No-confidence motion: MQM-P officially announces decision to part ways with PTI
- Shahbaz says politics of inteqaam (revenge) not in Opposition’s dictionary.
- MQM-P convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui says development is “historic” and a “test for the political leadership of the country”.
- Bilawal says joint Opposition will now take steps to develop the country.
- Fazl says “drop scene” of drama that began three and a half years ago finally happened.
ISLAMABAD: MQM-P Wednesday announced to part ways with the ruling PTI, joining hands with joint Opposition to support their no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Addressing a press conference, flanked by leaders of the joint Opposition, MQM-P unveiled details of the agreements signed by the two sides.
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif, MQM-P Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, and BNP-M chief Akhtar Mengal, among others, attended the press conference.
‘Historic development’: Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui
At the beginning of the conference, Siddiqui said the development was “historic” and at the same time, it was a “test for the political leadership of the country” as the coming days would pose several challenges to them.
“Today, we are gathered here to vow that we should work beyond promises and ensure that the decisions we take impact common Pakistanis,” Siddiqui said.
The new numbers game:
- PTI — 155
- PML-Q — 4
- GDA — 3
- AML — 1
- BAP — 1
- PML-N — 84
- PPP — 56
- MMA —14
- BAP — 4
- BNP-M — 4
- Independent — 4
- ANP — 1
- JWP — 1
- JI — 1
- MQM-P — 7
- PML-Q — 1
The MQM-P leader added that his party has decided to develop a working relationship with the joint Opposition, aimed at the development of Pakistan — and not for personal or party gains.
“I hope we work to develop an era where political differences are not considered as enmity, where political revenge does not exist, and where politicians start bearing each other,” he added.
‘Opposition united on same page after decades’: Shahbaz
Taking over the press conference, Shahbaz said today was an important day for Pakistan’s history as the Opposition had “united on the same page after decades.”
“This united jirga of the Opposition has sat together […] merely lauding the efforts done for this achievement would not be enough,” the PML-N president told journalists.
He thanked MQM-P for taking the important decision to solidify the alliance in the “interest of the Pakistani people”.
Shahbaz also appreciated Zardari and Bilawal for starting a “new journey” with Siddiqui and the MQM-P.
Shahbaz noted that last night, the Opposition was almost about to strike an agreement with the MQM-P, but at the last minute, the Siddiqui-led party said they had some other reservations as well.
“Bilawal and Zardari took Siddiqui to a separate room and within 20 minutes, they resolved all the issues,” the Opposition leader claimed.
“And after that, all elders signed the agreement. This has set a very good precedent.”
The PML-N leader said that the agreement was the “case” of the 220 million Pakistanis that the united Opposition, along with BAP and MQM-P, has decided to fight.
“I believe that as per democratic principles, even if the PM is selected and has lost his majority, he should resign and establish a new tradition,” the leader of the Opposition said.
‘PM Imran has no option left’: Bilawal
For his part, Bilawal said the decision MQM-P had taken in light of the condition of Karachi and Sindh in general, was “historic”.
“PPP and MQM-P’s working relation has nothing to do with the no-confidence motion. Both the parties have to work together for the development of Karachi and Pakistan,” Bilawal said.
He noted that the PPP-MQM-P talks had started long before the no-confidence motion, as it was his “aspiration” that the party would support them in the Senate.
“During the Senate election, I had proposed even then that they work with us […] and today we have finally come to a point where we can start working together,” the PPP leader said on collaborating with the MQM-
Bilawal termed the general elections of 2018 a “conspiracy” wherein PM Imran Khan was “selected”, not “elected”.
The PPP chairman claimed that Karachi and Pakistan were bearing the brunt of the “selection” in 2018. “But the joint Opposition will now take steps to develop the country.”
The prime minister has lost the majority in the National Assembly as coalition partners of the government — MQM-P, independent MNA from Balochistan Aslam Bhootani, BAP, and JWP — have joined the joint Opposition.
Shahbaz has, in a stateman’s spirit, challenged the prime minister to resign from office, Bilawal said. “He has no option left; he can either resign or get dismissed via no-confidence.”
‘Politics of lies finally coming to an end’: Fazl
Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Fazl also welcomed the decision of MQM-P to abandon the government and support the united Opposition’s no-confidence motion.
“This decision is not just a sign of political unity for Karachi and Sindh but for the whole of Pakistan,” Fazl said.
He said that the “drop scene” of the drama that began three and a half years ago has finally happened.
“Today, politics on the basis of lies is finally coming to an end,” he said. “Therefore, I would like to thank and congratulate all political workers and people who made sacrifices in a bid to get rid of this curse of a government.”
Fazl went on to say that the Opposition wants to “lay the foundation of healthy politics.”
“We want a government based on mutual respect of all parties involved,” he said, adding that politics of hate practised by the ruling PTI has “has ruined the foundations of society.”
“And when a society loses its values, it eventually collapses.”
Fazl acknowledged that there would be “challenges ahead for the joint Opposition,” but added that despite that, the country is facing a “dire need for healthy politics” aimed at fixing economic, societal, and political challenges.
“The unity that we are showing today will be required if we want the country to stand on its feet,” he said.
Fazl said it has come to his knowledge that the prime minister will address the nation. “…now everything is out of your hands”.
The PDM chief asked PM Imran Khan if he has an “iota of ethics”, he should resign today, adding that after BAP and MQM-P’s decision to join, the Opposition has more numbers than the required 172 to oust the premier through the no-trust move.
“I would like to say the international conspiracy was hatched when Imran Khan was brought to power,” Fazl stated, adding: “The plan to install this government was done internationally.”
‘Chooran of foreign conspiracy redundant’: Mengal
Moving on, Mengal said PM Imran Khan was out on a “hit wicket” and asked the premier to resign from office, as the “chooran” of foreign conspiracy had become redundant.
“…people, no matter which province they belong to, are humans — and the sort of human rights violations that are taking place in the country for the last 30 years should stop now,” Mengal said.
The BNP-M leader went on to say that he did not want an old or new Pakistan, but a “different Pakistan”, where every person has the right to live, every province has the right to use its resources, where citizens are treated like human beings, and where kids do not become missing persons.
‘Previous enemies now friends for Pakistan’s prosperity’: Magsi
BAP Parliamentary Leader Khalid Magsi — who later took over the presser — expressed hope that political parties, who were “previously enemies and now had become friends”, would work for the prosperity of Pakistan.
“… the agreement signed with MQM-P was not a favour, but it was their right. I appreciated PPP for acknowledging that every person, no matter whether they are Sindhi, Seraiki, Urdu speaking, or of any other ethnicity, are equal,” Magsi said.
The BAP leader said the agreement would help Sindh prosper. “I do not want to comment on the last 3.5 years as bygones are bygones, but I hope that they (government) learn from their mistakes.”
‘Inteqaam not in our dictionary’: Shahbaz
During the question and answer session with journalists, Shahbaz — while responding to a question regarding the joint Opposition’s plans for the future once they come into power — said that the “only purpose of the joint alliance is to work for the betterment of Pakistanis.”
“The word inteqaam (revenge) is not there in our dictionary, as we want to work for the betterment of small provinces, including Balochistan,” Shahbaz said.
“Pakistan cannot progress until small provinces are as developed as bigger ones,” he said.
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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