Punjab Assembly Speaker election, luxury items import, NCA-Bahria Town deal

Notes from the newsroom

Here are some of the stories from the previous night and the developments we will be following today, Friday, July 29, 2022:

Speaker Punjab Assembly election

The Punjab Assembly is all set to elect a new speaker on Friday to fill the position left vacant by Pervaiz Elahi who has become the province’s chief minister.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s (PTI) Sibtain Khan and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Saiful Malook Khokhar filed the nomination papers on Thursday.

The session will be held at 4pm Friday to elect the new speaker of the house.

The opposition — comprising PML-N and PPP — is hedging its bets on the secret ballot and the PTI has little room for maneuver on this issue as the Supreme Court of Pakistan has already declared in its March 2021 ruling that all elections, except for prime minister and chief minister, shall be held through secret ballot as provided by the Constitution.

The PTI on Thursday also moved a no-confidence motion against Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari.

Elahi-led PML-Q faction looking to remove Shujaat

The Pakistan Muslim League –Quaid’s (PML-Q) central executive committee met in Lahore on Thursday to pave way for the removal of Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain as the party head.

The meeting was called on the instruction of PML-Q Punjab President Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi who sided with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) along with nine MPAs of the party, against the instruction of party chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain.

PML-Q’s Senator Kamil Ali Agha told reporters after the meeting that Shujaat’s health was affecting his political decisions and the party has decided to remove him as president.

A general council meeting will be called in ten days, he said.

Ban on import of luxury items to be lifted

the government has warmed up to the idea of lifting its ban on the import of luxury goods even as it decided to reach out to Moscow seeking a cheaper rate for the import of wheat.

This was decided during a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Federal Cabinet on Thursday which met at the Finance Division.

The ministry contended that to curtail the rising current account deficit (CAD), a ban on the import of about 33 classes and categories of goods was imposed in May. Consequently, the overall imports of banned items shrunk by over 69%, from $399.4 million to $123.9 million.

After serious concerns were raised by major trading partners on the ban, a review meeting was held to consider the impact the ban had on supply chains and the domestic retail industry.

Given that imports saw a substantial reduction due to consistent efforts of the government, the ECC decided to lift the ban on imported goods.

Here is the list of goods cleared for import

Govt to complete term

Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has announced that the coalition government will complete its term.

Addressing the media in Islamabad alongside PML-VP Maryam Nawaz Sharif on Thursday night, the PDM head said elections will take place on time in 2023.

He added that the PDM meeting, held earlier, decided to send a presidential reference for a full court interpretation of Article 63A of the Constitution.

In case you missed it

Details of confidential NCA-Bahria Town deal

The government of the United Kingdom has shared the details of a secret deal between M/s Bahria Town Pvt Ltd and the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) with Pakistan.

The development comes as a major blow to the PTI and Imran Khan, who are trying to keep the deal secret and have gone to court against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

The PTI government on behalf of Pakistan signed the deal ‘Deed of Confidentiality’ between the NCA and M/s Bahria Town Pvt Ltd, reveal the official documents SAMAA TV’s premier Investigation Unit has had an access to.

The documents also disclose that the PTI government authorized Mirza Shahzad Akbar, the then head of the Assets Recovery Unit, to sign the said agreement on behalf of the state of Pakistan.

Read the full story here

Punjab Assembly

bahria town

Malik Riaz

Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi

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