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Aleem Khan joins Tareen group, laments sidelining of PTI loyalists

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Aleem Khan joins Tareen group, laments sidelining of PTI loyalists

PTI leader Abdul Aleem Khan, a former Punjab minister and a close aide of Prime Minister Imran Khan, announced on Monday that he would be joining the group of lawmakers led by estranged party leader Jahangir Khan Tareen.

His announcement came after members of the group converged at Tareen’s Lahore residence as the opposition charged ahead with its plans to table a no-confidence motion against the government.

Provincial ministers Nauman Langrial, Ajmal Cheema as well as MPAs Khurram Leghari, Abdul Hai Dasti, Lala Tahir Randhawa, Salman Naeem, Aslam Bharwana, Saeed Nawani, Zawar Hussain, Bilal Warraich, Amin Chaudry, Qasim Langah were also among the participants.

In his media talk, Khan stated that Tareen — who is currently in London seeking medical treatment — had played a massive part in the PTI’s rise to power.

He said that Tareen was currently not in the best of health, adding that the group had held a meeting at his residence to send the message that he had not been “forgotten”.

He reiterated that Tareen had played a crucial role in the history of the party, and lamented the fact that he was later sidelined.

“Many people [within the party] do not understand why this happened. All those people who worked for Naya Pakistan alongside the prime minister, why were they ignored? There is no answer for this,” he said.

“Other people surround the leader when governments are formed,” he said, adding that “committed and loyal” workers were pushed to the side.

He said that he would not have been disheartened if the party’s popularity had been growing, but said that there were growing concerns among party workers and loyalists about the government’s performance in Punjab.

“All of us who were part of the tehreek and were sincere. Let us all come together on one platform,” he said. He also stated that he had met more than 40 MPAs during the last four days, all of whom had expressed concerns over Punjab’s governance.

“We will try to unite all the groups within PTI,” he said, adding that they felt “sad” when they saw their struggle going in vain.

“PTI does not belong to one individual. It belongs to all of us,” Khan said.

The ex-minister said that the group would work until the end to strengthen the PTI, calling on all groups within the party to come together.

Khan made no mention of the no-confidence motion against the prime minister, but was unable to escape questions from reporters who asked him whether the group was with the government or against it.

“If a no-trust motion is moved, we will make a decision together,” he said.

‘Have some patience’

Earlier, Punjab chief minister’s former adviser, Awn Chaudry, who was also among the attendees, was hounded by reporters as he made his way inside Tareen’s residence.

Speaking to reporters camped outside, Chaudry asked them to “let some of the suspense remain”, adding that whatever will happen will be for the best.

“Are you with the opposition or with the government?” asked one journalist.

“Whatever will happen will be for the best,” he reiterated with a smile. He added that the members of the group would welcome Aleem Khan, saying that he was their “brother”.

“Is (Punjab chief minister Usman) Buzdar going or staying?” asked another reporter.

“Have some patience. Watch and see what will happen,” he said, moving inside.

Imran Ismail to meet Aleem Khan

After Khan’s announcement, Sindh Governor Imran Ismail told media persons that he was going to hold a meeting with the former.

Ismail was in Lahore to meet Khan reportedly on the directives of PM Imran.

Speaking to the media, Ismail said he would also talk to Tareen after meeting Khan and would try to fix a meeting between the two leaders and PM Imran.

When asked about the opposition’s claims of having the support of 25 PTI lawmakers for the intended no-confidence motion against the government, Ismail replied: “I cannot give you a number and their claim may be right. But I don’t believe that Aleem Khan or Jahangir Tareen can ever do anything that goes against the PTI.”

‘Tareen, Khan integral part of PTI’

Earlier, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had asserted while speaking to the media that Tareen and Khan were still an integral part of the ruling PTI.

“They are a part of our party,” he said, adding that internal politics within a party was a common occurrence.

“They are doing their politics and have relations with several of our MPAs […] Aleem Khan and Tareen have close relations with PM Imran,” he said, reiterating that internal party politics was common.

PML-N contacts Tareen group

The meeting of the Tareen group comes as the Pakistan Demo­cratic Movement (PDM), an alliance of opposition parties, is in the process of finalising a no-confidence motion against the prime minister, claiming to have the support of enough lawmakers in the parliament to make the ouster a success.

Last month, the PML-N had confirmed the party was in touch with the disgruntled group to seek its support to oust the government. At the same time, the group had also met at the residence of PML-Q leaders, who are a key ally of the PTI government in Punjab and centre.

Speaking to reporters at the time, Tareen said the purported no-confidence motion had not been tabled yet and it was not clear whether it would be at all.

To a question about any contacts with the opposition, he said the group had gathered after a long time and it was yet to be seen how it should play its role in the current political scenario.

He further maintained political leaders stayed in touch with each other, adding the group would hold more huddles to discuss their future strategy.

Tareen said they also talked about inflation during the meeting, but nothing specific about the no-confidence motion. “It is premature to discuss this issue,” he had said, urging the premier to provide relief to the masses.

Subsequently, it was reported that PM Imran reached out to Tareen in what appeared to be a bid to ensure he hadn’t lost his old friend to the opposition.

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Massive power breakdown hits Pakistan

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  • Minister says power generation units are temporarily shut in winter at night.
  • Says frequency variation in national grid triggered outage.
  • Says ministry trying to restore power in next 12 hours.

LAHORE/KARACHI/QUETTA/ISLAMABAD: A countrywide power breakdown, triggered by a “frequency variation” in the national grid early Monday morning, has left large parts of the country including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar and Quetta without electricity. 

Power Minister Khurrum Dastagir, while talking to Geo News, said that the power generation units are temporarily shut down in winter at night as an economic measure to save fuel costs.

“When the systems were turned on at 7:30am this morning one by one, frequency variation was reported in the southern part of the country between Jamshoro and Dadu. There was a fluctuation in voltage and power generating units were shut down one by one due to cascading impact. This is not a major crisis,” said the federal minister as the country plunged into darkness for the second time in four months.

The minister said that his ministry has started restoring some grid stations in Tarbela and Warsak. 

“Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO) and some grids of Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) have already been restored,” claimed the minister.  

Talking about the breakdown in Karachi, the minister said that the matter in the port city is complicated as it has a complete electric supply system.

A shopkeeper speaks with a customer (not pictured) at a medical store during a country-wide power breakdown in Karachi, Pakistan January 23, 2023. — Reuters
A shopkeeper speaks with a customer (not pictured) at a medical store during a country-wide power breakdown in Karachi, Pakistan January 23, 2023. — Reuters

“We provide K-Electric about 1,000-1,100 megawatts routinely, however, it will be restored within a few hours. It is not certain how long will it take to sort this issue. However, my target is to restore electricity in the country in the next 12 hours,” said the minister. 

Before the energy ministry’s announcement, different power distribution companies had confirmed the breakdown.

According to Quetta Electric Supply Company (QESCO), the two transmission lines have tripped leaving 22 districts of Balochistan, including Quetta without power.

Karachi power update

Meanwhile, K-Electric spokesperson Imran Rana said that at approximately 7:34am today, the national grid experienced a loss of frequency, affecting the power supply to multiple cities across Pakistan

“This has also cascaded to KE’s network affecting power supply to Karachi,” Rana said, adding the KE’s network is safe and protected.

“Our teams are actively monitoring the situation and enabling restoration efforts.”

An IESCO spokesperson said that its 117 grid stations were without electricity.

Meanwhile, PESCO also confirmed the outage in areas where it supplies electricity. 

This is the second time within four months that a country was hit by a major power breakdown.

NEPRA takes notice

The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), in a statement, said that it has taken “serious notice” of the power outage and directed the National Transmission & Despatch Company (NTDC) to submit a “detailed report”.

The statement also said that the regulator has previously imposed fines on similar outages in the 2021 and 2022. It also shared that NEPRA has consistently issued directives and recommendations on tackling such events in future.

Previous breakdown 

In October of last year, Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Quetta, Multan, and Faisalabad were hit by a power outage.

At that time, the power minister said that nearly 8,000 megawatts of power went offline.

Back then, Dastagir had said that the simultaneous faults in two power lines, which had triggered the breakdown, at the same time was concerning for the government. He had also announced that an in-depth inquiry was ordered and promised action.

A timeline of power breakdowns in Pakistan

The country’s generation and distribution network has suffered eight major power breakdowns during the last nine years.

In 2014 and 2017, nationwide blackouts were caused by a fault in Tarbela Power Station while fog, frequency variation and the Guddu Power Plant fault were blamed for breakdowns in 2015, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022 and 2023.

Every time the party in power announced to conduct a comprehensive probe and vowed to rectify the issues but nothing has happened despite multiple inquiries.

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Punjab ordered to issue divorce certificates to non-Muslims

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  • Lahore High Court directs provincial authority to frame rules within 90 days.
  • Petitioner says issue is faced by many members of Christian community.
  • NADRA’s Registration Policy allows change of marital status on basis of affidavit.

The Lahore High Court (LHC) Wednesday directed the Punjab government to frame, within 90 days, rules under which union councils would issue divorce certificates to members of Christian and other non-Muslim communities in Pakistan.

In many parts of the country, the divorce certificates are not issued to non-Muslims by union councils that instead claimed such certificates were “not issued to the Christian community.” This is an issue for members of the said community because, without a divorce certificate, they cannot request the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to update their marital status while applying for the renewal of their identity cards.

The matter was brought to the attention of the LHC during the case Shumaila Sharif vs the secretary union council etc.

The petitioner in her appeal requested that the court is a writ of Mandamus — an order from a court to an inferior government official ordering the government official to properly — against the relevant union council and direct it to issue her the divorce certificate.

The case proceedings

The petition was heard on December 16 last year and the presiding judge was Judge Tariq Saleem Sheikh.

During the proceedings, the counsel of the petitioner, Advocate Umar Saeed, said that the issue was faced by several people in the Christian community and was not a one-off incident.

Citing Section 33 (1)(j) of the Punjab Local Government Act 2022 (PLGA 2022) — which mandates that union councils ensure registration of births, deaths, marriages and divorces for all the communities without discrimination — and Article 36 of the Constitution, which expressly requires the state to protect the minorities’ legitimate rights and interests, the counsel argued that by refusing to issue the requisite certificate, the council was failing to fulfil its legal duty.

Additionally, Advocate Kashif Alexander, the court’s amicus curiae on the matter, contended that obtaining a divorce certificate is a legal right that cannot be denied.

Together the two emphasise that while the Constitution of Pakistan (1973) does not explicitly guarantee the right to identity, Article 9 (right to life) and Article 14 (dignity of man) safeguard that right. Therefore, any citizen whose marital status changes due to the dissolution of marriage by divorce has a fundamental right to obtain a divorce certificate from the competent authority and then have their CNIC updated/revised.

The Additional Advocate General has little to defend the respondents and said that the provincial government was taking steps to address the complaints of the Christian community regarding the non-issuance of divorce certificates.

The verdict

During the proceedings, it was brought to the court’s attention that NADRA’s Registration Policy dated 06.04.2021 (Version 5.0.2) allowed a change of marital status of a divorcee on the basis of an affidavit in the prescribed form.

In light of this, the court directed that until the provincial government framed the requisite rules needed for the issuance of the divorce certificate by the union council, NADRA shall accommodate the Christian community in accordance with the Registration Policy 19.

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Anchor Mishal Bukhari passes away at 38

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Mishal Bukhari, a renowned journalist and anchorperson, has passed away at the age of 38 after battling cancer for two years, Daily Jang reported. 

The news of Mishal’s demise was announced by her husband, Ameer Abbas, who is also a renowned anchorperson, on Twitter. 

“My wife, journalist Mishal Bukhari, a beautiful heart, an incomparable personality, an incredibly patient, unbelievably brave woman, left an unbearable shock after fighting cancer for two years,” Abbas wrote.

The funeral prayers of the journalist will be held at 1pm in Jamia Masjid-al-Muntazir in Lahore today.

Mishal, who was an award-winning broadcast journalist, was born on  July 8, 1984, in Karachi. She started her career as a news anchor on a private TV channel. She also worked for Pakistan Television.

The news of her sad demise triggered an outpour of reactions from fellow journalists and politicians, who offered their condolences.

“Remembering #mishalbukhari our host #AppTV who lost battle against cancer in Lahore on Tuesday evening. Thoughts of our team members with whom she worked are with her parents, family,” wrote Rauf Klasra.

Former deputy speaker Qasim Khan Suri offered condolences and prayed for the departed soul and her family members. 

Maritime Affairs Minister Faisal Subzwari prayed for the family members and the deceased journalist. 

Columnist Dr Shahid Masood also offered his condolences and prayers. 

Pakistan lost another journalist at the very outset of 2023 after 2022, a year riddled with several tragic deaths including senior Pakistani journalists. The last year saw the shocking deaths of famous televangelist Aamir Liaquat Hussain, anchorperson Arshad Sharif and Jang Press president Imran Aslam.

In July 2022, the news of sudden death of Hussain sent shock waves across the country. This was followed by the tragic death of Sharif, who was shot dead in a case of “mistaken identity” by Kenyan police in Nairobi in October.

Later in December, Aslam, a giant of journalism, passed away during the course of treatment at a local hospital.

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