Daily Briefs

Photo : Dawn

6 March 2020, Thursday 

Coronavirus in Pakistan: Sixth case reported; Taftan border shut over coronavirus fears

PPP Chairman supports the Aurat March; China rejects the Indian claims on  Karachi-bound Chinese vessel carries military supplies; Supreme Court expresses concern over civilian trial by military court;

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

Main Story

Coronavirus in Pakistan: Sixth case reported; Taftan border shut over coronavirus fears
Abigail Miriam Fernandez

Pakistan’s sixth case of coronavirus (COVID-19) was reported in Karachi on 5 March 2020. The Sindh health department stated that the 69-year-old patient has travelled to Iran and returned to the country in February. According to the Dawn, Meeran Yousuf, the media coordinator to the health minister stated that the patient was being monitored by the health department and was tested positive when the symptoms showed up. There are now three cases of coronavirus in Sindh (DAWN, 6 March 2020). The case was also confirming by the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza, who in a tweet stated that the sixth case of coronavirus in Pakistan has been confirmed.

Meanwhile, a high-level meeting was held in Islam¬abad to assess the situation regarding coronavirus in the country. Executive Dir¬ector (ED) of the National Institute of Health (NIH) Major General Dr Aamir Ikram told Dawn stated that the meeting was attended by the authorities concern¬ed and Chief Minister of Sindh of Syed Murad Ali Shah who participated via video link. It was decided that all possible measures would be taken to prevent the spread of the disease and raise public awareness so that the people could be safe from the virus.

A meeting of the Emergency Core Group also met the same day to review the coronavirus preparedness and response measures.
With the Taftan border crossing being closed temporarily over concerns of coronavirus, more than 1,400 trucks loaded with goods are stranded at the border. Pakistan closed its border with Iran on 23 February 2020 amid the rising number of coronavirus cases and related deaths. Balochistan, which shares a 959km border with Iran, has declared an emergency in the province to contain the virus. According to the Dawn, Tehran has requested Islamabad to allow trucks to enter into the country. The trucks stranded at the border are loaded with petroleum products especially liquefied petroleum gas, scrap, and chemicals. The goods are not the problem, as they do not carry the virus but the issue lies with drivers and helpers of the trucks. The government looking at various options to check truck drivers at quarantine places on the border. The closure of borders with Iran is likely to affect many aspects of trade between Pakistan and Iran (DAWN, 6 March 2020).


In Brief

PPP Chairman supports the Aurat March
Abigail Miriam Fernandez

Addressing a Punjab PPP women convention in Lahore on 5 March 2020, chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party Bilawal Bhutto promised that the PPP would extend their full support for the Aurat March and further stated that no maulana, politician and media persons can stop the women from holding the march. According to the News, Bhutto stated the PPP is standing together with the women of Pakistan demanding that the government provides protection to each and every march. Further, he added that people who are threatening women should be arrested, highlighting the fact that these women are not fighting for their right rather they are seeking their constitutional rights. (The News, 6 March 2020)

Further, he stressed the importance of women in society, and how Pakistan is not for the conservatives. He also mentioned other eminent Pakistani women such as Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto as he discussed the women’s rights. He also stated that “Islam gives rights to women and Pakistan People’s Party is the most prominent party with regards to women's rights. Our 1973 Constitution gives equal rights to the women of Pakistan. We want equal rights for labourers, growers and, women, adding the PPP has always raised voice for women's rights.” (The News)

In Brief
China rejects the Indian claims on  Karachi-bound Chinese vessel carries military supplies
Lakshmi V Menon
As per Dawn’s report on March 6 2020, Lijian Zhao, China foreign ministry spokesman on March 5 in Beijing, rejected India’s claim that the detained Karachi-bound Chinese merchant vessel MV Da Cui Yun, carried consignment such as “material for ballistic missiles” that infringed international laws of “non-proliferation and export control”. 
He stressed that China abided by global norms and regulations after explaining there was no concealment and that the ship operators had declared the cargo to Indian officials. India’s DRDO, authorized for military development and research had inspected the suspected consignment.
On February 3 2020, alleging that the Karachi-bound vessel carried a mis-declared autoclave capable of being utilized for missile manufacture, India detained the ship at Deenayal port (former Kandla port).
Reportedly, Indian allegation was based on intelligence provided by a third-party/nation.

In Brief
Supreme Court expresses concern over civilian trial by military court
Lakshmi V Menon
On March 4 2020, during an appeal by the federal court against Lahore High Court Rawalpindi bench’s January 9 order that declared retired Lt Col. Inamul Rahiem’s detention unlawful (based on a habeas corpus petition filed by his son Husnain Inam), the Supreme Court expressed doubt over the trial of a civil offence by a military court and asked the government to assist it on corresponding legal provisions. (Dawn, March 6 2020)
SC doubted how the retired colonel could be tried under the 1923 Official Secret Act. Additional Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti was asked to assist the court on Pakistan Army Act’s sections 94 and 95 and the Criminal Procedure Code’s Section 549 by the Supreme Court bench comprising Justice Muneeb Akhtar and Justice Mushir Alam. Bhatti explained that although released, the investigation was ongoing and the colonel was still under scrutiny. 
On December 17 2019, Retd Col Inam, an ex-lawyer in the military’s Judge Advocate General branch was picked up from his Rawalpindi residence. On January 22, the federal government announced the conditional release of the lawyer.
Further proceedings have been adjourned by the court for three weeks. Meanwhile, Inam’s son pleaded the rejection of government’s appeal against the January 9 order by LHC.

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