Jailed Imran Khan’s supporters lead as vote counting ends in Pak; Sharif-Bhutto hold talks to keep PTI away from office

News Network
February 11, 2024

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Islamabad, Feb 10: Pakistan's national election vote count concluded on Sunday with independents, mostly backed by jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan, winning 101 of the 264 seats, the election commission's website showed.

The independents were followed by the party of another former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, which won 75 seats - becoming the largest single party in parliament as Khan's independents ran as individuals.

The final tally was released over 60 hours after voting concluded in Thursday's national elections, a delay that has raised questions about the process.

Another blow 

Pakistan, which is struggling to recover from an economic crisis, was dealt another blow when the elections threw up a hung verdict. The country now faces days of political horse-trading as parties try to cobble together leaders to prove majority.

Key points

1.    Imran Khan, who is in jail and barred from contesting elections, managed to grab the headlines as independent candidates who support his party Pakistan Tehreek-Insaf (PTI) won 101 seats in the Pakistan general polls.

2.    But the party still fell 32 seats short of the majority mark needed to form the government.

3.    Pakistan election commission has attributed the delay to internet issues, due to which polling stations are facing difficulties transmitting the results.

4.    Nawaz Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League (N), which was backed by the Army and the favourite to win the polls, could manage just 73 seats in the 266-seat assembly. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari's Pakistan People's Party (PPP) won 54.

5.    Both Khan and three-time former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, declared victory yesterday increasing uncertainty over who will form the next government at a time when swift policy action is needed to address multiple challenges.

6.    The independents' strong performance points to former prime minister Imran Khan's enduring popularity among the nation's 241 million people, many of whom are struggling to make ends meet amid the fastest inflation in Asia.

7.    Several independents, backed by PTI, have alleged fraud in the election results and moved the high court. According to local media reports, several more candidates could approach the court over the next few days alleging that the votes were rigged.

8.    PTI is also expected to launch nationwide protests today as the final results of the elections have still not been released.  

9.    Gohar Khan, PTI chairman, called on "all institutions" in Pakistan to respect his party's mandate. At a press conference, he said if complete results of the polls were not released by Saturday night, the party would hold peaceful protests today outside government offices returning election results around the country.

10.    In a bid to keep Imran Khan's party away from the country's top office, Nawaz Sharif and Bilawal Bhutto are holding talks to join hands. But even with the combined strength, they will fall short of the majority by 6 seats.

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News Network
February 22,2024

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The Manipur High Court has deleted a paragraph from its controversial March 27, 2023 order that directed the state government to send a recommendation on Scheduled Tribe status for the Meitei community.

The order had led to massive ethnic violence in Manipur, with the tribal Kuki community opposing the court's direction.

A bench of Justice Golmei Gaiphulshillu stated that the judgment was passed in a "misconception of law" as the "petitioners failed to assist the court properly at the time of hearing of the said writ petition due to his misconception of fact and law".

Justice Gaiphulshillu noted that the order was contrary to the Supreme Court’s decision in the State of Maharashtra vs Milind & Ors, in which the top court had observed that courts cannot modify, amend or alter the ST list.

"Accordingly, the direction given at Para No. 17(iii) needs to be deleted and is ordered accordingly for deletion," the High Court directed in its judgment delivered on Wednesday.

The now-deleted para in the judgment stated: "The first respondent shall consider the case of the petitioners for inclusion of the Meetei/Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribe list, expeditiously, preferably within a period of four weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of this order in terms of the averments set out in the writ petition and in the line of the order passed in W.P.(C) No. 4281 of 2002 dated 26.05.2003 by the Gauhati High Court."

In October last year, the High Court allowed tribal organisations in Manipur to file an appeal against the March 27 order. Following this, an appeal was moved by All Manipur Tribal Union.

On January 20 this year, the Manipur High Court admitted a review petition seeking to modify its March 27 order and issued notices to the Centre and the state government, seeking their response.

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News Network
February 22,2024

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Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has slammed the heads of Muslim states for failing to cut their relations with the Israeli occupation regime.

During a meeting with the participants at the 40th International Qur'an Competition in Tehran on Thursday, the Leader called on Muslim countries to openly express their opposition to Israel, sever ties with the regime and cut off support for it.

Ayatollah Khamenei also called on people in Muslim countries to press their governments to take stronger action on Gaza.

Ayatollah Khamenei described the Palestinians' plight in the Gaza Strip as the most important issue of the Muslim world today, adding, "Certainly, the Muslim world is mourning for Gaza."

The Leader emphasized that the resistance forces in Palestine and Gaza are acting in accordance with the Holy Qur'an and are standing against the enemy, but wondered whether Muslim countries and their leaders were implementing the Qur'anic teachings regarding the Gaza situation.

Ayatollah Khamenei said the people of Palestine will achieve a victory through God's assistance, noting that the Muslim world would witness the destruction of the "Zionist cancerous tumor" by God's grace.

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News Network
February 26,2024

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An active member of the United States military has set himself on fire outside the Israeli embassy in Washington, DC, according to officials, in an apparent act of protest against Israel’s devastating war on Gaza.

The man, whose name was not immediately released, was rushed to the hospital on Sunday with “critical life-threatening injuries”, according to the US capital’s fire department.

The agency said emergency responders rushed to the scene just before 1pm (18:00 GMT) in response to a “call for person on fire outside the Israeli embassy”.

They arrived to find that officers from the US Secret Service had already extinguished the fire.

The US Air Force said that the incident involved an active duty airman.

US media reported that the man livestreamed himself on Twitch, wearing fatigues and declaring he would “not be complicit in genocide” before dousing himself in liquid.

He then lit himself on fire while yelling “Free Palestine!” until he fell to the ground.

The footage has since been removed from Twitch. Local police said they are investigating the incident.

The police also said an explosive ordinance disposal was requested to the scene in relation to a suspicious vehicle that may be connected to the individual. It later said that no hazardous material was found.

The Israeli embassy said that none of its staff members were injured, and all personnel have been confirmed to be safe, a spokesperson told the New York Times.

Israel’s embassy has been the target of continued protest against the Israeli war on Gaza. The protests started after October 7 when Hamas, the Palestinian group that rules Gaza, responded to Israeli barbarism though violent attack. 

Since then, Israeli forces have waged a brutal military campaign against the coastal enclave, laying much of it to waste, with nearly 30,000 people dead, according to Palestinian health officials.

In December, a protester set herself on fire outside the Israeli Consulate in Atlanta. A Palestinian flag was found at the scene, and the act was believed to be one of “extreme political protest”.

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