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Shehbaz Sharif raises minimum wage of govt employees to Rs25,000

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  • The decision is applicable from April 1, 2022.
  • Shehbaz announces 10% increase in civil, military pensions.
  • Newly elected PM says the parliament’s security committee would be given a briefing on the “threat letter”.

ISLAMABAD: In his first speech in the National Assembly as the prime minister of Pakistan, Shehbaz Sharif Monday raised the minimum wage of government employees to Rs25,000 which is applicable from April 1.

He further announced that 10% salaries will be increased of all people earning less than Rs 100,0000 per month, with effect from April 1. Shehbaz also announced a 10% increase in civil and military pensions of retired employees.

Following the ouster of PTI chairman Imran Khan from the office of the prime minister, the Opposition’s joint candidate Shehbaz Sharif was elected as the 23rd premier of Pakistan today.

Shehbaz secured 174 votes as opposed to PTI’s candidate Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who received no votes after his party decided to boycott the polling process.

The premier mentioned that it was for the first time in the history of Pakistan that a prime minister was ousted through the no-confidence motion.

Among other relief measures, PM Shehbaz said that cheap wheat will be introduced at utility stores, laptops will be provided to the youth, and Benazir Card will be introduced.

‘We need to wash out the effects of previous govt’

Regarding the economy of Pakistan, Shahbaz said if Pakistan were to progress, then it needs to be self-sufficient on the financial front.

“…we will need to protect and respect the nation as neither was anyone a traitor nor are they traitors now,” the prime minister said, noting if Pakistan’s economy were to move forward, then, the government will have to use “dialogue” and not move towards a deadlock.

PM Shehbaz Sharif said hard work was required for Pakistan’s progress as if only statements could move the country forward, then during PTI’s tenure, “we would have been among the leading nations.”

“We will need to wash out the effects of the previous government by working together, otherwise, we will fail […] our economy is in a bad situation right now,” the prime minister said.

Shehbaz said the new government would take steps to make Pakistan an “investment heaven” for investors as he noted their capital would help the country move forward.

He announced that despite Punjab “being the elder brother” if all the other provinces remain behind in terms of development, then it is not Pakistan’s development, it was just a single province’s development.

“…this servant of Pakistan vows to make sure that Pakistan will develop and not just Punjab,” Shehbaz said.

He said the government would reintroduce the Benazir Card and interlink it with the education sector in a bid to facilitate people whose children go to school.

“Our children should be equipped with great knowledge […] we will reintroduce this programme with consultation,” he said and lashed out at the PTI government for discontinuing it.

In-camera briefing on ‘threat letter’ 

The newly-elected prime minister said the Opposition was discussing the no-confidence motion days before Imran Khan’s “concocted threat letter controversy”.

“They say that this letter came to them on March 7, but our decisions were made way before that, so, if [what the previous government claimed] is a lie, then the matter should be disclosed transparently before the public,” he said.

Therefore, PM Shehbaz Sharif announced that the parliament’s security committee would be given a briefing on the “threat letter” to the members of the committee in presence of the armed forces personnel and bureaucrats — the director-general Inter-Services Intelligence, foreign secretary, and the ambassador who wrote it, who has now been transferred to Brussels.

“If there’s an iota of evidence that we were backed by foreign conspirators […] then with you Mr speaker and God as my witness, I will not think for another second and resign from the office of the prime minister,” PM Shehbaz Sharif said, vowing to hold an in-camera session of the security committee at the earliest.

The prime minister thanked his brother and ex-premier Nawaz Sharif for his support, while also lauding social media activists, press clubs, media houses, and lawyers for backing the Opposition’s struggle for democracy.

Take on foreign policy

Speaking about foreign policy, Shehbaz said China has been Pakistan’s partner through thick and thin. “No one can snatch Pakistan and China’s friendship from us,” he said, calling it a “long-lasting relation.”

He also reiterated that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will be carried forward and the projects will move forward at a faster pace.

On relations with the United Kingdom, Shehbaz said that bilateral relations need to move forward as millions of Pakistanis live there, adding that the UK provided funding for education in all four provinces. Meanwhile, Shehbaz also maintained that relations with the US must also be established on equal grounds.

Speaking about India, the newly-elected prime minister lamented that despite them wanting peaceful ties with India, they know that until the Kashmir issue is resolved, relations between the two cannot be strengthened.

“Urging Indian premier Narendra Modi to understand the issues of the people living on both the sides; there is poverty, unemployment, medical issues, etc,” he said, questioning “why harming ourselves and the generations to come?”

He said Modi should come forward and resolve the Kashmir issue according to the will of the Kashmiris and reiterated that his government will continue to raise its voice for the people of Kashmir.

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Meeting with the President: The Need for Preventive Measures to Avoid Expensive Treatment

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According to President Dr. Arif Alvi, adopting preventative measures against various ailments is essential to avoiding costly treatment, and these practices would also lessen the strain on the healthcare system.

He was speaking with a Pakistan National Heart Association team when they paid him a visit at Aiwan-e-Sadr.

The President received a report from the delegation detailing the organization’s successes and operations.

The President emphasised the need to raise public awareness of the need of taking preventative steps to ward off heart disease and non-communicable illnesses.

In addition, he emphasised the need of the media, the local populace, mosques, and non-governmental organisations in raising this kind of knowledge in addition to using the newest media outlets to disseminate awareness.

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Meeting with COAS: Gen Asim to Reach National Agreement on Reducing Intolerance, ASP Shehrbano

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Lady Police Officer Syeda Shehrbano Naqvi has received praise from Army Chief General Syed Asim Munir for calming a tense situation and defending a woman in Ichra Bazaar, Lahore, from a violent crowd.

When the Army Chief met with Assistant Superintendent of Police Syeda Shehrbano Naqvi in Rawalpindi, he emphasised the value of social cohesion and the necessity of national agreement on reducing bigotry.

He acknowledged the important role Pakistani women have played in all spheres of society since the country’s independence and stated that because of their skill, perseverance, and dedication, they have made a name for themselves both domestically and internationally.

According to the Army Chief, women play a crucial role in Pakistani culture and are respected in both our social and religious ethos.

He placed a strong emphasis on the rule of law and cautioned against enforcing laws on oneself when there are legal channels available to resolve issues and complaints.

Syed Asim Munir emphasised the enduring theme of love and generosity found in Islam, pointing out that arbitrary measures based on heresy damage society’s perspective.

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The departing caretaker government gives NEPRA and OGRA the authority to announce tariffs.

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The NEPRA and OGRA were given the authority to announce tariffs at the eleventh hour by the departing caretaker administration.

Reportedly, the caretaker administration changed the regulation to remove the government’s involvement in tariff announcements and made this significant decision over rising gas and electricity rates.

According to the sources, the federal cabinet has authorised changes to the OGRA and NEPRA regulations, allowing them to publish tariff alerts independently.

According to reports, the caretaker federal cabinet has adopted steps that would allow Nepra to notify consumers about gas and electricity rates.

According to the sources, the modifications will establish appellate tribunals for public complaints.

The already suffering customers were further burdened by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority’s (NEPRA) announcement earlier on Tuesday of yet another hike in power costs.

As part of the fuel price adjustment (FCA) for January 2024, an increase in power prices of Rs 7.5 per unit has been authorised. The higher cost would be seen in consumers’ bills in March 2024.

Approved under the FCA, this hike affects all consumer groups with the exception of K-Electric (KE) and lifeline users. According to estimates, customers who are already struggling with high expenditures would bear an extra burden of Rs66 billion as a result of this raise.

Previous reports suggested that tariffs may increase, as the Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA) requested that NEPRA boost prices by Rs7.13 per unit due to FPA

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