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Pakistan’s Energy Crisis Worsens as Gov’t Fails to Finds Bidder to Supply Natural Gas Before 2028

Samizdat – 04.10.2022

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that the European countries are purchasing most of the gas supplies available on the market, leaving Pakistan with no source of energy. Similar concerns about difficulties experienced by the ‘Global South’ in meeting their energy demands have been voiced by Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar.

Islamabad has failed to find even a single bidder in response to a tender floated by Pakistan LNG Limited (PLL) for supplying liquefied natural gas (LNG) between 2023 and 2028, as per an official document.

As per tender documents, the PLL had in August invited bids for the supply of 72 units of LNG cargo starting in January next year. Under the terms of the tender, the government agency said it wanted to import 140,000 cubic meters of LNG every month for six years. The results of the bid were published on Monday.

A tender for procuring 10 cargoes of LNG floated by the Pakistani government in July had also failed to attract even a single bidder.

The latest development comes against the backdrop of an ongoing energy and economic crisis in the South Asian country, which is grappling with power shortages owing to a shortfall in energy supplies spurred by high prices and a surge in demand in the European countries.

Pakistan has also been facing the problem of depleting forex reserves and is awaiting the disbursement of $1.17 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after reaching a staff level agreement (SLA) in July.

Billions of dollars in aid are also awaited from other countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the authorities have said.

S&P Global said last month that power shortages have been exacerbated by unprecedented flooding, as major grid stations have been endangered due to the climate disaster and connectivity options have been disrupted.

Before the floods struck in June-July, Pakistan was already reeling under high energy import bills, which had surged 91 percent to $4.98 billion on a year-on-year basis as of the end of the financial year in June, as per the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

A report by Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) has said that energy import bills could increase to more than $32 billion by 2030.

The global surge in energy prices has largely been blamed on Western sanctions against Russia in the wake of the eruption of Ukraine crisis, with many European countries looking for alternatives to Russian energy.

As the EU seeks to draw down its reliance on Russia, which has been EU’s primary supplier of gas, many EU countries have ramped up their imports from other countries such as Qatar, another major producer of natural gas.

In many cases, the richer EU nations have been offering better rates for sourcing energy than the developing countries.

October 4, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

Soaring Energy Prices Force Pakistani Industrialists to Close Businesses

By Aneela Rashid – Samizdat – 20.09.2022

Pakistan has a young and growing entrepreneurial population, with English as the main language for business, but inflation, as well as the recent political turmoil and devastating floods, are making it difficult for industries to flourish.

Tension among Pakistan’s business community is on the rise following unprecedented inflation caused by multiple factors, including COVID-19, monsoon floods and political instability.

Despite recent improvements in the business environment, many problems remain an issue for companies operating in Pakistan. Pakistan had previously climbed 28 places to 108 out of 190 countries ranked on the ease of doing business by the World Bank’s 2020 Doing Business report.

Considering that the country has a young population, with English as the main language for business, there are plenty of opportunities due to the expanding middle class which has a keen eye for imported goods and services.

Foreign retail and franchise outlets are also spreading rapidly in urbanized cities and the country has a natural endowment in agriculture and minerals.

The country’s most developed industries – cotton textile production and apparel manufacturing – account for about 66% of exports and almost 40% of the employed labor force, as stated in the report Pakistan Market Insights 2021.

Other major industries include cement, fertilizer, edible oil, sugar, steel, tobacco, chemicals, machinery, and food processing.

As such, the economic outlook of Pakistan presents many opportunities, but also many challenges, particularly in the long-term, which are harming the country’s industries and business opportunities.

Annual inflation in the country increased to 27.3% in August, the highest since May 1975, according to a report by Trading Economics. Inflation is causing panic amongst both urban and rural dwellers.

Transport prices recorded the biggest increase of nearly 65%, due to high fuel prices that have seen a 94.4% increase in urban areas and almost 100% in rural areas. Meanwhile, housing and utilities have seen a 27.6% rise, with electricity charges rising a whopping 123.4%. Food and non-alcoholic beverages also jumped in price by a record level of 29.5%.

The Pakistan rupee is expected to trade at 242.06 to the US$ by the end of this quarter, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts’ expectations. As Pakistan experiences economic disorder with fast-depleting foreign reserves, historic depreciation of the rupee against the US dollar and soaring inflation, the country’s industries and business community are taking a big hit.

Some 40,000 industries in the port city of Karachi alone are unable to continue production, according to a report by Bloomberg. Karachi’s power utility, K-Electric Ltd., warned that it may start widespread power cuts in the city of 20 million, which could include prolonged rationing to industrial zones for the first time in 11 years.

“These current conditions are severely hindering KE’s ability to procure fuel, causing a permanent curtailment of power generation that translates to as much as 10 hours of planned blackouts for some parts of the city,” Sadia Dada, a spokesperson for K-Electric was reported as saying by Bloomberg.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Mian Nauman Kabir said that the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) is doing great harm to the economy of Pakistan. “I am receiving messages from the industrialists every day, who say they are shutting their industrial units due to high electricity bills,” he said.

However, many of the country’s leading industrialists refrain from expressing their frustrations to the media, anxious not to land on the wrong side of current or future political leaders. However, there are some who are not afraid to voice their concerns.

An unnamed businessman told the Dawn newspaper, “If politicians fail to resist the temptation to take their conflict out of parliament it can make the country drift towards anarchy. Yes, we are worried for our businesses, but we are more concerned about the safety and security of our family and the future of this country.”

Similarly, businessman Musadaq Zulqarnain said that Pakistan needs a sustained growth of 7-8 per cent for several years. According to him, this continued growth needs to be powered by an increase in exports, if the country is to come out of its economic troubles.

A few other business leaders also expressed their frustration with the lack of clarity in politics and were critical of “mismatched priorities of successive governments.”

Meanwhile, a prominent member of Pakistan’s business community, Mian Muhammad Mansha, believes that the country needs to tell the untold story of its rich, untapped business opportunities, and change the world’s perception about itself. In an interview with Dawn, the billionaire industrialist said that it is vital to convince foreign investors to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) to shore up foreign currency reserves and boost economic growth.

“Our problems will be solved only when foreign investors start to invest here. You can’t build foreign reserves with exports alone. India has accumulated reserves of $650 billion mainly by attracting FDI,” stated Mansha.

His advice to the government was to borrow the needed money to stabilize the economy and then move towards rapid growth. “Once the economy starts growing, it will yield a lot bigger tax revenue than you can hope to collect by boosting the tax rates. The deficit will not matter any longer. We mustn’t just look at the budgets; these are just a small part of the economy. The bigger economy exists outside the budget and the public sector; we should grow that and tap the hitherto untapped potential of the country and opportunities it offers,” he further said.

On August 29, the IMF’s executive board approved almost $1.2 billion for Pakistan. Antoinette Sayeh, IMF deputy managing director and acting chair, criticized Pakistan’s government policies that caused “uneven and unbalanced growth,” saying that the country must implement “corrective policies and reforms” to regain economic stability, and sustainable growth.

In a recent interview with Reuters, Pakistan’s Finance Minister Miftah Ismail noted that the country was awaiting $4 billion for budgetary and other financial support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and the World Bank. He said that around $1.5 billion was expected to be disbursed to Islamabad next month from the ADB as a “countercyclical support facility”.

However, some reports suggest that this funding may not be enough to pull Pakistan out of its deep economic crisis. The floods alone are estimated to have caused more than $10 billion in damages, and these are just preliminary estimates. With Pakistan’s agricultural output brought to a standstill and 80% of the country’s crops destroyed, the food shortages will only exacerbate.

The concerns voiced by the business community echo the pleas of common Pakistanis, who are desperately waiting for the debilitating economic stress to ease off in the nearest future.

September 20, 2022 Posted by | Economics | | Leave a comment

Iran given roadmap for joining Russia and China in major bloc

Samizdat | September 15, 2022

Iran has signed a memorandum paving the way to transition from its current observer status to full membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

The Middle-Eastern nation, which the US has long sought to undermine with diplomatic isolation and economic sanctions, made a formal step on Thursday to become the ninth member of the organization. Among the SCO’s heavyweights are Russia and China, two major powers that are on Washington’s list of geopolitical opponents.

The SCO was created in 2001 as an intragovernmental forum aimed at fostering trust and developing economic and humanitarian ties in Asia.

It currently has eight permanent members: China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The last is currently hosting the annual summit of the leaders of the member states in the city of Samarkand.

Iran has been an SCO observer since 2005. Its delegation to the summit is headed by President Ebrahim Raisi, who met with senior Uzbek officials on Wednesday.

The memorandum, which spells the commitments that Tehran will undertake to become an SCO member, was signed by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and SCO Secretary-General Zhang Ming, the host country’s foreign ministry reported.

Yury Ushakov, a foreign affairs advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin, said earlier this week that Iran could qualify for being upgraded to full membership before next year’s SCO summit in India.

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev touted this year’s event as a turning point for the organization. He cited the rapidly growing interest of nations in closer involvement with the SCO and said that it served as an example of how a “deep crisis of trust at the global level” can be overcome by parties willing to do so. He also stressed the scale of the group, which accounts for roughly half of the world’s population and a quarter of global GDP.

Belarus, also an SCO observer, is set to start the formal process for full membership this year. Egypt and Qatar formally joined the organization as dialogue partners on Wednesday. Saudi Arabia is scheduled to do the same, while Bahrain, Kuwait, the UAE, Myanmar, and the Maldives are expected to begin their respective paths to receiving the same status.

September 15, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pakistan threatens to cut off digital ID of “hecklers”

By Ken Macon | Reclaim The Net | August 23, 2022

Pakistan Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan warned supporters of recently-ousted prime minister Imran Khan whose behavior could be considered “harassment and heckling” that they could have their biometric ID apps blocked, according to a report by The Nation.

The political climate in Pakistan is tense, with supporters of Khan threatening to “take over” and harassing government officials.

The government is now threatening those engaging in heckling and harassment will have their Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC), which is biometric, blocked. CNICs are used to access bank accounts, government services, and to register SIM cards. Blocking the ID would make life rather difficult.

Khan’s supporters could also be arrested, the Interior Minister said. On Twitter, the minister encouraged people to send identifiable videos of Khan’s supporters heckling to the Federal Agency’s Cyber Crime Wing.

Meanwhile, TV stations have been banned from airing Khan’s speeches live. The former Prime Minister accused the government of censorship for temporarily blocking YouTube on Sunday amid his speech at a political rally.

August 25, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

Pakistan: Imran Khan supporters prevent police from arresting him

Press TV – August 22, 2022

Supporters of former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan gathered around his home on Monday to prevent police from arresting their leader, who has been charged under anti-terror laws.

Hundreds of supporters of the cricketer-turned-politician assembled outside his hilltop mansion in the capital city of Islamabad on Monday, vowing to “take over” if he was arrested.

However, Khan has now been granted pre-arrest bail until Thursday.

Since being ousted from power in April in what he and his supporters have repeatedly blamed on a “US regime change plot”, Khan has been a vocal critic of the government and the powerful military.

On Sunday Islamabad police issued an arrest warrant against Khan for allegedly threatening police officials and a judicial magistrate under sections of the anti-terrorism act.

The cricketer-turned-politician reportedly accused authorities of torturing his close aide, who is himself being detained under sedition charges.

Khan’s political allies warned on Monday that arresting him would amount to crossing a “red line”.

“If Imran Khan is arrested … we will take over Islamabad with people’s power,” a former minister in his cabinet, Ali Amin Gandapur, threatened on Twitter, as some party leaders urged supporters to prepare for mass mobilization.

Khan said in his speech on Sunday that he was being censured for not condoning the ruling coalition government which had voted him out of power.

He has also said that he “would not spare” Islamabad’s police chief and a judge for issuing a warrant, arresting and torturing one of his close aides on sedition charges.

Khan’s aide had called on lower and middle ranks of the military to defy orders from the top brass.

Last month, Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party won the by-elections in the country’s most populous province, Punjab, dealing a heavy blow to the government led by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) incumbent Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on his home turf.

PTI’s thumping win in Punjab is seen as a popularity test for Khan, whose government was dismissed by a no-confidence vote in April.

The use of anti-terrorism laws for leveling court cases against political leaders is common in Pakistan. Pakistani law experts claim that expressing public threats against officials put their lives at stake, and actually amounted to threatening the state, so that the anti-terrorism charges apply.

Khan’s aide, Fawad Chaudhry, told reporters outside an Islamabad court that the party had applied for bail for its leader ahead of his arrest.

August 22, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties | | 1 Comment

Pakistani police surround ex-PM’s home

Samizdat | August 21, 2022

Ousted former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has been charged with violating the country’s anti-terrorism laws for allegedly threatening a female judge and two senior police officials during a rally in Islamabad on Saturday night. Video reportedly shot at his home on Sunday evening shows police surrounding the residence hours after a police report was filed against him.

In his speech during Saturday’s rally, Khan threatened to file charges of his own against Judge Zeba Chaudhry, two police agencies, the Pakistani Election Commission, and other political opponents, warning they should prepare to face “consequences” over their abysmal treatment of his chief of staff, Shahbaz Gill. He had organized the rally in Islamabad’s F-9 Park in solidarity with Gill, who was arrested last week on sedition charges.

Later that night, the country’s digital media watchdog, called PEMRA, forbid satellite stations from airing the speech – or any future live addresses from the ex-prime minister – without a time-delay mechanism “to ensure effective monitoring and editorial control.”

Khan has been “continuously targeting state institutions by leveling baseless accusations and spreading hate speech through his provocative statements against state institutions and officers,” PEMRA explained in its directive on preemptively censoring the politician. Khan’s so-called “hate speech” was “prejudicial to the maintenance of law and order and is likely to disturb public peace and tranquillity,” they claimed.

Khan’s attempt to livestream his speech on YouTube was also stymied when the Google-owned video platform was taken offline in a coordinated move by eight Pakistani internet service providers, according to Netblocks. The site returned to functionality as soon as Khan finished speaking.

Khan was ousted as prime minister in April following a controversial no-confidence vote that he dismissed as a US-led conspiracy to have him removed for opposing Washington’s “forever wars” in Central Asia and the Middle East.

August 21, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | | 1 Comment

Outrage as Pakistan’s Media Watchdog Bans Channels From Broadcasting Ex-PM Imran Khan’s Speeches

Samizdat – 21.08.2022

Pakistan’s media watchdog, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), has banned TV channels from broadcasting live addresses by former Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The decision, effective immediately, was made on the eve of his rally in Rawalpindi on Sunday. According to the regulator, Khan is making “baseless allegations and spreading hate speech.”

“His provocative statements against state institutions and officers… is likely to disturb public peace and tranquility,” the PEMRA added.

The decision has been slammed by members of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party and his supporters.

Asad Umar, a senior PTI official, took to Twitter, saying that the ban would be challenged in court.

A local journalist said the watchdog’s decision actually had the opposite effect.

Since his ouster from power in April 2021, Khan has held massive rallies across the country, branding the government of his successor Shehbaz Sharif as “traitors” installed by a “foreign conspiracy” hatched in the US. He has also repeatedly said that Washington has made Pakistan a “slave” without invading it. Prior to the no-confidence motion that saw him voted out of power, Khan accused the US of seeking to have him removed.

August 21, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | | 1 Comment

Afghanistan Forms Committee to Launch Practical Work on TAPI Gas Pipeline: Official

Samizdat – 20.08.2022

Afghanistan has established a committee to launch practical work on the Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India Pipeline (TAPI) after a pause following the Taliban (under UN sanctions over terrorism) takeover, Esmatullah Burhan, a spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, said on Saturday.

“A ministerial committee has been formed. The Ministry of Finance carries out the financial affairs of this committee,” Burhan was quoted as saying by Afghan broadcaster TOLO News. The body will be headed by acting Afghan First Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Ghani Baradar, according to the report.

In addition, Afghanistan intends to send a delegation to Turkmenistan in the near future to discuss the implementation of the TAPI project, the broadcaster said, citing the foreign ministry.

“We will have a visit to Turkmenistan, and we will talk about the gas prices and implementation of projects in Herat and also the industrial parks,” Afghan foreign ministry spokesman Shafay Azam was quoted as saying.

In February 2021, the Taliban pledged not to jeopardize the TAPI project after a meeting of the movement’s delegation with Turkmen Foreign Minister Rashid Moradov. However, last year, the chaotic security situation in Afghanistan still hampered the pipeline’s construction.

TAPI’s construction was launched in 2015. The 1,814-kilometer (1,127 miles) pipeline will transport natural gas from Caspian Sea deposits in Turkmenistan via Afghanistan and Pakistan to India. The annual capacity of the pipeline is expected to reach 33 billion cubic meters (1.1 trillion cubic feet).

August 20, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , , , | 2 Comments

‘Developing world to face wave of defaults’

Samizdat – July 10, 2022

Emerging nations, including El Salvador, Ghana, Egypt, Tunisia and Pakistan, will be challenged with a historic cascade of defaults as a quarter-trillion-dollar pile of distressed debts keeps exerting downward pressure on economies, Bloomberg is reporting.

“With the low-income countries, debt risks and debt crises are not hypothetical,” the World Bank’s Chief Economist Carmen Reinhart told the agency on Saturday. “We’re pretty much already there.”

Over the past six months, there’s reportedly been a doubling in the number of emerging markets with sovereign debt that trades at highly distressed levels, meaning yields that indicate investors believe default is a real possibility.

Another cause for major concern reportedly arises from a potential “domino effect” that commonly occurs when scared investors begin yanking money out of countries with economic problems similar to those defaulting nations had previously gone through.

In June, traders reportedly pulled $4 billion out of emerging-market bonds and stocks, marking a fourth straight month of outflows.

Probable defaults may be followed by political instability. Earlier this year, Sri Lanka was the first nation to stop paying its foreign bondholders, burdened by unwieldy food and fuel costs that fueled protests and political chaos.

“Populations suffering from high food prices and shortages of supplies can be a tinderbox for political instability,” Barclays has said, as quoted by Bloomberg.

July 10, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , , | Leave a comment

Zionist Regime Unable to Defend Itself: IRGC Chief

Al-Manar | June 28, 2022

The commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps cautioned Islamic countries’ governments to avoid relying upon the Zionist regime, which is unable to even protect itself.

In a meeting with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee of Pakistan General Nadeem Raza in Tehran, Major General Hossein Salami slammed the Zionist regime as the enemy of the Islamic world and humanity.

The IRGC commander also warned regional rulers of the bitter consequences of normalization of ties with the “child murdering Zionists”, saying the US, the main supporter of the Israeli regime, is basically the enemy of Islam.

“The question is that while the Zionist regime cannot even defend itself and is a regime absolutely without any policy, how would certain Islamic countries rely on it to ensure their security or safeguard their economy? There is no logic behind it,” Major General Salami added.

He further pointed to the awful results of the presence of American forces in the Islamic world, including the great seditions, long civil wars, destruction of houses, displacement of people, insecurity, poverty and underdevelopment.

“When we look at Afghanistan, we notice the harmful and irreparable effects of American interference,” the general added, noting that the neighboring countries, including Pakistan, suffer from the consequences of destructive US interference in Afghanistan.

He also highlighted the integrated security of Iran and Pakistan, stressing the need for closer cooperation between Tehran and Islamabad in all fields, especially in protecting the security of the common border and fighting against terrorism.

For his part, the Pakistani general pointed to the commonalities between the Pakistani and Iranian nations, decried divisions within the Muslim world as a result of the US and Western plots, and noted that Americans withdrew from Afghanistan after twenty years without managing to establish security in that country.

General Nadeem Raza also emphasized the necessity of intelligence and operational cooperation with Iran in protecting the security of the joint border.

June 28, 2022 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Nuclear-armed states spent $82.4bn on nukes in 2021, US topped list: Report

Press TV – June 15, 2022

The world’s nine nuclear-armed countries – led by the US – spent $82.4 billion upgrading their atomic arsenal in 2021, eight percent more than the previous year, an anti-nuke campaign group has unveiled.

The largest spender by far was the United States, which accounted for more than half the total expenditures on nuclear weapons – followed respectively by China, Russia, Britain, France, India, the Israeli regime, Pakistan and North Korea – the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) stated in its annual report, titled “Squandered: 2021 Global Nuclear Weapons Spending.”

“Nuclear-armed states spent an obscene amount of money on illegal weapons of mass destruction in 2021, while the majority of the world’s countries support a global nuclear weapons ban,” the group said in the report, noting that the massive spending nevertheless failed to prevent a war in Europe.

“This spending failed to deter a war in Europe and squandered valuable resources that could be better used to address current security challenges, or cope with the outcome of a still raging global pandemic,” ICAN said. “This corrupt cycle of wasteful spending must be put to an end.”

The group said atomic arms producers had further spent millions of dollars on political lobbying efforts, saying that every $1 spent on lobbying had led to an average of $256 in new contracts involving nuclear weaponry.

“The exchange of money and influence, from countries to companies to lobbyists and think tanks, sustains and maintains a global arsenal of catastrophically destructive weapons,” it said.

The US spent $44.2 billion on atomic weaponry in 2021, followed by China’s $11.7 billion, Russia’s $8.6 billion, the UK’s $6.8 billion, and France’s $5.9 billion, according to the report. India led the more recent nuclear arms developers in expenditures on the mass-destructive weaponry, spending $2.3 billion, followed by the Israeli regime’s $1.2 billion, Pakistan’s $1.1 billion and North Korea’s $642 million.

The report came a week after US-led NATO alliance declared that it did not offer a guarantee to Russia that it would not deploy nuclear weapons on the territories of its two prospective new members, Finland and Sweden.

ICAN’s report further confirmed a statement released by the prominent Stockholm International Peace Research (SIPRI) a day earlier in which it had warned that all the nine nuclear-armed states were increasing or upgrading their arsenals, and that the risk of deployment of such weapons appeared higher now than at any time since the height of the Cold War.

While there is no official confirmation on the amount North Korea spends on nuclear weapons or its arsenal, SIPRI estimates that it possesses as many as 20 warheads.

The Israeli regime, along with India, Pakistan, and South Sudan have never joined the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), an international treaty purportedly established to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

As of August 2016, 191 states have become parties to the NPT, though North Korea, which acceded in 1985, announced its withdrawal from the treaty in 2003, following detonation of nuclear devices in violation of core obligations.

Critics of the treaty insist, however, that the NPT cannot stop the proliferation of nuclear arms or the motivation to acquire them, arguing that the biggest possessors and developers of atomic weapons are leading members of the global accord. Officials of the treaty have been selective in enforcing nuclear disarmament, imposing sanctions on observant member nations, such as Iran, while ignoring certain atomic arms possessor and developers such as India, Pakistan, and the Israeli regime, which is widely believe to possess at least 300 nuclear warheads.

June 15, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pakistan’s ousted PM issues ultimatum

Imran Khan will march with millions into the capital unless elections are held in six days

Samizdat | May 26, 2022

Former Pakistani PM Imran Khan warned the country’s government on Thursday that he will march on the capital with millions of people in six days unless provincial assemblies are dissolved and new elections are held by that time.

Khan issued the ultimatum during a rally of thousands of demonstrators in Islamabad, where he called for the “imported government” to be brought down, insisting it is backed by foreign powers.

A former cricket star-turned-politician, Khan served as Pakistan’s prime minister for over three and a half years before being ousted in a no-confidence vote by parliament last month. He insists that his removal from office was orchestrated by the US in collusion with members of the current government headed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

Khan has suggested that he received threats from US officials over his refusal to bow to Washington’s demands and support the sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine.

Since his ousting, Khan has staged several rallies across the country, calling on “all Pakistanis” to take to the streets to “send a message across Pakistan that the nation has rejected this imported government.”

On Wednesday, Khan stated that he would take part in a sit-in demonstration in the center of Islamabad along with thousands of supporters until his demands are met. However, on Thursday morning, after the authorities called in the military to protect the city center, he said he would leave Islamabad, threatening to return with “the whole nation” in six days if new elections are not held.

He went on to accuse the government of taking the nation “towards anarchy” and trying to create a divide between the people and the police.

“I had decided that I will sit here until the government dissolves assemblies and announces elections, but of what I have seen in the past 24 hours, they (government) are taking the nation towards anarchy,” he was quoted as saying by Dawn news website.

Khan condemned the government for trying to silence and intimidate peaceful protesters by raiding their homes and arresting people who took part in his party’s march.

“Government has tried every method to crush our Azadi March, they used teargas on peaceful protest, our homes were raided and privacy of the homes were violated; however, I have seen the nation free itself of fear of slavery,” he said.

Khan noted that three protesters lost their lives during demonstrations in Karachi, while two others were thrown off a bridge and thousands of others were arrested after some of the demonstrations in the country turned violent.

On Wednesday, the ousted PM called on his supporters to assemble at D-Chowk – a town square located near several vital government buildings – and to not vacate the square until the ‘imported government’ announces new elections.

After thousands of protesters started pouring in, the government of Pakistan authorized the deployment of military troops to protect its headquarters in the capital. Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah tweeted that the army will be deployed to protect key government buildings in Islamabad’s Red Zone, such as the Supreme Court, Parliament House, and diplomatic enclaves like the US Embassy.

The government headed by Prime Minister Sharif had pledged to stop Khan’s supporters from entering the capital, calling their rally an attempt to “divide the nation and promote chaos.” The authorities even set up dozens of shipping containers and cargo trucks to block the roads to Islamabad ahead of Wednesday’s marches.

“Politics of dharna [sit-in] is detrimental to progress and stability,” Sharif tweeted on Wednesday.

May 26, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism | | 1 Comment