Pakistan / by Alistair Galloway

Pakistani government officials warned the United States (US), that it will reduce co-operation in the fight against Islamist militants if the country is added to President Donald Trump’s visa-ban list. The Supreme Court of Pakistan recommenced the Panama Papers leak case against Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family. Accused orchestrator of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, was placed under house arrest on 30 January. The Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled to include the option to label oneself as transgender in the sixth national census, to be held on 15 March. Pakistan returned an Indian soldier who had crossed the Line of Control in September 2016 and 219 Indian sailors who had strayed into Pakistani waters. Pakistan successfully launched the country’s first nuclear-capable submarine-based cruise missile, and tested a new nuclear-capable surface-to-surface missile on 24 January. Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for a bombing in the market town of Parachinar, leaving 25 dead. Reports have emerged that Islamic State (IS) are ramping up recruitment in Pakistan. The State Bank of Pakistan decided to keep the policy rate unchanged at 5.75 per cent, and announced that the current account deficit grew to $3.6 billion in the first half of 2017. Pakistan repaid China $500 million that was given as aid in 2009 to help it deal with the financial crisis. The Planning and National Reforms Minister dismissed concerns that Pakistan will fall into a debt trap resulting from Chinese loans related to China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The government is targeting a 5.7 GDP growth in 2017, and believes CPEC could boost growth to seven per cent in the future. The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) reached a new record high in January.

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