PM Imran Khan expresses ‘full confidence’ in finance minister Shaukat Tareen’s abilities

Prime Minister Imran Khan and Shaukat Tareen
Prime Minister Imran Khan recently had a meeting with the newly-appointed Finance Minister Shaukat Tareen at the Prime Minister’s House.

During the meeting, discussions were held related to the economic situation of the country. Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar was also in attendance along with the social media team of the PTI.

Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his “full confidence” in Tareen’s abilities and said that he has known him for the last 35 years.

“I am confident that Shaukat Tareen will come up with better planning for the further stability of the country’s economy,” the prime minister said.

Speaking during the meeting, Shaukat Tareen said that based on his 49 years of experience in the economic sector, he knows what measure should be taken to steer the economy in the right direction.

“The country’s GDP growth should be increased by 6 to 7 per cent,” Shaukat Tareen maintained.

Answering a question regarding the possible removal of the Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), Shaukat Tareen said that the incumbent, Raza Baqir, has done a “great job in bringing reforms to the bank.”

“[Considering his performance] there is no chance of removing Baqir from his office,” Tareen clarified.

It should be recalled that last week, PM Imran Khan had — for the sixth time — reshuffled the federal cabinet and appointed Shaukat Tareen as the country’s new finance minister.

Tareen had replaced federal minister Hammad Azhar, who was appointed as the country’s finance minister in March when the premier replaced Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.

Consequently, Hammad Azhar was appointed as the minister for energy, replacing Omar Ayub.

Sheikh Rasheed says govt is not negotiating with TLP

Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed
Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed said Sunday the government was not negotiating with the outlawed Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).

“No negotiation process is underway with the TLP,” said the minister.

Giving details of the proscribed organisation’s blockage of roads and highways across the country, Rasheed said 192 locations across the country had been sealed by the banned outfit.

“The situation is a bit tense at Yateem Khana Chowk in Lahore where the Jamia Masjid Rahmatul Lil Alameen is located,” he said. “Currently, all roads including the GT Road and the Murree Expressway are open [for traffic],” he said.

The minister said the GT Road and all main arteries of the country will remain open on April 20. The minister was referencing the date as the banned outfit had planned a protest on April 20 over the alleged non-fulfillment of their demands.

Speaking about the proscribed organisation, Rasheed said when an outfit is banned, the bank accounts and passports of its members are frozen by the government.

He spoke about estranged PTI leader Jahangir Tareen, saying that he was sure the sugar baron would not deflect from the PTI to any other political party.

The Punjab government had on Saturday placed Saad Rizvi, the chief of the banned party TLP, on the fourth schedule of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).

In a notification, Punjab’s home department had said his assets have been frozen, and his national identity card has been blocked — which means he cannot conduct transactions via banks, nor can he sell or purchase any property.

Similarly, the National Counter-Terrorism Authority, a day earlier, had placed TLP on the proscribed organisations list.

Rizvi has to submit his original passport to the in-charge of the concerned police station.

After he submits his passport, he will have to obtain permission from the police station when he wishes to leave his residence — and provide details of any meetings he wishes to hold anywhere.

On Thursday, the federal government had declared the TLP a proscribed organisation under anti-terrorism laws and launched a broad crackdown against the party.

The action came after days of violent protests and traffic disruptions in the largest cities of Pakistan, which saw public and private property damaged by gangs of hooligans bearing sticks and turning on law enforcement officials at will.

Heavy police contingents deployed at Islamabad’s entry and exit points

Heavy police contingents deployed at Islamabad's entry and exit points
Security was tightened throughout the capital on Sunday evening, after a high alert was issued.

According to DIG Operations Islamabad, heavy contingents of law enforcement officials were deployed to all entry and exit points of Islamabad.

Additionally, police and Rangers were also dispatched to other important installations.

“All possible steps would be taken for maintenance of law and order in the city,” he said.

A police spokesperson said that no entity will be allowed to block any roads or highways.

Earlier in the day, Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed had provided an update on the recent unrest in the country.

Giving details of the proscribed TLP’s blockage of roads and highways across the country, Rasheed said 192 locations across the country had been blocked by the banned outfit.

“The situation is a bit tense at Yateem Khana Chowk in Lahore where the Jamia Masjid Rahmatul Lil Alameen is located,” he said. “[However] currently, all major roads including the GT Road and the Murree Expressway are open [for traffic],” he said.

The minister said the GT Road and all main arteries of the country will remain open on April 20.

The minister was referencing the date as the banned outfit had planned a protest on April 20 over the alleged non-fulfillment of their demands.

Maryam Nawaz to visit Karachi on April 24 for NA-249 election campaign

Maryam Nawaz to visit Karachi on April 24 for NA-249 election campaign
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice-President Maryam Nawaz will reach Karachi on April 24 to lead the election campaign of PML-N candidate Miftah Ismail, quoting sources, reported on Saturday.

Earlier, the PML-N leader said that she will visit Karachi for the election campaign in NA-249 by-elections. PML-N Karachi has constituted committees for the welcome of the party’s central leader.

Maryam Nawaz will arrive in the port city for three days to help election campaigning for the PML-N candidate Miftah Ismail.

Earlier, talking to media in Lahore, Maryam said that she would be going to Karachi and called upon the people of the constituency to vote for PML-N candidate in the NA-249 by-election for Karachi’s progress and development.

The election commission had issued an advance warning to Miftah Ismail, about Maryam Nawaz’s visit of the constituency.

“According to our information, Maryam Nawaz will likely to visit the constituency. The members of the national and provincial assemblies should not accompany with her during the visit of the constituency,” the ECP said in its prior warning to the PML-N candidate.

“According to the election rules, no member of the national or provincial legislature could participate in the election campaign,” according to the election commission notice.

The NA-249 seat had fallen vacant after Faisal Vawda of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) resigned from the National Assembly for his Senate seat. In the 2018 general elections, Vawda had defeated PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif in the constituency with a narrow margin.

The by election in the NA-249 constituency will be held on April 29.

Punjab resumes physical classes for grades 9-12 from 19th

Punjab resumes physical classes for grades 9-12 from 19th
Physical classes for grades nine to 12 are set to resume in over a dozen cities of Punjab, including Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Sheikhupura, Gujranwala, and Gujrat from April 19.

Taking to Twitter, Education Minister Murad Raas announced that in-person classes for grades 9,10,11,12 will start at all public and private schools in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Sheikhupura, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Sialkot, Multan, TT Singh, Sargoda, Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, and DG Khan on April 19.

All educational institutions in these districts were closed due to high positivity rate of Covid-19 cases.

The minister further said classes will take place only on Mondays and Thursdays. “Entire Classes of 9,10,11,12 to be called on only Monday and Thursday. Since Classrooms of 1 through 8 will be empty, students can be spread over the whole school to follow SOPS,” he tweeted.

On April 6, a conference of education and health ministers had unanimously decided that in districts affected by the coronavirus, classes one to 8th will remain closed till April 28, whereas classes 9th to 12th will resume from April 19.

Took action against TLP for street violence, attacking law enforcers: PM

Took action against TLP for street violence, attacking law enforcers: PM
Prime Minister Imran Khan in a series of tweets on Saturday made it clear that the government took action against the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) after it challenged the writ of the state.

“Let me make clear to people here & abroad: Our govt only took action against TLP under our anti-terrorist law when they challenged the writ of the state and used street violence & attacking the public & law enforcers,” the premier said.

“No one can be above the law and the Constitution.”

Prime Minister Khan said: “My message to extremists abroad who indulge in Islamophobia & racist slurs to hurt & cause pain to 1.3 bn Muslims across the globe: We Muslims have the greatest love & respect for our Prophet PBUH who lives in our hearts. We cannot tolerate any such disrespect & abuse.”

Those in the West, including extreme right politicians, who deliberately indulge in such abuse and hate under the guise of freedom of speech clearly lack moral sense and courage to apologise to the 1.3 billion Muslims for causing this hurt, he maintained, demanding an apology from those extremists.

The premier also called on “Western govts who have outlawed any negative comment on the holocaust to use the same standards to penalise those deliberately spreading their message of hate against Muslims by abusing our Prophet PBUH.”

FM Shah Mehmood Qureshi reached UAE

FM departs for UAE today on three-day official trip
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi will embark on a three-day official visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) today .

During his visit, the foreign minister will meet his counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and other UAE dignitaries, the Foreign Office said in a statement.

Qureshi will also meet Pakistani diaspora and interact with local and international media.

He will hold consultations with the UAE leadership on all areas of bilateral cooperation including collaboration in trade and investment, job opportunities for Pakistani workforce and the welfare of Pakistani diaspora.

The foreign minister will also discuss regional and global issues of mutual interest. The UAE is home to the second largest Pakistani community abroad.

“Pakistan and the UAE enjoy strong fraternal ties, rooted deep in common faith and shared history and values,” the Foreign Office said. “High-level visits between the two countries have played a pivotal role in providing further impetus to strengthening bilateral cooperation and collaboration on a wide range of issues.”

Pakistan records 4,976 fresh corona infections within 24 hrs

Pakistan records 4,976 fresh corona infections within 24 hrs
There was no let-up in Covid-19 related deaths as 112 more people succumbed to the virus across the country over the past 24 hours.

The number of total deaths has soared to 16,094, according to the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Covid-19. The national tally of confirmed cases climbed to 750,158 as 4,976 new infections surfaced during the same period.

As many as 65,279 samples were tested, out which 4,976 turned out to be positive with a 7.62 per cent positivity rate. The number of active cases has soared to 79,102.
The total number of people recuperating from the disease stands at 654,956.

Earlier this week, Pakistan reported 135 deaths from coronavirus, making it the country’s highest death toll in a single day since June 29 last year while the positivity rate of infections was recorded at 9.73 per cent.

Governor asks Sindh CM to take action against miscreants

Sindh Governor Imran Ismail and Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah
Sindh Governor Imran Ismail has written a letter to Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah in which he urged the provincial government to maintain law and order situation besides ensuring action against the miscreants.

In its letter, Imran Ismail said that it is the government’s responsibility to provide safe and peaceful environment to its citizens.

He said that the Centre has adopted a clear stance to maintain the supremacy of law. Ismail added that miscreants are organising demonstrations and sit-ins in major cities for a few days and law enforces are facing challenges in maintaining law and order situation.

The governor asked Sindh chief minister to ensure taking legal action against the mischievous elements besides taking necessary steps to end disruption in traffic.

Regarding coronavirus, he said that the third wave of the pandemic has badly affected the nationals across Pakistan. The Centre and provincial government are working efficiently to curb the spread of the virus.

He said that the positivity rate of COVID-19 cases is low in Sindh and more steps needed to maintain the situation besides making further efforts to improve it. The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) is formulating a comprehensive strategy with the coordination of all provinces to stop the spread of the virus.

Condition of Sindh’s villages worsening: PM Imran

Prime Minister Imran Khan
Prime Minister Imran Khan lamented the condition of villages in Sindh, saying that the condition of its villages were deteriorating as time progressed.

The prime minister was addressing the Kamyab Jawan Programme in Sukkur where he said that instead of progressing with time, villages and rural areas in Sindh were going backwards.

The premier said he had travelled far and wide across Pakistan and had seen several areas where poverty was at large. He added that in Sindh, he had seen a lot of poverty.

The prime minister announced a development package of Rs446bn for the people of Sindh, saying that it had taken considerable difficulty in putting together the funds for the package.

“It will take a month for people to see the changes that our funds bring about for them, on-ground,” he said.

The prime minister said he considered the people of every province, regardless of whether the PTI ruled there or not, as his own people. “We will focus our energies on uplifting the downtrodden people,” he said. “I promise the people of Sindh that I will do everything in my power to bring about a change in your lives,” he added.

The prime minister spoke about the Bundle Island in great detail, saying that no one before had bothered to realise that development there would entail jobs for thousands of people.

He said that by developing the Bundle Island, Pakistan could earn billions in revenue, provide employment to the people of Sindh and also earn foreign exchange reserves.

The premier said it was unfortunate that while the project was good to go, the Sindh government rescinded the no objection certificate it had earlier provided to the federal government to carry out development work there.

PM Imran Khan said his government had told the Sindh government that profit earned from the development on the island would be handed over to Sindh.

He hoped the Sindh government would review its decision and provide the government with the NOC to start work at the island, adding that it would increase the country’s foreign exchange reserves and strengthen Pakistan’s economy.