Daily Briefs

Photo : Dawn

18 May 2020, Monday, Vol 1, No.18

Why is Imran parroting a false flag operation by India? Is he fearing it, or wanting it? Or, is Paki

An analysis questions the intent and capabilities of the NAB;FAO warns of Locusts threat in Pakistan and COVID-19 in Pakistan

PR Daily Brief | PR Team



Why is Imran parroting a false flag operation by India? Is he fearing it, or wanting it? Or, is Pakistan planning a mini Kargil, or a mini Pulwama?
Pakistan media on Monday (18 May 2020) was full of Imran Khan’s statement/tweet on India is busy in getting ready for a false flag operation. DawnThe NewsThe Nation, and the Express Tribune – all the leading newspapers in Pakistan carried it in the front page. A similar statement was made by him in December 2019, about a false flag operation and a befitting response by Pakistan. His explanation is that Modi wants to divert the world attention, from the situation in Kashmir.

Irrespective of whether one agrees with the BJP’s Kashmir policy or not, Imran’s statement about a false flag operation by India to divert the attention by New Delhi does not make sense. If the BJP government does a false flag operation, as Imran claims, it would instead invite global attention to Kashmir. Why would the BJP government do it? Besides, global attention is already diverted with the COVID-19. From Libya to Yemen, and from Syria to Iraq, there are other troubling conflict spots across the world. Has the global attention diverted towards them?

Why would then Imran make such a claim? Is there credible evidence on which he is building a case? Or, does he want India to go for a flag operation? Why would Imran want the same?

During the recent months, there have been multiple statements by the Prime Minister, Foreign Office and columnists across the newspapers – repeatedly emphasising on the situation in J&K, and the BJP’s policy towards it. If the global community does not respond to BJP’s approach towards J&K, Pakistan fears two things: first, the BJP government would get away with what it is doing in J&K. Second, Pakistan is afraid that it would lose another chance to bring itself in the centre of the Kashmir debate in Srinagar.

It appears Pakistan would want to internationalise the Kashmir issue and bring the global attention to J&K, than India undertaking a false march. The statements and claims by the State, Deep State and their proxies in the domestic media are a strategy to bring Kashmir to global attention.

So, what if, India does not respond to Imran’s expectations? What if, India refuses to engage in a flag operation? How would Pakistan attempt to internationalise the Kashmir issue, and bring global attention to J&K? Should India get ready for a violent summer?

In Focus
By Lakshmi V Menon & Abigail Miriam Fernandez

An analysis questions the intent and capabilities of the NAB; calls it as the saga of injustice
Zahid Gishkori, in his analysis, says that securing of bails at early stages of investigation in the 36 high profile cases booked by NAB between 2018 to 2020 on corruption charges or misuse of authority, raise suspicions over NAB's capabilities and intentions. Various complaints are raised.

First, the trend of arresting bigwigs and retaining them in solitary confinement for extended periods to mobilize new evidence. On average, the 36 detainees spent 41 days in NAB's custody and 146 days in judicial custody. Former NAB special prosecutor Imran Shafiq says that the 90 days remand period is unjustified, excessive, unnatural, abusive, and "disproportionate to the rights of accused and dignity of citizens". Custodial deaths and suicides also raise concerns regarding custodial torture. 

Second, the double-standards in letting former prime ministers Raja Pervez Ashraf, Yousaf Raza Gillani, and Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain off the hook despite criminal references while arresting Jang/Geo group editor-in-chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman at the complaint verification stage (a first of its kind). 

Third, the decline in conviction ratio in NAB's cases. From 78 convictions in 2018, it dwindled to 43 in 2019. Fourth, NAB's lack of response, information, and transparency. NAB's prosecutor general Syed Asghar Haider shrugs off queries onto NAB's media wing while NAB Spokesperson Nawazish Ali Asim maintains silence. Last, the Opposition accuses NAB of conducting a "witch-hunt" of civil servants, politicians, and businessmen" and misusing NAB's authority for custodial remand of an accused emanating from provisions NAO 1999's Article 24(c). NAB has to revisit and review its strategy and modus operandi for better results. ("The saga of injustice", The News International, 18 May 2020)

FAO warns of Locusts threat in Pakistan spreading within and moving to Iran
The Food and Agriculture Organization is planning to initiate a crisis appeal to expand Pakistan's resources to help its efforts to control the surge in desert locust in the country. This revised appeal comes after a progress report issued by FAO Director-General stated the threat of the locust invasions in Pakistan, Iran, and the Sahel region of Africa has only been increasing. Further, according to a report by FAO Pakistan, in the next few weeks, swarms from spring breeding will continue to move towards parts of Balochistan from where adult groups will move towards Iran by end May and continue throughout June. The situation could be catastrophic for Pakistan where 38 per cent of the are breeding grounds for the swarms. Measures would have to be taken to contain the locust to curb the risk and their movement to other regions. 

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) issued a statement stating that the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom has pledged to provide six million pounds for locust control in Pakistan. Further, China who has already provided locust assistance packages are also discussing an action plan with Pakistan to address the issue. ("FAO prepares crisis appeal for Pakistan's locust issue," Dawn, 18 May 2020)


In Brief
By A Padmashree & P Harini Sha

Covid-19 pandemic is compounding the economic woes of the government: Editorial
The advisor to the Prime Minister has reasoned the decline in the economy due to coronavirus. However, the editorial in the News gives three arguments against it that. First, since the PTI government coming to power in 2018 the GDP has fallen from 6 per cent to 5.5 per cent. Second, by mid-2019, Pakistan signed an Extended Fund Facility (EEF) for 39 months as it could not maintain the aggregate demand pressure in the economy. Finally, the large-scale manufacturing output slimmed by 50 per cent, adding to inflation. The editorial concludes that if the government continues with the existing economic policy, the outcome, in the long run, will be unfavourable. ("GDP growth," The News International, 18 May 2020)

Punjab Transporters Association complains about the SOPS as not being practical and feasible
The KP government necessitates the following of SOP's by the Transport authority to prevent the spread of coronavirus and has decided to revise the fares upon current oil prices. But the Punjab Transporters Association has reverted that it is not viable to operate buses at 50 per cent capacity, along with toll and token tax as it will incur losses. The Chairman has stated, "Buses will not run until the government issued new SOP's". ("Punjab allows Eid, Jumantul Wida prayers: Karachi businessmen warn of fulling jails", The News International, 18 May 2020)

Sindh Intercity Bus Association warns to start operations on their own after 20 May
The Association has demanded to continue the operation of buses after the federal government allows intercity and intra-city transport. They have issued a warning to resume operations after 20 May, if the Sindh government holds back from giving the order. The President of the Association said to The News that "if the government tried to forcibly stop them, they would park their vehicles on roads in Karachi and hold a protest." ("Intercity transporters warn of protest if not allowed to operate from 20 May," The News International, 18 May 2020)

In Sindh, the government and the traders are heading towards a showdown on the lockdown
The traders from Karachi and other parts of Sindh are not retracting their demand on extending the opening hours of shops from Monday as the negotiations with the provincial government ended in a stalemate. The Shops and markets are allowed to operate till 4 pm for four days in a week with strict SOPs. However, the traders demand permission to stay open till midnight as they are facing a struggle to earn a two-time meal every day. ("Sindh govt, traders in a standoff," The Express Tribune, 18 May 2020)  

The Chief Justice asks: why shopping malls were asked to stay closed when markets were open
The Chief Justice of Pakistan orders to reopen all shopping malls across the country and allowed to remain open even on weekends till Eid. Hearing the suo motu case on the Coronavirus crisis, he questioned the provinces why shopping malls are closed when markets are open. He also summoned Sindh province to unseal markets for violating SOPs and remarked to ensure implementing SOPs rather than sealing shops and markets. ("SC directs provinces to open all shopping malls," The Express Tribune, 18 May 2020 ) 

Provincial minister complains that the Federal railway minister is more interested in train operations than public health
The Federal railway minister has assured to follow the SOP's among the public, railway staff, and vendors but the provincial minister has condemned that it is a critical situation as deaths increase and with Eid nearing starting back the train services might probe more people to travel thereby making it difficult to control the spread of the virus. He has criticized the Railway Minister for only focusing on railways than seeing the entire public in the province. ("Sindh government not to allow train operation," The News International, 18 May 2020)

The federal government suspends Islamabad's first elected Mayor
The federal government suspends the first-ever elected Mayor of Islamabad for 90 days on corruption charges. The Mayor belongs to the main opposition party PML-N and the sudden announcement of suspension on a public holiday provoked immediate reactions from the PML-N party which terms as "coup d'etat" and vowed to challenge it in court. ("Federal govt suspends Islamabad mayor," Dawn, 18 May 2020)

Four IS terrorists killed in Bahawalpur
The Counter-Terrorism Department has reported killing four terrorists from militant Islamic State (IS) during an encounter near Bahawalpur on Saturday (16 May). The CTD said that the raid on-site was carried out based on the intelligence report on plans to attack in the sensitive places of Bahawalpur where it has also seized arms from the site. ("Four terrorists killed in 'encounter' near Bahawalpur," Dawn, 18 May 2020)

Pakistan welcomes the Afghan deal between Ghani and Abdullah
The agreement signed among the political leaders in Kabul regarding the formation of inclusive government and the High Council of National Reconciliation was welcomed by Pakistan in its statement issued by the Foreign Office spokesperson. She has reaffirmed Pakistan's solidarity towards Afghans and appreciated the move by Afghan leaders to work for the supreme interest of its people to bring peace and stability after decades of violence and conflicts. ("Pakistan welcomes Ghani, Abdullah power-deal," The Nation, 18 May 2020)

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