Japan’s former prime minister Shinzo Abe, the country’s longest-serving leader, was pronounced dead on Friday afternoon, the hospital treating him confirmed, after he was shot at a campaign event.
“Shinzo Abe was transported to (the hospital) at 12:20pm. He was in a state of cardiac arrest upon arrival. Resuscitation was administered. However, unfortunately he died at 5:03pm,” said Hidetada Fukushima, professor of emergency medicine at Nara Medical University hospital.
Abe, 67, was delivering a stump speech with security present, but spectators were able to approach him fairly easily.
NHK quoted the suspect, identified as Tetsuya Yamagami, as telling police he was dissatisfied with Abe and wanted to kill him. He has since been taken into custody.
The suspect opened fire on Abe from behind with an apparently homemade gun as he spoke at a drab traffic island in the western city of Nara, Japanese media showed earlier.
Footage broadcast by NHK showed Abe standing on a stage when a loud blast was heard with smoke visible in the air.
Security officials were then seen tackling a man in a grey T-shirt and beige trousers.
It was the first assassination of a sitting or former Japanese premier since the days of prewar militarism in the 1930s.
Nara emergency services said he had been wounded on the right side of his neck and left clavicle.
His brother, Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi, had said earlier that Abe was getting blood transfusions.
Speaking before Abe’s death was announced, incumbent Prime Minister Fumio Kishida condemned the shooting in the “strongest terms” while Japanese people and world leaders expressed shock at the violence in a country in which political violence is rare and guns are tightly controlled.
“Former prime minister Shinzo Abe was shot in Nara and I have been informed he is in a very grave condition,” PM Kishida had told reporters after arriving in Tokyo by helicopter from the campaign trail.
“It is a barbaric act during election campaigning, which is the foundation of democracy, and it is absolutely unforgivable. I condemn this act in the strongest terms.”
The attack had taken place shortly before noon in the country’s western region of Nara, and “one man, believed to be the shooter, has been taken into custody”, government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno earlier told reporters.
Several media outlets described 41-year-old Yamagami as a former member of the Maritime Self-Defence Force, the country’s navy.
‘A large bang’
Witnesses at the scene described shock as the political event turned into chaos.
“He was giving a speech and a man came from behind,” a young woman at the scene told NHK.
“The first shot sounded like a toy bazooka. He didn’t fall and there was a large bang. The second shot was more visible, you could see the spark and smoke,” she added.
“After the second shot, people surrounded him and gave him cardiac massage.”
Abe was bleeding from the neck, witnesses said and photographs showed. He was reportedly initially conscious but subsequently lost consciousness, NHK reported.
Officials from the local chapter of Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party said there had been no threats before the incident and that his speech had been announced publicly.
‘Profoundly sad and shocking’
Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister, held office in 2006 for one year and again from 2012 to 2020, when he was forced to step down due to the debilitating bowel condition ulcerative colitis.
He is a hawkish conservative who pushed for the revision of Japan’s pacifist constitution to recognise the country’s military and has stayed a prominent political figure even after his resignation.
Japan has some of the world’s toughest gun-control laws, and annual deaths from firearms in the country of 125 million people are regularly in single figures.
Getting a gun licence is a long and complicated process even for Japanese citizens, who must first get a recommendation from a shooting association and then undergo strict police checks.
Japan has seen “nothing like this for well over 50 to 60 years,” Corey Wallace, an assistant professor at Kanagawa University who focuses on Japanese politics, told AFP.
He said the last similar incident was likely the 1960 assassination of Inejiro Asanuma, the leader of the Japan Socialist Party, who was stabbed by a right-wing youth.
“But two days before an election, of a (man) who is so prominent … it’s really profoundly sad and shocking.”
He noted, too, that Japanese politicians and voters are used to a personal and close-up style of campaigning.
“This could really change. “
When Abe’s death was announced, the attack prompted international shock.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif extended his condolences over Abe’s death.
“He made invaluable contributions to the Pakistan-Japan relationship. Our prayers are with [the] bereaved family. At this difficult time, we stand in solidarity with the people of Japan,” he said.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres said he was “deeply saddened” by the assassination. He said he would always remember his always remember “collegiality and commitment to multilateralism”.
US State Secretary Antony Blinken voiced alarm over the shooting.
“This is a very, very sad moment,” Blinken told reporters at a G20 meeting in Bali, saying the United States was “deeply saddened and deeply concerned”.
Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha was “very shocked” at Abe’s shooting, the kingdom’s foreign affairs minister said, describing the pair as friends.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “deeply distressed” by the shooting of Abe, describing the former Japanese premier as a “dear friend”.
“Deeply distressed by the attack on my dear friend Abe,” Modi wrote on Twitter. “Our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family, and the people of Japan. “
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was utterly appalled and saddened to hear about the “despicable attack”.
“My thoughts are with his family and loved ones,” he said on Twitter.
New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern issued a statement, saying she was “deeply shocked”.
“He was one of the first leaders I formally met when I became prime minister. He was deeply committed to his role, and also generous and kind. I recall him asking after the recent loss of our pet when I met him, a small gesture but one that speaks to the kind of person he is,” she said.
“My thoughts are with his wife and the people of Japan. Events like this shake us all to the core,” Ardern said.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese termed the incident shocking.
“Shocking news from Japan that former PM Shinzo Abe has been shot — our thoughts are with his family and the people of Japan at this time,” he tweeted.
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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