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Strong Pak protest with Swiss envoy on anti-Pak drive2017/09/19
ISLAMABAD: Swiss Ambassador to Pakistan, Marc P. George was summoned by Foreign Office in Islamabad on Monday, to lodge protest over anti-Pakistan advertisement campaign in Geneva. 
Meanwhile, drawing the attention of Swiss Government on the issue, Pakistan's Permanent Mission to United Nations at Geneva demanded Swiss government to take strict actions against the culprits involved in this act.
In his letter, the Permanent Representative Farrukh Amil said that, the use of Swiss soil by terrorist and violent secessionists for nefarious designs against Pakistan and its 200 million people is totally unacceptable.
He said that the terrorists or elements linked with terrorists operate openly in the peaceful and serene city of Geneva for their propaganda campaigns is a matter of grave concern.
The Ambassador said that Swiss authorities should be alert about presence of Balochistan Liberation Army terrorists or elements linked with such terrorists in Geneva.
Farrukh Amil demanded investigations with a view to blocking its recurrence in the future and expressed the hope that Swiss authorities will proceed against the local accomplices of the Balochistan Liberation Army who wittingly support the terrorist group. - NNI

Over 21pc growth in net tax collection seen in two months2017/09/19
ISLAMABAD: The net tax collection by Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) during the first two months of the current fiscal year increased by 21.02 percent as against the same period of last year.
The gross revenue collection during July-August (2017-18) witnessed growth of 24 per cent as compared to the corresponding period of last year, however after paying the refunds the net collection remained 21.02 percent.
The FBR paid refunds Rs36 billion in July-August (2017-18) compared to the refunds of Rs17 billion in July-August (2016-17), according to official sources.
The FBR has also launched a robust awareness campaign utilizing electronic as well as social media for sensitizing existing as well as potential taxpayers to file their returns by the due date which is September 30, 2017. An active liaison was being maintained with corporate employers to ensure maximum filing of income tax returns, they added.
In the next phase trade bodies, tax bars and Chambers of Commerce and Trade would be engaged to facilitate and ensure filing of maximum number of returns. - NNI

UK assures its support in GSP Plus status review2017/09/19
Monitoring Desk

ISLAMABAD: The United Kingdom has assured Pakistan that it will lend its support in the upcoming review of European Union's GSP Plus scheme as Islamabad has pledged to press ahead with implementation of 27 conventions of the United Nations on human, minorities and labour rights as well as good governance.
UK Minister of State for Trade Policy Greg Hands met Commerce Minister Pervaiz Malik and discussed bilateral trade relations as well as upcoming third review of the GSP Plus scheme that the bloc of 28 nations offered in January 2014.
"The UK will continue to support Pakistan to benefit from the EU's GSP+ scheme, whilst in return Pakistan pledges to continue to make progress to improve human rights, labour rights, environment and good governance in line with the commitments made as part of the GSP+ scheme," said a joint statement issued after the meeting.
The Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) Plus is an instrument of EU trade policy which is aimed at encouraging beneficiary countries to comply with core international standards in the areas of human rights, labour rights, environmental protection and good governance.
Pakistan's exports to the UK and EU increased over 35% in the past three years, said Commerce Secretary Younus Dagha.
Although the UK has opted to leave the European Union and is currently negotiating Brexit terms with the EU, it will have voting rights till 2019.
Currently, the UK supports Pakistan through the EU's GSP Plus trade preference scheme and this arrangement encourages economic growth and sustainable development in Pakistan, according to the statement.
It added the GSP Plus arrangement also helped businesses and consumers in Britain. "As the UK leaves the EU, we recognise the need to ensure a smooth transition in our trading arrangements," the UK minister said.
He reiterated his country's commitment to a similar treatment after quitting the EU that Pakistan was currently enjoying under the GSP Plus scheme.
The statement emphasised that the UK's firm intention was to maintain these preferences on a bilateral basis, with generous access to UK markets.
More than 85% of Pakistan's exports to EU member countries qualify for the GSP Plus benefits. However, the continuation of these benefits depends on the review that the EU plans to conduct in January next year.
The European Commission will present a report on implementation of the 27 conventions to the European Parliament.
"The 27 conventions are very important, but these are very unrealistic in Pakistan's context, as it is an overly populated country facing issues like child labour," said Yasmeen Rehman, former strategic adviser to EU's democracy strengthening project in Pakistan.
Rehman, who is also a former member of the National Assembly, said because of these issues there were still gaps in implementation of the 27 conventions.
For instance, the moratorium on death penalty was not directly part of the 27 conventions, but it was linked with the conventions on human rights and democracy.
The joint communiqué stated that the UK would help Pakistan break down barriers to trade and use the resultant opportunities to create jobs and reduce poverty.
It added that Pakistan was an exciting market for British businesses. Both governments were ambitious to see more British trade and investment in Pakistan as well as Pakistani businesses exporting to and operating in the UK.
The EU Commission's report for second review of the GSP Plus status noted mixed progress on the 27 conventions. The last review was held in January 2016.
The report underlined that after the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, provinces received greater powers in key areas for the GSP Plus, but they lacked capacity, including when it came to collecting relevant data and statistics, which remained a cause for concern. Furthermore, serious concerns exist related to the right to fair trial. The report stated that there were widespread allegations of the use of torture to extract evidence in violation of obligations under a UN convention.
It noted that the Protection of Pakistan Act adopted in 2014 was a matter of concern in relation to disappearances since it allowed security forces to detain suspects without trial for prolonged periods of time and to keep them in secret detention facilities without informing their families or providing access to legal representation.

PML-N by-election success keeps market thriving2017/09/19
KSE-100 Index stays volatile closing higher by 54 points
Ghulam Raza Rajani

KARACHI: Market observed an overall positive but volatile trading day. Market started the week with a bang due to victory of ruling party contestant and wife of ex Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in NA 120 by-election ...

KP govt forms team of senior prosecutors in Mashal case2017/09/19

ISLAMABAD: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government has formed a team of senior public prosecutors for the trial of dozens of accused in the Mashal Khan murder case, which is set to begin inside the Haripur Jail on Tuesday.
The K-P Home and Tribal Affairs Department issued a notification on Monday, appointing three senior public prosecutors to assist Hazara public prosecutor Abdul Hameed in the case. According to the prosecution, charges would be framed on Tuesday.
A senior home department official told newsmen that the additional team had been formed to counter a high number of defence lawyers. He said cases like this could see eight to 10 lawyers from the defence side.
The lawyers who would assist Hameed in the case are Zafar Abbas Mirza, Director Monitoring in the K-P Directorate General of Prosecution; Senior Public Prosecutor Buner Fazle Noorani and Senior Public Prosecutor Swat Arif Bilal.
Mashal, a student of the Abdul Wali Khan University in Mardan, was lynched by his fellow students and university employees on April 13, 2017 after being accused of committing blasphemy.

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