Pakistan, Azerbaijan must create direct banking channel to expand trade: RCCI

President of the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), Zahid Latif Khan. (Photo courtesy: social media)
Updated 04 July 2018

Pakistan, Azerbaijan must create direct banking channel to expand trade: RCCI

ISLAMABAD: Azerbaijan and Pakistan have to establish direct banking channels and air connectivity, lift off tariff barriers, and create alternative rail and road networks, as well as visa free agreements to enhance bilateral trade relations, said President of the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) Zahid Latif Khan on the eve of the Business Opportunities Conference in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The RCCI president added that there is a need to explore new avenues of joint ventures and trade connectivity under the umbrella of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

“CPEC has now become a reality on the ground. Pakistan will become the hub of regional connectivity as CPEC will put it on a center stage due to new its energy infrastructure and trade routes,” Latif Khan was quoted as saying by AzerNews.

The RCCI president concluded reminding that Azerbaijan has always been very friendly towards Pakistan, which was among the first three countries to recognize Azerbaijan immediately and reestablish diplomatic ties in July, 1992.

The Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) is organising Business Opportunities Conference and the 31st International Achievement Award ceremony in Azerbaijan’s capital city on July 4-5.

The events will be aimed at promoting business and investment opportunities of Pakistan in Azerbaijan’s business community.

Over 450 Pakistani participants representing tourism, pharmaceutical, chemical, plastic, textile, surgical goods, furniture, food, construction and other industries will be attending the events.

Further, Pakistani and Azerbaijani business communities are going to hold B2B meetings, which Khan also noted that this initiative would lead to creation of new joint ventures in the future.

Sri Lanka rejects plans for $10m Shariah university

Updated 21 May 2019

Sri Lanka rejects plans for $10m Shariah university

  • Madrasas to be absorbed by Ministry of Education in wake of Easter Sunday attacks
  • More than 100 arrests have been made following the rioting. A curfew has been lifted and life is returning to normal

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Tuesday refused permission for a planned $10 million (SR37.5 million) Shariah university in one of the country’s main cities.

And in the wake of the deadly Easter Sunday terror attacks on hotels and churches, the premier also announced that all madrasas would be brought under the umbrella of Sri Lanka’s Education Ministry.

The latest moves by the Sri Lankan government follow widespread unrest on the island, with anti-Muslim riots having caused damage running into millions of dollars.

Wickremesinghe’s orders came after a fact-finding report into the university compiled by MP Ashu Marasinghe. He recommended that the institution, being constructed at Batticaloa, in the Eastern Province, should be privately operated and titled Batticaloa Technology University. The new education complex is located close to the township of Kattankudy where suspected ringleader of the Easter Sunday suicide bombings, Zahran Hashim, lived and preached his messages of hate and violence.

The Sri Lankan government analyst’s department said on Tuesday that DNA tests proved Hashim died in the attack at the Shangri-La hotel in Colombo.

President’s Counsel, Ali Sabry, a prominent lawyer and political analyst, told Arab News on Tuesday that the premier’s announcement was welcome.

“We don’t need a Shariah university at this juncture when there is a lot of suspicions on various Islamic topics that need to be clarified by Islamic theologians following the suicide attacks by Muslim extremists,” Sabry said. He stressed that the country’s main focus should be on strengthening ways to ensure peaceful coexistence among all communities.

The Sri Lankan University Grants Commission had a set of guidelines to license new universities, and Wickremesinghe’s latest recommendations would also be included among the requirements for a new university, Sabry added.

The prime minister’s ruling on madrasas (Islamic seminaries) would provide more transparency on the activities of the institutions, he said. “Their curriculum and their co-curricular activities should maintain a common standard and these madrasas should prepare the students to make them fit into society instead of just learning Arabic and Islam only.”

M.R.M. Malik, director of the Muslim Affairs Ministry in Colombo, told Arab News that currently all madrasas function under his ministry. “There are 317 madrasas throughout the island with an estimated 25,000 students. In addition to the local teachers, there are 38 Arabic teachers and 85 foreign students,” he said.

Most of the teachers are from Egypt, Pakistan and India, while many of the overseas students studying at the madrasas are from Libya, Pakistan, Jordan and India.

Sri Lanka Muslim Council President N.M. Ameen told Arab News that the local community had never wanted a Shariah university. However, he said the proposed curriculum for the madrasas should be constructed in consultation with Islamic scholars and the Muslim community.

Meanwhile, Western Province Gov. Azath Salley, revealed that damage caused by anti-Muslim riots had reached nearly Rs900 million (SR19.2 million). The governor was speaking to Arab News following a visit to some of the worst-affected villages on the island.

“Speaking to the families of the vandalized properties, it’s clear that an organized gang had attacked these earmarked properties owned by Muslims,” said Salley. “One child, whose father was killed in his presence, is still in a state of utter shock and dismay.” He added that turpentine oil had been poured on the face of the dead carpenter by his killers and set on fire.

The governor urged the authorities to bring the attackers to justice. He added that the government would provide compensation to victims of wrecked properties.

Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasakera said that more than 100 arrests had been made following the rioting, and that a curfew had been lifted and life was returning to normal.