Daily Briefs

Photo : Dawn

02 May 2020, Saturday, Vol 1 No 2

In a federation, Centre-Province coordination is essential to deal with COVID. Pakistan lacks it

The Opposition demands a physical session of the National Assembly; PM Imran Khan should resign, says Bilawal; For the Centre, Sindh is blame gaming; Pakistani journalist living in exile found dead in Sweden;

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In a federation, Centre-Province coordination is essential to deal with an emergency. Pakistan lacks it
One of the reasons for Germany's success in addressing COVID-19 in Europe is its federal structure, and how the Centre made the best use of it. Second, the leadership of Angela Merkel, where she looked at the crisis beyond any partisan politics and has been unwavering in how she saw the crisis. Imran Khan lacks both.

As the Prime Minister, Imran Khan did not understand the seriousness of the crisis in the early stages and was wavering between lockdown and keeping the economy afloat. Whether to receive the Pakistani students stranded in China or take a decision on lockdown, other factors weighed more on his decision making.

Second, unlike Merkel, he lacks political maturity in dealing with the provinces. He finds Sindh as a challenge to fight COVID-19, than as a model, that he can employ in the other provinces, especially Punjab. Whatever may have been the drawbacks of the PPP government in Sindh, its Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah took his best foot forward in fighting the virus. He made Sindh an early bird; from testing to decisions, the provincial government was unwavering in terms of how it saw the virus and how it should be fought.

Unfortunately, the PTI government in Islamabad sees Karachi's success as a threat to its future in Sindh. Moreover, it wants the debate on Sindh's success to move away; the sudden focus on the 18th amendment by the PTI and the Corona Tiger Force – are strategies of a partisan approach. Perhaps, Imran Khan wants the PPP to fail in Sindh, than Pakistan winning the COVID-19.

in focus
By Lakshmi V Menon & Abigail Miriam Fernandez

Pakistani journalist living in exile found dead in Sweden
Sajid Hussein, a Pakistani journalist, belonging to Balochistan, living in exile in Sweden, was found dead on 23 April. He was the chief editor of an online magazine called the 'Balochistan Times' and was also doing part-time in Uppsala University when he was reported missing on 2 March.

On 1 May, Stockholm Police spokesperson said that while the autopsy had ousted some suspicion of his death being the result of a crime, it could not be completely ruled out. Reporters without Borders' (RSF) Swedish branch head said that the possibility of a crime connects the death to his work as a journalist. 

These developments surface in the wake of the release of Freedom Network's recent 'Annual Press Freedom Report' for Pakistan which painted a bleak picture and named Islamabad the most dangerous and riskiest region for journalists. It pointed out that the State's chokehold on press freedom, systematic curbing of political dissent, harassment and forcing of self-censorship were dwindling access to information and freedom of expression in Pakistan.

The disappearances of Baloch, coupled with the lack of Baloch media houses, remain a pressing problem that has caused Balochis to slowly become a minority in their own province and shaken the federation of Pakistan. 

PM Imran Khan should resign, says Bilawal; For the Centre, Sindh is blame gaming
On 1 May, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari demanded that PM Imran Khan should resign and be replaced if he is unwilling to work amid the rising issue of the coronavirus that the country is facing. He stated that the federal government has not extended support to the provincial government in their efforts to fight against the coronavirus. Further he said that the despite the Sindh government doing the most to tacking the coronavirus issue it has only come under criticism and did not receive the required support from the federal government. 

Bhutto added that the federal government failed to provide the basic demands of doctors, nurses, and other paramedical staff and the necessary equipment for their protection in their fight against the coronavirus. Further, he added that the federal government has disappointed the provinces as they alone could not have handled the current situation.
On the other hand, PTI's Minister for Information Senator Shibli Faraz stated in a press conference that Sindh was pushing its inability to handle the coronavirus situation upon the Centre.

Casualties of militant attacks have increased in April: Think Tank Report
Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS), an Islamabad-based think tank, said that although the number of militant attacks in April remained the same as that in March, the number of casualties of such attacks showed a six per cent increase in April; however, injuries decreased by 75 per cent. An increase was also recorded in the activities of Pakistani security forces against militants (16 actions).

Nine militant attacks were recorded during April; six security personnel were injured and 18 people killed — eight militants and 10 security personnel. Tribal districts of KP recorded the greatest number of violent militant attacks, killing eight security personnel and eight militants. 21 more militants were hunted down by the security forces. Other provinces that witnessed militant attacks were Balochistan (two) and Sindh (one); minor attacks with two casualties in Balochistan. A Chinese national was also abducted in Sindh. 

By A Padmashree & P Harini Sha

Sindh exceeds Punjab on virus-infected patients
The Special Assistant to the Prime Minister has reported that during the last 24 hours, the highest number of cases are in Sindh with 398 cases followed by 289 cases in Punjab. According to a Dawn report, "the increase in the daily tally of infections comes at a time when the federal government is going to further ease the lockdown and moving towards opening of more industries and businesses." (Dawn)

In KP, the death toll hikes in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP)
According to a Dawn report, the mortality rate for the province is 5.75 per cent; this is more than double the national rate, which is 2.2 per cent. As on 1 May, there have been 161 fatalities in the province, and the total number of patients tested positive is 2799. Peshawar alone has reported 96 deaths. According to a WHO note, KP has the lowest testing ratio amongst the four provinces.  (Dawn)

Islamabad and Rawalpindi sees the highest number of COVID19 patients in one day
The twin cities witnessed the highest number of COVID 19 cases in 24 hours since the outbreak. On 30 May, Rawalpindi reported 50 new patients and Islamabad Capital Territory reported 30 new patients and the total COVID 19 positive cases in the region is 874. (The News)

Around 12 million go jobless in Pakistan due to the pandemic
The Punjab Governor notified that more than 12 million people have lost their jobs in Pakistan alone. (The News)

The Federal government faces an obstacle in forming a unified policy
The lack of unity within the divisions of Pakistan has become a problem in framing and executing a protective policy to counter the virus spread. The information minister has stated, "The government wants that the sessions of both the National Assembly and the Senate are held, but it is vital to adopt precautionary measures". The government foresees to protect its economy while following smart lockdown. (Dawn)

The Opposition demands a physical session of the National Assembly 
The PML-N has asked to conduct a physical session, and the government has an obligation to respond on or before 6 May. The government, according to a news report, a trying to dissuade the PML-N from not pressing ahead. The PML-N made a similar demand earlier but withdrew the same, but now, the party says it is dangerous. The government wants to avoid the same and have a virtual session. (Dawn)

PTM leader attacked by unknown assailants in Waziristan
Arif Wazir, a leader of the Pakistan Tahaffur Movement (PTM), suffered severe injuries during an attack by assailants outside his residence in the South Waziristan tribal district on Friday. His family was killed in a clash with militants in the year 2007, and he was released from the prison on bail after one month ago. (Dawn) 

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Multiparty conference blames Imran Khan

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