Pakistan’s stock market soars past 60,000 points, reaching new high on Gulf investment hopes

Pakistan’s stock market soars past 60,000 points, reaching new high on Gulf investment hopes
A stock broker watches share prices during a trading session at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) in Karachi on July 31, 2023. (AFP/File)
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Updated 28 November 2023
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Pakistan’s stock market soars past 60,000 points, reaching new high on Gulf investment hopes

Pakistan’s stock market soars past 60,000 points, reaching new high on Gulf investment hopes
  • Analysts say the rally at the market is one of the fastest in 20 years despite a lower price-to-earnings ratio
  • The bullish sentiment also owes to the expected inflows of $700 million under the IMF short-term loan

KARACHI: Pakistan’s equity market continued to scale record highs with the KSE100 index breaching 60,700 for the first time on Tuesday, making analysts attribute the rally to Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar’s visit to the United Arab Emirates which has kindled hopes for multibillion-dollar investment inflows into the country.
The KSE100 gained over 918 points to close at 60,730 at the end of the trading session, amid ongoing bullish sentiments accompanying the Pakistan PM’s visit to the Gulf region.
During Kakar’s visit, Pakistan and the UAE signed multibillion-dollar memoranda of understanding (MoUs) across diverse sectors, including energy, port operations, waste water treatment, food security, logistics, minerals, and banking and financial services.
“Today’s rally is fueled by the expectations of the multibillion investment flows from the UAE under the SIFC [Special Investment Facilitation Council] initiatives,” Ahsan Mehanti, CEO of Arif Habib Corporation, told Arab News.
The SIFC is a civil-military hybrid forum established in July to fast-track decision-making and promote investment from foreign nations.
Mehanti also pointed to expected inflows of $700 million from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under a $3 billion short-term financing program, which would help unlock other bilateral financing sources for Pakistan.
He continued that there were expectations of monetary policy ease after the interest rates peaked in recent months.
Analysts have noted that the bullish sentiment at the bourse, which continued to hit record highs, was also fueled by improving macroeconomic indicators.
“Low valuation coupled with foreign buying is supporting this market rally,” Muhammad Sohail, CEO of Topline Securities, commented.
He added that investors were confident that with economic stability in Pakistan, the national currency would also stabilize and interest rates would fall.
“This five-month, 50 percent rally in KSE100 Index is one of the fastest in 20 years,” Sohail continued, noting that the share prices had risen, though the market’s price-to-earnings ratio was still below four times.


Peshawar Zalmi beat Lahore Qalandars by 8 runs in PSL thriller

Peshawar Zalmi beat Lahore Qalandars by 8 runs in PSL thriller
Updated 25 February 2024
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Peshawar Zalmi beat Lahore Qalandars by 8 runs in PSL thriller

Peshawar Zalmi beat Lahore Qalandars by 8 runs in PSL thriller
  • Saim Ayub (88), Babar Azam (48) and Rovman Powell (46) guided Peshawar to 211 runs in 20 overs
  • In response, Rassie van der Dussen scores first century of season, but fails to guide Lahore to victory

ISLAMABAD: Peshawar Zalmi defeated Lahore Qalandars by eight runs in a thrilling match of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 9th edition at the Qaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Sunday.
Lahore won the toss and decided to field first in the match. Saim Ayub played a brilliant innings of 88 runs from 55 deliveries, strengthening Peshawar’s position in the game.
Captain Babar Azam struck 48 and Rovman Powell hit 46 to take Peshawar to 211 runs in 20 overs at a loss of four wickets. In return, Lahore could only score 203 runs despite Rassie van der Dussen’s first century of the season.
“Another day, another thriller,” read a post on PSL official account on X. “Rassie van der Dussen’s spirited century goes in vain as Peshawar Zalmi clinch a hard-fought 8-run win.”
Shaheen Afridi dismissed three Peshawar batsmen for 33 runs.
Chasing a 212-run target, van der Dussen hit an unbeaten 104 runs from 52 deliveries, but could not lead his side to victory. Shai Hope and Ahsan Bhatti chipped in with 29 and 20 runs, respectively.
Naveen-ul-Haq dismissed two for 50 runs, while Salman Irshad and Paul Walter took one wicket each.
This was Lahore’s fifth consecutive loss of the season, while Peshawar have registered two back-to-back wins in their four matches.


Pakistan opens 60-hour joint military exercise with Saudi Arabia, US and Jordan among participating nations

Pakistan opens 60-hour joint military exercise with Saudi Arabia, US and Jordan among participating nations
Updated 25 February 2024
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Pakistan opens 60-hour joint military exercise with Saudi Arabia, US and Jordan among participating nations

Pakistan opens 60-hour joint military exercise with Saudi Arabia, US and Jordan among participating nations
  • The exercise is aimed at enhancing military-to-military cooperation under complex global security environment, Pakistani military says
  • Officials from Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Myanmar, Germany, Indonesia, Japan and Oman will witness the exercise as military observers

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Sunday opened a 60-hour-long joint military exercise in its northwest, with Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United States (US) among the participating nations, the Pakistani military said.
The opening ceremony of the 7th International Pakistan Army Team Spirit (PATS) Exercise was held at the National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC) in Pabbi, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, according to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the military’s media wing.
A total of 20 friendly countries, including Pakistan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Maldives, Morocco, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkiye, United States of America and Uzbekistan, are participating in the exercise.
Pakistan’s military training director-general opened the exercise, which is aimed at enhancing military-to-military cooperation under complex international security environment.
“Pakistan Army Team Spirit is a mission-specific and task-oriented professional military exercise organized annually in Pakistan,” the ISPR said in a statement.
“The exercise calls for highest standard of physical fitness, mental agility/robustness and professional military expertise for quick decision-making in varied situations during conduct of challenging missions in near-real environment.”
Officials from Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Myanmar, Germany, Indonesia, Japan and Oman will be witnessing the exercise as military observers, according to the ISPR.
“The exercise would help hone basic soldierly attributes besides interoperability through sharing of innovative ideas and mutual best practices,” it added.
Pakistan routinely holds joint air, ground and sea exercises with friendly nations to foster interoperability and joint deployment concepts to counter threats to global peace.
Several cadets from these nations annually visit the South Asian country, which has fought back militancy for decades, to undergo specialized military training.


Nine Pakistanis injured in UAE factory fire — Pakistan envoy

Nine Pakistanis injured in UAE factory fire — Pakistan envoy
Updated 25 February 2024
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Nine Pakistanis injured in UAE factory fire — Pakistan envoy

Nine Pakistanis injured in UAE factory fire — Pakistan envoy
  • The fire erupted late Saturday at the factory that produced chemical products for sanitizers, perfumes, Pakistani embassy says
  • The UAE is home to 1.5 million Pakistani expatriates and the second-largest source of remittances to Pakistan, after Saudi Arabia

ISLAMABAD: Nine Pakistani nationals were injured in a fire that erupted at a chemical factory in the United Arab Emirates’s (UAE) Ajman city, Pakistan’s top diplomat to the UAE said on Sunday.
The fire erupted late Saturday at the factory that produced chemical products used to make sanitizers and perfumes, according to the Pakistani embassy in the UAE.
The injured Pakistani nationals hailed from Shaheed Benazirabad in the southern Sindh province and Dera Ghazi Khan in the eastern province of Punjab.
“A sad accident of fire eruption occurred at sanitizers, perfumes related chemical products facility in Ajman, UAE late on February 24,” Faisal Niaz Tirmizi, Pakistan’s ambassador to the UAE, told Arab News.
“Nine Pakistanis got injured in the ill-fated incident who were immediately rushed to different hospitals.”
The UAE is home to some 1.5 million Pakistani expatriates and the second-largest source of remittances to the South Asian country, after Saudi Arabia. A majority of these Pakistanis includes skilled laborers and technicians.
Tirmizi said the injured Pakistanis were admitted to hospitals in Ajman, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
“I assure you that all possible assistance shall be extended to fellow Pakistanis who became victims of the accident,” he said.
Hussain Muhammad, the Pakistani consul general in Dubai, said they were constantly in touch with the Emirati authorities and ensuring all-possible assistance to the injured Pakistani nationals.
“We are ensuring all possible assistance to the injured Pakistanis and [officials of] the Welfare Wing of Pakistan’s Consulate General, Dubai visited the hospitals immediately after the unfortunate occurrence and are constantly in touch with the relevant authorities,” he told Arab News.


Rights activists say free speech ‘critically under threat’ in Pakistan as X disruption enters eighth day

Rights activists say free speech ‘critically under threat’ in Pakistan as X disruption enters eighth day
Updated 25 February 2024
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Rights activists say free speech ‘critically under threat’ in Pakistan as X disruption enters eighth day

Rights activists say free speech ‘critically under threat’ in Pakistan as X disruption enters eighth day
  • Access to the social media platform was restricted days after Pakistan’s controversial election, which was marred by rigging claims
  • Lawyer Jibran Nasir seeks contempt proceedings against Pakistan Telecommunication Authority for defying court’s order to restore X

KARACHI: Digital rights activists said on Sunday that free speech was “critically under threat” in Pakistan as the South Asian nation continued to experience a disruption of social media platform X for the eighth consecutive day, despite a high court ruling to immediately restore it.
The platform went down on the night of February 17, when a senior government official made a public admission of vote manipulation in the February 8 national election, which was marred by a mobile network outage and delays in release of constituency results.
The suspension of mobile networks and subsequent delays in poll results led to widespread allegations of vote-rigging and sparked protests, mainly by jailed former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, against alleged manipulation of results.
Usama Khilji, director of the Bolo Bhi Internet, censorship and gender advocacy group in Pakistan, said non-compliance of the court order meant there was “complete impunity” for the violation of the Constitution as well as orders of the higher judiciary.
“I think free speech is critically under threat,” he told Arab News, adding it was quite concerning as there was no protection of fundamental rights of the citizens of Pakistan.
The Sindh High Court this week ordered authorities to immediately restore the social media platform after concerned citizens in the southern Pakistan province of Sindh moved the court against the disruption of X.
Jibran Nasir, a human rights lawyer who filed one of the two petitions in the Sindh High Court, said he had already filed a contempt of court case against chairman of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), which regulates Internet and social media platforms in the country, over non-compliance of the court orders.
Arab News reached out to PTA spokesperson Malahat Obaid for a comment on the matter, but she referred the query to the interior ministry. There was no response from the interior ministry either.
Nasir, the human rights lawyer, said the unannounced restriction on X indicated the state was “scared of free speech.”
“These repeated interruptions, disruptions and now what we are seeing as prolonged ban on Twitter, or X, which is primarily a medium for information sharing where academic, journalists, politicians, people from different walks of life and the masses at large interact indicates that the state is scared of free speech, the state is petrified by the idea that citizens under the constitution can have the liberty to exercise their right to freedom of expression,” he told Arab News.
“It’s also indicative of the fear of the state that what can an empowered and informed electorate do, so that’s why to ensure that the people don’t have free access to flow of information and that they don’t have the medium where they can express their views.”
Nighat Dad, a digital rights activist, said while the disruption of X was a “blatant violation of civil liberties,” it had sent out a message to the world that Pakistan might not be a “good market” for them.
“Any banning or blocking, or disruption of any platform tells the world that there’s something wrong with our policies” she said, questioning who would bring their investment to Pakistan under such circumstances.
Amber Rahim Shamsi, director of the Center for Excellence in Journalism (CEJ) and another petitioner against the disruption, said the PTA was “violating its own rules and regulations” by banning the social media platform and the move had not helped stop any mis- or disinformation.
“Mis- and dis-information cannot be identified and documented on private Facebook accounts or WhatsApp groups,” said Shamsi, who also heads the iVerify Pakistan fact-checking platform.
“Banning Twitter has not stopped the spread of mis- and dis-information, but the ability of independent fact-checkers to trace and respond.”


Fast bowler Haris Rauf ruled out of PSL after dislocating shoulder

Fast bowler Haris Rauf ruled out of PSL after dislocating shoulder
Updated 25 February 2024
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Fast bowler Haris Rauf ruled out of PSL after dislocating shoulder

Fast bowler Haris Rauf ruled out of PSL after dislocating shoulder
  • Haris Rauf fell awkwardly on his shoulder during Karachi-Lahore match on Saturday
  • Doctors have advised Rauf to rest for 4-6 weeks to recover from injury, says Lahore Qalandars 

LAHORE: Fast bowler Haris Rauf has been ruled out of the remainder of the Pakistan Super League after dislocating his shoulder during two-time defending champion Lahore Qalandars’ two-wicket loss against Karachi Kings on Saturday.

The franchise said in a statement on Sunday that doctors have advised Rauf to rest for 4-6 weeks to recover from the injury after undergoing scans.

Rauf fell awkwardly on his shoulder in the last over while holding onto a stunning catch of Hasan Ali during Karachi’s thrilling run-chase as Lahore lost its fourth successive game in Pakistan’s premier domestic Twenty20 event.

Rauf struggled in the first three games but bounced back against Karachi with economical figures of 1-22 off his four overs.

“We are deeply saddened by Haris Rauf’s injury,” Lahore captain Shaheen Shah Afridi said. “It was painful to see him missing out … and his absence will be felt.”

Rauf’s injury is the second major bowling setback for Lahore after its premier spinner Rashid Khan of Afghanistan was ruled out before the tournament due to a back injury.