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Pakistan

Neither Tareen nor Shehbaz, only Imran

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Jahangir Khan Tareen’s group’s ‘rebellion’ has both perplexed and encouraged the opposition. They are encouraged because the grouping within the PTI that was much talked about is now out in the open. What the combined might of the PDM could not do, this group might just be able to accomplish.

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But the opposition is vexed too. If this group fails, Imran Khan may become more powerful. The failure of the JKT gang would lead to nipping in the bud of every future rebel.

Much is being speculated about, especially the alleged contacts established between the JKT group and the two main opposition parties, PML-N and PPP. Rumors say that a meeting between Shehbaz Sharif and Tareen is imminent. The chances of such a meeting are quite dim. Not only is Jahangir Tareen an astute politician but he is also a smart businessman. He takes only calculated steps. Already, the party Chairman, Imran Khan, views the formation of this group as a challenge to his authority. They are skimming the border on the red area. Any future miscalculation could see them outside the party instead of being inside it.

And if by chance such a meeting does happen, then it will potentially have more negative political consequences than positive ones. Imran Khan will have the chance to make his narrative stronger. As is usual for him, he will term this the unity of corrupts. He once again repeated in Peshawar that he will not give an NRO, a hint to the group.

The formation of the JKT group did not happen without reason. The group has three main grievances. The foremost one is that the Prime Minister is surrounded by the ‘Karachi Group’ of his party, who are behind the cases against Tareen. Under Asad Umar’s leadership, the group has become stronger and lobbies for its own causes in the PM office. The second reason is that the group, comprised mainly of members from South Punjab, is not happy with Shah Mahmud Qureshi’s behavior. The Foreign minister and Tareen have a long history of enemity. Qureshi is still unable to forget his defeat at the hands of Salman Naeem in his home constituency. He also benefitted the most from Tareen’s disqualification at the hands of the Supreme Court. Today, although his influence within the government has increased, in his home region of South Punjab, his influence is waning while Tareen’s is getting stronger by the day.

The third and most important grievance is about Punjab Chief Minister, Sardar Usman Buzdar. For those in the know, it is common knowledge that Imran Khan is the de facto Chief Minister of Punjab. Buzdar and Khan are one and the same. Chief Minister hopefuls have raised the rumors multiple times that Buzdar is on his way out. A section of media was also recruited to play up the impression that Buzdar did not deserve the seat given to him. Tareen group knows all of this, yet its target is clear. But silence from the establishment seems to have given the group a hint; proceed at your own cost.

Displaying uncharacteristic political wisdom, the government has decided to give the Tareen group a way out. Once Usman Buzdar addresses the complaints of the group, the forward block will hold far less threat. The situation will shift back towards normalcy although differences will remain. As for those people who were hoping for Chaudhary Nisar or Shehbaz Sharif to take advantage of the situation, I ask, why would Tareen do all the hard work only for the fruit to fall into PML-N’s lap?

And now for the important question, how will the budget be passed through the assembly? Exactly in the same way as it has been since the previous two years. The Tareen group will give their vote, and PML-N will become a silent spectator. Shehbaz Sharif will pay the price for another two years for a shot in 2023. After all, the same page story hasn’t changed much yet.

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Health

WHO says monkeypox can be contained if we act now

there are about 300 confirmed or suspected cases in around 20 countries

Published by Faisal Ali Ghumman

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Countries should take quick steps to contain the spread of monkeypox and share data about their vaccine stockpiles, a senior World Health Organization official said on Friday.

"We think that if we put in place the right measures now we probably can contain this easily," Sylvie Briand, WHO director for Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness, told the U.N. agency's annual assembly.

Monkeypox is a usually mild viral infection that is endemic in parts of west and central Africa.

It spreads chiefly through close contact and until the recent outbreak, was rarely seen in other parts of the world, which is why the recent emergence of cases in Europe, the United States and other areas has raised alarms.

So far, there are about 300 confirmed or suspected cases in around 20 countries where the virus was not previously circulating. 

"For us, we think that the key priority currently is trying to contain this transmission in non-endemic countries," Briand told a technical briefing for member states.

Needed measures included the early detection and isolation of cases and contact tracing, she added.

Member states should also share information about first generation stockpiles of smallpox vaccines which can also be effective against monkeypox, Briand said. read more

"We don't know exactly the number of doses available in the world and so that’s why we encourage countries to come to WHO and tell us what are their stockpiles," she said. A slide of her presentation described global supplies as "very constrained".

Currently, WHO officials are advising against mass vaccination, instead suggesting targeted vaccination where available for close contacts of people infected.

"Case investigation, contact tracing, isolation at home will be your best bets," said Rosamund Lewis, WHO head of the smallpox secretariat which is part of the WHO Emergencies Programme.

SOURCE: REUTERS

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Pakistan

Senate approves Election Act Amendment Bill unanimously

The PTI members strongly opposed the passage of both the bills

Published by Siddra Sumreen

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Islamabad: The Senate on Friday unanimously passed ‘The Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2022’ and ‘The National Accountability (Second Amendment) Bill, 2022’.

According to details, the session of the Senate was held at Parliament House in Islamabad on Friday with Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani in the chair.

Federal Minister for Law Nazir Tarar introduced the NAB Amendment Bill while Murtaza Javed Abbasi introduced the Election Act Amendment Bill which was passed by the House unanimously.

On the occasion of the passage of both the bills in the Senate, the PTI members strongly opposed and the Chairman came on the dice of the Senate and chanted slogans of imported government.

Later, the House was adjourned till Monday at 4:00 p.m

On Thursday, the National Assembly passed the Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2022 – removing the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and effectively disallowing overseas Pakistanis from voting in the next general polls.

The bill was passed with a majority vote, with only MNAs belonging to the GDA opposing it.

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Pakistan

Imran Khan denies rumors of deal with anyone

"We will come to Islamabad with full preparation if elections were not announced in six days"

Published by Siddra Sumreen

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Peshawar: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan refused rumors of any deal with the establishment for calling off a sit-in in Islamabad, saying that he had not struck a deal with anyone and had thought about the country only.

Addressing a press conference along with Chief Minister KP Mahmood Khan, Imran Khan said that he wrapped up his plans to stage a sit-in to avoid a bloodbath. “Had I sat there that day, there would have been a bloodbath,” he said.

Imran Khan said that it was not difficult for him to stage a sit-in till the toppling of the government. "We will come to Islamabad with full preparation if elections were not announced in six days," he added.

He also admitted that his arrival in Islamabad was delayed by barricades and that the PTI was not prepared to deal with the police. Especially, after the Supreme Court of Pakistan issued an order, allowing PTI to hold a rally in Islamabad, it was expecting barricades to be removed, he said.

He announced to challenge the Election (Amendment) Bill in court. "It is a violation of the basic right to deprive the overseas Pakistanis of a basic right," he maintained.

The PTI chairman said that it cannot happen in the world that a man released on bail can become the prime minister.

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