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General elections to take place in last week of January: ECP

General elections to take place in last week of January: ECP

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced on Thursday that general elections in the country will take place in the last week of January 2024.

The electoral body said the initial list of delimitations, which are being carried out in line with the new census, will be published on September 27.

The ECP said it reviewed the progress on the delimitation process today and decided that the final list of constituencies will be published on November 30 after hearing the objections and suggestions related to the delimitations. 

Subsequently, the polls will be held in the last week of January 2024 following the completion of the 54-day election schedule, the ECP statement added.

IMF wants Pakistan to tax the rich to protect poor

NEW YORK: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Wednesday advised Pakistan to tax the wealthy in order to provide relief to the poor segment of society.

In an exclusive conversation after meeting with caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said, “Of course, it is difficult but Pakistan has to do it in line with the IMF programme as we stand by the people of Pakistan.”

To a question, she said it is in the interest of the people of Pakistan that the country revitalises its economy and addresses some of the “shortcomings” of the past, in reference to reforms the lender is asking the country to execute.

Pakistan has signed a $3 billion bailout package with the IMF under which it has agreed to restructure the bleeding energy sector, introduce reforms in state-owned enterprises, and increase tax collection.

However, the steps taken by the government have made lives difficult for the masses as a massive hike in electricity and petrol prices has pushed inflation to a record level.

The IMF has rejected the proposals floated by the caretaker government to provide relief amid skyrocketing food and energy prices.

“Let me send a simple message to everybody in Pakistan. What we are asking in our programme is please collect more taxes from the wealthy and please protect the poor people of Pakistan,” Kristalina Georgieva noted.

“I do believe that it is in line with what people in Pakistan would like to see for the country.”

Earlier, PM Kakar — who is in New York to attend the 78th UNGA session — termed the meeting with the IMF chief as “constructive”.

He said that the meeting “emphasized extending our mutual commitment towards bolstering economic stability and growth in Pakistan”.

Confusion prevails over suspension of Indian visa services for Canadian nationals


OTTAWA: Amid deepening tensions between New Delhi and Ottawa over Sikh leader’s killing, India´s official visa processor in Canada said Thursday it had been told to stop handling applications.

Shortly after the announcement was splashed across Indian media, BLS removed the notice from their website. There was no immediate comment from India´s foreign ministry.

An official at New Delhi-headquartered BLS said they did not want to be quoted and referred AFP to Indian authorities.

“Important notice from Indian Mission: Due to operational reasons, with effect from 21 September 2023, Indian visa services have been suspended till further notice,” BLS International had posted on their website Thursday.

Canada´s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has demanded India treat with “utmost seriousness” allegations that Indian agents played a role in the June murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar near Vancouver.

The fallout prompted tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions and a forceful denial from India, which said any suggestion it played a role in Nijjar´s killing was “absurd”.

The suspension of visas comes a day after India´s foreign ministry said it was concerned for the safety of its citizens in Canada because of “politically-condoned hate crimes and criminal violence”.

“Threats have particularly targeted Indian diplomats and sections of the Indian community who oppose the anti-India agenda,” a ministry statement said Wednesday.

“Indian nationals are therefore advised to avoid travelling to regions and potential venues in Canada that have seen such incidents.”

The advisory did not name specific cities or locations for Indians to avoid.

Nijjar was shot dead by two masked assailants outside the Sikh temple he presided over in Surrey, an outer suburb of Vancouver.

An activist for the creation of a Sikh state known as Khalistan, Nijjar was wanted by Indian authorities for alleged terrorism and conspiracy to commit murder.

He had denied those charges, according to the World Sikh Organisation of Canada, a nonprofit organisation that says it defends the interests of Canadian Sikhs.

The Indian government accuses Ottawa of turning a blind eye to the activities of Sikh nationalists who advocate the creation of an independent Sikh state to be carved out of northern India.

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