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JI hopeful PPP will address its reservations regarding Sindh LG polls

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Jamaat-i-Islami

Jamaat-i-Islami’s (JI) Hafiz Naeemur Rehman said on Thursday that he was hopeful the PPP, the ruling party in Sindh, would address the former’s reservations about the recently held local government elections.

He made the remarks after meeting with a PPP delegation led by Saeed Ghani, who is also the provincial information minister.

The meeting came days after the JI chief levelled serious allegation of rigging against the PPP, which led Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to contact him over the phone and assure him that legitimate concerns regarding the polls would be addressed.

It is pertinent to mention that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has taken notice of alleged irregularities in six union councils (UCs) amid accusations by JI emir Sirajul Haq and PTI chairman Imran Khan that the PPP used the Sindh government’s resources to “manipulate the results”.

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At the outset of today’s press conference in Karachi, Rehman said that recounting of votes was underway in some places, due to which problems were arising.

“We have forwarded our complaints regarding what happened on the day of the polls to the election commission. In some places, the presiding officer along with the ballot box were picked up.”

He said that the main issue the party had was with obtaining the Form 11 and 12 and the subsequent “changing of the results”.

“We contacted the election commission and also the PPP to resolve this matter.” He noted that the ECP would hear the party’s reservations regarding some UCs on January 23.

“But UCs which are facing recounting issues […] recounting is a legal process but if illegal moves are made during a legal process, then it makes the whole exercise fake [sic] which has happened in this case.”

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He further said that the party had informed the Sindh government and the PPP of its reservations regarding the LG polls. “I hope that Saeed Ghani bhai and his whole team will look at the issue and things will be resolved. We will wait and if things improve then there will be more talks.”

For his part, Ghani congratulated the JI for securing a “good number” of seats during the LG polls. He said that the PPP had contacted the party in an effort to hear their reservations and complaints.

“We have been saying for the past few days, since the results started coming in, that we want PPP and JI to work together in the city’s local bodies.

“This is a good opportunity for this city, the people and the local bodies that two mature political parties work together to improve the situation.”

He accepted that the JI had “grievances and complaints” regarding the LG polls. “As you know, when elections take place, the entire exercise comes under the election commission and its laws.

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“So a lot of things do not fall under the government. Despite that, we assured them that if the Sindh government can play a part in addressing the JI’s reservations, then it will do so.”

He noted that the JI had taken the legal route to address their grievances, saying that this was their “right”. “We will not become an obstacle in this regard or oppose it in anyway.”

He further said that electoral watchdog had taken notice of the six UCs which the JI had expressed reservations about. “The district returning officer and the returning officer have been stopped from working further. There is no activity being carried out there.”

He said that the Sindh government would accept whatever decision the ECP made and would move forward according to the law. He said that the two parties would settle the matter and would continue to talk so that they could reach a “better end result”.

Responding to a question, Ghani expressed the hope that JI would also “surely” wish to work with the PPP in the near future.

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pakistan

Fuel shortages loom amid Pakistan’s economic woes

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Fuel shortages loom amid Pakistan's economic woes

Pakistan could face a crunch in fuel supplies in February as banks have stopped financing and facilitating payments for imports due to depleting foreign exchange reserves, traders and industry sources said.

The country is facing a balance of payments crisis and the plummeting value of the rupee is pushing up the price of imported goods. Energy comprises a large chunk of the import bill.

Pakistan typically meets more than a third of its annual power demand using imported natural gas, prices for which shot up following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“There is no shortage this fortnight. If we don’t have LCs (letters of credit) open right now, we might see shortages in the next fortnight,” a senior official at one of the oil companies told Reuters.
A letter of credit issued by the importer’s banks is a standard form of payment guarantee in the oil trade to the exporter.

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Oil traders, however, are shunning countries such as Pakistan and Sri Lanka due to an acute shortfall of foreign exchange. Pakistan on Sunday raised petrol and diesel prices by 16 per cent to Rs249.80 a litre and is in talks with the International Monetary Fund to unlock a suspended bailout package.

State-owned refiner Pakistan State Oil (PSO) and Pakistan LNG Ltd have left a flurry of fuel tenders unawarded in the last couple of months.

At an industry meeting on financial challenges faced by fuel importers, State Bank of Pakistan officials cited “severe liquidity issues” faced by the country for delays in the opening of LCs, according to a Jan 19 letter from Imran Ahmed, director general of oil, reviewed by Reuters.

At the same meeting, the managing director of PSO said a gasoline cargo due for loading on Jan 13 has already been cancelled due to the non-opening of LCs. “He added that the country is having limited stocks and such a situation can lead to dry out,” according to the letter.

Previously, the Oil Companies Advisory Council (OCAC), representing refining, pipeline, and marketing companies, also flagged that delays in the opening of LCs could “lead to a fuel shortage in the country”.

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In a Jan 13 letter to the Ministry of Finance, OCAC said Pakistan needs to import around 430,000 tonnes of gasoline, 200,000 tonnes of diesel, and 650,000 tonnes of crude oil every month, costing $1.3 billion to meet local demand.

“If LCs are not established on a timely basis, critical imports of petroleum products would be impacted which may lead to a fuel shortage in the country,” the OCAC said.

Pakistan bought only 223,000 tonnes of gasoline in December versus 608,000 tonnes in the same period a year earlier, data from Kpler showed. In January this year, the country was projected to import 270,000 tonnes of the fuel, compared with 393,000 tonnes in the same month in 2022, the data showed.

Some banks have denied delays in issues of LCs, while SBP did not respond to a Reuters email seeking comment.

“If there are no issues with LCs in Pakistan then why have the SBP and sector been holding meetings all of last week?” a senior official from one of the oil companies said.

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PSO said last week it was ensuring a seamless supply of gasoline and oil across the country and had ample stocks.

It also said its import cargoes were arriving smoothly as planned.

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PM encourages UNEP to support Pakistan’s rehabilitation efforts

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PM encourages UNEP to support Pakistan's rehabilitation efforts

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday stressed that Pakistan, being one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, needed a global response to build resilience.

The prime minister stated this in a meeting with Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Program (UNEP), who is on an official visit to Pakistan.

PM Shehbaz Sharif appreciated the work being done by UNEP and called for enhanced efforts to address climate change, biodiversity loss, and ecosystem degradation, more effectively. He regarded climate change as one of the defining issues of present times.

The Executive Director briefed the prime minister on the initiatives being taken by UNEP in Pakistan.

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The prime minister also encouraged UNEP, as part of the UN system, to contribute to and support Pakistan’s efforts to build back better and greener after the devastating floods in the country.

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Fascist mindset trying to remove Shujaat as PML-Q president defeated: Marriyum

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Fascist mindset trying to remove Shujaat as PML-Q president defeated: Marriyum

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb said on Tuesday the fascist mindset that planned to remove Chaudhry Shujaat as the PML-Q president was defeated. 

In a tweet, she congratulated PML-Q president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and said the order of the Election Commission of Pakistan was a message that the decisions would be made in the light of the Constitution and the law, not in darkness.

The fascism of burning, demolishing, killing, picking up and throwing away was not imposed in the country now, she said. Now everything would be done according to the constitution and law, she added.

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