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Government, opposition and public!



The " criminal act" of petrol price hike that happened late Friday night (November 5), provoked public outrage. The hike was postponed till November 1, but was implemented on the night between November 3 and 4.

Imran Yaqub Khan Profile Imran Yaqub Khan

I am saying it a "criminal act" again and again because it was a routine decision that should have been made in broad daylight, but at 2am in the morning the news broke and the people woke up in the morning to find that a petrol bomb had dropped on them. Now the rise in prices and the pace of inflation is so fast that even the column written on inflation last week before November 5 seems old and this repeated cry is causing boredom.

Apart from petrol prices, electricity rates have also been increased. Basic electricity prices have been increased by Rs1.68 per unit. For commercial and industrial consumers, the price has been increased by Rs 1.39 per unit. For consumers using 300 units, the price of electricity has gone up to Rs13.83 per unit. The government believes that a household using 300 units of electricity is prosperous. And he can afford to raise rates, and if that is true, it would be pointless to talk about it.

Like the people under the news of inflation, the most important news of Friday was also suppressed and this was the news, the report of the Election Commission of Pakistan on the rigging in the by-election of Daska, this report is eye-opener and biggest charge sheet against the PTI government.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has detected systematic rigging in the NA-75 by-election investigation report. What do they think and do when they come to power, this report has put all the truth in front of them. This report is not limited to the disclosure of fraud but it is a criminal case. Several names have been written in this report but this systematic fraud must be thoroughly investigated. According to the report, the education department, police and district administration, ie the entire government machinery were used in the scam. The mastermind behind the rigging and its full implementation cannot be held responsible alone. Criminal proceedings should be initiated on the basis of this report and the culprits should be identified.

Reading this report, the question arises as to whether those who came with the mission of eradicating corruption have corrupted the entire government machinery. The Deputy Director of Colleges, the Presiding Officer, several officers of the Department of Education and then an army of police officers, all of which could not be managed by a single person. How SHOs remained election managers, police personnel stationed at polling stations continued to kidnap presiding officers instead of security, ignorance of returning officer and deputy returning officer, how many factors and roles are involved in this rigging. The story unfolds in layers.

Playing the role of opposition, the same PTI used to call others as ballot box thieves. Here, the entire election was rigged under the scheme. It will happen and the government will come down with a bang but now their own organized fraud has been proved. Those who call others "box thieves" are now ready for self-accountability.

The opposition's reservations about EVMs, ie electronic voting machines, seem to have come true after this report and the plan to snatch the powers of the Election Commission of Pakistan, this report has exposed the government's intentions. Who will now trust those who bulldoze the opposition and institutions and insist on bringing electronic voting machines? ۔

The political and administrative turmoil in the country over the last four or five weeks has made me think that the PTI government is on a "suicidal mission". Inflation bombs are being set off one after another and when there is a backlash against them, the captain addresses his Wasim Akram Plus (Usman Buzdar): "Whenever they ask you about performance tell them ask us after completion of five-year mandate."   

Someone reminded the captain that if he had any mandate, it was economic justice, justice system, social justice, poverty alleviation, job creation, breaking status, eradicating corruption. The captain has a long list of promises that he may not even remember.

When the captain was saying this to the Chief Minister of Punjab Usman Bazdar, surely Bazdar must have been very encouraged that whoever had to ask me gave both a deal and a relaxation but is there any politician who is surrounded by political and economic challenges? Valuable can boldly reject all these questions under the pretext of a five year mandate ?? These are the evidences on which I believe that the captain and his team are on a mission of political suicide and the captain's advice to Bazdar was apparently a message to someone else.

The role of the opposition in this situation is also deplorable. The people are dying of poverty and inflation but the opposition is not making any effort to change the public mood into a movement. It seems that the opposition is thinking that the government may fall from its own stupidity or carry out the mission of political suicide itself. Perhaps that is why the Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly and PML-N leader Hamza Shahbaz talking to the media had said that it is the national responsibility of all political parties to find a constitutional way to handle the sinking economy of Pakistan and to get rid of the incumbant government. "

According to political analysts, if the opposition awaits like this, it should know that it will not be possible to get the people out to vote without representing the people. If politicians remain indifferent to the people today, then tomorrow the people will also be indifferent to them and then no one should complain that those who raised the slogan of step up didn't come along.


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SBP introduces Diamond category of Sohni Dharti Remittance Program

The SDRP is a point-based loyalty program where participants earn points for transmitting money through designated channels of SBP-regulated organizations.

Published by Baqar Raza



Islamabad: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) introduced a new 'Diamond' category of the Sohni Dharti Remittance Program (SDRP) on Friday that offers improved points and extra advantages to remitters in an effort to further boost remittances through official channels.

The 'Diamond' category of the Sohni Dharti Remittance Program (SDRP), in addition to the three already existing categories of Green, Gold, and Platinum, will be in force as of September 22, 2023, according to a statement released today.

The SDRP is a point-based loyalty program where participants earn points for transmitting money through designated channels of SBP-regulated organizations.

In his budget speech for FY24, the former finance minister Ishaq Dar announced the addition of the Diamond category with increased reward points and the provision of other benefits like an arms license for non-prohibited bore, priority check-in at Pakistani embassies and airports, and a free passport for Diamond Category holders.

Moreover, Reward points can be redeemed by remitter and their beneficiary for availing free of cost products and services including Emigrant Registration fee at Bureau of Emigration and Overseas Employment; duty payment of imported mobile sets and vehicles to Federal Board of Revenue; School fee by Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF); and renewal fee of passports at Directorate General of Immigration and Passports, said the statement.

In addition, the benefits on redeeming reward points can also be availed on International air tickets and extra luggage charges by Pakistan International Airlines; life insurance or takaful premium payment at State Life Insurance Corporation; and purchases made at Utility Stores Corporation of Pakistan.

These reward points appear on the app in the form of a virtual card that updates automatically with reward points after each remittance.

Additional reward points redemption avenues like 1BILL and PayPak card are also being offered in SDRP. The addition of these new avenues will provide benefits to remitters and their beneficiaries to pay bills and use PayPak Card at merchants and Pakistani e-commerce stores.

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Sri Lanka, Bangladesh Women’s team qualify for the semi-final of Asian Games

The final and the third-place playoff for the Bronze medal will be held on September 25.

Published by Baqar Raza



Hangzhou: Sri Lanka swept aside Thailand on Friday in a rain-affected women’s cricket quarter-final at the Asian Games and Bangladesh joined them in the last four after their clash with Hong Kong was washed out.

Sri Lanka easily chased down their target of 79 in 15 overs of a rain-affected quarter-final match of the Asian Games at the Zhejiang University of Technology Pingfeng Cricket Field in Hangzhou.

Thailand had earlier fought back from 37-6 to post 78-7 in their 15 overs, largely due to a battling 31 off 24 balls from Chanida Sutthiruang batting at number seven.

“Today we didn’t get enough runs,” said Chanida. “We thought that we could win the game, but we may be needed 30 to 40 more runs. Even if we had 20 more runs, I think we could have defended it.”

The Sri Lankans cruised past their target with 25 balls to spare, Harshitha Samarawickrama hitting a six to end the contest as they finished on 84-2.

Sri Lanka will face Pakistan on Sunday in the second semi-final of the Asian Games with India playing Bangladesh, who progressed on a higher world ranking after their quarter-final with Hong Kong was washed out later on Friday.

“We want the gold medal,” said Sri Lanka coach Rumesh Joseph Ratnayake, whose team are in confident mood having just won a T20 series in England 2-1 earlier this month.

“We will take it match-by-match, we’ll break it into over-by-over, even ball-by-ball.

“So, winning those important moments will be our focus and let’s hope that can be executed as we want it to.”

The final and the third-place playoff for the Bronze medal will be held on September 25.

The 19th Asian Games officially open on Saturday. The men’s cricket will begin on September 27.

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Joe Biden launches climate and jobs programs — but no new pollution-cutting goals

Joe Biden announced new climate initiatives, but will skip a key United Nations summit where leaders are expected to ramp up plans to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy.

Published by Web Desk



The Biden administration launched new climate funding and jobs programs today as world leaders — minus Joe Biden — gather for the Climate Ambition Summit in New York. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $4.6 billion in new funding for state, local, and tribal clean energy programs. Plus, details have finally emerged for a long-awaited American Climate Corps.

But Biden is expected to skip the United Nations climate summit today, a conspicuous absence since UN Secretary-General António Guterres stipulated that leaders present “credible, serious and new climate action” in order to participate. Biden, who came to New York this week for the UN General Assembly, is reportedly sending climate envoy John Kerry to attend the summit in his place.

Biden is expected to skip the United Nations climate summit today, a conspicuous absence since UN Secretary-General António Guterres stipulated that leaders present “credible, serious and new climate action” in order to participate

Today, the EPA announced two new grant competitions for “programs and policies that cut climate pollution, advance environmental justice, and deploy clean energy solutions across the country.” One will be for Indigenous tribes and territories. The other is to fund states and local governments. Taken together, the $4.6 in competitive grants are less than the $7.5 billion the Biden administration is spending on deploying EV chargers.

The Supreme Court hampered the EPA’s efforts to slash greenhouse gas emissions from power plants last year, which had been a major pillar of the Biden administration’s efforts to hit climate goals. Under the Paris climate accord, Biden has pledged to slash US greenhouse gas emissions in half from 2005 levels by the end of the decade. But the Supreme Court decided the EPA, as a regulatory body, doesn’t have the authority to determine whether the US gets its electricity from clean or dirty sources of energy — that would require new legislation.

With a divided Congress and a conservative majority in the Supreme Court, the Biden administration is leaning more on state and local actors to help the US hit its climate goals. “Tackling the global climate crisis requires partnerships and action across the country,” EPA administrator Michael Regan said in a press release. “By investing in America, we’re investing in communities so they can chart their own paths toward the clean energy future.” 

To build up the workforce needed to get more clean energy online, the Biden administration is taking executive action to launch a new American Climate Corps today. It’s a training program for careers in clean energy and conservation that activists have been pushing Biden to create for years. The corps will recruit 20,000 people during its first year, White House officials said in a press call yesterday. They launched a website today where people interested in joining can “learn more.” But they’ll have to wait to sign up until an official recruitment website is up and running in “the coming months.”

Other key details are still lacking. The Biden administration didn’t answer reporters’ questions about how much money will go into the program or where it will get the funds. “All American Climate Corps programs will be paid experiences,” a White House fact sheet says.

A new Forest Corps will be “the first major interagency partnership” under Biden’s American Climate Corps, according to the fact sheet. It’s a $15 million five-year partnership between the US Forest Service and AmeriCorps, a federal agency and network of service programs. The plan is to pay 80 young adults roughly $15 an hour next summer and train them in fire prevention, forest management, and “climate resilience” projects.

Separately, Arizona, Utah, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Maryland launched state-based climate corps programs today with public-private partnership funding. They join five other states that already have their own local climate corps programs.

Thousands of climate activists targeted Biden with protests in New York City this week urging the US, the world’s biggest oil and gas producer, to end fossil fuel development. Yesterday, 17 heads of state signed onto a joint statement calling for “a global phase out of fossil fuels.” That includes French President Emmanuel Macron, President William Ruto of Kenya, President David Kabua of the Marshall Islands, and other leaders who have joined the High Ambition Coalition.

While those are big demands, they’re backed by science. The Paris climate accord commits countries to stopping global temperatures from rising much higher than they already have since the Industrial Revolution. Greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels need to peak by 2025 and reach net zero by 2050 to stop global warming in its tracks at 1.5 degrees Celsius, researchers have found.

It’s a threshold beyond which climate change-fueled disasters would grow markedly more severe, potentially wiping out virtually all the world’s coral reefs and inundating tens of thousands more people’s homes with sea level rise. Avoiding that outcome requires phasing out fossil fuels, climate research shows.

The author of this story was previously a member of Public Allies and Jumpstart, corps programs that are part of the AmeriCorps network.

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