Pakistan News

KARACHI: Federal Secretary Industries and Production Asad Rehman Gilani has said that while embarking on this journey with locally manufactured hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) on our roads, let’s keep in mind, that the country must expedite exports to reduce the trade deficit.

“I see no better partner to support this goal, than our long-term standing partner, Toyota,” he said while gracing the rolling out of much awaited 4th generation Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid Vehicle at the manufacturing facility of Indus Motor Company (IMC).

The federal secretary said that the government remains committed to supporting the auto sector’s endeavours in introducing hybrid and electric technologies in Pakistan, as outlined in the Auto Policy 2021-26.

IMC Chairman Mohamedali R. Habib said stakeholders’ continued support and trust made this dream of “Make in Pakistan” come true which is an ode to localisation which also reflects the deep-rooted friendship between Japan and Pakistan.

Chief Executive Ali Asghar Jamali said IMC has invested over $100 million to manufacture the first Make-in-Pakistan HEV which boasts the highest-ever localised content achieved in the SUV category.

Toyota Motor Corporation President Yoshiyuki Takai said more customers in Asian countries are choosing HEVs. Based on feedback, many HEV customers are satisfied, not only with the excellent fuel efficiency but also with the advanced driving taste of the car. More HEVs on the road means greater carbon footprint reduction to be achieved in Pakistan, he added.

Caretaker Information Minister Murtaza Solangi on Thursday said the law and order situation in the country thus far was not bad enough to hamper polls on February 8 as he stressed the federal cabinet had no “doubt, worry or second thoughts” about holding the upcoming general elections.

His statement comes amid concerns raised by Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, first over the polls coinciding with winter and then over the security situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

However, the PPP has questioned the JUI-F’s reservations, with Senator Raza Rabbani saying that the country’s “internal security situation cannot be an excuse” to delay the polls.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has sought the deployment of the army and civil armed forces outside polling stations for the elections to meet the shortfall of over 277,000 police personnel across the country.


Today, speaking to Geo News programme Geo Pakistan, Solangi said: “The federal cabinet does not have any doubt, worry or second thought that we would not hold elections on February 8.”

“As a date has been finalised now, no one should have any doubt.” He further said that all needs of the ECP were being fulfilled.

When asked if there was ever consideration of extending the current caretaker setup, the minister responded: “There definitely was such a thought, but not among us.

“This [thought] was the creation of those people whose minds are very resourceful; those who make such grand assumptions, and when those [assumptions] collapse, they make [up] others,” Solangi added.

The information minister said he “did not hear any such statement from anyone in the federal cabinet or important state institutions” about wanting a delay in the elections due to the economy being set on the correct course.

When asked how he would ensure that the security situation was kept under control in areas considered highly sensitive, Solangi said security issues remain during every election.

Calling the security concerns in Balochistan and KP “real issues”, the minister said the country had held elections in worse circumstances.

“Our memory is a bit weak. What was the law and order situation during the elections of 2008 and 2013? If we compare that, this is nothing,” he stated.

“Yes, I cannot say what the conditions will be like tomorrow, but the situation thus far is not bad enough to cause us problems in conducting elections,” Solangi added.

Referring to the concerns raised by JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, he noted that the politician had first cited winters as the reason and recalled that the polls of 1970 were even held in December

Talking about the concerns raised by the PTI and the PPP about a level playing field, the minister said that for parties not in the last government, it becomes a “necessity” to prove themselves “victim” and “oppressed” before heading into the polls.

He recalled all parties except the PPP voicing reservations in Sindh, where the PPP was in power, while the latter was speaking of the same issue on the federal level. The PML-N says that the loss incurred by them in 2018 has not been accounted for yet, Solangi added.

The minister highlighted that political parties had three forums to voice their “valid complaints” at — the media, courts and the ECP.

Speaking about the country’s economic situation, Solangi said there was “some betterment” recently and that the next government would decide the “basic direction”.

CEC Raja asserts ECP ‘fully ready, determined’ for polls

Meanwhile, Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja asserted that the electoral body is fully ready and determined for the upcoming general elections.

In a press release today, Raja said the commission was “fully aware of its constitutional and legal responsibilities”. “We are fully ready and determined for transparent and peaceful elections.”

The statement advised voters: “Do not believe the baseless reports and rumours about the elections.”

On the occasion of National Voters’ Day, the CEC encouraged voters to use their right to vote, cooperate with the ECP and ensure peaceful polls.

The CEC said the commission was currently busy preparing for the upcoming elections and that the process of printing and distributing the final delimitation lists had been completed.

He further said the ECP would appoint the district returning officers (DROs), ROs, and assistant officers in the “next few days”.

“And along with this, the election schedule will be released in a few days and polling will be held on Feb 8, 2024,” Raja asserted.

Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir on Thursday backed the interim government’s decision to deport illegal foreigners, saying that they were “seriously affecting Pakistan’s security and economy”.

According to a handout issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the army chief passed these remarks during a visit to Peshawar.

In November, the caretakers initiated a nationwide campaign to deport illegal foreign nationals, the majority of whom are Afghans. While the decision had prompted criticism from Afghanistan and several other quarters, the government refused to budge, insisting the move was not aimed at any particular ethnic group.

Of the more than four million Afghans living in Pakistan, the government estimates 1.7m are undocumented. So far, thousands of Afghans have returned home from the Torkham and Chaman border crossings.

Last week, while hearing petitions challenging the deportation drive, the Supreme Court had said Pakistan was bound to United Nations conventions protecting immigrants and issued notices to the government on the matter.

During a session with participants of the First National Workshop Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (NWKP-1) today, Gen Munir said: “Illegal foreigners were seriously affecting Pakistan’s security and economy.”

“[The] decision to repatriate them has been taken by the government in the interest of Pakistan. Illegal foreigners are being repatriated to their countries in a humane and dignified manner as per the established norms,” the military’s media wing quoted him as saying.

The COAS further remarked that KP’s “resolute support” to security forces had resulted in stability in the province and the materialisation of progress on projects of social economic development.

He linked the prosperity of Pakistan with KP and emphasised that “nefarious designs of the forces inimical to peace and stability of Pakistan are being foiled through a synergetic and comprehensive strategy”.

Gen Munir also highlighted the importance of economic growth and development in newly merged districts, the ISPR said.

Earlier, the army chief interacted with soldiers and lauded their “heroic and exemplary feats”.

“The nation takes pride and acknowledges the accomplishments of its armed forces. Pakistan is destined to succeed and Pakistan Army will continue to undertake its selfless and sacred duty of safeguarding every inch of the motherland till last drop of blood, InshaAllah [God willing],” he vowed.

Earlier on arrival, the COAS was received by Peshawar Corps Commander and given a detailed briefing on the overall security situation, ongoing counter-terrorism operations, repatriation of Illegal foreigners and socio-economic developments in the Newly Merged Districts, the ISPR statement said.

At least six people, including four children, were injured in an improvised explosive device (IED) blast on Peshawar’s Warsak Road on Tuesday morning, officials said.

Warsak Superintendent of Police Arshad Khan confirmed the number of injuries to He said the wounded persons had been moved to Peshawar’s Lady Reading Hospital.

Two children are in critical condition, LRH spokesperson Mohammad Asim said, adding that the injured persons brought to the facility were aged between 11 and 23.

Talking to media persons at the blast site earlier, SP Arshad said the incident took place near the Peshawar Public School at around 9:10am.

The official said that an estimated four kilogrammes of explosives, planted in a “cemented block” on the side of the road, were used in the blast. The area has been cordoned off and further investigation is under way, Khan said.

“It would be premature to say who was the target,” the official added. Reuters also quoted Peshawar police chief Mohammad Ashfaq Anwar as saying that there was no indication school children were the target of the attack.

Rescue 1122 spokesperson Bilal Faizi said windows of a nearby building and windshields of two Suzuki vans were shattered due to the intensity of the blast.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.


Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar strongly condemned the blast. He directed the relevant authorities to provide the best medical facilities to the children injured in the blast and prayed for their speedy recovery.

Kakar also directed law enforcement agencies to complete the investigation process as soon as possible.

Interim Interior Minister Sarfraz Ahmed Bugti strongly condemned the incident, issuing directives for no stone to be left unturned for the treatment of the injured children.

“Children are the future of this country; will protect them under every circumstance,” he said, adding that terrorists prove their cowardice by targeting children.

Bugti vowed to punish the elements involved in the incident.

Earlier, caretaker KP Chief Minister Justice (retd) Arshad Hussain Shah condemned the blast and sought a report on it from the police high-ups.

He prayed for the speedy recovery of the wounded children and directed the hospital management to provide them with the best medical treatment.

Separately, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari condemned the blast and expressed concern for the children injured in the incident. “The federal and provincial government should take strict action against the criminals involved,” he said.

Awami National Party (ANP) provincial president Aimal Wali Khan said terror activities near educational institutions and busy highways were concerning. He noted that today’s blast was the second such incident on Warsak Road in recent months.

“We repeat that KP cannot afford the fire of terrorism anymore,” Wali said, warning that the situation would worsen if the state does not take immediate action.

He demanded that the police should immediately arrest the culprits.

Uptick in terror activities

Today’s blast comes as Pakistan heads towards general elections expected to be held on February 8. However, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Ghulam Ali had said last week that it was difficult to carry out political activities in the province due to the security situation.

“The provincial government and institutions are responsible for sitting together and preparing a strategy for the way forward,” he had said.

Pakistan has witnessed an uptick in terror activities in recent months, especially in KP and Balochistan, after the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan ended its ceasefire with the government in November last year.

Last month, five people were killed and over 20 sustained injuries in a blast targeting police in KP’s Dera Ismail Khan.

According to data released by the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS), the country experienced 34 per cent increase in anti-state violence last month.

It revealed that KP emerged as the most affected province, documenting 51 attacks, causing 54 fatalities and 81 injuries. Meanwhile, Balochistan recorded nine attacks, resulting in 18 fatalities, including that of 15 security forces personnel and three civilians.

inDrive on Monday said it was partnering with Vlektra, an electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer, to introduce electric motorcycles to its fleet in the country.

According to a press release, it said: “This marked a significant milestone in the nation’s transportation landscape, driving the country towards a sustainable future.”

By doing so, InDrive said it has become the first ride-hailing company to integrate EVs. This move signifies a step towards reducing emissions and promoting environmental sustainability.

“This collaboration between inDrive and Vlektra marks an exciting step forward in our commitment to sustainability and innovation in Pakistan,” said Roman Ermoshin, director of the APAC region at inDrive.

“This partnership signifies our concerted effort to introduce electric bikes, driving a significant shift towards a cleaner, more eco-conscious future in the region.”

Fatiq Bin Khursheed, Co-founder of Vlektra, echoed this sentiment, stating, “Vlektra’s partnership with inDrive heralds a pioneering move in Pakistan’s ride-hailing landscape, introducing electric vehicles for sustainable mobility.

He added that the primary aim of this collaboration was to reduce emissions and promote eco-friendly transport.

In addition to this, InDrive launched a contest aimed at promoting awareness about EVs and environmental sustainability. The contest will reward the best-performing drivers with free EV bikes.

InDrive is a global ride-hailing platform founded in 2013. Overall, it operates in over 450 cities across 46 countries. It allows customers to set fares based on real-time demand and market conditions, ensuring a transparent pricing system for both passengers and drivers.

About Vlektra

Vlektra is a Pakistani startup which provides eco-friendly and sustainable electric vehicle solutions. Founded in 2021, Vlektra is “committed to reducing Pakistan’s carbon footprint and promoting sustainable mobility through its innovative EV technology.” The company offers a range of electric bikes and scooters designed for everyday use.

ISLAMABAD: Following a two-month decline in militant activities, Pakistan experienced 34 pc increase in anti-state violence last month.

Data unveiled by the Islamabad-based think tank Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS) reveals a total of 63 militant attacks during the month, resulting in 83 fatalities, including that of 37 security forces personnel and 33 civilians. Additionally, 89 individuals sustained injuries, comprising 53 civilians and 36 security forces personnel.

Pakistani security forces responded with precision, eliminating at least 59 militants, while 18 suspected militants were apprehended.

A comparative analysis with October data underscores a 34pc surge in militant attacks, a 63pc rise in fatalities, and an 89pc increase in the number of injured persons during November.

According to the PICSS database, the cumulative toll for the first eleven months of 2023 reflects 599 militant attacks, resulting in 897 fatalities and 1,241 injuries. This signifies an 81pc escalation in militant attacks, an 86pc surge in resultant deaths, and a 64pc rise in the number of injured compared to the corresponding period in 2022.

Once again, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) emerged as the most affected province, with documenting 51 attacks, causing 54 fatalities and 81 injuries.

Within KP, 20 attacks occurred in the merged districts (former FATA), resulting in 23 fatalities and 13 injuries, while mainland KP reported 31 attacks, leading to 31 fatalities and 68 injuries.

This implies that 81pc of total attacks, 65pc of total deaths, and 91 percent of total injuries were reported in KP province.

Balochistan recorded nine attacks, resulting in 18 fatalities, including that of 15 security forces personnel and three civilians, with eight injuries being reported, encompassing five civilians and three security forces personnel.

Sindh experienced two minor-level attacks resulting in two fatalities, while Punjab witnessed a single, high-profile attack in Mianwali Air Base of Pakistan Air Force in 2023, marking a distinctive incident in the province.

As the country heads towards general elections on February 8, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Ghulam Ali has said it is difficult to carry out political activities in parts of KP and Balochistan due to the security situation.

Pakistan has witnessed an uptick in terror activities in recent months, especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, after the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan ended its ceasefire with the government in November last year.

According to data released by the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS), the country experienced 34 per cent increase in anti-state violence last month.

It revealed that KP emerged as the most affected province, documenting 51 attacks, causing 54 fatalities and 81 injuries. Meanwhile, Balochistan recorded nine attacks, resulting in 18 fatalities, including that of 15 security forces personnel and three civilians.


In an interview on Dawn News programme ‘Doosra Rukh’ on Saturday, Governor Ghulam was asked if the current security situation was unfavourable for political parties to hold rallies in the province.

“There is no doubt that the situation in some areas such as Tank, Dera Ismail Khan, Lakki Marwat and Bannu is not good,” he replied. A similar situation persists in Balochistan as well, Ghulam said.

He said general elections in the aforementioned areas may be held but reiterated that it was difficult to carry out political activities there.

“The government and state institutions will make efforts because elections should be peaceful,” the governor stated, stressing that it was the government’s duty to take the voter to the ballot box safely.

When asked if Ghulam had put the situation in front of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), he replied that the provincial government was responsible for doing the same.

“Some incidents have taken place recently […] every day our jawans are being martyred, but thankfully a big incident has not taken place yet.

“The provincial government and institutions are responsible for sitting together and preparing a strategy for the way forward,” the KP governor said, adding that Pakistan should swiftly move towards polls while keeping the political and economic situation in view.

Talking about the PTI’s claims regarding the lack of a level-playing field, Ghulam said the party’s objections were not valid and pointed out that it had recently held a number of rallies in KP.

“It is not good for anyone to make the election process suspicious,” he added.

At a workers’ convention in Swabi on Saturday, PTI workers had alleged that the KP government had adopted a discriminatory policy against the party in flagrant violation of the Constitution.

PTI Vice President Sher Afzal Marwat had said that while all other parties were allowed to run the election campaign, hurdles were created for PTI, crippling its campaign.

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