Daily Briefs

Photo : Dawn

06 May 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No 6

Pakistan to constitute the National Minorities Commission. Qadianis won't be a part of it.

Daniel Pearl's parents make an appeal; Exports dropped 54 per cent due to lack of global demand

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

Pakistan to constitute the National Minorities Commission. Qadianis won't be a part of it.
The federal cabinet, according to the Minister for Religious Affairs has decided to finally constitute the National Commission for Minorities. While the other minorities of Pakistan would be a part of it, the Qadianis would not be a part of it. The previous Commission had expired.

According to the News International, the Commission would have a Chairman and two Maulanas as unofficial members. There would also be members of Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Parsi and Kalash communities. The official members of the Commission would include the Chairman Council of the Islamic Ideology (CII) and one representative each from the Ministries of the interior, law and justice, human rights and federal education. The Federal Secretary of Religious Affairs will remain its ex-officio member. (The News International).

During the recent weeks, news reports were hinting that the Qadianis would be a part of the NMC. News reports even suggested that the Prime Minister was in favour of the inclusion. But, the latest report repudiates that. There has been strong opposition to the idea; Chaudhry Shujaat, the President of his faction of the PML, for example, was reported to have stated: "The opening of Pandora's box of Qadianis is beyond understanding. Neither the Qadianis accept themselves non-Muslim minority nor do they accept the constitution of Pakistan. Under these circumstances, the favouring of Qadianis is a joke with Pakistan, which is unacceptable." The Qadianis were constitutionally declared as non-Muslims in 1974.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has repeatedly been emphasizing on the need to have an effective minorities commission. The Supreme Court of Pakistan in June 2014 passed a landmark judgement to protect the rights of the minorities. In October 2019, the Supreme Court revisited the issue in another case and decided to constitute a special bench to implement its 2014 judgement.

While the government's move to constitute the Commission on minorities should be welcome, its exclusion of the Ahmadiyya community shows the deep fault lines with the society. It is just not the State, but also the society, that should take the blame for the exclusion. The former is attempting to appease the latter; and in the case of Qadiyanis, the latter act as the final arbiter.

In Focus
By Lakshmi V Menon & Abigail Miriam Fernandez

Daniel Pearl's parents make an appeal
On 6 May, Ruth and Judea Pearl, parents of the late Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, appealed to the masses in Pakistan through a touching note published by Dawn. 
In 2002, Omar Sheikh, Fahad Nasim, Syed Salman Saqib, and Sheikh Muhammad Adil kidnapped Daniel Pearl in Karachi, demanded ransoms from the US such as F-16 fighter jets and the freeing of Pakistani prisoners from Guantanamo Bay; days later Daniel was brutally murdered. The four perpetrators were convicted in 2002. However, in 2020, the Sindh High Court overturned the ruling and suggested they must be let free. Daniel's parents filed an appeal to the Supreme Court of Pakistan against the SHC's ruling, demanding the criminals must remain behind bars.

Daniel's parents say the SHC's verdict sends the wrong message to potential terrorists and violent extremists and jeopardizes the safety of citizens and journalists in Pakistan, and call for action against injustice. They remind Pakistan of the global attention the case has garnered and warn the State's adjudication and Pakistani courts' dispensing of justice must be done cautiously.

Exports dropped 54 per cent due to lack of global demand.
There has been a steep fall in exports in the month of April. Data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics shows how disruptive Pakistan's international trade has been due to the global economic slowdown. The decline in the value of imp­orted goods in April is 34.49pc resulting in narrowing the trade deficit.

This decline has been caused by several other factors such as the closure of shipping lines, due to which there was a 27 per cent drop in the arrival of export cargo containers; some of which are currently confined at Karachi ports because of the restrictions in shipping. Further, exports through land have also not been functioning due to borders been closed thus, resulting in the decline of demand for export.

The situation has left exporters with a multitude of problems due to delayed payments and halt of shipments to Europe, the US, China, the EU, UAE, and Saudi Arabi. Further, exports to Iran and Afghanistan were restricted due to the lockdown.

In Brief
By A Padmashree & P Harini Sha

Cabinet decides to relax lockdown restrictions.
The federal government approved to relax restrictions in Pakistan after 9 May. This move will allow daily workers to earn under controlled measures amidst the virus outbreak. (Dawn)

Pakistan ranks 29th in the list with 500 death cases.
Pakistan ranks 29th now with total deaths of 500. The Executive Director of the National Institute of Health has estimated the total cases to go up to 150,000 in May. He further stated that the curve is expected to flatten after 30 May (Dawn)

Pakistan is facing challenge as workers return from the Gulf countries. 
Pakistanis are returning from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with a high rate of COVID-19 cases. Around 1.5 million Pakistanis are working in UAE and most of them are low-wage workers living in crowded housing have returned home through special arrangements. (Dawn)  

Opinion: "The federal government is trying to score political points amid crisis"
Opinion in The Express Tribune says the conflict between the center and the province has called for intervention from the Supreme Court who is likely to pass an interim order to the leadership which is incapable of passing a uniform law to the thriving virus. (The Express Tribune) 

Opinion: "Our muddled policy may cause greater damage"
An opinion in Dawn accounted that Pakistan's leadership looks at the lockdown as a 'cowardly' action that has brought disarray in policies to fight the pandemic which has driven misery to common people. The opinion is critical of the government's decisions to open up when it has not taken enough measures to contain the deadly virus. The article blames the federal leadership's whimsical approach as the biggest impediment in the measure to implement policies. (Dawn)  

Balochistan reports highest Covid-19 cases in one day.
While Pakistan is planning to relax the lockdown, Balochistan reports the highest number of COVID-19 cases in 24 hours. On 5 May, the province reported 174 new coronavirus cases in a day which increased the total cases to reach 1,495. The Health Director of Balochistan reported that 89 per cent of COVID 19 cases are locally transmitted. (Dawn)

Lockdown extended further for two weeks in Balochistan.
The government on Tuesday has decided to extend the lockdown by an additional two weeks amongst the inner and outer city areas till 19 May. It was also decided to continue under Section 144 for Preventive measures. PPP chairman has stated that "only effective defence against coronavirus has proven to be isolation, social distancing and lockdown". (Dawn)

National Assembly sessions resume from 11 May.
The main opposition party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) withdrew their requisition after the government announced its commencement of the National Assembly from 11 May. The government has also assured that no legislation would pass in the meantime that would favor the ruling party. (Dawn)  

Quote of the day

" Our intention is very simple: to make certain that the four men responsible for our son’s murder remain behind bars so that all Pakistanis and journalists are safe. In losing Daniel, we found a new purpose for our lives. In our long personal journey of 18 years, we have built bridges with Pakistan."
Parents of Daniel Pearl (Dawn)

"Today the religious minister has come up with a summary that suggested non-inclusion of any Ahmadi in the commission because they do not fall in the definition of minorities"
- Shibli Faraz, Minister for Information and Broadcasting (Dawn)


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