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Daily Briefs


Photo : Dawn

8 May 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No 8

Imran Khan decides to ease the lockdown; but, the cases are increasing



Judicial Commission complains against the Ministry of Religious Affairs of non-cooperation, on the question of protecting the minorities; Violence continues in North Waziristan

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

Editorial
Imran Khan decides to ease the lockdown; but, the cases are increasing
The National Coordination Committee (NCC), finally met on Thursday (7 May 2020), and decided to ease the lockdown in a phased manner. Unfortunately, the decision comes at a crucial time, when the cases of COVID-19 are increasing along with the casualties.

According to a Dawn report, the count on the previous day has been the highest with 1300 cases with 48 deaths. This mean, Pakistan has decided to lift the lockdown, even before the COVID-19 curve could flatten.

What is the hurry? To start with, Imran Khan from the beginning was not in favour of imposing the lockdown. He even tried distance from the idea, calling it an elite one. Perhaps, like Trump and Bolsonaro in the US and Brazil, respectively, he does not understand the intensity of the problem. Alternatively, the economic and business interests weigh more than the safety of his people. The business community in Pakistan have been pressurising the government for an early lifting.

Besides the health problem, Imran Khan also has a political problem in taking the decision forward. The federating units, especially Sindh, is not in favour of the lifting. Balochistan has extended the lockdown. This would mean, the federal movement would be difficult.

Imran is also expecting that there would be a better discipline in the civil society in following the Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs). He even made a comparison with Germany, on how it has been a success story, because of strong discipline. Are the South Asian societies known for self-discipline and following SOPs?

This is a gamble, in the name protecting the weaker segments – including the daily wagers, labourers and small shop keepers. Let us hope Imran Khan has made the right decision.

Judicial Commission complains against the Ministry of Religious Affairs of non-cooperation, on the question of protecting the minorities
Following strong criticism from the human rights organisations in Pakistan against the nature of the proposed National Minorities Council, the Judicial Commission also has complained to the Supreme Court on the same issue.

For the Judicial Commission, the formation of the National Minorities Council based on a decision by the federal cabinet is against the directive given by the Supreme Court to make it as a Statutory body, through a Parliamentary resolution.

In 2014, Justice Tassaduq Hussain, the then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (2013-2014), delivered a landmark verdict on the bombing of a Church in Peshawar. One of the primary directives of the verdict was to form a National Council for Minorities, that would provide rights to the minorities, protected by the Constitution.

In 2019, under Justice Asif Saeed Khosa, who was also the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (2019), a Commission was formed to follow up with the government on the implementation of 2014 directive by the Supreme Court.

According to a Dawn report, the Commission formed by the Supreme Court submitted a draft bill in April 2020 after consultations to the Ministry of Religious Affairs. There was neither a response from the ministry to the Commission, nor a broader debate on the draft bill. Instead, it came up with its own decision to set up a Council for minorities based on a discussion in the federal cabinet.

According to the report submitted by the Commission to the Supreme Court, "The body proposed by the religious affairs ministry violates the commitment made before the apex court on Feb 19, 2020, as it does not have a statutory backing and its very existence and composition will be at the whims and mercy of the ministry." (Dawn)

A day before, human rights organisations have also made a similar complaint against the new minorities council, that does not have statutory support.
 


In Focus
By Abigail Miriam Fernandez
 
Violence continues in North Waziristan, as two soldiers killed
Two Pakistani soldiers have been killed in a rocket attack targeted at a security checkpoint near Mirali town in North Waziristan. 

This incident comes amid the rise of violence in Waziristan. Over the past few weeks, there have been several reports of targeted killings and attacks on civilians and security forces with numbers increasing each day. 

A few days earlier, a prominent PTM leader Arif Wazir was killed by unidentified gunmen. Civilians were also shot dead in Mirali and Tapi over the last few days. Dawn stated in one of its recent reports: "The rise in targeted killing of civilians and attacks on security forces in North Waziristan and South Waziristan districts have created fear among the local population." 
 


In Brief
By A Padmashree & P Harini Sha

INTERNAL
CPJ urges UN to act for the security of Journalists
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) along with 191 partner organisations called for the security of journalists amid COVID-19 spread, urging the United Nations secretary-general to act. The editorial in The News International expressed its discontent on the lack of freedom to press and the threat faced by the journalists in Pakistan. It points out the detention of the editor-in-chief of the Jang group in Pakistan and the political prisoners who are held for voicing out their opinions and the need for a free press in the time of world crisis. (The News International)  

Khalilzad to hold talks with Pakistan after meeting Taliban in Qatar
The United States special envoy on Afghan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad is scheduled to meet the officials in Pakistan. He would hold a meeting with the Taliban negotiators in Doha, and then the officials in New Delhi. (The News International)

32 million rupees worth properties of Taliban confiscated in Karachi
An anti-terrorism court has confiscated the properties worth 32 million rupees in Karachi. According to a news report, these properties belonged to the Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour. (Dawn)

ON INDIA
Foreign Office Spokesperson accuses India of "illegal actions" and "inhuman practice".
Aisha Farooqui, the foreign office spokesperson, in her weekly review has objected to the recent developments within Kashmir Valley. She said:  "While sensitising the international community about such a possibility, we have consistently urged India to refrain from any ill-considered and irresponsible move which could have serious implications for peace and security in the region," (Dawn)
 


Quote of the day

“We have to collectively discipline ourselves as a nation to save ourselves from the virus as well as earn livelihood for our families. There is a greater responsibility on citizens to strictly follow SOPs and precautionary measures”
- Imran Khan, on lifting the lockdown

“The body proposed by the religious affairs ministry violates the commitment made before the apex court on Feb 19, 2020, as it does not have a statutory backing and its very existence and composition will be at the whims and mercy of the ministry”
- Judicial Commission on the National Minorities Council announced by the Ministry of Religious Affairs

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