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PM Shehbaz to attend Queen Elizabeth’s funeral, meet Nawaz in London

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  • PM Shehbaz Sharif to embark on two-day visit Sunday.
  • PM expected to brief Nawaz Sharif on political situation.
  • PDM bigwigs hold call to discuss anti-Imran Khan strategy.

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will embark on a two-day UK visit during which he will represent Pakistan at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II and meet PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif.

People familiar with the matter told Geo News that the premier will visit England this Sunday, a day after concluding his Uzbekistan visit, where he attended the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Head of States (CHS) summit.

The prime minister is scheduled to have a three-hour long meeting with the elder Sharif on the day he touches down in the country. He will spend a busy day in the UK capital attending a number of engagements.

PM Shehbaz will return to Pakistan on Monday soon after attending the state funeral for the late Queen — who died at the age of 96 on September 8 at her Balmoral Castle residence.

The coffin of the late monarch has been lying at the historic Westminster Hall since Wednesday.

Some 750,000 people in total are expected to file past the coffin ahead of the state funeral on Monday which presidents, prime ministers, royalty and other world leaders are due to attend.

US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron and the leaders of Australia, Canada and Jamaica will join the emperor of Japan among the congregation.

Shehbaz-Nawaz meeting

During the meeting in London, PM Shehbaz is expected to brief Nawaz — his elder brother and PML-N supremo — on the country’s economic and political situation.

The coalition government has not been able to achieve political and economic stability since its formation in April, while decisions like increasing petrol prices and soaring inflation have drawn criticism to Shehbaz Sharif’s government.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (left) meets PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif at the Avenfield flats in London, on May 11, 2022. — PML-N
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (left) meets PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif at the Avenfield flats in London, on May 11, 2022. — PML-N

Senior analyst Suhail Warraich had revealed — while speaking in the Geo News programme “Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath” in late August — that Nawaz is neither satisfied with the performance of Shehbaz nor Finance Minister Miftah Ismail. Warraich said Nawaz wants Shehbaz to review his policies.

Warraich added that Nawaz repeatedly asked him to call on Shehbaz and ask him to revisit his economic policies. “Shehbaz should take the public into confidence about his economic policies,” the journalist quoted the PML-N founder as saying.

Replying to a question regarding his meeting with Nawaz in London, Warraich said that Nawaz Sharif is absolutely unhappy with the economic policies of the incumbent government. He said Nawaz is not impressed by Miftah’s performance.

The analyst quoted Nawaz as repeatedly saying: “I had already proposed to you not to form the government and go for the general elections.” Warraich said: “It appears that Nawaz Sharif has made up his mind that he wants economic policy from Ishaq Dar alone.

Warraich said Nawaz wants Dar to work on the economy. He also said Nawaz doesn’t seem to be reposing trust in Miftah as he [Nawaz] believes that the finance minister doesn’t know much about economic policies.

PDM bigwigs hold call

Meanwhile, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) leaders Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Asif Ali Zardari, and Nawaz held a telephone contact Friday to discuss the ongoing political situation in the country.

The PDM leaders rejected PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s demand for immediate general elections and made it clear that the ruling alliance would go to general elections next year after economic stability and rehabilitation of the flood-affected people.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif. — Twitter/AFP/Online
Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif. — Twitter/AFP/Online

They declared election date will not be given due to Khan’s long march. They vowed that scale of justice should be equal for all.

PDM head Fazl had telephoned the PML-N supremo and the PPP co-chairman.

Sources said the three leaders also discussed the strategy to counter Khan’s new protest call.

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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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