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Dense fog causes disruption of road and air traffic

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  • Dense fog has caused disruption to air and road traffic in many areas of Punjab. 
  • Multiple sections of Motorway have to be closed on Wednesday. 
  • Motorway spokesman advised motorists to avoid unnecessary travel. 

LAHORE: Several highways and motorways in many areas of Punjab remained closed on Wednesday due to thick fog. Intense fog conditions caused many trains to be delayed for hours.

Cold weather conditions also caused significant disruptions to flight schedules due to thick fog.

The Lahore-Multan Motorway from Faizpur to Nankana Sahib, the M-2 Motorway from Lahore to Kot Momin and the Lahore-Sialkot Motorway from Lahore to Sambrial remained closed for traffic, while traffic flow was badly affected on other highways in central Punjab especially GT Road due to poor visibility. A Motorways spokesperson advised drivers to avoid unnecessary travel, use fog lights on their vehicles, and call helpline 130 for assistance if needed.

Traffic remained congested on various roads entering and exiting Lahore, requiring high-ranking officials such as CTO Lahore Dr. Asad Malhi to visit problem areas such as Thokar Niaz Baig, Canal Road, Raiwind Road, Johar Town, Khayaban-e-Amin Township, and Multan Road to monitor traffic management. All vehicles entering from the Eastern Bypass, Thokar Niaz and Babu Sabu were prohibited due to the closure of the motorway. He stated that the number of wardens at the entry and exit routes had been increased to assist motorists. He said that the traffic wardens were working to keep traffic flowing in heavy fog, adding that citizens are being kept informed through the Raasta App and FM 88.6 about the fog situation.

Heavy fog at Allama Iqbal Airport reduced visibility to 50 meters, forcing the cancellation or delay of many domestic and foreign flights. Turkish Airlines flight TK 715 from Lahore to Istanbul, TK 714 from Istanbul to Lahore, Oman Airline flight WY 342 to Muscat were cancelled, while flight PK 740 from Jeddah to Lahore will be operated today (Thursday) at 4:30 am, says a CAA spokesperson.

Meanwhile, flight PK 203 from Dubai to Lahore was delayed for 10 hours, while flight PK 204 to Dubai will fly today (Thursday) at 4am; PK 840 from Jeddah to Lahore, PK 739 from Lahore to Jeddah, PA 413 from Sharjah to Lahore and PK 230 from Muscat to Lahore were also delayed.

A flight PF-146 from Lahore to Karachi and PF-145 from Karachi to Lahore were also canceled. CAA spokesperson said the visibility limit at Multan Airport was reduced to 600 meters, diverting flights to Islamabad including Dubai to Sialkot flight PK 180, Jeddah to Lahore PK 768, Madina to Lahore PK 848 and Madina to Lahore PK 748, and the passengers were dispatched to their cities in the buses provided by the airlines. The spokesperson advised the passengers to confirm flights schedule before leaving for airports, or visit www.caapakistan.com.pk or contact helpline numbers 080000114114 and 111222114.

The train schedule was also delayed by 7 to 8 hours due to heavy fog forcing passengers to suffer for hours under severe cold weather. Pak Business Express from Karachi to Lahore was delayed 7 hours, Pakistan Express was delayed 8 hours, Tezgam was delayed 6 hours, Rehman Baba Express was delayed 6 hours, Millat Express was delayed 5 hours, Allam Iqbal Express was delayed 5 hours, Khyber Mail was delayed 5 hours, Karachi Express was delayed 4 hours, Karakoram Express was delayed 3 hours, Jafar Express was delayed 4 hours, Baba Farid Express was delayed 3 hours.

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government contests Imran Khan and Qureshi’s exoneration in the cipher case

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On Thursday, the federal government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court contesting the exoneration of former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and former Prime Minister Imran Khan in the well-known cipher case.

Citing procedural and jurisdictional issues, the Ministry of Interior has appealed the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) ruling.

In hearing the cipher case, the High Court allegedly overreached its power, arguing that judges cannot change laws where Parliament has not expressly passed legislation.

Despite receiving government-funded legal representation, the petition emphasized Imran Khan and Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s lack of cooperation during the trial, submitting 65 separate motions and neglecting to cross-examine witnesses.

The petition contended that in order for a retrial to satisfy legal standards, the High Court should have ignored important evidence that was given during the trial. It requests that the appeals contesting the IHC’s June 3 acquittal be given a hearing date by the Supreme Court.

Case history

The cipher issue concerns a supposed diplomatic document that disappeared from Imran Khan’s custody. The cipher allegedly contained threats from the US to remove Khan from office, according to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party. Shah Mehmood Qureshi and several aides, including Asad Umar, are named in the First Information Report (FIR) submitted by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in accordance with Section 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code and Sections 5 and 9 of the Official Secrets Act.

The then-foreign secretary received a diplomatic cipher from Washington on March 7, 2022, according to the FIR. The lawsuit claims that by manipulating the data for their own benefit, Khan and Qureshi put the safety of the country at risk. It alleges that on March 28, 2022, Khan secretly met at his Bani Gala home and gave his Principal Secretary, Muhammad Azam Khan, instructions to change the content of the cipher to his advantage, jeopardizing national security.

The document asserts that Khan still has custody of the cipher, jeopardizing Pakistan’s encrypted messaging systems and possibly helping foreign forces, which would be detrimental to the nation. A complaint has been filed by the FIA’s Anti-Terrorism Wing against Khan, Qureshi, and other individuals for improper use of state secrets and unapproved possession of the cipher.

Acquittal by the Islamabad High Court

In the cipher case, on June 3, the IHC cleared Khan and Qureshi when Justice Aamir Farooq issued a succinct ruling in their favor. Their sentences were appealed in the case, which has since been a source of political and legal controversy, leading to their acquittal.

This acquittal and the ongoing legal and political struggles surrounding the cipher case are highlighted by the government’s subsequent move to contest it.

With potentially huge ramifications for the parties involved and the larger political scene, the Supreme Court’s decision over whether to hear the appeal will be keenly scrutinized.

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Shahid Khaqan Abbasi urges political stability in order to accelerate economic expansion.

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Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the former prime minister, emphasized on Thursday how important political stability is to Pakistan’s economic development and how the nation cannot prosper without it.

His concern was that export growth had not progressed, and he emphasized that stability in the current climate is vital to draw investments and carry out the necessary reforms.

In his criticism of the tax system, Abbasi brought up the erratic nature of tax laws and the transient nature of the most recent tax slab implementation. Insisting that difficult choices are unavoidable for economic recovery, he emphasized the necessity of designing a tax system that is equitable and does not burden the people.

Furthermore, arguing that the effectiveness of organizations like the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is essential for economic governance and transparency, Abbasi urged for changes within these and other organizations.

Abbasi, in his discussion of more comprehensive fiscal plans, suggested that the National Finance Commission (NFC) award be reviewed again and that power distribution companies (DISCOs) be decentralized to the provinces.

In order to reduce inefficiencies and corruption at the provincial level, he recommended looking into ways to share the cost of defense spending and decentralize the management of energy resources.

In closing, Abbasi emphasized that Pakistan’s economic trajectory will stay stagnant unless comprehensive changes are implemented immediately. To move the nation towards sustainable progress, he urged policymakers to give stability and structural reforms first priority.

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Through in-app QR payments, Zindigi and SBP streamline transactions involving sacrificial animals.

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With its in-app QR code payment system based on Raast, Zindigi—powered by JS Bank—has elevated the convenience of cashless payments for the procurement of sacrificial animals to a whole new level for Eid ul Adha.

This program uses QR code payments to streamline transactions for sacrificed animals for the general public and traders. It is a component of the State Bank of Pakistan’s Raast quick payment service.

This feature enables users of Zindigi and users of any digital banking apps or wallets to safely and easily make payments at certain cattle markets throughout Pakistan using Zindigi QR. The consumer must scan the QR code of the livestock merchant and pay the transaction amount in order to complete the payment.

In order to further financial inclusion and digital innovation in Pakistan’s developing economy, Zindigi and the State Bank of Pakistan have partnered. Both organizations are committed to improving the efficiency and accessibility of financial services, especially on holidays such as Eid ul Adha, by utilizing the most recent developments in fintech.

One of the most important steps toward promoting financial inclusion and economic empowerment at the local level is the integration of livestock markets into the digital economy. Farmers and retailers may take charge of their financial operations and help realize the larger goal of an inclusive digital Pakistan by adopting digital payments.

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