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All PTI allies ‘100% inclined’ towards Opposition, PML-Q’s Pervaiz Elahi says ahead of no-trust motion

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  • Pervaiz Elahi says onus on PM Imran Khan to reverse allied parties’ inclination towards government.
  • “But I believe the time to send delegations [for assuring support] has passed.”
  • Govt to lose majority in NA if three allied parties leave its side and join Opposition.

With the no-confidence motion presented against Prime Minister Imran Khan, Punjab Assembly Speaker and PML-Q leader Pervaiz Elahi has said that all the PTI allies are “100% inclined” towards the Opposition.

“It is Khan sahab’s duty to reverse the tilt. But I believe the time to send delegations [for assuring support] has passed. Had he done this earlier, this could have been avoided,” the speaker, whose party is an ally of the PTI in the Centre and Punjab, said while speaking to Hum News.

The speaker termed the alliance of the three Opposition major parties — JUI-F, PML-N, and PPP — as lasting and stable, just weeks before a session to vote on the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan is called.

The government’s key ally in the Centre, the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), Monday assured PM Imran Khan of complete support ahead of the no-trust motion, while other allies — BAP, MQM-P, and PML-Q — are still indecisive.

The statement comes just hours after PM Imran Khan said the entire nation was ready to go down with him rather than supporting the “three stooges”, as he slammed the Opposition amid rising political tensions.

In his address to a convention of overseas Pakistanis in Islamabad, the prime minister said: “When the people saw the faces of the three stooges — PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, and PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari — they decided against supporting them and expressed their desire to go down with [me].”

The prime minister thanked the Opposition for moving the no-confidence motion as through this, his party had strengthened, with people all-geared up for the March 27 rally — which is expected to take place at D-Chowk just a day before the National Assembly votes on the no-trust motion.

The government allies — BAP, MQM-P, and PML-Q — have been holding meetings back and forth with each another — and even the Opposition parties, as the PTI awaits their final decision.

Numbers game

It is noteworthy that the three allies have 17 representatives in the National Assembly. If these parties join the Opposition, the PTI government’s strength will fall to 162 from 179, and the total number of MNAs in the unified opposition would rise to 179.

To pass the no-trust motion, the Opposition needed the backing of 172 MNAs. The NA currently has a total membership of 341 members, with one seat empty.

The illustration shows the breakdown of the representatives of the government and the Opposition in the National Assembly. — Illustration via Geo News
The illustration shows the breakdown of the representatives of the government and the Opposition in the National Assembly. — Illustration via Geo News

The ruling coalition now has 179 MNAs in favour, while the Opposition has 162 MNAs in the lower house of parliament. The Opposition required the backing of ten more MNAs to dislodge the Imran Khan government.

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government contests Imran Khan and Qureshi’s exoneration in the cipher case

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On Thursday, the federal government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court contesting the exoneration of former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and former Prime Minister Imran Khan in the well-known cipher case.

Citing procedural and jurisdictional issues, the Ministry of Interior has appealed the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) ruling.

In hearing the cipher case, the High Court allegedly overreached its power, arguing that judges cannot change laws where Parliament has not expressly passed legislation.

Despite receiving government-funded legal representation, the petition emphasized Imran Khan and Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s lack of cooperation during the trial, submitting 65 separate motions and neglecting to cross-examine witnesses.

The petition contended that in order for a retrial to satisfy legal standards, the High Court should have ignored important evidence that was given during the trial. It requests that the appeals contesting the IHC’s June 3 acquittal be given a hearing date by the Supreme Court.

Case history

The cipher issue concerns a supposed diplomatic document that disappeared from Imran Khan’s custody. The cipher allegedly contained threats from the US to remove Khan from office, according to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party. Shah Mehmood Qureshi and several aides, including Asad Umar, are named in the First Information Report (FIR) submitted by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in accordance with Section 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code and Sections 5 and 9 of the Official Secrets Act.

The then-foreign secretary received a diplomatic cipher from Washington on March 7, 2022, according to the FIR. The lawsuit claims that by manipulating the data for their own benefit, Khan and Qureshi put the safety of the country at risk. It alleges that on March 28, 2022, Khan secretly met at his Bani Gala home and gave his Principal Secretary, Muhammad Azam Khan, instructions to change the content of the cipher to his advantage, jeopardizing national security.

The document asserts that Khan still has custody of the cipher, jeopardizing Pakistan’s encrypted messaging systems and possibly helping foreign forces, which would be detrimental to the nation. A complaint has been filed by the FIA’s Anti-Terrorism Wing against Khan, Qureshi, and other individuals for improper use of state secrets and unapproved possession of the cipher.

Acquittal by the Islamabad High Court

In the cipher case, on June 3, the IHC cleared Khan and Qureshi when Justice Aamir Farooq issued a succinct ruling in their favor. Their sentences were appealed in the case, which has since been a source of political and legal controversy, leading to their acquittal.

This acquittal and the ongoing legal and political struggles surrounding the cipher case are highlighted by the government’s subsequent move to contest it.

With potentially huge ramifications for the parties involved and the larger political scene, the Supreme Court’s decision over whether to hear the appeal will be keenly scrutinized.

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Shahid Khaqan Abbasi urges political stability in order to accelerate economic expansion.

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Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the former prime minister, emphasized on Thursday how important political stability is to Pakistan’s economic development and how the nation cannot prosper without it.

His concern was that export growth had not progressed, and he emphasized that stability in the current climate is vital to draw investments and carry out the necessary reforms.

In his criticism of the tax system, Abbasi brought up the erratic nature of tax laws and the transient nature of the most recent tax slab implementation. Insisting that difficult choices are unavoidable for economic recovery, he emphasized the necessity of designing a tax system that is equitable and does not burden the people.

Furthermore, arguing that the effectiveness of organizations like the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is essential for economic governance and transparency, Abbasi urged for changes within these and other organizations.

Abbasi, in his discussion of more comprehensive fiscal plans, suggested that the National Finance Commission (NFC) award be reviewed again and that power distribution companies (DISCOs) be decentralized to the provinces.

In order to reduce inefficiencies and corruption at the provincial level, he recommended looking into ways to share the cost of defense spending and decentralize the management of energy resources.

In closing, Abbasi emphasized that Pakistan’s economic trajectory will stay stagnant unless comprehensive changes are implemented immediately. To move the nation towards sustainable progress, he urged policymakers to give stability and structural reforms first priority.

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Through in-app QR payments, Zindigi and SBP streamline transactions involving sacrificial animals.

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With its in-app QR code payment system based on Raast, Zindigi—powered by JS Bank—has elevated the convenience of cashless payments for the procurement of sacrificial animals to a whole new level for Eid ul Adha.

This program uses QR code payments to streamline transactions for sacrificed animals for the general public and traders. It is a component of the State Bank of Pakistan’s Raast quick payment service.

This feature enables users of Zindigi and users of any digital banking apps or wallets to safely and easily make payments at certain cattle markets throughout Pakistan using Zindigi QR. The consumer must scan the QR code of the livestock merchant and pay the transaction amount in order to complete the payment.

In order to further financial inclusion and digital innovation in Pakistan’s developing economy, Zindigi and the State Bank of Pakistan have partnered. Both organizations are committed to improving the efficiency and accessibility of financial services, especially on holidays such as Eid ul Adha, by utilizing the most recent developments in fintech.

One of the most important steps toward promoting financial inclusion and economic empowerment at the local level is the integration of livestock markets into the digital economy. Farmers and retailers may take charge of their financial operations and help realize the larger goal of an inclusive digital Pakistan by adopting digital payments.

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