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Marriyum Aurangzeb berates Imran Khan over Toshakhana controversy

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  • “Imran Khan ran a business while sitting on PM’s chair,” says Aurangzeb.
  • “Khan will have to show the money trail and the receipts as the Toshakhana gifts cannot be sold,” she adds.
  • “For the first time in Pakistan, a thief and an incompetent PM has been removed constitutionally through a no-confidence motion,” she says.

ISLAMABAD: Newly elected Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said that former prime minister Imran Khan did not earn as much as he earned from the Toshakhana in his entire life. She said that Imran Khan ran a business from the prime minister’s chair. 

Speaking at a press conference in Islamabad on Thursday, Aurangzeb criticised Imran Khan for saying “mera tohfa, meri marzi (my gift, my choice) adding that it was Pakistan’s gift and not his personal property.

She alleged that Imran Khan’s income grew double-fold after he sold items from the Toshakhana.

The information minister said that the PTI chairman will have to show the money trail and the receipts as the Toshakhana gifts cannot be sold.

 “The PTI-led government introduced a law to procure gifts from the Toshakhana at 50% of its original cost, but despite the law being introduced during their tenure, Imran Khan purchased the gift at 20% of the cost,” she said.

Praising the PML-N government, Aurangzeb went on to say that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif started working within five days after assuming office as the premier because the country’s economy, foreign policy, and development projects were in the worst condition.

The information minister went on to say that a campaign is being launched against state institutions through “robotics tweets” and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has been instructed to take action against them. 

“Immediate action will be taken against those who are behind these tweets and robotics machines will be identified soon,” added the minister.

Talking about the former first lady of Pakistan Bushra Bibi, Aurangzeb said that she made an entry in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) tax return back in 2018 using her old name.

“For the first time in Pakistan, a thief and an incompetent prime minister has been removed constitutionally through a no-confidence motion,” she said, adding that “excessive expenditure on sugar increased its prices; flour had to be imported after it was smuggled and PTI’s minister looted medicines.”

Talking about the PTI chairman’s former adviser on accountability and interior Shahzad Akbar, the PML-N leader said that he has fled the country and the government knows how to bring him back to Pakistan.

She further said that if there was no evidence against Bushra Bibi’s close friend Farah Khan, she wouldn’t have escaped. 

Toshakhana controversy

On Thursday, April 14, PM Shehbaz Sharif revealed that ex-premier Imran Khan took gifts from the Toshakhana and sold them in Dubai.

“Imran Khan sold these gifts for Rs140 million in Dubai,” PM Shehbaz was reported as telling journalists during an iftar he hosted a day earlier in the federal capital.

The premier was said to have shared that the expensive gifts that former prime minister Imran Khan traded for money included diamond jewellery sets, bracelets and wristwatches.

PM Shehbaz said that he also received a watch once, but deposited it to the Toshakhana, adding that he “does not need to hide anything”.

What does the law say?

According to the law, whenever a head of state receives a gift from another state or country, they have to give it to the Toshakhana. If they wish to keep the gift, they have to pay an amount equal to its value which is decided through an auction.

These gifts either remain deposited in the Toshakhana or can be auctioned and the money acquired through it is to be deposited into the national treasury.

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Punjabi bakers decide to charge Rs. 15 for “roti.”

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The bread, known as roti, will be sold for Rs 15 by the bakers association.

During their discussion, the association promised Food Minister Bilal Yasin that the rate of roti will be reduced.

The minister was there when Association President Aftab Gul recorded a video message committing to sell rotis for Rs15 each.

According to him, the administration decided to lower the rate of flour. He continued, saying that the group was supporting the government hand in hand to stop inflation.

The price of flour has been drastically lowered, according to Food Minister Bilal, to help the populace. He stated, “the government aimed at providing quality and affordable bread to the masses.”

He said that the recent reduction of Rs 1,200 in the price of flour was the biggest drop in the commodity’s prices in the nation’s history.

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Day four of the AJK inflation protest begins as talks come to a standstill.

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Following the collapse of talks between the Awami Action Committee and the AJK government on Sunday, the shutdown strike and protests in Azad Kashmir over rising flour and energy costs started their fourth day on Monday.

The ongoing shutdown and wheeljam strike would continue until their demands are fulfilled, according to the Awami Action Committee.

AAC-led march on state capital Muzaffarabad today has brought the valley to a near stop. The caravans are coming from many AJK cities, and they are headed towards Rawalakot. The march is being caused by the impasse in the negotiations.

Reportedly, the demonstrators have blocked the 40-kilometer Kohala–Muzaffarabad Road, which connects Kohala Town and Muzaffarabad, multiple times.

Traffic on main thoroughfares and roads has decreased, and large police contingents have been stationed at strategic points and roundabouts.

After fighting broke out between the police and demonstrators in Mirpur on Saturday, which left one policeman dead and numerous others injured, the AJK government dispatched Rangers.

Everything is completely suspended, including internet and cellular services, business, and education.

Under the pretext of talks, Awami Action Committee leader Sardar Umar Nazir Kashmiri has charged that the administration is using deceptive methods.

Apart from the flour subsidy, he continues, the administration will not budge on any other demand.

CONVENE MEETINGS, PRESIDENT, PM

All parties involved have been asked by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and President Zardari to use moderation and engage in discussions to find a solution. According to both, the demonstrators in Azad Kashmir should have their legitimate demands met.

The issue in AJK will be the topic of a significant meeting that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is calling today, Monday.

The skirmishes between the demonstrators and the AJK police caused anxiety for the premier on Sunday.

Speaking with Chaudhry Anwarul Haq, the prime minister of AJK, he said he also gave the office-bearers of the All-Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz in AJK instructions to speak with the leaders of the Awami Action Committee.

Olive Branch is offered by AJK PM.

Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Chaudhry Anwarul Haq stated on Sunday that his administration was ready to lessen the burden of exorbitant grain and energy costs.

Regarding Saturday’s meetings with the demonstrators, Prime Minister Haq declared, “We are determined to implement the agreement we have reached with the Awami Action Committee.”

Politicians, according to Haq, have found solutions to issues through discussion and “we are ready to talk with the Awami Action Committee at any level and the demands related to the government of Pakistan will be raised before the federation.”

In order to ease the burden of rising flour and power prices, he also expressed a willingness to modify the development budget if needed.

The AJK prime minister stated that his government’s first priority was ensuring public safety, and he further stated that no force was applied to the demonstrators.

Sub-inspector Adnan Qureshi was killed in a confrontation with demonstrators in Mirpur, and hundreds of people attended his funeral on Monday.

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Today’s National Assembly session is scheduled.

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The National Assembly (NA) will meet today (Monday) at the invitation of President Asif Ali Zardari.

At 4:00 p.m., the National Assembly will convene in the federal capital at Parliament House. The meeting’s agenda has been released by the assembly secretariat.

As per Article 54(1) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the President has the authority to call a session of the National Assembly.

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