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PM Shehbaz Sharif fears ‘all hell to break loose’ sans debt relief

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  • PM Shehbaz makes urgent appeal for debt relief for flood-ravaged Pakistan.
  • Reminds rich nations Pakistan paying price for their greed.
  • Asks how Pakistan can stand on its own feet unless given “substantial relief.”

With debt obligations drawing to a close, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has made an urgent appeal for relief in the repayment of debts from rich nations, reminding them that Pakistan is bearing the brunt of environmental damage caused by them to cater to their greed.

In a conversation with Bloomberg TV, PM Shehbaz Sharif said that Pakistan recently signed a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under “very tough” conditions, including taxes on petroleum and electricity.

Seeking support for Pakistan, hit by catastrophic floods this monsoon while already reeling from a stressed economy, PM Shehbaz Sharif said:

“Unless we get substantial relief how can the world expect from us to stand on our own feet? It is simply impossible,” he said.”The world has to stand by us.”

Responding to a question about debt obligations, the premier said they have spoken to European leaders and other leaders “to help us, in the Paris Club, get a moratorium”.

As per PM Shehbaz Sharif, there is a “yawning gap” between what Pakistan is asking for and what is available, warning that the nation is facing the imminent threat of epidemics and other dangers.

“God forbid this happens, all hell will [break loose],” he said.

The Pakistani leader shared that he’d spoken to the World Bank about immediate debt relief and would begin talks with China after the Paris Club.

Pakistan owes $30 billion to China, or about a third of its total external debt.

He said the floods were the result of an unprecedented cloudburst induced by climate change due to the environmental damage caused by fossil fuels.

“Therefore it’s none of our doing, our making. Our carbon emission is less than 1% and to be very exact it’s 0.08%, which is the lowest in the world. But we are rated as one of the most vulnerable countries.”

“Essentially I should have been in my country with my people in flood-affected areas with children, boys, girls and those who have been badly affected, to console them and provide them with some relief. But I’m here to tell the world what happened with us and with our people.”

“Has the word done enough and what can be done?” he was asked.

To this, he said that the US, Turkish and French presidents have touched upon this subject and commended their concern.

“What they have done is commendable, but it is far from meeting our needs. We cannot do it alone. We cannot, you know, cough up resources from our own pocket, which are already insufficient to meet our pressing needs. We need additional funds.”

“So I think, unless the world comes out with billions of dollars in support for relief, for building of resilient infrastructure, and [for] infrastructure adaptation in agriculture and housing, things will not come back to normal,” he said.

About his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the prime minister said he spoke to the Russian president about the availability of gas and oil and Putin has promised him that he will most definitely look into this. 

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36% of fresh faces make it to the National Assembly.

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Following the general elections of this year, a record 36% of new members have joined the National Assembly.

There are now 96 new legislators that have been elected to the assembly out of 265 total. In the general elections, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) has elected the most number of fresh faces as Independents.

Of the new faces, eleven PPP and MQM members, as well as fifteen PML-N members, have become MNAs for the first time. The IPP’s Abdul Aleem Khan and Awn Chaudhry were elected to the National Assembly for the first time.

Ataullah Tarar of the Pakistan Muslim League-N, Mir Jamal Khan Raisani, the party’s youngest member, was also elected from Balochistan for the first time and made it to the lower house.

Sher Afzal Marwat, Latif Khosa, and Barrister Gohar Ali Khan, who is supported by the PTI, are some of the fresh faces. In the last parliament, Shandana Gulzar had a reserved seat; however, this time, she was elected to a general seat.

Arshad Vohra, Syed Mustafa Kamal, and Rauf Siddiqui of the MQM were also elected to the National Assembly for the first time.

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Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri’s JUI-F resignation from the Senate

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Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani received the JUI-F leader’s resignation, which he accepted.

In the National Assembly, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri will be sworn in as a member.

Following their victories in the general elections on February 8 for the Balochistan Assembly, Senators Sarfraz Bugti and Prince Umar Ahmedzai had already announced their resignations from the Senate.

Prior carer Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani received the resignation of Federal Interior Minister Bugti, which he accepted.

In a similar vein, Senator Prince Umar Ahmedzai of the Balochistan Awami Party resigned from the Senate following his election to the provincial legislature.

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NA session: The interim government addresses President Alvi’s concerns

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Details indicate that in response, the federal government informed Dr. Arif Alvi that Article 91 of the 1973 Constitution does not grant the president the “discretion or power” to adjourn the National Assembly session.

The sources quoted the federal administration and said, “Nowhere in Article 91 is it written that if the House is incomplete, the National Assembly session cannot be convened.”

It further said that Article 54 of the constitution allowed the president to adjourn the National Assembly’s “ordinary” session alone. According to the summary, the president was requested to call an extraordinary session of the National Assembly so that the newly elected members may take an oath of office.

Dr. Arif Alvi was asked to reconsider his choice and call a meeting of the National Assembly by the acting federal government on February 29.

The sources quoted the federal government and stated, “It is not written anywhere in the constitution that if specific seats are not allotted, the session cannot be called.”

It further said that the National Assembly must be called within 21 days following the election in accordance with Clause 2 of Article 91 of the constitution.

The caretaker administration responded, saying, “Even if the President does not call the National Assembly session by February 29, it would still be held on the same day.”

Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf called a session of the National Assembly on Thursday, February 29th, in order to administer the oath to the newly elected Members of Congress earlier on Monday.

According to specifics, President Arif Alvi declined to call a meeting under clause 2 of Article 91 of the constitution, arguing that the lower body is still unfinished because a decision on certain reserved seats has not yet been made. Consequently, the Speaker National Assembly called the meeting.

The National Assembly’s maiden session was called by Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. The freshly elected members of the National Assembly would take the oath of office from the Speaker. During the first session, the election schedules for speaker and deputy speaker will also be released.

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