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46 dead as massive fire rips through seven-storey shopping mall in Dhaka

At least 46 people were killed after a massive fire ripped through a seven-storey shopping mall in Bangladesh’s capital city, Dhaka. The incident also left 22 others injured. The fire on Thursday night that engulfed the Green Cozy Cottage building in the capital's Baily Road area housed several restaurants and shops, newswire PTI reported quoting government officials. The fire broke out around 9:50 pm on Thursday at a popular restaurant named “Kacchi Bhai” on the building's first floor and quickly spread to the upper floors that had more restaurants and a garment shop, according to fire service officials. Health Minister Dr Samanta Lal Sen said around 2 am that 33 bodies were brought to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) and 10 others to the Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery. Another victim died at the Police Hospital. The condition of those injured is "critical", he told reporters at a briefing. "One more person died during treatment in the intensive care unit of Dhaka Medical ICU this morning. A total of 46 people have died so far," Sen said on Friday. Currently, 10 people are undergoing treatment at the Sheikh Hasina burn unit and two at DMCH, he said. Till now, the bodies of 39 people have been identified. Of them, at least 31 bodies of the victims have been handed over to families without an autopsy. Till now, the identities of six bodies remain unknown. The authorities will hand them over after conducting a DNA test. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is closely monitoring the fire incident at the commercial building, the Health Minister said. Hasina on Friday bemoaned that there was no fire exit in the multi-storied building. “The fire that broke out in Bailey Road, that is a multi-storied building, but there was no fire exit,” she said. She urged all to follow the rules and regulations while constructing any building. Hasina said that 46 people died in the Bailey Road fire incident. “What could be more painful than this,” she said. However, the prime minister said that the government has repeatedly instructed to install fire extinguishers and take fire safety measures in all buildings, but that is hardly followed. “And I know there was no insurance, so they (victims in the Bailey Road fire incident) will not get anything (as compensation). Awareness is very much needed in these cases,” she said. Fire officials said 75 people, including 42 in unconscious state, were taken out of the seven-storey building. Thirteen fire service units were mobilised, the officials said. The minister, a burn wound specialist, said 22 people are being treated at both health facilities and their condition is "critical". "The respiratory system of those who have survived so far has been seriously damaged," Sen told reporters at the DMCH. Doctors said some of the bodies were burned beyond recognition and feared that the death toll could rise. Witnesses and officials said to escape the fire, people rushed to the upper floors. Many were rescued by firefighters using ladders, they added. IGP Chowdhury Abdullah Al Mamun in a press briefing said that 44 people died and 75 had been rescued. Some of the rescued individuals received first aid treatment before returning home safely. He also said the dead victims included the daughter of a police officer. Fire Service DG Moin said the 42 unconscious included 21 women and four children. “It was a dangerous building with gas cylinders on every floor, even on the staircases,” he said. He believes the fire originated from a gas leak or stove. The building has only one exit - the staircases, according to him. Most of the people died as they jumped off the building or from burns or suffocation, said firefighters who brought the fire under control around 12.30 am. The first death was reported around 1 am when the firefighters took the bodies one by one to a freezing truck waiting outside the building, local media reported. A five-member committee has been formed to investigate the incident. Fires in apartment buildings and factory complexes are common in Bangladesh due to lax enforcement of safety rules. As many as 102 people were killed and 281 others sustained burn injuries in 27,624 fire incidents across the country in 2023, according to Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence (FSCD) headquarters. According to the Fire Service statistics, most of the fire incidents originated from electric short circuits, burning cigarettes, ovens and leakage of gas pipelines. In July 2021, at least 52 people including many children were killed when a fire swept through a food processing factory. In February 2019, 70 people died when an inferno ripped through several Dhaka apartment blocks. (With inputs from PTI)

01 March,2024 05:46 PM IST | Dhaka | mid-day online correspondent
File photo for representation/AFP

US lawmakers urge President Biden to withhold 'recognition' of Pak's new govt

Citing "strong evidence" of election rigging in Pakistan, a group of influential lawmakers, including Muslim legislators, belonging to the ruling Democratic Party has urged US President Joe Biden to withhold "recognition" of a new government in Islamabad until a transparent and credible investigation is conducted. The February 8 general election, marred by allegations of widespread rigging, in Pakistan, resulted in a hung Parliament with independent candidates backed by jailed former prime minister Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party winning more than 90 seats at the 266-member National Assembly. Ex-premier Nawaz Sharif's PML-N bagged 75 seats and former foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto's PPP got 54 seats. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) won 17 seats. In a joint letter to President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the lawmakers expressed concerns about "pre- and post-poll rigging in Pakistan's recent parliamentary elections" and urged the US Congress to "withhold recognition of a new government in Pakistan until a thorough, transparent, and credible investigation of election interference has been conducted". Islamabad is a long-standing ally of Washington and it is in the interest of the US to ensure that democracy thrives in Pakistan and that election results reflect the interests of the Pakistani people, not the interests of the Pakistani elite and military, the letter sent on Wednesday said. Since the election resulted in a hung Parliament, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) have struck a post-poll deal along with four other parties to form a coalition government, which may effectively end Khan's chances of returning to power. A party must win 133 out of 265 contested seats in the 266-member National Assembly to form a government. PTI has rejected the attempts by the PML-N and the PPP to form a coalition government, warning that robbing its public endorsement by the "mandate thieves" will result in the worst political instability. Also read: Donald Trump defeats Haley in Michigan, Biden wins Democratic primary "Given the strong evidence of pre- and post-poll rigging, we urge you to wait until a thorough, transparent, and credible investigation has been conducted before recognising a new Pakistani government. Without taking this necessary step, you risk enabling anti-democratic behaviour by Pakistani authorities and could undermine the democratic will of the Pakistani people," the US lawmakers said. The letter urged Pakistani authorities to release anyone who has been detained for engaging in political speech or activity and tasked State Department officials in Pakistan with gathering information about such cases and advocating for their release. It urged the Biden administration to "make clear" to Pakistani authorities that US law provides for accountability for acts that violate human rights, undermine democracy, or further corruption, "including the potential for military and other cooperation to be halted". The letter noted that before the elections, former prime minister Khan was sentenced to prison terms of 10 years and 14 years on "questionable charges" of leaking state secrets and corruption. Members of his PTI party "were forced" to run as independents and prohibited from using the party symbol on the ballot, "despite consistently polling as the most popular party in the country". "Leading up to the election. PTI members faced police raids, arrests, and harassment. On the day of the election, Pakistani authorities suspended mobile calls and data, making it harder for voters to find polling stations," the lawmakers noted. While the pre-poll rigging efforts rightly received widespread international and domestic condemnation, attention has now turned to widespread allegations of past-poll rigging, they said. "Concerns arose after delays in reporting final results and early returns showed PTI-backed candidates on a path to victory. Over the coming days and weeks, previously reported vote totals allegedly changed dramatically, while video evidence emerged on social media of purported abuses by security forces and election officials at polling stations, as results were delayed well past legal deadlines," the letter said. The legislators noted that findings by nonpartisan observers also lend credibility to these concerns. According to the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN), which is nonpartisan but has worked closely with election authorities, more than two-thirds of polling sites suffered from the kinds of election law violations that could have enabled changing outcomes of races, they noted, adding that these findings were echoed by other election monitors, human rights organisations, and the nation's media as well. "This growing body of evidence and diversity of voices has led many of the leading observers, human rights organisations, and media organisations to call for a transparent, credible audit process to verify the true outcome of the election," they emphasised, urging the Biden administration "to show Pakistanis that the US stands with them in their fight for democracy and human rights". According to a report in Pakistan's Dawn newspaper, all 33 signatories are pivotal progressive Democrats essential for securing President Biden's second term. It noted that influential Muslim lawmakers -- Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Andre Carson -- have also endorsed the "pro-PTI letter". The letter was also signed by Indian-origin Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, the chai­r­person of the Progressive Caucus.  This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever.

01 March,2024 03:12 PM IST | Washington | PTI
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei waves after casting his ballots during the parliamentary and key clerical body elections at a polling station in Tehran on March 1. Pic/AFP

Iran begins voting in first parliament election since 2022 protests

Iran began voting on Friday in its first parliamentary elections since the mass 2022 protests over its mandatory hijab laws after the death of Mahsa Amini, with questions looming over just how many people will turn out for the poll. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 84, cast one of the first votes in an election that also will see new members elected to the country's Assembly of Experts. The panel of clerics, who serve an eight-year term, is mandated to select a new supreme leader if Khamenei steps down or dies, giving their role increased importance with Khamenei's age. Khamenei voted before a crowd of journalists in Tehran, his left hand slightly shaking as he took his ballot from his right, paralysed since a 1981 bombing. State television showed one woman nearby weeping as she filmed Khamenei with her mobile phone. He urged people to vote as soon as possible in the election, saying that both Iran's friends and enemies were watching the turnout. "Pay attention to this, make friends happy and disappoint the evil-wishers," he said in brief remarks by the ballot boxes. Initial election results are expected as soon as Saturday. Some 15,000 candidates are vying for a seat in the 290-member parliament, formally known as the Islamic Consultative Assembly. Terms run for four years, and five seats are reserved for Iran's religious minorities. Under the law, the parliament has oversight over the executive branch, votes on treaties and handles other issues. In practice, absolute power in Iran rests with its supreme leader. Hard-liners have controlled the parliament for the past two decades- with chants of 'Death to America' often heard from the floor. Under Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, a former Revolutionary Guard general who supported a violent crackdown on Iranian university students in 1999, the legislature pushed forward a bill in 2020 that greatly curtailed Tehran's cooperation with the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency. That followed then-President Donald Trump's unilateral withdrawal of America from Iran's nuclear deal with world powers in 2018 - an act that sparked years of tensions in the Middle East and saw Iran enrich enough uranium at record-breaking purity to have enough fuel for 'several' nuclear weapons if it chose. More recently, the parliament has focused on issues surrounding Iran's mandatory head covering, or hijab, for women after the 2022 death of 22-year-old Amini in police custody, which sparked nationwide protests. The protests quickly escalated into calls to overthrow Iran's clerical rulers. A subsequent security crackdown killed over 500 people, with more than 22,000 detained. Calls for an election boycott have spread in recent weeks, including from imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize laureate Narges Mohammadi, a women's right activist, who called them a 'sham.' The boycott calls have put the government under renewed pressure - since its 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran's theocracy has based its legitimacy in part on turnout in elections. The state-owned polling centre ISPA hadn't put out election data prior to the vote until Thursday, something highly unusual as their figures typically get released much earlier. Its polling, based on a survey of 5,121 voting-age people, predicted a turnout of 23.5 per cent in the capital, Tehran, and 38.5 per cent nationally. It said the margin of error in the poll was 2 per cent.

01 March,2024 12:59 PM IST | Dubai | AP
Vehicles charred in the Smokehouse Creek Fire, termed as the second largest in US history to be caused by intense heat. Pic/AP

This February has been the warmest on record: Scientists

The world likely notched its warmest February on record, as spring-like conditions caused flowers to bloom early from Japan to Mexico, left ski slopes bald of snow in Europe and pushed temperatures to 100 degrees F in Texas. While data has not been finalised, three scientists told Reuters that February is on track to have the highest global average temperature ever recorded for that month, thanks to climate change and the warming in the Eastern Pacific Ocean known as El Nino. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will publish final figures for February around March 14, according to its press office. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

01 March,2024 07:51 AM IST | Washington | Agencies
Newly elected lawmakers of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party protest holding posters of Imran Khan. Pic/AP

Pakistan swears in parliament amid chaos

Pakistan’s National Assembly swore in newly elected members on Thursday in a chaotic scene, as allies of jailed former Premier Imran Khan protested what they claim was a rigged election. Lawmakers from Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party repeatedly chanted “Vote-thief!” as Shehbaz Sharif, who’s expected to form the government, entered the lower house of parliament with his brother Nawaz Sharif. Both men are former premiers. Outgoing National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf administered the oath to incoming legislators at noon. The house echoed with chants of “Long Live Sharif!” when the brothers signed the register after taking their oaths of office. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the young chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party and a key Sharif ally, was met with similar chants. The new government will face challenges including a surge in militant attacks and shortages of energy. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

01 March,2024 07:48 AM IST | Islamabad | Agencies
Soyuz-2.1b rocket carried the Iranian satellite and 18 Russian satellites into orbit. PIC/AP

Russian rocket launches Iranian satellite into orbit

A Russian rocket on Thursday successfully put an Iranian satellite into orbit, a launch that underlined increasingly close cooperation between Moscow and Tehran. Russia’s state-run Roscosmos corporation said that a Soyuz rocket blasted off from the Vostochny launch facility in the country’s far east to carry the Iranian satellite and 18 Russian satellites into orbit. The Iranian state TV said the 110-kilogram (242-pound) satellite has three cameras to take images for environmental, agricultural and other purposes. Iran’s state TV said the satellite will be put into orbit around the North and South Poles, synchronised to be in the same position relative to the Sun, and will be fully functional after a calibration of its systems.  Iran’s Communication Minister Isa Zarepour told the TV that Iran’s space programme has had a total of 23 launches, including 12 during President Ebrahim Raisi’s administration. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

01 March,2024 07:45 AM IST | Moscow | Agencies
An air leak in the Russian segment of the ISS was reported on Wednesday. Pic/AP

Air leak at space station no danger to crew: Russia

Russian space officials on Wednesday acknowledged a continuing air leak from the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS), but said it poses no danger to its crew. The Roscosmos state corporation said that specialists were monitoring the leak and the crew “regularly conducts work to locate and fix possible spots of the leak.” “There is no threat to the crew or the station itself,” it said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies. Roscosmos’ statement followed comments by Joel Montalbano, NASA’s station project manager, who noted Wednesday that the leak in the Russian segment has increased but emphasised that it remains small and poses no threat to the crew’s safety or vehicle operations. As the space outpost is aging, the crew has to spend more time to repair and maintain it, Roscosmos said.. Russian space officials first reported a leak in the Zvezda module in August 2020 and later that year Russian crew members located what they believed was its source and tried to fix it. In November 2021, another potentially leaky spot was found in a different part of the Russian section of the station. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

01 March,2024 07:42 AM IST | Moscow | Agencies
A boy pushes a child in a makeshift buggy after collecting fresh bread

Strike on Palestinians waiting for aid kills 70

At least 70 people were killed in a strike early Thursday on a crowd of Palestinians waiting for humanitarian aid in Gaza City, bringing the total number killed since the start of the Israel-Hamas war to more than 30,000, Gaza’s Health Ministry said. Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said another 280 people were wounded in Thursday’s strike. Gaza City and the rest of northern Gaza were the first targets of Israel’s air, sea and ground offensive launched in response to Hamas’ October 7 attack. Displaced Palestinians line up for fresh bread in Rafah The area has suffered widespread devastation and has been largely isolated from the rest of the territory. Aid groups say it has become impossible to deliver humanitarian assistance, in part because of crowds of desperate people overwhelming aid convoys. Israel refutes UN claims it delayed aid The Israeli agency COGAT (Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories: Judea and Samaria and towards the Gaza Strip) refuted allegations that Israel interfered with medical aid for Gazan civilians by detaining local medics without cause, pointing out that it was the UN which chose to suspend operations after the Israeli military detained suspected terrorists among Palestinian medics. Children play in a destroyed car in Rafah. Pic/AP GOCAT explained that on February 25, OCHAOPT (the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Palestinian Areas) requested an urgent coordination with the Israel Defense Forces to evacuate patients from Gaza. “Hamas systematically uses ambulances for transporting terrorists,” said COGAT. After the convoy began to move, the IDF got intelligence about the possibility of terrorists being within it. During the inspection, three staffers from the Palestine Red Crescent Society were detained for questioning. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

01 March,2024 07:38 AM IST | Rafah | Agencies
Gaza strip. Pic/AFP

Palestinian death toll in Gaza surpasses 30,000; dozens waiting for aid

The Gaza Health Ministry said on Thursday that over 30,000 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the Israel-Hamas war nearly five months ago, as a strike on a crowd of people waiting for aid in Gaza City killed and wounded dozens, according to local hospital officials. Gaza City and the rest of northern Gaza were the first targets of Israel's air, sea and ground offensive launched in response to Hamas' October 7 attack. The area has suffered widespread devastation and has been largely isolated from the rest of the territory for months, with little aid entering. Aid groups say it has become nearly impossible to deliver humanitarian assistance in most of Gaza, in part because of the crowds of desperate people who overwhelm aid convoys. The UN says a quarter of Gaza's 2.3 million Palestinians face starvation. Dr. Jadallah Shafai, the head of the nursing department at Shifa Hospital, told the Al Jazeera network that around 50 people were killed and 250 wounded. He did not provide a precise toll. Al Jazeera ran footage showing several bodies and injured people arriving at Shifa. Dr. Hussam Abu Safiya, the director of the Kamal Adwan Hospital, said it had received at least 10 bodies and 160 wounded people. Fares Afana, the head of the ambulance service at Kamal Adwan, said medics arriving at the scene found 'dozens or hundreds' lying on the ground. He said there were not enough ambulances to collect all the dead and wounded and that some were being brought to hospitals on donkey carts. Dr, Mohammad Salha, the acting director of the Al-Awda Hospital, said it received 90 wounded and three dead, who were transferred to Kamal Adwan. "We expect a rise in the number killed," he said. "There are many wounded still at the reception and the emergency room." He said Al-Awda is largely out of commission, with no electricity and the operating room running on battery power with only hours left. Gaza's health sector is under severe strain nearly five months into the Israel-Hamas war. The Israeli military said it was looking into the reports. Gaza's Health Ministry did not immediately provide an official toll from the strike, but it said the Palestinian death toll from the war has climbed to 30,035, with another 70,457 wounded. It does not differentiate between civilians and combatants in its figures but says women and children make up around two-thirds of those killed. The ministry, which is part of the Hamas-run government, maintains detailed records of casualties. Its counts from previous wars have largely matched those of the UN, independent experts and even Israel's own tallies. The Hamas attack into southern Israel that ignited the war killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and the militants seized around 250 hostages. Hamas is still holding around 130 hostages, a quarter of whom are believed to be dead, after releasing most of the others during a weeklong cease-fire in November. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever.

29 February,2024 03:46 PM IST | Rafah | AP
Elon Musk/ File Photo

Elon Musk announces new 'pinned post' visibility feature on X

Elon Musk on Thursday announced a new user feature on his social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter). Musk said the platform's recommendation algorithm will ensure that all of a user's followers see their pinned post every 48 hours. A change is coming to our recommendation algorithm that will ensure that all your followers see your pinned posts.This only applies to one pinned post every ~48 hours to prevent gaming of the system. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 28, 2024 As a failsafe to deter "gaming of the system," Musk also revealed that this will only apply to one pinned post every two days. He added, "This only applies to one pinned post every 48 hours to prevent gaming of the system." On February 21, Musk posted on X, "When you pin a post, it is now automatically added to your highlights section. Soon, we will adjust the algorithm to prioritize showing pinned posts to your followers. This will only work once per day to prevent gaming of the system." As the platform continues to evolve, these changes are likely to reshape the way users interact with content and advertisements on X, providing more options for a personalized and seamless user experience. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

29 February,2024 10:33 AM IST | California | ANI
Nawaz Sharif (C) along with Shehbaz Sharif (R) and Maryam Nawaz (L) speaks with supporters in Lahore. Pic/AFP

Nawaz Sharif says next 2 yrs to be challenging for Pakistan's coalition govt

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif said that the next two years will be quite challenging for the new coalition government in Pakistan due to the fragile economic situation and political instability, Dawn newspaper reported. Sharif made the remarks at the PML-N parliamentary party meeting which he co-chaired alongside his brother and party president Shehbaz Sharif. He backed the deal between PML-N and Pakistan People's Party (PPP) to form the government and expressed hope that Shehbaz Sharif will rid the country of all 'gigantic' problems. Nawaz Sharif said, "Shehbaz is the party's nominee for the office of prime minister while Sardar Ayaz Sadiq is our candidate for the post of the National Assembly speaker," according to the Pakistan-based daily Dawn. In his remarks at the PML-N parliamentary party meeting, Nawaz Sharif said the new government will have to face the opposition vehemently initially and added that the first job should be to reduce inflation and improve governance. He stated that the new government will have ample opportunity to do a lot for people of Pakistan after two years, Dawn reported. Praising Shehbaz Sharif's work during the PML-N-led coalition governmment, he said, "The way Shehbaz Sharif had run the government for 16 months was quite challenging; even I could not manage," he added. He criticised Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan for what he termed "promoting" the politics of hatred and misguiding the youth of Pakistan. The decisions announced by Nawaz Sharif endorsed an agreement between the PML-N and PPP regarding a power-sharing formula. According to the power-sharing formula of two parties,the office of the PM and the NA speaker will be given to the PML-N while PPP will have other coveted positions, like Senate chairman and president. During the meeting, Shehbaz Sharif recalled the achievements of PML-N and Nawaz Sharif in the previous tenures. He said Nawaz Sharif had rid Pakistan of electricity crisis and developed a network of motorways across the country, Dawn reported. Shehbaz Sharif said that with the support of the coalition parties, he would try his best to overcome the problems faced by Pakistan. He also called for pledges from the PML-N MNA-elect to put an end to the woes of people of Pakistan. He stated that after the three independent candidates joined the party, the total number of PML-N seats in the National Assembly has rose to 104. After the meeting of allied parties, a delegation visited Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman's residence in Islamabad to convince him to join the government. JUIF chief told his erstwhile allies that his party members will take oath in the maiden session. However, the meeting remained inconclusive, with PML-N leader Ayaz Sadiq expressing hope that the JUI-F would rejoin the alliance. On February 27, Opposition parties - the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) rejected the results of elections held in Pakistan on February 8 and demanded fresh polls, Dawn reported. The three parties have warned that they would not remain silent and the protest against the alleged rigging will continue with more force and intensity. The three parties, which has recently joined hands to protest against the "'manipulated and rigged' elections" announced setting up of a committee to plan a 'protest campaign.' A large number of workers of the three parties gathered outside the Karachi Press Club and held protest in line a province-wide call for observing the 'black day,' according to Dawn report. The opposition parties had given the call to observe the black day in protest against the police action to scatter their protest planned outside the Sindh Assembly on February 25 over alleged rigging in the elections held on February 8. Carrying placards and banners, the protesters shouted slogans against 'theft' of mandate. Some of the protesters even carried black flags. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/mid-day.com reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

29 February,2024 09:52 AM IST | Islamabad | ANI
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