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The political scion of elder Sharif accomplishes Punjab throne takeover

The political scion of elder Sharif accomplishes Punjab throne takeover

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The political scion of elder Sharif accomplishes Punjab throne takeover

By Raja Arsalan Khan

Maryam Nawaz – a much-hated personality by the rivals – will now run the affairs of Punjab – Pakistan’s most populace province – after facing all the negative media coverage and political victimisation for years. It’s certainly an achievement.

Another distinction is to become the first woman chief minister in the country’s history, as she will face all the propaganda that the strong women face around the globe. Her job is, however, even more challenging given the fact that the PTI founding chairman has made the obsolete jirga culture and other repressive anti-women traditions popular in the society – the first mainstream politician in Pakistan to do.

But February 26 will be remembered in the history for the fact that the political scion of the elder Sharif has taken over the throne of Punjab – the stronghold of Nawaz Sharif who failed in his bid to enter the prime minister office for a record fourth term, but still remains a kingmaker most influential politician in Pakistan.

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Maryam Nawaz has been crowned after everything was employed to make Nawaz Sharif a history. It was repeatedly announced that his politics had come to an end and no one would even mention his name. However, the project failed – at least partially. Yes! They are able to stop him from governing Pakistan again, but he has managed “transfer of power” to his scion, which itself another first for the country.

THE HATE

Rivals from all castes and creeds obviously hate the Sharif clan, especially Nawaz Sharif. So the fury towards his political heiress isn’t surprising. But it is Maryam Nawaz herself who has created more enemies thanks to her views on political affairs, which ended up she being listed as an undesirable hardliner.

In a TV interview some years ago, she didn’t hesitate noting that Nawaz Sharif should have adopted a stricter approach during his 2013-17 government – a clear sign what was to come.

Maryam Nawaz stood by her father like rock and pleaded her case vigorously when the PML-N had seemingly entered hibernation. She replicated her mother Kulsoom Nawaz who had challenged Pervez Musharraf after the 199 coup.

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She kept the party alive and resonated with the people due to her sheer bravery. The PML-N support base had already accepted her as the future leader much before 2024 and everyone within the party knows they are nothing without Nawaz Sharif. Just check where the likes of Chaudhry Nisar, Sardar Mehtab Abbasi, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Miftah Ismail are right now.

But the PDM government damaged the vote bank and only elder Sharif’s return salvaged the PML-N, which begins and ends with Nawaz Sharif in the recently held elections. Their views about the no-confidence motion and the strategy after that are well-known.

THE DIFFERENCE

The sole aim of the post-Oct 30, 2011 political and social engineering was to remove Nawaz Sharif from political landscape, but his understanding and mastery of realpolitik meant that it wasn’t an easy job. Using all the state apparatus and unleashing mainstream and social media didn’t work. However, it was his daughter proved to be a major hurdle.

In a completely hostile environment, she didn’t surrender and challenged those openly who had used Panama Papers to remove the three-time prime minister.

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One can easily say that the PML-N would have nothing to attract the supporters if a docile Shehbaz Sharif was the party’s face in Nawaz Sharif’s absence. Maryam Nawaz is the difference, making her a magnate to attract all the hatred.

THE CHANGE

It was the PTI which projected itself as the change in all spheres of life. But the only thing it brought to Pakistan is the resettling the TTP terrorists and mainstreaming the love for redundant tribal and feudal values – no one had ever dared to do so at the national level in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, those trying to highlight this hypocrisy on the part of PTI founder was laughed at in media and by liberal and progressive intelligentsia, thus keeping their tradition of missing the main point.

At the same time, everyone [intentionally] ignored another fact – the rising number of women, especially the young ones, attending the PML-N rallies and meetings. Obviously, a massive transformation for a conservative party like PML-N.

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One shouldn’t forget that this trend was visible even before 2013 elections, but gained momentum after Maryam Nawaz started actively participating in politics.

So, the change isn’t just at the top political level. It is much deeper at social level and has been transforming the PML-N support base. However, the opinion makers won’t talk about it because it negates the myth of “all youth for PTI”.

THE ODDS AND THE CHOICES

Maryam Nawaz will surely face resistance from hostile media and political enemies. No one welcomes the coronation of a foe. But similar reaction is expected from within the party as well as by bureaucracy. It isn’t easy to digest an independent woman.

At the same time, her success will mainly depend upon how quickly she is able to stamp her authority and provide some visible relief to the inflation-stricken masses. She can’t control the energy tariffs and dollar exchange rate, but should be able to ensure that the district administration is in action to make the traders and retailers follow the daily price lists for food items and control hoarding.

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This single measure will exhibit the fact that the state has returned – a missing item since 2018 – and give people some hope by showing that there is a government which can control the affairs.

As far as the development projects are concerned, public transport should be a focus, as skyrocketing transportation costs are only fuelling inflation and worsening the cost of living crisis. The existing mass transit systems in Lahore, Rawalpindi and Multan must be expanded and introduced in other urban centres.

Meanwhile, improving and expanding the healthcare infrastructure and services must remain the top government job. It’s the post-18th Amendment Pakistan, where the provinces have all the financial resources and powers.

Maryam Nawaz must avoid the “underpass and signal-free corridor development model” followed religiously by the caretaker government. Spending public money for the 5 per cent affluent car owners isn’t development, it is serving the elite and their cronies.

On the other hand, there is nothing wrong in revisiting the past policies. Hence, Maryam Nawaz must understand that Pakistan can’t afford transfer of money to the private hospitals through health card. She must solely work on developing health sector across Punjab so that the people have access to all the modern services at their doorstep.

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THE CONNECTION

The history-making Punjab chief minister must ensure that she remains in touch with the people and listens to their demands and grievances. Her policies, actions and persona must reflect the masses’ desires and ambitions. It’s not a difficult job. She has Nawaz Sharif’s political rise as a model. His rivals laughed at him for paye and nihari as well as accent, but the same criticism made him acceptable to the ordinary people.

For this purpose, she must develop a mechanism that provides continuous and unhindered feedback. There is nothing in spending 30 or 40 minutes out of 24 hours daily on reading the responses and suggestions given by the people.

Similarly, she should remove all the hurdles both within the party and the government to make her more accessible to the masses and thus new ideas. Those “blocking the view” can’t be true friends, they must be serving their own interests.

Maryam Nawaz can also tilt the balance in her future by reducing dependence on the traditional PML-N voters by attracting more women [not from the affluent] who can influence others around them. It will be a huge development in a country like Pakistan where women mainly follow the male family members.

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Lastly, the working and lower-middle classes as well as the “genuine middle class” in both urban and rural areas should be sole target of Maryam Sharif – a priority that must be reflected in her appearance, political policies and development model.

The urban upper middle class as well as those faking as “middle class” should neither be the target population nor they can be trusted for any loyalty shift in future. They will always remain as the base of anti-Nawaz Sharif forces.

No matter what happens, Maryam Nawaz can’t afford one losing one thing – being disconnected from the masses. Too much is at stake right now. It’s all about Nawaz Sharif’s legacy and her political future.

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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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