Tag Archives: KP

Maulana takes U-Turn after blaming Faiz Hameed

ISLAMABAD: Chief of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Maulana Fazlur Rehman has retracted his previous statements implicating former army and intelligence officials in the ouster of former Prime Minister Imran Khan. The seasoned politician made these startling revelations in a bombshell interview but later clarified his stance.

Initially, Maulana Fazlur Rehman named former army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa and Lt-Gen (r) Faiz Hameed, former director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), in connection with Imran Khan’s removal from office. However, he later admitted that he mistakenly took Faiz Hameed’s name during the interview with a local TV channel.

Addressing the controversy surrounding his remarks, Maulana Fazlur Rehman retracted his statements but maintained that both Gen (r) Bajwa and Lt-Gen (r) Faiz Hameed played roles in rigging the 2018 elections.

Despite acknowledging significant differences between JUI-F and Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Maulana Fazlur Rehman emphasized the importance of ending bitterness and fostering positive developments. He highlighted concerns about electoral integrity in Pakistan, suggesting that irregularities occur nationwide.

Following a meeting with top officials of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Maulana Fazlur Rehman disclosed that both sides discussed positive developments and addressed issues related to electoral rigging, including in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

Meanwhile, former army chief General retired Qamar Javed Bajwa and ex-DG ISI Lt Gen Faiz Hameed have unequivocally rejected Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s allegations, stating that he should ensure accuracy before making such claims. They clarified that Gen Faiz Hameed had been transferred from his position as DG ISI months prior to the no-confidence vote against Imran Khan. Sources close to Gen Bajwa asserted that any meetings between him and Maulana Fazlur Rehman were not conducive, particularly during the latter’s long march against the PTI government.

Read more: PTI Decides to Sit in Opposition in Centre & Punjab

Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s retractions and the subsequent responses from former military officials have added complexity to the ongoing political discourse, underscoring the need for accuracy and transparency in public statements.

PMLN Supremo seeks heavy mandate, Maryam says KP isn’t a lab

Maryam Nawaz Announces Nawaz Sharif’s Decision to Contest Elections in Mansehra

Mansehra: Chief Organizer of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and daughter of the former Prime Minister Maryam Nawaz has revealed that Nawaz Sharif has decided to contest elections in Mansehra.

Addressing a gathering in Mansehra Maryam Nawaz expressed that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa lacks experienced leadership and urged the residents to opt for tested and proven leadership.

Maryam Nawaz credited Nawaz Sharif for dedicating Captain Safdar to the service of Mansehra, highlighting his commitment to the welfare of the region.

The PML-N leader emphasized a constructive approach towards those with a track record of accomplishments. She refrained from criticizing anyone with a proven record of performance while questioning the ruling party’s achievements in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over the past ten years.

In a pointed remark aimed at the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Maryam Nawaz challenged the incumbent government to showcase any hospital, school, or metro bus system they have developed for the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during their tenure.

Read more: PML-N gains momentum as independent candidate withdraws in support of Maryam Nawaz

The Chief Organizer of the PML-N urged the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to carefully consider their future and make an informed decision. She emphasized that the residents have already made their choice before the scheduled elections on February 8, encouraging them to think about the province’s future.

Maryam Nawaz concluded her address by highlighting the importance of responsible decision-making for the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and their role in shaping their own destiny.

Read more: Nawaz Sharif the architect of progress: Maryam

Nationwide anti-polio drive to start from tomorrow

Parents are urged to contact the helpline 1166 if a polio team does not visit their homes during the campaign.

ISLAMABAD: In a crucial effort to protect children under the age of five from the debilitating effects of polio, Pakistan is set to kick off a nationwide anti-polio campaign starting tomorrow. The initiative will see health department polio teams canvassing all 159 districts of the country, going door-to-door to administer vaccine drops.

The week-long campaign in Punjab aims to reach over 23 million children, with a particular focus on the cities of Lahore, Faisalabad, and Multan, identified as the most sensitive areas. Similarly, Sindh plans to administer anti-polio vaccine drops to nearly 10.03 million children during its week-long campaign.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, over 7.4 million children will be the focus of a five-day anti-polio drive. Balochistan, on the other hand, targets over 2.5 million children in its week-long campaign. In Gilgit-Baltistan, a five-day effort will see over 250,000 children receiving vaccinations.

Read more: Punjab cautiously celebrates Polio-Free year

Parents are urged to contact the helpline 1166 if a polio team does not visit their homes during the campaign. Last year, Islamabad reported six polio cases, underscoring the importance of sustained efforts against the disease.

As Pakistan and Afghanistan remain the only two countries where polio remains endemic, this nationwide campaign serves as a critical step in the ongoing battle to eradicate the virus. The coordinated efforts and commitment to reaching every child underscore the determination to make significant strides in the fight against.

Read more: Pakistan reports first polio case of 2023

KP announces winter vacations for schools

After winter break, schools will reopen on March 1 in hilly areas

In a recent announcement, the caretaker government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has revealed the winter vacation plan for both public and private educational institutions, delineating the break schedule for the academic year 2023-24.

  1. Plain Areas Set for Brief Winter Respite:

From December 23 to 31, educational institutions in plain areas are slated for a winter break, providing students and faculty with a short but rejuvenating pause.

Classes are set to resume on January 1, 2024, allowing for a vibrant start to the new year.

  1. Extended Break Amid Snowy Landscapes:

In hilly or snowy areas, schools will experience an extended winter break from December 23, 2023, to February 29, 2024.

Students and educators in these regions can enjoy an extended respite to embrace the winter season. Post this period, institutions will reopen their doors on March 1.

Notifications for holidays. — Reporter

  1. Universities Align with Educational Break:

Following the same winter break pattern, universities in plain areas are scheduled to remain closed from December 23 to 31, syncing with the break observed by other educational institutions.

In hilly areas, universities will share the extended winter vacation, closing from December 23, 2023, to February 29, 2024.

Read more: Rain forecast in KPK and Islamabad

These announcements come as part of the government’s efforts to streamline the academic calendar and ensure a harmonized break schedule for educational institutions across different terrains. Students, teachers, and staff can now plan their winter activities and holidays accordingly, promoting a balanced and well-deserved break before resuming the academic endeavors in the new year.

Six terrorists involved in Bannu suicide attack killed: ISPR

The security forces on Thursday gunned down and arrested a number of terrorists that facilitated last month’s attack on a military convoy in Bannu, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) that martyred nine soldiers, the military’s media wing said in a statement.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) announced the killing and arrest of the terrorists in a statement issued after the security forces conducted two intelligence-based operations in KP.

In total, the security forces killed eight terrorists and arrested five militants and their facilitators in the operations.

The first operation was conducted in Jani Khel’s general area, in Bannu District, where an “intense fire exchange took place between own troops and terrorists”.

In the shootout, six terrorists were killed and five were arrested.

“These terrorists were involved in numerous terrorist activities against security forces, including facilitation of motorcycle-borne suicide attack on a military convoy at Jani Khel on August 31, 2023, in which nine brave sons of soil laid their lives,” the ISPR said.

The other operation was conducted in the general area of Datta Khel, North Waziristan District, where two terrorists were killed “in a fierce encounter between security forces and terrorists”.

During the operation “weapons and ammunition were also recovered from killed terrorists”. The sanitisation of the surrounding areas is being carried out to neutralise any other terrorists found in the area, said the ISPR.

Read more: COAS Munir in Uzbekistan to enhance defence cooperation: ISPR

The military’s media wing said that residents of the area lauded the operation.

“Security forces of Pakistan remain determined to eliminate the menace of terrorism,” said the ISPR.

Nation cannot be ‘coerced’ by ‘cowardly tactics of terrorists’: Gen Munir

Gen Muni after the Bannu suicide attack, had vowed that the nation cannot be “coerced” by the “cowardly tactics of the terrorists” who hold the “misbelief that they can challenge the iron resolve of the soldiers and writ of the state”.

“The army, law enforcement agencies and the nation can never be coerced by the cowardly tactics of the terrorists, who have a misbelief that they can challenge the iron resolve of the soldiers and writ of the state,” Gen Munir had said while interacting with officers and troops deployed in the area.

The COAS had further added that the nation has “fought for long and will continue to fight the menace of terrorism till the end”.

“The nation pays rich tribute to those who have laid their lives and their sacrifices will forever be honoured,” he had said.

The ISPR had said that during the visit Gen Munir was briefed on the ongoing operations and overall security situation. He also visited the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) Bannu to inquire about the health and well-being of the injured troops.

“The Pakistan Army will continue to act as a bulwark against terrorism to safeguard the nation from this scourge,” the army chief had said while appreciating the “high morale and unflinching resolve of the troops”.

Owner, operator of Battagram cable car arrested for ‘negligence’

The police on Wednesday apprehended two people — the cable car operator and its owner — over negligence in connection to the tragic incident of the gondola that put the lives of eight people at risk for more than 15 hours in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Battagram yesterday.

The incident took place early Tuesday morning when eight passengers — most of them were students — onboard the cable car were on the way to school. The trolly got stuck halfway when two of its wires snapped.

The army later started an operation — led by SSG’s general officer commanding (GOC) — to save the people on board the cable car. After the nerve-testing rescue operation, all eight passengers were successfully rescued by the Pakistan Army’s commandos.

Meanwhile, the police also launched an investigation into the incident and sealed the cable car’s control room.

According to the Hazara division deputy inspector general of police, five counts related to negligence have been added to the first information report (FIR). He added that further investigators are underway in this regard.

Read more: Battagram chairlift rescue operation: Army’s SSG commandos rescue four children

Inspection of all chairlifts ordered

In a bid to avoid such incidents in the future, the caretaker government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) ordered the inspection of all chairlifts installed in the province and conducting their safety audit.

The directives from the provincial authority came just hours after the Pakistan Army’s special unit and zipline experts rescued people trapped inside the cable car in Battagram.

According to fresh directives issued to all the deputy commissioners in KP, they are tasked to carry out a safety audit of chairlifts within their jurisdictions.

Immediate checking of chairlifts at all commercial, domestic and recreational places should be carried out by the provincial government, stated the advisory, adding that inspection of cable cars installed over rivers and canals should also be done by the relevant authorities.

The DCs have been asked to review the design, capacity and safety measures of all chairlifts and submit reports within a week.

It has also been made mandatory to get a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the district administration before the installation of cable cars.

ECP seeks removal of caretaker ministers over ‘political associations’

ISLAMABAD: Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) asked the caretaker Chief Minister (CM) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) to remove ministers who are involved in politics, ARY News reported.

As per details, the Secretary Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) wrote a letter to the caretaker CM of KP and took notice of the political involvement of caretaker ministers, secretaries, and assistants.

The ECP has sought the removal of caretaker ministers, advisors and assistants over ‘political associations’.

The letter stated ECP has come to know about the appointments of caretaker ministers based on political affiliations and former caretaker minister Shahid Khattak is proof of political appointment.

However, there are still several ministers who have expressed their political affiliation in media which is a violation of the Election Act 2017.

Read more: ECP informs SC about non-provision of funds for Punjab polls

Earlier, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) sought a report from the Election Commissioner of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa regarding the participation and speech of caretaker minister Shahid Khattak in a public meeting.

In a statement, a representative of the ECP said the purpose of report is to assess the situation and decide if any legal action is necessary.

The spokesperson emphasized that it is essential for all incumbent governments to adhere to the law and provide complete cooperation to the commission to ensure fair, transparent, and unbiased elections.

The commission cannot grant permission to any incumbent government or minister to participate in any electoral campaign. In case of violation, legal action will be taken, concluded the spokesperson.

Jahangir Tareen decides to establish new political party

Jahangir Tareen decides to establish new political party. After remaining out of the scene, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) estranged leader Jahangir Khan Tareen has decided to form a new national-level political party”, sources privy to the development told a private news channel on Friday.

According to the sources, PTI leaders upset with the party are also expected to join the new setup. Apart from those, many political families from Dera Ghazi Khan, Rajanpur, Muzzafargarh, Lodhran and Multan are expected to join hands with Tareen.

The sources claimed that many “important leaders” from Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan have also contacted the former PTI leader.

Sources shared that Tareen will be patron-in-chief of the party.

Tareen was the secretary general of the PTI before he was ousted from politics in 2017 after the Supreme Court disqualified him for being “dishonest” on a petition filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hanif Abbasi.

Abbasi had approached the Supreme Court seeking the disqualification of PTI Chairman Imran Khan, and Tareen.

Read more: PTI suffers major blow as Shireen Mazari & Fayyaz Chohan part ways over May 9 mayhem

However, despite the disqualification, Tareen remained part of PTI and was crucial in wooing independent lawmakers to join the Imran Khan-led party after the 2018 elections. His efforts proved critical as they helped Khan secure the prime ministership in 2018.

But after coming to power Tareen and PTI leader Aleem Khan’s relationship with the PTI turned sour.

In May 2022, the former prime minister revealed the reason behind his differences with both leaders and said that both were seeking “illegal benefits from him.”

Speaking during a podcast, Khan claimed that differences with both estranged leaders developed when he refused to entertain their requests.

“Aleem Khan expected me to legalise his 300-acre land near Ravi”, Khan said, adding “from then onwards, I developed differences with him.”

While talking about Tareen, Khan said: “Tareen stood with those who are the biggest dacoits in the country. When I ordered a probe into the matter [sugar scandal], differences developed with Tareen.”

After being sidelined both Aleem and Tareen remained quiet but came under the spotlight after the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) moved the vote of no-confidence motion against Imran Khan in April of last year. The move eventually led to the ouster of Khan from the premiership.

However, during the no-confidence motion, a group of PTI dissidents emerged that supported Tareen. Among those is Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Raja Riaz.

Interestingly, rumours of Tareen forming a new party have been rife since last year.

In January of this year, it was reported that Aleem and Tareen along with other PTI dissidents were planning to launch a new party.

In March of this year, it was reported that the splinter group named “Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Nazriyati (PTIN) or Haqeeqi Tehreek-e-Insaaf (HTI)” would be formed to contest the upcoming elections.

Members of the Jahangir Khan Tareen (JKT) Group put forth a proposal during an Iftar dinner which was attended by several members of the dissident PTI groups and leaders including Raja Riaz and Awn Chaudhry.

Moreover, ever since the clampdown on PTI after the May 9 protests that were held following Imran Khan’s arrest, many leaders have parted ways with the party.

A faction called the PTI Haqiqi was formed a day earlier by Rao Yasir, who previously served as PTI Multan district Youth Wing president.

Applicants face inconvenience due to absence of DC Peshawar

PESHAWAR – People of Peshawar Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) were facing inconvenience due to the absence of the Deputy Commissioner (DC) from the last two-week, a source revealed.

According to the details, DC Peshawar Shah Fahad is enjoying the Europe tour from the last 15-day while the people were facing troubles. There is a question mark on the efficiency of the KP caretaker government and the incompetent Chief Secretary silence on the issue.

Due to continue absence there, the work environment has deteriorated and it has affected the personnel lives of many residents of Peshawar and those from KPK who are being visiting the city for their work relevant to the concerned officer.

This has resulted in huge backlog of cases in the district administration.

Read more: Army to be deployed in Punjab & KP as agitation claims four lives in Peshawar

Army to be deployed in Punjab & KP as agitation claims four lives in Peshawar

Army to be deployed in Punjab & KP as agitation claims four lives in Peshawar. As political unrest simmers in the wake of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman (PTI) Imran Khan’s dramatic arrest, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, taking a cue from Punjab, has also called in the army as violence claimed four lives and sent scores to hospitals in Peshawar with riots-related wounds.

Police have arrested hundreds of supporters of ousted prime minister Imran Khan for violence after his arrest on corruption charges, authorities said, deepening the political crisis in the country.

Four bullet-riddled bodies were received by the emergency room doctors, a spokesperson for Lady Reading Hospital (LHR) told Geo News, while as many as 27 others were under treatment for traumatic injuries related to agitation.

Interior ministry approves military assistance

The Ministry of Interior has approved the Punjab government’s request for assistance by sanctioning ten companies of troops, saying: “The army would be working alongside district administration to restore law, order and peace”.

Read more: IHC terms Imran Khan’s arrest ‘legal’ in Al-Qadir Trust case

The order issued by the Federal Ministry of Interior stated: “Pursuant to the request made by the Home Department Government of Punjab, vide their letter No.SO(IS-II)3-15/2023 (Security) (1) Dated 9 May 2023, the federal government in excise of powers conferred under article 245 of the constitution and Section 4 (3) (ii) of the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997, (to discharge such functions as specified in the said act), is pleased to authorise the deployment of Pakistan Army troops/assets for maintaining law and order situations across the Punjab province in aid of civil power.”

The exact number of troops/assets, date and area of deployment will be worked out by the provincial government in consultation with the MO Dte, GHQ, it added.

“The date of the de-requisition of said deployment will be decided subsequently after mutual consultation between both stakeholders,” the notification said.

945 arrested for hooliganism in Punjab

In a separate statement, Punjab police said action had been taken against those attacking government property, police force and law enforcement agencies in the province.

“Miscreants involved in violent acts, vandalism, damage to public and private property throughout the province have been arrested,” the notification said, adding that they had “seriously injured” more than 130 police officers and law enforcement personnel during the violent operations.

The spokesperson then shared: “Police teams have arrested 945 law breakers and miscreants from across the province.”

The Punjab police spokesperson said: “More than 25 vehicles of the police and government agencies were destroyed and burnt.”

Protesters had attacked more than 14 government buildings, looting and causing serious damage to government property, he shared.

Furthermore, Punjab Inspector General (IG) Dr Usman Anwar shared that strict legal action is being taken against those who challenge the writ of the state and the law.

He reaffirmed that those who injure citizens, police officers and personnel and damage property “will be brought to justice”.

Violence turns deadly in Peshawar

Following the violent protests, at least 30 people were arrested in Peshawar, police confirmed, adding that cases had been registered against the alleged miscreants.

According to the police, the cases are registered on charges of damaging public and private property, vehicles, metro buses and government ambulances.

Provisions of arson, stone pelting, vandalism and attacks on the police have also been registered.

Identification of rioters and arsonists from CCTV footage and other sources is underway, the police said.

PTI slams Punjab for calling in army

Reacting to the news, PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi slammed the federal government and questioned: How did the army become available for deployment in Punjab, when earlier it was said it was “too busy” [to perform election duty]?

“We have serious concerns about threats to the life of chairman Imran Khan. Our leader is in the custody of those who threatened him. Secondly, till yesterday, the army was very busy and was not available for the elections, but what has happened that the army has been deployed in Punjab and KP today? The nation is not stupid,” Qureshi tweeted.

‘Judiciary can’t fix poll date’: ECP challenges SC election verdict

‘Judiciary can’t fix poll date’: ECP challenges SC election verdict. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court to review its directives to hold elections for the Punjab Assembly on May 14, urging it not to intervene in its matters.

In a 14-page petition — the electoral body said that apex court should review its decision as the judiciary “doesn’t have the authority to give the date of elections.”

The petition was regsitered hours after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) said that it would submit a detailed report of the talks between the party leaders and the ruling alliance, urging the apex court to implement its verdict in Punjab polls case.

“[…] it is most respectfully prayed that this August Court may graciously accept the instant Review Petition by revisiting, reviewing, reconsidering and recalling its Impunged Order/Judgment dated 04.04.2023, in the interest of justice and equity,” the petition read.

The petition highlighted that superior courts of the country have been granted a special power under Article 199 and Article 184(3) of the Constitution to judicially review actions/decisions of the public bodies.

“The superior courts can define the contours within which the power (which vests in the public bodies) is or is to be exercised. At no instance, can the superior courts take upon themselves the role of the public body,” the petition read.

Read more: ECP informs SC about non-provision of funds for Punjab polls

The electoral body reiterated that the appointing of the date for the election is “not the mandate of superior courts under the Constitution.”

“Such powers exist elsewhere under the Constitution but certainly not lie in a Court of law,” the ECP said, citing various legalities and reasons behind its statement.

The electoral body accused the Supreme Court of disregarding its constitutional jurisdiction, emphasising that it assumed upon itself the role of a public body in giving a date; “thus intervention by the Court is necessitated to correct an error which has effectively changed the settled constitutional jurisprudence of the country.”

The executive and the judiciary — two vital state organs — seem to be on a collision course as the Pakistan Democratic Movement-led government demonstrated its disdain over April 4’s apex court’s ruling, nullifying the ECP’s decision to delay the election in Punjab till October 8 this year after initially announcing it to hold on April 30.

A three-judge SC bench, comprising Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar, announced the verdict on the PTI’s petition challenging the ECP’s move to postpone the Punjab Assembly polls till October.

The chief justice announced that the election in Punjab would be held on May 14 as the SC declared the ECP’s decision “unconstitutional”.

While the PTI celebrated the “historic decision, the government; however, termed the verdict contrary to the judgments of the Supreme Court’s majority judges, saying it was an “impractical order”.

The issue regarding who has the authority to set the date of the election has been the talk of the town since the PTI dissolved the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies in January on Imran Khan’s instruction.

The ECP, in its petition filed today, claimed that the august court has overlooked material questions of the Constitution and law, which have material bearing on the decision.

“The errors of law are floating on the face of the record and are manifest and clear that these may not be allowed to remain as such,” the ECP wrote.

It further wrote: “The petition craves the kind indulgence of this august court to allow the petitioner to raise and agitate further grounds once the detailed reasoning for the order under review is released.”

ECP informs SC about non-provision of funds for Punjab polls

ECP informs SC about non-provision of funds for Punjab polls. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), in line with the Supreme Court’s order, submitted a report to a three-member bench on Tuesday, stating that it has not yet received Rs21 billion required for holding elections to the Punjab Assembly on May 14.

Last week, the bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar, had directed the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to release funds for polls in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by April 17 (Monday).

The same bench had, in an earlier order, fixed May 14 as the new date for the election to the Punjab Assembly, as it quashed the ECP’s decision to extend the polls date from April 10 to Oct 8.

The Supreme Court had directed the federal government to release funds to the tune of Rs21 billion by April 10 for holding the elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. However, after a prolonged debate in the parliament, the coalition government decided to not implement the order.

The electoral body informed the apex court that it had not received the required funds from the ministry after which the three-member bench directed the central bank to release funds “directly”.

“On a consideration of all of the foregoing, it is our view that there is absolutely no difficulty or hitch, either financially or procedurally or in terms of the relevant authorisation by and under the Constitution, for the immediate release of Rs21bn to the election commission for fulfilling its constitutional mandate for the holding of general elections to the Punjab and KP Assemblies,” the SC had stated in its order.

Read more:Supreme Court summons officials over non-provision of funds for Punjab polls

The court directed the central bank to allocate and release Rs21 billion from “Account I lying under its control and management (and which constitutes the principal component of the Federal Consolidated Fund)” for elections in Punjab and KP.

The apex court also sought a compliance report from the finance ministry by April 18 (Tuesday), which “shall also include a confirmation in relation to AGPR (Accountant General Pakistan Revenue)”. Moreover, it directed the ECP to also submit a report by Tuesday that Rs21bn has “become available to it in terms as stated above”.

In compliance with the order, the ECP submitted a report today stating that it has not received the funds from the central bank.

Separately, the central bank also submitted its report highlighting all the reasons supporting their argument that “they can allocate funds; however, did not have the authority to release funds directly”.

The officials from the Ministry of Finance also submitted the report to the registrar’s office which included details of the developments that took place since the directives were issued.

It mentioned all legal aspects of releasing funds and the concerns raised by the cabinet and parliament.

All three reports will now be sent to the three-member bench in their chambers.

A day earlier, the National Assembly approved a resolution of the Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue to not release Rs21 billion for election, despite the apex court’s deadline.

Top intel officials brief SC on security situation

Earlier today, top officials of the intelligence agencies briefed the Supreme Court on the current security challenges being faced by the country regarding elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a private news channel reported.

Justice Ahsan and Justice Akhtar were briefed by the security officials, said the sources. They added that the meeting went on for more than two hours at the CJP’s chamber.

The apex court, in its April 4 order, had directed the government to submit a report regarding the provision of security personnel for polls in the two provinces by April 17.

‘Caretaker govts not legal after 90 days’: Fawad pens letter to President Alvi

‘Caretaker govts not legal after 90 days’: Fawad pens letter to President Alvi. As the constitutional terms of caretaker governments in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) inch towards completion, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senior Vice-President Fawad Chaudhry Sunday asked President Arif Alvi to approach the Supreme Court under advisory jurisdiction.

The PTI leader has asked the president to refer the matter of the interim government’s term completion to the country’s top court, adding that they have been involved in making major policy decisions to affect the conduct of polls in the two provinces which have been ordered by the apex court.

On April 4, the apex court declared the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision to hold polls in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) on October 8 as “unconstitutional” and void, and ordered to conduct the elections in Punjab on May 14.

Read more: CJP says ECP decision to delay polls in Punjab & KP penned in haste

“After the lapse of 90 days, caretaker governments cannot be called legal in any way,” the politician wrote in his letter, terming their presence a “breach of mandatory constitutional commands by the federal government and the Election Commission of Pakistan.”

In his letter, Fawad wrote that interim governments — which can be considered an extension of the electoral body — are introduced for a limited time period of 90 days and are responsible for ensuring fair and transparent elections under Article 224 of the Constitution.

He added that their only objective is to facilitate the ECP in holding free, fair, just and honest elections in accordance with the Constitution and law. “Therefore, they are vested with only authority and power to run day-to-day affairs and not to take major policy decisions.”

Meanwhile, the PTI leader added, interim setups were established in both provinces after the dissolution of the provincial assemblies. But the incumbent interim governments, against the laws and standards set for them, have indulged in taking major policy decisions including posting and transfers of the officials to affect the transparency and fairness of the elections.

The PTI had dissolved the Punjab and KP assemblies on January 14 and 18, respectively, in a bid to force the ruling coalition to hold early general elections.

The former information minister further stated that the interim setups in both provinces have completed their constitutional time period and since the constitution does not provide for continuation/extension of the period fixed for the interim setups, their present existence cannot be termed “lawful and they must be considered ‘usurpers’ imposed by the Election Commission and they are liable to be removed forthwith”.

“In this eventuality, it is respectfully requested to kindly refer the matter to the Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan in advisory jurisdiction to address this blatant unconstitutionality,” the letter read.

It added that the mandatory time period for holding the elections within the stipulated time lapsed due to the “unconstitutional and illegal actions of the ECP and the PDM government in Islamabad”.

Earlier today, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah asserted that elections to the Punjab Assembly would not be held on May 14 despite the “all-out efforts” of the opposition PTI.

Elections across the country would be held at the appointed time this year, he said while talking to the media in Faisalabad.

Calling former prime minister Imran Khan a “fitna” (chaos), Sanaullah said that he had been brought to power through a “conspiracy”. “Their [PTI’s] policies over four years created a crisis situation for the country.”

Sanaullah said Khan used to claim that he would prefer to die by suicide instead of approaching the International Monetary Fund (IMF). “It was [Imran Khan’s] government that signed the agreement with the IMF, not us. The difficulties are only due to the previous government’s agreement.”

 

Nawaz Sharif calls for full court in Punjab & KP elections case

Nawaz Sharif calls for full court in Punjab & KP elections case. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Chief Nawaz Sharif on Friday called for a full court in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) elections case, stating that two out of three judges of supreme court’s bench have given every verdict against him.

Addressing a news conference, the former premier claimed that the decisions of these benches have put Pakistan on the brink of destruction and demanded answers from retired judges on why he was disqualified.

Mr Sharif added that this was not just an issue of a truck driver, but a national issue that required a full court.

He urged the nation to open their eyes to the hideous joke being played in the country, stating that the decisions of the bench had turned a good nation into beggars.

Read more: Imran Khan brought country to the brink of collapse: Maryam Nawaz

The PML-N supremo also spoke about his party’s achievements during his tenure, claiming that they had ended load shedding and terrorism in 2017.

He warned that the recent decisions could take the country to an uncertain place and said that people needed to take a stand.

Nawaz Sharif criticised the lack of funds for medicines for the poor and accused the judges of giving judgments for the sake of one man.

He also questioned why Justice Shaukat Siddiqui and General (Rtd) Bajwa’s words did not deserve a Suo motu, stating that the country was being run on their own wishes.

In conclusion, Nawaz called on the nation to take a pledge not to allow such decisions to be made and urged Allah to save the country from them.

He highlighted that if the bench was not acceptable, then its decision would also not be acceptable, and that a full court should be made instead of a bench of three.

 

President Arif Alvi announces April 30 as date for Punjab elections

ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi has announced April 30 as the date for the general polls in Punjab, hours after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) proposed dates for the election in the province as directed by the Supreme Court (SC)

“President Dr Arif Alvi has announced to hold general elections of Punjab Assembly on April 30, Sunday,” tweeted the President’s office on Friday.

Dr Alvi’s office said that the decision was made by president after “considering the dates proposed by the Election Commission of Pakistan”.

Earlier today the ECP, in its letter to President Alvi, had recommended that the polls for the provincial assembly in Punjab can be held between April 30 — May 07.

The Election Commission met today — the third consecutive meeting — with Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja in the chair.

“The commission is ready to fulfil its Constitutional and legal obligations after the selection of a date by the president,” it stated.

Read more:Imran Khan suspends ‘Jail Bharo Tehreek’ after SC ruling

However, in its letter to Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ghulam Ali, the letter said the commission is waiting for his response in light of the SC order.

The Punjab and KP assemblies were dissolved on January 14 and January 18 respectively, and under the law, the elections were to be held within 90 days after their dissolution.

However, after the governors’ refusal to fix a date for polls, the issue landed in the Supreme Court which directed the president to announce the election date in consultation with the commission.

It also ordered the KP governor to give an election date.

‘Step in the right direction’

Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had welcomed the development and appreciated the ECP for taking a “step in the right direction”.

In a video statement, senior PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said, “The Supreme Court, in its order, had allowed the president and the ECP to go beyond the 90-day time limit but had used the word bare minimum.”

“We think that the ECP has taken a step in the right direction and the president now will announce a date for polls.”

Congratulating the nation over the development, Fawad said it is a victory for PTI and the nation and the Constitution of Pakistan.

Supreme Court order

The apex court had noted in its verdict, on March 1, that in “ordinary circumstances” the polls should have been held on April 9 as announced by the president.

“However, we are informed that on account of the delay in the emergence of the date for the holding of the general election, it may not be possible to meet the 90-day deadline stipulated by the Constitution. It is also the case that (possibly on account of a misunderstanding of the law) the Election Commission did not make itself available for consultation as required under Section 57(1) of the 2017 Act,” read the court order.

“The Election Commission is therefore directed to use its utmost efforts to immediately propose, keeping in mind Sections 57 and 58 of the 2017 Act, a date to the President that is compliant with the aforesaid deadline. If such a course is not available, then the Election Commission shall in like manner propose a date for the holding of the poll that deviates to the barest minimum from the aforesaid deadline. After consultation with the Election Commission, the President shall announce a date for the holding of the general election to the Punjab Assembly,” it further directed.

On elections in KP, the verdict directed the governor to announce a date for the polls after consulting the ECP.

Election suo motu: Nine-member SC bench dissolved after recusal of four judges

Election suo motu: Nine-member SC bench dissolved after recusal of four judges. The nine-member larger bench of the Supreme Court formed to hear the suo motu notice related to the elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab was dissolved and a new five-member bench is hearing the case.

The bench was reconstituted after Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Yahya Afridi recused themselves from hearing the case.

The hearing of the case was scheduled to start today at 11am, however, it was delayed reportedly due to the bench formation in the light of a Supreme Court order of the February 23 hearing.

A written order was issued on the SC’s website in which dissenting notes of Justice Afridi, Justice Minallah, Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah had been included.

Following this, a five-member bench headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, Justice Shah and Justice Mandokhail resumed the hearing.

When the hearing began, CJP Bandial shared that four judges had recused themselves from the bench.

“The rest of the court’s bench will keep on hearing the case,” said the CJP. He added that the court will continue hearing the case for the interpretation of the Constitution.

The CJP also noted that till the written order is not released on the website they cannot issue it. He noted that Justice Mandokhail’s dissenting note was shared on social media before the written order was released.

Read more: CJP takes suo motu notice on delay in Punjab & KP elections

“We will be careful that this does not happen in the future,” said the CJP.

The court then directed Barrister Ali Zafar, the counsel for the speakers of the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies, to argue whether the court should hear the case or not.

“Can the court hear this case or not? In any situation, the case has to be completed tomorrow,” said the CJP.

At this, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) lawyer interjected that the ruling parties had filed a plea for the formation of a full court.

The CJP then remarked that they will hear all the pleas and decide them.

Following this, Zafar, the lawyer representing the speakers’, began his arguments and said that the Punjab chief minister had sent the summary for the dissolution of the assembly to the governor.

“The governor was bound to dissolve the assembly, however, he did not and the assembly was automatically dissolved 48 hours after his refusal,” said Zafar.

The lawyer said that no constitutional officeholder can delay elections for more than 90 days, and the 90-day period in Punjab started on January 14.

“Who appoints the governor?” questioned Justice Mazhar.

At this, Zafar said that the governor is appointed after the president’s approval.

Upon hearing this, Justice Mazhar remarked that there is a difference between an assembly being dissolved by the governor and its dissolution by itself following completion of constitutional term.

While Justice Mandokhail asked whose job is it to decide the date for elections.

At this, Zafar said that a suo motu notice has been taken regarding a date for the elections.

“There is no such provision in the Constitution that justifies delay in the elections beyond the 90-day time limit,” remarked Justice Mazhar.

“Can the elections be delayed by someone?” he asked.

To this, Zafar said that no one can delay the elections.

Justice Mazhar said that the Punjab governor threw the ball in the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) court.

“Ping pong is being played over the lection date,” Zafar told the bench.

Meanwhile, Justice Shah inquired if the case in the Lahore High Court (LHC) was adjourned at the request of parties?

At this, Sheikh Rashid’s lawyer Azhar Siddique told the bench that the case in the high court was adjourned because the matter was being heard in the apex court.

While, Zafar told the bench that no stay order had been issued on the intra-court appeals by the LHC.

Upon hearing this, Justice Shah wondered whether any contempt of court petitions had been filed in the LHC after it had given the orders for the announcement of a date for the polls.

At this, Zafar informed that a contempt of court plea had been filed against the ECP. While, Sheikh Rashid’s counsel added that the electoral body had submitted a vague reply over the contempt plea.

At this point, CJP Bandial asked if any reason was provided for such a long adjournment on the intra-court appeal in Lahore.

“Without a solid reason, hearing on such an important matter cannot be adjourned for too long,” he observed.

Siddique told the court that the ECP sought time to submit a reply to the LHC and hence, the hearing was adjourned.

“Election Commission failed to respect the high court’s orders,” Zafar told the court.

Siddique said that the contempt of court plea was filed on February 14 in the LHC and a response was sought from the ECP.

“The president wrote two letters on the matter,” said Zafar, adding that the letter — sent on February 8 — sought a date for elections from the ECP.

At this, the CJP inquired if the ECP responded to President Arif Alvi’s first letter.

Zafar replied that as per his information the ECP did not respond to the president’s first letter.

Meanwhile, Justice Shah remarked that the president’s letter was contrary to the high court’s order.

“The high court had asked to give the date after consultations with the governor,” he said, adding that the president asked the electoral body to give a date for elections.

At this, Justice Mazhar said that the ECP had written in its reply that consulting with the governor is not in the Constitution.

“If the consultations did not take place then the commission should have given a date itself,” he added.

The ECP says that it cannot give a date for the elections, said Zafar. He added that the real issue is that no one wants to give a date for the elections.

He said that the president, in his letter, had clarified all the facts regarding the date of the elections.

On this, Justice Mandokhail asked if someone had approached President Alvi for the election date or if he gave it unilaterally.

The president had to intervene as it was a matter of basic rights, said Zafar, adding that “someone has to announce a date”.

Zafar said that if the court believes that ECP should give the date then it should issues orders to it.

“If the parties think that the elections are to be held by some other organisation then they should inform the court as well,” he added.

Situation in KP

At this point, Justice Akhtar asked about the situation in KP.

On this, Barrister Zafar informed the court that the governor had dissolved the assembly in KP and asked the ECP to hold consultations with the stake holders.

“The KP governor has made the security a basis in his letter,” he said. As far as the election date was concerned, even the KP governor has not given a date, he added.

Meanwhile, the lawyer representing the ECP informed the bench that three constitutional pleas were under trial in the Peshawar High Court (PHC).

At this, CJP Bandial inquired why had the high court given a 21-day notice to the parties.

“A legal point has to be decided. It’s not a civil suit that so much time was given,” the CJP remarked.

At this, Zafar interjected that the KP assembly was dissolved on January 18.

“What progress has been made on the elections in KP,” CJP Bandial asked.

Meanwhile, Justice Mandokhail asked that whether the governor could suggest holding consultations citing terrorism.

At this, Zafar told the court that in his opinion the KP governor did not have the authority to write such a letter.

“This case is now based only on the question of who has the authority to give the election date,” CJP Bandial remarked.

Meanwhile, Justice Mansoor remarked that the ECP was saying that the option of consultation for deciding a date for the election is not written in the Constitution.

At this, Justice Mazhar asked if it would be a contempt of court if the ECP itself gave the date.

Responding to the question Zafar said that all of it was the “delaying tactics” and ECP giving the election date was constitutional.

“The suo motu notice asks who will give the election date,” Justice Mandokhail remarked.

At this, Zafar said that someone has to announce a date. He said that it cannot be the case that the election is delayed for 10 years, therefore the other party should tell who can give the date.

CJP Bandial remarked that the reason should be stated if the circumstances were not suitable for holding elections.

Meanwhile, Justice Mazhar regretted that the election date couldn’t be announced even after a month since the dissolution of the assembly.

Justice Mazhar said that when the election date is announced, a decision will be made on whether polls can be conducted on that date or not. He added that a whole month was wasted just because the governor had said to hold consultations.

“Ensuring law and order is ECP’s responsibility, and not of the governor,” highlighted Justice Mandokhail. He inquired whether the matter pertaining to the law and order can become a hinderance on the constitutional requirement of holding elections.

The CJP recalled that the assemblies in 2013 and 2018 had completed their terms.

At this point, ECP’s director general (DG) law said that the president announces the date of elections if the assembly completes its term.

Meanwhile, Justice Akhtar remarked that the chief minister’s advice was implemented in KP but not in Punjab.

“If there are no assemblies then there is no other way of governance in the Constitution. This is why a 90-day limit has been set for the elections,” said Barrister Zafar.

He stressed that the elections must be held within the 90-day period.

“The Election Commission’s job is to conduct elections,” said CJP Bandial.

Zafar said that the ECP is responsible for the arrangement of polls and conduct the elections. “The ECP has to conduct national, provincial and local polls as per the Constitution,” he added.

“The ECP is responsible to hold elections under Article 218, 219, and 222 and all the executive institutions are bound to assist the ECP in conducting polls,” said Zafar.

He said that the court should take action if the ECP shows helplessness.

 

The CJP then adjourned the hearing for a recess and adjourned the hearing till 4pm.

NAB asked to make Imran Khan pay for using KP chopper

NAB asked to make Imran Khan pay for using KP chopper. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Saturday wrote a letter to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for expediting recovery from and declaring Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and others as defaulters for using the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government’s helicopter.

In the letter addressed to the anti-graft body, the electoral authority stated that the PTI chief and other unauthorised persons should be declared defaulters by the relevant forum, while the list of these defaulters should be sent to the ECP. The list will then be forwarded to the returning officers for further action as per law.

According to NAB documents, two official choppers of the KP government were used for 1,800 illegal trips. Politicians used the copters 588 times, while government officials utilised them 577 times. Unauthorised people have to pay Rs198.3 million in arrears, while politicians have over Rs96.8 million in payables. Government officials have to pay more than Rs50.8 million, and others have an outstanding amount of over Rs50 million.

Read more: Islamabad court to indict Imran Khan on Feb 7 in Toshakhana case

It should be noted that the KP Assembly had last year declared the use of the provincial government’s helicopters from November 1, 2008, till December 2022, as legal through a draft amendment in the law, after which the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) challenged the amendment in the Peshawar High Court.

In December 2022, NAB — after completing its probe into the illegal use of the KP government’s helicopters — revealed that those, who engaged the chopper for private use, owe Rs90 million to the provincial administration.

The development came in reaction to the usage of choppers used by Khan, former and current provincial and federal ministers, including others.

NAB also wrote to the KP government to recover the cost of all the illegal helicopter trips taken by “influential politicians, public officeholders” and others.

PM Shehbaz calls for unity as KP mosque toll hits 100

PM Shehbaz calls for unity as KP mosque toll hits 100. Prime minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday urged all the political forces to unite against the hostile elements as the death toll from a suicide attack on a mosque in Peshawar surged to 100.

Peshawar on Monday saw one of the worst massacres when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a mosque at a police headquarters — which is in a tightly guarded police compound — during the Zohr prayers, causing the roof to come crashing down upon those who were offering the prayers at that time.

Taking to Twitter, PM Shehbaz said, “Through their despicable actions, terrorists want to spread fear & paranoia among the masses & reverse our hard-earned gains against terrorism & militancy.”

In his message, the prime minister urged all the political forces to unite against anti-Pakistan elements. “We can fight our political fights later,” he added.

Mohammad Asim, the spokesperson of the main medical facility, Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar, said that about 100 bodies were brought to the facility and 53 people are under treatment. Officials also said that the tally of the injured stood at 221.

Read more: PM Shehbaz vows to implement NAP with ‘full force’ following Peshawar carnage

While all the injured people are being treated for their wounds, seven of them have been admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), with the death toll feared to rise.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa caretaker Chief Minister Azam, while talking to media persons, said that “such incidents have been taking place from the last 40 years, it wasn’t something new”.

“This morning we are going to remove the last part of the collapsed roof so we can recover more bodies, but we are not hopeful of reaching any survivors,” Bilal Ahmad Faizi, a spokesperson for the rescue organisation 1122, told AFP.

Shahid Ali, a policeman who survived, said the explosion took place seconds after the imam started prayers.

“I saw black smoke rising to the sky. I ran out to save my life,” the 47-year-old told AFP.

The police said that the bombing occurred at the central hall of the mosque at 1pm as the suicide bomber was standing in the front row, causing the roof to collapse on the worshippers who were participating in the Zohr prayers at that moment.

They said that the sound of the explosion was so loud that it was heard far away while gunshots were also heard after the blast.

The outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) took responsibility for the attack.

Probe will clear everything soon: IG

Speaking during a press conference alongside KP CM Azam Khan, Inspector-General Moazzam Jah Ansari said that about 10-12 kilograms of explosives were used in the blast.

He said that there has been a security lapse and investigations are underway to ascertain the facts. “We are checking one-month’s CCTV footage and tracking the facilitators of the bomber,” he added.

The provincial police chief said that a joint investigation team (JIT) has been notified and the probe will clear everything soon. Those responsible will be identified and brought to book, he added.

He said that the attacker might have entered the premises as a guest. He added that the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had denied responsibility for the attack last night.

Earlier, the IG said that there are over 2,000 policemen in the Police Lines working with eight different departments.

He said that a large number of civilians visit this place on a daily basis, adding that it also has family quarters. “Construction work was also going on in the locality with workers coming in and going out every day,” he added.

Day of mourning

KP Caretaker Chief Minister Muhammad Azam Khan has announced a day of mourning in the province tomorrow (Tuesday) following the heinous attack.

The national flag will be at half-mast across the province, he said, adding that the government share the grief of the martyrs’ families.

The interim CM also assured the aggrieved families that the provincial government would not leave them alone in the aftermath of the tragedy.

Investigations underway

Speaking during a press conference alongside KP CM Azam Khan, Inspector-General Moazzam Jah Ansari that about 10-12 kilograms of explosives were used in the blast.

He said that there has been a security lapse and investigations are underway to ascertain the facts. “We are checking one-month’s CCTV footage and tracking the facilitators of the bomber,” he added.

The provincial police chief said that a joint investigation team (JIT) has been notified and the probe will clear everything soon. Those responsible will be identified and brought to book, he added.

He said that the attacker might have entered the premises as a guest. He added that the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had denied responsibility for the attack last night.

Earlier, the IG said that there are over 2,000 policemen in the Police Lines working with eight different departments.

He said that a large number of civilians visit this place on a daily basis, adding that it also has family quarters. “Construction work was also going on in the locality with workers coming in and going out every day,” he added.

15-member KP interim cabinet takes oath

15-member KP interim cabinet takes oath. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Governor Haji Ghulam Ali Thursday administered oath to 15 ministers of the interim cabinet amid claims by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf that this “looks like a PDM cabinet”.

According to a notification issued by the Administrative Department of the KP government, the governor has approved the interim cabinet under Article 224(1A) of the Constitution.

The ministers who took the oath today include former inspector general (IG) Syed Masood Shah, Barrister Sanwal Nazir, Bakht Nawaz, Fazal Elahi, Adnan Jalil, Shafi Ullah Khan, Shahid Khan Khattak, Haji Ghufran, Khushdil Khan Malik, Taj Muhammad Afridi, Muhammad Ali Shah, and Justice (retd) Irshad Qaiser, Manzoor Khan Afridi, Abdul Haleem Qasuriya, and Hamid Shah.

The ministers were sworn in at a ceremony at the governor’s house. The portfolios of the interim cabinet members have yet not been announced.

However, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and former provincial finance minister Taimur Jhagra has raised objections over the newly-appointed interim cabinet.

Read more: PDM files reference in ECP for Imran’s disqualification

The PTI leader shared the notification of appointments over Twitter saying, “Sadly, this looks like a PDM cabinet, barring a couple of names…”

Caretaker CM KP

On January 20, the KP government and the opposition, in a surprising development, reached an agreement on the name of the interim chief minister in the province.

Former KP chief secretary Azam Khan’s name was unanimously agreed upon in the meeting held to finalise the appointment of the province’s caretaker CM.

“Azam Khan is our consensus candidate for the post of caretaker chief minister. We have chosen a person who is acceptable to all,” said Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Pakistan-Fazal (JUI-F) leader Akram Khan Durrani.

Commenting on the development, KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan said the name of a caretaker chief minister was unanimously agreed upon for the first time in “history”.

“We agreed on Azam Khan in consultation with our leader,” Khan said revealing PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s nod for the candidate.

Islamabad, parts of KP hit by 5.6 magnitude earthquake

Islamabad, parts of KP hit by 5.6 magnitude earthquake. A mild earthquake hit Peshawar and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Thursday — making it at least the third shock in less than a month.

The National Seismic Monitoring Centre (NSMC) reported that tremors were also felt in Charsada, Islamabad and its surrounding areas, which were measured at 5.6 on the Richter’s scale, while its depth was 190 kilometres.

The NSMC also reported that the epicentre of the earthquake was 237 kilometres west of Chitral.

“An earthquake originated on 19-01-2023 at 16:30 PST. Mag: 5.6. Depth: 190km. Lat: 35.89 N. Long: 71.39 E. Epicentre: 37 km west of Chitral,” the Pakistan Metrological Department said on Twitter while sharing the details of the earthquake.

Read more: 5.8-magnitude earthquake strikes Pakistan

The NSMC further reported that two more earthquakes of medium magnitude were felt 70 kilometres from KP’s Bisham and 28 kilometres South of Kharan.

Immediately after the earthquake, residents of affected cities took to Twitter to share their experiences, while others scrambled and started praying for safety.

One user said, “Severe Earthquake jolts Abbottabad! Lasted for more than 10 seconds.”