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PM Shehbaz stresses unity to tackle terrorism at apex committee huddle

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PM Shehbaz stresses unity to tackle terrorism at apex committee huddle

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday called for national unity by setting aside differences to tackle the menace of terrorism as the country recently witnessed one of the deadliest attacks on security forces in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s capital Peshawar amid new wave of terrorism sparked since November last.

The premier expressed this view while addressing a huddle of the Apex Committee at the KP Governor House days after a suicide bomber targeted worshippers in a mosque of the Peshawar Police Lines – one of the highly-fortified zones – killing over 100 people and injuring more than 200 others. 

The meeting was attended by KP’s caretaker Chief Minister Azam Khan, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, Punjab’s interim CM Mohsin Naqvi, Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir, and officials of intelligence agencies. The moot was called to consider steps to eradicate terrorism and upgrade the Counter-Terrorism Department and police in the wake of the deadly terrorist attack.  

Expressing solidarity with the families of the victims of the Jan 30 suicide blast in Peshawar, the premier said every stakeholder should play its role to eradicate the menace of terrorism. Mr Sharif said political, social and religious leadership was united for eliminating the menace of terrorism from the country, adding: “We will continue to fight until eradication of terrorism in the country”.

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Describing the Peshawar attack as the most horrific incident after the APS tragedy, he raised concerns over the resurgence of terrorism as it had been weeded out a few years back. He said several terror incidents were reported in the last few months in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. “The whole nation is in shock,” he remarked.

The premier also called into question the use of Rs417 billion funding provided to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government in the last 10 years under the National Finance Commission Award to maintain security. He said the KP, where the PTI has been ruling since 2013, could have established a forensic lab and the Safe City Project. “There had been peace in the province if the KP government would have spent even half of the provided funds,” he commented.

The premier admitted security lapse in the Peshawar incident but, at the same time, dispelled rumours that the mosque was targeted in a drone attack. He rejected such allegation as baseless and asked people to avoid such an inappropriate behaviour.al

He asked the nation to put up a united front against terrorism by setting aside the differences, adding that all constitutional institutions should play a role to bring unity in the country. The premier vowed to provide assistance to the northwestern province to boost strength against terrorism. He said he had convened an All Parties Conference (APC) on Feb 7 to discuss ways to overcome the current national challenges. He mentioned that invitation had also been extended to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to attend the conference. 

In an indirect criticism of the PTI, he said the terrorists were allowed to settle here but they (PTI leaders) were not ready to work with the government for the sake of the country’s future. 

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In the key huddle, the premier also touched on the topic of the government’s negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation which is visiting Pakistan for the ninth review of a $7 billion loan programme. Mr Sharif revealed that the delegation of the global lender was giving a tough time to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and his team as its conditions are beyond the imagination. 

Saying Pakistan was facing tough economic challenges, he said there was no other option except implementing the conditions of the IMF to revive the loan programme.

On the occasion, PM Shehbaz also announced compensation for the victims of the Peshawar blast. He announced Rs2 million compensation for each family of the martyred and Rs500,000 for each injured person.

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NDMA alerts for intense rainfall, thunderstorms from April 17

NDMA alerts for intense rainfall, thunderstorms from April 17

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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.

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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.

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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.

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President summons NA session on April 19

President summons NA session on April 19

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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.

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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’.  

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President Zardari for strengthening economic, cultural ties with Turkiye

President Zardari for strengthening economic, cultural ties with Turkiye

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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.

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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. 

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