Daily Briefs

Photo : Dawn

$6bn IMF programme put on hold 

Sindh, Centre agree on conducting Covid-19 tests on bodies ; Cases peak in Pakistan 

PR Daily Brief | PR Team


By Lakshmi V Menon

$6bn programme put on hold 
After approving a $1.4bn fresh support via Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) to Pakistan, the IMF and Islamabad agreed to put on hold the $6bn Extended Fund Facility (EFF) and revise it post the coronavirus situation owing to deteriorating macroeconomic indicators. IMF estimated lifting of restrictions in FY21 and believes RFI would catalyse additional donor financing to offset the $2bn gap in FY20 and $1.6bn in FY21. EFF anticipated more than usual uncertainty due to Covid-19. IMF warned against policy slippages, resistance to reforms, vested interest groups and weak implementation capacity. (Dawn, 17 April 2020)
Sindh, Centre agree on conducting Covid-19 tests on bodies 
SAPM on National Health Services Dr. Zafar Mirza reported on 17 April that despite differences regarding degree of lockdown and measures to contain covid-19, the federal government and Sindh’s government have reached a consensus regarding dead bodies (being brought to ascertain cause of death) undergoing Covid-19 tests. He also said Pakistan’s testing capacity was increasing. (Dawn, 17 April 2020)
Cases peak in Pakistan 
Pakistan’s confirmed coronavirus cases peaked to 7,404 on 17 April, and the total death toll to 138. Sindh reported 2,217 cases, Punjab 3,391, KP 993, Balochistan 351, Kashmir territories under Pakistan reported 298 and Islamabad Capital Territory 154. Of the confirmed cases, 1,352 are Tablighi Jamaat members, 701 pilgrims returning from Iran, 91 prisoners and 1,247 citizens with travel history or those who fell victim to local transmission. (The News International, 17 April 2020)
Indian Muslims marginalized 
On 17 April, The News International said CAA, “the legislation termed divisive, discriminatory and against Muslims as well as the country’s secular constitution” is eclipsing the coronavirus situation and the dwindling economy of the “so-called secular country”. The newspaper argued CAA, RSS goons and Indian home ministry has claimed 60 lives in New Delhi (mostly of Muslims) and burnt down several mosques through a state-sanctioned campaign to make over 200 million Muslims stateless; thus, revealing “the real face of India”. The News also said Hindutva (with CAA and NRC) was enveloping the eroding secular nature of India against which Indian Muslims protested in December 2019. (The News International, 17 April 2020)
Indian Media’s anti-Muslim propaganda 
Referring to the controversies around the Tablighi Jamaat meet in Delhi, Aijaz Zaka Syed accused the Modi government of misusing the Covid-19 pandemic to build a Hindu vote bank by weaponizing hate and demonizing Muslims in the “undeclared war on the country’s largest minority” and the Indian media of conducting “frenzied assaults” on Muslims and absurdly blaming Muslims for the pandemic’s spread in India. He argued that the ijtama was already underway when India announced its nationwide lockdown. Aijaz warned against terming Muslims as ‘corona-carriers’, hatred, a Muslim genocide and a Rwandan situation in India. (The News International, 17 April 2020)
Pakistan accuses India of Blaming Muslims for pandemic’s spread 
Maulana Muhammad Saad Khandalvi, head of the Delhi-based Tableeghi Jamaat Markaz, booked for manslaughter for holding a gathering in March 2020. Authorities have mapped the peaking of Covid-19 cases in India to the Tableeghi meet. Pakistan calls India’s move, an act of bigotry and blames the “Hindu supremacist outlook” of Modi regime for systematic discrimination against Muslims. The editorial says “the Indian government must put humanity first”. (Dawn, 17 April 2020)
India’s terror allegation rejected: FO 
On 17 April, FO spokesperson Aisha Farooqui rejected Indian Army Chief Gen M.M. Naravane’s terror allegation calling it a “diversionary gimmick of the rights abuser”, that was “irresponsible, spurious and totally false”. She accused India of trying to divert domestic and global attention from human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir, “post August 5, 2019”. The General had earlier on the same day accused Pakistan of “exporting terror” even during the Covid-19 situation. (Dawn, 17 April 2020)

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