Pakistan’s central bank unveils five-year strategic plan to pursue financial stability

Pakistan’s central bank unveils five-year strategic plan to pursue financial stability
Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, Jameel Ahmad addresses a press conference at the bank's headquarters in Karachi on January 23, 2023. (AFP/File)
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Updated 18 November 2023
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Pakistan’s central bank unveils five-year strategic plan to pursue financial stability

Pakistan’s central bank unveils five-year strategic plan to pursue financial stability
  • The SBP Vision 2028 contains six key objectives including managing inflation and creating digital financial ecosystem
  • The strategic plan was developed through consultation with stakeholders and wants Shariah compliant banking system

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s central bank chief launched a strategic plan for the next five years in a ceremony held in Karachi on Friday, saying the document contained the key objectives that the bank planned to pursue to ensure financial stability in the country.

Last year, the government approved the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Amendment Bill, 2021, to meet a condition laid down by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under a $6.5 billion bailout facility to ensure complete autonomy to the central bank.

The SBP Vision 2028 is the first plan since the passage of the amendment bill and has been developed through a consultative and inclusive process with key stakeholders.

Addressing the ceremony in Karachi, SBP Governor Jameel Ahmad maintained the plan would foster price and financial stability and contribute to the country’s sustainable economic development.

“Mr. Ahmad added that evolving risks and challenges to the economy and financial stability, including climate change, rapid digital innovations and disruptions, and growing cyber security threats, have been kept in perspective while developing the plan,” announced a statement issued by the central bank after the event.

“Governor SBP elaborated that the SBP Vision 2028, revolves around six strategic goals that include maintaining inflation within the medium-term target range, enhancing efficiency, effectiveness, fairness and stability of the financial system, promoting inclusive and sustainable access to financial services, transforming to a Shariah compliant banking system, building an innovative and inclusive digital financial services ecosystem, and transforming SBP into a high-tech, people-centric organization.”

He noted these strategic goals were built to cover five cross-cutting themes, including strategic communication, climate change, technological innovation, diversity and inclusion, and productivity and competitiveness.

Pakistan has witnessed major economic challenges in recent years that has forced it to seek external financial assistance from the IMF and friendly nations like China, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Faced with a precarious financial situation amid rapid depreciation of national currency and dwindling foreign currency reserves, Pakistan managed to secure a short-term $3 billion loan program in July from the IMF to stave off sovereign debt default.


Azhar Mahmood to pursue legal action against ‘false allegations’ following Pakistan’s T20 WC exit

Azhar Mahmood to pursue legal action against ‘false allegations’ following Pakistan’s T20 WC exit
Updated 23 June 2024
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Azhar Mahmood to pursue legal action against ‘false allegations’ following Pakistan’s T20 WC exit

Azhar Mahmood to pursue legal action against ‘false allegations’ following Pakistan’s T20 WC exit
  • Coach mulling legal options amid widespread allegations families of players, coaching staff traveled to US on PCB expense 
  • Pakistan team and management in line of fire this month as squad failed to qualify for second round of ICC T20 World Cup 2024

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan cricket team’s assistant head coach, Azhar Mahmood, warned on Saturday he would pursue legal action against those levelling “false” allegations against him and his family for traveling to the United States (US) at the expense of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) during the ongoing T20 World Cup series. 

The Pakistan team and management have been in the line of fire this month as the national squad failed to qualify for the second round of the ICC T20 World Cup 2024. The criticism has revolved around the team’s performance as well as that the families of players and coaching staff traveled to the US on the PCB’s expense. 

“I will be pursuing legal advice against those responsible for making these false allegations toward me and my family, and strict action will be taken accordingly,” the former cricketer said in a post on X. “We will not be further discussing this matter on social media.”

He called the allegations “baseless and false,” and said the culture of falsely accusing and misleading people was turning “ridiculous and dangerous.”

Pakistani media has also widely reported this week on captain Babar Azam mulling legal action against YouTubers and former players who had accused him of misconduct during the T20 World Cup.

Pakistan fell to the tournament’s biggest upset when the United States, a tier-two member of the game, beat the 2009 champions via Super Over. Defeat by arch-rivals India then left Babar’s side with a mountain to climb to advance.

Babar had stepped down as captain of all three formats after Pakistan failed to make the knockout stage of the 50-overs World Cup in India last year, but was reinstated as white-ball skipper ahead of the 20-overs showpiece in the US and West Indies.


Number of Pakistani women officers taking combat courses in US up 150 percent in decade — report

Number of Pakistani women officers taking combat courses in US up 150 percent in decade — report
Updated 23 June 2024
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Number of Pakistani women officers taking combat courses in US up 150 percent in decade — report

Number of Pakistani women officers taking combat courses in US up 150 percent in decade — report
  • 55 women attended IMET courses from 2020-2023, which is more than double the 22 women who participated from 2013-2019
  • Over the last two consecutive years, Pakistan led the region in sending female military officers for courses in the United States

ISLAMABAD: The number of Pakistani women officers who received military training in the United States increased by 150 percent in the last decade, according to a report released this month by the US State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs.

Since 2013, the number of Pakistani female military personnel participating in the International Military Education and Training program (IMET) has significantly grown. The State Department-sponsored program is designed to build military-to-military relationships with partner nations by funding international military students to attend American military training and education courses.

“Fifty-five women have attended IMET courses from 2020-2023, which is more than double the 22 women who participated from 2013 to 2019,” the report said. “In addition, over the last two consecutive years, Pakistan has led the region in sending female military officers for courses in the United States.”

The report said Pakistani women officers had been attending specialized courses focused on topics such as anti-terrorism and anti-piracy, military justice, information technology, cyber strategies, public affairs, gender-based violence, and medical-related courses.

Two women attended the US Naval Postgraduate School and completed their MBAs in financial management. Another student from the Judicial Commission returned to Pakistan to take an appointment in a train-the-trainer capacity and was tasked with updating Pakistan’s own curriculum. In addition, two female officers had qualified for Pakistani staff college this year, which would open the opportunity for them to attend staff college in the United States as well.

“With women now in the combat arms ranks in the Pakistani military, female officers are attending professional military education courses and returning to the force to be considered for leadership positions,” the report added. 


Mob lynchings in spotlight in Pakistani parliament as top minister seeks national strategy

Mob lynchings in spotlight in Pakistani parliament as top minister seeks national strategy
Updated 23 June 2024
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Mob lynchings in spotlight in Pakistani parliament as top minister seeks national strategy

Mob lynchings in spotlight in Pakistani parliament as top minister seeks national strategy
  • A mob beat a tourist to death on Thursday night in Swat after accusing him of burning pages of the Qur’an
  • Last month, a Christian man attacked by a mob on charges of burning Qur’an died of injuries in hospital 

ISLAMABAD: The recent mob lynching of a local tourist accused of desecrating the Qur’an resonated in the National Assembly on Saturday as a prominent federal minister urged the house to devise a national strategy to prevent such violence in the future.
A tourist belonging to Pakistan’s Sialkot city was dragged from a police station by the mob in northwestern Pakistan on Thursday before being killed and set on fire. Such incidents are not uncommon in Pakistan where a mere accusation of blasphemy can lead to mob violence.
“If it had been an isolated incident, it might have been overlooked, but this is a series of events,” Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal told parliament. “It is my request to you that this assembly should take notice of this incident since our society is on the brink of disaster where street justice through mob lynching is done in the name of religion, trampling the constitution, law and all fundamental principles of the state.”
Iqbal suggested that the National Assembly constitute a special committee to review the causes behind such incidents and create a plan of action.
Last month, a Christian man in his seventies was attacked by a mob on charges of burning pages of the Qur’an and later died of his injuries in eastern Pakistan.
In 2021, a Sri Lankan factory manager was lynched in one of the highest profile incidents in the country. Six people were sentenced to death for their part in the lynching after the incident sparked global outcry.


Pro-Palestine protest in Islamabad concludes after 40 days following government negotiations

Pro-Palestine protest in Islamabad concludes after 40 days following government negotiations
Updated 22 June 2024
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Pro-Palestine protest in Islamabad concludes after 40 days following government negotiations

Pro-Palestine protest in Islamabad concludes after 40 days following government negotiations
  • ‘Save Gaza Campaign’ wanted Pakistan to formally protest to envoys of the countries supporting Israel
  • Two activists were killed and four others injured when a speeding car had an accident at their protest site

ISLAMABAD: A group of pro-Palestine protesters in Pakistan’s federal capital, Islamabad, decided to call off their sit-in after holding a meeting with Federal Interior Minister Mohsin Naqvi on Saturday.
The activists belonging to the Save Gaza Campaign set up their camps near the high-security Red Zone to express solidarity with the people of Palestine who have been targeted by the Israeli war machine since Oct. 7, 2023.
The protesters stayed in the area for nearly 40 days, asking the Pakistani authorities to take practical steps, such as formally protesting to the envoys of the countries supporting Israel, to help the people of Gaza.
“Every Pakistani feels the same about Palestine as they do in their heart,” the interior minister said while referring to the Save Gaza Campaign activists after successful negotiations with the group. “And what they are saying, definitely, there is nothing in it that we object to. Pakistan is already playing its role [to demand a ceasefire]. But we have also promised them [the activists] that we will act on their suggestions.”
“My request to them, which they have agreed to, is that they are going to end their sit-in,” he added.
Last month, the Save Gaza Campaign activists decided to hold their ground after an accident involving a speeding vehicle killed two of them on the roadside and injured four others.
Naqvi also mentioned the incident while praying for the deceased activists and promising quick justice in the case.
Israel has killed over 37,000 Palestinians in Gaza, most of them women and children, since the beginning of the war.
While the conflict followed a surprise attack by Hamas, which said it was retaliating to the deteriorating condition of Palestinians under occupation, Israel’s response was widely viewed as disproportionate, bordering on genocide.


Police say two people arrested in southern Sindh for stealing mobile phone tower

Police say two people arrested in southern Sindh for stealing mobile phone tower
Updated 8 min 36 sec ago
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Police say two people arrested in southern Sindh for stealing mobile phone tower

Police say two people arrested in southern Sindh for stealing mobile phone tower
  • The unique incident took place in Larkana earlier this month on June 7, and the stolen tower valued about $7,196
  • The owner of the land where the tower was installed says he had not been paid rent by the company for six months

LARKANA, Sindh: Police in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province have arrested two suspects in connection with the theft of a private company’s mobile phone tower in Larkana district, an official statement informed Saturday, saying that part of the scrap of the stolen tower had been recovered.
The statement said a case had been registered at the Naudero Police Station in Larkana following a complaint filed by the regional security manager of Telenor Pakistan about the theft of the tower.
“The suspect nominated in the case, along with a scrap dealer, was caught and arrested,” the statement continued. “Some of the stolen material was also recovered.”
It added that investigations had revealed the tower had not been used for nearly six months.
The statement mentioned that Muhammad Rakhiyal Abro, the owner of the private land where the tower had been installed, said after his arrest that the mobile company had not paid rent to him or salary to the watchman during this period.
“Rakhiyal said individuals claiming to be Telenor company’s employees approached him about a week ago, saying the company had decided to shut down and remove the tower,” it said.
A police official informed a portion of the scrap of the stolen tower had been recovered and a scrap dealer, Saadullah Brohi, had been taken into custody.
“The recovered scrap weighs around 20 maunds [746.5 kilograms], while an equal amount of scrap remains to be recovered,” Station House Officer of Naudero Police, Shahid Memon, told Arab News.
According to the police complaint, the incident occurred earlier this month on June 7, and the stolen tower valued about Rs2 million ($7,196).