Prime Minister Orders Removal of KP Minister After Viral Video Shows Horse Trading During Senate Polls

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has ordered removal of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Law Minister Mahmood Khan after a video from 2018 showing him and other lawmakers counting cash ahead of the Senate polls went viral on social media. Ministers Shibli Faraz and Asad Umar, during a press conference today, referred to a video from 2018 circulating on social media in which several lawmakers can be seen counting cash reportedly ahead of the Senate polls. However, the ministers seemed unaware that the video also shows the present Law Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Sultan Mahmood.

The sitting provincial minister’s involvement in horse trading, as evident from the video, had led to demands for his sacking.

Media reported that the PM has directed KP CM to remove the law minister for his involvement in horse trading.

Information Minister Shibli Faraz and Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar said that the central government wants to bring end to vote selling.

The video is from 2018 before the Senate elections. Some MPAs from KP are taking money to sell their vote. This is not recent news. We have been hearing for the last 20-30 years that Senate elections are sold, consciences are sold but it is heart-rending for any person who has a conscience [to see this],” said Asad Umar.

After investigating into the matter, 20 lawmakers were ousted from the party.

As senate elections draw closer, the premier had previously expressed his wish to conduct the Senate elections through the open ballot.


Harry Styles was the fashion inspo behind Miley Cyrus’s iconic Super Bowl look

Even the most iconic fashion icons have taken inspiration from British singer Harry Styles’s sartorial choices.

The latest is Miley Cyrus who took a cue from the former One Direction member with her look for TikTok’s Tailgate Super Bowl pregame live stream with Billy Idol.

The Wrecking Ball hit maker flaunted her many stunning looks for the event which also included a black and pink cheerleading uniform and a matching jersey with football-esque pants.

However, the one look that became the talk of town was the one from before the show during rehearsal that reminded us of the glory of Harry Styles.

Wearing a Kermit green football jersey with denim cutoffs by Gucci’s Ouverture collection, Cyrus reminded fans of Styles as he wore the same but in pink during seven-part miniseries, Guccifest.

Check out their looks below: 

Openers should not be changed after every one or two series: Misbah ul Haq

Former Pakistan cricket team captain and current Head Coach Misbah ul Haq said that openers, despite being out-of-form, should not be changed after one or two series. 

Misbah was speaking to media virtually where he admitted that Pakistani openers were currently “out-of-form”.

“We will work on their mistakes, I will be present in the National High Performance Centre and we will work on them [openers] for a month-and-a-half.”

Misbah said that Pakistan cannot afford to waste its openers, adding that they should not be dropped after only one or two series.

“We will work on Abid Ali, Shan Masood, Imran Butt and Abdullah Shafique because only they are the ones who are performing at the moment [among openers in the domestic circuit],” he said.

‘Players have a lot of potential’

The Pakistani head coach said that after trouncing South Africa 2-0 in the series, the green shirts’ morale was high. He said the team will attempt to continue their winning run in the T20s as well.

“This is not a very experienced side but they have a lot of potential,” he said. “They will take advantage of opportunities. I can’t even say this is an entirely inexperienced side because it has some players that have been consistently playing for the team,” Misbah added.

Misbah said he had backed Faheem Ashraf and Mohammad Rizwan because he knew they were talented cricketers. “Both are performing continuously for Pakistan. We needed a bowling all-rounder at the seventh position and Faheem Ashraf has filled that for us,” he added.

He praised Player of the Series Mohammad Rizwan, adding that the wicketkeeper was a hard worker who wanted to avail opportunities. 

Home series was very important for us, says Misbah

“This home series was very beneficial for us,” he said. “For one, the team at home performs well in its own conditions and there is no pressure on them,” Misbah added. “Secondly, it provides an opportunity to develop the players.”

The former Pakistan captain said he did feel pressure about whatever the cricket committee had said after the green shirts lost the away series to New Zealand recently. “The only pressure was of the team performing well and winning the Test series,” he said, adding that credit for the series victory goes to the entire squad.

“The lower order played well. Bowlers and batsmen were performing well for over a time period but we weren’t getting any success,” he said. “Our fielding improved this Test series. We didn’t miss any chances hence I believe our fielding made the difference.”


PM Imran Khan seeks ways to cut indirect taxes

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday asked his economic team to pay special attention to reduction of indirect taxes, being a burden on the poorest sections of society.

He maintained that the burden of indirect taxes falls on the poorest sections, so special attention should be paid to reduce the burden. At the same time, the prime minister directed the economic team to come up with suggestions to reduce taxes on goods, so that relief could be provided to people, especially the poor and the middle class. He was presiding over a meeting of the government economic team, which considered possible measures to reduce the prices of basic necessities and provide relief to the common man. The meeting was attended by Federal Ministers Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Asad Umar, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Advisors Abdul Razak Dawood, Dr. Ishrat Hussain, SBP Governor Dr. Reza Baqir, Special Assistants Dr. Waqar Masood, Nadeem Babar, Tabish Gohar and senior officers. The meeting also considered various proposals for providing targeted subsidies to deserving families under the Ehsas programme.

Addressing the meeting, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the first priority of the government was the interest of the common man. “Poor people are affected most by difficult economic conditions, so providing them with all possible relief is the top priority of the government,” he added.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan praised efforts of the Ministry of Climate Change and directed it to actively look into the possibility of net zero emissions for Pakistan, which may become possible with the enhancement of the carbon sequestration potential. He expressed the views chairing a meeting of Prime Minister’s Committee on Climate Change. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Minister for Planning Asad Umar, Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan, Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda, Chief Ministers Sardar Usman Buzdar of Punjab, Mahmood Khan of KP and Jam Kamal Khan of Balochistan, SAPM Malik Amin Aslam, Minister of State Zartaj Gul, SAPM Dr. Moeed Yousaf and senior officials attended the meeting.

The meeting reviewed the latest inventory reserves of Green House Gases and progress made on Ten Billion Tree Tsunami programme. It was informed that Pakistan’s emission growth is 9pc below the Business as Usual baseline and also below the NDC (Nationally determined commitments). The climate-friendly shift has been made possible due to an increased forest cover as a result of successful the Billion Tree Tsunami project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the ongoing Ten Billion Tree Tsunami programme across the country.

SAPM on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam informed the meeting that the deforestation rate had significantly been reduced from 12,000 hectares/year to 8,000 ha/y from 2012-2016 and will further fall after the success of the tree project. The meeting was informed that Pakistan was contributing less than 1pc to global emission. The overall ranking of the country vis-à-vis total emissions has shifted from 135 in 2015 to 133 in 2018 on per capita ranking. Highlighting other successes, he told the meeting that Pakistan had increased its mangrove cover by 300pc during 1990-2020 which is a strong carbon sequestering tool. It is the largest mangrove cover increase in the world, he claimed.

The meeting was informed that the country was ranked 8th in terms of the Climate Vulnerability Ranking and faced threats of rain variability, urban flooding, increased temperature and formation of glacial lakes.

Pakistan is set to achieve the first billion tree target by the middle of 2021, which will be celebrated across the country, the meeting was informed. Additionally, Pakistan is on target to achieve Phase-I of 3.2 billion trees by 2023. The committee was also briefed that the consortium of three international agencies, including WWF, IUCN and FAO had already started their work for third party monitoring of the tree programme. The meeting was informed that 80,000 jobs were offered during COVID-19 under the tree project.

Underscoring the need for putting in place an early warning system to mitigate impacts of erratic climate change. The prime minister directed ensuring complete transparency, including actively engaging SUPARCO, for satellite imagery in the execution of the project.


Bitcoin rockets to new highs as Tesla takes it mainstream

Bitcoin extended gains on Tuesday to a record high as the afterglow of Tesla Inc’s investment in the cryptocurrency had investors reckoning it would become a mainstream asset class for both corporates and money managers.

Bitcoin has more than doubled over two months as institutional investors search for alternative wealth stores and retail traders ride the wave. Monday’s leap after Tesla’s announcement was its largest daily rise in more than three years.

It traded at a record high of $48,216 late in the Asian afternoon on Tuesday. Rival cryptocurrency ethereum had made a record high of $1,784.85 in the early morning.

Shares of companies that provide trading platforms for bitcoin and the technology to “mine” the cryptocurrency surged in China, South Korea, and Australia, and big computer chip making companies such as SK Hynix also rose.

The US dollar slumped against most currencies.

Analysts figure Tesla’s announcement that it had bought $1.5 billion in bitcoin and that it would take the cryptocurrency as payment for cars is part a of a larger shift as companies and big investment houses follow small traders into the asset.

“While you can now buy a Tesla with bitcoin, I wouldn’t suggest doing so,” said Michael Bucella, partner at crypto investment firm BlockTower on CNBC. “We’re in a position where these are the earliest phases of an allocation to bitcoin from the institutional and corporate community.”

Bitcoin is already up 62 per cent this year, on top of a 300pc rally last year, as investors search for alternatives to the greenback because of the United States Federal Reserve’s 0pc interest rates.

Central bankers and regulators, particularly in China, are also starting to embrace issuing their own digital currencies for everyday use, in a major break from the conventional workings of global finance.

“Digital currencies, it seems clear to us, are going to be an increasing part of financial architecture very broadly and potentially portfolios moving forward,” Ben Powell, APAC chief investment strategist at BlackRock’s Investment Institute said on CNBC.

“There isn’t just news in the US with the bitcoin situation, but in China we’ve got a rollout of China’s digital currency with so-called ‘red packets’.”

Tesla boss Elon Musk has long been a cryptocurrency fan — he has talked them up online — but Tesla’s hard currency investment came as a surprise that has put a rocket under the sector.

Even dogecoin, a joke cryptocurrency with a dog as its symbol, has seen its value turbocharged after Musk mentioned it on Twitter. It has jumped by 13pc in the past day, according to CoinMarketCap.

China’s Feitian Technologies Co Ltd, which makes technology for digital payments, rose 4.47pc on Tuesday.

Beijing will issue 10 million yuan ($1.55 million) worth of digital currency to residents that can be used during the Chinese New Year holiday starting on Thursday, domestic media reported.

In addition, Chinese are expected to send billions of yuan to each other during the weeklong holiday via chat apps like WeChat — digital versions of traditional ‘red packet’ envelopes filled with cash.