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Building close relations with Iran our top priority: Foreign Minister Bilawal

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  • “We have come closer to resolving major obstacles in expanding trade,” Bilawal says.
  • The foreign minister is in Iran on a two-day official visit.
  • He adds the two sides have also committed to enhancing energy cooperation.

TEHRAN: Pakistan and Iran on Tuesday reiterated the resolve to further strengthen bilateral relations in all dimensions during the maiden visit of Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Radio Pakistan reported.

Addressing a joint news conference alongside his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in Tehran, the foreign minister said Iran is an important neighbour and brother of Pakistan and building close relations with Iran remains “our high priority”.

Bilawal, while sharing the details of his meeting with the Iranian foreign minister, said they took stock of the entire gamut of bilateral relations and identified ways to further strengthen the bilateral relations in trade, investment, connectivity, border management, facilitation of pilgrims, cultural and educational cooperation and enhancing people to people contacts.

“We have come closer to resolving one of the major obstacles in expanding trade through operationalisation of party trade mechanism, formalisation of cross border exchanges through opening new border crossings and promotion of trade through cross border markets,” said Bilawal.

Reiterating the commitment to enhance commercial and economic activities for the prosperity of the two peoples, Bilawal said: “We have also committed to enhancing energy cooperation by importing additional electricity from Iran.”

He further added that during his meeting with the Iranian foreign minister, they also discussed the exchange of sentenced prisoners under the existing legal frameworks to allow them to complete their sentences in their respective countries.

Appreciating Iran’s facilitation of Pakistani pilgrims, the foreign minister said he discussed additional facilities for pilgrims.

Bilawal said: “We also discussed the latest developments in Afghanistan especially the dire humanitarian saturation there as both Pakistan and Iran are directly affected by conflict and instability in Afghanistan.”

He stated that the two sides have agreed that the Afghan people should be supported including through access to frozen assets. He said the world expects from Afghan authorities a move towards inclusivity and an effective counter-terrorism action.

The foreign minister said he has briefed his Iranian counterpart about the serious human rights situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK).

Bilawal said he also discussed the rising tide of Islamophobia and the recent derogatory remarks made by officials in India that deeply offended Muslims across the world. He revealed: “We have agreed that it is time for the international community to show common resolve against Islamophobia, Xenophobia and intolerance and incitement to violence on the basis of religion or belief.”

Referring to Iran’s engagement with western partners on 2015 Nuclear Deal, the foreign minister said they look forward to the day when the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) reaches a conclusion that is right of the people of Iran and creates a more conducive environment.

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Train hits dumper at Gojra level crossing

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At an unmanned level crossing in Gojra late on Sunday night, a train carrying two Rehman Baba Express drivers was injured when it struck a dumper.

Rehman Baba Express struck a dumper at Gojra level crossing No. 99 while traveling from Peshawar to Karachi, according to details. Two train drivers were stranded inside the debris, and the train’s engine sustained significant damage in the crash.

When rescue personnel arrived, they broke the engine’s body to free the drivers who were still in critical condition. All of the passengers were safe throughout the collision, according to railway authorities.

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There won’t be a total solar eclipse today in Pakistan.

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This Wednesday will be the first full solar eclipse of the year. But it won’t be visible in Asia.

Around 11:07 am PDT, or 9:07 pm local time in Pakistan, the eclipse will initially be visible near the Pacific Coast of Mexico. After that, the eclipse will pass through a large region of the United States, from Texas to Maine, and into Canada.

The total eclipse will last for four minutes, and the eclipse will continue for five hours and ten minutes.

The eclipse will proceed into Texas, passing through over a dozen states before reaching southern Ontario in Canada, according to NASA. At around 5:16 p.m. NDT, the eclipse will leave mainland North America and go out of Newfoundland, Canada.

According to NASA, there is a path where the eclipse will be visible in its entirety, and outside of this area, spectators may notice a partial eclipse, in which the moon covers part of the sun but not all of it.

In the ensuing two decades, there won’t be another full solar eclipse. On October 2, South America will witness the second solar eclipse of the year. Yet it will just be a portion of it.

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Pakistani stocks are rising, and the KSE-100 breaks the 69,000 barrier.

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The benchmark KSE-100 Index increased 1.76 percent on Monday, passing beyond the 69,000 barrier for the first time in its history. This maintained Pakistani stock market’s record-breaking run, as investors remained upbeat about potential rate cuts by the central bank.

The most recent advances also follow Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s iftar dinner given by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Makkah, at a time when Riyadh is anticipated to announce an approximately $1 billion investment in Reko Diq, one of the world’s greatest reserves of copper and gold.

After reaching a high of 69,720.03, the KSE-100 Index concluded at 69,619.98 with a net gain of 1,203.20 points by the time trading was closed for the day. This was due to international investors, both individual and institutional, making purchases.

The meeting between Shehbaz and the Saudi crown prince, also referred to as MBS, may open doors for investment in a variety of industries, including mining, energy, and agriculture.

With record-high energy and interest rates driving up the cost of conducting business to an unaffordable level, investors are clamoring for foreign investment to prop up the economy.

Any improvement in this area would not only contribute to the rupee’s appreciation but also increase the value of cheap equities due to the anticipated purchasing frenzy, as buyers will not pass up the chance to purchase at the reduced prices.

However, there is a big question mark over the heightened expectations that the State Bank of Pakistan will begin reducing interest rates following the consumer price index (CPI) showing a steady fall in inflation over the past three months, particularly the greater than anticipated decline in March.

The reason is that, given Islamabad’s desperation to secure another package from the Washington-based lender, there is an impending hike in gasoline costs in addition to power and gas charges. This move will further sustain the inflationary pressure under the IMF criteria.

Meanwhile, the most recent US data has reduced expectations for potential rate reduction by the Federal Reserve, which is driving up the price of gold as speculative purchasing occurs.

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