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Pakistan

Fakhar Zaman’s whirlwind 66 sets up Qalandars victory

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Haider Ali’s enterprising 49 and Kamran Akmal’s attacking 41 not enough as Zalmi fall short in 200 chase

Lahore Qalandars 199 for 4 (Fakhar 66, Shafique 41, Irshad 2-47) beat Peshawar Zalmi 170 for 9 (Haider 49, Akmal 41, Zaman 3-32) by 29 runsHaider Ali’s enterprising 49 and Kamran Akmal’s attacking 41 weren’t enough for Peshawar Zalmi, as a whirlwind knock of 66 by Fakhar Zaman helped Lahore Qalandars to a 20-run win.

After Shaheen Afridi bowled Hazratullah Zazai off the third ball of the 200 chase with no run on the board, Akmal and Hussain Talat added 62 as Akmal went for the boundaries while Talat struggled to get going. But Zaman Khan got them both off back-to-back balls in the ninth over, first having Talat caught at deep midwicket before getting Akmal to chop on to his stumps.Akmal’s 41 came off 24 deliveries, including 4, 4 and 6 off successive balls in the fifth over against Rashid Khan, while Talat couldn’t make the most of three drops to limp to 15 from 24 deliveries.

But after Akmal fell, Haider ensured Zalmi didn’t lose the momentum, getting off to a rapid start after himself being dropped. With Mailk also gone and the required run rate up to nearly 15 with seven overs remaining, Rutherford also targeted Rashid, cracking 6, 4 and 4 off consecutive deliveries. However, Zaman Khan dismissed Rutherford for 21 from 11 balls, and despite Haider’s effort, Zalmi were left with too much to do in the end, as David Wiese nearly had a hat-trick for Qalandars with DRS reversing the umpire’s initial out verdict.

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And with the bat, Qalandars were set up by an aggressive 94-run opening stand between Fakhar Zaman and Abdullah Shafique. Initially, Fakhar Zaman was the one who went after the bowlers, scoring 26 off his first 13 balls after four overs. Shafique then upped the tempo, slamming Arish Ali for 6 and 4 off the first two balls of the next over.

At least one boundary was hit every over until Usman Qadir got Shafique for 41 off the last ball of the ninth to break the partnership.But Fakhar Zaman pumped Qadir for two more boundaries – the ball drooping off Haider’s fingers at deep square leg facilitated the six – before Talat got him for 66 in the 13th over. That is when Mohammad Hafeez, Kamran Ghulam and Rashid combined to provide the finishing touches to Qalandars’ innings, as they crashed 82 off the final seven overs, with Rashid hitting three sixes in an unbeaten eight-ball 22.

Via espncricinfo

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Democracy

The Political Imbroglio And The Solution

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It is unfortunate that despite being 75 years old, the country’s political and economic crisis is far from over. The leaders bereft of understanding and sensibility continue to exchange barbs in Assembly as well as through Press Conferences using derogatory language against each other crossing all moral frontiers.

The Political disarray and instability have impacted the Economy to the extent that the Dollar has rocketed upwards while the rupee continues to lose its value and slipped to its bottom due to falling exports and depleting foreign exchange reserves. IMF program on tough conditions and regulations has jolted the whole economic system and turbulent political instability has further worsened the situation to an alarming condition ahead if the incompetence continues to haunt the economic policies

In such circumstances, the political parties should show restraint and take serious steps to resolve this impasse that has overcast the clouds of uncertainty. The people are more concerned regarding the state and the fear of Default than their Political Parties or dirtiest political conspiracies and tactics to stick to corridors of power.

They have almost forgotten their role as reformers and problem solvers instead of just creating such a mess that is deteriorating the situation with each Passing Day. The Main Stream parties such as PPP, PML –N and JUI have joined hands to defend their overtures whether taking place by hook or crook. Their 15-party coalition seems to be at daggers drawn towards PTI as they have forgotten their national role to take the people out of the crisis. PTI is under the radar of the ruling coalition as the narrative built by Imran Khan has dusted their political future.

The tested and tried parties have got the power through conspiracy. However, they claim to have the legitimate right to rule the country by amending NAB laws and depriving overseas Pakistanis of the right to Vote fearing that extending the right to vote and EVM  may take these corrupt elements out of Election Winning race.

 Since they are well aware that the overseas Pakistanis have strong support for PTI so they want them out of Electoral Process. The Evil designs of this rejected class are crystal clear that they are not sincere with those expats from whose exchange the Pakistan economy gets strong support.

Furthermore, the governance crisis in the biggest province of Pakistan Punjab has further aggravated the situation. Since the resignation of CM Usman Buzdar, Punjab has been run either on an Adhoc basis without any Government or as Trust. The musical chairs between Hamza Shahbaz and Chaudhry Pervez for Punjab’s top slot have already messed up the situation and created a political crisis. Though the Supreme Court decision in favour of PTI Nominee Chaudhry Pervez Ellahi has so far cleared the air for time being.

Luckily, PTI and PML-Q coalition has been successful in installing their Government in Punjab and winning Speaker and Deputy Speaker slots. Though, the PML-N-led coalition has challenged the Speaker Election in the High court which is also ringing alarm bells if the high court terms the Speaker’s Election null and void.

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It is beyond understanding that on the one hand PTI demands General Elections to bring Political and Economic Stability of the country but on the other hand, it wants to hold Provincial Governments of KPK and Punjab. Especially, after regaining power in Pakistan’s largest provinces, PTI seems to have backed out from its General Elections Demand.

The existing Constitutional crisis is far from over as both PTI and PDM-led coalition are at loggerheads and making every effort to destabilize the PTI Government in  Punjab province, without it, the coalition appears to be limited to Federation as PTI has Government KPK and Punjab Province.

The politics of revenge, opposition, Ego and stubbornness has shaken the very roots of the country. The economic and political crisis seems to have no signs of ending given the polarized and selfish nature of the leaders.

The political imbroglio starting from the no-confidence motion is far from over as it is deepening with each passing day.

 The leadership crisis is evident from the prevalent state of affairs when the dollar is rising against the rupee and depleting foreign exchange reserves ring the alarm bells for the country but our political parties being devoid of sensibility continue infighting over the lust for power or the throne.

The Political theatre has opened many fronts that are increasing the risky journey ahead that includes electoral reforms, delimitation, falling rupee and terms of engagement with the IMF program and efforts to get the IMF tranche released. Even the Army chief approached the US to expedite the release of the tranche so the emerging economic crisis could be tackled and falling foreign exchange reserves could be increased.

The fuel price hike has already created inflation costing heavily to common men but the so-called coalition parties in power just show their teeth in mass gatherings that everything is going fine. Their non-serious attitude shows that they will not provide any relief to common people. They are concerned about the power and want to retain it for a long time as they believe that PTI after the en masse resignations saga, are out of the contest and they will not experience any opposition as PTI is not mulling over returning to Parliament terming the multi-party coalition as a mixed pickle.

The PTI terms the coalition as an imported Government since it was formed with external support. If the PTI MNAs return to Assembly, they will have the feeling that on their Government benches, they will find those criminals who were either convicted or sentenced.

Meanwhile, the acceptance of 11 MNAs of PTI by the Speaker National Assembly and their subsequent denotifying notification by the Elections Commission of Pakistan has added fuel to fire in the already polarized and turbulent political situation.

Fearing the adverse decision in the alleged Foreign Funding case by the Election Commission of Pakistan, the PTI passed Resolutions in both Punjab and KPK Assemblies demanding the resignation of the Chief Election Commissioner. Even PTI has decided to register a reference in the Supreme Court of Pakistan against Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja and their Members.

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The establishment being neutral or apolitical must come forward to unite the political forces so that the strategy is devised to revive economic growth and stop the rupee from further losing value. The judiciary is performing very well since it is proactive to help prevent the country from falling prey to turbulent political and constitutional crises.

Political leaders have their priorities than those of national interest which is causing the economy and stock market to crash.

The political debacle emancipating in Punjab Assembly has engulfed the entire country since all coalition parties were pressing hard to make full court to hear the case of Deputy speaker Mr Dost Mohammad Mazari’s ruling regarding PML-Q Party Chief alleged letter calling the MPAs to vote for Hamza Shehbaz instead of the Parliamentary party nominee Chaudhry Pervez Illahi who had a thumping majority in the House with 186 Votes against Hamza bagging 179 votes. But it was rejected by Supreme Court clarifying that the Full bench is not needed to decide the case and decided the case in favour of Chaudhry Pervez Illahi terming the Deputy speaker’s ruling null and void.

Since then the Political weather has become very hot and PML N-led coalition Government has built pressure on ECP to announce foreign funding cases of PTI to continue their political rivalry as they want that the PTI should be banned and Imran Khan should be sentenced for receiving funding from Israel and India. Their reliance on the outcome of PTI’s foreign funding case is aimed at Political rivalry with PTI chief Imran Khan and his Party due to its narrative of corruption.

The decision was reserved for eight years but finally, it is being announced after the ruling coalition exerted too much pressure on the Election Commission of Pakistan. The PTI will eventually challenge the decision. Political analysts are of the view that the Political crisis will further deepen and will further aggravate economic conditions and the Pakistani Rupee Slide against Dollar.

It is the need of the hour to have the charter of Economy and reach the consensus to hold early General Elections so that the Economic and Political situation may be stabilized with a new Government with a simple majority whoever gets it.

The concerns and fears do predict that ECP’s sudden decision to announce the foreign funding case will create the worst political crisis which will risk the economy and provide the opportunity for the country’s foes to conspire against the fragile state of affairs.

Let’s hope that whatever happens, it should not have any adverse effect on the country’s disarrayed political arena because the economic crisis, increasing Power tariffs and skyrocketing inflation have already made the life of common men miserable and the uncertain situation presenting a grim outlook that is dangerous for the country.

It is imperative for all the parties to sign a charter of the Economy so that economic conditions could be improved. It is in the national interest to have an apolitical COE that can put the economy on the right track.

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Analysis

Imran Khan’s graceless exit

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Leaders come and go, but the manner in which Prime Minister Imran Khan was ousted from power through a parliamentary vote of no confidence has no precedent in Pakistani history.

After the opposition had mustered the necessary support of the members of the National Assembly, Khan could have resigned and exited from power with grace. Instead, he chose to cling to power until the last moment by sabotaging the vote of no confidence proceedings, despite a clear verdict from the Supreme Court to complete the voting process on Saturday. A cricket legend who played politics like a T-20 match; he kept the nation on its toes until midnight. His ego seemed bigger than the country he led.

Khan promised to build a new ‘Naya’ Pakistan, a thriving nation free from corruption beyond the dynastic politics of the past. But his nearly four years of narcissistic rule have been so nightmarish that ultimately public representatives opted to vote for Old Pakistan.

Khan leaves behind a nation with deeply polarised politics, an economy nearing collapse, and a foreign policy that has ruptured relations with major powers and trusted allies. Challenges that will be difficult to surmount by his successor, Shehbaz Sharif, the leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.

Pakistan has a chequered political history. In the past half century, long military rules have been followed by unstable civilian eras. This instability is often the result of the military’s intrusion into politics. The current impasse is no different, except that the alternative leader the generals tried to cultivate eventually became a Frankenstein.

To be sure, the post-Musharraf transition to democracy is different from the previous two such transitions of the 70’s and 90’s in the sense that rapid urbanization in the past couple of decades has produced a middle class that is no longer apolitical. Khan’s personal charm galvanised this class, especially its youth segment, leading to the emergence of PTI as a potent challenge to mainstream political parties, including the PMLN and Pakistan People’s Party.

Instead of focusing on the economy, Khan pursued a vengeful accountability drive against the leaders of PMLN and PPP. Their character assassination by trolls on social media, with unfounded accusations of corruption and treason, has introduced a level of toxicity in politics never seen before.

Ishtiaq Ahmad

In the PTI’s rise, the military saw an opportunity to discredit both parties. Thus began the unique experiment of a regime built on the premise that civilian and military leaders would remain on the ‘same page.’ The bargain was that Khan would receive unwavering support from the military leadership and his government would, in return, deliver tangible economic outcomes through better governance. Keeping the opposition at bay was a shared interest.

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But this bargain took no time to flicker due to the bad economic start of the Khan regime. It wasted almost a year in negotiating a bailout package with the IMF worth $6 billion, which devaluated the rupee. The subsequent period has seen further economic mismanagement amid the global pandemic, curtailing the GDP growth rate from 5.9% in 2018 to 3.4% this year. IMF conditionalities have led to double digit inflation. Foreign borrowing has raised the debt burden significantly. The economic corridor project with China is derailed. Unemployment has also skyrocketed. There is deep public disillusionment as a result.

Instead of focusing on the economy, Khan pursued a vengeful accountability drive against the leaders of PMLN and PPP, who were hounded and jailed on alleged corruption charges that remain unproven in any court of law. Their character assassination by trolls on social media, with unfounded accusations of corruption and treason, has introduced a level of toxicity in politics never seen before.

Islam has been a convenient tool for both military and civilian leaders to divert public attention from real socio-economic issues. But the way Khan has used his religious narrative to cultivate support among the population has no parallel.

Under no circumstances does the military allow civilian leaders to play with its chain of command, but Khan crossed this red line. He also played the American conspiracy card, using a diplomatic cable from the ex-envoy in Washington to claim the no confidence motion was a US ploy to change his regime. All his opponents, he dubbed traitors.

Without the military’s support, Khan could not have made it to the premiership. Its top brassindeed bet on the wrong horse and may have learned a hard lesson. His reckless subversion of the constitution to keep himself in power has also annoyed the judiciary and, perhaps, a significant chunk of his urban middle class supporters who have already borne the brunt of indirect taxes under PTI rule.

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Despite his disgraceful exit from power, Khan retains a cult following among the youth. But with key PTI financiers drifting away and his own accountability about to begin, Khan’s political fate now hangs in the balance. The emergence of PTI as an alternative political force to cater to the rightful aspirations of the middle class was a good thing in the patronage-driven politics of Pakistan. Its demise – at the hands of its own leader – will be quite unfortunate.

Courtesy ARABNEWS

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India

Observance of Solidarity Day

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The Indian security forces have been using ruthless force to suppress the freedom struggle of the people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K), which they launched in 1989 after having been frustrated by the Indian intransigence to grant them the right of self-determination. According to reports compiled by human rights organizations and other authentic sources, since then, 95,791Kashmiris have been killed, more than twelve thousand women have been gang-raped and more than one hundred thousand houses have been destroyed.

The history of the freedom struggle is replete with innumerable incidents of bestiality committed by the Indian security forces. However, none of them can be compared to the brutality and callousness exhibited by them on January 21, 1990, when they resorted to indiscriminate firing on the demonstrators in Srinagar, who were protesting the molesting and rape of Kashmiri women at the hands of the Indian security personnel–killing 55 people and injuring dozens more.

The incident revived the memories of the Jalan Wala Bagh tragedy and justifiably caused severe outrage and resentment in occupied Kashmir, throughout Pakistan, and among the Kashmiri community the world over. A complete strike was observed in Pakistan on the 5th of February 1990 to protest against this dastardly act of the Indian troops. Since then February 5 is observed as Kashmir Solidarity Day in Pakistan and by the Kashmiri diaspora around the world.

The revelations by Indian Journalist Arnab Goswami about Modi orchestrating the Pulwama incident amply expose his fascism.

The observance of the solidarity day has assumed greater significance in the backdrop of the Indian move to change the special status of the state; its bifurcation into two regions and declaring them part of the Indian union virtually nullifying the UN resolutions; siege of the state and continuation of the killing spree. Reportedly, more than 400 Kashmiris have been killed since August 5, 2019, including 22 martyred during January 2022.

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India is in the grip of the proponents of the supremacist philosophy of Hindutva headed by Narendra Modi who by revoking the special status of IOJ&K and making it part of the Indian union has created a very dangerous situation posing a grave threat to peace and security in the region. He has not only ended the special status of IOJ &K but has also adopted a belligerent posture towards Pakistan which has brought the two nuclear powers face to face with each other. Modi is a cunning and callous enemy who can go to any extent to achieve his nefarious designs premised on the RSS ideology of “Hindutva.”

The revelations by the Indian Journalist Arnab Goswami that Modi had orchestrated the Pulwama incident in which more than fifty Indian soldiers were killed to win elections and finding an excuse to take action against Pakistan, amply exposes his fascism. He did send his planes to hit imaginary terrorist camps at Balakot in February 2019, though that incident ended in a lot of embarrassment for his government which cost it two planes and the capture of a pilot. The situation could have led to a full-fledged war between the two countries but the restrain shown by Pakistan and the intervention of friendly countries defused the situation.

Any such eventuality could have disastrous consequences for the entire region as any miscalculation on either side could easily trigger a nuclear war between the two countries. Pakistan has shown tremendous restraint over Indian provocations even though it was fully capable of giving a befitting response to any act of aggression against it as it proved last February.

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Continuation of tensions and the possibility of war between Pakistan and India can not go away until the Kashmir dispute is resolved in consonance with the UN resolutions. The world community, the powers which can help in having those resolutions implemented and pressurizing India to end the persecution of the people of the Indian Occupied Kashmir, must abandon their indifference to the plight of the people of Kashmir who are fighting for their right to self-determination.

The people of Kashmir undeterred by the Indian atrocities are continuing their struggle for freedom. Their resistance and freedom movement continue notwithstanding the brutalities perpetrated on them by the Indian security forces. Indian machinations have not been able to subdue their urge for independence and they would not relent until they are allowed to decide their fate as per the UN resolutions. India is holding Kashmir against the will of its people and its stance on the issue has no moral or legal basis. History is a witness to the fact that freedom struggles cannot be subdued with the barrel of the gun. Pakistan which is a party to the Kashmir dispute would not allow India to get away with her illegal occupation of IOJ&K and its annexation to the Indian Union in defiance of the UN resolutions.

India which is spilling the blood of Kashmiris and has crossed all limits of persecution must realize that it can neither keep doing it indefinitely. By continuing the persecution of Kashmiris and maintaining a belligerent posture towards Pakistan it is not only endangering peace in the region but also jeopardizing the security and economic well-being of its people.

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