The Pakistan Peoples Party’s hopes of making a comeback in Punjab seem to have waned, as its leader claims that the only saving grace for the party will be to welcome electables into the fold to improve their position in the province generally, saying that this election-cum-selection process will only be to put the PML-N on the throne.
Acting Central Punjab President Rana Farooq Saeed termed the party’s decision to accord its stamp of approval to the digital census a “grave mistake”, asserting that they too would bear the brunt of this blunder.
Another PPP leader, on the condition of anonymity, said their party leaders both Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari camped in Lahore several times in the recent past with a singular aim of improving the party’s position in the province.
He said that initially it was thought that they would be able to cash in on the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s fall at the hands of the establishment by bringing the PTI’s electables into the party. However, later when the Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party was formed, they believed that given the PTI and IPP would be shooting fish in the same barrel and with the PML-N’s popularity at its lowest, they would have some space to gain ground in Punjab. Even that hoped now was lost, after witnessing that the establishment was bending over backwards to help the PML-N win back the government and with the PTI practically banned from politics by the powers that be.
He said that the PPP did try to go toe to toe with other parties in reeling in electables, so there was no failure on its part.
He said that the decision of the Islamabad High Court sent shock waves in all political parties especially thier’s. He said that this decision was enough to tell them, that Nawaz Sharif was being made the prime minister for the fourth time by the establishment.
He said that initially they had hoped to improve their position from seven provincial seats to around 50, but with the establishment by their side, the chances of that happening were nonexistent.
He said that with Saudi Arabia their guarantors, the chances of any foul play by the establishment were also very slim, at least for now.
He said that the reason behind the establishment’s all out support for the PML-N was PTI. He said powers that be wanted to undo the PTI, which was why they were squarely banking on the PML-N. He said, “The PML-N seems to have convinced the bosses that the only way to undo Imran Khan’s popularity is to allow Nawaz Sharif to become the PM and re-continue his spending spree on wasteful construction projects on borrowed money.”
He said the establishment would not stop at just providing a exclusive field to the PML-N, there would be massive rigging during the elections.
When asked about the elections, he admitted that with the decision of the IHC that refreshes the memories of Justice (retd) Abdul Qayyum, contrary to his belief earlier, they now believed that the election would be held.
He said that IPP would meet the same fate as the Pak Sarzameen Party.
An office bearer, when asked if the PPP was conceding its defeat in Punjab, said that indeed the understanding in the party’s ranks and files was that the party would not be able to gain any ground in Punjab and that the efforts of their leadership would not pay any dividends in the upcoming elections.
The acting central Punjab president said, “We have not lost hope though it is clear as day that they (the establishment) wants to obliterate the law of the land and Constitution to make way for Nawaz Sharif.”
Saeed said that Nawaz was being brought to power at any cost, adding that sidestepping the Constitution would put unity of state in danger.
The PPP leader said that the PPP had faced such challenges before and was ready this time to combat this as well.
When asked if the PPP rues approving the census during the CCI meeting, he said the decision to accord approval to it was a grave mistake, some might say even a crime.
“This decision will have consequences for all even us.” He said they regret taking that decision, adding that no one had expected the PPP to become a party to that crime.
Wheat in ample supply, minister confirms
A caretaker federal minister on Monday assured the upper house of parliament that Pakistan currently has ample wheat stocks and that the government will take concrete measures to address any flour shortage due to supply chain problems.
“There is no shortage of wheat in the country,” Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Information Murtaza Solangi said in response to a motion moved in the Senate by Sania Nishtar of the PTI under Rule 218.
The minister said Pakistan has over seven million (7,213,884) metric tons of wheat, with an additional imported stock of 10,33,845 metric tons.
“Public wheat stock comprises 39,24,367 metric tons in Punjab, 8,17,394 metric tons in Sindh, 2,15,082 metric tons in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), and 89,354 metric tons in Balochistan.
“The Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation Ltd (Passco) accounts for 17,18,177 metric tons. Private wheat stock comprises 3,37,270 metric tons in Punjab, 93,165 metric tons in Sindh, 14,918 metric tons in the K-P, and 4,157 metric tons in Balochistan,” he added.
He said the support price for provinces differed, being Rs4,600 in Punjab and Rs4,700 in Sindh.
In her motion, Senator Nishtar had focused on addressing gaps in the wheat supply chain that may lead to flour shortage. She had pointed out the specific lacuna in the wheat policy, citing the conversion of green bags to white bags at the retail level. She also hinted at smuggling as a factor, contributing towards wheat shortages, in addition to the creation of systematic artificial shortages and hoarding.
In discussions on the motion, Senator Dilawar Khan of the PML-N suggested that Pakistan should focus on exporting wheat instead of importing this essential commodity. He further advocated for providing concessions to the agriculture sector to boost farming.
He said wheat procured in the past was not even suitable for animals’ consumption. He said the method of distributing wheat in the country is flawed. “Fertilizer is being sold in black markets too. The government should force dealers to maintain records of landowners,” he added.
Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haidri of the JUI-F highlighted Balochistan’s agricultural challenges, emphasizing a lack of canal systems. He expressed concern about the removal of subsidies on electricity for poor farmers of the province.
Senators Dr Zarqa Suharwardy Taimur of the PTI and Rukhsana Zuberi of the PPP stressed the need for a concrete solution to address the issue.
Senator Dr Zarqa said dealers are availing subsidies meant for farmers.
“Pakistan’s black economy is thriving more than the white one. There is a need for measures that increase the country’s income instead of benefiting corrupt individuals. Actions should be taken to break the backbone of the black economy,” she said.
The minister acknowledged the collective wisdom of the Senate, which, he said, ultimately provides guidance to the government. He said that discussions on the topic would be tabled before the federal cabinet and the prime minister for consideration.
WITH INPUT FROM APP
SHC’s stay on executive committee orders irks PBC
Pakistan Bar Council Vice Chairman Haroonur Rasheed has taken strong exception over the Sindh High Court to grant stay on its executive committee orders, demanding of the chief justice of Pakistan to look into the matter and take appropriate action in this regard.
In a statement issued on Monday, the PBC vice chairman said, “It is often observed that Orders of Executive Committee of the Pakistan Bar Council which are assailed by the aggrieved person(s) before the Hon’ble High Court of Sindh through civil suit are being taken up by the High Court of Sindh in the Court or in Chamber and injunctive Order has been passed which are not entertainable in the eye of law due to lack of jurisdiction.”
Rasheed said, “The High Court of Sindh has no jurisdiction to set aside any Order assailed which is passed by the Pakistan Bar Council or its Executive Committee at Islamabad the proper forum for that is Courts of ICT, so any order passed by the High Court of Sindh that would be non-existing and nullity in the eye of law as one rather sitting in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab or Balochistan cannot set over the territorial jurisdiction and the High Court of Sindh should not pass injunctive Orders on the matters decided by the Pakistan Bar Council at Islamabad just to please their blue eyed person(s), which amount to undue interference in smooth functioning of a statutory body having its office in Islamabad.”
The statement added, “The tendency of such like issues creates serious doubts upon credibility of those decisions which have been passed without jurisdiction.”
Rasheed said that no high court of any province had jurisdiction, especially the SHC, to create hindrance in affairs of the regulatory body of lawyers who had the mandate under Section 13(2) of the Legal Practitioners & Bar Councils Act, 1973, to decide matters of Provincial/Islamabad Bar Councils and all bar associations of the country, which were challenged before it.
Pakistan, UAE ink MoUs for mega investments
Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) inked several Memoranda of Understandings (MoUs), paving the way for multi-billion dollar investments in diverse initiatives outlined by the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC).
The signing ceremony took place in Abu Dhabi, witnessed by Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar and UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, subsequent to a bilateral meeting between the two leaders.
The MoUs cover investment cooperation across various sectors, including energy, port operations, waste water treatment, food security, logistics, mining, aviation, and banking and financial services. The agreements aim to foster collaboration and stimulate significant investments in these key areas, a handout released by the Media Wing of the Prime Minister’s Office and the Information Ministry.
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar today held a bilateral meeting with His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi. Chief of Army Staff General Syed Asim Munir, NI (M) was also present at the occasion.
— Prime Minister’s Office (@PakPMO) November 27, 2023
On the occasion, Kakar termed the signing of the MoUs a historic event that “will take economic cooperation between both brotherly countries to new heights and open doors of economic prosperity and socio-economic development of Pakistan”.
Kakar also highlighted the success of the SIFC in creating a business and investment-friendly environment through one-window operation and fast-tracking the initiatives. He expressed the hope that the MoUs would turn into tangible projects very soon.
Separately, Kakar, who is on a two-day visit to the UAE, said in a video message that with the signing of the MoUs, the bilateral economic and strategic relations had entered into a new era of bilateral cooperation. On that he congratulated the people of Pakistan and the UAE.
“Foundation of friendship with Pakistan that was laid by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in the 1970s, has been taken forward by his son Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to a new era,” the prime minister said in his message.
Earlier, Prime Minister Kakar held a bilateral meeting with Sheikh Mohamed. Chief of Army Staff General Syed Asim Munir was also present during the meeting. In their talks, the two leaders reaffirmed their resolve to strengthen the bilateral strategic cooperation and dialogue.
Prime Minister Kakar expressed profound gratitude for the UAE’s firm support for Pakistan in economic and financial domain. The UAE is home to 1.8 million Pakistanis, contributing to the progress, prosperity and economic development of the two brotherly countries, he noted.
Read more: Kakar arrives in Abu Dhabi on two-day visit
During the meeting, regional and global developments in the region were also discussed with particular reference to the escalating hostilities in the occupied Palestine. The prime minister expressed concern over the human cost of the dire situation in Gaza.
Kakar reiterated Pakistan’s full support to the UAE’s Presidency of the COP-28 and underlined the importance of the global gathering on climate change as an opportunity for meaningful progress towards effective and result oriented global actions on key areas, including the Loss and Damage fund.
Later in the day, Prime Minister Kakar embarked upon a two-day bilateral visit to Kuwait. During the November 28-29, 2023 visit, the prime minster will meet Kuwaiti Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal Al Jaber Al Sabah, Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmed Nawaf Al Ahmed AL Sabah.
The Foreign Office spokesperson said in a press release that the visit would include the signing of various MoUs in the fields of manpower, information technology, mineral exploration and food security, energy and defence.
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