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Changing party loyalties and defections in 2022



Power politics has once again shown us its ugly face in the last few days. Power politics is all about power, privilege, position and money with no room for ideology. Such politics promotes political corruption and opportunism. That is what we are witnessing right now. The PTI wants to retain power through any means and the Opposition wants to oust it via any means.

Many lawmakers who contested the 2018 general elections on the PTI ticket have decided to ditch the ruling party. It may be remembered that the PTI leadership was happy when many electables ditched the PML-N and PPP to join the PTI before the 2018 elections. The current ruling party had at the time made all sorts of compromises to gain power. And now Opposition parties are doing the same, relying on the same people to oust the PTI government that had brought the PTI to power.

We need principled and ideology-based politics to strengthen democracy and politics in Pakistan. Political opportunism and corruption will further erode the credibility of the democratic process.

While it was the beneficiary of defections in 2018, the PTI is now crying foul and accusing the Opposition of indulging in horse-trading and corrupt practices. Unfortunately, the PTI failed to establish healthy democratic traditions and culture in the country. And now Opposition parties are encouraging defections from within the PTI.

Politics of defections is not going to strengthen democracy, democratic norms and the political culture. Such undemocratic practices and traditions not only undermine parliamentary democracy but also taint the public image of elected representatives. Both the PPP and PML-N have suffered in the past due to the defections. But it seems they are not ready to learn lessons from the past.

The PTI is facing a revolt as nearly two dozen members of the National Assembly have declared publicly to side with the Opposition during the vote of no-confidence. Different media reports are indicating that more lawmakers are ready to join hands with the Opposition parties.

The PTI allies are closely watching the developments to make their own decision. It seems that Prime Minister Imran Khan is in deep trouble. Under the present circumstances, it is not hard to predict which side allies are going to take.

Political defections are not a new phenomenon in Pakistani politics. We have seen in the past how parliamentarians have changed their political loyalty overnight to serve the ‘larger national interest’ – or their suddenly awakened conscience.

Generally, the season of political defections starts a few months before the general elections. But this time it started a bit earlier. Many electables change political loyalty before almost every election. These electables have no permanent commitment to any political party.

The PTI government is blaming the Opposition for these defections, alleging that they have been offered money and other incentives for their votes. Such allegations not only tarnish the image of elected representatives but also raise questions on the integrity, legitimacy and transparency of the electoral process and politics.

The whole debate around the allegations of horse-trading and vote selling in the no-confidence move has created the impression that the use of money in the electoral process is confined just to the elections. However, this is a much more serious issue. Wealth is not just used during elections but also to enter into politics. The fact is that electoral politics, whether it is at the union council level or within national and provincial constituencies, is plagued by money, influence and power.

The tragedy is that all major political parties indulge in the same practice to lure electables from other parties to strengthen their position at the expense of others. Can political parties justify the presence of so many parliamentarians within their ranks who have contested every election on the ticket of a different party?

There are many parliamentarians who have never contested two elections from the platform of a single party. And yet every party wants to embrace them. It is surprising to see leaders who support and encourage defections in other parties, but cry foul when their own do the same.

What else can we expect from a political system that is based on money, power and patronage? When politics is not based on ideologies, principles and a democratic spirit, it can only produce a culture of political corruption, rigging and horse-trading. The cleansing of a political system is the responsibility of the political leadership. But the leadership of today is not playing its role in this regard.

Pakistan’s democracy is still an elitist democracy. People’s democracy — or rather a participatory democracy — is still a distant dream for the people.

The overwhelming majority of parliamentarians belong to the elite. And the results of every election simply reflect the fact that parliamentary politics and the political system are controlled by the elite and privileged while political activists who belong to the middle and working classes have consciously been kept out of this system. The working classes and the poor have been alienated from this political system.

The writer is a freelance journalist.

Originally published in The News


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 Idrees announces break in his marriage with Froggy

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.

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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.

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




  • 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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