Pakistan minister slammed for ‘drink less tea, save money’ appeal | News

Planning minister Ahsan Iqbal’s plea to drink much less tea to assist save on imports amid a deepening financial disaster surprises many.

A minister in Pakistan’s newly elected authorities is dealing with criticism following his plea to the nation to drink much less tea to assist save on imports amid a deepening financial disaster.

Pakistan is among the many world’s prime tea importers, a massively well-liked drink amongst each the wealthy and the poor on this nation of 220 million folks.

The federal government spends about $600m from the central financial institution’s laborious forex reserves for tea imports yearly.

A Pakistani is believed to drink no less than three cups of tea a day on common, the nation’s caffeinated drink of selection.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who took over in April after Imran Khan was eliminated in a no-confidence vote in parliament, has pledged to enhance the ailing financial system and meet situations set by the Worldwide Financial Fund in an effort to revive a $6bn bailout package deal.

Nonetheless, planning minister Ahsan Iqbal’s attraction to drink much less tea has stunned many.

“I attraction to the folks to scale back their tea ingesting by one or two cups a day as a result of we additionally borrow cash for the tea, which is imported,” Iqbal mentioned at a press convention on Tuesday.

Pakistan Tea Drinking
A vendor shows the costs of imported teas at his store, in Karachi, Pakistan [Fareed Khan/AP]

Some have brazenly suggested Iqbal on social media to resign.

“Yesterday Ahsan Iqbal requested us to devour much less tea and tomorrow they might say eat much less. Is it an answer?” requested Dil Sher, who owns a roadside tea stall on the outskirts of Islamabad.

The federal government has to this point elevated the worth of gasoline, pure fuel and electrical energy by as much as 45 p.c, sending meals costs hovering. Final week, Sharif’s cupboard introduced its first funds to parliament for approval, levying extra taxes on the wealthy and vowing to take away subsidies on power and gasoline as demanded by the IMF.

To the shock of many Pakistanis, Sharif’s authorities at midnight introduced the third rise of 24 rupees within the worth of petrol prior to now three weeks, taking it to about 234 rupees per litre. Petrol was out there at about 150 rupees per litre in Pakistan when Khan was eliminated in April.

Khan says Sharif got here into energy below a United States’ plot, a cost Washington denies. Sharif and the nation’s navy have additionally denied Khan’s declare, saying no proof of US conspiracy in Khan’s elimination was out there.

Hourslong energy cuts throughout Pakistan have additionally made Sharif’s coalition authorities unpopular.

Now within the opposition, Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) social gathering took to Twitter, claiming Sharif’s authorities has broken the financial system, barely two months since taking workplace.

Sharif, nevertheless, says he’s paying the worth for the mismanagement of his predecessor’s authorities.

Throughout his three and a half years in energy, Khan’s authorities additionally confronted criticism, together with when a legislator from his social gathering, Riaz Fatyana, appealed on folks to make use of much less sugar and eat only one flatbread with each meal as an alternative of extra amid a scarcity of sugar and wheat on the time. In Pakistan, most individuals devour roti, a flatbread just like India’s naan.

Pakistan’s forex, the rupee, plummeted to a document low in buying and selling in opposition to the US greenback on Wednesday. Based on the central financial institution, the rupee slid to 206 in opposition to the US greenback.

Additionally on Wednesday, Esther Perez Ruiz, the IMF’s resident consultant for Pakistan, denied native media experiences that the world lender requested Pakistan to renegotiate the China-Pakistan Financial Hall (CPEC) power offers earlier than making hefty funds to Beijing.

“These claims are merely unfaithful. Reasonably, the IMF helps the federal government’s multipronged technique to revive power sector viability which shares the burden of restoring viability throughout all stakeholders – the federal government, producers, and customers,” Ruiz mentioned in an announcement.

Indonesia trade minister sacked after palm oil export flip-flops | News

Indonesian President Joko Widodo names new commerce minister after a three-week export ban despatched shockwaves via international markets.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has sacked the commerce minister following controversy over a sequence of coverage reversals on palm oil exports, as he reshuffled his cupboard on Wednesday.

Zulkifli Hasan, chairman of the Nationwide Mandate Occasion (PAN) and a former forestry minister, was sworn in because the nation’s new commerce minister.

His predecessor Muhammad Lutfi oversaw a flip-flop on insurance policies to include a surge in home cooking oil costs, which included a ban on palm oil shipments from the world’s largest exporter.

The three-week export ban despatched shockwaves via international markets and led to a sequence of arrests for alleged corruption earlier than it was lifted on Might 23.

The home worth of palm fruits had additionally tumbled by about 70 p.c because the ban, Gulat Manurung, chairman of the Indonesian smallholders’ group APKASINDO, mentioned in a press release final month.

Quickly resolve points

The president, popularly often known as Jokowi, mentioned Zulkifli’s “lengthy observe report” and “subject expertise” gave him confidence he would resolve the problems.

The brand new minister pledged after his appointment to “quickly resolve points on the provision and affordability of cooking oil specifically”.

Nevertheless, his appointment drew combined reactions from analysts.

Bhima Yudhistira, director of the Middle of Financial and Legislation Research (CELIOS), mentioned he was dissatisfied that the president was accommodating the wants of his coalition reasonably than enhancing the efficiency of his authorities.

“If Jokowi desires to go away his legacy, a very powerful factor is to nominate a minister of commerce with an expert background, and there are a whole lot of choices. Why select a md of a political celebration?”

The Conventional Market Merchants Affiliation (IKAPPI) congratulated the brand new minister, saying there have been difficult points he wanted to deal with.

“We wish to say welcome to the jungle. This wilderness must be tidied up and we hope that [the minister] will aspect with conventional market merchants, help SMEs and strengthen home commerce,” the group mentioned in a press release.

Jokowi additionally introduced modifications to the agrarian and spatial planning ministry, appointing former armed forces chief, Hadi Tjahjanto, who he mentioned will probably be tasked with resolving land disputes, significantly in relation to the proposed new capital of Nusantara in East Kalimantan.

The president additionally inaugurated three deputy ministers to the ministries of manpower, spatial planning and residential affairs.

Palm oil provider

On the time of the ban, India raised considerations about “commerce obstacles” triggered partly by the palm oil ban on the World Commerce Organisation (WTO), based on native media.

In late April, it was reported that nearly 300,000 tonnes of edible palm oil destined for India has been trapped in Indonesia because of the ban.

Indonesia is the second largest provider of palm oil to India after neighbouring Malaysia, exporting greater than 3 million tonnes of the product to the South Asian nation in 2021.

In Pakistan, there have been fears that shares of palm oil might run out in Might, prompting the Pakistan Vanaspati Producers Affiliation (PVMA) to name on the Ministry of Industries and Manufacturing to “take up the problem with Indonesia”.

Pakistan imports 80 p.c of its palm oil from Indonesia and 20 p.c from Malaysia.

Indonesia exported 34 million tonnes of palm oil merchandise in 2020, producing greater than $15bn in income, based on the Indonesian Palm Oil Affiliation (IPOA/GAPKI).

Q&A: Indonesia’s defence minister on security in the Asia-Pacific | Military News

Singapore – As defence chiefs from across the Asia-Pacific collect in Singapore for the Shangri-La Dialogue, a lot of the main target has been on rising tensions between america and China.

The three-day safety summit organised by the London-based Worldwide Institute for Strategic Research is taken into account an important defence-related convention within the area. This yr, greater than a dozen defence chiefs from around the globe, together with the US, China, and extra, are attending.

After a two-year hiatus, the occasion has returned and attracted high-profile visitors, together with the Indonesian defence chief and former presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto.

The previous lieutenant normal met with Al Jazeera’s Jessica Washington through the Shangri-La Dialogue, sharing his ideas on the struggle in Ukraine, and modernising Indonesia’s army arsenal.

Al Jazeera: In your speech on the Shangri-La Dialogue, you spoke concerning the “Asian means”. The place does Indonesia match into that concept?

Subianto: That’s our tradition that we at all times attempt to resolve issues with negotiations, with interactions, with engagement, and we carry on participating, we carry on discussing till we come to an amicable, mutually helpful resolution. That’s the Asian means.

And it’s the Indonesian means. We name it musyawarah mufakat (dialogue to succeed in an answer) and we name it gotong royong (working collectively). We search for frequent pursuits; if we at all times speak concerning the variations, we’d not even meet.

Al Jazeera: A giant focus throughout this summit has been on US-China tensions. What do you see as Indonesia’s position in coping with these tensions?

Subianto: We’re in the true and precise place that we respect and we’re pleasant, and we’re good buddies. We’ve good cooperation with each powers — I’ve mentioned that many instances. The US has helped us many instances, in our important moments. However China has additionally helped us. China has additionally defended us and China is now a really shut accomplice with Indonesia. And really, China has at all times been the main civilization in Asia. Lots of our sultans, kings, our princes in these days, they might marry princesses from China. We’ve a whole bunch of years of relationship.

So it’s pure. So, you requested me, what’s our place, nearly as good buddies we attempt to be, possibly a very good frequent bridge. If not, then we keep the nice relationships.

And we’re satisfied that each powers could have sensible management. I’m optimistic on that entrance, many individuals, after all, understandably are involved, and sure there are risks. However I consider the chief of China will likely be sensible, and the chief of the US additionally. They’re nice powers. The world will count on them to present us good management.

Al Jazeera: What about a few of the features of Indonesia-China relationships, the place there are variations of opinions… for instance the South China Sea. How do you navigate these challenges?

Subianto: As I mentioned with good relations, good communication with direct contacts, we will come to an amicable understanding that’s mutually helpful.

Al Jazeera: The US Secretary of Protection, earlier within the speech talked about Indonesia, particularly the naval train known as Garuda Defend…

Subianto: Garuda Defend has been happening for 14-15 years, however we now have additionally workouts with different nations. We additionally plan to have workouts with China.

Al Jazeera: The US Secretary talked concerning the scenario in Ukraine, and also you talked about in your speech, you mentioned it’s a very unhappy scenario. Do you will have anything to say on that?

Subianto: Traditionally, geopolitically, there are at all times two variations to a narrative. Indonesia, as you realize we voted with the various western nations in opposing the invasion of Ukraine — that’s our place on the invasion.

However as soon as once more, I want to say that Russia has been an excellent buddy to Indonesia all these years. We’ve good relations with Russia, they helped us additionally once we have been having difficulties and as I discussed, a buddy in want is a buddy certainly. Always remember buddies who helped you. That’s our place.

We are saying all the nice powers should be revered, and their considerations should be revered.

Al Jazeera: You will have made it your precedence to modernise Indonesia’s defence capabilities, how is that going?

Subianto: It’s going effectively, after all, all the things wants what I name an incubation interval, we will’t go to the grocery store and purchase defence gear. I’d say it’s going effectively, after all, I’m fairly impatient, I want it might go quicker, possibly if I’ve a magic wand.

Al Jazeera: Following your speech, you have been requested concerning the area and also you mentioned every nation could make their very own selections. Something additional to say on that?

Subianto: Principally that’s the appropriate of each nation to evaluate their very own safety wants. So I can not inform the Australians or the British what they need to do. I additionally don’t need them to inform us what to do. We respect one another.

Al Jazeera: Can I ask to your views on the scenario in Myanmar?

Subianto: I feel Indonesia’s place may be very clearly don’t acknowledge the regime in Myanmar

Al Jazeera: Let’s take a look at a home difficulty in Indonesia. There may be dialogue concerning the plan to create new provinces and a few worldwide human rights teams have raised considerations about safety implications and the influence on human rights.

Subianto: There’s at all times this, I’d say double requirements or triple normal, something nations like Indonesia do. They at all times attempt to emphasise the opportunity of human rights abuses. I feel our wants, we now have huge areas and that has been in dialogue and planning for a few years.

Al Jazeera: Indonesia’s international coverage has lengthy been guided by the phrase ‘free and lively’. Do you see Indonesia as having a management position amongst nations that take a impartial stance?

Subianto: Management just isn’t one thing that we will award to ourselves. I feel the perfect type of statecraft for my part is to get your personal home so as. If we care for our personal home in good order, folks will look to us.

Al Jazeera: Talking of management, your plans for 2024 — Are you planning to run for the presidency?

If I’m wanted, if there’s robust assist for me, then I’ve to place myself on the service of my folks and my nation.

US envoy meets Taliban foreign minister, raises women’s rights | Taliban News

US particular envoy on Afghanistan stresses worldwide opposition to Taliban’s therapy of girls and women.

The US particular envoy on Afghanistan has met the Taliban’s appearing overseas minister within the Qatari capital Doha and pressured worldwide opposition to the group’s increasing curbs on ladies and women.

“Women have to be again at school, ladies free to maneuver & work w/o restrictions for progress to normalised relations,” US Particular Consultant on Afghanistan Thomas West wrote on Twitter on Saturday after assembly Amir Khan Mutaqi.

Since returning to energy final August, the Taliban has imposed a slew of restrictions on civil society, many targeted on reining within the rights of girls and women, which can be harking back to their final rule within the Nineties.

Women’ colleges are but to open, greater than eight months because the Taliban got here to energy. The group has insisted that it needs women to get again to highschool, however justified the delay on causes starting from infrastructure to lack of assets as a result of financial disaster.

When the Taliban took energy in August, the armed group promised to uphold the rights of women and girls. However its actions since have fearful the worldwide group.
Earlier this month, Afghanistan’s supreme chief ordered ladies to cowl up absolutely in public, together with their faces, ideally with the normal burqa.


Throughout the previous few months, Taliban leaders, notably from the Ministry of Propagation of Advantage and the Prevention of Vice, have introduced many new restrictions, at the same time as criticism and worldwide strain mounts in opposition to them.

In December, the ministry, which changed the Afghan Ministry of Girls Affairs, imposed restrictions on ladies from travelling additional than 72km (45 miles) with no shut male family member.

This restriction was additional expanded to incorporate travelling overseas, and several other solo ladies travellers had been reportedly stopped from boarding flights. Related bans had been additionally launched in a number of healthcare centres throughout the nation, forbidding ladies to entry healthcare with no mahram (male chaperone).

In January, a bunch of 36 UN human rights specialists stated that Taliban leaders in Afghanistan are institutionalising large-scale and systematic gender-based discrimination and violence in opposition to ladies and women.

A shock U-turn in March, by which the group shuttered women’ excessive colleges on the morning they had been on account of open, drew the ire of the worldwide group and prompted the US to cancel deliberate conferences on easing the nation’s monetary disaster.

A Ministry of Schooling discover stated on March 23 that colleges for ladies can be closed till a plan was drawn up in accordance with Islamic legislation and Afghan tradition, based on Bakhtar Information Company, a authorities information company.

Financial stabilisation

West additionally stated that the 2 mentioned financial stabilisation in Afghanistan and considerations about assaults on civilians.

The nation is teetering on the verge of financial catastrophe after the West froze Afghanistan’s property held overseas and reduce off support.

“Dialogue will proceed in help of Afghan individuals and our nationwide pursuits,” West, the US envoy, stated in his publish.

The nation has been reeling from a humanitarian disaster with greater than half of the inhabitants dealing with starvation. The Taliban has struggled to revive the aid-dependent financial system, which is in freefall on account of sanctions and exclusion from worldwide monetary establishments.

In December, the Biden administration issued what it referred to as “broad authorisations” to make sure that the United Nations, American authorities businesses and support teams can present humanitarian aid to Afghanistan with out working foul of sanctions in opposition to the Taliban.