Here’s what is happening across the border: Printing of most expensive ballot paper starts for July elections as a transgender activist declares assets worth Rs 100 million.
Pelted with stones in Karachi, Bilawal returns to campaign
As many as 100 residents of Karachi’s Lyari neighbourhood began pelting stones at Pakistan People’s Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s convoy as it was crossing the area Sunday, Dawn reported. The protesters also raised slogans of “Go Bilawal go!”
The convoy was on its way for an election campaign rally. Although Bilawal, son of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto remained unhurt, two party members were injured in the incident.
Despite the attack, the young leader later returned to Lyari’s NA-246 constituency to carry on his campaign work, reported The News. It drew praise from his mother’s close friend and leader of opposition, Sherry Rehman.
Brave son of a brave mother: @BBhuttoZardari goes right back to the place where his convoy was attacked. The crowds were roaring with joy to see him in their midst. Would not have missed this for the world pic.twitter.com/sBwPOycs72
— SenatorSherryRehman (@sherryrehman) July 1, 2018
PPP leader Nabeel Gabol said that 20 to 25 “extremists” attacked the procession and alleged that the party’s political opponents were behind the attack.
Patharao etijaj nahi hota. Jab koi pathar marta hain to woh ehtijaji nahi, sharpasand banjata hain. Kal Kia bandooq chlana etijaj hoga? Proud of ppl of lyari who didn’t respond to the politics of violence. Sending saboteurs to opponents events rebrehnsible. pic.twitter.com/02EiY8zNak
— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) July 1, 2018
Kalri police filed a case against unidentified persons Sunday evening over charges of injuring some people and damaging property.
Judges stop PIA from rebranding airline with markhor, national animal
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), the country’s national carrier, appears to be suffering as much as its Indian counterpart with the Supreme Court ordering an audit of the airline’s accounts for the last ten years, to find those responsible for its Rs 280 billion loss, reported The Express Tribune.
In its ruling, the two-judge bench of Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and Justice Munib Akhtar also put on hold the airline’s rebranding efforts, in which the airlines sought to use the national animal, Markhor (a wild goat species), as its symbol.
The court was hearing a suo moto case against possible irregularities in PIA. It also questioned the appointment of managing director Musharraf Rasool Cyan, which was challenged by the PIA workers union.
A report published last year highlights that PIA has liabilities of Rs 406 billion while its assets total just Rs 111 billion. The report also mentions that PIA “lacks the capability to improve its performance given the core competency gaps in the whole organisation.”
For transparency, country gets ‘most expensive’ ballot paper
The ballot papers to be used in the 25 July elections have started being printed as per the schedule of Election Commission of Pakistan, reported Dawn. Each ballot paper will cost Rs 10 – reportedly the most expensive in the country’s history. More than 210 million are reported to be printed with over Rs 2 billion expected to be the estimated total cost, reported Daily Times.
The papers, being printed at centres in Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad, are said to have been imported to maintain transparency in the elections with the army deployed at the printing facilities.
The government is also printing a higher number of ballot papers than the estimated requirement to ensure that there is no shortcoming on the day of the elections.
Transgender activist declares assets worth Rs 100m
Almas Boby, a transgender activist, declared over Rs 100 million in assets while filing for the country’s latest tax amnesty scheme with the Regional Tax Office (RTO) under the Voluntary Domestic Assets Declaration Scheme, 2018 reported, The Tribune.
According to the scheme, the Federal Board of Revenue cannot ask people to reveal their sources of income before availing the scheme.
Boby declared approximately Rs 110 million worth of assets and paid around Rs 5.5 million tax at the rate of 5 per cent.
While the law also guarantees complete secrecy to those who avail the scheme, an RTO official violated the law and posted Almas Boby’s picture on his Facebook page.
Journalist Reham Khan condemned on social media
Imran Khan’s former wife Reham Khan faced backlash on Twitter Saturday, when she posted a photo of her “wearing a beard”, reported The Express Tribune.
So a while ago I was offered to join a party. I said I might not be able to cover my face but I could grow a beard..looks rather fetching on me. pic.twitter.com/URXyfJc0jL
— Reham Khan (@RehamKhan1) June 29, 2018
She also mocked Khan and his political party, Pakistan Tehreek -e- Insaf (PTI), writing, “dear PTI I am looking for someone to edit my book cover…. wanna help?”
According to the newspaper, Reham’s total attire resembled a known scholar, Ismail ibn Musa Menk, who is a Muslim cleric and Grand Mufti of Zimbabwe. Some users called it disrespectful to Mufti Menk, while others termed it as a ‘disgraceful’ act.
Disgusting, unfortunate & sad!
This is disrespect not only to @muftimenk but also you!
How low will they go☹️
— Umair Alam (@UmairAlam75) June 29, 2018
— Tayyaba ☘️ (@TeeEnn15) June 29, 2018
The book Reham refers to is her “tell-all” autobiography, which is scheduled to publish in July or August. The book reportedly contains details of the journalist’s interactions with various celebrities and her marriage to the cricketer-turned-politician.
Army rescues two foreign mountaineers, recovers one body
The Pakistan Army rescued two British mountaineers and retrieved the body of an Austrian climber, stranded at the Ultar Sar peak in the Hunza Valley, after a deadly avalanche hit their tent. While the two Englishmen, Bruce Normand and Miller Timothy, were rescued from the 19,000-feet high peak by helicopter, the victim has been identified as Christian Huber, an Austrian who succumbed to injuries sustained in the incident, reported the Press Tribune.
Not often do you see mountaineers rescued from a height of 5,800 metres by a heli — a Pakistan Army helicopter rescues British mountaineers Timothy Miller and Bruce Normand stranded enroute to 7,388 metres high Ultar Sar in Gilgit-Baltistan pic.twitter.com/v8jwl8xww5
— omar r quraishi (@omar_quraishi) July 1, 2018
DG ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor tweeted about this incident that took place on Sunday.
Pakistan Army pilots in a daring mission rescued 3 foreign mountaineers stuck in snow avalanche at above 19000 feet high Ultar Sar Peak near Hunza. Bruce Normand & Miller Timothy from UK successfully rescued alive while Christian Huber from Austria had succumbed to avalanche. pic.twitter.com/z0OyaCE63H
— DG ISPR (@OfficialDGISPR) July 1, 2018
The British High Commissioner to Pakistan, Thomas Drew expressed his gratitude over the rescue efforts.
A remarkable and dangerous rescue. Our gratitude to the Pakistan Army pilots who rescued two British climbers trapped by an avalanche on Ultar Sar Peak near Hunza. Our thoughts with their Austrian fellow climber who did not survive the avalanche. pic.twitter.com/WKfvkb0KcA
— Thomas Drew (@TomDrewUK) July 1, 2018
In light of soaring forex, China feeds country with $1 billion
China has lent Pakistan $1 billion to boost the country’s sinking foreign currency reserves, amid speculation that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) may offer the country another bailout, reported Reuters.
The loan is being seen as a sign of Islamabad’s increasing dependence on the Chinese. It also comes when its foreign currency reserves recorded a dip from $16.4 billion in May 2017 to $9.66 billion last week.
China’s loan to Pakistan at the end of its fiscal year in June now stands to cross $5 billion.
Under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Pakistan is to receive $57 billion from Beijing in order to strengthen ties.
However, after the 25 July general elections, it is expected that the new government will approach the IMF for financial support.
Contributors: Sharanya Munsi, Hansa Kapoor, Manisha Mondal, Alind Chauhan, Prateek Gupta, Rupanwita Bhattacharjee, Anagha Deshpande and Soniya Agrawal.