Amid ruckus, PML-N leader Hamza Shahbaz elected chief minister Punjab
- Hamza Shahbaz becomes CM after getting 197 votes.
- Hamza Shahbaz calls his win a victory for democracy.
- Punjab Assembly session was scheduled to take place at 11:30am but was delayed due ruckus caused by MPAs.
LAHORE: PML-N leader Hamza Shahbaz was elected as chief minister Punjab on Saturday in a ruckus marred session of the Punjab Assembly.
Ahead of the vote, three PTI members of the Punjab Assembly were arrested for attacking Deputy Speaker Dost Mohammad Mazari as the party boycotted the session to elect the new chief minister.
Hamza was elected as the new chief minister with 197 votes. While his rival Pervez Elahi did not receive any votes as his party and PTI had boycotted the polls.
Hamza is the third member of his family to be elected as chief minister of Punjab. Earlier, his father Shehbaz Sharif, who is now the PM, and his uncle former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had also held the post.
After much wait and delay due to a ruckus, the session finally started, with Deputy Speaker Mazari in the chair once the assembly’s order was restored.
The session was scheduled to start at 11:30am. However, it was delayed as government lawmakers — PTI and PML-Q — resorted to violence.
After Mazari announced the result, the session was adjourned for Iftar.
My victory a win for democracy: Hamza
Once the session resumed, the deputy speaker called Hamza to address the house, who termed his victory “a win for democracy” after the nation was kept tense for the last two weeks.
Summing up the events of the past two weeks, The CM-elect said that when the session was first summoned to elect the new leader of the house people “were attacked”.
The PML-N leader also shared that advocate general Punjab had assured the Supreme Court that the session to elect the new CM would be held on April 6 but on that day the doors of the assembly were closed and the deputy speaker’s powers were taken back.
“History does not forgive anyone,” said Hamza. He added that when the session was called for the third time today the deputy speaker was attacked.
‘Attack on assembly’s sanctity’
“We were sitting in the lobby and got to know that you were targeted. I believe this is not an attack on you but on this assembly’s sanctity. Time goes but characters are remembered,” said Hamza.
The PML-N leader said what Pervez Elahi did as custodian of the house was a violation of the oath he had taken.
“Mr speaker today the braveness with which you fulfilled your role I pay tribute to you for your bravery,” Hamza told Mazari who was presiding over the session.
The CM-elect said that the deputy speaker was “threatened every way” and for the “third time a joke was made of Constitution and law”.
“Nation was worried for 15 days and today despite all this democracy won. This is not my victory it is a victory of each and every member sitting here,” said Hamza while thanking all the parties that supported him including the MPAs of dissident PTI leaders Aleem Khan and Jahangir Tareen groups.
Turning his guns towards PTI Chairman Imran Khan, Hamza said that four years ago the Opposition had taken oath as MPAs to keep the “wheels of democracy running”.
‘Wounds of rigging’
Hamza said that earlier he had told the former prime minister Imran Khan that the nation may forget the “wounds of rigging” if his party performs “10%” of what PML-N did.
The CM-elect said that the Opposition supported the government and “was present in the assembly throughout these years despite hurdles”.
“I want to ask Imran Khan why did you promise 10 million jobs, five million houses when currently hundreds of thousands of youngsters are unemployed at the moment,” he said.
Recalling that the inflation rate was at 3-4% when PML-N’s tenure ended, he highlighted that during PTI’s tenure inflation rate rose to 12%.
“I am not saying this The Economist has marked Pakistan as the third most expensive country around the world,” he said.
Hamza listed the sugar and wheat scams to highlight the failures of the PTI-led government.
“Inflation rose because of bad governance,” he asserted.
‘Timing is important’
Hamza took a jibe at the former PTI government recalling that Imran Khan, when he was in the Opposition, said that he would attempt suicide rather than go to the International Monetary Fund.
The CM-elect maintained that the former government created an ambiguous situation for six months, which shattered investors’ confidence, devalued the Pakistani currency against the US dollar, and then surrendered in front of the IMF.
“Countries do take loans but timing is important,” he said, adding that the PTI government was experimenting and playing around with the country.
Referring to the ruckus and violence that took place earlier today in the assembly, the newly elected chief minister of Punjab said that PTI lawmakers adopted violence and ridiculed other MPs, particularly female lawmakers.
“Is this how Pakistan will progress?” he said, mentioning that the world is a global village and Pakistan has trade ties with the European Union but former prime minister Imran Khan criticised the EU; not only that “his ego came in between the foreign policy of Pakistan.”
‘Did public elect him to become the king?’
Referring to Imran Khan’s earlier statement that he wasn’t elected as the prime minister to know about the prices of ‘aloo and tamatar’, Hamza questioned that if he [Imran Khan] wasn’t elected to know the grievances of the public then “did the public elect you to become the king?”
Amid continuous slogans being chanted by the members of the assembly, he said: “Firstly, I want to thank everybody, the members of the assembly, who elected me as the chief minister of Punjab and I also want to thank that PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and President Shehbaz Sharif was instilling their confidence in me.”
Addressing the speaker, the newly elected chief minister said that Punjab was growing, transfers and posting of employees were done based on merit, and the chief minister himself conducted an interview of the deputy commissioner and assistant commissioner, Shehbaz Sharif himself visited places if any incident took place.
However, after the PTI came into power, cases of robbery and rapes in the provincial capital — Lahore — increased, 30% of the safe city’s cameras are broken, and five IGs and six chief secretaries were replaced.
Hamza further mentioned that if PTI couldn’t make a bigger plan they should have at least cleared the garbage in the city, adding that there is no cleanliness in Lahore at the moment.
Recalling the best medical facilities during the Shehbaz Sharif’s tenure as the CM, he further added that successful kidney transplants were being held in the province, and medicines for cancer patients were available for everybody; however, under PTI’s health care the patients are first asked to first bring the medicines.
Regarding his plans for the province, Hamza said: “I am Nawaz Sharif’s worker I will work day and night for the betterment of the people.”
Hamza termed Usman Buzdar’s appointment as CM Punjab a “conspiracy”, saying that if the country has to move forward, the best local government system has to be introduced in the province.
Hamza vows to restore sanctity of the House
“I am not happy that the law enforcement agencies had to come to the House; however, I commend the police officials for whatever role they played today,” he maintained, referring to the ruckus that was created earlier in the assembly today.
Hamza said: “We won’t take revenge we will work hard and if we succeed in making the lives of the people easier this will be the biggest revenge from anyone.”
The newly elected CM vowed to bring good police officers and bureaucrats to the province. “We will appoint the chairman of the public accounts committee from the Opposition and will restore that sanctity of this House,” he vowed.
Punjab Assembly session marred by ruckus
Earlier, the lawmakers of the ruling party had thrown “lotas” at Mazari and attacked the deputy speaker and pulled his hair despite the presence of security guards. The deputy speaker left the hall after this and the session was delayed.
Sham Idrees announces break in his marriage with Froggy
YouTube’s famous couple Sham Idrees and Froggy aka Sehar are taking sometime away from each other in their relationship.
Sham, taking it to his Instagram, left his fans in a shock after announcing his separation with Froggy. He wrote: “I would like to announce that me and froggy are taking sometime away from each other in our relationship. Please don’t involve me in issues concerning froggy, rabil or any of the other family members. I appreciate some privacy during this difficult time.”
Sham is a Canadian based YouTuber, who has a following of 1.4 million people on Instagram, is widely-known for his entertaining content. His videos often feature his wife Sehar along with him.
The couple tied the knot a few years ago and is parents to baby Sierra who is two-years old. The duo welcomed another daughter on September 28, 2022. They named her Shanaya Idrees.
After the birth of his first daughter, Sham Idrees also introduced his fans to his daughter Dua from his previous marriage.
Massive power breakdown hits Pakistan
- 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.
“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.
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.
Punjab ordered to issue divorce certificates to non-Muslims
- 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.
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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