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ADMIN posted a blog entry in Geo News BlogPrime Minister's adviser on finance Miftah Ismail/File photo Prime Minister's adviser on finance Miftah Ismail has alleged that Pakistan was made a ?target of politics? at the ongoing meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), where a US-sponsored resolution to consider placing Pakistan on a watchlist of countries that financially aid terrorism remained inconclusive. In an interview to a private TV channel, Ismail said Pakistan was made a ?target of politics? despite the country?s tangible efforts to crack down on money laundering and terror financing. ?What do [they] want? They just want to humiliate Pakistan. Pakistan is not a big money launderer,? he said. ?If they were bothered about terror financing, they would work with us, they would see how much we have done and [what more] we will do till June,? the adviser continued. Earlier on Friday, Indian media and Reuters, quoting sources, had claimed that Pakistan had been added to the grey-list of the global money-laundering watchdog. However, the list, called 'jurisdictions with strategic deficiencies' available on FATF's website, does not include Pakistan. The list includes the names of Ethiopia, Iraq, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Vanuatu, and Yemen. Pakistan not included in FATF grey-list FATF was not responsible for reports which claimed that the country had been added to the grey-list, says spokesperson Manager communications FATF Alexandra Wijmenga-Daniel told Geo News correspondent Khalid Hameed Farooqi that the said list was "final". When asked about reports circulating in international media claiming Pakistan had been added to the grey-list, she said FATF was not responsible for reports in the media. ?No significant effect on economy? Miftah Ismail earlier assured that Pakistan will see no substantial effect on its economy if placed on the FATF grey-list. The adviser said that Pakistan was placed on the list between 2012 and 2015, but the stock market still grew by three percent. He added that the fundamentals of the country's economy are strong. ?Nothing is going to happen before June? [but even then] nothing really will happen to Pakistan. It is not a big issue,? he told Geo News. FATF is a global body that combats terrorist financing and money laundering. Pakistan has been scrambling in recent months to avoid being added to a list of countries deemed non-compliant with anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regulations by the FATF. The next plenary meeting of FATF is expected to take place in June this year.
ADMIN posted a blog entry in Geo News Blog[embed_video1 url=http://stream.jeem.tv/vod/e53a8c63bd34384ec21cbc013f5e4c38.mp4/playlist.m3u8?wmsAuthSign=c2VydmVyX3RpbWU9Mi8xNC8yMDE4IDY6NTg6MDkgUE0maGFzaF92YWx1ZT1hWVMwU1djZDZRQnpLUlNkTG5WOFN3PT0mdmFsaWRtaW51dGVzPTYwJmlkPTE= style=center] KARACHI: Advisor to PM on Finance Miftah Ismail Wednesday said the United States' motion to place Pakistan on a global terrorist-financing watchlist is "inspired by India." Speaking on Geo News' show 'Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Saath', Ismail said they are in talks with 25, 30 countries and many of these countries have appreciated Pakistan's steps. "We have been working and telling the world our stance. The reason for which they want to put us on watchlist...we have ended that very reason." He said there is positive feedback from officials and states they have been talking to and it appears that Pakistan will not be put on the watchlist. US moves to put Pakistan on global terrorist-financing watchlist A meeting of FATF member states is due to take place next week in Paris, where the motion on Pakistan could be adopted Responding to a question about the motion being focused on Hafiz Saeed and India's allegations, the PM's advisor said the process has become "India-inspired, India-centric" and that an international organisation like FATF is doing so because of conspiracies of one country. He, however, said that there were loopholes in their laws. "As far as these technical issues or the legal loopholes are concerned, we are ready to talk to them (FATF), if it would be on technical level and not political." Ismail called it "injustice" to single out an individual or organisation. "When we feel that the whole process is India-inspired and they have only been singling out one organisation or one individual, then this is injustice." He said that Pakistan has fulfilled its international commitments and obligations under the UN charter. "We have fulfilled our obligations and expect the world fraternity to understand that Pakistan is meeting its reasonable expectations," the PM's advisor said. "After all this, what India wants is mischief," he concluded.
ADMIN posted a blog entry in Geo News BlogPM's adviser on Finance Miftah Ismail met Nawaz Sharif in Raiwind on Monday LAHORE: Prime Minister's Adviser on Finance, Economic Affairs and Revenue Miftah Ismail called on PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif in Raiwind on Monday, where the former premier instructed him to implement tax reforms to strengthen the economy. During the meeting, Nawaz instructed Ismail to refund 100% sales tax to exporters by February 15 this year, and to reduce individual tax rate immediately to provide relief to the public ? not keeping the rate more than 15 percent. Nawaz also asked the Finance Adviser to ensure no income tax is levied on monthly incomes of up to Rs 0.1 million. The PML-N chief also shared concerns of industrialists, saying that they were worried about gas prices and Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC), and asked Ismail to decrease the rates immediately so that Pakistani industrialists could compete effectively with those from rest of the world. Government taking measures to expand tax net: Miftah Ismail PM's Adviser on Finance says government in recent months has stabilised the Rupee and tariffs on imported goods to boost exports After being appointed as PM?s finance adviser late last year, Miftah Ismail had expressed resolve to take several measures for enhancing the tax net to increase revenue with the consultation of all stakeholders. "We want to facilitate new tax filers and lessen the tax burden on middle class citizens for balancing tax distribution,? he had said, adding that the government planned tax reforms to focus on widening the tax base, simplifying tax structures, and slashing personal tax rates to encourage more people to file returns.
ADMIN posted a blog entry in Geo News BlogPrime Minister's Adviser Miftah Ismail said Wednesday night the government of Pakistan's one-day expense amounts to more than $255 million, the figure the US announced earlier in the day to withhold from Islamabad, alleging the latter was failing to cooperate fully in the fight against terrorism. US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced early Wednesday the US was withholding "aid" worth $255 million (Rs. 28.249 billion) to Pakistan, a decision that caused an uproar in the nation and prompted numerous leaders as well as the military to slam the decision. "If America does not want to give us Rs. 25-30 billion, it will not affect the Pakistani economy," Ismail ? the Adviser to PM on Finance, Revenue, and Economic Affairs ? told Hamid Mir of Geo News' programme Capital Talk when the latter asked about the importance of the US' $255-million aid to the country. Trump administration to announce cuts in 'security assistance' to Pakistan today: sources Congressional offices' aides said the State Department called to inform it would announce Wednesday or Thursday that aid was being cut off "Will Pakistan's economy halt without the financial assistance? The aid the US has threatened to revoke will not have any impact then?" Mir asked incredulously. "Sir, my (government of Pakistan's) expenses for one day ? one working day ? is more than that amount ($255 million)," the newly-appointed adviser reiterated. "So, are you sure you don't spend the funds extravagantly?" the senior journalist joked. "This is the government of Pakistan ? a country of 200 million people," Ismail said, laughing at Mir's joke. "Our economy is worth $335 million. The United States says it won't give us Rs. 25-30 billion? So be it; don't," he added. Cabinet meeting told Pakistan has several options after US aid withdrawal: sources 'Civil-military leadership is on same page under present circumstances,' foreign minister tells participants of cabinet meeting Ismail also talked about how Pakistan had cooperated a lot with the US in the war against terrorism. It could not achieve success in this regard without the nation's assistance. Pakistan wants to completely eliminate the menace of terrorism and the US should cooperate, he said, adding that the national economy was improving due to the prudent policies of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz's (PML-N) government. The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) ? launched by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif ? would bring economic revolution in the country, he added. ?Note: USD 1 = PKR 110.78 (as of publishing time)
ADMIN posted a blog entry in Geo News BlogISLAMABAD: The Prime Minister's Adviser on Finance, Economic Affairs and Revenue Miftah Ismail said on Monday that the government is taking several measures for enhancing the tax net to increase revenue with the consultation of all stakeholders. "The mobilisation of domestic resources through reforms in taxation is essential to ensure sustainable financing of development as the government would not depend on foreign loans," he said in an interview with a private news channel. Appreciating his predecessor Senator Ishaq Dar, Ismail said Dar contributed towards the country's economic stability and growth. Dar is presently in London seeking medical treatment while a corruption hearing against him is under way here. Ismail assured that in a month, the government will take further steps to make the economy stronger through tax reforms. "We want to facilitate new tax filers and lessen the tax burden on middle class citizens for balancing tax distribution," he said. He further said the government in recent months stabilised the Rupee and tariffs on imported goods to boost exports to reduce the growing balance of payments. Ismail said the government planned tax reforms to focus on widening the tax base, simplifying tax structures, and slashing personal tax rates to encourage more people to file returns. "We have to reduce rates and the prime minister is very eager to especially reduce rates on individuals," Ismail stated. Pakistan has a very narrow tax base and successive governments have promised to rein in tax evaders and boost revenues. "We will probably not go back to the international markets to issue a new bond until the end of next calendar year so it will not be in this fiscal year anymore," he concluded.
ADMIN posted a blog entry in Geo News BlogNew finance chief Miftah Ismail/Reuters ISLAMABAD: New finance ministry chief Miftah Ismail said he plans significant tax reforms in the five months before the government?s term ends ahead of a 2018 election, and touted a policy of greater currency flexibility. Pakistan?s government has in recent months devalued the rupee, imposed tariffs on imported goods and sought to boost exports to reduce growing balance of payments pressures fuelling concern about health of the nearly $300 billion economy. The country this month borrowed $2.5 billion from international markets via a Sukuk and eurobond offers that were vastly oversubscribed and fetched lower-than-expected rates. Ismail, a wealthy businessman and former International Monetary Fund (IMF) economist, was on Wednesday appointed as finance adviser to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in a role that makes him de facto finance minister. Ismail told Reuters in an interview he plans tax reforms to focus on widening the tax base, simplifying tax structures, and slashing personal tax rates to encourage more people to file returns. ?We have to reduce rates and the prime minister is very eager to especially reduce rates on individuals,? Ismail said at his home in Islamabad, referring to his close ally Abbasi. Tax rates on individuals vary in Pakistan, but can be as high as 30 percent for salaried individuals and 35 percent for non-salaried individuals. ?(Abbasi) wants to bring it to 15 percent or so,? Ismail said. Pakistan has a very narrow tax base. Successive governments have promised to rein in tax evaders and boost revenues but have faced fierce resistance to change, including from the many politicians and businessmen believed to be among those dodging their taxes. The central bank devalued the currency by about 5 percent this month, and the market expects further weakening of the rupee before the polls in mid-2018 to ease balance of payments pressure stemming from a widening trade deficit and growing fiscal deficit. Miftah Ismail appointed PM?s adviser on finance Miftah Ismail has been appointed Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, with the status of Federal Minister The devaluation followed the departure of Ishaq Dar, the previous finance minister who was staunchly opposed to a weaker rupee and had admonished the central bank for an attempt to weaken the currency in July. Ismail said the government has altered its policy of the past few years, under which it had essentially pegged the rupee to the dollar and defended its value. ?We?ve decided to not do that,? Ismail added. Analysts say Pakistan?s central bank effectively sets the currency rate as it is the biggest player in the thinly traded rupee market and controls what is widely understood to be a managed float system. When asked if he would be opposed to the rupee weakening another 5 percent, as the market expects, Ismail said there was a policy of greater flexibility for the currency and he would not be hostile to it either weakening or firming. ?I?m a big believer in the free market,? he said. ?We are largely letting the rupee be.? Ismail also said Pakistan may return to international markets for a fresh bond offering but that this was unlikely before late 2018. ?We will probably not go back to the international markets to issue a new bond until the end of next calendar year so it will not be in this fiscal year anymore,? he said.
Miftah Ismail/File photo ISLAMABAD: The government has appointed Miftah Ismail as Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, with the status of Federal Minister with immediate effect, a notification issued by the Cabinet Division said on Tuesday. President Mamnoon Hussain made the appointment in exercise of the powers conferred by clause (1) of Article 96 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and on the advice of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, according to the notification. Consequent upon his appointment as Adviser to the Prime Minister, Ismail shall cease to hold the office of the Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Economic Affairs, the notification added. In a statement, Miftah said: ?I bow my head in humility to Allah (SWT) for the honour of being appointed Adviser to the Prime Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs. I am grateful to my leader Mian Nawaz Sharif for his kindness and to the Prime Minister of Pakistan Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for placing his trust in me. I am also thankful to many leaders in the party for continuing to mentor me over the years, including my first boss in politics Mian Shahbaz Sharif, and Khawaja Mohammad Asif, Professor Ahsan Iqbal and Sen Pervaiz Rasheed. It is a joy also to thank many other leaders, friends and colleagues in PML-N for their constant support over the years. In line with Nawaz Sharif?s vision, the prime minister has instructed me to try to lower individual tax rates, widen the tax net, come up with a scheme to repay the refunds owed to our taxpayers, reform certain corporate taxes that are adversely affecting capital formation and also study the possibility of allowing Pakistanis to bring their undocumented wealth into the country?s economy, he added. Born in Karachi, Ismail received his B.S. from Duquesne University in business studies in 1985, followed by a PhD in public finance and political economy from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, in 1990. He worked with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as an economist based in Washington D.C. in early 1990s.
ADMIN posted a blog entry in Geo News BlogGulalai Ismail Gulalai Ismail, a women's rights activist from Swabi, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has been awarded the Reach All Women in War (RAW) Anna Politkovskaya Award alongside the late Indian journalist, Gauri Lankesh. At the age of 16, Gulalai co-founded a non-governmental organisation, Aware Girls, with her sister Saba Ismail in 2002. The organisation aims to challenge cultural violence and oppression of women in rural Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by strengthening leadership skills of young people, especially women and girls. Driven by a passion to challenge inequality, intolerance and extremism, Aware Girls began running workshops to enable girls and young women to challenge oppression and fight for their rights to education and equal opportunities. Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai was an attendee of Aware Girls programmes in 2011. Malala, who won the Anna Politkovskaya Award in 2013, paid tribute to Gulalai on the accolade. ?I am proud to support my sister Gulalai Ismail, a fearless advocate for girls? education and equality in Pakistan. Through Aware Girls, Gulalai is training young women to advocate for their rights. Her work is fostering the next generation of female leaders in our country. Despite discrimination and danger, Gulalai is continuing her fight to see every girl to go to school. She has been my friend for many years and I wish her congratulations on this distinguished honour.? Malala?s father Ziauddin Yousafzai also congratulated Gulalai, terming her a brave activist. Indian journalist Gauri Lankesh ? a known critic of right-wing groups ? was fatally shot by unidentified attackers in Bengaluru in September. The Anna Politkovskaya Award was established to remember and honour Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who was murdered in Moscow on October 7, 2006 over her reportage of the second war in Chechnya. She was 48 years old.
waqas dar posted a blog entry in Geo News BlogKARACHI: Senior Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) leader Muhammad Ismail Rahoo on Monday tendered his resignation as member of the Sindh assembly, citing personal reasons. Rahoo was elected an MPA from district Badin in the 2013 elections. He has also served as the president of PML-N Sindh chapter, from which he resigned last month. According to sources, the Rahoo is expected to join Pakistan People's Party soon.