Author: Sajjad Ali

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan has finalized preparations for the upcoming by-elections in 21 constituencies across national and provincial assemblies. Scheduled for April 21, the polls will fill five national and 16 provincial assembly seats, originally intended for 23 constituencies. Already, results have been declared for two seats: Aseefa Bhutto Zardari secured NA-207 Shaheed Benazirabad unopposed, and Zubair Ahmad Junejo won PS-80 Dadu uncontested. Among the notable vacancies are NA-8 Bajaur, NA-44 Dera Ismail Khan-I, NA-119 Lahore-III, NA-132 Kasur-II, NA-196 Kamber Shadadkot-I, and NA-207 Shaheed Benazirabad-I at the National Assembly level. Challenges arose in NA-8 Bajaur and PK-22 Bajaur-IV…

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Federal Energy Minister Sardar Awais Ahmad Khan Laghari has reached out to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur, requesting a meeting to discuss strategies to combat electricity theft. Laghari emphasized the importance of police assistance in curbing this issue and urged the Chief Minister to personally oversee the cooperation of law enforcement agencies. Highlighting the significant financial losses incurred by Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO) and Tribal Areas Electric Supply Company (TESCO), Laghari underscored the necessity for immediate action to address the sustainability concerns of the power sector. He also identified the challenge of weak government enforcement in TESCO-managed…

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has reached out to United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Muhammad Bin Zaid Al-Nahyan to express gratitude for the UAE’s response to the recent heavy rains in Pakistan. Sharif highlighted the devastating impact of the severe rains in Pakistan, resulting in the loss of numerous lives. He emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts to address the challenges posed by climate change, underscoring the need for mutual cooperation between both nations in this regard. President Sheikh Muhammad Bin Zaid Al-Nahyan reciprocated Sharif’s sentiments and extended his best wishes. Both leaders affirmed their commitment to enhancing bilateral cooperation…

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Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, has issued a stern warning to Israel, stating that Tehran will retaliate forcefully if Israel acts against Iranian interests. Speaking to NBC News, he emphasized that Iran will not react unless provoked by Israeli aggression. Amirabdollahian clarified that Iran considers the recent incident, reported as an Israeli attack, as something different. Despite reports of a missile strike in Isfahan, Iranian officials maintain that no such attack occurred, instead claiming to have intercepted several drones. In response to Iran’s actions, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu affirmed Israel’s right to self-defense but did not specify any immediate…

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BEIJING: China has voiced its opposition to any actions that could exacerbate tensions in the region, following reports of explosions near the city of Isfahan in Iran. Beijing’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Lin Jian, stated that China is aware of the reports and firmly opposes any actions that could escalate the situation further. This statement from China comes amidst US media reports suggesting that Israel carried out a missile strike on a site in Iran. Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency confirmed the explosions in Isfahan, while official Iranian television announced flight delays in several cities. Iranian officials claimed to have downed…

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Dubai-based flydubai airline announced the cancellation of its flights to Iran following an official alert, as stated in a release. The suspension of flights to Iran is in compliance with the NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) issued. Additionally, one flight en route to Tehran had to return to Dubai as Iran’s airport was closed. Flight operations were disrupted across parts of Iran amidst reports of explosions in the central province of Isfahan, as per state media. Commercial flights were observed avoiding western Iran, including Isfahan, and altering routes to bypass the capital to the north and east. There has been no…

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The Afghan economy, under Taliban rule since 2021, grapples with severe challenges, with over half of the population now living below the poverty line, as per the World Bank. In January 2024, inflation hit a record high of 10.2%, adding strain to citizens already facing financial difficulties. Afghanistan saw a substantial decline in exports by $32.9 million and imports by $99.2 million between February and March 2024, according to the Taliban National Statistics and Information Authority. A significant blow to the economy comes from an anticipated 87% drop in coal exports by 2024, as projected by the World Bank. Unemployment…

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The Centre for Afghanistan, Middle East, and Africa (CAMEA) at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) organized a Seminar to launch the Pakistan Africa Institute for Development and Research (PAIDAR). The seminar’s theme focused on ‘Reviving the Bandung Spirit of Afro-Asian Solidarity: Pakistan-Africa Relations,’ with Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, President of PAIDAR, delivering the keynote address. Moderated byAmina Khan, Director of CAMEA, the seminar featured esteemed speakers including Ambassador Sohail Mahmood, Director-General of ISSI; Mohammed Karmoune, Dean of the African Envoys Corps and Ambassador of Morocco;  Mary Nyambura Kamau, High Commissioner of Kenya to Pakistan; Jemal Beker Abdulla, Ambassador…

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NAIROBI 10 people, including the army chief, died as a result of a helicopter crash in Kenya. Confirming the army chief’s death in the crash, Kenyan President William Ruto announced that a military helicopter crashed shortly after takeoff on Thursday, killing 10 people, including army chief General Francis Ogola. After the tragic accident, the President of Kenya declared three days of mourning in the country. The President further informed that two soldiers survived the helicopter crash and were shifted to the hospital. He continued to say that an investigation team has been formed to find out the cause of the…

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The United States Embassy in Israel has implemented travel restrictions for its personnel in response to recent drone attacks in Iran. The embassy issued a statement outlining the measures, aiming to ensure the safety of American diplomats amidst heightened security concerns in the region. The decision to restrict certain trips comes as tensions escalate, prompting the embassy to take precautionary steps. Under these restrictions, US government employees and their families are prohibited from personal travel outside specific areas, including greater Tel Aviv (encompassing Herzliya, Netanya, and Even Yehuda), Jerusalem, and Be’er Sheva until further notice. The embassy emphasized the dynamic…

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