Polling under way for by-election on Punjab Assembly seat PP-218

by-election on Punjab Assembly seat PP-218
Polling is under way on the vacant Punjab Assembly seat Multan seat PP-218.

The PP-218 seat fell vacant after the sudden death of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MPA Malik Mazhar Abbas Raan.

PTI’s Malik Wasif Mazhar Raan, Pakistan Peoples Party’s Malik Muhammad Arshad are contesting for the seat along with independent candidates, Malik Shahid Abbas Raan, Muhammad Tufail, Muhammad Ramzan and Muhammad Israrul Haq Cheema.

A total of 138 polling stations including 25 for male, 24 female and 89 combined have been set up in the constituency. Among these, 38 polling stations have been declared sensitive where tight security arrangements have been made.

According to the Election Commission of Pakistan there are 203,188 registered voters in the constituency including 111,918 male and 91,270 female voters.

Polling will continue till 5pm.

Army Chief to brief parliamentarians on Indo-Pak situation

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa will brief parliamentarians on the recent tensions between India and Pakistan next week.

The briefing will be held at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi on April 4, and will be attended by the members of standing committees of the National Assembly and Senate on defence.

A number of leaders from the opposition parties, including former ministers, will be among the attendees.

Chairman of the NA committee Amjad Ali Khan will lead the delegation, said a notification issued by the National Assembly Secretariat.

Other members of the committee include Tahir Sadiq, Chaudhry Farrukh Altaf, Syed Faizul Hassan, Barjees Tahir, Ijaz Ahmad Shah, Riazul Haq, Mohammad Khan Daha, Aurangzeb Khichi, Alam Dad Laleka, Riaz Hussain Pirzada, Ghous Bux Mahar, Khursheed Ahmed Junejo, Aftab Shaban Mirani, Amer Ali Magsi, Jamil Ahmed Khan, Syed Aminul Haque, Salahuddin Ayubi, Rubina Irfan and Ramesh Kumar Vankwani.

Benazir Income Support Programme: PPP protests govt’s move to rename

 PPP protests govt’s move to rename
The Pakistan Peoples Party has recorded strong protest over reports that the federal government is considering removing the name of former prime minister, the late Benazir Bhutto, from the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).

Prime Minister Imran Khan, during a meeting with members of the Grand Democratic Alliance in Ghotki on Saturday, was quoted as suggesting that the name of BISP, the country’s largest social safety net programme of its kind, would be amended.

Slamming PM Imran’s suggestion, PPP veteran Khursheed Shah said Shaheed Benazir Bhutto made sacrifices not just for the party but for the entire country.

“Imran Khan wants to remove the former premier’s name from BISP, which is shameful,” Shah told media in Sukkur on Sunday.

“There is fear that what if these ‘Naya Pakistan’ people [also] remove Quaid-e-Azam’s image from the currency [notes],” the PPP leader remarked.

BISP was launched in 2008 by then-prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani on the advice of former president Asif Ali Zardari. The programme’s name is a tribute to former premier Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in 2007.

Several other PPP leaders also vowed to resist any move to rename the programme.

Adviser to Sindh chief minister, Barrister Murtaza Wahab, said the BISP cannot be renamed unless the law is changed. “Kaptaan ur the PM not the King plz try to understand law before making commitments,” he tweeted.

 

Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari responded to Wahab’s tweet saying, “What else does one expect from Puppet khan and his grand alliance of delusion?”

“It would save a lot of time & resources if Puppet governments didn’t attempt to re label & really badly recycle the Benazir Income Support Programme & instead just accepted its glory (credit @AAliZardari) & continue to fund it. #HealthCardsAlreadyExist #GoatToBeKiddingMe #PTI,” she wrote in a tweet earlier.

 

MQM-P’s Khawaja Izharul Hasan injured in car accident near Karachi’s Toll Plaza

Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leader Khawaja Izharul Hasan
Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) leader Khawaja Izharul Hasan was injured in a road accident near Karachi’s Toll Plaza in the early hours of Sunday.

Senior MQM-P leader Faisal Sabzwari confirmed to the media that Hasan and his bodyguards sustained injuries in the accident.

“Hasan sustained head injuries while his bodyguard was critically injured,” Sabzwari said, adding that they have been shifted to a private hospital at Stadium Road for medical attention.

The condition of the MQM-P leader was said to be out of danger.

Hasan was returning from Ghotki after meeting Prime Minister Imran Khan, who had been in town to address a rally, when his car met with a mishap.

“Three of Hasan’s guards were injured in the accident, with two of them in critical condition,” MQM-P leader Amir Khan said.

He added, “Hasan’s bodyguard was travelling in the car behind him and was also hit. More damage occurred with the second car being hit.”

Moreover, MPA Sanjay Perwani who was travelling with Hasan at the time of the accident said, he was travelling in the last car.

He shared, that there was a ditch dug up on the road due to some construction work nearby. “There were no signs indicating that a ditch was there. Due to the construction work, the driver could not see the ditch and the car crashed,” Perwani said. “There was an alternative route near the site of the accident but there was no sign telling us that.”

In 2017, Hasan escaped an assassination attempt in which two people, including a policeman, were killed.

Hasan, the leader of the opposition in Sindh Assembly at that time, was going home after offering Eid-ul-Azhar prayers when two suspected attackers ambushed his vehicle in Bufferzone area of the metropolis.

Hasan remained unharmed in the incident, however, an attacker was killed during the retaliatory fire by one of the guards.

Punjab has huge potential to benefit from solar energy: CM Buzdar

Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar
Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar says the province has huge potential to benefit from solar energy and new technology will be used for this purpose.

He was chairing a high level meeting in Lahore today (Saturday).

The meeting discussed various plans to set up modern solar power plants in Punjab. A Canadian company has expressed its interest in the proposed plans.

The Chief Minister said electricity will be provided through modern solar power plants in Dera Ghazi Khan, Rajanpur, Cholistan and Thal where there is no transmission line.

PM Imran inaugurates non-stop luxurious Jinnah Express train

PM Imran inaugurates non-stop luxurious Jinnah Express train
Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated Jinnah Express train in Lahore on Saturday evening.

The non-stop luxurious train will ply between Lahore and Karachi, covering the distance in fifteen hours.

 Addressing the inaugural ceremony, the Prime Minister said development of railways will lower pressure on roads and promote tourism besides providing affordable, comfortable and speedy traveling facility to the common people.

Imran Khan said he is going to China next month and will seek Chinese cooperation in upgradation of Main Line-I from Karachi to Peshawar and railway technology.

 Imran Khan regretted that operationalization of the railway track in Pakistan has decreased by 2000 kilometers since the British era in the sub-continent.

Referring to the basic facility of health, the Prime Minister said the government has started Insaf Health Card scheme from the poor of the poor, which will be extended to other people.

 He said every salaried person should have health insurance card to have free medical facility.

Earlier, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed in his address said they had repaired two hundred coaches and ran twenty-four new passenger trains.

The Minister said Lahore Railways Station has been renovated at a cost of 25 million rupees.

 He announced to launch Sir Syed train in a month.

Sheikh Rashid said a train will ply on upgraded ML-I at a speed of 160-220 kilometers per hour, reducing the Lahore-Rawalpindi travel distance to about two and a half hours.

NAB is black law, designed for political engineering: Bilawal

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Saturday said that Prime Minister Imran Khan was “not at all serious” about ending corruption and only seeks to launch “fake cases” against his political opponents.

Bilawal’s remarks followed shortly after the prime minister, during a rally in Ghotki, had vowed that the government would not let PML-N and PPP leaders off the accountability hook “until they give back the country’s [looted] wealth”. The premier had also discussed corruption in Sindh, where the PPP has a majority government.

While speaking to media, the PPP chairman remarked that he had read the news that NAB has evidence against a sitting minister and his brother, but expressed the view that the minister would not be arrested because the corruption watchdog only practices “selective accountability”.

“We all know that NAB [National Accountability Ordinance] is a black law, designed for political engineering,” said Bilawal.

The PPP chairman claimed that if anyone was serious about challenging corruption and instating the law of justice and accountability which he said was equally applicable to every citizen it was him.

He promised he would one day establish such laws in the country, accusing the prime minister of only seeking to “show off his politics”.

“Khan sahab’s politics start and end at NAB,” he said.

He alleged that the accountability bureau had played an “important role” in the appointment of the incumbent government which he labelled a “selected government” and further alleged that the bureau continued to have a hand in running it.

Bilawal said that the premier beats the drums of provinces having increased responsibility and questioned why then they are not given their due share of resources. He accused the government of “stealing” the resources that belong to the people and spending them in Islamabad.

“This is a ‘red line’ for PPP and we cannot tolerate it at all,” he said, adding that the PPP would oppose this “conspiracy” at every forum.

In response to a question, Bilawal said that he had undertaken his recent train journey, a reference to the PPP’s “Caravan-i-Bhutto”, for Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s death anniversary.

“I know that Khan sahab doesn’t go to his constituencies,” he remarked, adding: “A selected politician does not give importance to his voters.”

Qurashi urges peoples of Sindh to support PTI for bringing change in Provence

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qurashi
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qurashi on Saturday has criticized Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and urged peoples of Sindh to support Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) for bringing change in the Provence.

Addressing to a ceremony in Ghotki FM Shah Mehmood said, “The party which was a sign of center in now seems nowhere even in its own province.”

“PPP has now reduced to interior Sindh only,” criticized Shah Mehmood.

“Those who believe that it’s our last gathering in Ghotki should mark my words that PTI is now an identity of center and the people of Sindh know that who is behind the destruction of the Sindh,” he added.

“When I joined PTI, I started my politics from Ghotki,” he further added.

“Various opponents believed that my politics is finished, but I was affirmed to bring the change under Imran’s vision,” he asserted.

“Due to our commitment people like Safdar Abbasi and Zulfiqar Mirza are now part of our journey,” he added.

“Tabdeeli entered in Punjab after crushing JUI-F and ANP in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and the people have seen the collapse of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in their stronghold,” he said.

“The people of other provinces have put their trust in us then why don’t people of Sindh will trust us,” he concluded.

Saudi delegation to visit Pakistan on Monday to review ‘Road to Makkah’ project

Saudi delegation to visit Pakistan on Monday to review 'Road to Makkah' project
A 14-member delegation from Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry will arrive in Islamabad on Monday to review the arrangements made to assist Haj pilgrims under the ‘Road to Makkah’ project.

Under the ‘Road to Makkah’ project that has been initiated by Saudi Arabia to facilitate Muslim pilgrims all immigration requirements are fulfilled at the airport of origin. The project also includes other Muslim countries, like Indonesia and Malaysia.

Under the project, 90 per cent of Pakistani pilgrims will go through customs and immigration processes at the airports in Pakistan before leaving for Haj, instead of having to wait for 10-12 hours after arriving in Saudi Arabia, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Religious Affairs said.

The Saudi delegation will be briefed at the Islamabad International Airport by officials from Customs, Civil Aviation Authority, the Anti-Narcotics Force and the interior and foreign ministries. The delegation will also review the arrangements made at the airports in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Islamabad, where the immigration counters are expected to be set up.

Road accident claim 7 lives in Jhang Road Bhakkar

Road accident claim 7 lives in Jhang Road Bhakkar
A speedy passenger bus, coming from an opposite direction on Jhang Road, rammed into an auto on Saturday in Bhakkar and killed six girls all students and the auto driver.

The auto was carrying ninth-grade students who were en route to their village after appearing in an examination.

The collision was so intense that five of the students and the auto driver died on the spot.

Another student succumbed to her injuries when she was being shifted to a nearby hospital.

The ill-fated auto was completely destroyed as a result of the accident and it had to be cut to pull the bodies out of the wreckage.

A number of local people also helped in the rescue operation while some, protested after the incident.

The angry mob tried to set the bus on fire but the police officials reached the spot on time and stopped their attempt.

The protesters also blocked Jhang Road and chanted slogans against the incident and the transport mafia.