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On her 69th birth anniversary: Remembering Benazir Bhutto

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On what would have been her 69th birthday, Benazir Bhutto’s family, friends and well-wishers took to Twitter in memory of the slain former prime minister.

Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, who is the federal minister for foreign affairs and the son of the late leader, wished his mother by posting several snapshots of the mother-son duo in a series of tweets.

“On the longest day of the year, we remember Shaheed Benazir Bhutto on what would have been her 69th birthday,” he wrote.

Highlighting her contributions to the country, Bilawal added: “She fought for 30+ years for the restoration of democracy, economic emancipation of the poor, and for the peaceful message of Islam.”

Bilawal lamented that “terrorists, dictators and cowards” have assassinated her. But she lives on in the hearts and minds of the people of her country and across the world. “In life, she was Benazir, in death she is Benazir. To her assassins, we say: “Tum zinda ho kr murda howo mar kr phir bhi zinda hai.”

The foreign minister also shared a video released in 2019 where all renowned journalists paid tribute to the former prime minister: “Happy birthday to my mother, our leader, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto,” Bilawal captioned the video.

Benazir’s elder daughter Bakhtawar Bhutto-Zardari also shared a portrait of her mother to pay tribute to her on her birthday.

Democracy is poorer without her: PM Shehbaz

“I pay my rich tribute to Shaheed Mohtarama Benazir Bhutto on her 69th birthday,” Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif wrote on Twitter. 

“Our democracy is poorer without her [and] the void left by her martyrdom will never be filled. She fearlessly [and] staunchly advocated the causes she believed in,” he added.

‘Journey together is still unfinished’

Federal Minister for Climate Change and PPP Vice President Sherry Rehman also shared her picture with the slain leader claiming that she lives on in the hearts in ways no one else could.

“Our journey together is still unfinished. Your redemptive light still guides many of us on a path you trod with infinite grace and courage. May you shine on forever,” she wrote on Twitter.

The life and times of Benazir Bhutto

Benazir was a Pakistani democratic socialist who served as the 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan in two non-consecutive terms from 1988 until 1990 and 1993 until 1996. She was the daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto‚ a former prime minister of Pakistan and the founder of the PPP.

In 1982‚ at the age of 29‚ Benazir became the chairperson of PPP, making her the first woman in Pakistan to head a major political party. In 1988‚ she became the first woman elected to lead a Muslim state and was also Pakistan’s first (and thus far‚ only) female prime minister. 

Noted for her charismatic authority and political astuteness, she drove initiatives for Pakistan’s economy and national security‚ and she implemented policies for industrial development and growth.

Benazir’s popularity waned amid recession‚ corruption‚ high unemployment which later led to the dismissal of her government by then-president Ghulam Ishaq Khan.

In 1993‚ Benazir Bhutto was re-elected for a second term after the 1993 parliamentary elections. She is also respectfully referred to as B.B. In 1996‚ the charges of corruption levelled against her led to the final dismissal of her government by President Farooq Leghari.

Benazir conceded her defeat in the 1997 Parliamentary elections and went into self-imposed exile in Dubai‚ United Arab Emirates in 1998.

After nine years of self-exile‚ she returned to Pakistan on October 18, 2007‚ after having reached an understanding with Pervez Musharraf‚ following which she was granted amnesty and all corruption charges were withdrawn.

Benazir was assassinated on December 27, 2007‚ after leaving PPP’s last rally in the city of Rawalpindi‚ two weeks before the scheduled Pakistani general election of 2008 in which she was a leading opposition candidate. 

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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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