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Daily Briefs


Photo : Dawn

18 September 2021, Saturday I Vol 2, No. 255

PCB to suffer huge financial, reputational losses due to New Zealand calling off their tour



The anti-polio drive in KP, the increase in current account deficit and food import bill, the gender debate in Pakistan, and UK's decision to remove Pakistan from the red list, Pakistan's response to China's stand that CPEC has slowed down

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief
INTERNAL
PCB to suffer huge financial, reputational losses due to New Zealand calling off their tour
On 17 September, the Pakistan Cricket Board will suffer financial losses in millions as a result of New Zealand calling off their tour due to a security threat just before the first of three One-day Internationals was to begin in Rawalpindi. A PCB official said, “Apart from the security losses, this is a blow to the efforts the PCB, the government and the security agencies who had been making to fully restore international cricket in Pakistan.” Further, the official said, “The ICC has done nothing in these cases,” adding, “Furthermore since the Indian lobby is strong at the ICC, so it will not be easy for the PCB to win any case of compensation against New Zealand.” (“Pakistan cricket set to incur huge financial, reputational losses,” Dawn, 18 September 2021)

PROVINCES
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Anti-polio drive begins across the province
On 17 September, the third nationwide anti-polio campaign began in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. While speaking at the launch of the campaign Dr Faisal Sultan, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Health said, “The programme has made significant gains with not a single case being reported for seven months, giving us a unique opportunity to achieve polio eradication. Now is the time to re-double our efforts and ensure we reach every eligible child with the polio vaccine to solidify this progress. Parents should open their doors to polio workers and vaccinate their children to make the way for a polio-free Pakistan.” (Aamir Yasin, “Anti-polio drive kicks off across KP,” Dawn, 18 September 2021)

ECONOMY
Current account deficit increases to USD 1,476 million
On 17 September, the State Bank of Pakistan data showed that the current account deficit (CAD) stood at USD 1,476 million in August, showing a drastic increase from the USD 814 million in July. This indicates an 81 per cent increase in the CAD. Previously, the SBP Governor had estimated that the CAD would constitute two to three per cent of the FY22 GDP. However, the scale of the CAD’s increase may account for a higher percentage than the estimated figure. (Shahid Iqbal, “Alarm as current account deficit balloons to $1.5bn in August,” Dawn, 18 September 2021)

Food import bill increases to USD 1.47 billion 
On 17 September, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics data showed that the food import bill was recorded at USD 1.473 billion in the first two months of FY22, an increase from the USD 0.980 billion in the corresponding period of the previous FY. The import bill is expected to further increase after the government’s decision to import 0.6 million tonnes of sugar and 4 million tonnes of wheat, over the coming months. (Mubarak Zeb Khan, “Food import bill surges by over 50pc to $1.473bn,” Dawn, 18 September 2021)

PAKISTAN’S GENDER DEBATE
Glass ceiling in Pakistan is thicker than global average, says opinion
An opinion in The Express Tribune outlines the attitude towards feminism in Pakistan. The author opines that the tags associated with feminism in Pakistan - “western propaganda, liberal, man-hating, and not suited for the Islamic Republic” - are inaccurate. She reflects that feminism is a much-needed movement, and says that Pakistan has largely been excluded from the global feminist movements. Citing statistics that women do not occupy important positions in the workspace, she says “the glass ceiling is real and much thicker in Pakistan than the global average.” She furthers lists other issues - sexual and emotional violence, domestic violence, entrenched patriarchy - that need immediate solutions. She concludes saying that an entire human race can only be empowered if every human being is given equal opportunity. (Fiza Farhan, “Feminism and what it really stands for,” The Express Tribune, 18 September 2021)

EXTERNAL
Pakistan moved off the UK red list of travel
On 17 September, the UK Secretary of State for Transport announced that on 22 September, Pakistan will be removed from the red list of travel. Pakistan was placed on the red list in April. The British High Commissioner to Pakistan welcomed the development and said that he had witnessed the difficulties for those closely relying on the links UK-Pakistan ties. The Pakistan Planning Minister appreciated the move and said that the right decision was finally taken. (“UK removes Pakistan from red list,” The News International, 18 September 2021)

UNHCR asks Pakistan to accept new influx of Afghan refugees
On 17 September, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi urged Pakistan to accept the new influx of refugees from Afghanistan. He stated that if these refugees are sent back due to the lack of documentation, they may be at risk. Additionally, he stated that it was important that “we in the international community continue to engage with Taliban in order to go forward and save Afghanistan and the region from disaster.” (Amin Ahmed, “UNHCR urges Pakistan to accept new Afghan refugees,” Dawn, 18 September 2021)

ON CPEC
CPEC hasn’t slowed down, says Planning and Development Minister
On 17 September, Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar stated that the security threat has elevated in Pakistan because of opposition by international powers to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the situation in Afghanistan, adding that no doubt development on CPEC was looked upon with aversion by big global powers who wanted to sow dissension in the country. Further, he stated that in such situations politicians should be careful while commenting on CPEC, adding that there was no bar on criticism and recommendations but it should not be described as “closed down, finished or destroyed.”(Khaleeq Kiani, “CPEC hasn’t slowed down, assures Asad Umar,” Dawn, 18 September 2021)

 

Pakistan on Twitter

"The imposition of 5 to 35% advance tax on electricity bills through a presidential ordinance is economic terrorism against the people of the government. The oppressive / incompetent government is bent on waging civil war in the country. After that another bomb was thrown at the people to increase the price of electricity"
- Leader of Opposition in NA Shehbaz Sharif

"Breaking news: NZ team management quoting British HC claimed “security threat” and declined to play. Pakistan’s highest security agencies probed, reported “zero threat”, cleared all doubts, gave state protocol and security but to no avail. Is this a ploy to embarrass Pakistan?"
- Journalist Syed Talat Hussain

"Pakistan has gone out of its way to help western nations rescue their citizens from Afghanistan . However, we continue to face a situation where decisions which should be based on health & sports seem to be sacrificed at the altar of global politics. #PakvsNz"
- Planning Minister Asad Umar

"@ImranKhanPTI should talk to NZ PM again & explain why these Threat Alerts are routine matters and never amount to anything; that our security agencies are the best in the world, that we take full responsibility for the safety of players; etc. All apprehensions must be removed."
- Editor in Chief of The Friday Times Najam Sethi

Also read...

An editorial in Dawn on US Secretary of State Antony Blinken blaming Pakistan for America’s failures in Afghanistan stated that it would be better for the US to move forward in its ties with Pakistan and to try and build a positive, mutually respectful and beneficial relationship. Blaming Pakistan for America’s failures is unlikely to help improve relations, adding that a fresh approach is needed from Washington, not veiled threats to ‘reassess’ relations.

Similarly, an editorial in The Express Tribune states that it is clear that the Biden administration has kept Pakistan’s elected leadership at arm’s length, adding that Blinken’s comments that the US would reanalyse its relationship with Pakistan is unfortunate but not unexpected.

An opinion in The Express Tribune states that the glass ceiling is real and much thicker in Pakistan than the global average, further, it adds that in Pakistan, the primary and urgent focus of feminism is still, unfortunately, the very fundamental right of women’s protection from violence.

An editorial in The Express Tribune on New Zealand cancelling the tour states that the Pakistani government too must push New Zealand to provide more information in order to better understand what exactly happened within the span of a few hours.

An editorial on granting amnesty for the TTP stated that any indication that Pakistan may grant an amnesty to the TTP will send a wrong signal to the international community and will be like rubbing salt on the wounds of the TTP victims and their families.

 



"Political wheeling and dealing under the garb of democracy has rightly been perceived as the root cause for the financial drain on local government institutions and other government bodies. With no financial discipline, the overall sustainability of such bodies has been jeopardised.”
-An opinion in Dawn on ‘Local decay’



Photo : Dawn

17 September 2021, Friday I Vol 2, No. 254

PM Khan at SCO summit, says Taliban must fulfil promises made in Afghanistan



The ECP serving notices on two federal ministers, Senate panel expressing concern over the slow pace of CPEC projects and the PFUJ announcing its plan to hold a long march to protest against the proposed PDMA bill.

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief
INTERNAL
ECP serves notices on two federal ministers
On 16 September, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) served notices on two federal ministers including Railways Minister Azam Swati and Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, seeking evidence of their recent allegations against the supervisory body. Previously, Swati accused the ECP of taking bribes to rig elections and said such institutions should be “set on fire.” Meanwhile, Fawad accused the chief election commissioner (CEC) of acting as a “mouthpiece for the opposition parties.” (“ECP serves notices on Swati, Fawad,” The Express Tribune, 17 September 2021)

PFUJ decides to hold a long march to protest against the proposed PDMA bill
On 16 September, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) announced its plan to hold a long march from Quetta to Islamabad in early November against the proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority (PDMA) bill. Additionally, the PFUJ dispelled the impression that the stakeholders were ready to hold talks over the controversial bill, saying, “the journalists fraternity considers the bill a draconian piece of legislation and rejects it in its entirety.” (“PFUJ announces long march to protest against proposed PDMA bill,” Dawn, 17 September 2021)

Labour survey states that joblessness jumped in 2018-19 
On 16 September, the Labour Force Survey (LFS) published by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) stated that Pakistan’s unemployment rate jumped from 5.8 per cent in 2017-18 to 6.9 per cent in 2018-19. The survey noted that the increase in the unemployment rate was more pronounced in rural areas. Additionally, it showed that an increase in unemployment was observed in the case of both males and females, with the male unemployment rate rising from 5.1 per cent to 5.9 per cent and the female unemployment rate jumping from 8.3 per cent to 10 per cent. (“Joblessness jumped in 2018-19: labour survey,” Dawn, 17 September 2021)

EXTERNAL
PM Khan at SCO summit, says Taliban must fulfil promises made in Afghanistan
On 17 September, PM Imran Khan while addressing the 20th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Heads of State (SCO-CHS) Summit in Tajikistan’s capital, Dushanbe stated, “The Taliban must fulfill the pledges made above all for inclusive political structure where all ethnic groups are represented. This is vital for Afghanistan’s stability.” Additionally, he stated, “It is now in the international community’s collective interest to ensure that there is no renewed conflict in Afghanistan and the security situation is stabilised.” Further, partnering with Central Asia he said, “There is no doubt that the web of rail, road, sea and air links across the SCO region will usher in a new era of enhanced trade, energy flows, and people-to-people exchanges,” adding, “This hard and soft connectivity will contribute significantly to progress and prosperity in the region and beyond.” (“Taliban must fulfill promises made in Afghanistan, says PM at SCO summit,” Dawn, 17 September 2021)

The US asks Pakistan’s to play a constructive role in resolving Afghan crisis
On 17 September, Dawn reported that the US State Department urged Pakistan to play a constructive role in persuading the Taliban to fulfil their commitments. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said, “We have been in regular touch with Pakistani counterparts as well as Pakistani leadership. We’ve discussed Afghanistan in some detail,” adding, “Pakistan had frequently advocated for an inclusive government with broad support in Afghanistan and we are going to continue to look to Pakistan and to other countries in the region to make good on their public statements, on commitments they have made.” (Anwar Iqbal, “US urges Pakistan’s constructive role in resolving Afghan crisis,” Dawn, 17 September 2021)

ON CPEC
Senate panel expressed concern over the slow pace of CPEC projects 
On 16 September, the Senate Standing Committee on Planning and Development expressed concern over the slow pace of development on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as well as dissatisfaction expressed by the Chinese companies over the negligible progress over the past three years. While presiding over, the Senate chairman said the Chinese were not satisfied with the pace of work on CPEC and no progress on the portfolio was seen during the last three years, adding the “Chinese ambassador has complained to me that you have destroyed CPEC and no work was done in the past three years.” (Khaleeq Kiani, “Slow pace of work on CPEC irks Chinese companies,” Dawn, 17 September 2021)

 

Pakistan on Twitter

There should be widespread protests against price hike. Lack of agitation on this issue by political parties means they are content on becoming electoral machines. We need organizations that mobilize masses on their issues rather than using them as canon fodder to strike deals.
- Haqooq-e-Khalq Movement (HKM) member Ammar Ali Jan

"The New Zealand team will be seen playing in Pakistan today after 18 years, it is not just a cricket match but a proof that the situation in Pakistan is now normal and the credit goes to the security forces, even the big teams can come here without any fear. The country can also host an international event."
- Sports journalist Saleem Khaliq

"Have the PTI people asked their leader that the two months he said on May 26, 2019 meant two months of doomsday? Today, two and a half years later, the situation in the country is deteriorating rapidly. Doomsday is upon us for the poor and the working people."
- PML-N Secretary-General Ahsan Iqbal

Also read...

An editorial in Dawn on the question of granting amnesty to TTP stated that amnesty should be for some individuals, not the entire outfit. It states that as for hardcore militants of the TTP, the state needs to bring these individuals to justice.

An editorial in Dawn on media regulations stated that social media regulation is not just a challenge for Pakistan but for all countries that are grappling with the explosive, unplanned and unstoppable growth of digital media.

An opinion in Dawn on the issues surrounding the SNC states that if the government is serious about having proper consultation and feedback loop, it has to announce a credible, transparent process through which it engages and works through the feedback. Meanwhile, an opinion in The Express Tribune states on SNC versus OSC states that Out of School Children was first priority but the entire energy of a new govt, huge amount of resources have been utilised for SNC.

An editorial in The News International on the issue of accountability states that accountability has always been questioned in Pakistan because of the actions taken by political leaders and the rapid manner in which accountability becomes politicised falling into the hands of the party in power.

 


"Censorship – be it under whatever guise – only threatens a democratic society. Democracy and the citizens of this country need a free media – be it electronic, print or social media – that allows space for dissent and investigation. The salvation of this country is not in curbing media freedoms but in strengthening democracy, for which freedom of expression, access to information and a free press are absolutely essential.”
-An editorial in The News International on ‘Media in a democracy’



Photo : Dawn

16 September 2021, Thursday I Vol 2, No. 253

Government and media agree to form a body for PMDA review



Opposition vows to defend election commission, PM Khan's visit to Dushanbe to attend SCO meeting and NAS Moeed Yusuf urging the US to engage with Afghanistan

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief
INTERNAL
Government and media agree to form a body for PMDA review
On 15 September, the government and stakeholders in the media industry agreed to form a joint action committee to discuss and review the Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA). The committee would address issues of fake news, particularly on social media, the rights of media workers and ways to further improve laws and regulatory framework. Meanwhile, the Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting was briefed on the concept behind the proposed media authority, who asked for the draft law to be shared with all stakeholders. (Kalbe Ali, “Govt, media agree to form body for PMDA review,” Dawn, 15 September 2021)

PPP, ANP leaders meet CEC, pledge support in and outside parliament
On 15 September, a delegation of the opposition comprising of the PPP and ANP called on Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja to share their concerns over the government’s plan to get the controversial bills seeking to amend the Elections Act bulldozed during the joint session of parliament. Further, they announced that they would defend the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the Chief Election Commissioner in and outside the parliament. (Iftikhar A. Khan, “Opposition vows to defend election commission,” Dawn, 15 September 2021)

COAS commends operational preparedness of PAF
On 15 September, COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa commended the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) sacrifices for the country and their all-out support to the Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs). Additionally, he hailed the operational preparedness of PAF and appreciated its role in the provision of humanitarian assistance and facilitating recent evacuation operations from Afghanistan. (“COAS lauds operational preparedness of PAF,” The News International, 15 September 2021)

Shireen Mazari stated that there is no alternative to democracy
On 15 September, Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari on ‘the International Day of Democracy’ stated that there was no alternative to democracy and people had won it after a lot of struggle and sacrifices. Further, she argued that many people gave their lives to get democracy, therefore, any discussion about an alternative to democracy is irrelevant. (Kashif Abbasi, “No alternative to democracy, says Shireen Mazari,” Dawn, 15 September 2021)

PROVINCES
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Seven soldiers killed in South Waziristan
On 15 September, seven soldiers and five terrorists were killed in an exchange of fire in South Waziristan. The ISPR said that security forces conducted an Intelligence-Based-Operation (IOB) in Asman Manza, South Waziristan District, on reported presence of terrorists. (“Seven soldiers martyred in South Waziristan fight,” The News International, 15 September 2021)

Balochistan: Government decides to take action against illegal immigrants under the Foreigners Act
On 15 September, the Balochistan government decided to take action against illegal immigrants under the Foreigners Act. During a meeting chaired by Balochistan Chief Secretary Mathar Niaz Rana to review the law-and-order situation, it was decided not to allow anyone to cross the border without a visa and legal documents. Additionally, they noted that people crossed into Pakistan from Afghanistan through uncommon routes and reached Quetta and other parts of Balochistan. (Saleem Shahid, “Balochistan govt to act against illegal immigrants,” Dawn, 15 September 2021)

ECONOMY
ECC approves Rs44 billion financial aid for PIA
On 15 September, the Economic Coordination Committee (CCI) Rs44 billion to Pakistan International Airlines. This included USD 130 million financial arrangement to meet its immediate liabilities. Simultaneously, the committee also enhanced PIA’s guarantee limit by Rs22 billion to raise financing from commercial banks. Additionally, the ECC also approved the enhancement of the existing approved guarantee enabling PIAC to overcome its financial challenges. (Khaleeq Kiani, “ECC okays Rs44bn financial aid for PIA,” Dawn, 15 September 2021)

EXTERNAL
PM Khan in Dushanbe to attend SCO meeting
On 16 September, PM Imran Khan Dushanbe to see who represents Afghanistan at the two-day 20th Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Heads of State (SCO-CHS) which is scheduled for 16-17 September. In light of the meeting, the Foreign Office said, “Pakistan and Tajikistan enjoy close brotherly relations underpinned by the bonds of common faith, history and culture. The two countries have shared perceptions and a common desire to promote economic development, peace, security and stability in the region.” (Mariana Baabar, “PM tells CNN there is a chance for peace after 40 years: ‘Taliban should be given time on HR issues’,” The News International, 15 September 2021)

NAS Moeed Yusuf urged the US to engage with Afghanistan
On 15 September, National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf urged the world to engage with Taliban-led Afghanistan and said the United States should listen to its message as it reassess its relationship with Pakistan. Further, he emphasised that the US, which signalled that it was reviewing its relationship with Pakistan, should take note and listen to Pakistan’s advice on now ramping up engagement with the new Taliban-led government. He said, “If there has to be a reassessment, the reassessment has to conclude that what Pakistan was saying made sense. So now what Pakistan is saying we should give a fair hearing to.” (“NSA urges US to engage with Afghanistan,” The Express Tribune, 15 September 2021)

ON AFGHANISTAN
‘Taliban should be given time on human rights issues,’ says PM Khan
On16 September, The News International reported that Prime Minister Imran Khan during an interview with CNN show, Connect the World stated, “Afghanistan is on a historic crossroad: one if it goes well and we pray this works in the direction of peace in that country after 40 years. Taliban hold all of Afghanistan and if they work towards an inclusive government, getting all the factions together, Afghans could have peace after 40 years.” He added, “They have said that they would have an inclusive government, grant women rights in their own context and that they want human rights. They have already given amnesty. So, so far, what they have said clearly they want international acceptability.” (“PM flies to Dushanbe to attend SCO meeting today,” The News International, 15 September 2021)

 

Pakistan on Twitter

"Theft, robbery and looting have become a daily occurrence in Dera Ismail Khan. Citizens are feeling insecure in their own homes due to fear and panic in the city. The provincial government is protecting the lives and property of the people. Completely failed, the puppet government should resign and go home."
- JUI-F chief Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman

"This government keeps offering amnesty schemes and special packages to the elites while imposing unemployment and price hike on the poor. A government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich.."
- Haqooq-e-Khalq Movement (HKM) member Ammar Ali Jan 

"The oppressive PTI government has launched a new inflation bomb by increasing the prices of petrol, diesel and kerosene by Rs. 5 and above per liter. Doomsday is apparently the catalyst for a united Khundia and their subsequent emergence as a galactic power."
- Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif

"Oil prices in Pakistan are still the lowest in the region. Either the oil wells come out in three years or else when you have to buy oil from abroad, the price will go up. This is the principle for the rest of the imports. The real achievement is that the income of 75% of the population has also increased significantly."
- Federal Minister for Information &Broadcasting Government of Pakistan Ch Fawad Hussain

Also read...

An editorial in The News International stated that the way the matter of the Election Commission of Pakistan has been handled by the government has been extremely unpleasant. It states that there is a dire need to reduce the toxicity that has prevailed lately, for that only ends up damaging both the government and the dignity of the ECP as the body solely responsible for the conduct of a fair and free poll.

An opinion in Dawn on the threat of militancy on media states that journalists are caught between the TTP and the state. However, it states that the threat to the media does not actually emanate from the TTP, but from the method behind the ebb and flow of militancy, promoting militarism at the cost of freedom of expression.

An opinion in Dawn on the fall of the rupee states that the pace of activity in the foreign exchange markets will likely accelerate in the days ahead and as it accelerates, keeping the rupee below the threshold of 170 will become harder and harder.

An editorial in Dawn on the aid for Afghanistan states that the Afghans should not have to pay the cost of the world’s antipathy towards the Taliban, arguing that humanitarian aid can resume even if the world decides to hold back on formal recognition of the regime for now.

An editorial in The Nation states that the procurement and implementation of EVMs is an important issue that must be deliberated with all the stakeholders. It adds this matter should not be politicised unnecessarily and should not be viewed from an “us against them” lens.

 


"Once again our politicians have shown that while they are always very eager to be at each other’s throats whenever the situation suits them or their parties, they still haven’t developed the maturity needed to put petty differences aside and work in the interest of the system and the people. That, so far, is the only thing to come out of the efforts to make the voting process more transparent and legitimate.”
-An editorial in The Daily Times on ‘ECP controversy’



Photo : Dawn

15 September 2021, Wednesday I Vol 2, No. 252

If govt is not behind PMDA, it should take its notice, says PFUJ



The PTI's defeat in the cantonment polls in Punjab, the ANP leader's meeting with Shehbaz and Bilawal, the Senate committee's approval of the domestic workers bill, the KP government's support to recognise the Taliban government

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief
INTERNAL
If govt is not behind PMDA, it should take its notice, says PFUJ
On 15 September, Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) President demanded the government take notice if it was not behind the idea of Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA). Further, the president rejected the proposed PMDA and promised that the struggle against the anti-media body would continue. Meanwhile, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) stated that the government must take note of the concerns voiced by the media and open a transparent and industry-engaged process of review of the existing regulatory framework. (“Govt must heed protests against PMDA bill: IFJ,” The News International, 15 September 2021) (“If govt is not behind PMDA, it should take its notice: PFUJ,” The News International, 15 September 2021)

Imran disappointed over cantonment poll defeat in Punjab
On 14 September, PM Imran Khan expressed his disappointment over the PTI's defeat in the cantonment polls in Rawalpindi, Lahore, Peshawar and Multan. Sources said the PM called on top PTI officers to assess the reason behind the defeat and directed them to hold immediate local bodies polls. During the meeting with the PTI office-bearers, the Punjab government gave a brief overview of the new local government framework in Punjab, to the PM. ("PM Imran annoyed over PTI defeat in Punjab cantt polls," Dawn, 15 September 2021)

ANP leader meets with Shehbaz and Bilawal
On 14 September, ANP's Aimal Wali Khan met separately with Shehbaz Sharif and Bilawal Bhutto to discuss the political scenario in Pakistan. According to the PML-N and PPP media wings, the leaders took stock of the :overall political situation." This was the first meeting between the ANP and PML-N leaders after the former's exit from the PDM. Further, Aimal discussed the recent cantonment poll results with Bilawal. (Amir Wasim, "ANP leader discusses political situation with Shehbaz, Bilawal," Dawn, 15 September 2021)

Justice Bandial extends support to treating women equally within judiciary
On 15 September, Dawn reported that Justice Umar Ata Bandial proposed that names of those who were opposed to the idea of elevating Justice Ayesha A Malik should be recorded so that history would know who stood for women's rights. He maintained that Judicial Commission of Pakistan should follow the same parameters for men and women and conveyed that women should not be denied opportunity solely on the basis of seniority (or lack of). Dawn quoted Justice Bandial, "We have to progress and decide whether we have the courage and strength to take step in favour of women." (Nasir Iqbal, "Justice Ayesha’s nomination: Acting CJP sought mention of dissenters’ names," Dawn, 15 September 2021)

Senate committee approves domestic workers bill
On 14 September, the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights approved the Islamabad Capital Territory Domestic Workers Bill 2021, to enhance protection and welfare of the workers. The bill focuses on protecting the domestic workers rights, ensuring minimum wages, safe working conditions and setting the minimum age of employment at 18. The bill also provides for a committee to tend to complaints received and provide relief. (Shahid Kamal, "Islamabad domestic workers bill gets approval of Senate body," Dawn, 15 September 2021) 

PROVINCES
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Government backs recognition of Taliban rule in Afghanistan
On 14 September, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government extended its full support for recognising the Taliban government in Afghanistan along with lawmakers from the opposition PPP and MMA. The housing minister said, “We (Pakistan) should recognise the Taliban government and give them full support,” adding that the Afghan Taliban had replicated the model of the Conquest of Makkah (Fateh Makkah) by pardoning all opponents. (“KP govt backs recognition of Taliban rule in Afghanistan,” Dawn, 15 September 2021)

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Two terrorists killed in North Waziristan
On 14 September, two terrorists were killed during an intelligence-based operation (IBO) by security forces on a terrorist hideout in Datta Khel area of North Waziristan. Additionally, weapon and ammunition were also recovered. (“Two terrorists killed in NWA operation,” The News International, 15 September 2021)

ECONOMY
Rupee falls to an all-time low
On 14 September, the rupee ended at 168.94 to the dollar in the interbank market, 0.50 per cent or 84 paisas weaker than 13 September’s close of 168.10. Previously, the all-time low was recorded at 168.43 in August 2020. (“Rupee hits all-time low; looks vulnerable,” The News International, 15 September 2021)

ENERGY
Senate panel expresses discontent over power tariff hike
On 15 September, The Express Tribune reported that lawmakers on the Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat expressed their discontent over increased in the electricity bills and sought from the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) the break-up of the subsidy provided to the consumers. The Committee stated, “It has become difficult for the poor to pay their electricity bills. Policies should be framed keeping in mind the situation of the common people,” adding, “a proper investigation should be held in this regard and we are ready to form a committee, comprising both of lawmakers and Nepra officials in order to look into tariff related issues.” (“Power tariff hike irks Senate panel,” The Express Tribune, 15 September 2021)

 

Pakistan on Twitter

"Respect for the Election Commission has its place but if you don't like to talk about the political role of personalities, keep your conduct non-political. If a notice comes, we will give a detailed answer. Occurs not at the institution."
- Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry

"Spoke to a worker who was fired from his job a year ago. He is being forced to choose between paying for his own medical expenses or the school fees of his children. For the poor, unemployment and inflation will be the most salient features of this government's legacy."
- Haqooq-e-Khalq Movement (HKM) member Ammar Ali Jan 

"This is the fourth year of the government and from top to bottom the rhetoric still revolves around the former government - just accusations, slander and criticism. They did it. They did it. Do your thing, but do what you have to do. Do your thing. Criticism, criticism and criticism is their manifesto."
- PML-N Secretary-General Ahsan Iqbal

"I have to put on record that so far PMDA draft has NOT been finalised so what is Opp talking abt rejecting it in Parliament? Not sure what "draft" is going around but @fawadchaudhry confirms no draft has been shared bec it has yet to be given final shape before being sent to CCLC."
- Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari

Also read...

An opinion in Dawn on the effectiveness of SNC states that although educational apartheid must be eliminated and all citizens must have access to quality education, the problem is perpetuated by the low quality of education in our state institutions, arguing that the problem cannot be resolved by a retrogressive curriculum.

An opinion in Dawn on the importance of ‘transparency’ stated that the openness in decision-making is symbolic of a judiciary having nothing to hide, showing restraint and cognisant of its actions being subject to scrutiny.

An editorial in The Express Tribune on the Presidential address states that keeping aside the glory picture that the President painted, there is an ugly blot on the parliamentary face as this ceremonial event takes place every year. It adds, politics of hate and point-scoring have overrun participatory democratic values, rendering the single day of parliamentary business to a laughing stock.

An opinion in The Express Tribune on ‘International Day of Democracy’ argues that transparency and reliability of how elections are carried out are key to ensuring that the winners enjoy legitimacy. It adds, without democracy, peace and stability, sustainable development and prosperity cannot exist.

An opinion in The Express Tribune on protecting personal data stated that Pakistan still does not have a law that even acknowledges personal data protection as a mandatory rule of business. It adds, lawmakers need to carry out legislation on this matter on an urgent basis to help curb threats from various financial scams and ensure personal freedom.

 


"Land is a much prized and contested commodity in the country. In the process it has also come to be perceived as a political tool favouring certain individuals, an impression that can be particularly damaging to the system of checks and balances in a democracy. The judiciary must therefore tread particularly carefully in such matters when it comes to members of their fraternity to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.”
-An editorial in Dawn on ‘Unjust allotment’ 

 



Photo : Dawn

14 September 2021, Tuesday I Vol 2, No. 251

COAS warns against hybrid threats



The Presidential address, the SC hearing regarding the protection of journalists, the CCOA approval of cheaper winter tariffs, and the closure of Torkham border for pedestrians

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief
INTERNAL
Presidential address to joint session amid protests by the opposition and the media persons
On 13 September, President Dr Arif Alvi addressed the joint sitting of parliament amid protests by the opposition and the media persons, outside the Parliament House. During his address, he praised the policies of the PTI government, highlight the progress in diverse areas such as the economy, human and social development, information technology, foreign policy and the defence sector because of the “prudent policies of the government.” Further, he spoke about the Afghan situation, national economy and foreign policy among others. (“Alvi praises govt prudent policies,” The Express Tribune, 14 September 2021)

COAS warns against hybrid threats
On 13 September, COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Corps Headquarters Karachi. During his visit, he was given a detailed update on operational preparedness, training regime and administrative matters of the corps. He was also briefed on the prevalent internal security situation in Sindh, especially Army and Pakistan Rangers’ efforts to assist other law enforcement agencies in maintaining law and order. Additionally, he emphasised the need to guard effectively against hybrid threats amidst the developments in the region, calling on the need to respond collectively with the whole of nation approach. (“COAS visits Karachi corps HQ, warns against hybrid threats,” Dawn, 14 September 2021)

Supreme Court to set principles to ensure press freedom
On 13 September, The Express Tribune reported that the Supreme Court is set to give certain guidelines to all stakeholders, including law enforcement agencies, regarding freedom of the press and harassment of media persons. The court while hearing the Suo Motu Case regarding the protection of journalists expressed serious concerns regarding the failure of Islamabad police to apprehend the accused involved in attacks on media persons in the federal capital. Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed said, “Attack on journalists means attack on the constitutional guarantees which are being provided to those journalists.” (“SC to set principles to ensure press freedom,” The Express Tribune, 14 September 2021)

PM Imran to go down in history as ‘Musharraf of 2021,’ says PML-N
On 14 September, The Express Tribune reported that PML-N Secretary Information Marriyum Aurangzeb said that PM Imran Khan would go down in history as a “dictator” owing to his “desperate media gagging” efforts through Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA), terming it as a “draconian law” introduced by the “fascist government.” Additionally, she reiterated that Shehbaz Sharif had pledged to block the bill by standing shoulder to shoulder with the journalist fraternity. (“PM Imran to go down in history as ‘Musharraf of 2021’: Marriyum,” The Express Tribune, 14 September 2021)

Social media platforms should respect Pakistan’s laws, says Pakistan Telecommunication Authority
On 13 September, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) chairman retired Maj Gen Amir Azeem Bajwa while briefing the media on the performance of the telecom sector regulator stated, “We want to see this market grow for the benefit of all, but social media companies should also respect our laws.”  He argued that social media giants would not withdraw from Pakistan because the country is among the top 10 markets of the world and continues to grow at a fast pace. (“Social media platforms should respect Pakistan’s laws: PTA,” Dawn, 14 September 2021)

ECONOMY
SBP to keep policy rate on hold for now, say analysts
On 14 September, The News International reported that analysts have stated that the State Bank of Pakistan is seen keeping its policy rate on hold next week despite the rupee hitting record lows, and is expected to start monetary tightening by the first quarter of next year. Previously, the SBP’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) maintained the policy rate at 7 per cent in July to support the economic recovery. Further, the MPC is scheduled to announce its monetary policy decision on 20 September. (Erum Zaidi, “SBP to keep policy rate on hold for now, hike next year: analysts,” Dawn, 14 September 2021)

ENERGY
Highest peak-hour hydel generation at 8,854MW, says WAPDA
On 13 September, the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) stated that it recorded 8,854 megawatts of hydel power generation on 12 September, the highest peak-hour hydel generation of the year so far, and 1,277MW more than the level achieved on the same day last year. WAPDA Chairman retired Lt Gen Muzammil Hussain said, “Last year (Sept 12 night), our maximum hydel generation was 7,577MW that we surpassed on Sept 12 night of 2021 by generating 8,854MW,” adding, “Last year’s maximum hydel generation that we contributed to the national grid was 8,949MW. We may surpass this figure subject to the availability of water, outflows, operation of turbines/machines like last year.” (“Wapda records highest peak-hour hydel generation at 8,854MW,” Dawn, 14 September 2021)

CCOE approves cheaper winter tariff for electricity consumers
On 13 September, the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCOE) approved cheaper winter tariff for electricity consumers on incremental consumption and cleared a controversial payment of about Rs131 billion to 11 independent power producers (IPPs) of the 2002 power policy. Meanwhile, the CCOE approved the Pakistan Oil Refinery Policy 2021 in principle, however, due to the strong reservations from both planning and finance ministers, the committee directed the petroleum division to revisit the upfront incentive package offered to the existing refineries in Pakistan. (“Cheaper winter tariff approved for electricity consumers,” Dawn, 14 September 2021)

ON AFGHANISTAN
Observance of human rights by the Taliban was linked to the loosening of economic squeeze, says FM
On 13 September, FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi during the UN conference on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan stated that observance of human rights by the Taliban in Afghanistan was linked to the loosening of economic restrictions on them. He said, “Ensuring sustainable development and promoting respect for human rights require political stability and peace in Afghanistan. And peace cannot consolidate unless Afghanistan is provided the necessary economic and fiscal space.” (Baqir Sajjad Syed, “Taliban’s rights observance linked to economic squeeze end: FM Qureshi,” Dawn, 14 September 2021)

Torkham border closed for pedestrians
On 13 September, the Taliban suspended the return of Afghan nationals to Afghanistan through the Torkham border. However, Pakistani authorities stated that vehicular traffic continued as loaded vehicles from both sides crossed the border. (“Afghan Taliban close Torkham border for pedestrians,” Dawn, 14 September 2021)

ON CPEC
10th session of the JCC for CPEC likely to be held next week
On 13 September, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on CPEC Khalid Mansoor stated that the 10th session of the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is expected to be held in Islamabad either on 23 or 24 September. Additionally, he stated that Pakistan has committed to moving forward with the journey of development covered under the second phase of CPEC. Pakistan desires projects completed in the second phase at a faster pace. (“10th CPEC JCC session likely to be held next week,” Dawn, 14 September 2021)

 

Pakistan on Twitter

"Media freedom is central to the survival of democracy. Our journalists have waged a long & hard struggle to earn this freedom. All Opposition political parties stand by the media bodies & together we will thwart the government's plan to take that freedom away."
- Leader of Opposition in NA Shehbaz Sharif

"Have journalists come to Islamabad or have they been brought? Who is responsible for arranging for everyone to stay in the five star hotel? Employees about whom the Supreme Court itself ruled that the recruitments are political (of the PPP era), then you are saying the Supreme Court's decision is wrong? #PressFreedom"
- Show host at PTV News Xaryab Rajput 

Also read...

An opinion in Dawn on the parliamentary session states that hot words, boycotts and government-opposition scuffles over legislation are nothing new, adding that legislators have indulged in these time-honoured traditions many a time.

An opinion in Dawn argues that the fall of the government and the Taliban’s ascendency in Kabul has pushed Afghanistan towards another transition. It adds, the real test is to transition from fighting to governance mode.

An editorial in Dawn on affordable power stated that people need reliable and affordable electricity, stating that while the government has for the most part contained long blackouts it still is struggling to tackle affordability issues, arguing that it has yet to come up with a holistic plan to restructure the entire power-sector supply chain to ensure affordable electricity to consumers.

An editorial in The Express Tribune on the fresh census plan states that that all political forces should be on board, and the process should be transparently conducted on a war-footing basis, adding that the process needs to be smoothed with the help of digital technology and geo-tagging.

An editorial in The Express Tribune on the Cantonment polls states that the fact that polling closed peacefully, and no resentment was reported from political parties’ agents is a good omen, however, it adds that it is ironic and questionable that the same cannot be mirrored in local bodies elections.

 


"While Pakistan has been increasingly focusing on reducing gender gaps in health and education access and outcomes, the pandemic has highlighted the fact that we need to think carefully about the care economy too. It is only once we start valuing reproductive labour and ensure gender equality in care responsibilities that we will see more equitable gender representation in productive work too.”
-An opinion in Dawn on ‘The first to be laid off’



Photo : Dawn

13 September 2021, Monday I Vol 2, No. 250

President to address parliamentary session amid threats of opposition boycott



PTI's win the cantonment polls, the journalists' protests against the proposed media regulatory authority, Qureshi's telephonic conversation with his Danish counterpart, the trilateral exercise in Baku, and Pakistan's dossier on India.

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief
INTERNAL
President to address parliamentary session amid threats of opposition boycott
On 13 September (today), the President is scheduled to address a joint parliamentary session; this will mark the fourth year of the sitting National Assembly. However, the opposition has threatened to boycott the session, in light of various events including the debate over the EVMs. The opposition maintains that the PTI government and the Speaker have not allowed a debate on the presidential address for a year. The opposition also plans on participating in the journalists’ protests against the PMDA. (Syed Irfan Raza, “Fireworks likely during Alvi’s address to joint session,” Dawn, 13 September 2021)

Journalists protest against move to establish PMDA
On 12 September, journalists gathered for a sit-in outside the Parliament House, demonstrating against the proposed Pakis­tan Media Development Autho­rity (PMDA). Several journalists’ organisations, led by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), were present at the sit-in. Politicians, including Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Mohsin Dawar, visited the protest site to express solidarity. Meanwhile, Pakistani journalists in Britain gathered outside the Pakistan High Commission to protest against the PMDA. Journalists unanimously termed the PMDA a dictatorial move or equated it to martial law. (Kashif Abbasi, “Journalists begin protest against govt’s PMDA move,” Dawn, 13 September 2021) (Murtaza Ali Shah, “PMDA issue: Journalists hold protest in London,” The News International, 13 September 2021)

PTI leads in cantonment polls; PML-N follows second
On 12 September, PTI secured the highest number of seats in the cantonment polls, leading with 62 seats, according to The Express Tribune. The PML-N secured the second place with 52 seats and independent candidates bagged 49 seats. Meanwhile, PPP won 13 seats, MQM-P (10 seats), Jamaat-e-Islami (five seats) and Balochistan Awami Party and Awami National Party secured two seats each. Polls were not conducted in 13 wards. (“PTI bags most seats in Cantt polls,” The Express Tribune, 13 September 2021)

EXTERNAL
Danish Foreign Minister hold telephonic conversation with Qureshi 
On 12 September, Foreign Minister Qureshi and his Danish counterpart held a telephonic conversation. The Danish Minister thanked Pakistan for its help during the evacuation from Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Qureshi said both countries should improve their people-to-people exchanges, and invited the Danish Minister to Pakistan. (“Danish FM phones Qureshi, discusses Afghan situation,” The News International, 13 September 2021) 

Pakistan, Turkey, Azerbaijan participate in trilateral drill
On 12 September, the trilateral exercise named “Brotherhood” held its opening ceremony in Baku; the exercise, focusing on counterterrorism, will be held between Pakistan, Turkey and Azerbaijan till 22 September. This is the first time the three countries are engaging in an exercise of this kind, and focuses on enhancing trilateral cooperation. (“Pakistan participates in trilateral ‘Brotherhood’ drill,” The Express Tribune, 13 September 2021)

SPORTS
Ramiz Raja elected as new chairman of PCB
On 13 September, Ramiz Raja was unanimously elected as the new and 36th chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, thereby replacing Ehsan Mani whose three-year term came to an end in August. The election to the position was chaired by Retired Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed. Ramiz said he would focus on “to help introduce in the Pakistan men’s cricket team the same culture, mindset, attitude and approach that once made Pakistan one of the most feared cricket playing nations.” He said he would also focus on the welfare of past cricketers. (“Ramiz Raja elected new PCB chairman 'unanimously and unopposed',” Dawn, 13 September 2021)

ON INDIA
Pakistan dossier accuses India of training terrorists 
On 12 September, Foreign Minister Qureshi said Pakistan had prepared a dossier on alleged “human rights violations in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).” The Minister said the dossier includes 32 reports by human rights organisations and 14 reports prepared by Pakistan. Further, the dossier accuses India of training ISIS fighters in five alleged training camps in Gulmarg, Raipur, Jodhpur, Chakrata, Anupgarh and Bikaner. (Mariana Baabar, “Pakistan sends world 131-page dossier: India running five Daesh training camps,” The News International, 13 September 2021)

 

Pakistan on Twitter

"The PMDA is a dictatorial decision to control the media. The catastrophic government is already notorious for media censorship. The so-called Media Development Authority is in fact a conspiracy of this government against freedom of the press which we will not allow to succeed. If there is no thief in the heart of the government, then it should present a draft law."
- PPP Parliamentary leader and Senator Sherry Rehman

"Some media owners are claiming fake news as their right and are telling their employees to take bonus along with salary and appear on the streets, protection of ordinary media workers and heavy fines against fake news. How is this law against journalism? How can false news be a fundamental right?"
- Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry 

"All journalists unions are protesting; all lawyers bodies are protesting; senior judges r superseded to promote the pliant types; pol opponents bleed under selected accountability, now Election Commission is put siege. Is this the way to run a country by destroying everything?"
- Journalist Syed Talat Hussain

"Cantonment elections once again show PTI not only as the largest party but also the only national party. Pti won either highest or second highest seats in every province. PMLN 0 in balochistan, 5th in sind. PPP 0 in punjab & balochistan, 3rd in kp. PMIK only national leader."
- Federal Planning Minister Asad Umar

Also read...

Maleeha Lodhi in an opinion in Dawn states that for the Taliban to win external support and stave off an economic and humanitarian crisis their leaders must also deliver on their pledges, exercise moderation and above all acknowledge that Afghanistan today cannot be governed the way it was under their previous rule. Similarly, an editorial Dawn states that if the Taliban are sincere in their wish for inclusivity, they should bring on board other ethnic groups and women to ensure Afghanistan has a broad-based transitional set-up in place.

An editorial in Dawn on Ehsaas Nashonuma programme states that the success of programme will depend on the government ability to adopt a holistic strategy by simultaneously addressing the issues of maternal health, high birth rate and skyrocketing prices of food staples in the country.

An editorial in The News International of freedom of press states that regulation must never cross over into censorship or curbing dissent. It adds that instead of continuously obfuscating the issue and gaslighting the valid concerns raised by journalists, the government must review this proposed media martial law.

An editorial in The News International on the Election Commission of Pakistan an independent body responsible for holding fair and free elections in the country states that if fair and free election conducted by an impartial body is not ensured, Pakistan cannot claim to be a democracy.

An editorial in The Express Tribune states that the world should stop seeing Pakistan as a problem, and generously value its contribution to brokering a political solution after two decades of revulsion and warfare in Afghanistan. It adds, recognising the Taliban interim set-up will encourage the regime to broaden its base in an inclusive manner, however, choosing for a policy of Pakistan-bashing is unwarranted.

 


"Ultimately, civil service reform is a complex problem that requires consideration of the broader political economy, institutional and regulatory constraints in addition to the three questions posed above. Deeper reform questions such as how to revitalise the recruitment system or depoliticise the civil service involve interaction with such constraints.”
-An opinion in Dawn on ‘Civil service reform’



Photo : Dawn

11 September 2021, Saturday I Vol 2, No. 248

PDM to boycott joint parliament session



TLP's participation in the cantonment board polls, FAFEN's opinion on the electoral reforms, the increase in remittances, rising inflation and the 243rd Corp Commander meeting

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief
INTERNAL
PDM to boycott joint parliament session
On 10 September, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) decided to boycott the joint sitting of parliament that is scheduled for 13 September when President Dr Arif Alvi will address the session to mark the fourth parliamentary year of the National Assembly. Meanwhile, the alliance also announced a second phase of its anti-government campaign during which they have planned to hold consultation with all parties for a march to Islamabad and hold grand convention on 26 September where members of legal and journalist fraternity as well as labourers, farmers and clerks will be invited. (Syed Irfan Raza, “PDM to boycott joint parliament session on Sept 13,” Dawn, 11 September 2021)

PTI accuses PPP of misleading people on island project
On 10 September, the ruling PTI government accused the PPP administration in Sindh of “misleading” people about the former’s proposal on Bundal Island. Additionally, they “requested” the provincial authorities to “reconsider their stance on the matter and not to miss this big opportunity” that “guaranteed” huge foreign investment. Further, they expressed hope that the Sindh government would review its position on the proposal “for the good of the people of the province.” (“PPP accused of misleading people on island project,” Dawn, 11 September 2021)

TLP actively taking part in cantonment board polls
On 11 September, Dawn reported that banned Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) in a surprising move, fielded 84 candidates in 17 of the 41 cantonments where polling will be held on 12 September to elect general members of the cantonment boards. As per the list of candidates of all the 219 wards, the TLP has fielded the largest number of 57 candidates in nine cantonments of the Punjab, followed by 24 in six cantonments of Sindh and three candidates in two cantonments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. However, no candidate has been fielded in any of the nine wards of the three cantonments in Balochistan. (Amir Wasim, “Banned TLP actively taking part in cantonment board polls,” Dawn, 11 September 2021)

Government would consider amnesty for TTP members who lay down arms, says President Alvi
On 10 September, President Arif Alvi in an interview suggested that the federal government could consider giving an amnesty to those members of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) lay down their weapons. He said, “I am talking about the people who, before anything, have not remained involved in criminal activities. The government could consider making a declaration of amnesty [for the people] who forgo their TTP ideology and want to come with the intention of adhering to the Pakistani Constitution.” Additionally, he mentioned that Pakistan has been assured by the “second- or third-tier leadership” of the Afghan Taliban that “We (Afghan Taliban) will declare that they (TTP members) can live here in [Afghanistan] but they must not do any activity against Pakistan.” (“Govt could consider amnesty for 'TTP members who lay down arms': President Alvi,” Dawn, 11 September 2021)

Election laws must be amended through political consensus: FAFEN
On 10 September, the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) said amending election laws require political consensus and should not be made through only a majority vote. FAFEN reasoned that a move to amend the election laws through majority vote could jeopardise the legitimacy of future elections. Meanwhile, on the same day, the President called for a joint parliamentary session on 13 September as the government aims to pass the election reforms bill; this would mark the beginning of the sitting National Assembly’s fourth year. The PDM, and the PPP and ANP, however, announced a boycott of the session and called for a sit-in outside the parliament respectively. (“Electronic voting: Fafen for consensus to amend electoral laws,” The News International, 11 September 2021) (“Joint Parliamentary session: Govt to attempt passage of electoral reforms bill on Monday,” The News International, 11 September 2021)

243rd Corps Commanders’ Conference apprised of Afghanistan situation 
On 10 September, COAS General Bajwa addressed the 243rd Corps Commanders’ Conference wherein he stressed on the need for constructive engagement with Afghanistan and a sustained humanitarian support to the country. The Conference also focussed on overall regional security, including the situation along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, and the domestic environment. General Bajwa said efforts by external and internal forces that pose a threat of Pakistan’s peace and stability will be countered. (Muhammad Anis, “Corps commanders conference: Designs of external, internal forces will be foiled, says Gen Bajwa,” The News International, 11 September 2021)

PROVINCES
Balochistan: Two FC soldiers killed in attack on convoy in Kech district
On 9 September, two soldiers of Frontier Corps South were killed after armed men attacked their convoy in the Buleda area of Kech district. Meanwhile, in another incident near Kalat, motorcyclists threw a hand-grenade on a police vehicle patrolling the highway, leaving two policemen and two other people injured. (Behram Baloch, “2 FC soldiers martyred in attack on convoy in Balochistan's Kech district,” Dawn, 11 September 2021)

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Ecnec approves three development projects worth Rs340 billion
On 10 September, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved three development projects worth Rs340 billion with a major tilt towards Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Ecnec has considered a total of three projects, two of which worth including two worth Rs315.5bn for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. (“Ecnec approves three projects worth Rs340bn,” Dawn, 11 September 2021)

ECONOMY
Ten per cent increase in remittances, says July, August data
On 10 September, the State Bank of Pakistan data showed that Pakistan had witnessed a 10.4 per cent growth in remittances which stood at USD 5.364 billion in the first two months of FY22, compared to the USD 4.859 billion in the corresponding period in FY21. The figures for August in the respective periods displayed a 26.8 per cent increase. In August of FY22, the remittances were recorded at USD 2.657 billion, thereby crossing the USD two billion mark for the 15th consecutive month. (Shahid Iqbal, “Remittances see 10pc increase in 2MFY22,” Dawn, 11 September 2021)

Inflation increases for 11th week after SPI clocks at 1.37 per cent
On 10 September, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics data highlighted that inflation based on the Sensitive Price Index had risen for the 11th consecutive week; the SPI increased for the week ending 9 September, showing a 1.37 per cent increase, the highest increase recorded so far. As per the income breakdown, the SPI rose by 1.60 per cent for the group ear­­ning below Rs 17,732 per mon­th; it increased by 1.20 per cent for the group earning above Rs44,175. The increase has been attributed to the rise in prices of essential items. (“Inflation up for 11th week,” Dawn, 11 September 2021)

EXTERNAL
FM Qureshi meets with Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares
On 10 September, FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi while addressing a press conference alongside Spanish counterpart Jose Manuel Albares said, “There is a new reality in Afghanistan. The world must recognise that new reality and engage with it. Weigh your options [and decide] what is the best way forward,” adding, “In my view, the best way forward is international engagement as opposed to international isolation. On his Spanish counterpart’s visit, Qureshi said: “We are celebrating 70 years of our diplomatic relations [between Spain and Pakistan] so I hope this is the beginning of many more visits to come in the days and years ahead.” Albares said, “You [Pakistan] are a very important partner for Spain and the European Union,” adding, that there were over 100,000 Pakistanis in Spain contributing to the economy. (“World must recognise and engage with new reality in Afghanistan, says Qureshi alongside Spanish FM,” Dawn, 11 September 2021)

SPORTS
PCB open to making changes to T20 squad under special circumstances
On 10 September, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chief Selector said that in case of “special circumstances and in exceptional cases,” changes could be made to the upcoming T20 World Cup squad. Currently, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan are expected to open; the batting order also comprises Mohammad Hafeez, Asif Ali, Khushdil Shah and Azam Khan. Meanwhile, the Chief Selector ruled out the inclusion of Sarfaraz Ahmed in the near future; he has also been excluded from the T20 squad. He said that Sarfaraz could not find a lot in the squad after Rizwan’s stellar performances. (Abdul Ghaffar, “PCB can make changes to T20 World Cup squad under special circumstances: chief selector,” Dawn, 10 September 2021)

 

Pakistan on Twitter

"Congratulations to opposition members in senate. Who, despite govts anti-Democratic tactics, managed to thwart efforts to pass electronic voting law in parliamentary affairs committee of the Senate. we condemn governments attacks on ECP. Will not let them rig another election."
- PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto

"Attacking the Supreme Court, attacking the NAB, attacking the constitutional institutions is the way of the Sharif family and the League leadership. Sara Thapa Thapa Mafia is scared of EVM because Zia has always come to power from the time of bullying and rigging."
- Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Farrukh Habib

"PTI government's frontal attack on media & the Election Commission is part of its policy to manipulate the elections. Anyone raising questions on the government's conduct is subjected to a smear campaign. The fascist mindset of the ruling party stands exposed."
- Leader of Opposition in NA Shehbaz Sharif

"May Ruhullah Saleh, brother of @AmrullahSaleh2, rest in peace. He was killed by the Taliban for being who he was. It is a shame that the world continues to ignore the deeply disturbing reports from Panjshir about the Taliban’s barbaric war crimes in the region."
- MNA Mohsin Dawar

"Feeling so dejected after my interview with @Emmabarnett. The underhanded baiting, the condescension, the white feminist tactic of getting one brown women to criticize another are classic white feminist tactics. When will times change? When will brown Muslim women be respected?"
- Author and Columnist Rafia Zakaria

Also read...

An editorial in The News International states that it is now quite clear that the opposition stands so strongly divided that it is difficult to see reconciliation between the three major parties that make it up. It adds, Pakistan needs politicians to move off the street, and the screen, and confront the government from the platform of the National Assembly, so that the proper mechanisms of democracy and governance can operate. Similarly, an editorial in Dawn argues that a healthy democracy is driven by a robust opposition that puts pressure on the government to perform better.

An editorial in The Express Tribune on the elevation of judges stated that the stalemate needs to be addressed in a graceful manner, adding that this is only possible if the Bar representatives and the honourable bench members retire for a threadbare discussion off-the-record, and come out with a consensus. Justice Ayesha stands a case, and should be honoured.

An editorial in The Express Tribune on incentives for farmers states that the benefits of the increased agricultural output should not be limited to farmers only. It adds that if the common people do not get food items at reasonable prices, it would undo the efforts gone into raising farm output to a considerable extent.

Pervez Hoodbhoy in an opinion in Dawn states that shedding extremist baggage and becoming a normal, non-ideological state is surely the way forward for Afghanistan.

 


"Religions claim to emancipate women. Democracies claim to guard against the attacks on their freedoms. Then why is it that all conservative movements from the Taliban in Afghanistan to Republicans in Texas want to control female bodies? We need to prove that we deserve daughters and stop playing with their lives. This globalisation of the Salem witch trials needs to end now.”
-An opinion in The Express Tribune on ‘Salem witches and global trials’



Photo : Dawn

10 September 2021, Friday I Vol 2, No. 247

Opposition parties blame each other for PDM’s disintegration



Passing away of veteran journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai, the National Action Plan's Apex Committee meeting, the rejection of the elevation of Justice Ayesha, and the issue of out-of-school children

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief
INTERNAL
Opposition parties blame each other for PDM’s disintegration
On 9 September, the PPP, PML-N and JUI-F held each other responsible for the disintegration of their Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) alliance. Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari blamed the PML-N for not supporting his proposal of moving a no-confidence motion against Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and accused it of doing politics of “hypocrisy.” Meanwhile, Maulana Fazl claimed that it was the PPP who caused “irreparable damage” to the alliance by quitting the PDM at a crucial time. (Amir Wasim, “Opposition parties turn their guns on each other,” Dawn, 10 September 2021)

Civil and military leadership promise to meet all external and internal security challenges
On 9 September, both the civil and military leadership vowed to meet all external and internal security challenges by eliminating re-emerging terrorists and extremist groups through coordinated efforts of all relevant authorities. This statement came during the National Action Plan’s Apex Committee meeting, in which they also reviewed and revised the National Action Plan launched in January 2015 to crack down on terrorism and supplement the anti-terrorist offensive in the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Additionally, they decided to set up cell to ensure timely, smooth flow of information about internal security issues and also reviewed steps to ensure foolproof security of Chinese nationals working on CPEC projects. (Syed Irfan Raza, “Civil, military leaders vow to meet all security challenges,” Dawn, 10 September 2021)

Veteran journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai passes away battling cancer
On 9 September, Veteran journalist and analyst Rahimullah Yusufzai passed after a long battle with cancer. Yusufzai, a Peshawar-based journalist was considered an expert on Pakistan’s tribal districts, Afghanistan and the Taliban. He had also focused on Afghanistan since the Soviet invasion in 1979 and interviewed Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden as well as Taliban founder Mullah Omar. Additionally, he was also honoured for his work by the Pakistani government and was awarded Tamgha-i-Imtiaz in 2005 followed by Sitara-i-Imtiaz in 2010. (“Veteran journalist and analyst Rahimullah Yusufzai passes away,” Dawn, 10 September 2021)

No consensus in JCP on elevation of junior judge to Supreme Court, lawyers protest judges’ elevation
On 9 September, due to the lack of consensus the Judicial Commission of Pakistan (JCP) rejected the elevation of Justice Ayesha A. Malik, the fourth on the seniority list of the Lahore High Court (LHC), to the Supreme Court as the first woman judge in Pakistan’s judicial history. Meanwhile, lawyers’ held demonstrations in the nearby Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) complex, against the elevation of junior judges “in violation of the seniority rule.” They accused the judiciary of favouritism in the appointment of superior court judges and thus harming the image of the judiciary. (“No consensus in JCP on elevation of junior judge to SC,” Dawn, 10 September 2021) (“Lawyers protest judges’ elevation ‘in violation of seniority rule’,” The News International, 10 September 2021)

Editorial criticises government move to establish media regulatory body
An editorial in Dawn, referring to the differences between the government and media organisations and practitioners on the proposed media regulatory authority, says that the situation is fuelled by the government’s refusal to share even the draft of the bill. The editorial, citing a leaked draft which provides sweeping powers for the government, calls it a brazen move to restrict the media. It says that relevant media organisations were not consulted and expresses displeasure at the government’s “adamant” stance to pass the bill. It outlines that 70 journalists have died in duty since 2002, refers to TTP’s recent threat and says instead of being concerned about these issues, the government is focussed on throttling the media. Therefore, it calls for a full resistance to the proposed regulatory body. (“For a free media,” Dawn, 10 September 2021)

Editorial calls for concerted education policies to address issue of out-of-school children
An editorial in Dawn refers to “The Missing Third: An Out of School Study of Pakistani 5-16 Year Olds” report, and calls on the authorities to rectify the issue. The editorial provides highlights of the report which says, Punjab has the highest number of out-of-school children at 7.7 million children aged between five and 16 being outside the education system; Sindh with nearly 6.5 million children out of school, followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with 3.8 million children and Balochistan with over two million. The editorial therefore stresses the need for “concerted political and administrative” measures that will also focus on inclusion of girls and children with disabilities in order to ensure every child can create a space for themselves. (“Not in school,” Dawn, 10 September 2021)

ON AFGHANISTAN
Pakistan, Qatar call for continued humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan
On 9 September, Pakistan urged the international community to unfreeze the Afghan assets and the Qatar Foreign Minister said humanitarian aid to Afghanistan should be independent of the ongoing political scenario. The remarks were made during the Minister’s visit to Islamabad. Pakistan Foreign Minister Qureshi echoed the same and said that while the rest of the world may want to assess the Taliban, they should not engage in measures that could lead to Afghanistan’s economic collapse. (“Pakistan calls for unfreezing Afghan assets,” The Express Tribune, 10 September 2021)

 

Pakistan on Twitter

"The government's statements and allegations against the Election Commission are regrettable. Statements of arson and extortion of the constitutional institution are reprehensible, the attitude of the government is inappropriate and alarming...Does the government want the Election Commission to hold elections as per their wishes? The Election Commission is not a sub-office of the PTI."
- PPP Parliamentary Leader and Senator Sherry Rehman

"Sad to hear of the death of Rahimullah Yousafzai one of the old breed of journalists who were well informed on facts and had gravitas in their reports and columns. He will be missed especially in these volatile times esp in Afghanistan."
- Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari

"The National Democratic Movement is a party based on economic and social equality. At the same time, it will fight for the rights of the country's oppressed minority nationalities. An important part of our struggle is to speak out for the culture, economy and language rights of small provinces."
- Official handle of the National Democratic Movement

Also read...

An editorial in Dawn on the initiative to digitise the country’s land record system states that digitising land and property records is the need of the hour for investment in housing, better environmental management and improved revenues. Another editorial in The Express Tribune states that at a time when Pakistan is experiencing a construction boom, the process of cadastral mapping will do away with land grabbing nuisances and buoy taxation.

An opinion in The News International on accountability reforms states that although there are multiple accountability institutions, starting from NAB, FIA, Police, anti-corruption departments to the department of the Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP), yet none of these institutions inspire confidence with respect to proper use of public resources and safeguarding public interest.

An opinion in The News International titled ‘SNC: a teacher’s perspective’ states that a rushed in SNC in its infancy, coupled with the severe repercussions of Covid-19 will surely compromise the quality of education.

An editorial in The News International on the EVM debate states that it would not be sensible to create any controversy over the upcoming elections, and far better to wait until some consensus can be reached regarding the EVMs. Another editorial in The Express Tribune states that it is unlikely that government will ever be able to satisfactorily prove that EVMs are secure from malicious ‘inside’ actors

 


"Law and order is a facet of life which affects all people and a more efficient police system could protect many from the kind of crime we have seen again and again…Without a stable, consistent, setup which can deliver on the promises of the PTI, there can be no hope that the government will deliver what the people had hoped for.”
-An editorial in The News International on ‘Search for stability’



Photo : Dawn

09 September 2021, Thursday I Vol 2, No. 246

Bilawal asks for parliament debate on Afghanistan, CPEC attacks



The overbilling by NEPRA, Pakistan's aviation safety score, the government's dismissal of the ECP's objections over EVMs, the National Command Authority's meeting, and Pakistan's GSP+ status

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief
INTERNAL
Bilawal asks for parliament debate on Afghanistan, CPEC attacks
On Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari stated that issues relating to Afghanistan and attacks on Chinese personnel and projects of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) should be discussed in parliament. He said, “The government should bring all the important issues, including the Afghan situation, to parliament. The action plan against terrorism and extremism should be brought out from cold storage.” (“Bilawal seeks parliament debate on Afghanistan, CPEC attacks,” Dawn, 9 September 2021)

Pakistan achieves 75 per cent aviation safety score, says ICAO
On 9 September, The Express Tribune reported that according to the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) report for the year 2020, Pakistan has made it to the list of countries achieving the aviation safety targets with a 75 per cent score. Additionally, the report showed that aviation accidents rose by 16 per cent in the year 2019 in comparison with the previous year. Meanwhile, the aviation minister said the ICAO team is expected to come in September or October. (“Pakistan achieves 75% aviation safety score,” The Express Tribune, 9 September 2021)

Defamation suit against PM, Defence Minister dismissed
On 8 September, an additional district and sessions judge dismissed a defamation case which had been filed against the Prime Minister and Defence Minister, by MPA Miraj Humayun. The two ministers had accused the MPA of selling her vote in the 2018 Senate elections; she had been elected on the reserved seat for women. However, the MPA’s counsel said she would challenge the judge’s decision. (“Court dismisses defamation case against PM Imran, Pervez Khattak,” Dawn, 9 September 2021)

PPP, PML-N slam NEPRA for overbilling consumers 
On 8 September, the PPP and PML-N criticised the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) accusing it of “looting” the people. PPP’s Sherry Rehman said the NEPRA could not “abide by its own rules and regulations” and alleged that power companies were robbing the poor of the subsidies. Meanwhile, the PML-N spokesperson opined tactics to loot people were designed by the Prime Minister’s “criminal mind.” The development came after an investigative report by Geo TV revealed that the power companies had been charging the customers more than necessary and in some instances, had issued bills for 35 or 37 days in a month. (“Overbilling issue: PPP, PML-N lash out at Nepra, govt,” The News International, 9 September 2021)

Government dismisses ECP objections over EVMs
On 8 September, the government criticised the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for the objections it raised over the use of EVMs. The Science and Technology Minister said the ones who are against the use of EVMs are also opposed to the fair and transparent elections, further adding that EVMs are a blow for those who use “money and intimidation.” (“Govt snubs ECP objections over EVMs,” The Express Tribune, 9 September 2021) An editorial, referring to the 37 objections raised by the ECP, suggests that the government may want to reconsider its position, reasoning that since there is a discussion on electoral reforms, it is important to introduce and implement them right. The editorial calls for  a consensus between the government and the opposition; maintaining that the EVMs can be introduced at some point, it says the introduction of EVMs “after sufficient parliamentary debate and adequate preparation.” (“EVM controversy,” Dawn, 9 September 2021)

Pakistan will maintain stability in the region, says National Command Authority
On 8 September, the National Command Authority held its 25th meeting wherein the conflicts dynamics within the region were discussed. The NCA maintained that there was a “destabilising massive arms build-up” in the region which could pose a threat to peace and stability. The meeting was chaired by the Prime Minister and the NCA said Pakistan would maintain the stability but would refrain from an arms race. (Mumtaz Alvi, “Pakistan concerned over regional arms build-up,” The News International, 9 September 2021) 

EXTERNAL
UAE is Pakistan’s largest trading partner in the Middle East, says Interior Ministry
On 8 September, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry stated the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was Pakistan’s largest trading partner in the Middle East. While meeting with the UAE Ambassador Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Al Zaabi he said, “1.6 million Pakistanis living in the UAE is the second largest population of Pakistanis overseas,” and additionally, congratulated the envoy for UAE’s plan to organise the mega-event ‘Expo 2020 Dubai’. (“UAE is Pakistan’s largest trading partner in ME,” The Express Tribune, 9 September 2021)

Maritime Affairs Minister says that Pakistan will contest in IMO’s Category C polls
On 8 September, Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Zaidi stated that Pakistan would contest the elections for Category C of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). During a press conference, the minister said, “Pakistan is bound by the rules of IMO.” (“Pakistan to contest in IMO’s Category C polls,” The Express Tribune, 9 September 2021)

Pakistan’s GSP+ status to be end in December 2023
On 8 September, the EU Ambassador to Pakistan said that the Generalised System of Preferences-Plus (GSP+) status granted to Pakistan would expire in December 2023. The ambassador said extension of the status would be approved after a review of legal and other issues in Pakistan. She mentioned that Pakistan’s exports to the EU was recorded at USD 7.5 billion, under the GSP+ status. She said currently, the EU was concerned over human rights in Pakistan and the freedom of expression, enforced disappearances. (“EU acknowledges Pakistan’s progress on FATF Plan,” The Express Tribune, 9 September 2021)

ON AFGHANISTAN
Pakistan asks world to accept the new Afghan government
On 8 September, FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi urged the world to accept the new interim government in Afghanistan. He said, “The new situation requires discarding old lenses, developing new insights, and proceeding with a realistic and pragmatic approach. He added, “The international community must put the Afghan people first,” adding, “We have to take care that in denying Afghanistan access to its foreign reserves or international financial institutions, we do not end up adding to the miseries of the long-suffering Afghan people.” Meanwhile, the Foreign Office announced that  Pakistan has decided to dispatch humanitarian assistance comprising food and medicines for the people of Afghanistan. The FO said, “Three C-130s are being dispatched to Afghanistan. After the first immediate tranche through the air, further supplies would continue through land routes.” (Kamran Yousuf, “Islamabad asks world to accept new Afghan set-up,” The Express Tribune, 9 September 2021) (“Pakistan to dispatch humanitarian aid to Afghanistan,” The Express Tribune, 8 September 2021)


Also read
F.S. Aijazuddin, “Grinning infamy,” Dawn, 9 September 2021
Najmuddin A. Shaikh, “The new Afghanistan,” Dawn, 9 September 2021
Aqdas Afzal, “Dire straits,” Dawn, 9 September 2021
Imran Jan, “Who cares about Afghanistan?,” The Express Tribune, 9 September 2021
Inam Ul Haque, “The why, how and ‘now what’ of the Afghan National Army,” The Express Tribune, 9 September 2021
Interim Afghan cabinet,” The Express Tribune, 9 September 2021
New Taliban cabinet,” The Daily Times, 9 September 2021
The Afghan Emirate,” The Daily Times, 9 September 2021

 

Pakistan on Twitter

"The ruling party is using the black sheep among the journalists in favor of PMDA, which shows their intentions to crush democracy in the future and for the upcoming elections. On the other hand, while doing journalism in the name of freedom of the press. The silence of those who make money is also meaningful ..."
- Journalist Iftikhar Ahmad

"We have sent 20 point ordinance to the media representatives and asked for their feedback. Inshallah, we will move forward accordingly. This regulatory authority will be so comprehensive that it will benefit the common journalist. It will improve the quality and eliminate fake news. Will be able to @fawadchaudhry"
- Account for official updates of Federal Information Minister 

"...The downgrade of the Pakistani market from Emerging to Frontier Markets in the Morgan Stanley Composite Index has opened the floodgates of the government's economic failures at the international level..."
- Official handle of the PML-N quotes Hamza Shehbaz Sharif

Also read...

An editorial in Dawn states that although the state of constant friction between politicians facing public pressure to perform and civil servants with career concerns is not unusual one, blaming the police force and the bureaucracy for turning in less-than-optimal performances in Punjab as an excuse to reshuffle their ranks every few months will not help the ruling party.

An editorial in The News International on the scandal of overbilling of citizens by power companies states that NEPRA must take this breach of its terms as a serious violation, arguing that people facing economic pressures due to unemployment and inflation and thus cannot afford to suffer under overbilling too

An editorial in The News International critical of the nature of parliamentary politics in the country states that parliament and political parties need to demonstrate maturity and a willingness to serve the people as best as they can by ensuring that there is no unnecessary tension or element of bias created in this fairly simple process.

An opinion in The News International while evaluating the SNC stated that Pakistan education is far from a public good as advertised, arguing that education has become a private good and it is every party for itself.

An opinion in The News International on the introduction of EVMs states that EVMs will indeed make voting more transparent, and free of the constant allegations of rigging we see now. However, matters need to be made clearer to the people, ideally through parliament, so that more debates can take place and the controversy that has cropped up removed.

 


"Pakistan’s success at the Olympics (or any other sports competition) is predicated in not only better training, government support and the like, but also an end to the social stigmatization associated with sports in our society. Encouraging sports as a real profession and vocation, and creating mechanisms for better training and support, will not only lead to medals for Pakistan, but will make our society healthier and happier.”
-An opinion in The News International



Photo : Dawn

08 September 2021, Wednesday I Vol 2, No. 245

Cabinet reiterates plan to use EVMs in 2023



The PFUJ concerns over the TTP's warning, Cabinet's reiteration to use EVMs, the reshuffling of three-star generals, the move to increase electricity tariffs, the naval exercise of Pakistan, Germany and US, and the deportation of 200 Afghans

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief
INTERNAL
Cabinet reiterates plan to use EVMs in 2023
On 7 September, the federal cabinet reiterated the government’s plans to introduce electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the 2023 general elections “to ensure free, fair and transparent polls.” Further, the cabinet expressed displeasure over “the opposition’s lack of interest in carrying out electoral reforms due to vested interest.” Meanwhile, federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said, “Bilawal and Maryam can win elections only through rigging. If free and fair elections are held in Pakistan, the PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz) will never win and the politics of the Sharif family will come to an end. This is why they have no interest in electoral reforms.” (Syed Irfan Raza, “Opposition not interested in poll reforms: Fawad Chaudhry,” Dawn, 8 September 2021)

Positivity rate of Covid-19 falls below seven per cent
On 7 September, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) urged citizens to get the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine and follow safety protocols as these are the only remedy against the potentially deadly coronavirus. This came as the positivity rate of Covid-19 cases across the country has dropped below seven per cent. (Aamir Yasin, “Covid-19 positivity rate falls below 7pc,” Dawn, 8 September 2021)

Senate Standing Committee threaten to reject PMDA bill
On 7 September, Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Information Senator Faisal Javed and the panel’s other members stated that they would reject the Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) bill if they were not convinced by the government on the need for such a bill. The chairman said, “You have to convince us over the PMDA and tell us about the need for bringing such a bill,” adding that the bill would be rejected “if you fail to convince us.” (Kalbe Ali, “Senate panel’s chairman, members threaten to reject PMDA bill,” Dawn, 8 September 2021)

Pakistan Army reshuffles four three-star generals
On 7 September, the Pakistan Army reshuffled four three-star generals. Lt Gen Azhar Abbas was named as army’s next Chief of General Staff (CGS). Additionally, Lt. Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza has been named the new Corps Commander Rawalpindi. Lt. Gen Waseem Ashraf has been given the assignment of Director General Joint Staff Headquarters. He would be replaced by Lt. Gen Muhammad Chiragh Haider as Corps Commander Multan. (Muhammad Anis, “Four three-star generals reshuffled,” The News International, 8 September 2021)

ECP raised 37 objections to the proposed introduction of EVMs
On 7 September, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) raised 37 objections to the proposed introduction of electronic voting machines (EVMs). In a document submitted to the Senate Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs, the ECP said, “It is nearly impossible to ensure that every machine is honest.” It added that the time was too short for a large-scale procurement and deployment of EVMs and imparting training to a massive number of operators, adding that it was not advisable to introduce EVM nationwide in one go. (Iftikhar A. Khan, “ECP raises 37 objections to EVM introduction,” Dawn, 8 September 2021)

PFUJ express concern over TTP’s warning to journalists
On 7 September, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) voiced concern over the threat issued by the Tehreeki-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to the media. They urged the government and owners of media houses to take steps to ensure the safety and security of journalists. Additionally, the PFUJ highlighted that over 30 journalists have been killed in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa through targeted killing by militants, stating, “It regretted that not a single case was solved or anyone arrested,” adding, “The new threat has again raised alarm in the journalists’ community after a brief calm.” (“PFUJ concerned over TTP’s warning to journalists,” Dawn, 8 September 2021)

PPP will form next government, says Bilawal 
On 7 September, Bilawal Bhutto addressed PPP workers and said the party would form the next government at the centre and Punjab. He outlined that PPP would focus on providing relief to the underprivileged and accused the federal government and the PML-N of catering to the rich. He claimed that it was the PPP which empowered women thereby strengthening the economy. He said the next government will be formed through a “jiyala” which refers to a PPP loyalist. (“PPP will form govt in Centre, Punjab: Bilawal,” The Express Tribune, 8 September 2021)

Ministers meet to discuss increase in electricity tariffs
On 7 September, the Finance Minister, Energy Minister and SAPM on Power and Petroleum met to discuss the electricity tariffs. Dawn reported that the government had now decided to increase the electricity tariffs to ensure foreign inflows from lenders including the Asian Development Bank, IMF, and the World Bank. The proposed increase in tariff would be in line with the Circular Debt Managem­ent Plan (CDMP) and is expected to come into effect from 1 October. However, prior to this, the Economic Coordination Comm­ittee (ECCO would have to discuss the increase. (Khaleeq Kiani, “Govt set to increase power tariff from October,” Dawn, 8 September 2021)

EXTERNAL
Pakistan, Germany, US conclude naval exercise
On 7 September, Pakistan, Germany, and the US concluded a two-day naval exercise in the Arabian Sea. The exercise was aimed at enhancing interoperability and maritime domain awareness, and sharing maritime knowledge. The German Ambassador said the inclusion of Germany in the exercise, in the light of PNS Zulfiqar berthing at Hamburg, indicated the importance of its bilateral relations with Pakistan and also marked 70 years of relations between the two countries. Meanwhile, Pakistan and the US held a bilateral exercise on the second day. (“Navies of Pakistan, Germany, US hold exercise in Arabian Sea,” Dawn, 8 September 2021)

ON AFGHANISTAN
Pakistan deports 200 Afghans; Foreign Ministers of regional countries to meet virtually 
On 7 September, Pakistan deported 200 Afghans who had illegally arrived in Quetta through the Chaman border as the Taliban took over Afghanistan; the deported persons included women and children. (Saleem Shahid, “Pakistan deports over 200 Afghan nationals,” Dawn, 8 September 2021) In another development, Pakistan is set to host a virtual meeting for foreign ministers of China, Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The meeting has been seen as a platform to review the situation in Afghanistan as the neighbouring countries have a stake in the country’s stability. (“Pakistan to host virtual meeting of ministers from Afghanistan’s neighbours,” Dawn, 8 September 2021)

 

Pakistan on Twitter

"1987, London. My father asked me to go to Pakistan and start my political career. Someone told him “Why are you sending Akhtar he doesn’t know a thing or anyone. You have plenty of enemies.”His reply was.“ I’m throwing him in the sea he will learn how to swim or he will drown...Undoubtedly, It took my years to learn how to to swim with his guidance but not even close to his destination. Everything I am is because of you Baba. I am proud to be your son."
- President Balochistan National Party Akhtar Mengal

"The anti-Pakistan protests in Kabul today & the reaction to the DG ISI’s visit should be a wake-up call for the Pakistani state — for it to take a long, hard look inward. These are real concerns from Afghans about Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan, and Pakistan can’t wish them away."
- Rubenstein Fellow Madiha Afzal

"The famed @nytopinion writer Sirajuddin Haqqani who also moonlighted as the principal of a suicide bombers’ training school becomes the Taliban interior minister. Congrats @nytimes editorial board — it’s Pulitzer Prize of sorts or shall we say a Howitzer Prize."
- Columnist Mohammad Taqi 

Also read...

An opinion in Dawn on the Taliban’s interim government states that the most serious challenge for the Afghan Taliban is to maintain the unity within their ranks. Similarly, an editorial in Dawn states that the Taliban’s actions over the next few days and weeks will decide whether the international community grants the new set-up recognition. Thus, it is in the best interests of Afghanistan for the country’s new rulers to create a truly inclusive administration.

An editorial in Dawn on Pakistan’s energy options states that the least-cost electricity mix in Pakistan requires a rapid expansion of variable renewable energy sources of solar and wind. Further, it adds what also needed is the political will to support the shift to environment-friendly, affordable non-hydro renewable power.

An editorial in The Nation on the TTP claimed responsibility for the tragic suicide attack that was carried out in Quetta states that a lot of lives have been sacrificed in fighting this menace and we cannot afford a repeat of this doomsday scenario.

An editorial in The Nation on 5G states that 5G has been a late guest to Pakistan. It adds, the widening user base needs better and improved infrastructure for the digital economy to truly flourish, along with ensuring that the internet is accessible beyond just urban areas.

 



"In the past, the Pakistan team — mercurial as ever — has risen to the occasion despite troubled build-ups to major tournaments. The nation will pray that once again the team defies the odds and gives cricket fans something to cheer about..”
-An editorial in Dawn on ‘Debatable selections’



Photo : Dawn

07 September 2021, Tuesday I Vol 2, No. 244

CCI decided to includes hydel power in renewable energy targets



The failure of the Senate panel to convince the opposition on the EVMs, the TTP's warning to the media, the Italian Foreign Minister's visit, Pakistan's gender debate, and the issues within the opposition

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief
INTERNAL
Senate panel fails to convince opposition members on EVMs
On 6 September, the federal government failed to convince the opposition on the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Parliamentary Affairs. While the PTI-led government had been insisting on the use of EVMs to ensure the holding of “fair and transparent” polls in the country, the opposition critical of the use of EVMs, questions whether the machine would be able to identify fake voters. (Haseeb Hanif, “Senate panel fails to satisfy members on EVMs,” The Express Tribune, 7 September 2021)

TTP issues warning to media, asking them to refrain from calling them a “terrorist outfit”
On 6 September, the proscribed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) issued a warning to national media and journalists. They asked for the media to refrain from calling them a “terrorist outfit” warning that they would be treated as enemies otherwise. According to Dawn, a TTP spokesperson said that they were monitoring the media coverage, branding the TTP with hateful titles, like “terrorists and extremists,” adding, “using such terms for TTP showed a partisan role of media and journalists.” (“TTP issues warning to media,” Dawn, 7 September 2021)

Pakistan’s armed forces will not spare any sacrifice for the security and safety of the country, says COAS
On 6 September, COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa stated that no one will be allowed to blackmail the state on a regional and linguistic basis. He said, “Pakistan’s armed forces will not spare any sacrifice for the security and safety of the country.”  He added, “No one will be allowed to blackmail the state on regional or linguistic grounds. We have to deal with the elements that cause internal disturbances. The enemy's negative intentions will never succeed.” (“No one will be allowed to blackmail state: COAS,” The Express Tribune, 7 September 2021)

Editorial lists problems within the PDM 
An editorial in The News International outlines the need for a strong opposition in a democracy and lists the mistakes that the PDM made while trying to bring down the government. The editorial says that though the component parties disputed the 2018 election results, the PDM has not been able to put forward a white paper to support its claims. Further, it terms the split and show-cause notice to the PPP and ANP an untimely move. It maintains that to carry forward a successful alliance, “component parties do not try to impose harsh conditions on each other” and says the PDM cannot afford to launch a large-scale agitation now. Due to this, the editorial speculates the alliance may not be able to garner the necessary momentum now. (“Issues of the opposition,” The News International, 7 September 2021)

NAB calls for seizing assets of Shehbaz’s daughter, son-in-law
On 7 September, The News International cited Geo News reports which said that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had launched a move to seize assets of Shehbaz’s Sharif  daughter and son-in-law. Geo News had quoted sources who said the NAB had contacted the  Excise, Cooperatives, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) seeking details of Rabia Imran and Ali Imran. Sources said the NAB initiated the move as the two persons did not appear for examination on different occasions. (“NAB to seize assets of Shehbaz’s daughter, son-in-law,” The News International, 7 September 2021)

PROVINCES
Balochistan: Editorial highlights increasing security threats in province 
An editorial in Dawn terms the increasing militant activity in Balochistan a reminder that Pakistan should always be alert. The editorial outlines that the recent attacks claimed by the TTP and Baloch separatists reiterates the need for enhanced security measures. It also highlights the security situation in Afghanistan and calls on Pakistan to “press the Afghan Taliban to take action against these security threats,” including the ISIS-K. It calls for increased intelligence based operations, countering “regional states that do not want to see peace in Pakistan,” and lastly a quick formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan. (“Balochistan attack,” Dawn, 7 September 2021)

PAKISTAN’S GENDER DEBATE
Editorial criticises approach of informal settlements in crimes against women 
An editorial in The News International refers to the 2018 murder of an 18-year-old girl, and the “settlement” that followed between the girl’s family and the murderer, who was potentially looking to marry her. The editorial says such settlements have no characteristics of justice or trial and says that sadly, this is a norm in several parts of Pakistan. It says that such crimes increase because the accused is let free in this informal system; this indicates “that a woman's death really means nothing, neither to her family nor to the state nor to society.” It concludes by hoping that at least the political leaders who were part of the settlement gathering would raise concerns about such a system. (“A woman’s life,” The News International, 7 September 2021)

ON ENERGY
CCI decided to includes hydel power in renewable energy targets
On 6 September, the Council of Common Interests (CCI) decided to include hydel power in the renewable energy targets. Additionally, it also directed the Power Division to finalise the “wheeling” policy so that it could be rolled out immediately. While presiding over the 48th meeting of the CCI PM Imran Khan said the government aimed to reform energy generation, transmission and distribution into an efficient system. He directed the Power Division to employ technology-based solutions at the distribution companies level in order to save the consumers from the inconvenience of load-management in low recovery grids. (Syed Irfan Raza, “Energy generation, distribution to be reformed: PM Imran,” Dawn, 7 September 2021) (“CCI includes hydel power in renewable energy targets,” The Express Tribune, 7 September 2021)

EXTERNAL
Imran Khan, Qureshi meet with Italian Foreign Minister 
On 6 September PM Imran Khan met with the Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio; the PMO released a statement which said that Imran had stressed the necessity of a peaceful Afghanistan. He also called for prevention of a humanitarian crisis and stabilization of the Afghan economy. Meanwhile, the two dignitaries also discussed bilateral ties and Luigi said Italy was committed to enhance bilateral cooperation in diverse fields. On the same day, the Italian Minister also met with Foreign Minister Qureshi who also reiterated the need for peace in Afghanistan; Luigi thanked Pakistan for its assistance in the evacuation efforts from Afghanistan. (“'Vital to take steps to strengthen peace in Afghanistan’, PM tells Italian FM,” The Express Tribune, 7 September 2021)

 

Pakistan on Twitter

"Addressing the Defense Day function, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa said #FakeNews And #Disinformation Has been declared a threat to national security, their analysis is based on the truth and therefore the PMDA is bringing in to deal with these threats to freedom of the press is the biggest threat to yellow journalism."
- Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry 

"Mian Javed Latif, chairman of the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Information, said in a meet-the-press program at the National Press Club Islamabad that ministers say in our ears that we are not bringing the Media Development Authority bill, we are with you. Will the government explain this claim?"
- Journalist Hamid Mir

"Not in favor of the Taliban in Afghanistan, but there are many demonstrations against the Taliban. Now what about Pakistani journalists and analysts who say that Afghans want the Taliban in Afghanistan. Will they be a little ashamed now to do propaganda for Taliban terrorists?"
- National Democratic Movement member Khushal Khan 

Also read...

An editorial in The Express Tribune on Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan states that Islamabad believes an inclusive government in Kabul is the only way to lasting peace and security in the region, hence, for this reason Islamabad’s extraordinary measures to ensure peace on its western frontiers are in need of global backing.

An editorial in The Express Tribune critical of the neglected dams states that farmers criticised the government for failure to make damaged dams and reservoirs functional.

An opinion in Dawn on the general election in 2023 states that Pakistani politics is picking up pace, with parties and individuals making moves, big and small, some in the full glare of publicity and some quietly. It adds, how this will end or play out in the next two years, is anyone’s guess, however, in the meantime, the chessboard has been laid out and the moves are being planned.

An editorial in Dawn argues that the issue of electoral reforms seems to be falling victim to this same polarisation. It states that the government should take the initiative to lower this partisanship so that the next elections are seen as fair and transparent.

 

"One who dies leaves behind sorrow, but those who are fortunate to survive can have a life full of pain, dependency and one of obscurity…Relentless recognition, endless care, and timely monetary compensation to the victims of terrorism and crimes should be the state order and our resolution for the International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism. We should do everything we can to address the root cause of terrorism to alleviate the suffering of the people in future.”
-An opinion in The News International on ‘Victims of terrorism’



Photo : Dawn

05 September 2021, Monday I Vol 2, No. 243

Bilawal blames PDM’s leadership for ‘misleading’ over the question of no-confidence motion



The upcoming meeting to decide on the elevation of Justice Ayesha, NEPRA's call to include hydropower in the renewable energy sector, the suicide attack in Balochistan. the widening trade deficit, and the ISI chief's visit to Kabul

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief
INTERNAL
Bilawal blames PDM’s leadership for ‘misleading’ over the question of no-confidence motion
On 5 September, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari stated that that the PTI-led government would have been removed with a no-confidence motion had the PPP not been “misled and deceived” by the leadership of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM). Additionally, he accused both the federal government and the opposition parties, mainly PML-N, for the suffering of the masses. Further, he said that the next government in the country would be formed by his party, saying the new premier will be a “jiyala.” (Shakeel Ahmed, Tariq Saeed Birmani, “Bilawal blames confusion within PML-N for PTI’s stay in power,” Dawn, 6 September 2021) (“Would have sent the govt packing if not ‘deceived’: Bilawal,” The Express Tribune, 6 September 2021)

Speaker reverses decisions directly linked with powers and efficacy of the standing committees
On 6 September, Dawn reported that Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani has reversed his two ‘controversial’ decisions related to powers and efficacy of the standing committees following the opposition’s outcry. However, he made another contentious move by increasing the ruling alliance’s strength in a panel set to take up proposed amendments to introduce electronic voting machines (EVM) and voting right for overseas Pakistanis. (Iftikhar A. Khan, “Sanjrani moves to tilt scales towards govt on Senate panel,” Dawn, 6 September 2021)

JCP to consider Justice Ayesha’s elevation 
On 6 September, Dawn reported that Justice Ayesha A. Malik, who is the fourth on the seniority list of the Lahore High Court (LHC) will be considered for elevation by the JCP as the commission is scheduled to meet on 9 September. Previously, the LHC Chief Justice accorded consent to the JCP, expressing no objection to the elevation of Justice Malik. If appointed, Justice Malik would be the first woman judge in Pakistan judicial history to reach the top judiciary and even would have a fair chance of becoming the chief justice of Pakistan in future. (Nasir Iqbal, “JCP to consider Justice Ayesha’s elevation on Sept 9,” Dawn, 6 September 2021)

18-year-old dies after alleged gang-rape
On 4 September, an 18-year-old girl died after she was allegedly gang-raped; the girl’s family said she was abducted, tranquilised and gang-raped. However, police said the girl died by suicide on the grounds that she could not convince a man, with whom she allegedly had an affair, to marry her. The Gujrat police spokesman said that initial investigation revealed the consumption of poisonous pills; meanwhile, the main suspect has been arrested and charges have been filed against three others. The main suspect’s family claims the case was fabricated and has lodged a complaint. (“Girl dies after ‘gang rape’ in Gujrat,” Dawn, 6 September 2021)

Government begins compensation to affectees of Ravi development project
On 5 September, the Ravi Urban Development Authority (RUDA) CEO announced the implementation of compensation packages for “landowners/affectees” of the Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project. He termed the project Pakistan’s biggest urban initiative; under the package, the government is expected to offer Rs 3.5 million per acre for the land along the Ravi river bed and a developed plot of five to seven marla on each acre; land apart from the ones along the riverbed are estimated between Rs five million to eight million and a 10 marla developed plot for each acre. (Khalid Hasnain, “Ravi riverfront project: Compensation to landowners has started, claims Ruda,” Dawn, 6 September 2021)

FBR calls on realtors to comply with FATF conditions 
On 5 September, the Fede­ral Board of Revenue chairman met with real estate representatives and requested their continued compliance to the anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CFT) regulations to meet the FATF requirements. The FBR director general of Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFPs) said the FBR officials will visit real estate associations’ offices and will also engage with realtors to resolve any issues. (Amin Ahmed, “FBR asks realtors to help meet FATF conditions,” Dawn, 6 September 2021)

NEPRA pushes for including hydropower into the scope of renewable energy
On 6 September, Dawn reported that the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) had called for the inclusion of hydropower into the definition and scope of renewable energy. NEPRA wrote to the Managing Directors of the National Transmission & Despatch Company, and the Private Power & Infrastructure Board, and CEO of the Alternative Energy Development Board for the same. NEPRA also called for inclusion of hydropower in the Alternate and Renewable Energy (ARE) Policy after it was excluded from the AREP 2020. The development comes after NEPRA maintained that the exclusion of hydropower from the renewable energy list was not in line with worldwide standards. (Khaleeq Kiani, “Nepra orders inclusion of hydropower in renewable energy category,” Dawn, 6 September 2021)

PROVINCES 
Balochistan: Four killed and 19 injured in a suicide attack
On 5 September, four security personnel were killed and 19 people were injured when a suicide bomb blast took place at a Frontier Constabulary (FC) check-post. The Balochistan Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) confirmed that the suicide attack had targeted the Sohana Khan FC check-post on Mastung Road. Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack. (“Quetta suicide blast: Four martyred, 19 injured,” The News International, 6 September 2021)

ECONOMY
Trade deficit recorded at USD 7.5 billion
On 6 September, The Express Tribune reported that the trade deficit for the July-August period had increased by 120 per cent and was recorded at USD 7.5 billion against the USD 3.6 billion in the corresponding period in the previous year; the data was released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. During the given time period, imports grew by USD 5.1 billion from. Meanwhile, exports were recorded at USD 2.34 billion in July and $2.32 billion in August from USD 2.73 billion in June. (Shahbaz Rana, “Trade deficit widens 120% in July-August,” The Express Tribune, 6 September 2021)

EXTERNAL
ISI chief meets Taliban leaders and Hekmatyar in Kabul
On 5 September, Chief of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed met Taliban leaders and Hezb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar in Kabul. Meanwhile, defending the visit, Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry stated that such unconventional contacts are necessary for discussion on various issues at a time when there is a power vacuum in Afghanistan. He added, “There’s no government in Afghanistan at present and there’s a power vacuum there. In such a situation, who should a leader from the political set-up of Pakistan meet there? The prime minister and foreign minister will meet their counterparts [who are not there].” (“ISI chief meets Hekmatyar, Taliban leaders in Kabul,” The News International, 6 September 2021) (“ISI chief’s visit to Kabul: Fawad sees ‘unconventional contacts’ imperative,” Dawn, 6 September 2021)

PM Khan speaks with Saudi, UAE, Qatari leaders
On 6 September, PM Imran Khan held telephonic conversations with the crown princes of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi and the emir of Qatar to discuss bilateral relations and exchange views on the latest situation in Afghanistan. During the calls, he stressed the importance of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan for Pakistan and the region and emphasised that an "inclusive political settlement" was the best course to adopt in the country. (Sanaullah Khan, “In calls with Saudi, UAE, Qatari leaders, PM Imran emphasises ‘inclusive political settlement’ in Afghanistan,” Dawn, 6 September 2021)

Interior Minister dismisses claims of Afghan refugee camps along Afghan border
On 5 September, the Interior Minister disputed the presence of Afghan refugee camps along the borders. The minister claimed that 4,000 Afghan refugees had arrived in Pakistan with necessary documents and more Afghans had returned to Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover. Further, the Minister alleged that India was unduly criticising Pakistan over the ISI chief’s visit to Kabul and said the international community should appreciate Pakistan for assisting the evacuation of 10,000 people from Kabul. (Ibrahim Shinwari, “No refugee camps along Afghan border: Sheikh Rashid,” Dawn, 6 September 2021)

ON INDIA
Registering cases against Ali Geelani’s family shameful, says PM Khan
On 5 September, PM Khan via Twitter said, “Snatching the body of the 92-year-old Syed Ali Geelani, one of the most respected & principled Kashmiri ldrs, & then registering cases against his family is just another shameful example of India’s descent into fascism under the Nazi-inspired RSS-BJP govt.” (“Registering cases against Ali Geelani’s family shameful: PM,” The News International, 6 September 2021)

 

Pakistan on Twitter

"Nothing to celebrate in victory of religious lunatics in Afghanistan. Taliban have no economic or political vision other than a psychotic urge to control women/minorities & eliminate opponents. They only represent the disorientation and darkness characteristic of our times."
- Haqooq-e-Khalq Movement member Ammar Ali Jan

"Those who have no new solutions, always have faith to exploit. The female body becomes their main subject of discussion. They want to dress it according to a neuroticly narrow idea of the exploited faith. The answer to all issues thus becomes: ‘properly’ cover the women!"
- Author/Historian/Columnist Nadeem Farooq Paracha

Also read...

Maleeha Lodhi in an opinion in Dawn writes that the Taliban face many tests — of governance, averting economic collapse and containing terrorist groups.

An opinion in Dawn critical if the elections in 2023 states that looking at the current toxic state of relations between the ruling and opposition parties, coupled with the likelihood of immense election-related challenges, imagining the next election is quite terrifying.

An editorial in Dawn states that while the government seems to have finally recognised the importance of seasonal energy pricing for domestic and commercial consumers, long-term sustainability of the energy supply chain hinges on the early implementation of governance reforms in the power and gas sectors.

An editorial in Dawn argues that the PTI government’s secrecy about the proposed law to set up the PMDA is also in sync with its authoritarian mindset. Another editorial in The News International states that it is still not too late for the government to hold out a white flag and resolve the impending confrontation with the media industry.

An editorial in Dawn states that Haider Ali’s achievement at the Tokyo Paralympics should lead to a change in mindset. It adds, that this should force the government to provide facilities for them and focus on their needs including giving them specialised coaches.

An opinion in The News International on the PDM minus the PPP states that the second round of agitation by the PDM is also not going to succeed for obvious reasons, adding that they are an alliance of the defeated and the allegedly corrupt.

An opinion in The Express Tribune states in Pakistani journalism, violence against women is not taken seriously unless a circus is made out of it on the television screens. It adds, possibly one of the reasons why people do not take crimes against women seriously is because the media fails to report these incidents the way they should.

 



"Our military has already gone the extra mile to crush the militancy that emerged from TTP’s last war against the country, so nobody in this region or outside it should harbour any false impressions about our ability to defend ourselves and send hostile forces to their maker.”
-An editorial in Daily Times on TTP attack



Photo : Daily Times

04 September 2021, Saturday I Vol 2, No. 242

AG office moves review petition against SC judgement on anti-harassment law



Fazlur Rehman's view on the media authority bill, the rejection on retaining Sequoia, the SC Bar Association's support to Justice Isa, and the British Foreign Secretary's visit to Pakistan

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief
INTERNAL
AG office moves review petition against SC judgement on anti-harassment law
On 3 September, a petition was moved before the Supreme Court by the Attorney General’s (AG) office to seek review of a 6 July judgement in which the court had held that the Protection Against Harass­ment of Women at the Workplace Act of 2010 (PAHWWA) was a cosmetic legislation that blinkered in its application. The petition explained that the AG office only sort to the extent of the legal questions and was not concerned with particular facts. Additionally, the review petition contended that the act is neither a cosmetic legislation nor is it “blinkered in its application”, an observation made in the judgement. (Nasir Iqbal, “Govt moves review petition against SC judgement on anti-harassment law,” Dawn, 4 September 2021)

PTI government wants to stifle the voice of media through media authority bill, says Fazlur
On 3 September, Maulana Fazlur Rehman stated that the PTI government wanted to stifle the voice of media through the media authority bill, however, promising that he would support the journalist community in their struggle for press freedom. Further, he went on to state that journalism had always prospered and progressed in democracy but dictators and monarchs always wanted to read and watch what suited only them. Additionally, he highlighted the need for reforms in journalism, establishment, bureaucracy and politics, urging all institutions to operate within their constitutional limits as the role of each institution was defined in the Constitution. (Kashif Abbasi, “Fazl sees media authority bill as tool to gag press,” Dawn, 4 September 2021)

PM emphasises need to uplift poor
On 3 September, PM Imran Khan said his government is trying to find a way on how the divide between the rich and poor can be solved by uplifting the poor. Imran compared the problem to India and China and opined that both countries were in a similar situation 35 years ago, but said that India still has a sea of poverty and China has uplifted millions of people. Emphasising on a Madina model for Pakistan, Imran outlined that the construction sector and exports were necessary to address these problems. He said to witness the results of reforms, time, change of system and mindset are necessary.  (“Naya Pakistan: Change of mindset underway, says Imran,” The News International, 4 September 2021)

Sui Southern Gas Company rejects retaining of Sequoia
On 4 September, the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) Board of Directors rejected the retention of FSRU Sequoia (Floating Storage Regasification Unit), thereby raising concerns of gas shortages in the forthcoming winter. The development comes after the Engro Elengy Terminal Private Limited, on 3 September requested the SSGC and the government requesting “approval till Friday two-year waiver on buyout rights over the old FSRU if Pakistan wanted to retain the new FSRU Sequoia.” FSRU Sequoia has an additional capacity to regasify 780 mmcfd. With this, Sequoia is expected to leave Pakistan on 11 September. (Khalid Mustafa, “Gas shortage after Sept 11-12 imminent,” The News International, 4 September 2021)

SCBA dismisses speculations of taking support from government 
On 3 September, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) said it had always reiterated the opinion that the government should withdraw its petitions against Justice Isa. The SCBA said it had not supported the government against Justice Isa and neither did it ask for financial aid from the government. Meanwhile, the SCBA also highlighted the need for transparency while appointing judges. (“Never supported govt against Justice Isa: SCBA,” Dawn, 4 September 2021)

EXTERNAL
Pakistan, UK says that they ‘share interest’ in peaceful, stable Afghanistan
On 3 September, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab made his maiden visit to Islamabad. During his visit, he met with PM Khan and FM Qureshi. Both the foreign ministers said that the two countries “shared interest” in a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, however, having different approaches in achieve this goal. Raab stated, “The approach we're taking is that we don't recognise the Taliban as a government,” adding that Britain usually recognised states rather than governments, stating, “We do see the importance of being able to engage and having a direct line of communication.” Meanwhile, the PMO said, “The prime minister underlined the importance of a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan for Pakistan and regional stability,” additionally he cautioned the UK against the role of spoilers “inside and outside” Afghanistan, who could destabilise the situation in the war-torn country. (“Pakistan cautions UK against role of spoilers 'inside and outside' Afghanistan,” The Express Tribune, 4 September 2021) (“Qureshi urges world to stay engaged, Raab firm UK won’t recognise Taliban rule,” The Express Tribune, 4 September 2021)

ON CPEC
SAPM outlines huge job opportunities in CPEC Phase II
On 4 September, The Express Tribune reported on the SAPM on CPEC Affairs’ observations that Phase II of CPEC will pave the way for huge job opportunities and proposed that unskilled people will be trained and employed under these projects. The SAPM said that manufacturing hubs, under the CPEC’s SEZs, will not only benefit Pakistan but also be an avenue for Afghanistan to rebuild its economy. Similarly, the SAPM maintained that the BRI too will enhance regional connectivity and especially assist Afghanistan in increasing its exports. (“‘Huge job opportunities’ are coming under CPEC phase 2,” The Express Tribune, 4 September 2021)

 

Pakistan on Twitter

"We are loyal to the country, but what is the standard of loyalty?
- JUI-F President Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman

"What would an economist explain if the development budget was reduced by 50% compared to the PML-N era and claimed to have created 3 times more highways by creating the worst inflation?"
- MNA, PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal

"Sessions Judge Kohat adjourned the case of Ahmed Abbas Orakzai, a human rights activist and our colleague, in a self-styled terrorism case framed by the state till the 4th of this month.
 It is unfortunate that terrorists are guests of the state and human rights activists are imprisoned in terrorism cases."
- National Democratic Movement

"Expecting Pakistan to act as guarantor for Taliban behaviour is a bit much. Why would they feel accountable for rights enforcement by one country bracing for spillover in humanitarian crises?The Intl community should share the burden & engage in order to shape responses."
- Senator Sherry Rehman

ON INDIA
"Indian media's coverage of Kashmir is a textbook example of how an occupying force manufactures reality. Yet it is convincing no one and is making a joke out of India on the world stage. Lesson to all that promoting fictions for "positive image" only brings shame."
- Haqooq-e-Khalq Movement member Ammar Ali Jan

"These two senior leaders of Kashmir Independence Movement, Mr. Ashraf Sahrai and Mr. Ali Shah Gilani died in the captivity of the enemy. The bodies of both were snatched from their families and buried forcibly. The independence movement will not last long."
- Hamid Mir, Journalist

Also read...

An editorial in Dawn outlines that the differences between top leaders of the PML-N are now seeping into the second tier leaders. The editorial speculates that perhaps the party has not decided what road to take and opines that unless this is a strategy, the PML-N leadership needs to clear the confusion to display its effectiveness as a national party. 

An opinion in Dawn says the recent decisions of the PPP, starting from its campaigns in Gilgit Baltistan to breaking away from the PDM have placed Bilawal on a favourable position. The author says though Bilawal may not be considered for the prime ministerial position at the moment, he has time on his hands and it is up to him to decide how to utilise it. 

An editorial in The Daily Times says the lack of urgency on the finance ministry regarding the widening trade deficit indicates that the problem will be left unaddressed. The editorial says the government should have plan B if the IMF dislikes the way things are moving forward.

An editorial in The Express Tribune reflects on the rising food insecurity in Pakistan and lists out the reason and impact of the same. The editorial opines that the growing inflation, COVID-19 pandemic, and lack of steady jobs has fuelled the situation 

 

"The most recent data released by the Meteorological department showed that the country received 24 percent below average rainfall during the period of July-August…Going forward, authorities will have to formulate robust mitigation and adaptation strategies if Pakistan is to cope with upcoming challenges and avoid food scarcity from becoming a reality. This will require an investment in water-efficient technologies and strategies to reduce high water losses.”
-An editorial in The Nation on ‘Reduced Rainfall’ 



Photo : Dawn

03 September 2021, Friday I Vol 2, No. 241

PTI asks ECP to deploy army during cantonment polls



Induction of the first modern long-range twin-engine jet, the completion of the South Balochistan Development Plan, the Foreign Office statement on Afghan peace, and an editorial on Geelani's death

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief
INTERNAL
PTI asks ECP to deploy army during cantonment polls
On 2 August, the PTI government asked the Election Commi­ssion of Pakistan (ECP) to deploy army troops at the polling stations for maintaining “law and order” and “ensuring transparency” in the elections of the 42 cantonment boards across the country scheduled for 12 September. Meanwhile, the PML-N and PPP have rejected the idea, threatening to launch an agitation “if the government attempts to rig the poll.” (Amir Wasim, “PTI wants army deployed during cantonment polls,” Dawn, 3 September 2021)

Navy inducts the country’s first modern long-range twin-engine jet 
On 2 September, Pakistan Navy’s inducted its first modern long-range maritime patrol twin-engine jet aircraft at PNS Mehran. The aircraft is a variant of the Brazilian-built state of the art Embraer Jet aircraft globally utilised in air operations. Additionally, two more aircraft of the series have also been contracted by Pakistan Navy. (“Long range twin-engine jet inducted into Navy,” Dawn, 3 September 2021)

Pakistan's inclusion on US child soldier list politically motivated, says Senate committee
On 2 September, the  Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights reiterated that Pakistan’s inclusion in the United States Child Soldier Prevention Act list was politically motivated. The Minister for Human Rights termed it a mala fide move and mentioned that the Pakistan Army maintains 16 as the minimum age for recruitment, and does not send them to combat until they are 18. One senator suggested that Pakistan and Turkey, which has also been added to the list, write a joint letter to the US State Department. The Senator reasoned that Pakistan’s inclusion on the list would have long-term effects on the country’s diplomatic and economic relations with the US. (Jamal Shahid, “Inclusion of Pakistan in child soldier list by US termed politically motivated,” Dawn, 3 September 2021)

South Balochistan Development Plan phase I completed
On 2 September, a progress review meeting on the South Balochistan Development Plan (SBDP) observed that Phase I of the SBDP had been completed. During the review, Planning Minister Asad Umar was satisfied with the projects under SBDP Phase II, and also observed that 90 per cent of new projects under the Federal PSDP had received approval. For the current FY, Rs 25.721 billion of Rs 234.315 billion has been allocated. (“Phase 1 of SBDP completed: Umar,” The Express Tribune, 3 September 2021)

ON AFGHANISTAN
Pakistan to cooperate with world community for Afghan peace, say FO
On 2 August, the Foreign Office reiterated, “Pakistan is committed to working together with the international community to advance the shared objectives of peace, progress and stability in Afghanistan.” The FO said, “It would also be imperative for the regional and international partners to constructively engage with Afghanistan including by supporting the country’s economy, reconstruction, rehabilitation and humanitarian needs,” adding, “At this critical juncture, there is an opportunity in the form of international community’s convergence on peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.” (Baqir Sajjad Syed, “Islamabad to cooperate with world community for Afghan peace: FO,” Dawn, 3 September 2021) Meanwhile, FM Qureshi urged the international community not to repeat the “mistake” of abandoning the people of Afghanistan, warning, “that will give space to international terrorist organisations and we do not want their footprint to grow in Afghanistan.” (“Abandoning Afghanistan will give space to chaos, terrorism: FM Qureshi,” The Express Tribune, 3 September 2021)

The US refuses to comment on Ghani’s claim of Pakistan’s role
On 3 September, Dawn reported that the US State Department refused to endorse Ashraf Ghani’s claim that 10 to 15 thousand Pakistanis had joined the Taliban offensive on Kabul. The official said, “I’m just not in a position to comment on that, to confirm those reports,” however, noted Pakistan and other partners for providing “critical assistance” to US efforts to evacuate American troops and civilians from Afghanistan. (Anwar Iqbal, “US refuses to endorse Ghani’s claim of Pakistan’s role,” Dawn, 3 September 2021)

Pak-Afghan border secured, says DIG FC
On 2 September, Deputy Inspector General (DIG), Frontier Corps North, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa stated that the Pak-Afghan border had been fully secured after completion of fencing, construction of new forts and placement of technical surveillance system equipped with drones, which helped control mobility and contain unwanted elements. Additionally, the military official said that there has been no major refugee influx from Afghanistan following the fall of Kabul. (“Pak-Afghan border fully secured: DIG FC,” The Express Tribune, 3 September 2021)

Chaman border closed temporarily, says Interior Minister
On 2 September, Federal Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid announced that the Chaman border was being closed temporarily due to security concerns. Further, he said, “We want peace and stability in Afghanistan. We have put up a fence on the border,” adding that the situation at the Torkham border was normal. (“Chaman border closed temporarily due to security concerns: Rashid,” The Express Tribune, 3 September 2021)

ON INDIA
Geelani’s view were a cry in the wilderness, says editorial 
An editorial in Dawn, on the death of Syed Ali Geelani, opines that his grit and clarity annoyed India. The editorial says India should not assume that “Geelani’s death will put an end to the struggle by the people of Kashmir for freedom.” The editorial maintains that Geelani always called for friendly ties between India and Pakistan but reiterated that it could not be achieved without solving the Kashmir issue. It concludes that Geelani’s call was “a cry in the wilderness given the BJP government’s hubris.” (“Geelani’s death,” Dawn, 3 September 2021)
Also read
Immortal Ali Geelani,” The Express Tribune, 3 September 2021
The struggle continues,” The News International, 3 September 2021

 

Pakistan on Twitter

"Murder of an Ahmedi man in Nankana Sahib is shocking. He was a ex-army officer and a volley ball player. His only crime was that he belonged to a religious group that many believe must be eliminated. Paranoia around religious purity will tear apart society if we dont speak up."
- Haqooq-e-Khalq Movement member Ammar Ali Jan

"Among other tactics, in order to control the media, new channels were first started by people who had nothing to do with the media and did not understand its importance. It was to promote the agenda of the anti-media forces."
- Journalist Umar Cheema

"Today I lost not only a father. But a guiding light. A teacher. He taught me the difference between the good and the bad. To fight for injustice with conviction. He was a beacon of hope for our nation and land. Rest in peace my Baba. Please pray for his soul."
- President of Balochistan National Party Akhtar Mengal on Ataullah Mengal's death

Also read...

An opinion in Dawn writes that society has become so numb to the reality of enforced disappearances, especially in Balochistan. Further, it highlights the slow death for millions of people in this country affiliated with traditional livelihoods like fishing, farming and foresting due to existing political and economic structures.

An editorial in Dawn states that America’s record on the ‘nation-building’ front has been an appalling one. It argues the lesson to be learnt here is that nation-building and civilising missions are a bad idea. 

An editorial in Dawn states that in a democratic society, the formation of a political party is a fundamental right of citizens and therefore MNA Mohsin Dawar have formed a new political party called the National Democratic Movement deserves to be welcomed as the latest addition to a long list of parties in Pakistan.

Najam Sethi in an editorial in Daily Times argues that the date and mode of the next general elections is a factor in Imran Khan’s political calculations for several reasons including, Justice Qaez Faiz Isa, Afghanistan, Nawaz Sharif would return to Pakistan.

 


"The Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice has given the go-ahead to a law that would form special courts and expedite the time required to hear rape cases…Expediting cases and special courts do not guarantee justice, but failure to ensure judges are sensitised guarantees that victims will be forced to unnecessarily relieve their physical and emotional trauma.”
-An editorial in The Express Tribune
on ‘Special courts for rape’



Photo : Dawn

02 September 2021, Thursday I Vol 2, No. 240

Mohsin Dawar launches Nationalist Democratic Movement



The IHC hearing on the misuse of power by the FIA's Cyber Crime Wing officials, the filling of the Tarbela dam, the Senate committee's approval of the anti-rape bill, the widening trade deficit, and the Dutch Foreign Minister's visit to Islamabad

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief
INTERNAL
Mohsin Dawar launches Nationalist Democratic Movement
On 1 September, North Waziristan’s MNA Mohsin Dawar, along with other nationalists launched the Nationalist Democratic Movement (NDM), indicating a break away from the Pakhtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM). The members of the NDM include rights activists, and other leaders from the Awami National Party, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, and PTM, like Afrasiab Khattak, Bushra Gohar and Jamila Gillani, and Supreme Court Bar Association President Abdul Latif Afridi. The NDM proposes itself to push for a secular federal democratic parliamentary system in Pakistan. (Zulfiqar Ali, “Waziristan MNA, nationalists form political party,” Dawn, 2 September 2021)

IHC directs FIA to take actions against officials misusing authority 
On 1 September, the Islamabad High Court, while hearing petitions against the Federal Investigation Agency’s Cyber Crime Wing, directed the agency to take to task officials who went beyond their authority to arrest journalists. The IHC sought an explanation for the same from the Cyber Crime Wing’s director. Dawn quoted Justice Minallah that the IHC “cannot turn a blind eye because such conduct of the agency undermines the proceedings before this court besides strengthening the perception that abuse of powers by the agency is aimed at achieving some extraneous purposes.” (Malik Asad, “IHC seeks explanation from FIA director over non-compliance of court orders,” Dawn, 2 September 2021)

PM launches Ehsaas Educational Scholarship Programme
On 1 September, PM Imran Khan inaugurated the Ehsaas Educational Scholarship Programme; outlining millions of children were out of school, he said this initiative will provide education to the 20 million out-of-school children. Under the initiative, boys would benefit from a quarterly stipend of Rs 1,500 and girls Rs 2,000 in primary school; in secondary school, boys will receive Rs 2,500 and girls Rs 3,000; in higher secondary boys are entitled to Rs 3,500 and girls Rs 4,000. He reasoned that the country had lost out because importance was given to girls’ education. (Mumtaz Alvi, “Govt to bring 20m out-of-school children back to schools: PM,” The News International, 2 September 2021)

Shireen Mazari calls for curbs on youth 
On 2 September, the Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari, referring to the rising violence against women, suggested that curbs should be placed on the youth so that they learn a lesson. The Minister maintained that restrictions should apply to men and not women. She said, “You can't say that it is the woman's fault. [By that logic] you should also tell men not to leave the house alone.” She made the remarks when the Senate Standing Committee on Human Right produced a report on the Minar-i-Pakistan incident where a girl was assaulted in a crowd of 400 people. (Nadir Guramani, “Minar-e-Pakistan incident: Mazari calls for imposing curbs on youth 'to teach them a lesson',” Dawn, 2 September 2021)

Tarbela dam filled up completely, says PM 
On 2 September, PM Imran Khan announced that the Tarbela Dam had been filled to its maximum level and termed it a “good omen for agriculture and hydel generation.” He said the development took place even though weather conditions were not favourable.He was appreciative of the Water and Power Development Authority and the Indus River System Authority saying that the two bodies had enhanced water regulation. (“Filling of Tarbela dam 'good omen' for agriculture, hydel power: PM Imran,” The Express Tribune, 2 September 2021)

Senate committee approves anti-rape bill 
On 2 September, the Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice approved the Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Bill, 2021. The bill calls for the death sentence, life imprisonment or chemical castration of those convicted. Further, those found guilty of conducting virginity tests would also be subject to severe punishments. The Standing Committee also gave its green signal to the formation of special courts to attend to rape cases. (“Senate panel gives nod to anti-rape bill,” The Express Tribune, 2 September 2021)

ECONOMY
Trade deficit recorded at USD 4.05 billion in August 
On 2 September, Dawn reported that the trade deficit stood at USD 4.05 billion in August, thereby reflecting a 133 per cent increase, compared to USD 1.740 billion in the same period previous year. The deficit has been attributed to an 899 per cent increase in the import bill, recorded at USD 6.313 billion in August in comparison to USD 3.324 billion in the corresponding period previous year. Meanwhile, in August, the exports showed a 42.5 per cent increase to USD 2.257 billion from USD 1.584 billion previous year. However, the Adviser on Commerce and Investment termed it a positive development reasoning that the imports grew mostly from the import of raw material and capital goods only. (Mubarak Zeb Khan, “Trade gap widens by 133pc to $4.05bn in August,” Dawn, 2 September 2021)

EXTERNAL
Foreign minister and Dutch counterpart reiterate humanitarian needs of Afghanistan
On 1 September, Foreign Minister Qureshi and his Dutch counterpart addressed a press conference in Islamabad wherein he warned that abandoning Afghanistan “would have dangerous consequences and no one would be spared.” Reiterating that while it is necessary to observe how the new Afghan government will take form, Qureshi said the international community should not sideline the humanitarian needs of the country and should prevent an economic collapse. The Dutch Minister Sigrid Kaag said the Netherlands would continue its assistance to Afghanistan which stood at 50 to 60 million euros annually. (“FM Qureshi cautions world against abandoning Afghanistan,” Dawn, 2 September 2021)

ON INDIA
Pakistan observes official mourning on Geelani's death
On 2 September, the Foreign Office issued a statement on the death of Syed Ali Geelani. The FO spokesperson said, "[Geelani] inspired three generations of Kashmiris in resisting illegal Indian occupation and unabated tyranny. He was a true voice and hero of the Kashmiris’ struggle for self-determination, who never lost his ideological moorings for a single moment." Meanwhile, Imran Khan tweeted, "We in Pakistan salute his courageous struggle & remember his words: 'Hum Pakistani hain aur Pakistan Humara hai.' The Pakistan flag will fly at half mast and we will observe a day of official mourning." ("Syed Ali Geelani was true voice of Kashmiris' struggle for self-determination: FO," Dawn, 2 September 2021)

 
Pakistan on Twitter
"I am sorry that some people are talking about demarcating the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan... why is this being done? What are the objectives of this game? Why is the fence on the border being opposed??"
- Journalist Iftikhar Ahmad

"Our friend and member of our party #NationalDemocraticMovement
@AbbasOrakzay has been arrested in Kohat when he left us after we announced our party in Peshawar earlier today. Genuine political and rights activists continue being harassed. Demand his immediate release."
- MNA Mohsin Dawar

"Eighty two billion dollars worth of military equipment ( which now the US govt is trying to wipe off its official records) is bigger than anything it has given to any ally. It gifted it to the Taliban. Congratulations, world."
- Journalist Gul Bukhari
Also read...

An editorial in Dawn on Pakistan’s FATF requirements states that the quicker Pakistan updates its AML/CFT regime the better it will be since its removal from the grey list will address the concerns of foreign investors and open up new trade opportunities at a time when the economy desperately needs to boost exports and attract private foreign investment.

An editorial in The News International critical of the problem of air pollution states that a mentally and physically healthy nation is the sign of a country at ease with itself. It says, if dirty air contributes to mental disorders and leads to increased suicides, the top decision-makers of the country must take note and do something about it.

An editorial in The Express Tribune on the Shehbaz’s idea of a national government states that Shehbaz can do well by continuing to point out government fallacies, and harness the momentum through ballot.

An editorial in The Express Tribune critical of the rising public debt states that successive governments have been unable to bring these numbers down to sustainable levels. It warns this would eventually hit commercial banks and the rest of the financial system.

An editorial in The Nation states that while the Pak-ID app would make routine processes much more convenient, the only remaining challenge is the fact that the masses are not conscious of this development for which NADRA needs to ensure the public is made aware.

 


"It is no secret that the country’s criminal justice system is overburdened, leading to a situation which can only be seen as flouting prisoners’ rights…Overcrowded jails are a sorry sight across the country… The authorities should look into this matter and take concrete steps for the speedy disposal of cases, especially where inmates have been accused of petty crimes. This is a crucial first step towards prison reform..”
-An editorial in Dawn on "Owercrowded prisons"



Photo : Dawn

01 September 2021, Wednesday I Vol 2, No. 239

PM launches Pak-ID mobile app for computerised National Identity Card



Dispute between ministries on the report on forced conversions, political parties' response to Shehbaz's call for a "national government," the PPP's support to the rally against the PMDA, the German FM meeting with General Bajwa and Qureshi

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief
INTERNAL
Government launches Pak-ID mobile app to facilitate computerised National Identity Card
On 31 August, PM Khan launched a mobile phone application developed by the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) to facilitate applicants of Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC). The app, Pak-ID, helps to capture biometrics and scan documents digitally by using the camera of smartphones. According to the NADRA’s chairman, “The innovation will revolutionise the National ID Eco System in Pakistan by providing public convenience.” (“‘Digital Pakistan’: PM launches Pak-ID mobile app for CNIC,” The Express Tribune, 1 September 2021)

Bilawal announces PPP’s participation in protest rally against PMDA
On 31 August, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari announced that the PPP would support the journalists’ protest call against the proposed Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA). He said, “We will stand firmly with the journalist community in their struggle against the proposed bill of Pakistan Media Development Authority and the PPP will participate in the protest against this black law.” Terming it as an attempt to suppress the media and freedom of expression, he stated that there was no reason to go forward with the idea of PMDA when the media organisations and journalists unions had vehemently opposed it. (“PMDA: Bilawal announces PPP’s participation in protest rally,” The News International, 1 September 2021)

PDM confused, not clear in programme, says Bilawal
On 31 August, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari stated that the PDM is confused and not clear in its programme. He said, if the PDM fails to bring clarity to the PDM programme, the masses will remain in a state of confusion. Further, he added that the PPP is clear in its stance of removing PM Khan with the power of masses, adding that the PDM was in the right direction when it was following the advice of the PPP, however, now the alliance was wasting its time. He argues that without the PPP, he said, the PDM faced defeat in elections it had contested against the PTI government. (“Bilawal terms PDM confused, not clear in programme,” The News International, 1 September 2021)

Government takes measures to meet FATF requirements
On 1 September, The Express Tribune reported that the federal government has taken a major step towards fulfilling one of the remaining conditions of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Action Plan. In this regard, under the new measure property dealers and realtors will cross check the name of sellers and purchasers of properties in the country with the United Nations list of people involved in money laundering and terrorism financing. (“Govt takes major step to meet FATF conditions,” The Express Tribune, 1 September 2021)

Ministries differ over sharing report on forced conversions
On 31 August, the human rights ministry spokesperson responded to the criticism from the religious affairs ministry on the report on forced conversions. The report was prepared by the Parliamentary Committee to Protect Minorities from Forced Conversions and the human rights ministry used the same to draft the proposed anti-forced conversion law. The religious affairs ministry officials and other clerics, who have contentions with the law, said the human rights ministry had not shared the report with them. To this, the latter said sharing the report with them was not its responsibility and asked them to obtain the copy from the secretariat of the parliamentary committee. (Kalbe Ali, “Ministries in dispute over sharing of report on forced conversion,” Dawn, 1 September 2021)

PML-N issues clarification on Shehbaz’s “national government” remark
On 31 August, the PML-N Information Secretary clarified Shehbaz Sharif’s call for a national government and said that his statement was a passing remark. She said Shehbaz meant to convey his willingness to invite other parties, except the PTI, to solve the problems in Pakistan if the PML-N was brought to power. The statement came after the PPP and PTI criticised Shehbaz’s remark. The PPP maintained that his remark indicated that the PDM no longer existed. Meanwhile, the federal Information Minister termed Shehbaz’s statement “a bid to save his own skin.” (Amir Wasim, “Shehbaz’s remarks stir up political debate,” Dawn, 1 September 2021)

ECONOMY
Revenue collection in August rose to Rs434 billion, an increase of 45 per cent
On 31 August, the chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Dr Ashfaq Ahmad, revealed a roadmap for restructuring tax machinery and declared robust growth of 45 per cent in revenue collection in the second month of the current fiscal. He announced that the revenue collection in August rose to Rs434 billion, which is an increase of 45 per cent from last year’s figure of Rs300bn, according to the provisional figures. Additionally, the collection rose by Rs85 billion or 24 per cent against the target set for the month. (Mubarak Zeb Khan, “Revenue collection in August goes up by 45pc,” Dawn, 1 September 2021)

SBP allows overseas Pakistanis to direct investment in companies through Roshan Digital Account
On 31 August, the State Bank of Pakistan has allowed overseas Pakistanis to directly invest in the shares of companies in Pakistan through the Roshan Digital Accounts (RDA). The SBP stated that it was trying to involve maximum number of overseas Pakistanis into the domestic economy, adding, “The above changes will not only provide more investment opportunities to non-resident Pakistani but also facilitate them to purchase property in Pakistan through bank financing.” (“Overseas Pakistanis allowed direct investment in companies through Roshan Digital Account,” Dawn, 1 September 2021)

EXTERNAL
German Foreign Minister Maas meets with FM Qureshi in Islamabad
On 31 August, German FM Heiko Maas arrived in Islamabad just after the US completed their withdrawal from Afghanistan. During the meeting, the two focused mainly on Afghanistan. Qureshi said, “This is a pivotal moment in Afghanistan’s history. The international community must remain engaged. Humanitarian assistance must flow. Do not let the economic collapse in Afghanistan take place,” adding, “abandonment is not an option.” Additionally, he maintained, “In the west and the international community at large, we need to ask ourselves if military interventions are suited to export a form of government. This was not successful in Afghanistan.” (“Qureshi warns world against abandoning Afghanistan,” The Express Tribune, 1 September 2021)

German Foreign Minister meets with COAS
On 31 August, C the German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. The ISPR said the two dignitaries discussed matters of mutual interest, regional security in light of the developments in Afghanistan, and bilateral cooperation. Earlier, the German minister also met with PM Imran Khan and they discussed bilateral ties. Imran Khan maintained that the international community should stand in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan. (“German FM, General Qamar discuss unfolding situation in Afghanistan,” The Express Tribune, 31 August 2021)

Will foil sinister plans to elements trying to sabotage CPEC, says COAS
On 31 August, COAS General Bajwa met with the Chinese Ambassador; ISPR said that the COAS said sinister plans of those allegedly trying to sabotage CPEC would be foiled. Dawn quotes from the ISPR that General Bajwa “reiterated the resolve to thwart designs of spoilers of CPEC.” The move comes weeks after two attacks targeting Chinese nationals took place in Gwadar and the Dasu hydropower project. (“Bajwa vows to foil bid to sabotage CPEC,” Dawn, 1 September 2021)

ON AFGHANISTAN
Afghan women have to empower themselves now, says opinion
An opinion in Dawn says that in absence of humanitarian aid, several women will be left to fend for themselves. Outlining that few women had jobs under the US presence, in related fields and in the Green Zone, the author says that the white man’s narrative of saving brown women is a failure and under the Taliban, Afghan women will be pushed out, and in rural areas, under increased chances of air strikes, women will witness “dead husbands and sons and the question of how they will survive.” The author says the only hope is that educated Afghan women will lead initiatives for their empowerment, and prays that the women will be able to hold on until such measures take shape. (Rafia Zakaria, “Empowering themselves,” Dawn, 1 September 2021)

 

Pakistan on Twitter

"Pakistan's foreign policy is being researched in universities around the world as to how the country was a front-line ally in the US war on terror. And now the United States is at the forefront of celebrating defeat."
- Journalist Umar Cheema

"The Journalist and Media Professionals Protection Bill, co-authored with journalists, has been on the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Human Rights for the past three months. Bilawal is the chairman of PMDA. Let the politicians leave the hypocrisy and pass this bill immediately from the standing committee so that it can become law."
- Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Farrukh Habib

"Never in the 73-year history of Pakistan has there been such an incompetent government and never such an incompetent and insensitive government. In three and a half years, no one has ever heard the news that flour has become cheaper, sugar has become cheaper, diesel petrol has become cheaper Has the bill been reduced or has there been any improvement?"
- Official handle of the PML-N quotes Maryam Nawaz 

Also read...

An opinion in Dawn on curbing violence against states that solutions to violence against women include cash transfers, training, supporting women’s movements, education, stricter laws, accountability and stigmatisation of abusers.

An editorial in Dawn on the issue of enforced disappearances states that the commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances has succeeded only partially, in tracing the whereabouts of the missing people, as it has failed spectacularly in holding anyone accountable, and thereby left the climate of impunity unchallenged.

An editorial in Dawn on illiteracy in tribal districts states that it is imperative that the people of the merged districts do not feel that they are still marginalised. It adds, not ensuring their rights can prove disastrous especially given the tenuous situation across the border with Afghanistan.

An editorial in The Express Tribune on remittance rewards states that the government is moving forward with its plans to ‘gamify’ remittances by offering rewards for sending money to Pakistan. However, it adds that there is always the risk of the programme running a net loss.

An editorial in The News International examining the end of US occupation of Afghanistan and whether it has met its goals of wiping out terrorism from Afghanistan, argues that this is certainly not the case. The editorial states that one hope sanity prevails, and a political solution is found rather than a military one which has repeatedly failed in the past four decades. Another editorial in Dawn on Afghanistan post the withdrawal states that the challenge before the Taliban and their Panjshiri opponents is to reach a power-sharing agreement. It argues that should this fail, Afghanistan will again collapse into chaos.

An editorial in The Express Tribune on Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan states that the world must recognise Pakistan’s generosity, and its sacrifices in the war on terror, adding that it is time to listen to Islamabad and take a cue from it for furthering peace and development. Another opinion in Dawn argues that Pakistan not only requires a clear policy direction but also skilful diplomacy to deal with the challenges. Additionally, more importantly, much depends on how the country communicates the policy to the outside world, which currently has been a diplomatic disaster so far with confusing messaging.

 


"The war with the TTP has already cost the country about 80,000 lives and billions of dollars. And the last thing we need right now is to trigger another useless debate about the so-called legitimacy of one of the most deplorable terrorist groups in the world that not only made their point by killing helpless, unsuspecting civilians, but also boasted about their operation that killed hundreds of school children.”
-An editorial in The Daily Times
on ‘The TTP Problem’

 


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