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Imran Khan striving to garner numbers to form government

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Imran Khan

Islamabad, July 29 :The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which emerged as the single largest party but short of simple majority in the National Assembly elections, was yet to seek formal support from smaller parties or Independents to form the next government.

Earlier, the party leaders had maintained that they will not need support of any other party, the final preliminary results issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan on Saturday showed that the party was short of 22 seats to form government on its own.

On the other hand, two other major parties, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), are expected to meet in a couple of days to devise a joint strategy in a bid to give a tough time to the PTI in parliament, Dawn reported.

According to various TV reports, senior PPP leader Syed Khursheed Shah will meet PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif in Islamabad on Sunday.

The Pakistani media throughout the day on Saturday kept on mentioning names of possible candidates for key government offices and possible members of the federal cabinet, however, the PTI sources told Dawn that no names were discussed in meetings held in Banigala, residence of Imran Khan, as the party was still busy in making calculations.

When contacted, the PTI’s Shafqat Mehmood claimed that no formal meeting had taken place in Banigala and that they (PTI leaders) had a general discussion on the challenges the party could face after formation of the government, but no names of federal ministers or chief ministers were discussed.

According to the complete preliminary results announced by the ECP, the PTI has obtained 115 seats – 22 short of a simple majority — while the PML-N and PPP have won 64 and 43 seats, respectively.

The PTI leaders who have won more than one seat will have to vacate additional seats as the law allows an individual to retain only one seat. The Prime Minister-in-waiting Imran Khan has won five seats and he will have to vacate four.

Ghulam Sarwar Khan of Taxila has also won two NA seats by defeating former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and he will also have to vacate one seat.

Former Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak has won both National Assembly and provincial assembly seats. If the PTI decides to nominate him again for the previous office, he will also have to vacate the NA seat which means that the party’s seats will be reduced to 109.

It was after these calculations that the PTI leadership has now decided to reach out to other smaller groups and independents since the party has already declared that it will not join hands with the PPP and the PML-N.

It was also reported by various outlets that PTI leader Jahangir Tareen had established contacts with independents and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) which has won six seats. There are 13 independents who emmerged winners in July 25 polls.

The sources said Khan had himself contacted Mumtaz Bhutto of the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) to formally invite the alliance to join the coalition government.

If the PTI obtains support of the GDA, MQM-P, PML-Q and the Awami Muslim League, the number of its seats will become 122 – still 15 short of the required numbers, which is more than the independents who have won the elections.

India

India Offers $100 Million Line of Credit To Sri Lanka For Solar Projects

India’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay called on Minister of Power Dullas Alahapperuma and reiterated India’s commitment towards a strong and multi-faceted bilateral partnership including in the power sector, the Indian mission said in a statement.

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solar plant at Jamia

Colombo: India has offered a Line of Credit worth $ 100 million to Sri Lanka for three solar projects in the country, according to an official statement.

India’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay called on Minister of Power Dullas Alahapperuma and reiterated India’s commitment towards a strong and multi-faceted bilateral partnership including in the power sector, the Indian mission said in a statement.

They discussed various issues of mutual interest including ways to expedite progress on bilateral power projects currently under discussion between the two sides.

The Indian envoy also handed over a copy of a letter conveying an offer from India to Sri Lanka for a Line of Credit (LoC) worth $100 million for three solar projects announced during the International Solar Alliance Founding Conference held in March, 2018 in New Delhi, the statement said.

The LoC will cover financing for rooftop solar systems meant for 20,000 households and 1,000 government buildings all across the island. The combined generation capacity of these rooftop systems will be about 60 MW, it said.

The LoC will also provide financing for a floating solar power plant. The implementation of the LoC will begin with the conclusion of an LoC agreement between the two sides, it said.

The Indian High Commissioner conveyed that the $100 million LoC is in line with the national priorities of India and Sri Lanka to enhance the share of solar and renewable energy in overall energy generation, the statement added.

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Politics

A vote to confirm Barrett “is a vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act”: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

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Chuck Schumer
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said President Trump’s decision to nominate Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court has put “Americans’ healthcare in the crosshairs.”

“The American people should make no mistake — a vote by any Senator for Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act and eliminate protections for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions,” Schumer wrote in a statement.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage, unabated by this Administration, healthcare was already the number one issue on the ballot in November. President Trump has promised to nominate Supreme Court Justices who will “terminate” our health care law and decimate the health care system for American Indians and Alaska Natives. In Judge Barrett, President Trump has found the deciding vote.”

The Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments just after the November election in a case about the Affordable Care Act. Senate Republicans have indicated they may vote to confirm Barrett before Election Day — meaning she could be seated on the bench for that case.

In an early 2017 law review essay, reviewing a book related to the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act, Barrett criticized Chief Justice John Roberts’ rationale that saved the law in 2012.

“Chief Justice Roberts pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute,” Barrett wrote. “He construed the penalty imposed on those without health insurance as a tax, which permitted him to sustain the statute as a valid exercise of the taxing power.”

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Politics

Biden urges US Senate not to confirm Supreme Court nominee before election

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Vice President Joe Biden

Joe Biden released a statement reacting to Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination and focused on health care and protecting the Affordable Care Act.

“Today, President Trump has nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett as the successor to Justice Ginsburg’s seat. She has a written track record of disagreeing with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Affordable Care Act. She critiqued Chief Justice John Roberts’ majority opinion upholding the law in 2012,” Biden said.

He added that the Senate should not act on the vacancy until after the American people select their next president.

Senate Republicans have outlined a possible confirmation hearing for Barrett that could have her confirmed before Election Day.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments just after the election in a case about the Affordable Care Act. The case is brought by a coalition of Republican state attorneys general and the Trump administration, who argue the law’s individual mandate is unconstitutional, and the entire law must fall.

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