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ECP redraws constituencies for next elections

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ISLAMABAD:

On Friday the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) published the final list of 266 constituencies of the National Assembly and 593 constituencies of the four provincial assemblies for the future general elections, based on the Sixth Population and Housing Census, 2017.

The process of delimitation of the constituencies has been completed in nearly four months. In June, the ECP had invited public objections and suggestions regarding the delimitation. In July, the polls supervisor disposed of 910 objections, and published the final list.

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“The final list of constituencies is hereby published for information of general public in accordance with the provisions of Section 21 of the Elections Act, 2017 read with Rule 14 of the Elections Rules, 2017,” the ECP said in its notification.

In the new delimitation the number of general seats of the National Assembly has been reduced from 272 in the present assembly to 266. The reduction of 6 seats came in accordance with the 25th Constitutional Amendment, following the merger of Federally Administered Tribal Areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

According to the notification, 859 general seats – 266 of the National Assembly and 593 of the four provincial assemblies – had been created for the next general elections. Accordingly, Punjab had been allocated 141 National Assembly and 297 provincial assembly seats.

Sindh has 61 and 130 seats, respectively, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been allocated 45 and 115 general seats, respectively, and Balochistan got 16 and 51 seats, respectively. There would be three general seats for Islamabad in the National Assembly.

In the National Assembly, Balochistan would have 16 general seats and four seats for women, totalling 20; Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 45 general seats and 10 women seats, totalling 55; Punjab 141 general seats and 32 women seats, totalling 173; Sindh 61 general seats and 14 seats for women, totalling 75.

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There would be three general seats for the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT). In addition to the number of these general seats and the reserved seats for women, the notification said, there would be 10 more seats reserved for non-Muslims in the National Assembly.

Similarly, the ECP also shared details of the provincial assembly seats. The grand total of all the provincial assembly seats was 749, including 593 general seats, 132 reserved seats for women and 24 reserved seats for non-Muslims.

Balochistan would have 51 general seats, besides 11 women and 3 non-Muslim seats, totalling 65; Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 115 general seats, plus 26 women and 4 non-Muslim seats, totalling 145; Punjab 297 general seats, 66 women and 8 non-Muslim seats, totalling 371; Sindh 130 general seats, 29 women and 9 non-Muslim seats, totalling 168.

According to the sources, the new delimitation removes all the legal impediments in the conduct of general elections in the country. They added that the Election Commission was now fully ready to hold the elections at any time.

The number of the constituencies started from NA-1 Chitral. Overall, the numbers of 231 present constituencies had been changed. The constituencies of Punjab started from NA 49 Attock, NA 190 Jacobabad was the first constituency in Sindh, and NA 251 Sherani of Balochistan.

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The ECP said that the copy of the final delimitation of the constituency could be obtained from the Election Commission Secretariat Islamabad. It added that all the representations filed by the voters were placed on the ECP website along with their proposed maps which are accessible 24/7.



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High on ‘mad honey’, disoriented bear rescued in Türkiye

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ISTANBUL:

A disoriented brown bear cub, believed to have been intoxicated after eating an excessive amount of “mad honey,” was rescued in northwestern Türkiye’s Duzce province on Thursday.

Footage showed the bear wobbling and whining as she sat belly-up in the back of a pick-up truck, after people rescued the visibly-debilitated animal from the forest.

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Mad honey, or “deli bal” in Turkish, is a type of rhododendron honey that can have hallucinogenic effects.

The bear was brought to a vet, where she was receiving treatment and would likely be released into the wild in the coming days, local authorities said, adding that she was in good condition.

The agriculture ministry called on Turks on Twitter to come up with a name for the bear.



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Activists demand safeguard of citizens’ rights

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KARACHI:

The civil society and human rights activists called upon the government on Thursday to safeguard all citizens’ rights irrespective of their religion and protect their life and property.

The founder of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, envisioned Pakistan to become a peaceful country where all citizens had the right to enjoy equality and were free to practice their faiths.

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They were addressing a joint press conference at the Karachi Press Club concerning the country’s observance of the National Day of Minorities. Chairperson, Sindh Commission on Status of Women Nuzhat Shireen, MPA Naveed Anthony, Urban Resource Centre Zahid Farooq, The Knowledge Forum Naghma Iqtidar and a minorities’ rights activist Zafar Iqbal addressed the press conference.

The speakers said that the federal government has notified the curriculum for religious education solely for non-Muslim students for Grade I-V and VI-VIII, which comprises content from seven religions, including Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, Baha’i, Kalash, Buddhism and Zoroastrianism.

Therefore, the provincial government must adopt a curriculum for religious education, develop textbooks and engage teachers to teach minority students the subject in schools, they suggested.

They urged the government to take action against those who take the law into their hands and target minorities. They added that the state is responsible for protecting the life, honour and property of the people from the minority communities.

Nation Building

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Sindh Minister for Minority Affairs Giyan Chand Essrani on Thursday said August 11 was observed as the National Day of Minorities to pay tribute to the minority community for their services in establishing Pakistan and nation building.

In his message on the National Day of Minorities, Giyan Chand said the minority community is an integral part of the country.

“We consider the land our mother, and Pakistan is our mother. We are proud of our country”, he said. The minister said Hindu, Sikh, Christian and Parsi communities have an essential role in the country’s development. He said Pakistan is a safe country for minorities. If doubts prevail, one should observe the plight of the minorities in the world’s largest democracy India.

Freedom to practice religion

Karachi Administrator Murtaza Wahab said that August 11 provides an opportunity to renew commitment to protect the rights of minorities.

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“The founder of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, had guaranteed the protection of the rights of minorities in the country, under which minorities in Pakistan have all kinds of legal rights,” the administrator said.

Wahab said that the minority community has a fundamental role in the development and prosperity of Karachi, Sindh province and Pakistan. “Five per cent quota is reserved for minorities in government jobs, while seats are reserved for minorities in the Senate, National and Provincial Assemblies so that they can have representation,” he added.



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Khar lauds reforms to improve Pakistan’s AML/CFT regime

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Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar on Thursday chaired a meeting of the National FATF Coordination Committee at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad.

The minister was given detailed briefings on recent legal, policy and administrative actions to improve the effectiveness of Pakistan’s Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime, the Foreign Office said in a statement.

Khar expressed satisfaction with the trajectory of reforms and appreciated the collective, system-wide efforts in bringing Pakistan’s AML/CFT regime at par with international standards, which remains a top priority of the government.

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The meeting was attended by senior officers from the National FATF Secretariat, ministries of finance, foreign affairs, interior, law and justice, State Bank of Pakistan, Financial Monitoring Unit, and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, Federal Board of Revenue, National Counter-Terrorism Authority, Federal Investigation Agency, Anti-Narcotics Force, and the National Accountability Bureau.

Earlier in June this year, the global dirty money watchdog announced that Pakistan had substantially completed its two action plans, covering 34 items, as part of a bid to get off the grey list on which it has been since 2018 – a decision that would end the threat of Islamabad being put on the black list.

Also read: Pakistan all but exits grey list

The FATF, while kicking off the process to remove Pakistan from the grey list, had said an on-site visit was warranted to verify that reforms had begun and were being sustained, as well as that the necessary political commitment remained in place to sustain improvement in the future.

The Pakistani authorities had said that the global body will send a mission to Pakistan next month to determine the veracity of the government’s claim that it has fully implemented all the 34 conditions that the FATF had set in February 2018 and then in June 2021. Pakistan had been asked to implement the conditions in 15 months but it took around four years due to the complexity of the issues.

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The FATF’s decision will now require commitments from all the Pakistani stakeholders to prove to the FATF upcoming mission that no serious deficiency remains in its AML and CFT regimes.

The FATF handout noted that since June 2018, Pakistan made a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and Asia Pacific Group to strengthen its AML/CFT regime and address its strategic counter-terrorist financing-related deficiencies.



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