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Opposition to hold symbolic Punjab Assembly session at Lahore hotel



LAHORE: The Opposition on Wednesday decided to hold a symbolic Punjab Assembly session at a local hotel in Lahore after the PTI-led government sealed off the provincial assembly.

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz and Opposition Leader in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz have reached the hotel, while PML-N members and members of the PTI’s Jahangir Tareen and Aleem Khan are already present there.

PML-N leader and MPA Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan has claimed that more than 200 MPAs are present in the session.

The Tareen and Aleem groups have parted ways with the PTI and Prime Minister Imran Khan and decided to support the Opposition’s candidate for the chief minister’s office.

The chief minister’s office had fallen vacant after PTI’s Usman Buzdar resigned following Prime Minister Imran Khan’s decision to nominate PML-Q’s Pervaiz Elahi as the new CM.

Hours before this, the PML-N leader had said that she would attend the “Punjab Assembly ijlaas” to support Hamza — “who clearly has the majority” in the provincial assembly.

The Opposition parties are holding a symbolic session of the Punjab Assembly — like the one held in the National Assembly after the no-confidence motion was dismissed by Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri — where they will elect Hamza as the new chief minister.\

Meanwhile, the crisis in the Punjab Assembly deepened after the PTI filed a no-confidence motion against Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari and the joint Opposition also decided to file a similar motion against Speaker Pervaiz Elahi.

The political situation took a new turn after Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari decided to summon a session today, instead of April 16 — a decision that drew the PTI and PML-Q’s ire, and they refused to accept it.

On the instructions of Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, a heavy contingent of police has been deployed outside the assembly secretariat to avoid any untoward situation.

Elahi also banned the entry of media persons to the provincial assembly, security staff confirmed.

The security of the provincial legislature has also put up barbed wires on the main gate of the assembly.

Speaking to Geo News earlier today, Mazari had said that the Punjab Assembly secretariat was “not cooperating” with him.

“I did not consult the Punjab government, the PTI or the speaker. I summoned the Assembly session in light of the Supreme Court’s orders,” Mazari had said.

The speaker, Elahi, has also withdrawn the powers of the deputy speaker.

Number game in Punjab

Both candidates — Hamza and Elahi — need at least 186 votes in the House of 371 to win the poll for the slot of CM Punjab.

With the house comprising 371 MPAs, the PML-N seems highly optimistic about regaining the crown of Punjab that it lost in 2018.

The Opposition claims that its joint strength comprising its own 160 MPAs (PML-N total strength is 165 out of which five MPAs are siding with the government), seven MPAs of PPP, and the rest from the rebel groups of PTI headed by Tareen and Aleem and four out of five independents, stands above 188.

On the other hand, the ruling coalition’s candidate has also used his experience and influence in winning the support of the JKT group’s MPAs. MPA Rafaqat Gilani, a part of the JKT group, has publicly claimed that he was “siding with Imran and cannot leave him at a crucial time”.


KU teachers boycott classes from today over financial, administrative crisis




  • Strike to continue until teacher’s body decides otherwise.
  • KUTS secretary says budget not approved for past 4 years. 
  • Teachers’ strike in evening programme ongoing since Sept 14.

KARACHI: The Karachi University Teachers Society (KUTS) will go on strike for an indefinite period of time starting from Friday (today) in protest over the non-payment of dues for over a year. 

Speaking to The News, KUTS Secretary Dr Faizan-ul-Hassan Naqvi said that the strike will continue for an unspecified period over the financial and administrative crises until the teacher’s body decides otherwise.

Naqvi added that the KU’s budget had not been approved for the past four years, which had affected the academic and research work at the university.

“The teachers in the evening programme have not been paid their arrears for the past one-and-a-half years, while the permanent faculty members are yet to receive the increment announced in the provincial government’s budget four months ago,” he said. 

“The visiting faculty are being hired at a rate of Rs600 per lecture, which after deduction is reduced to Rs480. Even this is not being paid.”

Moreover, the KU’s structure and facilities were in a dilapidated condition suggesting mismanagement of the administration, Naqvi asserted and lamented that students were moving towards private universities because of these problems in the public sector.

Earlier in the day, the KUTS convened a general body meeting at the art auditorium, which passed a resolution to boycott all academic activities at the varsity until further notice. 

It also endorsed the teachers’ strike in the evening programme ongoing since September 14. The meeting demanded that the Sindh governor and the chief minister take notice of the crises and form a commission to investigate their causes.

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Geneva flood pledges: Pakistan receives only $1.48bn of $10.9bn




  • Only $780m disbursed in project financing as of Sep 2023.
  • Govt receives roughly $700m in oil and commodity financing.
  • Saudi Arabia so far disbursed $600 million as an oil facility.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has, to date, received only $1.48 billion in funding from both multilateral and bilateral creditors as part of the Geneva pledges totaling $10.9 billion designated for the reconstruction of areas affected by devastating floods last year, The News reported on Wednesday.

The progress of project financing, however, has been alarmingly slow, with just $780 million disbursed as of September 2023. Pakistan endured severe flooding in the previous fiscal year, resulting in extensive human and financial hardships, but there was hope for rehabilitation, as donors committed $10.9 billion in the form of loans to support the reconstruction endeavors.

Islamabad, too, has successfully obtained approximately $700 million in oil and commodity financing. Nevertheless, it is an undeniable fact that the distribution of project loans has remained frustratingly sluggish, necessitating swift action from all federal and provincial agencies responsible for pulling off flood-related projects in their respective regions. Therefore, accelerating these efforts is imperative.

“The caretaker prime minister has also taken notice of this slow disbursement of committed pledges as the project loan acceleration depends upon the executing agencies’ ability to implement the projects on a fast-track basis,” a top official of the government confided to The News here on Tuesday.

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) had committed $3.6 billion on account of commodity financing, out of which $1.1 billion was planned to be disbursed on an annual basis over a year. Out of $3.6 billion, there was a planned disbursement of $300 million, which was underway during the current fiscal year.

However, the remaining $3.3 billion was still problematic because it was syndicated financing, which the IsDB planned to secure from other commercial banks. So far, there are indications that its interest rate might exceed and fall into a range of over 10%.

However, the oil-exporting giants argued before the government that if they secured local funding, it would be on the much higher side, keeping in view the higher interest rates in the domestic market.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has so far disbursed $600 million as an oil facility out of total financing committed for commodities and oil financing. The government has heavily relied on the disbursements of project loans from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. From the World Bank loans, there are projects going to be executed in Sindh and Balochistan for the construction of housing and agriculture sectors.

The premier is expected to chair an important meeting to review progress on donor-funded projects for flood-affected areas after his return from abroad, as one of such important meetings got postponed last week before his recent departure to the USA.

The implementation of flood-affected area projects needs acceleration in order to materialise maximum disbursements from the pledged loans, but without improving bottlenecks at execution levels, this wish will remain just a pipe dream.

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Parts of Karachi receive light to moderate rain




The weather in Karachi turned pleasant as different areas of the city witnessed intermittent showers on Wednesday. 

The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) had predicted rain with wind and thunderstorm in the metropolis today afternoon and evening. 

Several areas of the port city including Quaidabad, Landhi, Korangi and Sohrab Goth received light to moderate rain. Other areas including Orangi Town, Surjani, Nazimabad, Shershah, Old City Area, Clifton, Garden, and Saddar also received light showers. 

According to the Met Office, Karachi is expected to remain cloudy for the next 24 hours. Moreover, the lowest temperature recorded in the city was 29.5°C. 

Different areas in the city will likely receive heavy rain as more thunderclouds may form in the northeast in the evening, said a weather analyst.

The analyst added that there is a good chance of rain in the eastern and southern parts of the city with a possibility of more rain in Malir, Landhi, Gulshan-e-Hadid, Gulshan-e-Maymar, Port Qasim and other areas. 

A day earlier, the PMD said that rain coupled with dust thunderstorms is expected to hit Karachi today with occasional gaps, adding that monsoon currents of moderate intensity are continuing to penetrate Sindh.

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