The United Arab Emirates Extends Travel Ban for Indians Leaving Expats Stuck Abroad

LONDON, July 26, 2021 /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/ — The United Arab Emirates has extended a suspension for those travelling from India and several other South Asian countries due to COVID-related guidelines.  According to Etihad Airlines, the ban will be in place until July 31st. However, other airlines have said this is pending government review. The extension does not include UAE citizens, diplomats or those holding the nation’s investor visa. Nor does it include fully vaccinated travellers that hold a residency visa and have taken three tests since June 23rd.

However, those who fall outside this bracket and hope to conduct business or travel for leisure to the UAE will have to continue to wait for the restrictions to be lifted. Since April, expats in India have been left in limbo overseas, with many forced to re-evaluate their options. The need to have alternative solutions has become more apparent than ever for those facing limited mobility, not only impacting business but jeopardising family safety.

Since the onset of the pandemic, there has been a spike in demand for second citizenship as a tool that can be leveraged to diversify assets whilst also providing a safety net during times of uncertainty. According to data, there have been as many as 5,000 high net-worth Indians who have left the country since 2020. In conjunction, there has been a sharp incline in interest for Citizenship by Investment (CBI) – a process that confers citizenship to an applicant and additional dependants once an economic contribution is made to a host country.

“As governments become more insular and impose stricter visa controls, the opportunity to travel and do business globally is considerably hampered. So, Citizenship by Investment is a wonderful way to reverse that as it gives the Indian national better access to travel and business opportunities,” says Micha Emmett, CEO of CS Global Partners is a global investor immigration firm specialising in providing citizenship solutions.

Since 1993, Dominica has welcomed Indian investors, among others, to become citizens of the Caribbean nation. The country’s CBI programme offers successful applicants a trusted route to second citizenship with benefits such as increased travel freedom to over 140 destinations, access to top tier educational institutions and alternative business prospects. The programme has also been ranked as the world’s best offering for second citizenship by an annual independent study conducted by experts at the Financial Times’ PWM.


Source: CS Global Partners

China Report Presents Personal Stories Paying Tribute to Shanghai Spirit and SCO’s 20th Anniversary

BEIJING, July 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — This year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The establishment of the SCO conformed to the trend of the times of peace, development and cooperation, and ushered in a new era in which countries in the region can create security, promote development, and share prosperity jointly.

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Dong Qing, Director-General of the Department of International Cooperation at China National Academy of Governance, said that she has forged an indissoluble bond with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization since 2009. China National Academy of Governance has sent many talents to the SCO over the past 20 years and has forged a deep friendship with the organization. Dong Qing hopes that through the upcoming “Forum on Governance and Leadership”, relevant institutions of SCO states can strengthen pragmatic cooperation and vigorously promote the Shanghai Spirit.

The achievements of the SCO in the past 20 years are inseparable from the efforts of its members in the early days. Grigory is a Russian diplomat. He has participated in the works of SCO since August 1, 2001. The “Shanghai Spirit” in his eyes is as important as the “Bandung Spirit” and the “Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence”.

Nurlan, as the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the SCO Secretariat, regards the Shanghai Spirit as a unique spirit, indicating mutual understanding and respect. It is precisely because of the Shanghai Spirit that the SCO has become an important factor in maintaining regional stability.

Kasyanova, Director of the Russian Cultural Center in Beijing, has participated in SCO activities and events many times, and she feels that these activities are all filled with warmth and amity. Therefore, when she came to work at the SCO Secretariat, she felt at home.

Under the guidance of the Shanghai Spirit, the SCO has withstood the test of international vicissitudes and has embarked on a path of cooperation and development that meets the realities of the region and the needs of all parties, making important explorations for building a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind.

Contact: Xinchen Liu
Phone: +86-18611556318

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Mobile Phone Imports Increase by Over 50% in FY21

Pakistan imported mobile phones worth $2.065 billion during 2020-21 compared to $1.369 billion during 2019-20, showing growth of 50.75 percent, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) data.

The overall telecom imports into the country during the period under review (July-June) 2020-21 increased by 39.33 percent by going up from $1.861 billion in 2019-20 to $2.593 billion during 2020-21.

On a year-on-year basis, the imports of mobile phones into Pakistan decreased by 11.51 percent during June 2021, when compared to the imports of the same month of last year. The mobile phone imports during June 2021 were recorded at $204.676 million, against the imports of $331.302 million during June 2020, the PBS data revealed.

On a month-on-month basis, mobile phone imports increased by 16.62 percent in June 2021 when compared to the imports of $175.501 million in May 2021.

On a year-on-year basis, the overall telecom imports into Pakistan decreased by 6.30 percent during June 2021, when compared to the imports of the same month of last year. The telecom imports during June 2021 were recorded at $255.943 million against the imports of $273.166 million during June 2020.

On a month-on-month basis, the overall telecom imports increased by 16.02 percent in June 2021, compared to the imports of $220.599 million in May 2021.

Other apparatus imports during July-June (2020-21) increased by 7.48 percent by going up from $491.163 million in 2019-20 to $527.879 million during 2020-21.

The Economic Survey 2019-20 noted that the Mobile Device Manufacturing policy has been approved to promote local manufacturing and assembly of mobile handsets. Pakistan enjoys a low-cost labor advantage, a reasonably large home market having more than 178 million subscribers, which have increased approximately 1 percent per month during last year alone, 83.3 percent teledensity and efficient Device Identification, Registration and Blocking System (DIRBS) in place, which make Pakistan an attractive market for mobile assembly.

Due to the introduction of DIRBS, legal imports have increased significantly, and local manufacturing has also picked up.

Impacts of DIRBS on the economy:

a. PTA has blocked 175 thousand devices IMEI reported as stolen through DIRBS

b. The system has also identified and blocked 26.03 million fake/replica mobile devices since 2019, identified as programmed with non-GSMA formation

c. The system has been successfully able to identify cloned/duplicated IMEI, whereby 657,645 IMEI were cloned against 4.24 million MSISDN

The launch of DIRBS has also had a significant impact on the development of the mobile device ecosystem as companies now have a level playing field.

As per figures extracted from DIRBS, it is observed that there is substantial growth in 4G devices that are connected to local mobile networks and the pattern also shows a decline in the use of 2G, 3G devices with consumer appetite shifting towards 4G functionality devices.

Source: Pro Pakistani

WorldCall to Launch Careem/Uber Competitor Next Year

WorldCall will officially launch its ride-hailing services in the first quarter of the next calendar year, said Shahid Maqsood, Chief Business Operating Officer of WorldCall, in an exclusive interview with ProPakistani.

The ride-hailing wing of WorldCall, known as “Ride Hail,” has been in the works for almost five years, with the core team forming over the past two, three years, Shahid said. However, the company has only now conducted its feasibility report, which showed promising results.

WorldCall’s annual report, in its section on new projects, mentions, “Ride Hail…on the lines of Uber/Careem with initial market research carried out, feasibility study promising results and enhanced driver/rider security remaining the primary focus.” It is an Android/iOS based application, which is already under development.

Shahid said, “We will aim to fill the gaps still left over by Careem, Uber and other ride-hailing services. We will [take] on board both captains and cars after thorough vetting and will keep the process merit-based.”

He did not share any financial details or marketing plans related to the project but said it would be launched commercially within a few months. “We will start from Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi,” he said.

WorldCall usually makes headlines for its potential takeover every few months. That brings a temporary hike in the company’s stock price, but no actual control or management changes hands. On the question regarding the future of Ride Hail in case of change in ownership, Shahid said, “It depends on the sponsors on when they will officially take control. But with Ride Hail, the core team will likely stay intact even if the ownership of the company changes hands. We still have a few months to officially launch this service, and by that time, we might have sponsors on board with it too.”

WTL’s scrip at the bourse was closed at Rs. 3.84, up by Rs. 0.28 or 7.87%, with a turnover of 127.88 million shares on Monday.

WolrdCall posted a loss of over Rs. 146 million for the year ending December 2020. Despite this contraction, the company is planning to go ahead with new plans, about which Shahid said, “The primary reason for our downfall was the technology that we used. Even though we had Fiber to the Home (FTTH) partially in our network, now we have completely shifted to this. We have already updated 15,000 connections in Lahore to FTTH, and this number will increase to 40,000-50,000 within the next two months.”

Source: Pro Pakistani

Govt Gives 10-year Tax Exemption To Zone Developers and Enterprises

The federal government has given a 10-year tax exemption to Zone developers and enterprises through passing the Special Technology Zone Authority Act, 2021, from the National Assembly.

Documents state that the government has given all kinds of income tax exemption under the income tax ordinance, including the tax on profits and gains, income tax, turnover tax, withholding tax, capital gain tax, income tax on dividend income, and withholding tax on dividends.

Similarly, the government also allowed sales tax exemption under the Sales Tax Act 1990 and Customs duty under the Customs Act 1969 on the import of all capital goods in Pakistan.

Furthermore, exemption from property tax and dividend income, as well as a capital gain for any venture capital fund derived from the investment in the zone developers and enterprises, have also been allowed.

Besides, permission for opening and maintaining of foreign currency account, availability of foreign exchange, full convertibility to foreign exchange, and repatriation and free transfer of foreign currency to meet the requirements of investors, lenders, contractors, operators, consultants, insurers, reinsurers, vendors and advisors in relation to any compensation amount, in accordance with the foreign exchange regulations of State Bank of Pakistan, has also been granted.

For the avoidance of doubt, co-zones developers shall be entitled to the exemptions and incentives from the date of issuance of a license for the period of 10 years, the document states.

The government termed the Zones a particular class or type of zone which may be geographical or virtual, new or existing, or expansion of an existing zone as approved or notified by the authority under the rules, including but not limited to special technology zones, information technology parks, high-tech industrial areas, software as well as hardware technology parks, technology export zones, free technology zones, science and technology parks, information technology zones, science and technology zones, R&D zones, opportunity zones, innovation zones, technology development zones, knowledge parks, smart cities, knowledge cities, and technology incubation zones.

It is pertinent to note that the National Assembly has passed the Special Technology Zone Authority Act, 2021 in the last sitting, and this bill would be tabled to the upper house of parliament.

The federal government wants to ensure the development of the scientific and technological ecosystem through the development of zones to technology development in the country, the document added.

In addition, the aim of this law is to attract foreign direct investment, developing collaboration between academia and the technology industry besides increasing productivity and decreasing the costs of production through high-tech interventions, intensive innovation, and futuristic entrepreneurship not only to enable job creation but to commercialize technological knowledge.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Number of 3G and 4G Users Increases to 99.85 Million

The number of 3G and 4G users in Pakistan reached 99.85 million by the end of June 2021, compared to 98.66 million by the end of May 2021, registering an increase of 1.19 million, revealed data from Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).

Monthly Next Generation Mobile Service (NGMS) penetration stood at 45.61 percent in June 2021, compared to 45.09 percent in May 2021.

The number of cellular subscribers in Pakistan increased by 0.77 million to 184.25 million by the end of June 2021, compared to 183.48 million by the end of May.

Teledensity for cellular mobile increased from 83.85 percent by the end of May to 84.16 percent by the end of June 2021. The total teledensity increased from 84.99 percent by the end of May 2021 to 85.3 percent by the end of June 2021.

Jazz’s total count for 3G users stood at 7.765 million by the end of June, compared to 8.001 million by the end of May, registering a decrease of 0.236 million. Jazz 4G user numbers jumped from 29.902 million by the end of May 2021 to 30.692 million by the end of June 2021.

Zong 3G subscribers decreased from 4.600 million by the end of May to 4.394 million by the end of June, while the number of 4G users jumped from 22.676 million by the end of May 2021 to 23.124 million by the end of June 2021.

The number of 3G users of Telenor decreased from 5.311 million by the end of May to 5.149 million by the end of June 2021. The number of 4G users jumped from 16.679 million by the end of May to 17.114 million by the end of June 2021.

Ufone 3G users increased from 4.385 million by the end of May to 4.399 million by the end of June. The number of 4G users of Ufone increased from 6.088 million by the end of May 2021 to 6.134 million by the end of June 2021.

PTA received 16,908 complaints from telecom consumers against different telecom operators, including cellular operators, PTCL, LDIs, WLL operators, and ISPs, as of June 2021. PTA said that it was able to get 16,717 complaints resolved, i.e., 98 percent.

According to PTA data, Jazz leads the chart with 7,624 complaints and Zong at the second position as the most complained telecom operator with 3,661.

Cellular mobile subscribers constitute a major part of the overall telecom subscriber base. Therefore, a maximum number of complaints belong to this segment. The total number of complaints against CMOs by June stood at 16,372.

In terms of the segregation of complaints on an operator basis, Jazz stood first with 7,624 complaints, i.e., 46.57 percent of total complaints. A total of 3,661 complaints were received against Zong, which is 22.36 percent of the total CMO-related complaints.

Telenor was third with 3,025, i.e., 18.47 percent complaints were received against it. Ufone had 2,050 complaints against its various services which make up 12.52 percent of the total CMO-related complaints.

PTA also received 195 complaints against basic telephony where 179 were addressed during June 2021. Further 355 complaints were received against ISPs, where 322 were addressed.

Source: Pro Pakistani