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14 die as pick-up strikes roadside bomb in Godar2017/04/26
Monitoring Desk

ISLAMABAD: At least 14 people were killed when a passenger vehicle struck a roadside bomb in Gudar area of Central Kurram Agency early Tuesday.
The blast tore through the heavily-loaded pickup truck in the Godar area of Kurram tribal district early in the morning, Irfan Ali, a local administration official in the area said. The deceased included five women and four children.
"An anti-tank mine was buried on the roadside and hit a pick-up van," a political administration official said adding, "It was a rutted path in an area that is at a distance." 
Nine others, including four Khasadar officials, were critically injured in the explosion. The injured were shifted to a nearby hospital.
The military's media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations, said a special Mi-17 helicopter has been sent to Parachinar to bring the injured to Peshawar for treatment.
IS Khorasan and TTP-JUA have both claimed responsibility for the attack.
The Kurram tribal district is known for sectarian clashes between Sunnis and Shias who make up roughly 20 percent of Pakistan's population of 200 million, and it has also been a stronghold for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan as well as its factions.
Last month, at least 28 people were killed and 100-plus wounded when a suicide bomber detonated a car 'rigged with explosives' outside an Imambargah in a busy marketplace in the main town of Kurram tribal region. 
The grisly violence sparked angry protests by local residents in Parachinar, the administrative headquarters of the agency, which is prone to sectarian violence. 
Jamaatul Ahrar, a splinter group of the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, claimed credit for the deadly bombing in Parachinar, which came less than two months after a bomb ripped through the main vegetable market in the same city on January 21.

Pak Army step to protect census staff, population2017/04/26
Monitoring Desk

ISLAMABAD: Their current tensions aside, Pakistan approached India on Tuesday to inform it about the movement of civil and military enumerators to civil populated areas lying close to the Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Jammu Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.
Indian ground troops were informed through hotline contact by the Pakistan Army as part of confidence building measures and afford requisite forewarning, said a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
The move is aimed at ensuring safety and security of civil and military personnel wake of unprovoked targeting and persistent ceasefire violations by Indian army.
It is not clear if the Indian army has given any assurance in this regard but the development suggested that the two armies are willing to remain in contact even the worst phase of the ties between the two countries.
The second phase of census, which began on Tuesday, also includes areas located close to the de facto border that divides Kashmir between Pakistan and India.
The hotline contact that aimed at restoring the ceasefire is significant given the current strains in ties between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
Tensions have been simmering between the two countries since September last year when Indian military base in Uri was attacked by militants leaving at least 19 soldiers dead. India blamed the Pakistan based groups for the attack, a charge strongly rebutted by Islamabad.
Their ties have taken the turn for the worst earlier this month when Pakistan handed down a death sentence to Kulbhushan Jadhav, Indian Navy officer turned RAW agent for espionage and sponsoring terrorist attacks in Pakistan.
India, though admitted that Jadhav was a Navy officer, denied he was working for RAW. New Delhi also insisted that Jadhav was kidnapped from neighbouring Iran and then transported to Pakistan.
Despite Indian denials, the role of Jadhav is also being questioned by critics in India. Recently, renowned journalists Karan Thapar wrote an article raising a series of questions including the two passports carried by Jadhav.
Thapar also referred to the reports appeared in the Indian media suggesting that Jadhav had indeed approached the RAW for the job.

Market sees volatile day as investors preferred to sell2017/04/26
KSE-100 Index stays mixed closing lower by 327 points

Ghulam Raza Rajani

KARACHI: After seeing an increase of more than 3,200 points in past 5 trading day market took a breather. Market started the day on positive note witnessing the all time high level of 50,300. Higher level of resistance was seen at 50K physiological barrier and investors preferred to book profit and liquidate the holdings this resulted in decline in overall market.
The benchmark KSE-100 index closed lower by 326.50 point to close at 49,785.17 points. KSE All Share Index decreased by 33.48 to end at 34,076.76, KSE 30-Index descended by 294.42 points to conclude at 26,350.19, whereas KMI 30-Index declined by 1,045.48 points to finish the day at 86,154.93 level.
Ali Raza at Elixir Securities said Pakistan Equities took a breather after four-straight session of gains and settled below 50K on across-the-board profit-taking. Market opened and traded positive for a brief period as morning gains led KSE100 Index to test 50,300 level. Index however couldn't sustain gains for long and steadily declined to test support at 49,500 levels as investors understandably took advantage of recent highs and booked profits in the wider market. Pak Suzuki PSMC PA +5% continued its winning streak, opening at upper price limit for second consecutive session on recent announcement of another taxi scheme. Moreover, the earnings announced by PSMC near market close also beat expectations by wide margin. Hub Power HUBC PA -2.5%, Engro Corp ENGRO PA -2.3% and Pakistan Petroleum PPL PA -2.9% emerged as top three laggards of the day; all cumulatively contributing nearly half of points to Index decline. Meanwhile, MARI Petroleum MARI PA -1.2% and Maple Leaf MLCF PA -1.4% both closed lower with former announcing sub par earnings. We see market entering in a consolidation phase and see range-bound trading in near term where 50K level will likely provide immediate resistance to KSE100 Index. Ongoing results season however will keep investor interest intact in the wider market.
The advance to decline ratio in the broader market remained in favor of bears. Out of 394 scrips, 138 scrips advanced, 239 declined while the value of 17 scrips remained intact.
The ready market volume decreased by 4.53 per cent to 381.35 million shares as compared to 399.46 million shares traded on last trading day.
Engro Polymer Limited topped the list of actives, increased by Rs 0.28 at Rs 29.13 on 30.92 million shares, followed by Summit Bank Limited ascended by Rs 0.43 at Rs 4.75 on 29.79 million shares and Azgard Nine Limited enhanced by Rs 1.00 at Rs 14.12 on 28.71 million shares.
Other actives were Aisha Steel Mills Limited reduced by Rs 1.23 at Rs 25.46 on 24.79 million shares and TRG Pakistan Limited improved by Rs 1.00 at Rs 59.24 on 24.10 million shares.
The overall market capitalization dipped by Rs 9.68 billion to Rs 9.855 trillion against Rs 9.864 trillion observed on last trading day.
Rafhan Maize Pakistan Limited and Philip Morris Pakistan Limited remained the top gainer by Rs 150.00 and Rs 100.00 to close at Rs 7,350.00 and Rs 2,700.00 respectively, while Unilever Pakistan Foods Limited and Wyeth Pakistan Limited were among the major loser which lost Rs 140.00 and Rs 55.24 to close at Rs 6,110.00 and Rs 2,471.51 respectively.

EU feels need for strong int'l collaboration2017/04/26
ISLAMABAD: In their resolve to support the efforts of Government of Pakistan to counter the threats of terrorism, the European Union and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Country Office Pakistan on Tuesday launched a three year technical assistance programme to strengthen the criminal justice response in Pakistan to counter terrorism ...

Pak-Iran FTA likely after resumption of banking channels2017/04/26
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan-Iran Free Trade Agreement (FTA) would be signed between the two countries after State Bank of Pakistan and Central Bank of Iran resume banking channels.
Joint Ministerial level meeting between Pakistan and Iran would be held in Tehran in first week of May 2017, for negotiation on bilateral trade and FTA between the two countries, a senior official of Ministry of Commerce said on Tuesday.
"We are very much looking forward to progress on the bilateral trade and enhance export to Iran," he said. 
Talking about FTA with China, he said its second phase was also due. However, Pakistan was desirous to have duty relaxation on 50 products before launching the Phase-II, he added. "We demanded unilateral relaxation on 50 different products for few years before signing Phase-II of FTA," the official said.
Replying to question, he said Pakistan wanted relaxation on these products to protect the local market and ensure competitiveness.
He was of the view that once the Phase-II of FTA with China was launched, it would bind both the countries to have zero tariffs; however at this stage it would be difficult for Pakistani economy to provide such concessions. - NNI

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