Daily Briefs

Photo : Dawn

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

Disregard for SOPs peaks Covid-19 cases

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Focus
By Lakshmi V Menon & Abigail Miriam Fernandez

Disregard for SOPs peaks Covid-19 cases
With traders and customers disregarding safety/health protocols set by provincial and federal governments, on 14 May Pakistan's confirmed COVID-19 cases surged to 36,736 and fatalities to 788. However, 10,155 have recovered. Of the total count, Sindh reported 14,099, Punjab 13,561, KP 5,423, Balochistan 2,239, ICT 822 and PoK 592. Of the total fatalities, Punjab reported 284 deaths, KP 275, Sindh 243, Balochistan 27, ICT 6, and PoK 5. 

SOPs are being flouted despite Centre and Provinces repeatedly urging citizens to practice social distancing. Buyers are crowding together in marketplaces wearing no masks. The effect of the present behaviour of disregard for SOPs will further peak Pakistan's Covid-19 cases in the coming weeks.

In Punjab, Lahore is becoming the epicentre of the virus with 6,699 cases amongst the collective figure of prisoners, common citizens, and those isolated at quarantine facilities. Sindh has a 17 per cent recovery rate.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis informed that at least 49 flights would operate between 11 and 21 May to bring back 11,660 overseas Pakistanis. ("Least regard for SOPs causes surge in coronavirus cases," The News International, 15 May 2020) 

Pakistani academic says the BJP government cannot hold the land and the people for good in J&K for two reasons
The opinion article in the Express Tribune by Prof Moonis Ahmar is critical of the Indian government's move to further amend the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act 2019 by allowing Indian nationals and their children residing in J&K for permanent residence thereby enabling them to apply for jobs and scholarships. 

He says the BJP government cannot hold the land and the people for good in J&K for two reasons. First, Kashmiri Muslims in J&K have refused to accept the humiliating acts of the government of India that have tried to reduce them to a minority in the region, thus suppressing their uprising will not be easy. Second, India lacks support from the international community on its decision. Further, the BJP government's strategy of using the pandemic as a cover-up to neutralize all protests against the Indian citizenship act and the J&K Reorganization Act will not hold for long.

The opinion concludes by stating that the Modi government has successfully implemented the J&K Reorganization Act and domicile policy despite opposition from both Pakistan and the Kashmiri Muslims, showing that global attention is now focused on the pandemic. ("How is India changing the demography of Occupied J&K?," The Express Tribune, 15 May 2020)

Former Pakistan High Commissioner writes about a double lockdown in J&K to reduce and destroy the Muslim minority 
Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, a former ambassador to the US, India, and China comments that the double lockdown imposed by India on J&K aims to reduce the Muslim majority of J&K as a political identity and destroy the 200 million Muslim minority of India as a viable political community. He argues that the lockdown since scrapping Kashmir's special status as "the building blocks of genocide" and obstructing peace in the subcontinent. ("COVID-19, Kashmir, and US," The News International. 15 May 2020) 

In Brief
By A Padmashree & P Harini Sha

Japan to assist Pakistan in Covid-19
Japan has agreed to grant assistance of 4 million dollars to help Pakistan in fighting coronavirus. The UN office for project services will give equipment, material, and technical support based on the ground situation in Pakistan through this fund. ("Japan to provide $4m Covid-19 aid," Dawn, 15 May 2020)

PML-N's leader questions the reliability of the count of COVID-19 patients in the country.
The opposition leader has blamed the government for understating the suspected cases in the region. He has predicted that the cases have surged a six-digit mark and held the government responsible for its neglectful actions in handling the crisis. He stated that "the government was leading the country into irreversible disaster through lies, confusion, and blunders". ("PML-N challenges official statistics of Covid-19," Dawn, 15 May 2020)

The government enforces strict measures in places violating standard operating procedures (SOPs)
Minister of information and broadcasting has decided to monitor places where SOPs are being violated by the public. It will be publishing a list of areas after observation to enforce strict action to prevent the spread of the virus. ("Govt mulls lockdown in areas violating SOPs," Dawn, 15 May 2020)

No exams. All Pass, says the government
The Minister for Education and Technical training said that the students of classes 9 and 11 will be promoted to the next class without an examination. He said the students of class 10 and 12 will have to appear only for the final exams and their results will be evaluated on marks obtained in 9th and 11th. (All students promised promotion; No exams, says govt, The News International, 15 May 2020)

Sindh government warns to close the markets if the SOPs are not followed
Sindh government warns the shopkeepers that it will close shops that are found violating SOPs; further they appealed the business communities to comply with the agreed Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). The government notifies the people that the Coronavirus threat is not over and significant to be cautious and follow strict SOPs.("City markets will be closed again if SOPs violated," 15 May 2020 The News International)

Nine more die in Sindh
Nine more lives have been claimed by novel Coronavirus, raising the death toll to 243 in Sindh province. Sindh has recorded 758 new cases in 24 hours an 17 per cent of 4,487 samples tested positive of Coronavirus within two days. The Chief Minister urges people to not be influenced by fake propaganda on COVID19 and come forward to test in case of symptoms. ("CM Murad Ali Shah calls for eschewing propaganda as COVID-19 affects 758 more, kills another nine in Sindh," The News International, 15 May 2020)

Punjab also warns of a strict lockdown, if the SOPs breached
The Punjab government has decided to enforce strict actions against the violators of SOPs as the markets were opened since Monday. Most of the markets were reopened after the relaxation of lockdown in Punjab, however unusual rushes took the streets everywhere which pose a potential threat to the spread of the pandemic. The Law Minister said Punjab will reconsider its relaxations on lockdown if SOPs are not followed strictly. ("Strict lockdown if SOPs breach continues: Raja Basharat," 15 May 2020, The News International)

Joint venture deal to construct Diamer-Bhasha dam sealed 
The China Power and the Frontier Works Organisation have contracted a 442 billion rupees deal to construct the Diamer-Bhasha dam. The contract deal has taken place after 40 years since the drafting of the original plan. It is said to be funded from the growth in the public sector and commercial loans. This will serve as a booster to Pakistan's economy, creating more than 16,000 jobs and demand for the construction industry. ("Dam Deal," Dawn, 15 May 2020)
"Doctrines of strategic depth devised by our own establishment are no better than those of the 'enemies' we love to hate," says an opinion
An opinion in Dawn on the recent attacks in Kabul and Nangarhar says that the focus should be to find the reason for hate from violent ideologies that in finding which militant group responsible for the killing. He also stated that "No state — and its privileged segments in 'developed' regions — can lay claim to a moral high ground while the people of its own ethnic peripheries are enslaved as colonial subjects." ("Of strategic depth," Dawn, 15 May 2020)

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