Enhancement of banks’ capacity to meet CPEC requirements urged

The Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF) Friday called on the government to help local banks in enhancing their capacities to meet the requirements of mega project of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
“The government should ask banks to increase their strength and invite big foreign banks to step into Pakistan’s promising market”, said President PBIF Mian Zahid Hussain in a statement issued here.
Mian Zahid Hussain, who is also senior vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FPCCI) said that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has started implementation of establishing 41 buildings on the economic corridor to handle tax related issues.
The business leader said that government should ensure that all the project initiated by the FBR should be completed without any complication leading to delay.
He noted that the current administration has started giving incentives to the staff of the FBR which will have a positive impact on the overall performance.
The decision of the government to resolve the longstanding disputes between taxpayers and tax collectors is laudable which will reduce the burden on the tax agency, he said.
But during resolving issues of tax payer, it must be ensured that no tax payer got harassed as it will discourage Business Fraternity, he added.

Foreign navies’ participation in AMAN-17 reflects trust in Pakistan

KARACHI, Feb 14 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Tuesday said that the participation of a large number of foreign navies at Multinational Naval Exercise AMAN-17 was reflective of confidence of world navies in Pakistan.
The AMAN-17 came to its conclusion with spectacular sea maneuvers and Fleet Review in the North Arabian Sea on Tuesday amid a joint resolve of 37 countries – ‘Together for Peace.’
Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif was the chief guest on the occasion, said a Pakistan Navy press release issued here.

Expressing his satisfaction, the Prime Minister lauded the strenuous efforts of Pakistan Navy for the successful conduct of Exercise AMAN-17, which is a manifestation of Pakistan’s policy of constructive engagement with the comity of nations for peace and stability in the maritime commons.

The Prime Minister said with this state of operational readiness, Pakistan Navy is fully prepared and committed to ensuring seaward defence and safeguard maritime interests of Pakistan.
Thirty-seven countries participated in the Multinational Naval Exercise, AMAN-17 which was conducted in two phases; the harbour phase spanned from February 11 to 12 and the sea phase from February 13 to 14.

Upon arrival onboard Pakistan Navy Ship NASR, the Prime Minister was received by Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah.

KARACHI: February 14 – Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Naval Chief Admiral Zakaullah and Federal Minister for Defence Khawaja Muhammad Asif witnessing multinational Naval Exercise (AMAN- 17) in deep sea water at a ship of Pakistan Navy. APP Photo by Sahib Zaman

Defence Minister, Secretary Defence, Governor Sindh, Chief Minister Sindh, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Chief of the Army Staff, Chief of the Air Staff, Sri Lankan Naval Chief, National Security Advisor to PM, Ambassadors, Consul Generals, Diplomats and other high ranking civil and military officials were also present on the occasion.

The Prime Minister was briefed on the overall conduct and operational perspective of the exercise and was given a detailed account of the sea based activities.
The chief guest witnessed different operational serials of the exercise conducted at sea by participating naval ships, aircraft, helicopters and PAF fighter jets. These serials comprised replenishment of men and material from one ship to another, Rockets Depth Charge (RDC) firing and surface to surface firing on pre-determined targets.
Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif was also presented an impressive fly past by various aircraft and helicopters of Pakistan Navy, Pakistan Air Force and participating countries including Japanese P3C Orion aircraft.

In the end, all participating ships of different countries skimmed past PNS NASR in a column formation and presented salute to the dignitary.

All the coalition ships also formed up for traditional ‘AMAN Formation’ to signify unity and harmony amongst the participating nations against seaward crimes and maritime terrorism.
The harbour phase comprised International Maritime Conference, seminars, table talks, cross ships visits, call ons, International Band Display and Maritime Counter Terrorism Demonstration. Whereas, the sea phase included practical execution of operational plans and activities finalised during harbour phase.

Aman 17 kicks off: Russia makes its debut in multinational naval drill

KARACHI: Pakistan formally kicked off the fourth Aman-17 exercise at Pakistan Navy Dockyard on Friday.

The fourth multinational exercise formally commenced, under the aegis of Pakistan Navy with a colourful flag hoisting ceremony with the Navy band playing national songs.

“Though a total 36 countries are participating this time, nine of these countries are participating with their assets including ships, aircraft, special operating forces with Russia participating for the first time,” an official of the Pakistan navy told The Express Tribune.

“Even Sri Lanka’s naval chief is in Pakistan to attend the exercise.”

There will be three warships from China, four from the US, two from Russia and one each from Indonesia, Australia, Turkey, Sri Lanka and United Kingdom while two P-3C Orion aircraft from Japan are participating in the exercise.

The five-day drill will continue till February 14 while Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will also attend the concluding ceremony.

One of the key features, other than the sea exercise, is the international maritime conference spread over three days, organised by National Maritime Policy Research Centre.

“We are here for a common purpose, for a common goal to ensure security, to make this world safe for us, for the rest of humanity so that there is peace which brings prosperity and progress that is what our constitution mandates us to do,” Commander Pakistan Fleet Vice Admiral Arifullah Hussaini said.

“We believe in inclusive policy and we think that if the world stands together, there will be great benefits for all of us.”

The admiral said that the region is experiencing swift geo-strategic changes, which have provided Pakistan with diversified challenges but also many opportunities that mandate a secure environment not only within Pakistan but also in the region at large.

He reiterated that Pakistan Navy has always been a consistent security contributor in the Indian Ocean region.

“Being a lead nation, Pakistan’s maritime forces are actively participating with other navies in combating Narcotics trade, human smuggling, gun running, terrorism and piracy at high seas. We need to make collective efforts to eliminate these threats for lasting peace in the region,” he added.

The importance of this collaboration will enhance with the complete operationalisation of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and Gwadar Port meant to bring in prosperity not only to Pakistan but the region and beyond.

“Multinational exercise Aman 17 is an effort which will surely improve response, tactics and procedures among various maritime forces operating in the region,” the admiral added.

“The concept of the exercise is to promote understanding which will be developed through formal and informal interactions. The exercise is expected to further refine the concept of ‘collective and collaborative’ security among the participants. Pakistan in general and Pakistan Navy in particular takes immense pride in leading these efforts.”

Commander Pakistan Fleet extended warm welcome to the participating Navies and hoped that their presence or togetherness will forge a cooperation, yet brotherhood which will prevent conflicts and should there be one, we will quickly resolve it to establish and maintain lasting peace. He also valued participating nations for supporting Pakistan’s resolve for ensuring peace in the region.

ADB lauds Pakistan’s economic turnaround

ISLAMABAD – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has appreciated Pakistan’s economic turnaround due to the reforms agenda implemented during the past three and half years.

ADB Country Director Werner Liepach called on Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in Islamabad on Sunday and briefed him on the progress of various ongoing projects under Bank’s Country Operation Business Plan for Pakistan. Liepach reiterated ADB’s commitment for supporting development initiatives in Pakistan.

The minister stated that the government will continue to work closely with development partners on initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life of the people of Pakistan. He praised the role of ADB as a development partner for Pakistan. He expressed satisfaction on the progress of the development projects being implemented with ADB’s support.

Dar said that both ADB and the government of Pakistan must work together to further strengthen this relationship and to achieve further efficiencies in the implementation of projects undertaken in collaboration by both parties.

PM says Pakistan strategically placed to be Asia’s principal trade corridor

ISLAMABAD:Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan’s strategic location gives it the potential to become Asia’s premier trade, energy and transport corridor on Wednesday.

He was talking to Netherlands Royal Friesland Campina Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Roelof Joosten, in Islamabad.

The premier said that the government is extensively working on various infrastructure, energy and communication projects to facilitate trade and investment in diverse sectors.

Nawaz noted that the government recently extended the subsidy on fertilisers to facilitate farmers and propagated laws for Special Economic Zones to attract Foreign Direct Investment.

Joosten said Pakistan offers the Netherlands the opportunity to invest in the region.

The CEO further remarkedthat Pakistan was becoming an investment destination due to the improved security environment, rapidly expanding quality infrastructure and marked reduction in energy shortages.

He said that his country was planning to bring in an additional 100 million dollars investment to Pakistan in the next couple of years.