump owners. About the ban on Ansar-ul-Islam Organization, Maulana Fazl said it was an old volunteer organization and part of the JUI-F since long. “I reject this notification and announce defying the ban.”

  • The Lahore High Court (LHC) on 25th Oct granted bail to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on medical grounds in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case.

PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif had filed the bail application for the release of his brother from the custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). According to the short order, the former premier will have to submit two surety bonds worth Rs10 million each for his release in the case. Although the former premier is set to be released from the custody of NAB, he will not be free until a request seeking the suspension of his sentence, and release on bail, in the Al Azizia case is granted by the Islamabad High Court (IHC). Similarly, PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz’s recent plea for immediate release on humanitarian grounds has been adjourned by the LHC till Monday.

  • Questions have been raised and an inquiry has been launched after videos from the conference room at Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) went viral online.

TikTok star, Hareem Shah somehow wound up in the committee room and made snippets for her over million followers on the app. Investigation in this regard are in process for this violation.

  • The Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) has urged those willing to participate in its ‘Azadi March’ — the anti-government movement scheduled to begin on Oct 27 — to carry with them ration and other necessary items for at least four to five days, indicating that the party may hold a long sit-in in Islamabad.

According to the guidelines the JUI-F issued to its workers and supporters, students should bring with them their academic books and the Holy Quran so that there would be no loss of their studies. As thousands of young people study in JUI-F’s madressas across the country, it can be assumed that the party may use these students in ‘Azadi March’. The guidelines with 32 points have also been issued to the media.         

· Pakistan and India agree to open walkway for pilgrims

India has signed an agreement with Pakistan to allow its pilgrims to travel to one of Sikhism’s holiest shrines in the neighboring country without visas. The 4km-long Kartapur corridor or walkway, 480km north of New Delhi, which will be formally inaugurated on November 9th, will provide access to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartapur in Pakistan’s Punjab province, east of Lahore.

Economy

  • The European Union (EU) and local textile industry joined hands on Tuesday to work towards ensuring ­sustainable growth of the country’s textile sector.

“Pakistan needs to prepare itself to meet the challenges of sustaining Genera­lised System of Preferences Plus (GSP+) status so as to avail the opportunities of increasing exports to the EU,” the union’s Ambassador-Designate to Pakistan Ms Androulla Kaminara said while speaking at a meeting with the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma). Since the grant of GSP+ status in 2014, the country’s exports to the EU have increased by 62 per cent. In the early years of the facility, Pakistan’s exports to the EU witnessed significant growth but later stagnated at €5.514 billion for the last three years. The government is working on documentation of economy to increase the tax net by bringing more sales tax filers in a bid to improve the economy.

  • In a briefing to members of Senate Standing Committee on Commerce and Textile, the Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) official stated that the sales tax filers in Pakistan are low as only 41,000 people file sales tax in the country.

Earlier, the Federal Bureau of Revenue issued tax notices to more than 134,000 high net-worth individuals across the country.  These notices were issued to warn these people to e-file income tax returns for 2019. As part of the process, Broadening of Tax Base (BTB) has been created at the regional tax offices of Lahore, Islamabad, and Karachi. Tax notices have been sent by these zones to unregistered people. The main purpose of setting up these zones is to bring all unregistered citizens into the tax net.

  • State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Reza Baqir has said that for the first time ever in history of Pakistan, the government is not borrowing from the central bank.

“For the first time, the Government of Pakistan is not borrowing from the State Bank,” revealed Governor SBP Raza Baqir, at Pakistan Development Forum 2019, held at the Harvard University. The SBP chief was seated alongside Adviser to Prime Minister of Pakistan Dr Hafeez Sheikh in the event co-hosted by Evidence for Policy Design EPoD and the Centre for Economic Research in Pakistan (CERP). End june 2019 SBP figures show that government borrowing from SBP stood at Rs 6.6 trillion, however in the next three months it has declined by Rs 253 billion. In regard to private sector borrowing it has also reduced by Rs 61 billion as of Oct 2019.

  • Adviser to the Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr Ishrat Hussain on Thursday disclosed that only eight government departments would be wound up as part of the reorganization plan already approved by the cabinet.

He, however, said that the number of these entities would be reduced from 441 to 342 as some would be merged with others and some would go to the provinces. Dr Ishrat’s remarks came days after Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry’s statement about the likelihood of abolition of 400 government departments did the rounds on social media.

F.C Exchange Rates of PKR as of 25th October 2019 as compared to 18th October 2019
Countries PKR rate as of 18th October 2019 PKR rate as of  25th October 2019
U.S.A. $ 156.20 156.10
U.K. Pounds 201.50 201.50
Euro 175.00 174.00
Japan Yen 1.45 1.42
Saudi Arabia Rial 41.675 41.55
U.A.E. Dirham 42.75 42.55

 

Pakistan Stock Exchange Indices

As of 25th October 2019 As Compared

To 18th October 2019

 

Position as of 25th October 2019
Symbols KSE100 Index PSX-KMI All Shares Index
Advance 147 (Curr) Current 33671.03 Current 15964.80
Decline 157 (High) High 33943.81 High 16107.77
Unchanged 21 (Low) Low 33597.86 Low 15924.71
Total Change 325  -91.45  -9.52
Position as of 18th October 2019
Symbols KSE100 Index PSX-KMI All Shares Index
Advance 140 (Curr) Current 33874.53 Current 16044.99
Decline 179 (High) High 34096.39 High 16112.10
Unchanged 17 (Low) Low 33667.80 Low 15917.37
Total Change 336  -24.03  11.31

 

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