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Daily Briefs


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16 May 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No.16

Imran says Pakistan will have to learn to live with the virus



The National Accountability Bureau gets ready with new cases against the Sharifs; Pervez Hoodbhoy on Science, Religion and COVID-19 in Pakistan

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Focus
By Lakshmi V Menon & Abigail Miriam Fernandez

Nation will have to learn to live with the virus: PM Imran Khan 
At a press briefing on 15 May, Imran Khan stated that the country could not afford an indefinite lockdown and the nation would have to learn to live with the pandemic. He also added that it was necessary to lift the lockdown in order to employ the 25 million people who had lost jobs due to lockdown. He also stated that the government would start another cash distribution program, an eight billion dollars stimulus package from 18 May for those daily wage earners who had lost their jobs because of the lockdown.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health stated that Pakistan would soon start the production of antiviral Remdesivir which has shown promising results in treating Covid-19 and made it mandatory for people to wear masks in public places. However, the recent statements and initiatives by the PM seem shortsighted as the decisions made seem hasty and a clear message on the threat of the virus is still missing. ("PM urges nation to learn to live with pandemic," Dawn, 16 May 29020) 

The threat of the coronavirus does not seem to faze the public, many resumed to commercial activities as usual with the lockdown being lifted. SOPs put in place were violated as people crammed the streets taking little or no precautionary measures at all. As a result, provincial governments were forced to take action by shutting down shopping centers despite repeated warnings by the authorities.  ("Violating SOPs," Dawn, 16 May 2020)

The National Accountability Bureau gets ready with new cases against the Sharifs
NAB Lahore has prepared a fresh corruption reference involving 7 billion rupees against Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz regarding assets beyond means, expansion of their Jati Umra residence by "illegally acquiring" hectares of land in Raiwind, money laundering and the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case. The reference sent to NAB chairman for approval, identifies Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz as prime suspects and 16 other Sharif family members, including Sharif brothers' mother Shamim Begum, as suspects and has "100 prosecution witnesses and four approvers" (against the Sharif family). 

Also, the NAB Lahore has prepared a reference against Jang Group Editor-in-Chief Mir Shakilur Rehman, Nawaz Sharif and two others in the 54-kanal land case, that were sent to the chairman are likely to be approved next week.

In November 2019, Nawaz Sharif had secured bail in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills and Al-Azizia Mills corruption case, for which he was serving a seven-year sentence; and Maryam Nawaz secured bail in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills case. Ever since, Nawaz has been in London for medical treatment. Shahbaz Sharif has also received a summons from NAB. ("NAB prepares another case against Sharifs, Maryam", Dawn, 16 May 2020)

Pervez Hoodbhoy on Science, Religion and COVID-19 in Pakistan
The science-religion-coronavirus nexus will prove costly for Pakistan's Covid-19 battle. Hoodbhoy presents four major arguments in his analysis in Dawn. ("Some take science seriously", Dawn, 16 May 2020)

First, he says while China has "flattened the curve" and is repositioning itself as a global leader battling the pandemic, Donald Trump's US and Imran Khan's Pakistan are scorning science, rebuking epidemiologists and surrendering to religious forces; thus, jeopardizing the lives of millions of Americans and Pakistanis. Trump and Imran raise significant questions regarding the priorities and approach of the leadership and the people in tackling the pandemic.

Second, Hoodbhoy blames Pakistan's Faith-Unity-Discipline national slogan. Imran reverentially listening to Maulana Tariq Jamil seeking forgiveness for scantily clad women who brought down the 'divine punishment' of the virus and the Sunni and Shia ulema warning about the shutting of shrines and mosques followed by President Arif Alvi's namesake '20 conditions' paint bleak images. 

Third, he criticizes the PTI government for not-prioritizing education, calls for a revamp of the education system to promote enlightenment, induce rational outlook and make Pakistan more governance. Last, he criticizes the lack of scientific thinking and disregard to social distancing, epidemiology and virology for the surge in infection and deaths. He points out that even as coronavirus deaths are spiraling, unmasked and ungloved people are crowding the markets. 
 


In Brief
By A Padmashree & P Harini Sha

COVID-19
An analysis explains Pakistan's COVID-19 strategy in six points
An analysis in Dawn by Fahd Hussain, looks at Pakistan's strategies towards fighting the COVID. It explains the same in six points: "January – May 2020 story tells us the following about Pakistan: one, we dithered. Two, we took corona lightly. Three, we wasted at least February and two weeks of March. Four, the federal government provided weak leadership. Five, we could not do the lockdown that was needed at the time it was needed. Six, we politicized a public health issue. The opinion article on Dawn assesses the steps taken by the federal government since January 2020 in fighting against COVID-19 and positions Pakistan in between the success and failure countries. He emphasizes the need for the leadership to learn from the countries who won the first round and not to compare the losses with failed leaders in containing the virus. ("Vaccine for success," Dawn, 16 May 2020)

ECONOMY
SBP announces the policy rate cut to 8 per cent again in two months
The State Bank of Pakistan announced that it is reducing the policy rate by 100 basis points to 8 per cent which is the fourth cut by the bank within two months. This decision reflects the Monetary Policy Committee's view on inflation which will fall closer to the lower end due to a recent cut in domestic fuel prices. SBP also added that inflation could fall further than expected if economic activity fails to pick up as expected in the next fiscal year. ("Economic slowdown due to lockdown can't be prevented: State Bank," The News International, 16 May 2020) 

INTERNAL
Najam Sethi says public sentiment has turned against Imran Khan
Najam Sethi, one of the most influential analysts in Pakistan argues that when there is a need for the leader at state circumstances, the PM has been inept, thereby irking public reactions against him. 

According to Sethi, "public sentiment has turned against Imran Khan who has been shown up as an incompetent, blundering partner, exactly when state circumstances require a political leader of substance. The Miltablishment is being blamed for this mess. Ominously, Imran, too, is inclined to spread his wings from time to time. The problem is that it is in the nature of the office of a popularly elected or popularly selected prime minister to demand a degree of autonomy from the powerful Miltablishment which is loath to surrender it."

He concludes his analysis titled "Nature of the Problem" that "we may expect the Miltablishment to watch and wait until such issues have been resolved. Or until a popular storm is kicked up exogenously on any big issue and a scapegoat is required in the national interest".("Nature of Problem," The Friday Times, 15 May 2020)

PROVINCES
Punjab to reopen transport and shopping malls from next week.
The Punjab government further relaxes the lockdown from 18 May and permitted to reopen public transports, shopping malls, and automobile production units while reporting 11 deaths and 353 new Coronavirus cases in 24 hours. The production units will function seven days a week and the showrooms will be allowed for four days a week under SOPs, said the Punjab Industries and Trade Minister. ("Punjab permits opening of malls, public transport from May 18," The Express Tribune, 16 May 2020")

"Punjab and KP agrees to open the public transport, while Sindh refuses to do so"
Governments of Punjab and KP have decided to allow the functioning of public transport to benefit the common and laborers after the request from the Prime Minister. But the Sindh Transport minister has said that due to fear of virus spread in the province and announced that it will not relax the ban. ("Punjab, KP decide to conditionally lift the ban on public transport", Dawn, 16 May 2020)

China on the Diamer-Bhasha Dam
At a press conference on 15 May, Foreign Ministry spokesperson from China responded to questions from CCTV, Xinhua and other media housed on various global developments. The spokesperson also commented to APP question on Pakistan's move on commending China's decisive and timely measures to combat the novel coronavirus under the leadership of President Xi Jinping and appreciating its valuable especially during the pandemic. 

Further, question raised by PTI on the Diamer-Bhasha dam project and the recent comment by India's Minister of External Affairs to which the spokesperson said "China's position on the Kashmir issue is consistent. The economic cooperation between China and Pakistan aims to boost local economic growth and improve people's livelihoods for the benefit of all." ("Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on May 15, 2020," Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the People's Republic of China, 15 May 2020)

ON INDIA
India is the revisionist power in Kashmir, argues an analysis in The Friday Times
An analysis in the Friday Times by Ejaz Haider claims India to be a revisionist power in Kashmir, while Pakistan is a status quo power.

According to Haider, "Pakistan has no designs on India. But Kashmir is not a part of India. It is an internationally-recognised dispute, a fact India denies blatantly in contradiction to  UN Security Council resolutions as well as bilateral arrangements. Additionally, and separate from the disputes, Pakistan is a status quo power because it checks India’s desire to project power in South, West, and Southern Asia."

Second, "while India is a revisionist power in its desire to project power, it is an irredentist power in relation to the Kashmir dispute that relates, centrally, to ascertaining Kashmiris’ right to self-determination."

Finally, he concludes, "India is not only a revisionist state, to the extent of Kashmir, as it existed on the eve of August 14, 1947, it is also an irredentist state." ("India's irredentism on Kashmir", The Friday Times,15 May 2020)

Also read on India and J&K
Editorial, "Let Kashmir breathe," Dawn, 16 May 2020

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Pakistan, Sri Lanka discuss trade cooperation and regional security

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12 February 2021, Friday I Vol 2, No.43

Justice Isa should not hear cases involving PM, says the CJP

11 February 2021, Thursday I Vol 2, No.42

Government approves 25 per cent increase in employees’ salary

10 February 2021, Wednesday I Vol 2, No.41

Legal fraternity extends support to lawyers; condemns CDA

9 February 2021, Tuesday I Vol 2, No.40

Lawyers storm into chamber IHC’s Chief Justice

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National Assembly turns chaotic amid open vote debate

04 February 2021, Thursday I Vol 2, No.35

Pakistan begins nationwide vaccination drive

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Pakistan rolls out COVID-19 vaccines

02 February 2021, Tuesday I Vol 2, No.33

Government passes CPEC Authority bill

30 January 2021, Saturday I Vol 2, No.30

US seeks custody of Omar Sheikh

29 January 2021, Friday I Vol 2, No.29

Supreme Court orders release of Omar Sheikh

28 January 2021, Thursday I Vol 2, No.28

Former ISI chief had links with RAW since 2008: Defence Ministry

27 January 2021, Wednesday I Vol 2, No.27

Cabinet to table bill to hold open vote in Senate elections

25 January 2021, Monday I Vol 2, No.25

Government, opposition to meet today

23 January 2021, Saturday I Vol 2, No.23

Oppositions demands new head for Broadsheet inquiry committee

22 January 2021, Friday I Vol 2, No.22

ECP rejects open hearing of cases

21 January 2021, Thursday I Vol 2, No.21

Pakistan conducts another test of Shaheen-III

20 January 2021, Wednesday I Vol 2, No.20

PDM holds protests outside the ECP

19 January 2021, Tuesday I Vol 2, No.19

Cabinet constitutes committee to probe Broadsheet scandal

18 January 2021, Monday I Vol 2, No.18

PDM to discuss ECP protests plan today

16 January 2021, Saturday I Vol 2, No.16

Vaccines will be procured in first quarter, says SAPM

15 January 2021, Friday I Vol 2, No.15

Govt permits PDM to stage protest outside the ECP office

14 January 2021, Thursday I Vol 2, No.14

PTI blames agents in foreign funding case

13 January 2021, Wednesday I Vol 2, No.13

Broadsheet revelations vindicate struggle against elite, says PM

11 January 2021, Monday I Vol 2, No.11

India stalling progress of Mumbai attack case, says FO

09 January 2021, Saturday I Vol 2, No.9

Slain miners finally laid to rest

08 January 2021, Friday I Vol 2, No.08

Pakistan successfully tests Multi-Launch Rocket System: ISPR

07 January 2021, Thursday I Vol 2, No.07

PM promises to visit mourning Hazaras in Quetta

06 January 2021, Wednesday I Vol 2, No.06

Supreme Court directs ETPB to rebuild Hindu Shrine in KP

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Hazara mourners refuse to bury Mach victims

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Militants kill 11 Shia Hazara coal miners

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NA speaker told to accept resignations from the opposition

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Govt approves the 6th National Census-2017

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Pakistan asks UN to forcefully condemn the attack on UNMOGIP

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Qureshi's UAE visit

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Imran Khan reiterates his support for the Afghan talks

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PTI rejects ultimatum for PM’s resignation

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Cabinet Reshuffle: Portfolios of three ministers changed

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PM asks the opposition to rethink conducting rallies 

08 December 2020, Tuesday I Vol 1, No.200

Nawaz to make a ‘decisive speech’ at the Lahore rally

07 December 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.199

Pakistan’s surging second COVID-19 wave

04 December 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.198

EU retains ban on PIA flights

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PDM stages another power show in Multan

28 November 2020, Saturday I Vol 1, No.194

Qureshi talks about Kashmir and the India dossier at the OIC

27 November 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.193

FO says Kashmir issue is a permanent item on OIC agenda

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Pakistan shares dossier on India with the UN

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Asad says COVID-19 numbers worsening, urges SOPs compliance

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Pakistan to set up a new intelligence committee chaired by DG-ISI

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PDM calls for the end of PTI’s “puppet rule”

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Imran Khan’s maiden visit to Afghanistan

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PDM may present its reforms as legislation in Parliament

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PDM rejects Center’s move to ban public meetings

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GB Polls: PTI becomes the single largest party

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Maryam softens stance, says will talk to the Army

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Survey predicts PTI’s victory in GB elections

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Army takes action against the officials from the ISI and Rangers

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COAS and DG-ISI to brief the Parliament

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On Gilgit-Balitistan elections

06 November 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.177

Farmers protest in Punjab

04 November 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.175

FO rejects Indian Defence Minister’s remarks on GB

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Maulana Fazlur calls for a PDM meeting

30 October 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.172

Pakistan criticizes the Indian media

29 October 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.171

"We gave India a bloody nose and it's still hurting" says DG ISPR

28 October 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.170

Pakistan observes 'Kashmir Black Day'

27 October 2020, Tuesday I Vol 1, No.169

Quetta Rally and the PDM

26 October 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.168

PDM's strong rally in Quetta

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Do More, says the FATF to Pakistan

23 October 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.166

Pakistan's Gender Gap

22 October 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.165

The "Karachi incident" spirals

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FM Qureshi meets with Hekmatyar

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PDM's second big rally in Karachi

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20-point 'code of conduct' to promote sectarian harmony

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The Fallouts of the All Parties Conference:

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Establishment and the PML-N:

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21 September 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.138

Nawaz Sharif goes on an offensive and talks about

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Kashmir will be the focus of PM Khan’s UN address, says FO

18 September 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.136

Pakistan’s Persisting Polio Problem:

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The need for a twin strategy in south Balochistan:

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A non-bailable arrest warrant for Nawaz Sharif:

15 September 2020, Tuesday I Vol 1, No.133

The CPEC march continues:

11 September 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.130

Pakistan and the SCO

10 September 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.129

Accountability Court declares Nawaz Sharif as an absconder

09 September 2020, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.128

Federal-Provincial divide over Karachi increases

07 September 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.126

On Karachi, PPP and PTI divide comes to open

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Kashmir in the UN and Pakistan

02 September, Wednesday I Vol 1, No.122

Court directs Nawaz Sharif to appear before the court

01 September, Tuesday I Vol 1, No.121

Rains and Floods continue to haunt Pakistan

27 August 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.117

An article speculates the Opposition’s options and strategies

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"General Bajwa stabilized Pak-Saudi ties"

24 August 2020, Monday I Vol 1, No.114

Pakistan, China and J&K

22 August 2020, Saturday I Vol 1, No.113

Pakistan and China pledge to safeguard common interests

20 August 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.111

The tragedy of Scientists from Pakistan's minority communities

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PTI's two-year report card

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The FATF divides within Pakistan

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National Assembly clears two FATF bills, but blocks one.

07 August 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.99

Govt decides to lift restrictions as COVID cases decline

06 August 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.98

Pakistan's continuing Kashmir frenzy

05 August 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.97

Pakistan's new Map of J&K

04 August 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No.96

Kashmir obsession in Pakistan

31 July 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.94

Two FATF bills passed in the National Assembly

30 July 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.93

Religiosity in Pakistan: From Creeping to now Galloping

29 July 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.92

Opposition parties attempt to come together

28 July 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No.91

Pakistan's internal debate on Kulbhushan Jadav

26 July 2020, Sunday I Vol 1, No.89

Pakistan This Week

23 July 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.86

On the abduction of a Journalist in Islamabad

19 July 2020, Sunday I Vol 1, No.82

Pakistan This Week

17 July 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.80

The licences are not fake but only dubious

16 July 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.79

On building Diamer-Bhasha dam in Gilgit-Baltistan

15 July 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.78

On Af-Pak Transit Trade

12 July 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No. 75

Pakistan This Week

11 July 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No.74

FATF action plan to be completed at the earliest: Shaikh

08 July 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.71

Return of Lal Masjid Maulana

07 July 2020, Tuesday , Vol 1, No.70

Female Literacy in the Pashtun tribal regions

06 July 2020, Monday, Vol 1, No.69

The problem with Pakistan Railways

02 July 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.65

The Curious case of "Minus One" Formula in Pakistan

30 June 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No.63

BLA claims the attack on Stock Exchange in Karachi

28 June 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No.61

Pakistan This Week

27 June 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No.60

PTM accepts the dialogue offer, but wants CBMs

24 June 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.57

Reviewing Pakistan's Space Programme

23 June 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No.56

Imran Khan says he was against the idea of lockdown

21 June 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No.54

Pakistan This Week

20 June 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No.53

Budgets presented in KP, and in Gilgit-Baltistan

19 June 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.52

PTI tries to get the BNP back into coalition,

18 June 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.51

Baloch partner of the PTI government leaves the coalition

15 June 2020, Monday, Vol 1, No.48

The PTI government invites the PTM for a dialogue

14 June 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No.47

Pakistan This Week

13 June 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No.46, Special Brief

Pakistan Budget 2020-21: The First Cut

12 June 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.44, Special Brief

Pakistan’s Economic Survey 2019-20

07 June 2020, Sunday I Vol 1, No.38

Pakistan This Week

05 June 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.36

Highest COVID Spike

04 June 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.35

Imran receives a briefing at the ISI HQ

03 June 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.34

Covid cases spike and Lahore becomes the epicentre

01 June 2020, Monday, Vol 1, No.32

Drivers of Karachi Violence

30 May 2020, Saturday, No 1, No.30

Gwadar port ready for the Afghan goods

29 May 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.29

Pakistan remembers 28 May Nuclear Tests

24 May 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No.24

Pakistan This Week

22 May 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.22

The missing girls of Pakistan

21 May 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.21

Locusts threaten Pakistan's food security

17 May 2020, Sunday, Vol 1, No 17

Pakistan This Week

15 May 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.15

Disregard for SOPs peaks Covid-19 cases

14 May 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No 14

Violence in Afghanistan and the Media in Pakistan

12 May 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No 12

Smart Lockdown, SOPs vs Social Realities

9 May 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No 9

Record COVID-19 spike in a single day;