Daily Briefs

Photo : Dawn

11 March 2020, Wednesday

Pashtun Jirga demands a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Pakistan

China’s Ambassador to Pakistan says China does not object to foreign investment in Pakistan’s SEZ:

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

Main Story

Pashtun Jirga demands a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Pakistan
Concerned over disappearances of Pashtuns, and consider the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mineral Act as “an organized conspiracy” to usurp the resources of Pashtuns.”

D. Suba Chandran

A Pashtun Jirga held at the Bacha Khan Markaz in Peshawar issued a 21 point declaration on 10 March 2020. The jirga included mainstream leaders belonging to different political parties and movements met at the headquarters of the Awami National Party (ANP). 

The jirga was led by Asfandyar Wali Khan of the ANP, but included many others. The list, according to the News, included the following: Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) head Sirajul Haq, Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) chief Manzoor Pashteen, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP)’s Senator Usman Kakar, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F)’s Maulana Attaur Rehman, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Sami (JUI-S) leader Hamidul Haq and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)’s Amir Muqam. (The News, 11 March 2020)

The Jirga focussed on two main areas: the situation in Afghanistan and the problems of Pashtuns in Pakistan.

According to the News, the Jirga declaration included the following:

On Afghanistan, it wants an end to foreign interference in Afghanistan, and linked the peace in Pakistan to “complete peace in Afghanistan”

On militancy, the jirga wants to prevent the resurgence of militancy in the Pashtun areas, and wants action against all private militias.

On rehabilitations, the jirga wants the state to take responsibility and compensate the affected.

On the enforced disappearances, the jirga wants no state institutions should be allowed to make the people disappear in Pashtun areas.

On demining, the jirga wants the State to fulfil its assurance in war affected areas.

On resources, the jirga wants the federation to acknowledge the rights of provinces, release the net hydel profit details and pay the outstanding amount. It also wants the federal government to accept provincial rights over the water resources and to pay the money it owes. On the same subject of resources, the jirga rejected the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mineral Act. “An organized conspiracy has been ongoing to usurp the resources of Pashtuns,” it said. Demanding halt to these conspiracies, it asked the government to restore the Pashtuns confidence on the federation as independent citizens.

On the Census conducted in 2017, the jirga consider it as discriminatory against Pashtuns and have demanded fresh census in Pashtun areas in Pakistan. 

On the Pashtun students, the jirga condemned racial discrimination in Pakistan and the Pashtun profiling by mainstream media. The jirga demanded: “The mainstream media should give similar space to Pashtu language, culture and history as is given to Punjab.” 

On anti-militancy operation, the jirga an investigation “of the alleged war crimes committed against citizens in Pashtun areas” and wants the constitution of a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” to probe the above crimes.

On Afghanistan, the jirga demanded the opening of all trade routes.

On the CPEC, the jirga said that the ownership of Baloch and share of Pashtuns had not been decided. The jirga also wants better representation for Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the CPEC Joint Coordination Committee. It also wants the completion of the complete package of the CPEC’s western route.


In brief

Workers Remittances during Jul 2019-Feb 2020 is around USD 15,000 million: State Bank of Pakistan

D. Suba Chandran

According to the latest press release (10 March 2020) of the State Bank of Pakistan, as Workers' remittances, Pakistan received around USD 15,100 million during July 2019 0 February 2020. According to the State Bank, this amounts to a 5.4 per cent increase during the same period in the previous fiscal year. During Jul 2018-Feb 2019, Pakistan received around USD 14,300 million. http://www.sbp.org.pk/press/2020/Pr-10-Mar-20.pdf

During February 2020, Pakistan has received slightly more than USD 1.800 million as remittances from the workers. In January 2020, the remittances was more, slightly above USD 1,900 million.

Saudi Arabia (USD 421 million) remains the largest source of remittances for Pakistan, followed by the UAE (USD 387.1 million), the US (USD 333.5 million) and the UK (USD 253.5million). There has been a decrease in the remittances from all these four sources during February 2020, when compared to January 2020.

In brief

China does not object to foreign investment in Pakistan’s SEZ: China’s Ambassador to Pakistan

Lakshmi V Menon

On 11 March 2020, The News International reported that Yao Jing, China’s Ambassador to Pakistan, said China will not object to foreign investment in Pakistan’s Special Economic Zones (SEZs), during the ‘Dialogue on Industrial Cooperation under CPEC and SEZs Framework’, on 10 March, convened by the Industrial Cooperation’s Project Management Unit, under the Board of Investment. The Ambassador said “the private businesses have come into joint ventures of tyres, manufacturing of buses and trucks and textiles in the last six months. More Chinese investors are interested to come and invest in the SEZs. We welcome the participation of other countries into SEZs under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor.” 

Ambassador Jing while appreciating PM Imran Khan’s vision and directive, reiterated CPEC’s aim – mutual benefit for Pakistan and China. He mentioned that CPEC’s current phase aimed at raising living standards, increasing Pakistan’s skilled labor force and concentrated on social protection, poverty alleviation, and cooperation in the fields of industry, economy, agriculture, and science and technology. The second phase would involve local communities, private sectors and societies. 

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