Islamabad: The novel coronavirus claimed 17 more lives in Pakistan during the previous 24 hours, raising the death toll to 28,269.
Pakistan is presently experiencing the fourth wave of coronavirus which is said to be deadlier and more contagious than the previous three COVID waves.
According to National Command and Operations Center (NCOC), around 720 cases of coronavirus were reported while 17 people succumbed to the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll to 28,269.
The total number of cases has reached 1,262,771.
As many as 1,194,590 patients have recovered from the disease with 1,958 critical cases.
The number of patients swelled to 437,316 in the province with 12,821 causalities.
The number of infections has surged to 464,746 in the province, while the death toll has reached 7,520.
The confirmed cases have surged to 176,501 in the province with 5,673 casualties.
There are 33,108 confirmed cases while 352 patients have died from the infection so far.
AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan
There are 34,380 coronavirus cases in the AJK while the death toll has reached 740. On the other hand, there are 10,363 cases in GB with 186 coronavirus deaths.
There are 106,357 cases in the capital city while 936 people have lost their lives.
Court orders former chief judge Rana Shamim to submit original affidavit within 5 days
"Rana Shamim had tried to convince the people to lose confidence in court"
Islamabad: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday has ordered Gilgit Baltistan former chief judge Rana Shamim to submit the original draft of the original affidavit within five days.
According to details, Islamabad High Court (IHC) bench headed by Justice Athar Minallah took up contempt of court case over the affidavit of Rana Shamim.
During the proceeding, Justice Athar Minallah remarked that Rana Shamim had tried to convince the people to lose confidence in court.
He remarked that if the original affidavit was found different from the affidavit being reported. Then the responsibility will be on the newspaper.
Rana Shamim told court that his affidavit was sealed one, but he did not know which affidavit was reported.
IHC CJ Athar Minallah directed the former GB chief judge to submit his original affidavit in the court along with his written response in the case within five days and adjourned the hearing of the case for seven days.
Attorney General Khalid Javed Khan requested the court to take action against Rana Shamim.
The court adjourned the hearing till December 7.
CJP Gulzar for returning military land not under defence use to govt
The army is there for the country's defence and not for doing business, he remarked.
The law didn't allow land meant for defence purposes to be used for commercial gains and that such land should be returned to the government after its strategic use, Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed on Tuesday said on Tuesday.
A three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by the chief justice and comprising Justice Qazi Mohammad Amin Ahmed and Justice Ijazul Ahsan resumed the hearing on the issue of military lands being used for commercial purposes.
During the hearing, the chief justice again snubbed Defence Secretary retired Lt Gen Mian Mohammad Hilal Hussain over commercial establishments being built on military land.
"The law's intention is not that defence land is used for any other purpose," Justice Gulzar reiterated. "If the land is not being used for defence then it will go back to the government."
"This is government land," the top judge said, noting that cinemas, petrol pumps, housing societies, shopping malls and marriage halls were being constructed on land meant for defence.
"General sahib, these are not defence purposes," he told the defence secretary, asking the attorney general to explain how the defence ministry would "limit the land's use to defence".
The court said it would interpret the law concerning the land of cantonment boards in light of the Constitution, with Justice Amin remaking: "This is also very important for the institution's own reputation."
The CJP then turned to the attorney general, saying "They must be made to understand the law, who will do that?"
He said a retired major had given the land of Global Marquees, a wedding venue near Gora Qabristan, on lease to a private party, and asked whether he had the authority to do so.
"The army did not take any action against the retired major," the CJP said, noting that millions of rupees were being earned through Global Marquees on a daily basis.
The CJP ordered authorities to demolish a wall built next to Kala Pul as well as the Grand Convention Hall "today".
The CJP expressed dissatisfaction over a report submitted by the defence secretary regarding the case, saying the report "claims the illegally built buildings have been demolished, but they are still there".
The defence secretary responded that he would visit the sites in person and take pictures to compile a new report.
"This situation is a cause of embarrassment for the army and us both," CJP Ahmed remarked, following which the attorney general offered to withdraw the report submitted today.
The court directed him to submit a detailed report within four weeks, identifying the purposes of each piece of cantonment land.
"Under the law, strategic land will only be used for defence purposes," the CJP told the defence secretary.
The secretary informed the court that the scope of the term "strategic objectives" was "wide", saying commercial activities also fell into the category of "strategic defence".
"Whenever the army goes to the borders, these activities are carried out for the purpose of welfare and to keep the morale of the army high," Hussain explained.
At this, the CJP said: "Secretary sahib everything is fine, but where is the cantonment there? All we can see there are houses."
Justice Ahmed pointed out that schools and marriage halls had also been built on Faisal Base land.
"It is being said that Masroor and Korangi airbases are being shut and [perhaps] commercial activities will be started there," the CJP added.
He noted that cantonment land had to be returned to the government after defence objectives were met.
"The army should not compromise on its bigger objectives for petty business," Justice Qazi Amin remarked, adding that the military should be mindful of the sanctity of its institution.
CJP Ahmed pointed out that shopping malls had also been built on defence land in Lahore and Quetta, saying "it is not clear how the Ministry of Defence will sustain these activities."
The defence secretary informed the court that a joint committee of all three armed forces had been formed to check violations of the law.
The CJP further said that "allotting houses to senior army officers does not fall under defence purposes."
"How can the army carry out commercial activities on state land?" he questioned, emphasising that state land should not be "exploited".
Justice Ahmed said the issue was not limited to Karachi, but such violations were common across the country.
Justice Amin said it was incomprehensible why the army needed to indulge itself in business, while the CJP noted that "the army has constructed a tall building on Gizri Road overnight."
He asked that if constructing cinemas, marriage halls and houses were "defence activities" then what was actual defence.
The CJP further said the land sold by some army officers for a few hundreds of thousands had been used to build houses that were now worth tens of millions.
"All the land of cantonments must be restored to its original condition," the CJ said, adding the SC would also review all of the army rules and laws in light of the Constitution.
"The army is there for the country's defence, not for doing business," the CJP remarked.
Later the bench adjourned the hearing for four weeks.
Inflation rate in Euro Zone rises to a record high for November
Higher energy prices contributed the most to the latest inflation reading.
The euro zone’s inflation rate has risen to a record high in November, preliminary data showed Tuesday, prompting further questions about what the European Central Bank will do next with its monetary policy.
Headline inflation came in at 4.9% for the month, compared to the same month last year. This was above a consensus forecast of 4.5% from Reuters and was higher than October’s 4.1%. The figure was the highest on record in the 25 years that the data has been compiled.
According to Europe’s statistic office, Eurostat, energy is on track for its highest annual price rise in November at 27.4%, from 23.7% in October.
The data comes at a time when policymakers are waiting for more data on a new Covid-19 variant, omicron, which was reported for the first time last week in southern Africa.
The travel restrictions implemented in the wake of the new variant are raising concerns about how economies could suffer. Experts argue that societies are better equipped to deal with the virus now compared to the first Covid lockdowns, but market players have been on edge with the prospect of further restrictions.
Nonetheless, consumer prices rose once again in the euro zone off the back of higher energy costs and supply chain issues.
In Germany — a country historically scared of high inflation — the inflation rate hit a 29-year high in November. They were up by 6% from a year ago, as measured by the harmonized index of consumer prices.
The trend is the same in France, where the inflation rate reached 3.4% in November, the highest reading since 2008.
The question going forward is how the ECB will square the high inflation readings with uncertainty over the pandemic.
ECB Vice President Luis de Guindos said last week that the central bank still plans to end its emergency bond purchases program in March. However, market players want to know how the central bank will be adjusting its other tools.
“The Omicron variant has increased the level of uncertainty even further but for now we suspect that it will have a fairly small impact on inflation,” Jack Allen-Reynolds, senior Europe economist at Capital Economics, said in an emailed note to clients.
On the other hand, Rupert Thompson, chief investment officer at wealth manager Kingswood, said the latest figures make it more likely that the ECB will have to reduce monetary stimulus.
“Euro zone inflation now looks set to remain well above the ECB’s 2% target for much of next year and these numbers will make it all the harder for the central bank to justify continuing its QE [quantitative easing] program and holding off on any rate rise before 2023,” he said.
In addition, Charles Hepworth, investment director at GAM Investments, said: “It may be wishful thinking on the part of ECB President Lagarde when she declares that price pressures won’t run out of control – they already are and it’s difficult to follow the argument that it will abate soon.”
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