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PM visiting Turkey to express solidarity with quake-hit nation

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  • PM visiting Turkey to express sorrow over deaths.
  • Turkish ambassador bid farewell to PM.
  • No country alone can deal with such huge devastation, says PM.

LAHORE: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday reached Turkey to express solidarity and support with the Turkish people as they reel from the massive earthquake that has killed more than 36,000 people.

Turkish ambassador Mehmet Pacaci bid adieu to the premier as he departed from the Lahore Airport and he was welcomed by the Turkish officials at Ankara Esenboğa Airport.

Before departure, PM Shehbaz in a tweet said, “I am leaving for Turkiye with a message of unwavering solidarity and support for our Turkish brothers and sisters from the people and government of Pakistan.”

“True to the spirit of one nation living in two states, we consider their loss as ours,” he said.

During his two-day stay in Ankara, the prime minister will meet President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan to personally convey heartfelt condolences on behalf of the entire Pakistani nation over the loss of lives and the widespread damage.

In another tweet, the premier while expressing his grief over the massive losses noted that no matter how resourceful the country is, it cannot fight such devastation without any help. 

He stated: “Natural disasters as the earthquake in [Turkey and] Syria are beyond the capacity of any single government to handle. No country, howsoever resourceful, can deal with devastation of this magnitude. It is time the world came forward [and] extended support to the suffering humanity.”

The prime minister will reiterate Pakistan’s firm commitment to stand by the Turkish people during difficult times and to continue extending all possible support to the ongoing relief effort.

The prime minister will also visit earthquake-affected areas in southern Turkey, and interact with the Pakistani search and rescue teams deployed in the area as well as survivors of the earthquake.

In the wake of the devastating earthquake in southern Turkey, the prime minister had spoken with President Erdogan on February 6 and assured him of all possible assistance for the rescue and relief effort.

All available resources have been fully mobilised to help the Turkish people and the prime minister is personally overseeing the relief effort.

Pakistan and Turkiye enjoy deep fraternal ties. The two countries have resolutely stood by each other during every trial and tribulation.

It should be noted on February 7, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb had announced that Shehbaz Shehbaz will be travelling to Turkey to condole President Erdogan on the devastating earthquake that hit the country.

Taking to Twitter, the minister wrote: “Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will leave for Ankara tomorrow morning, he will express his condolences to the Turkish president and to the people of Turkey over the destruction caused by the earthquake and the loss of life.”

However, the trip was cancelled back then.

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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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