Daily Briefs

Photo : Dawn

29 April 2020, Wednesday

Pakistan's Opposition warns against altering of 18th amendment

Appeal to the Supreme Court of Pakistan by Sindh Government; Pakistani Nationals stranded in foreign territories

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

Main Story
Pakistan's Opposition warns against altering of 18th amendment
By Lakshmi V Menon
On 28 April, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman issued a declaration by the opposition, warning the federal government against any attempts to alter the Constitution's 18th amendment (or clauses dealing with the National Finance Commission Award), saying it would sabotage national unity, cause a constitutional crisis, an unimaginable loss to the nation's integrity and undermine the federation. Opposition leaders called the timing of the divisive debate, amidst Pakistan's grapple against coronavirus, appalling. 
Maulana had previously consulted with opposition leaders, including PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif, to devise a joint strategy regarding the Centre's plan to review the amendment.

The amendment, passed by the National Assembly in 2010, transformed Pakistan from a semi-presidential to a parliamentary republic and enhanced provincial autonomy while dissolving the President's power to unilaterally declare emergency in any Province. The current debate is a result of the discrepancies between provinces and the Centre regarding the Covid-19 lockdown; in particular with Sindh, PTI-PPP strife. Any tampering would reduce provincial autonomy. Opposition fears the dwindling of provincial autonomy on various facets the NFC allows.
Main Story
Pakistan's OIC offensive against India
By Abigail Miriam Fernandes
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi wrote to the Organisation Islamic Cooperation (OIC) complaining of Islamophobia in India. He urged them to take a stand against the rise in state-sanctioned hate crimes and Islamophobia that has become a threat to Muslims in India as well as across the world. 

Qureshi hopes that the international community would take into consideration and pressurize India to reverse its actions. He also took to Twitter by posting a video that looked at the "campaign of Islamophobia". Further, he commented on anti- Muslim and anti-minority actions and agenda of the Modi government, stating that the RSS-BJP has taken on this agenda based on their extremist "Hindutva" ideology.

Qureshi is looking at the international community, including the OIC and other foreign ministers, to take a look at the situation in India. He further added that Pakistan will continue to extend full moral, political and diplomatic support to the people of Kashmir until their rights are guaranteed.

In Brief
by A Padmashree & P Harini Sha

Appeal to the Supreme Court of Pakistan by Sindh Government
The Sindh Government has made an appeal to the Supreme Court for an immediate hearing of Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, against the High Court's verdict. Earlier, the High Court has overturned the conviction of Sheikh, who was accused of the murder of American journalist, Daniel Pearl in 2002. (Dawn, 29 April 2020)
Supreme Court questions the status and right of people in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB)
The federal government was directed by the Supreme court to provide the status of citizens to People of GB, two decades ago. However, the people do not receive the protection as promised by the Pakistan constitution. It has raised the question on the status of people in the supreme court and believes the government is in the right position to handle. (Dawn, 29 April 2020)
Pakistani Nationals stranded in foreign territories
More than 90,000 Pakistanis are stuck on foreign territories. The Express Tribune released a document which says 90,394 are unable to return to the country due to coronavirus pandemic lockdown. A significant number of Pakistanis who were visiting the Middle East for various reasons like pilgrimage and jobs are stranded. 22 per cent of Pakistani nationals are laid-off workers and stuck away from home. (The Express Tribune, 29 April) 
Pakistan faces the first-ever contraction since 1951
On 28 April, the Pakistan Ministry of finance says that Pakistan's economy will face a negative growth rate of about 1.6 per cent in this fiscal year 2020. The Ministry confirms the forecast of the global financial institutions, World Bank and International Monetary Fund on recession in the post-pandemic period. Pakistan will have to confront a worst-case scenario of -1.57 of GDP and the first-ever contraction since 1951. (The Express Tribune, 29 April) 
Pakistan receives concessional loans to boost its economy
On Tuesday, the government of Pakistan signed a concessional loan worth 15 million dollars with the Asian Development Bank in the wake of coronavirus. Project Readiness Financing (PRF) will fund the urban development projects in the major cities of Punjab. The project will start their works in the seven districts in Punjab. The loan is considered to boost the foreign exchange reserve of Pakistan in the wake of economic slowdown due to coronavirus. (The Express Tribune, 29 April) 
On India
Pakistan alleges India for ceasefire violations
On 29 April, President Sardar Masood Khan and Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) claimed ceasefire violations by the Indian army from across the Line of Control (LoC). 

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