#Tabdeeli top Pakistani Twitter trend as PM reshuffles cabinet

Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan, during a protest in Islamabad in 2014. (AFP/File)
Updated 20 April 2019

#Tabdeeli top Pakistani Twitter trend as PM reshuffles cabinet

  • Tabdeeli, or change, became the top trending item on Twitter on Thursday and Friday as Khan changed key ministers
  • As turncoat politicians took over key posts, Twitter users asked if this was the change they had voted for

ISLAMABAD: The hashtag #Tabdeeli, or change, became the top trending Pakistani item on Twitter on Thursday and Friday, after Prime Minister Imran Khan announced a sweeping cabinet reshuffle on Thursday after only seven months in power.
From creating 10 million jobs to setting up world-class hospitals, building an Islamic welfare state and restoring Pakistan’s tattered image abroad, Khan came to power last August on a populist platform promising to root out corruption among a venal elite and lift people out of poverty. Change was what he and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party promised. 
But as Finance Minister Asad Umar announced on Thursday that he was stepping down amid a major cabinet reshuffle which saw many figures from previous governments and turncoat politicians appointed to key posts, people took to Twitter to ask if this was, in fact, the change they had been promised. 
Social activist M. Jibran Nasir questioned why so many tried and tested figures who had failed to deliver in the past had been reappointed: 
“A select few keep playing musical chairs and we keep getting entertained. #Tabdeeli’” Nasir tweeted.

Popular columnist and consultant Mosharaff Zaidi said “The young core of the PTI has been cheated and lied to,” referring to the new appointments. “Terrible day for well wishers of Tabdeeli.”

Lawyer and writer Ayesha Ijaz Khan said she would’ve been a supporter of Khan’s PTI party from the start if she had ever believed it truly stood for change.  “But it never did. It was a con job from the get go. A mere distraction to deny more organic reform from within existing political structures,” Khan wrote.

Others like filmmaker and editor Hassan Zaidi commented on the irony of the government denying the cabinet reshuffle for days, “only to have tabdeeli forced on to them,” referring to reports that some of the appointments were made at the behest of the powerful army.

And then there were those who took the opportunity to have a little fun at #Tabdeeli’s expense.
Cultural critic Ahmer Naqvi joked: Crazy that PTI killed off more major characters than #GameofThrones this season.

Comic @AsliBinLaden wrote:
“We will shuffle the cabinet” - Imran Khan
Someone tell him it's a cabinet and not his soundcloud playlist.

One Twitter user @IffiViews posted a picture of Imran Khan with his hands clasped together, looking up at the sky and praying, and wrote: “Ya Allah tera shukar mai bach gaya,” or “Thank Allah I have survived,”.

Pakistan says in touch with 150,000 nationals in virus-hit Italy

Updated 21 March 2020

Pakistan says in touch with 150,000 nationals in virus-hit Italy

  • Says diplomatic mission in Italy is in touch with the nationals, 2,000 of whom are students
  • Italy has so far reported more than 3,400 deaths, including one Pakistani

ISLAMABAD: Italy is home to about 150,000 Pakistani nationals, concentrated mostly in the the country’s north — Lombardy region with Milan as its capital, the Foreign Office (FO) said on Thursday.

 “Our Embassy in Rome and Consulate General in Milan are in constant contact with the Pakistani community,” FO spokesman Aisha Farooqui, said in an official handout.
The statement comes at a time when the death toll in Italy from the deadly virus has surpassed that of China.
“The Embassy as well as Consulate General had set up 24/7 help lines to provide services and information to the Community at the start of the outbreak.” Farooqui said.

Pakistani diplomats are also coordinating with education institutes across Italy where nearly 2,000 students from the South Asian country are currently enrolled, the statement read.

The death of first Pakistani national, Imtiaz Ahmed, from the contagion was also reported in Italy on March 11. With a population of 60 million, the European country has so far reported more than 3,400 deaths.

According to media reports, a visiting Chinese Red Cross team slammed Italy for not taking the quarantine requirements seriously, making it difficult for health authorities in the country to limit the spread of the virus.

Given that China has reportedly managed the viral outbreak, Italy has seemingly emerged as COVID-19’s new global epicenter.

Meanwhile, the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Pakistan jumped beyond 440 on Thursday after a sharp spike in numbers in Sindh and Balochistan.