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Bilawal praises ECP for withstanding former govt’s pressure

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  • “We support all institutions in their effort to transition from controversial to constitutional roles,” Bilawal says.
  • Adds that Imran Khan’s politics is now based on “lies and propaganda”.
  • Says Imran Khan’s protest call outside ECP offices is a “blatant pressure tactic to further bully the institution.”

KARACHI: PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari Monday said his party supports all institutions in their effort to transition from “controversial to constitutional” roles.

According to a statement issued by the PPP Media Cell, Bilawal praised the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), Sikandar Sultan Raja, for withstanding the pressure exerted by the former government and improving the functioning and standing of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

“Imran Khan’s politics now is to target all institutions with his Mujay Ku Nahi Bachaya campaign; his politics is now based on lies and propaganda,” he said.

Bilawal said the masses know that the only reason Imran Khan is targeting the ECP is that Raja — whom the PTI had chosen itself — “refused to turn the ECP into Imran Khan’s tiger force”.

“He has stood with this institution and the Constitution, and if this attitude continues, we have hopes of seeing an empowered ECP in the future,” Bilawal added.

Read more: ECP to complete delimitation of constituencies within four months

The PPP chairman went on to say that Imran Khan’s protest call outside the offices of the ECP was tantamount to a “blatant pressure tactic to further bully, blackmail, and pressure the institution into not releasing the damning foreign funding decisions related to the PTI.”

“All such efforts will fail. The truth will prevail, Insha Allah,” he added.

PTI to protest outside ECP offices 

On Sunday, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry announced that the party will protest outside the ECP offices across the country against the CEC Sikander Sultan Raja’s “attitude”.

Taking to Twitter, Fawad said that the PTI’s political committee met and reviewed “matters related” to the ECP.

Fawad alleged that CEC’s Raja had gone to “extremes of impartiality and dishonesty” and had claimed that “under a plan” the ECP was not issuing the notification to unseat the dissident MNAs of the party.

“Therefore, the PTI will protest outside the ECP’s office across the country on April 26, Tuesday, against the election commissioner’s attitude,” said Fawad.

He had added that all district offices of the PTI have been issued instructions regarding the protest.

The PTI has been accusing the ECP of acting impartially ever since the Islamabad High Court ordered the electoral body to wrap up the PTI’s foreign funding case within 30 days.

The orders were issued on April 14 by Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani on applications filed by the PTI, asking for Akbar S Babar’s separation from the case, the dismissal of the case, and keeping the PTI documents secret.

The PTI had challenged the ECP’s applications seeking the exclusion of Babar, the petitioner, from the foreign funding case. It had also demanded that all records of the case, including the documents requisitioned through the State Bank of Pakistan, should not be shared with Babar, who had filed the case in November 2014.

However, the IHC ruled that the ECP’s role “is of important nature and same cannot be curtailed in any manner”. It noted that the body is a “supervisory, regulatory and administrative body under the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973, to deal with the affairs of political parties, election, and its results”.

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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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