Pak PM Imran Khan wins vote of confidence in National Assembly

News Network
March 6, 2021

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Islamabad, Mar 6: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday won a trust vote in the National Assembly amid a boycott call by the Opposition parties, strengthening his government's legitimacy after an embarrassing defeat of the finance minister in the hotly-contested Senate elections.

Prime Minister Khan secured 178 votes in the 342-member lower house of Parliament during a special session convened on the directives of President Arif Alvi. A total of 172 votes was needed for a simple majority.

The floor test took place without the Opposition as the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) – an alliance of 11 parties – boycotted the voting.

The 68-year-old cricketer-turned-politician had decided to take a vote of confidence in the lower house of Parliament after his finance minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh was defeated in the closely-fought Senate election on Wednesday. The Opposition demanded the Prime Minister’s resignation after the debacle.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi tabled a single-point resolution in the House.

"That this House reposes confidence in the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Mr Imran Khan, as required under clause (7) of Article 91 of the Constitution Islamic Republic of Pakistan," the resolution said.

A total of 172 votes in the 342-member House was needed for a simple majority. The ruling coalition had 181 members but after the resignation of one of its lawmakers, Faisal Vowda, its strength was reduced to 180. The Opposition coalition has 160 members in the House. One seat was vacant.

The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had 157 members in the NA but following the resignation of Vowda, it now has 156 members in the National Assembly. The ruling party has said that Vowda can vote during the trust motion as his resignation has not been accepted yet. However, the Opposition insisted that he cannot vote as he has tendered his resignation.

The ruling party's allies include seven from Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), five each from the Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) and the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), three from the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) and one each from the AML and the JWP.

On Friday, Prime Minister Khan chaired a meeting of parliamentary parties at the Prime Minister House (PMH) in which all Members of the National Assembly (MNAs) of the ruling alliance were asked to vote for the prime minister otherwise they can be disqualified.

According to a Cabinet member, 175 lawmakers of the ruling coalition attended the parliamentary party meeting at PMH.

Khan also held separate meetings with leaders of the ruling coalition partners. All allied parties -- the MQM, the PML-Q and the GDA pledged their support to him. 

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April 6,2021

Mangaluru, Apr 6: Vittal police in Dakshina Kannada district have arrested four more people, including the alleged kingpin of the notorious ’D’gang of Kerala 'in connection with opening fire at Kerala and Karnataka police recently.

Police said on Tuesday that the arrested are Abdul Rehman alias Rahim (25) of Miyapadavu in Kasargod district, said to be the kingpin of the gang, Rakesh Kishore Baviskar alias Rocky of Jalgaon in Maharashtra, Mohammad Fayaz alias Koova Fayaz (22) of Kadambar and Hyder Ali alias Hyder (20) of Mangalpady.

Police have seized three 7.65 mm pistols, a country made gun, 13 live bullets and a car from the accused. All four have been remanded to 15 days of judicial custody.

The accused had opened fire at a club at Uppala in Kasargod on March 25, against members of a rival gang and had escaped. They had even fired at Kerala police who chased them and had rushed towards Vittal on the Kerala-Karnataka border. Here also they fired at Vittal Police when cops tried to apprehend them.

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News Network
March 31,2021

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BioNTech-Pfizer said Wednesday their vaccine showed 100 per cent efficacy against the coronavirus in 12 to 15-year-olds, as they eye approval for adolescents to get the jabs before the next school year.

Phase 3 trials carried out on 2,260 adolescents in the United States "demonstrated 100 per cent efficacy and robust antibody responses", the companies said in a statement.

"We plan to submit these data to (US regulator) FDA as a proposed amendment to our Emergency Use Authorisation in the coming weeks and to other regulators around the world, with the hope of starting to vaccinate this age group before the start of the next school year," said Pfizer chief executive Albert Bourla.

Chief executive of German company BioNTech said the results showing high protection for teens were "very encouraging given the trends we have seen in recent weeks regarding the spread of the B.1.1.7 UK variant".

The BioNTech/Pfizer shot is based on novel mRNA technology and was the first Covid-19 vaccine to be approved in the West late last year.

Both the United States and the European Union have approved its use for people aged 16 and above.

Since then, it has been used in millions of adults in more than 65 countries.

A real world study involving 1.2 million people in Israel found it to be 94 per cent effective.

With the world scrambling to inoculate, BioNTech said Tuesday it was on track to manufacture 2.5 billion doses of its vaccine this year.

The higher output was driven by the recent launch of a new production site in the German city of Marburg, which is now one of the world's largest mRNA vaccine manufacturing plants, it said.

The vaccine is also being produced at a Pfizer plant in Belgium and at three sites in the United States.

BioNTech said improved efficiency and new cooperation agreements with outside partners had also helped lift its vaccine target, as had the regulatory nod allowing vaccinators to extract six instead of just five doses from a single BioNTech/Pfizer vial.

BioNTech and Pfizer last week began studies of the jab on children, with the first group of 5 to 11-year-olds getting the vaccine.

A younger cohort of 2 to 5-year-olds are expected to get their first dose next week in the study which will also cover children as young as six months old.

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News Network
April 10,2021

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Madinah, Apr 10: Saudi Arabia announced on Saturday that only Covid-vaccinated or immune worshippers were allowed to enter the Prophet’s Mosque in the holy city of Madinah.

According to Arab News, an official from the Ministry of Interior confirmed that the rule came in line with the Kingdom’s efforts to prevent the spread of Covid among worshippers during the holy month of Ramadan - 2021

Officials had earlier announced a slew of Covid safety protocols for the mosque. According to the Saudi Press Agency, the General President for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque, Abd Al Rahman Al Sudais, said on Saturday that the Prophet’s Mosque, or Masjid-un-Nabawi, in Madinah would hold a maximum of 60,000 worshippers at once.

As per Saudi authorities, the Prophet’s (PBUH) Mosque will be closed half an hour after the Taraweeh prayer and will be opened two hours before the dawn prayer.

The mosque will be open around the clock only during the last ten days of the Holy Month of Ramadan.

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