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The curious case of the clueless Captain



In the latest round of musical chairs which the federal cabinet regularly indulges in, Hammad Azhar became the Finance Minister for exactly 18 days, an embarrassing record.

Imran Yaqub Khan Profile Imran Yaqub Khan

Shaukat Tarin is now the Finance Minister while Hammad has Energy portfolio. Fawad Chaudhry was rescued from the boondocks of Science and Technology and handed over the ministry he did once hold, Information. Shibli Faraz, meanwhile, switched over to Fawad’s former ministry. Omar Ayoub was picked up from Energy and dropped over at Economic Affairs. Khusro Bakhtiar was made Minister for Industries. Hafeez Sheikh, the third of the four finance ministers we have had till now in three years, remains missing in action.

Confused? So are we.

Changes within the team are the prerogative and the right of every captain. Team changes, however, can reflect desperation and in this instance, they are doing exactly that. The game is slipping away from the captain. Instead of reprimanding the bowlers, the captain is taking out his frustrations at the fielders, dispatching them to all corners of the field one after the other. Alas, he is still losing the match.

It wasn’t too long ago that the opposition leader who claimed to have “200 experts” of every field in his team became the Prime Minister and drafted his first, 21-member team. Of those 21, at least 12 members were borrowed from previous regimes, especially Musharraf 11. Sheikh Rasheed, Fawad Chaudhary, Farogh Nasim, Tariq Basheer Cheema, Ghulam Sarwar, Zubaida Jalal, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Shafqat Mehmud, Khusro Bakhtiar and Abdul Razzaq Dawood were part of Musharraf’s team.

The prized ministry, Finance, went to Imran’s own team member, the much-touted Asad Umar who had been presented as a miracle worker. Just eight months after he took oath, Umar was sent back to the pavilion by the captain, replacing him with Zardari’s team member Hafeez Sheikh. And now Hafeez Sheikh has been sent packing too, replaced in quick succession by Hammad Azhar and now Shaukat Tarin, yet another Zardari veteran.

Imran’s team faces the dual challenge of financial crisis and smoothing over the multiple embarrassments created by the rest of their ranks. Whenever corruption or incompetence came to the forefront, the relative team member was temporarily removed from public eye only to be inducted right back at a later date. Amir Kiyani, Firdous Ashiq Awan, Azam Swati all went through this process.

The vice-captain of the team also had a pivotal role in bringing his party to powe. From ensuring electables select the PTI for contesting elections, to zooming around in his private plane for the purpose of gathering support from independents, to financing the party itself, Jahangir Khan Tareen was the most important member of the team. Today, he is no longer in his captain’s good books.

Far from being bereft at losing his leader’s favour, Tareen has instead shown his mettle by gathering support from the captain’s team, including his close confidants Aun Chaudhry as well as provincial ministers Tariq Bashir Cheema and Noman Langrial. Another former Zardari team player, Raja Riaz, went so far as to challenge Imran Khan when he talked to the media outside the court in which Tareen was appearing for bail. Let this matter end here, he warned.

Being a “bold” cricket captain or being lucky is no substitute for having political acumen. Perhaps the only similarity between cricket and politics is that one tiny mistake can go a long way in turning the tide against the player. Tauseef Ahmed can win a match by hitting a memorable six off the one ball left to him. But in politics, a good team player is the man who plays for his peers, his captain and the country. Personal glory is not important. If they deliver, there will be no need for the captain to change the team again and again.

It is astonishing that for a man who led his team to victory in the World Cup, Imran Khan had no game plan when he took charge of the government. If the Prime Minister did indeed have a game plan, then it was a curious one, because its implementation has been a complete and utter disaster.

And what of the people who handed charge over to this partuclar man and made him the captain? Did they have a game plan? It seems obvious by now, the match begin without any planning. Imran Khan’s luck has played a crucial part, disabling the opposition into a position of disadvantage. The match has turned from a one-day to a long test. One that will most likely not end soon and without victory.

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Ishaq Dar presents Rs14.4 trillion budget in undergoing NA session

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has been given a tax collection target of Rs9.2 trillion, while the non-tax revenue target is set at Rs2.7 trillion.

Published by Hussnain Bhutta



Islamabad: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar is presenting the federal budget for the fiscal year 2023-24, with an estimated outlay of Rs14.4 trillion.

In an effort to attract voters for the upcoming general elections, the government plans to allocate funds for various targeted schemes, despite a higher consolidated budget deficit of over 6% of GDP.

The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has been given a tax collection target of Rs9.2 trillion, while the non-tax revenue target is set at Rs2.7 trillion. To meet the non-tax revenue target, the government intends to increase the petroleum development levy (PDL) from Rs50 per litre to Rs55-60 per litre, aiming to collect Rs870 billion in the next budget.

The lack of credibility in budgetary numbers remains a concern, as they are expected to change throughout the financial year. If a new government takes office after the general elections, it will likely need to introduce a mini-budget to align with IMF guidelines and secure a fresh bailout package.

The finance minister's ability to satisfy the IMF and revive the stalled program remains to be seen. The ongoing stalemate could jeopardize the dwindling foreign exchange reserves, which currently stand below $3.9 billion.

Signing a staff-level agreement with the IMF will depend on fulfilling three conditions: securing external financing of $6 billion, presenting a budget in line with IMF guidelines, and maintaining a market-based exchange rate.

The IMF program is set to conclude on June 30, with no possibility of further extension as mentioned by the finance minister during the launch of the Economic Survey for 2022-23.

There is a credibility gap regarding the accuracy of budgetary numbers, necessitating the presentation of a realistic budget for the next fiscal year.

As the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)-led government's tenure expires on August 12, an allocation of Rs90 billion has been approved for the SDGs Achievement Programme (SAP) in the upcoming budget.

External debt servicing remains a top priority, requiring $25 billion in the next budget. It remains uncertain how the government plans to generate such a significant amount, considering it secured less than $8.1 billion in the first ten months of the current fiscal year.

The fiscal constraints pose significant challenges as the federal government's net revenue receipts will be insufficient to meet debt servicing requirements. After transferring resources to provinces and factoring in non-tax revenue, the total net receipts are projected to be Rs6.5 trillion, while the total debt servicing will amount to Rs7.5 trillion, resulting in a deficit of Rs1,000 billion.

The government aims to increase salaries, pensions, and minimum wages of workers in the FY24 budget, but addressing the yawning budget deficit for the next fiscal year will require acquiring domestic and foreign loans amounting to Rs7,000 to Rs7,500 billion.

Given the complexity of the situation, deep-rooted structural reforms are necessary to navigate the economy out of the crisis.

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WhatsApp allow users to send HD photos

Users will be able to use this feature by clicking on the option that appears while sharing the image.

Published by Noor Fatima



California: Meta owned WhatsApp is going to introduce a feature for its users to share pictures in HD (High Hefinition) quality.

According to WhatsApp beta info, users will be able to share the image using this new feature without losing its quality.

It stated that users will be able to use this feature by clicking on the option that appears while sharing the image.

To send HD images you have to use the HD option every time. However, according to the company officials, despite the HD quality, there will be slight compression in the image.

Officials of WhatsApp say that this feature is currently only released for a few Android and iOS beta version users.

WhatsApp management will introduce this feature to every WhatsApp user in a few days. But its final date has not been announced yet.

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Woman survives 'Death Zone' but refuses to pay Sherpa's fee

Two additional climbers joined in the rescue efforts and ultimately paid the rescue fee on Liu's behalf.

Published by Khadija Nadeem



A woman's near-death experience in the treacherous "death zone" of Mount Everest has ignited a wave of anger on Chinese social media after she refused to pay the rescue fee to the Sherpa who saved her life.

The Chinese climber, identified by her surname Liu, was discovered unconscious at an altitude of 8,500 meters and was rescued by a Sherpa who had been assisting another climber's ascent to the summit.

Liu, a 50-year-old woman from Hunan province, collapsed near the peak when Fan Jiangtao, another climber, encountered her during his own summit attempt.

Fan made the selfless decision to abandon his ascent and assist in saving Liu's life.

He managed to move her around 200 meters down the mountain, but further descent was impossible.

Xie Ruxiang, another climber, arrived at the scene and also volunteered to aid in the rescue, abandoning his own goal of reaching the summit.

The Sherpa accompanying Xie was offered a reward of $10,000 for his assistance.

He carried Liu on his back while the other climbers alternated in elevating her legs to aid blood circulation.

Liu received several days of treatment at the base camp and eventually recovered.

However, when the Sherpa requested the agreed-upon rescue fee, Liu refused to pay the full amount.

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