Aramco secures 40% stake in Gas & Oil Pakistan

Aramco secures 40% stake in Gas & Oil Pakistan
An Aramco employee walks near an oil tank at Saudi Aramco’s Ras Tanura oil refinery and oil terminal in Saudi Arabia, May 21, 2018. (Reuters)
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Updated 12 December 2023
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Aramco secures 40% stake in Gas & Oil Pakistan

Aramco secures 40% stake in Gas & Oil Pakistan
  • GO, a diversified downstream fuels, lubricants and convenience stores operator, is one of the largest retail and storage companies in Pakistan
  • The deal will be subject to specific conditions, including regulatory approvals, to advance Aramco’s strategy to strengthen downstream value chain

RIYADH: Saudi Aramco is set to enter the Pakistani fuels retail market for the first time after it signed an agreement to acquire a 40 percent stake in Gas & Oil Pakistan Ltd. 

GO, a diversified downstream fuels, lubricants and convenience stores operator, is one of the largest retail and storage companies in Pakistan. 

The deal will help Aramco secure additional outlets for its refined products and provide new market opportunities for Valvoline-branded lubricants following its acquisition of the Valvoline Inc. global products business in February. 

The agreement will be subject to specific customary conditions, including regulatory approvals, to advance Aramco’s strategy to strengthen its downstream value chain internationally. 

Aramco Downstream President Mohammed Y. Al-Qahtani said: “Our second planned retail acquisition this year aligns with Aramco’s downstream expansion strategy, with a clear path ahead for growing an integrated refining, marketing, lubricants, trading and chemicals portfolio worldwide.” 

He added: “GO has a significant storage capacity, high-quality assets and growth potential, which will help launch the Aramco brand in Pakistan.” 

In February 2019, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia inked investment deals totaling $21 billion during the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman to Islamabad. The agreements included about $10 billion for an Aramco oil refinery and $1 billion for a petrochemical complex at the strategic Gwadar Port in Balochistan. 

Speaking to Arab News on the sidelines of the 7th edition of The Future Summit in Karachi in November, Pakistani Energy Minister Muhammad Ali explained that the South Asian nation was “actively engaged” with Saudi authorities on a multibillion-dollar Aramco oil refinery project and expected progress within two months.  

He highlighted that it was a “big project of $8-10 billion and everything from investment funding, its structuring, and policy framework has to be considered.” 

The project encompasses building an integrated refinery in Pakistan that can process up to 450,000 barrels of crude oil daily. 

Aramco is a global integrated energy and chemicals company that produces approximately one in every eight barrels of the world’s oil supply and develops cutting-edge energy technologies. 


Pakistan’s counterterrorism police announce killing of suspected militant involved in major Karachi attacks

Pakistan’s counterterrorism police announce killing of suspected militant involved in major Karachi attacks
Updated 23 sec ago
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Pakistan’s counterterrorism police announce killing of suspected militant involved in major Karachi attacks

Pakistan’s counterterrorism police announce killing of suspected militant involved in major Karachi attacks
  • Umar Farooq was said to be part of the 2013 Abbas Town bombing and last year’s attack on police headquarters
  • The suspected militant, who was killed in a shootout, was believed to be working on rebuilding the TTP network

KARACHI: The counterterrorism department (CTD) in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province announced on Wednesday the killing of a suspected Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militant involved in a major 2013 bombing and last year’s attack on police headquarters in Karachi.
Umar Farooq, described as a TTP commander, was suspected of participating in a deadly assault on a Shia mosque in Abbas Town in March 2013, using a car bomb that killed 48 people and injured over 180.
Nearly a decade later, Karachi witnessed another major attack in February 2023 when militants laid siege to the city’s police headquarters, killing four, including two officers, in a battle claimed by the TTP.
Shortly after the second attack, police announced the killing of two militants, identifying one of them, Aryad Ullah, as the alleged mastermind.
In a statement issued earlier today, the CTD said it had acted on a tip-off and apprehended Farooq, who was waiting near Hanifia Masjid on the northern bypass of the city.
“The terrorist began firing at the police to evade arrest,” the statement said. “In the ensuing exchange of fire, he was wounded and fell down.”
The CTD informed Farooq shot a policeman in the chest, who survived because he was wearing a flak jacket.
The statement noted the TTP militant was declared a fugitive by an anti-terrorism court for his role in the police headquarters attack.
It also mentioned that a recent threat alert issued by the Sindh home office warned that Farooq had been sent to Karachi by the top TTP leadership to carry out “terrorist activities” and rebuild a network.
The statement said the TTP commander had fled to Afghanistan after his acquittal in several cases, including murder, attempted murder and militancy.
Police records show 10 cases were filed against him at different police stations in Karachi between 2013 and 2014.


Pakistani community hosts mango festival in Sharjah to celebrate beloved South Asian fruit

Pakistani community hosts mango festival in Sharjah to celebrate beloved South Asian fruit
Updated 24 July 2024
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Pakistani community hosts mango festival in Sharjah to celebrate beloved South Asian fruit

Pakistani community hosts mango festival in Sharjah to celebrate beloved South Asian fruit
  • The 7th Annual Mango Festival displayed more than 25 varieties of the fruit produced in Pakistan
  • The event attracted a large number of Pakistani expatriates along with other residents of Sharjah

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Social Center Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has hosted a mango festival, celebrating the most beloved fruit produced in the South Asian country, according to a statement released by the community organization on Wednesday.
Established in the 1980s, the center serves as a vital hub for the Pakistani community in Sharjah, promoting cultural, educational and social welfare activities.
It periodically organizes festivals and events to support greater integration within the diaspora community.
“The Pakistan Social Center Sharjah, in collaboration with the Pakistani community, hosted its 7th Annual Mango Festival, a celebration of Pakistan’s national fruit,” the statement said. “The event aimed to promote Pakistani produce globally and foster community spirit among expatriates.”
The festival displayed more than 25 varieties of mangoes produced in Pakistan.
Addressing the occasion, the center’s president, Khalid Hussain Chaudhry, highlighted the importance of increasing mango exports and educating younger generations about different varieties of the fruit.
“This year’s Mango Mela [festival] was our most successful yet,” he added.
The event attracted a large number of Pakistani expatriates and other residents of Sharjah, demonstrating the popularity of Pakistani mangoes in the UAE.


Pakistan to establish trade mission in Oman to boost bilateral commercial relations

Pakistan to establish trade mission in Oman to boost bilateral commercial relations
Updated 24 July 2024
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Pakistan to establish trade mission in Oman to boost bilateral commercial relations

Pakistan to establish trade mission in Oman to boost bilateral commercial relations
  • Pakistan’s commerce minister briefs an Omani delegation about investment opportunities in sports, renewables
  • The Omani delegation shows interest in getting iron ore, fruits and vegetables from Pakistan due to close proximity

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan plans to set up a new trade mission in Oman, its commerce minister Jam Kamal Khan announced on Tuesday, as the country strives to increase its trade relations with neighboring states, particularly in the Middle East.
Faced with prolonged financial challenges, Pakistan has indulged in active economic diplomacy with friendly nations and tried to strengthen regional connectivity to ensure a smooth flow of trade joining the landlocked Central Asian states with the Middle East and beyond.
Pakistan’s commerce minister discussed the bilateral trade with Oman during a meeting with a delegation from the Arab country that was spearheaded by the undersecretary of investment Ibtisam Al Farouji.
“The Minister warmly welcomed the delegation and underscored the historical ties and economic opportunities between the two nations,” said an official statement released after the meeting in Islamabad.
“Jam Kamal Khan stated that the Ministry of Commerce is in the process of opening a new trade mission in Oman, which will ultimately enhance trade relations between the two countries,” it added.
He highlighted investment opportunities in Pakistan, particularly in the economic sectors like sports, information technology, renewable energy, pointing out that the country offered cheap labor, port handling and logistics.
The official statement said the Omani delegation agreed there was substantial potential to enhance bilateral trade of steel, energy renewables and pharmaceuticals.
The delegation also invited Pakistani investment in Oman’s manufacturing sector, offering incentives such as cheap gas and raw materials.
It also showed interest in acquiring raw materials from Pakistan, due to close proximity and low logistics costs, including iron ore, fruits and vegetables.
Both sides expressed optimism about the future of bilateral trade and investment, underscoring the need for continued dialogue and cooperation to fully realize the economic potential of their relationship.


US voices concern over arrests of opposition leaders, urges adherence to democratic norms in Pakistan

US voices concern over arrests of opposition leaders, urges adherence to democratic norms in Pakistan
Updated 24 July 2024
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US voices concern over arrests of opposition leaders, urges adherence to democratic norms in Pakistan

US voices concern over arrests of opposition leaders, urges adherence to democratic norms in Pakistan
  • A senior media manager, central information secretary of ex-PM Khan’s party were arrested in Pakistan this week
  • The two PTI members are facing charges of pushing an ‘anti-state narrative’ to undermine Pakistan’s sovereignty

ISLAMABAD: The United States on Tuesday expressed concern over the arrests of leaders belonging to former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, saying it was important to uphold democratic principles within the constitutional framework of the country.
PTI has frequently complained of a state crackdown since its top leaders and supporters were blamed for carrying out violent protests in different parts of the country in which government buildings were vandalized following Khan’s brief arrest on corruption charges last year in May.
Earlier this week, the party’s senior media manager Ahmed Waqas Janjua and its information secretary Raoof Hassan were arrested by the authorities after accusing them of pushing “anti-state narrative” to undermine Pakistan’s sovereignty.
While Janjua largely remains behind the scenes while managing PTI’s social media, Hassan has been quite vocal as its spokesperson.
“We have seen the reports of the arrests of PTI leaders,” Matthew Miller, the State Department’s spokesperson, told a media briefing in Washington. “We are always concerned when we see arrests of opposition leaders. I’m always personally concerned when I see the arrest of a spokesperson.”
“We support the peaceful upholding of constitutional and democratic principles, including the rule of law, equal justice under the law, and respect for human rights like freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly,” he continued. “And we urge that these principles be respected in accordance with Pakistan’s constitution and laws.”
The Pakistani authorities also sealed the central PTI secretariat on Tuesday, saying it violated safety standards.
The development took place only a day after Hassan’s arrest from the same building in the federal capital.


US plans $101 million investment to boost democracy, curb Pakistan’s reliance on China

US plans $101 million investment to boost democracy, curb Pakistan’s reliance on China
Updated 24 July 2024
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US plans $101 million investment to boost democracy, curb Pakistan’s reliance on China

US plans $101 million investment to boost democracy, curb Pakistan’s reliance on China
  • Donald Lu says US will also use the money to stabilize Pakistan’s economy, deal with militancy issue
  • He maintains the US is living in a ‘world of constrained budgets’ while dealing with an ‘assertive’ China

ISLAMABAD: The United States plans to spend $101 million to strengthen democracy in Pakistan, address the threat of militancy and prevent Islamabad’s reliance on China in fiscal year 2025, said a senior American official who presented a written budget request to the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday.
Budget requests, policy proposals and funding plans are frequently presented by relevant officials to various congressional committees in the US. These testimonies are part of the legislative process and are used to inform and persuade lawmakers about the importance of proposed expenditures and policy directions.
The overall budget proposal of $1.01 billion for South and Central Asia was presented by Donald Lu, the assistant secretary for the region, who said it represented a 1.9 percent decrease from fiscal year 2023.
“On Pakistan, we face ongoing challenges and opportunities,” he told the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “The President’s Budget requests a straight lining of our $101 million Pakistan budget.”
“That money would be used to strengthen democracy and civil society, to fight terrorism and violent extremism, and to support economic reforms and debt management to help stabilize Pakistan’s economy and prevent further overreliance on the PRC [People’s Republic of China],” he continued.
The American official, who was widely blamed by former prime minister Imran Khan’s party for contributing to his administration’s downfall, an allegation denied by Washington, said the US was struggling to compete with China in the region, which is seeking to secure military and commercial footholds in the Indian Ocean.
He also noted that the US administration had to “live in a world of constrained budgets.”
“Our most effective strategy to counter an assertive PRC is to demonstrate that we have something better to offer — better development opportunities, better commercial deals, and better solutions for their security challenges,” he added.