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Daily Briefs


Photo : Dawn

25 March 2020, Sunday 

Multiparty conference blames Imran Khan



Pakistan seeks diaspora’s aid on Coronavirus; allocates Rs 1.13tr ; and wants clarity on Saarc’s coronavirus fund

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

Multiparty conference blames Imran Khan

Lakshmi V Menon

On 24 March 2020, a multiparty conference, co-hosted through video-link by National Assembly opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif and Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, issued a joint declaration calling upon PM Imran Khan to act as the Prime minister of Pakistan instead of just the head of Islamabad Capital Territory and announce a complete national lockdown to control the highly proliferous coronavirus. (Dawn, 25 March 2020)

The conference demanded that PM Imran Khan call for daily meetings of Council of Common Interests (CCI) to update all federating units; endorsed Shahbaz Sharif’s and PML-N’s national corona strategy reconnections (appreciated by many political leaders); and restoration of Punjab’s local governments to enhance community related effectiveness.  
The committee suggested providing stimulus package to requiring industries while calling for quick steps to aid small businesses and daily wagers. They further demanded that in the future when a vaccine is made available, it must be directly provided to the provinces. Taftan quarantine facility, which has become a point of contagion, requires immediate revamping, they added. 

The attendees agreed social distancing and national lockdown were critical and stated that the Centre should have already commenced a National Action Plan involving all stakeholders; suggested the use of all TV channels and ulema for changing social attitudes regarding public safety and social responsibility; called for a National Task Force with representatives from across all parties; demanded immediate economic management, streamlining of volunteer and relief efforts, health sector actions and formation of multi-level crisis management committees. The Opposition condemned the Center’s leadership deficiency. 

Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah briefed the meeting on the necessary steps to be undertaken to fight COVID-19. The participants appreciated Sindh government and CM’s efforts. All attendees endorsed Sindh’s charter of demands: immediate national lockdown with expanding medical capacity for beds, personal protective equipment (PPE) for health professionals, ventilators, testing, ICUs and isolation centres; immediate identification and awarding of Rs.15,000 to teach household of the poorest classes (Sindh has identified 40 per cent); allowing provinces to directly engage with international donor agencies; bearing of gas bills upto Rs.2000 and electricity bills upto Rs.5000 by the State; slashing of oil prices and interest rates to promote economic activity; and continued payment of daily wagers who are unable to come to work by companies. 

Participants included Hasil Bizenjo (National Party), Sirajul Haq (Jamaat-i-Islami), Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi (Pakistan Muslim League-Q), Akhtar Mengal (BNP), Abdul Ghafoor Haidery (Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl), Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and Faisal Sabzwari (Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan), Aftab Sherpao (Qaumi Watan Party), Mian Iftikhar (Awami National Party), Senator Usman Khan Kakar (Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party), PPP’s Farhatullah Babar, PML-N’s Marriyum Aurangzeb and Ayaz Sadiq, Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah, Sherry Rehman, and Raja Parvez Ashraf.

 

In brief

Coronavirus: Pakistan seeks diaspora’s aid

Lakshmi V Menon

Pakistan’s federal government is seeking aid from its diaspora across the globe to battle the proliferation of the novel coronavirus. It is normal for governments to seek help from diasporas in times of need. It is often monetary aid. In this case, Pakistan’s federal government has sought medical equipment, or details of its suppliers or manufacturers via diplomatic missions abroad. 

The News International (25 March 2020) was informed by Diplomats that the Foreign office had requested Pakistani communities abroad to support the country by providing medical stocks, ventilators, masks, associated supplies and items. 

As per reports, on receiving the letter from the federal government, Pakistan Ambassador to the UAE Ghulam Dastagir requested affluent Pakistanis in the emirates to extend their support. Generally, home country’s governments contact the mission’s commercial division. However, since the corresponding section in Abu Dhabi’s Pakistani Embassy had closed down, that could not be done.

Due to the high demand of these items, their arrangement could prove challenging. One Pakistani community responded saying that the quick allocation of medical equipment could not be done. Nevertheless, financial relief could be extended.

 

In brief

Coronavirus: Pakistan allocates Rs1.13tr 

Lakshmi V Menon
 

On 24 March 2020, PM Imran Khan announced a Rs1.13 trillion multi-sectoral stimulus and rescue package to help Pakistan absorb detrimental effects of coronavirus. He said the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) was asked for deferred repayment of bank loans and would reduce the key policy rates; SBP slashed the rates by 150 basis points to 11 per cent immediately after the PM’s televised session. (Dawn, 25 March 2020)

As per reports, Rs200bn has been allocated for labour force; Rs150bn to support vulnerable households by increasing stipend to Rs.3000 from Rs.2000; Rs100bn for refunds to export sector to keep the cash flow to labour force going; Rs100bn for future emergencies; another Rs100bn for deferred loan repayment of agricultural sector and SMEs; Rs50bn to the Utility Stores Corporation to keep rates affordable to the middle class; another Rs50bn to support and expand medical staff; Rs25bn to National Disaster Management Authority to expand rescue and medical equipment; and prices of all petroleum products have been slashed by Rs15. 

PM said that panagahs (shelter homes) were being expanded to accommodate the weak and unemployed. He added that a separate package for construction industry would be soon announced.  Addressing concerns regarding the economic state and peak in interest rates, the Premiere said there were no straight forward answers. Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, PM’s economic adviser said the package aimed to pacify coronavirus related problems and economic issues despite limited resources. He reminded the critics that the federal government had paid Rs5tr loans in the duration of two years and only had Rs1.6tr out of the Rs4tr. Considering the artificially controlled exchange rate, swelling current account deficit and falling exports the ruling PTI government inherited over 19 months ago, mobilization of resources remains a challenge.

 

In brief

Pakistan wants clarity regarding Saarc’s coronavirus fund

Lakshmi V Menon

Pakistan has sought clarity over the utilization of the Covid-19 Emergency Fund of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation’s (Saarc) announced by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the March 15 video conference of Saarc leaders on COVID-19. It was discussed during the telephonic conversation between Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and his Bangladeshi counterpart A. K. Abdul Momen. 

Although, the emergency fund is aimed to assist regional states to deal with coronavirus, nothing regarding its administration and modalities were mentioned. All states in Saarc except Pakistan had announced their pledges to the fund. India had pledged $10 million for it, Sri Lanka’s $5m, Bangladesh’s $1.5m, Afghanistan’s and Nepal’s $1m each, the Maldives’ $0.2m and Bhutan’s $0.1m. Cumulatively it tallies to $18.8 million. Pakistan, also supposed to contribute, had not. However, it is feared that considering the current scenario, the pledges by countries would not materialize.  

Qureshi also expressed Pakistan’s interest in hosting Saarc health ministers’ conference on Covid-19 to enhance regional cooperation. FM Momen expressed readiness to participate in the video conference. Mr Qureshi has had bilateral dialogues with his counterparts in Sri Lanka, Nepal and Maldives; all Saarc states except Afghanistan and India.

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French embassy asks its citizens to leave Pakistan

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Law enforcement agencies begin clearing TLP protesters

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Yousuf Gilani declared as opposition leader in the Senate

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17 March 2021, Wednesday I Vol 2, No.76

PDM postpones long march amid differences over mass resignation

16 March 2021, Tuesday I Vol 2, No.75

Government demands resignation of CEC and ECP members

15 March 2021, Monday I Vol 2, No.74

Government offers to hold talks on electoral reforms

13 March 2021, Saturday I Vol 2, No.72

PDM to challenge election of Sanjrani as Senate chairman

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09 March 2021, Tuesday I Vol 2, No.68

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24 February 2021, Wednesday I Vol 2, No.55

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SC pushes for proportional representation in Senate

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Navies conducts counter-terrorism demonstrations at Aman-2021

13 February 2021, Saturday I Vol 2, No.44

FO claims Pakistan made progress on remaining FATF items

12 February 2021, Friday I Vol 2, No.43

Justice Isa should not hear cases involving PM, says the CJP

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Government approves 25 per cent increase in employees’ salary

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08 October 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.153

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07 October 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.152

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A five-year development programme for the Gilgit- Baltistan

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29 September 2020, Tuesday I Vol 1, No.145

Shahbaz Sharif's arrest causes an upheavel:

28 September 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.144

Abdullah Abdullah in Pakistan for a three days visit:

25 September 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.142

The Fallouts of the All Parties Conference:

24 September 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.141

Establishment and the PML-N:

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22 September 2020, Tuesday I Vol 1, No.139

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21 September 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.138

Nawaz Sharif goes on an offensive and talks about

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Kashmir will be the focus of PM Khan’s UN address, says FO

18 September 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.136

Pakistan’s Persisting Polio Problem:

17 September 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.135

The need for a twin strategy in south Balochistan:

16 September 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.134

A non-bailable arrest warrant for Nawaz Sharif:

15 September 2020, Tuesday I Vol 1, No.133

The CPEC march continues:

11 September 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.130

Pakistan and the SCO

10 September 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.129

Accountability Court declares Nawaz Sharif as an absconder

09 September 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.128

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07 September 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.126

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Kashmir in the UN and Pakistan

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An article speculates the Opposition’s options and strategies

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Pakistan's new Map of J&K

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29 July 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.92

Opposition parties attempt to come together

28 July 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No.91

Pakistan's internal debate on Kulbhushan Jadav

26 July 2020, Sunday I Vol 1, No.89

Pakistan This Week

23 July 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.86

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19 July 2020, Sunday I Vol 1, No.82

Pakistan This Week

17 July 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.80

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16 July 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.79

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15 July 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.78

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11 July 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No.74

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08 July 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.71

Return of Lal Masjid Maulana

07 July 2020, Tuesday , Vol 1, No.70

Female Literacy in the Pashtun tribal regions

06 July 2020, Monday, Vol 1, No.69

The problem with Pakistan Railways

02 July 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.65

The Curious case of "Minus One" Formula in Pakistan

30 June 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No.63

BLA claims the attack on Stock Exchange in Karachi

28 June 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No.61

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24 June 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.57

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23 June 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No.56

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PTI tries to get the BNP back into coalition,

18 June 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.51

Baloch partner of the PTI government leaves the coalition

15 June 2020, Monday, Vol 1, No.48

The PTI government invites the PTM for a dialogue

14 June 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No.47

Pakistan This Week

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Pakistan Budget 2020-21: The First Cut

12 June 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.44, Special Brief

Pakistan’s Economic Survey 2019-20

07 June 2020, Sunday I Vol 1, No.38

Pakistan This Week

05 June 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.36

Highest COVID Spike

04 June 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.35

Imran receives a briefing at the ISI HQ

03 June 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.34

Covid cases spike and Lahore becomes the epicentre

01 June 2020, Monday, Vol 1, No.32

Drivers of Karachi Violence

30 May 2020, Saturday, No 1, No.30

Gwadar port ready for the Afghan goods

29 May 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.29

Pakistan remembers 28 May Nuclear Tests

24 May 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No.24

Pakistan This Week

22 May 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.22

The missing girls of Pakistan

21 May 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.21

Locusts threaten Pakistan's food security

17 May 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No 17

Pakistan This Week

15 May 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.15

Disregard for SOPs peaks Covid-19 cases

14 May 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No 14

Violence in Afghanistan and the Media in Pakistan

12 May 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No 12

Smart Lockdown, SOPs vs Social Realities

9 May 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No 9

Record COVID-19 spike in a single day;