Jul 132017
 

ISLAMABAD: Facing mounting pressure following the damning report by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the Panamagate case, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has reportedly sought an urgent telephonic contact with the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid al Makhtoum. This was revealed in a letter purportedly written by Foreign Office to the Embassy of UAE in Islamabad seeking an ‘urgent arrangement’ for telephonic contact between the two leaders. Calibri in spotlight as ‘Fontgate’ could leave Pakistan sans Sharif “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan presents its compliments to the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Islamabad and has the honour to inform that H E Prime Minister of Pakistan wishes to urgently speak to H E Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Makhtoum, the vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE over the telephone,” reads the letter a copy of which was available with The Express Tribune. The letter dated 12 July also said the Embassy of Pakistan in Abu Dhabi had already contacted the UAE authorities in this regard. However, the assistance of the esteemed Embassy was solicited for the earlier confirmation of a convenient time slot to make this telephone call today (Wednesday). “Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the esteemed Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Islamabad the assurances of its highest consideration,” the letter further said. The letter also [Read More…]

Jul 072017
 
Tumbling currency

On Wednesday (July 5), an unexpected financial event happened in the country. The Pakistani rupee went down by 3.1 percent in the opening hours of forex trade market, creating a shortage of foreign currency in the market as, in such situation, dealers and traders usually prefer to hold instead of selling the stock. By midday, the dollar had risen to Rs108.50, and when the market closed on Wednesday, the dollar stood at Rs108.25. This was the largest single day drop in the value of the Pakistani rupee in the last nine years. This sudden decline has shocked many economists across the country. Some believe that this surprising and intriguing fall of the Pakistani rupee might have been the result of a planned and concerted speculative attack on the Pakistani rupee by some people, who have a large amount of money, in order to make quick money. It is indeed the truth that Pakistan is having huge current account deficit that is expected to reach $8 billion by the end of the financial year 2017. Although this current account deficit is a big challenge for the country’s economic managers, the country has sufficient forex reserves to finance its current account deficit which will start improving once the heavy machinery imported during current financial year is installed and starts producing goods for the export market. The Pakistani rupee has been reasonably stable during the last four years since this government came into power and the stability of currency has played a significant [Read More…]

Jul 022017
 

ROME: Demands made of Qatar by four other Arab states were designed to be rejected, Doha’s foreign minister said on Saturday, explaining that their ultimatum was aimed not at tackling terrorism but at curtailing his country’s sovereignty. However Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, speaking to reporters in Rome, added Doha was still ready to sit down and discuss the grievances raised by its Arab neighbors. He was speaking ahead of a deadline set by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates [UAE], Bahrain and Egypt for Doha to accept 13 demands. Officials say they are aimed at ending a rift that erupted last month over accusations that Qatar supports terrorism, charges it denies. Qatar working with US, Kuwaitis on response to Gulf demands “This list of demands is made to be rejected. It’s not meant to be accepted or … to be negotiated,” Sheikh Mohammed said, adding that Qatar was willing to engage in further dialogue given “the proper conditions”. The demands included severing ties with terrorist groups, closing down the pan-Arab Al Jazeera satellite channel, downgrading ties with arch-rival Iran and closing a Turkish air base in Qatar. Arab states have said the demands are not negotiable and warned that further unspecified measures will follow if Qatar does not comply. But Sheikh Mohammed was adamant. “Regarding the demands and our position, we have been from the beginning very clear on this. We are not going to accept anything that infringes on our sovereignty or anything that is imposed on Qatar,” he [Read More…]

Jun 222017
 

NEW YORK CITY: Qatar Airways has notified American Airlines it wants to buy about a 10 percent stake in the US carrier, which confirmed the move Thursday in a securities filing. Qatar Airways disclosed that it planned to buy at least $808 million in shares, and Qatar Airways’ chief executive told his counterpart at American that the carrier sought a stake of about 10 percent, American Airlines said. “The proposed investment by Qatar Airways was not solicited by American Airlines and would in no way change the Company’s Board composition, governance, management or strategic direction,” American said in the filing. The move comes as Qatar faces conflict with neighboring countries after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates severed ties over Doha’s alleged support for militant groups and Iran. The countries have suspended all flights to and from Qatar. Qatar Airways says service ‘unaffected’ by Gulf ban Qatar’s government denies all the allegations. American, for its part, also has had its differences with Qatar Airways, among other Middle Eastern carriers, over state subsidies the US air travel industry believes violate trade agreements. The Qatar stake in American “does not alter American Airlines’ conviction on the need to enforce the Open Skies agreements with the United Arab Emirates and the nation of Qatar and ensure fair competition with Gulf carriers, including Qatar Airways,” American said in the filing. Qatar Airways calls on U.N. body to declare Qatar measures illegal- CNN “American Airlines continues to believe that the President and his administration [Read More…]

Jun 192017
 

DOHA: Qatar on Monday demanded neighbouring states lift their “blockade” of the emirate as a pre-condition for crisis talks, even as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) warned its isolation could last years. Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani called measures imposed against Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and others “an act of aggression”. “We have to make it very clear for everyone, negotiations must be done in a civilised way and should have a solid basis and not under pressure or under blockade,” he told reporters in Doha. “Qatar under blockade – there is no negotiation. They have to lift the blockade,” said Sheikh Mohammed. Qatar hits out at Arab states for ‘using terrorism as publicity stunt’ “Until now we didn’t see any progress about lifting the blockade, which is the pre-condition for anything to move forward,” he added. On June 5, Saudi Arabia and its allies cut all diplomatic ties with Qatar, pulling their ambassadors from the gas-rich emirate and giving its citizens a two-week deadline to leave their territory. The measures also included closing Qatar’s only land border, banning its planes from using their airspace and barring Qatari nationals from transiting through their airports. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain and others accuse Qatar of supporting and funding “terrorism” and of working with regional rival Iran, charges Doha firmly denies. Turkish troops in Qatar for joint exercises Asked if the ultimate aim of the Gulf countries was to enforce regime change, the foreign minister replied: [Read More…]

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