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Winter activity and political turmoil!

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When the Supreme Court of Pakistan summoned Prime Minister Imran Khan during the hearing of the APS suo motu case, the tide of national politics began to turn.

Imran Yaqub Khan Profile Imran Yaqub Khan

The Honorable Court first reprimanded the Attorney General and then summoned the Prime Minister in person. Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed and the esteemed judges of the bench Justice Ijaz-ul-Hassan and Justice Qazi Amin made strong remarks during the hearing. According to political pundits, the summons of the Prime Minister to the Supreme Court seems to be adding to the growing worries for the present government that always claims "change".

Opposition groups called for a boycott of the assembly. Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Mian Shahbaz Sharif and Bilawal Bhutto have once again stood in the same line. In today's joint sitting of the parliament, a joint strategy has been formulated to prevent the government from enacting legislation. The opposition is calling the NAB legislation and government legislation for electronic voting machines one-sided and illegal. The opposition believes that the Imran Khan government is trying to give itself NRO by changing the NAB rules. Attempts will be made to steal the next election through electronic voting machine.

On Tuesday night, PML-N President and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif had invited the opposition MPs for dinner. Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto also attended the dinner. According to newspaper reports, 180 members of parliament attended the dinner. On this occasion, it was decided that all members of the opposition would ensure attendance in the House. The people who are in the throes of inflation will want the opposition to be their voice.

It's welcoming to see the opposition together. The people may also see a glimmer of hope in their gathering. The purpose of uniting this long-divided opposition is to prevent legislation from gaining a numerical majority. Talking to media persons after the dinner, Shahbaz Sharif said that the country could not move forward without transparent elections. Bilawal Bhutto also assured that the opposition is united under the leadership of Shehbaz Sharif. Prior to the dinner, the legal team of the opposition parties also sat together and agreed that the government's efforts to bulldoze the parliament would be thwarted. This commitment of the opposition is commendable.

In the National Assembly on Tuesday, the government had to give up trying to get a vote on two bills. The government couldn't present its bill. The bill introduced by the opposition could not be stopped. This could be seen as a significant development ahead of the joint sitting of Parliament. In such a scenario, the question arises as to whether the opposition is really united and how serious it is to stop the government. Are old grievances gone? Until recently, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was on the ground in opposition to the government alone, taking the wound of separation from the PDM to heart. Young leaders are also going to be emotional, so while opposing the government, they have been opposing the opposition. Now that he is again standing by the side of Shehbaz Sharif, it is hoped that Shehbaz may have ignored Bilawal's statements.

Qamar Zaman Kaira is a seasoned politician and holds a prominent position among the central leaders of the PPP. Kaira Sahib had opened a front against PML-N on the day when the opposition parties in Islamabad were uniting and formulating a plan of action against the government. He accused the PML-N of having backdoor contacts with the Establishment and made it clear that if the statement of respecting the vote was to be respected then backdoor contacts should be terminated. The incumbant government is intact because of PML-N and these people want the government to complete five years.

There are two statements going on in his party. First unite in your party. Nawaz Sharif should clarify whether his statement is resistance or compromise. Kaira's questions must be answered. Now it remains to be seen whether Shehbaz Sharif's tolerance comes to the fore in response or whether there is shelling from PML-N as well. However, PDM spokesman Hafiz Hamdullah did respond to Kaira. In his statement, he said that the PPP had stabbed the PDM in the back for the post of Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. By criticizing the PDM, the PPP is opposing the opposition, not the government. PPP please, it is not appropriate to make a hole in the plate in which you have eaten. If you want to return to PDM, then consult Maulana Fazlur Rehman and the leadership of PDM.

The fate of the people of Pakistan always hangs in balance because of the Opposition's tactics favouring the government. Perhaps that is why Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry has termed the opposition as Bhanmati's family. He also advised the Opposition to wait for the first two years and the next five years. Every time the winter season comes, the political tension mounts. On this, Fawad Chaudhry mockingly called PDM a winter activity and said that these people just go out in winter and then leave. Given the past performance of the Opposition, this confidence of the government is not unreasonable. Now the question is whether the Opposition will be able to surprise the government in the joint sitting of the Parliament. If you look at the number of members of both the houses, the government has a lead of two members in the number game.

There are currently 440 MPs in both houses. The PTI and its allies have 221 members in the National Assembly and Senate. Opposition parties have 219 members in the National Assembly and Senate. There are 156 members of PTI, 7 members of MQM and 5 members of BAP in the National Assembly. PML-Q has 5 members and GDA has 3 members. Awami Muslim League, JWP and Azad are one member each. If you look at the opposition, there are 83 members of PML-N, 56 members of PPP, 15 members of MMA and 4 members of BNP in the National Assembly. The ANP has one member and the opposition has the support of three independents. The government and allies have 42 seats in the Senate. PTI 27, BAP 9 and MQM 3 are members of the Senate. The government also has the support of the Functional League, the Q League and an independent candidate. The Senate has 57 opposition members. PPP has 21 members, PML-N has 9, JUI-5 and National Party has 2 members. Jamaat-e-Islami One, PK Map 2, ANP 2 and BNP also have 2 members. The opposition also has the support of six members of the Dilawar Khan group in the Senate.

It seems that the joint sitting of the parliament is going to be tumultuous no matter what else happens.

Imran Yaqub Khan

Imran Yaqub is senior journalist and analyst

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Business

Inflation rate in Euro Zone rises to a record high for November

Higher energy prices contributed the most to the latest inflation reading.

Published by Faisal Ali Ghumman

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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.
ECB
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.”

SOURCE: CNBC

 

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Pakistan

No case of Omicron variant detected in Pakistan so far: Dr Faisal Sultan

“With more people immunized, we can control the impact of Omicron variant "

Published by Siddra Sumreen

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Islamabad: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan on Tuesday has confired that no case of Omicron variant of COVID-19 has been detected in Pakistan so far.

According to details, Dr Faisal Sultan that a meeting is scheduled today at the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) during which guidelines and policies regarding the vaccination will be finalised.

The health minister said that it is not possible to bar the Omicron variant from coming to Pakistan but government is working to control its impact by ramping up the immunisation process.

"Our priority is those who have not been vaccinated at all."

“With more people immunized, we can control the impact. It is my appeal to the people to get vaccinated and follow SOPs," he urged.

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Pakistan

18.8 million mobile units manufactured in Pakistan in 10 months: Dawood

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood on Tuesday said domestic manufacturing mobile plants in Pakistan produced 18.87 million mobile units during the period of January to October 2021.

Published by Faisal Ali Ghumman

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During the period of January to October 2021, domestic manufacturing mobile plants in Pakistan produced 18.87 million mobile units, including 7.93 million 4G mobile phones compared to 9.45 million imported mobile phones.

The Ministry of Commerce’s ‘Make in Pakistan’ philosophy is giving the results and “we look forward for sustainable growth for the long run.”

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