Pakistan, IMF close to strike deal

             <p>By Islamuddin Sajid</p>    <p>ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AA) - Pakistan and International Monetary Fund is close to sign a deal on bailout package, local media reported on Monday.</p>    <p>“Its seems we have come closer to an agreement with the IMF and this will be the last agreement with it,” the local daily Geo News quoted the Finance Minister Asad Umar as saying in his address of businessmen in northwestern Peshawar city of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. </p>  <p>&quot;The IMF has changed its position and now differences between both side has been decreased,&quot; Umar said.</p>    <p>He also said the new government is strengthening trade ties with neighbors including Iran and Afghanistan, adding recent works on a strategic economic draft to strengthen economic ties with Turkey.</p>    <p>Umar made the announcement a day after the Prime Minister Imran Khan met IMF chief Christine Lagarde on the sidelines of the World Government Summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.</p>    <p>&quot;In my meeting today with IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, there was a convergence of our views on the need to carry out deep structural reforms to put the country on the path of sustainable development in which the most vulnerable segments of society are protected&quot; Khan tweeted after his meeting with IMF chairwoman.</p>    <p>Last year, Pakistan approached the money watchdog for the second time over the last five years after the country faced serious financial challenges.</p>    <p>However, Pakistan refused to accept the tough conditions laid down by the IMF for bailout package during their two week-long talks in November 2018 in the capital Islamabad.</p><br>

Pakistan: Ex-premier shifted back to jail from hospital

             By Aamir Latif</p>    <p>KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) - Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was shifted back to jail from a hospital in the northeastern Pakistan city of Lahore after treatment, local media reported Thursday.</p>    <p>According to local broadcaster Geo News, the three-time premier was referred to the hospital on Saturday following the report of a government-formed medical board suggesting immediate cardiac-related treatment.</p>    <p>The board recommended shifting Sharif to a hospital as he suffers from diabetes, heart and chronic kidney disease.</p>    <p>An earlier team of doctors also made the same recommendation.</p>    <p>His party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), expressed concern over the party supremo's health condition and alleged the government is hiding medical reports.</p>    <p>Sharif is currently serving a seven-year jail term in a corruption case in Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore.</p>    <p>He served as prime minister from 1990 to 1992, 1997 to 1999, and 2013 to 2017, unable to complete even a single five-year term.

Suicide attacker kills 22 in Pakistan’s Lahore

By Aamir Latif

KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) – At least 22 people were killed and 32 injured on Monday in a suspected suicide attack in Pakistan’s northeastern city of Lahore, emergency officials said.

Sameer Ahmed, city deputy commissioner, told reporters the fatalities included seven police officers.

The explosion occurred when a suspected suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden motorbike into police officers at a vegetable market in the densely-populated Ferozpur area, local broadcaster Geo News reported.

An initial investigation suggested that a lone suicide bomber targeted police, Deputy Inspector General of Punjab police Haider Ashraf told reporters.

Footage aired on Geo News showed rescue workers carrying the injured on their shoulders while running towards ambulances and private vehicles.

Giant plumes of thick smoke and flames billowed upward as several vehicles parked across the road caught fire soon after the blast.

Blood-soaked caps, shoes, pieces of clothes and human flesh lay strewn across the blast site, as paramilitary rangers were called in to join the rescue effort.

The city administration declared an emergency in hospitals and appealed for blood donations.

Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said the death toll may climb due to the serious nature of injuries.

Last February, a blast outside the Punjab state assembly building in Lahore killed 13 people and injured more than 60.