Connect with us

pakistan

Beirut blast victims’ relatives rally for embattled probe judge

Published

on

Beirut blast victims' relatives rally for embattled probe judge

Families of victims killed in the 2020 Beirut explosion rallied Thursday to support the judge investigating the disaster, after he was charged by Lebanon’s top prosecutor in the highly politically case.

Security was tight at the palace of justice in Beirut, where dozens of family members of the victims gathered “to support the investigation” led by investigative judge Tarek Bitar.

One of history’s biggest non-nuclear explosions, the August 4, 2020 blast destroyed much of the Lebanese capital’s port and surrounding areas, killing more than 215 people and injuring over 6,500. No official has been held accountable for the disaster.

Bitar this week defied Lebanon’s entrenched ruling elite by daring to charge several powerful figures — including prosecutor general Ghassan Oueidat — over the blast, and revived a probe that was suspended for over a year amid vehement political and legal pushback.

Advertisement

Oueidat in turn charged Bitar for insubordination and for “usurping power,” calling him for questioning on Thursday — a summons Bitar is not expected to attend.
He also ordered the release of all those detained in the case, and slapped a travel ban on Bitar.

The organisation of families of those killed called the move against Bitar a “political, security and judicial coup d’etat”.

Relatives of the victims and rights groups have blamed the disaster on an entrenched political class widely seen as inept.

Lebanon has a history of political assassinations, and authorities are now “entirely responsible for the judge’s safety,” the families warned.

Bitar, handling the biggest case since former prime minister Rafik Hariri’s 2005 assassination, was forced to suspend his probe for 13 months after a barrage of lawsuits, mainly from politicians he had summoned on charges of negligence.

Advertisement

The judicial arm-wrestling between Bitar and Oueidat is the latest of crisis-torn Lebanon’s mounting woes, as the value of the national currency hit new record lows against the US dollar this week.

On Wednesday, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International called on the United Nations Human Rights Council to “urgently pass a resolution to create an impartial fact-finding mission” into the port explosion.

“The Lebanese authorities have repeatedly obstructed the domestic investigation into the explosion,” the joint statement said.

Advertisement

pakistan

NDMA alerts for intense rainfall, thunderstorms from April 17

NDMA alerts for intense rainfall, thunderstorms from April 17

Published

on

By

NDMA alerts for intense rainfall, thunderstorms from April 17

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) as per the latest projections from the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) and multiple weather models, in its advisory has highlighted a series of moderate to intense weather systems to cause rainfall and thunderstorms in the country from April 17th to 29th.

“These weather patterns are anticipated to bring heavy rain, thunderstorms, and hailstorms, posing significant risks to various parts across the country,” said the NDMA news release issued on Wednesday.

The forecast indicated that a weather system would enter Pakistan on April 17th, initiating a period of heavy rainfall and thunderstorms lasting until April 22nd.

“The system will influence Balochistan from April 17th to April 19th, followed by impacts on Punjab and Sindh from April 18th to April 19th. Upper Punjab will experience the effects from April 18th to April 21st, while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) will be affected from April 17th to 22nd April,” the advisory said.

Advertisement

Following this, a weaker weather system was expected to enter Pakistan on April 23rd, bringing low rainfall and thunderstorms to certain parts of the country until April 24th.

While Balochistan and upper Punjab would experience slight impacts from April 23rd to April 24th, KP, GB, and AJK would also be affected.

However, Sindh was not expected to be impacted during this period.

Subsequently, a strong weather system is forecasted to enter Pakistan on April 25th, bringing heavy rain, thunderstorms, and hailstorms with occasional gaps until April 29th. This system will affect Balochistan from April 25th to April 29th, with intermittent gaps. Sindh will experience impacts on April 25th, 26th, and 28th, while South Punjab will be affected from April 27th to April 28th. Upper Punjab will face the brunt from April 26th to April 29th, while KP will experience effects from 25th to 29th April, potentially impacting GB and AJK from April 25th to April 29th.

The expected rainfall may trigger flash floods in local nullahs of vulnerable areas, including Khuzdar, Ziarat, Zhob, Sherani, Muslim Bagh, Quetta, Pishin, Kech, Panjgur, Gwadar, and Turbat. Flooding may also occur in low-lying areas during the forecast period, particularly in southern western Balochistan.

In the light of these projections, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has issue dinstructions for Provincial Disaster Management Authorities (PDMAs), District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMAs), and other relevant line departments to remain vigilant and prepared to respond to any emergent situations. It is imperative for departments to ensure the pre-placement of machinery and the availability of relevant staff in vulnerable areas.

Advertisement

Local departments are urged to sensitize residents living along riverbanks and associated nullahs about the expected increase in water flows, and to facilitate timely evacuation of at-risk populations from low-lying and flood-prone areas as per evacuation plans. Additionally, citizens are advised to take extreme precautionary measures, such as staying away from electric poles and weak infrastructure, and refraining from driving or walking in waterways.

Farmers, cattle owners, tourists and travelers are also advised to remain cautious during this period, checking weather and road conditions before traveling, and taking necessary steps to protect crops, livestock, and personal safety.
For further updates and information, citizens are encouraged to stay tuned to local weather forecasts and advisories.

Continue Reading

pakistan

President summons NA session on April 19

President summons NA session on April 19

Published

on

By

President summons NA session on April 19

President Asif Ali Zardari has summoned the session of the National Assembly on Friday, April 19, 2024 at 10:30 am.

The president summoned the session of National Assembly in exercise of the powers conferred by article 54(1) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

In previous session, Aseefa Bhutto Zardari, daughter of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and President Asif Ali Zardari, took oath as a member of the National Assembly.

National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq administered the oath to Aseefa.

Advertisement

During the session, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari provided headphones to Aseefa Bhutto Zardari to reduce the noise disturbances as PTI MNAs raised slogans calling for the release of the PTI founder.

Following Aseefa Zardari’s swearing-in, PPP members also chanted slogans in support of the Bhutto family like ‘jiye Bhutto’.  

Continue Reading

pakistan

President Zardari for strengthening economic, cultural ties with Turkiye

President Zardari for strengthening economic, cultural ties with Turkiye

Published

on

By

President Zardari for strengthening economic, cultural ties with Turkiye

President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday called for further enhancing bilateral cooperation with Turkiye in the areas of trade, economy, education and culture.

The president, talking to Ambassador of Turkiye in Pakistan Dr Mehmet Pacaci, who called on him, said that Turkish companies should benefit from the investment-friendly policies of the country and invest through the Pakistan Stock Exchange.

Welcoming the ambassador, the president said that the people of Pakistan and Turkiye had historic and long-standing ties, adding that the two nations had always supported and stood by each other in difficult times.

President Zardari stated that Pakistan could benefit from the Turkish development experience, especially in the area of infrastructure development.

Advertisement

In order to promote regional connectivity, he suggested undertaking a joint feasibility study to establish a railway connection between the two brotherly countries. The president also underlined the need for increasing educational and cultural exchanges to further promote people-to-people contacts. He said that Pakistan looked forward to welcoming Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to the 7th High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council session in Pakistan.

President Zardari also expressed his gratitude for President Erdoğan’s congratulatory messages on his election as President of Pakistan as well as at the beginning of Holy Ramazan. He also conveyed his warm greetings and sentiments for the future success of the Turkish president. 

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © GLOBAL TIMES PAKISTAN