Pakistan’s Sindh Assembly elects speaker, deputy speaker from majority party

Special Pakistan’s Sindh Assembly elects speaker, deputy speaker from majority party
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The still image taken from a video shows Pakistan Peoples Party’s Syed Owais Qadir Shah, newly elected speaker of the Sindh Assembly in Karachi, Pakistan on February 25, 2024. (Photo courtesy: PTV)
Special Pakistan’s Sindh Assembly elects speaker, deputy speaker from majority party
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This screengrab, taken from a handout video released by the Government of Sindh, shows newly elected members attend the provincial legislature of Pakistan’s Sindh Assembly in Karachi on February 25, 2024. (Photo courtesy: Screengrab/Sindh government)
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Updated 25 February 2024
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Pakistan’s Sindh Assembly elects speaker, deputy speaker from majority party

Pakistan’s Sindh Assembly elects speaker, deputy speaker from majority party
  • Owais Qadir Shah and Anthony Naveed secure 111 votes to win the election
  • Election for the post of Sindh chief minister is scheduled to be held on Monday

KARACHI: Pakistan’s Sindh provincial assembly on Sunday elected Syed Owais Qadir Shah as the speaker and Anthony Naveed as the deputy speaker of the House, who both hailed from the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) that won this month’s national election in the southern Sindh province.
Shah bagged 111 votes in the speaker’s election, while his opponent, Sofia Saeed Shah, from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) party was polled 36 votes, Outgoing Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani announced during the assembly’s session.
“So, I declare honorable member Syed Owais Qadir Shah who has secured the highest number of votes to have been elected as a speaker of the provincial assembly of Sindh,” Durrani said to thunderous applause from legislators.
Shah took oath shortly and took over the session that saw the election of Naveed as his deputy.
In the deputy speaker’s election, PPP’s Naveed also bagged 111 votes, while MQM-P’s candidate Rashid Khan secured 36 votes. Shah announced result of the election that was followed by Naveed’s oath-taking as the deputy speaker.
“I take oath that I will have a firm belief in Pakistan and stay loyal that whenever I, being the deputy speaker of the Sindh provincial assembly, will be asked to perform my duties, I will discharge my duties and will perform my job with honesty, to the best of my capabilities and truthfulness in accordance with the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, and rules and regulations of the assembly,” the newly elected deputy speaker said as he took oath of his post.
“And I will always play my role for the sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, interest and prosperity of Pakistan... I will not let my personal interests influence my official affairs and decisions.”
The PPP has nominated Murad Ali Shah, former Sindh chief minister, for the top provincial office once again. The election for the post of Sindh chief minister is scheduled to be held on Monday.
The voting for speaker and deputy speaker took place a day after the inaugural session of the Sindh Assembly in which newly elected members of the southern Pakistani provinc-e were sworn in.
Saturday’s oath-taking ceremony was marred by protests in Karachi staged by supporters of various political parties who alleged that the Feb. 8 elections were heavily rigged.
Supporters of the Jamaat-e-Islami, Grand Democratic Alliance, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam and other nationalist parties gathered near the provincial assembly in Karachi’s southern zone to protest alleged manipulation of Feb. 8 election, which was marred by a mobile network outage and delays in release of constituency results.
The PPP bagged 84 seats in the southern Pakistani province, followed by the MQM-P which secured 28 seats, while 14 seats were won by independent candidates. The JI and the GDA won two seats each.
While the inaugural Sindh Assembly session was in progress, several Pakistani parties on Saturday announced they would observe February 27 as a “Black Day” in response to Sindh police firing tear gas at their supporters protesting suspected rigging in the general elections earlier this month.
In view of the protest calls, the Sindh caretaker government on Friday imposed a ban under Section 144 on public assembly, gatherings, protests, processions, and demonstrations in Karachi’s South zone, where the provincial legislature is located, for a period of 30 days, according to the provincial home department.
Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) empowers the administration to issue orders in public interest and place a ban on any activity for a specific period of time.


Pakistan’s PM to visit Iran today following fatal helicopter crash involving President Raisi

Pakistan’s PM to visit Iran today following fatal helicopter crash involving President Raisi
Updated 27 sec ago
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Pakistan’s PM to visit Iran today following fatal helicopter crash involving President Raisi

Pakistan’s PM to visit Iran today following fatal helicopter crash involving President Raisi
  • The incident occurred when the Iranian president was flying to Tabriz amid dense fog causing poor visibility
  • The Pakistani prime minister will meet the Iranian supreme leader, acting president to offer his condolences

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is scheduled to travel to Iran today, Wednesday, to offer his condolences after President Dr. Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian lost their lives in a helicopter crash in East Azerbaijan Province on May 19.
The incident occurred after the Iranian president attended the inauguration of a joint hydropower project on the Aras River, which forms part of the border with Azerbaijan, in a ceremony with his counterpart Ilham Aliyev.
His helicopter crashed while he was on his way back to Tabriz with a seven-member entourage amid dense fog, causing poor visibility.
The Pakistani prime minister paid tribute to the Iranian president and foreign minister during the recent cabinet meeting. The Iranian officials arrived in Islamabad and visited other Pakistani cities last month and vowed to enhance bilateral trade between the two countries.
“Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif will visit the Islamic Republic of Iran today to offer condolences at the sad demise of President Dr. Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian,” the foreign office announced in a statement.
“The Prime Minister will call on the Supreme Leader, His Eminence, Ayatollah Imam Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution and meet Acting President of Iran, Dr. Mohammad Mokhber, to convey condolences on behalf of the people and Government of Pakistan,” it added.
Sharif will be accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar and other senior cabinet ministers.
According to media outlets, Raisi’s funeral will be held on Thursday.
Tens of thousands of Iranians in Tabriz on Tuesday mourned their president and other Iranian officials who died in the crash, walking behind the vehicle carrying their coffins.


Pakistan’s deputy PM visits Kyrgyzstan to address concerns of Pakistani students following mob violence

Pakistan’s deputy PM visits Kyrgyzstan to address concerns of Pakistani students following mob violence
Updated 21 min 21 sec ago
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Pakistan’s deputy PM visits Kyrgyzstan to address concerns of Pakistani students following mob violence

Pakistan’s deputy PM visits Kyrgyzstan to address concerns of Pakistani students following mob violence
  • Ishaq Dar flew to Bishkek with the Kyrgyz foreign minister after their meeting on the sidelines of SCO conference in Astana
  • Pakistan continues to evacuate students even as the top officials of the two countries hold meetings to sort things out

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar arrived in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, on Tuesday to address concerns of young nationals of his country enrolled in various educational institutions of the Central Asian state who were targeted by mob violence last week.
The violence began in Bishkek on Friday night after videos of a brawl between Kyrgyz and Egyptian students went viral on social media, prompting groups of local residents to target university hostels and private lodgings of international students, including those from Pakistan.
According to official figures, about 10,000 Pakistani students are enrolled in Kyrgyzstan, with nearly 6,000 in Bishkek. The frenzied violence forced them to confine themselves for several hours in their rooms without food and drinking water, with many of them making evacuation requests online.
Dar, who is also the foreign minister of Pakistan, held a meeting with his Kyrgyz counterpart in Kazakhstan on the sidelines of a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers.
“Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar has arrived in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic for a working visit,” Pakistan’s foreign office announced in a statement on Tuesday. “He was invited to visit the Kyrgyz Republic by Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Zheenbek Kulubaev after their meeting yesterday in Astana, Kazakhstan on the sidelines of the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers. The two Ministers traveled together from Astana to Bishkek.”

In this handout photograph, taken and released by Pakistan’s foreign ministry, Pakistan’s Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar (L) shakes hands with Kyrgyzstan Foreign Minister Kulubaev Zheenbek Moldokanovich in Bishkek on May 22, 2024. (Photo courtesy: MOFA)

“In Bishkek, the Deputy Prime Minister will discuss with the Kyrgyz Foreign Minister the concerns of Pakistani nationals in the Kyrgyz Republic, including the recent issues faced by Pakistani students,” it added.
Five Pakistani nationals were injured in last week’s violence. Four of them were released after receiving first aid. However, one student was hospitalized due to more serious injuries.
Dar also met with the student who remains under treatment among his other official engagements.
Pakistan has so far repatriated over 1,000 students from Bishkek after the mob violence via various flights. The evacuation process continues even as officials of the two countries try to sort things out.
The most recent flight carrying about 170 Pakistani students arrived in Multan on Wednesday morning.

In this handout photograph, taken and released by Pakistan International Airlines, officials from Pakistan's national airline welcome students arriving from Bishkek via a special PIA flight at the Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore on May 21, 2024, days after mobs in Kyrgyz capital attacked foreign students following a brawl with migrants. (Photo courtesy: PIA)

 


President of ex-PM Khan party released from prison after nearly a year in custody

President of ex-PM Khan party released from prison after nearly a year in custody
Updated 21 May 2024
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President of ex-PM Khan party released from prison after nearly a year in custody

President of ex-PM Khan party released from prison after nearly a year in custody
  • Pervaiz Elahi was arrested on June 1 in a case relating to alleged illegal appointments in Punjab Assembly
  • His party says the anti-corruption watchdog failed to prove Elahi had accepted any money against recruitment

ISLAMABAD: Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, president of former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, was released from prison on Tuesday after the Lahore High Court granted him bail in a case relating to alleged illegal appointments, the PTI said.
Elahi was arrested on June 1, 2023 after being accused of getting results of the testing service changed to have the candidates of his choice appointed in the Punjab provincial assembly.
Justice Sultan Tanvir of the Lahore High Court accepted his bail petition while presiding over a hearing of the case on Tuesday and ordered his release.
“The anti-corruption body filed the case after a delay of two years,” the PTI said in a statement. “Anti-corruption body failed to prove that Mr. Elahi had accepted any money against recruitment or his involvement in the recruitment procedure.”
Elahi has twice served as the chief minister of Pakistan’s most populous Punjab province and dissolved the provincial assembly in January 2023 on Khan’s instructions, in a bid to force early nationwide elections.
His arrest on June 1 came amid a crackdown on Khan’s PTI party after violent clashes and attacks on government and military installations over Khan’s brief arrest in May 9.
Khan, who was ousted in a parliamentary no-trust vote in April, has been in jail since last August and convicted in multiple cases. Arguably Pakistan’s most popular politician, Khan says all cases against him are politically motivated to keep him out of politics.


Over 1,000 relief camps set up as Pakistan braces for heatwave

Over 1,000 relief camps set up as Pakistan braces for heatwave
Updated 21 May 2024
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Over 1,000 relief camps set up as Pakistan braces for heatwave

Over 1,000 relief camps set up as Pakistan braces for heatwave
  • The Pakistan Meteorological Department said temperatures are expected to hit as high as 50°Celsius in parts of rural Sindh
  • Extreme heat in Pakistan is often coupled by deficit in power supply, with some areas experiencing 15-hour daily loadshedding

KARACHI: Over 1,000 camps have been set up across Pakistan’s southern province of Sindh in anticipation of a severe heatwave, disaster management officials said Tuesday.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department said temperatures are expected to hit as high as 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) in parts of rural Sindh.
“These camps have been set up to provide relief to affected people, and to help reduce instances of heatstroke and other heat-related diseases,” Ajay Kumar assistant director of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) told AFP.
“They are also equipped with places of rest, water and glucose to give to people as and when these are needed,” he added.
The heatwave will affect much of the country, building over the next week.
Extreme heat in Pakistan is often coupled by deficit in power supply, with some areas experiencing up to 15 hours a day of loadshedding, according to local media.
Pakistan increasingly vulnerable to extreme weather events, which scientists have linked to climate change.
Schools in the province have already postponed annual examinations scheduled for this week, including in the mega port city of Karachi, home to more than 20 million people.
PDMA Chief Meteorologist Sardar Sarfaraz said that “women who spend most of their time in the kitchen and in the fields in rural areas are the hardest hit.”
The heatwave also raises concern about the survival of livestock, Kumar added.


Pakistan religion minister applauds Saudi Arabia for innovation in facilitation of Hajj pilgrims

Pakistan religion minister applauds Saudi Arabia for innovation in facilitation of Hajj pilgrims
Updated 21 May 2024
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Pakistan religion minister applauds Saudi Arabia for innovation in facilitation of Hajj pilgrims

Pakistan religion minister applauds Saudi Arabia for innovation in facilitation of Hajj pilgrims
  • Hajj is one of five pillars of Islam and requires every Muslim to undertake the journey at least once
  • Around 26,711 Pakistani pilgrims have arrived in Saudi Arabia ahead of the next month’s pilgrimage

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Religious Affairs Minister Chaudhry Salik Hussain on Tuesday met with Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah and commended the innovative reforms implemented by the Saudi authorities to facilitate Hajj pilgrims, the Pakistani religious affair ministry said.
Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and requires every adult Muslim to undertake the journey to the holy Islamic sites in Makkah at least once in their lifetime if they are financially and physically able.
According to Pakistan’s religious affairs ministry, 26,711 Pakistani pilgrims have arrived in Saudi Arabia ahead of next month’s Hajj, less than two weeks after Pakistan kicked off its pre-Hajj flight operation.
Hussain arrived in Saudi Arabia last week to review Pakistan’s arrangements for Hajj pilgrims and has since toured various departments as well as met with Saudi authorities.
“Hussain appreciated the innovative and exemplary reforms of the Saudi authorities for the facilitation of Hajj pilgrims arriving in the Kingdom from across the globe,” Pakistan’s religious affairs ministry said in a statement.
The two figures had a detailed discussion regarding bilateral relations and arrangements for Hajj 2024, according to the statement. Hussain lauded the Kingdom for extending the best facilities and excellent support to the pilgrims.
He described the progress on new Pakistan Houses, which house the country’s Hajj missions, in Makkah and Madinah as “positive.”
“Saudi companies responsible for providing services under the leadership of the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah are doing a good job,” Hussain was quoted as saying in the statement.
Hussain also discussed the matter of pending transport contracts for 40,000 Pakistani Hajj pilgrims facilitated by private tour operators, to which the Saudi minister assured him the matter would be resolved within the next few days.
“Pakistan’s Hajj group operators should reform and follow Saudi directives,” Hussain urged, saying his ministry would take action if pilgrims faced inconvenience due to private operators.
Pakistan has a Hajj quota of 179,210 pilgrims this year, of which 63,805 people will perform the pilgrimage under the government scheme, while the rest will use private tour operators. This year’s pilgrimage is expected to run from June 14 till June 19.