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Bani Gala was headquarters for corrupt practices during PTI govt’s term: Maryam Nawaz

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LAHORE: PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz Sharif on Monday criticised PTI Chairman Imran Khan and said that his residence of Bani Gala had been the “headquarters for corrupt practices” during the PTI’s government’s tenure.

Addressing the PML-N’s social media team in Lahore, Maryam talked about the alleged audio recording between real-estate tycoon Malik Riaz and his daughter that had emerged one day prior, according to which former first lady Bushra Bibi had refused to accept a three-carat diamond ring and had instead demanded a five-carat one from the Riaz clan.

Shedding light on the allegations of corruption levelled against Farah Khan aka Farah Gogi — a close aide of Bushra Bibi who flew to Dubai back in April — Maryam said that she acted as Imran Khan’s frontwoman to carry out corrupt activities. 

“This is a small case which is enough to open the eyes of the nation and the world. Everyone should know the extent of bribery that took place [under Imran Khan’s nose] for each job placement, appointment, or transfer in Punjab,” she added. 

Talking about the previous government’s performance, the PML-N leader said that Khan not only failed to deliver in the last four years but could not present an account of his performance during his tenure either. 

She added that the country was about to default and the foreign exchange reserves were empty because of Khan’s ineffective economic policies. 

“The previous government wreaked havoc on every sector and incidents involving terrorism witnessed a rise,” she said, adding that Pakistan was at a stage where PML-N was not concerned with politics but was worried about saving the country.

Commenting on the rising inflation in the country and the increased prices of petrol, the PML-N vice president added that the coalition government had to make hard decisions due to the agreement between Khan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). 

She further said that electricity load-shedding in the country was happening due to the circular debt, which had reached Rs2.4 trillion.

Talking about PTI’s “Azadi March” towards Islamabad on May 24-25, Maryam said that the federal capital was attacked. “Is there any government who had attacked and burned Islamabad in the name of love for Pakistan,” she questioned.

She further said that the previous government scarred Pakistan’s ties with its close friends. “They have deliberately installed landmines for the current government in their hatred for Pakistan,” she added.

Addressing the PML-N’s social media team, Maryam said the party could not focus on the power of social media, however, it is going to launch a separate team for each online platform.

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Explanation: The increase in inflation in the United States would cause electricity costs in Pakistan to rise.

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Electricity contracts between Independent Power Plants (IPPs) and the federal government not only involve capacity costs, but also have a significant impact on the economy and the financial well-being of the population. These contracts are closely linked to the inflation rate and the value of the US dollar.

Startling disclosures have emerged regarding the exorbitant electricity tariffs in Pakistan. The Council of Economic and Energy Journalists Sage, representing the institute, provided a briefing to leading journalists in Karachi.

According to the information provided, the electricity rate component in Pakistan experienced a 253 percent increase from 2019 to 2024 as a result of inflation in America.

The data presented in the briefing indicates that the capacity charges in Pakistan were Rs3.26 per unit in 2019 and climbed to Rs10.34 per unit in 2024.

The capacity charges imposed on the public incorporate the effects of both US inflation and domestic inflation.

Due to the rise in the country’s interest rate, the interest payment for energy has climbed by 343% during a span of four years. Over the course of four years, the working capital of IPPs caused a 716 percent increase in the cost of power per unit.

The electricity rate has increased by 12 to 20 percent, with 70 percent of the charges being capacity charges.

SDPI experts recommended the government to adopt a centralised tariff policy rather than a universal electricity tariff strategy.

The power generation capacity amounts to 23,000 megawatts.

As a result of the increase in solar power generation in the country, the capacity charges will have an additional adverse impact on the residents.

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Significant surge in the price of gold in Pakistan

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On Friday, the price of gold in Pakistan continued to increase.

According to the All-Pakistan Gems and Jewellers Sarafa Association, the price of 24-karat gold per tola has risen by Rs2,200, reaching Rs249,000.

The price of 10-gram 24-karat gold increased by Rs1,886, reaching a total of Rs213,477. On Thursday, the cost of 10 grammes of 22-karat gold was Rs195,687.

The global gold market likewise had a rising trajectory. As per APGJSA, the worldwide rate was $2,404 per ounce, showing a decline of $24 during the course of the trading day.

The local market witnessed constant silver prices at Rs2,900 per tola.

Market observers attribute the increase in gold prices to other variables, such as volatility in the global market, currency exchange rates, and economic conditions. The ongoing surge in gold prices is likely to impact investment choices and consumer behaviour in the near future.

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Court ruling: PTI to overtake all other parties in the National Assembly

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Eight independents and 84 Sunni Alliance members mean that the PTI will likely have 92 legislators in the National Assembly, according to sources.

PTI’s strength in the Lower House is expected to surge to 114 members if it regains the 22 reserved seats it previously lost.

As for the PML-N, they have 108 members in the National Assembly; PPP has 68; MQM has 21; JUI-F has 8; PML-Q has 5; and IPP has 4.

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling on the distribution of reserved seats, the 77 extra seats meant for women and minorities were taken away from the PML-N, PPP, MQM, and JUI.

The electoral commission had on May 13 suspended the 77 Sunni Ittehad Council reserved seats on directives from the Supreme Court. 22 National Assembly seats and 55 provincial assembly seats are among the contested seats.

There are eleven seats from Punjab and eight from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the National Assembly that are up for debate among women. The suspended seats also include three seats that are designated for minorities. In the National Assembly, the PPP received five seats, the JUI received three, and the PML-N received fourteen of the 22 heavily contested seats.

There are no longer any allocated seats for minorities or women in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, with 21 seats for women. In addition to the JUI-F, the PML-N was allotted seven seats, the PPP seven, and the ANP one.

The Supreme Court’s decision has suspended the three minority seats and the 24 reserved seats for women in the Punjab Assembly. The PML-N received 23, the PPP received 2, the PML-Q received 1, and the Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party received 1 in Punjab.

There are now no longer any designated seats in the Sindh Assembly for women and minorities. MQM was allotted one reserved seat out of these, and the PPP two.

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