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Pakistan

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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World

Cuba in the dark after Hurricane Ian knocks out power grid

Authorities were working overnight to gradually restore service

Published by Siddra Sumreen

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Havana: Cuba remained in the dark early Wednesday after Hurricane Ian knocked out its power grid and devastated some of the country’s most important tobacco farms when it hit the island’s western tip as a major storm.

Authorities were working overnight to gradually restore service to the country’s 11 million people, according to a statement from Cuba’s Electric Union. Power was initially knocked out to about 1 million people in Cuba’s western provinces, but later the entire grid collapsed.

Ian hit a Cuba that has been struggling with an economic crisis and has faced frequent power outages in recent months. It made landfall as a Category 3 storm on the island’s western end, devastating Pinar del Río province, where much of the tobacco used for Cuba’s iconic cigars is grown.

Tens of thousands of people were evacuated and others fled the area ahead of the arrival of Ian, which caused flooding, damaged houses and toppled trees. Authorities were still assessing the damage, although no fatalities had been reported by Tuesday night.

Ian’s winds damaged one of Cuba’s most important tobacco farms in La Robaina.

“It was apocalyptic, a real disaster,” said Hirochi Robaina, owner of the farm that bears his name and that his grandfather made known internationally.

Robaina, also the owner of the Finca Robaina cigar producer, posted photos on social media of wood-and-thatch roofs smashed to the ground, greenhouses in rubble and wagons overturned.

State media said Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel visited the affected region.

“Being in the hurricane was terrible for me, but we are here alive,” said Pinar del Rio resident Yusimí Palacios, who asked authorities for a roof and a mattress.

Officials had set up 55 shelters and took steps to protect crops, especially tobacco.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Cuba suffered “significant wind and storm surge impacts” when the hurricane struck with top sustained winds of 125 mph (205 kph).

Ian was expected to get even stronger over the warm Gulf of Mexico, reaching top winds of 130 mph (209 kph) approaching the southwestern coast of Florida, where 2.5 million people were ordered to evacuate.

As the storm’s center moved into the Gulf, scenes of destruction emerged in Cuba. Authorities were still assessing the damage in its world-famous tobacco belt.

Local government station TelePinar reported heavy damage at the main hospital in Pinar del Rio city, tweeting photos of collapsed ceilings and downed trees. No deaths were reported.

Videos on social media showed downed power lines and cut off roads in the provinces of Pinar del Rio, Artemisa and Mayabeque. A hospital in Pinar del Río was damaged.

“The town is flooded,” said farmer Andy Muñoz, 37, who lives in Playa Cajío in Artemisa.

He said many people lost their belongings due to the storm surge.

“I spent the hurricane at home with my husband and the dog. The masonry and zinc roof of the house had just been installed. But the storm tore it down,” said Mercedes Valdés, who lives along the highway connecting Pinar del Río to San Juan y Martínez. “We couldn’t rescue our things ... we just ran out.” 

SOURCE: AP

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Pakistan

Sarah Inam’s father demands death sentence for suspect Shahnawaz

The victim's last rites were offered in Shahzad Town after which she was laid to rest

Published by Faisal Ali Ghumman

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Islamabad: The father of slain Canadian national Sarah Inam on Wednesday demanded capital punishment for the prime suspect within two to three hearings.

The suspects named as Shahnawaz Amir had allegedly killed Sarah in Islamabad last week.

Shahnawaz was arrested last week for allegedly killing Sarah and was booked in a murder case.

The incident took place at a farmhouse located in Shahzad Town where the suspect lived along with his mother.

Today, the last rites of the victim were offered in Shahzad Town after which she was laid to rest.

Talking to reporters afterwards, Sarah’s father Inam Rahim said that what happened to his daughter was “injustice” as he called for a “strict punishment” for Shahnawaz.

“Sarah was brutally tortured. If this case is delayed, it will be a huge injustice,” he said, requesting the government and courts to wrap up the proceedings within three to four hearings.

“The suspect should be hanged. There is evidence [of the crime].”

Rahim said that if the case was delayed, people would forget about it and such crimes would continue to take place. “The Noor Mukaddam case is in front of you. People seduce rich and capable women but then they harass and loot these girls,” he claimed.

Talking about Sarah, Rahim said that his daughter had been in Dubai for the past 10 years. “She was my sweet one. We used to talk every day on calls and messages.

“She had a good job in Dubai and was getting several good offers. Shahnawaz was greedy and his eyes were on Sarah’s money,” he alleged.

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Pakistan

COAS expresses satisfaction over operational preparedness of formations

He directed formations to focus on relief, rehabilitation, reconstruction and help restore routine life in flood-affected areas

Published by Siddra Sumreen

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Islamabad: Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has expressed satisfaction over the operational preparedness of formations and directed them to maintain a strict vigil to guard against any threat.

Chairing 251st Corps Commanders’ Conference in Rawalpindi today (Wednesday), he directed that all formations must leave no stone unturned to take action against terrorists in coordination with other Law Enforcement Agencies.

The forum undertook a comprehensive review of the security environment with a special focus on situations along the borders, internal security and other professional matters of the Army.

It resolved that the resurgence of terrorism will not be tolerated.

The forum was also briefed in detail on external and internal security situation with particular focus on the flood situation and ongoing relief efforts being undertaken by Army formations across the country.

The Corps Commanders expressed solidarity with flood victims who are braving great difficulties and resolved to extend maximum assistance for their relief and rehabilitation.

General Bajwa commended formations for reaching out people in distress and helping them to mitigate their sufferings.

He praised Army doctors and paramedics for provision of emergency medical care to flood affectees, particularly children and women including measures to check the spread of diseases in flood-hit areas.

The Army Chief also appreciated Army Engineers and FWO for restoring accessibility of critical routes and communication infrastructure on an emergency basis.

He directed formations to focus on relief, rehabilitation, reconstruction and help restore routine life in flood-affected areas.

 

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