Daily Briefs

Photo : Dawn

26 May 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No.26

Erdogan calls Imran Khan; Locusts spread to South Punjab from Sindh; Investigations continue on PIA-

Erdogan calls Imran Khan; Locusts spread to South Punjab from Sindh; Investigations continue on PIA-8303 crash

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Focus

PM Imran Khan and Turkish President Erdogan discuss the pandemic, PK-8303, and India

And there has been a growing Pakistan-Turkey convergence during the recent months

According to an official statement by the Foreign Office, on 25 May, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a telephone call to PM Imran Khan. Erdogan reiterated Turkey's strong support to Pakistan and offered condolences on the 22 May tragic crash of the Pakistan International Airlines flight PK-830 in Karachi that killed 97 people onboard. ("President Erdogan calls PM Imran, offers condolences over Karachi plane crash," The Express Tribune, 25 May 2020)

Imran briefed Erdogan regarding Pakistan's pandemic policy; thanked him for medical equipment; discussed long-term socio-economic repercussions of the virus; emphasized his call for 'Global Initiative on Debt Relief' and spoke of the need for a coordinated, comprehensive policy on debt restructuring and relief for developing countries to tackle Covid-19 challenges. 

India and J&K surfaced in the dialogue. According to available reports in Pakistan media, Imran briefed the Turkish President regarding Jammu and Kashmir's worsening human rights conditions due to the military crackdown and double lockdown; shared concerns regarding India's attempts to gerrymander the LoC during COVID; and said the Indian government was using the pandemic to demonize Muslims in India. ("President Erdogan calls PM Imran, offers condolences over Karachi plane crash," The Express Tribune, 25 May 2020)

The heads of states also exchanged Eid greetings and spoke of enhancing bilateral cooperation to combat coronavirus. 

Pakistan, Turkey and the KL Summit. There has been a rapprochement between the two countries during recent months. For a quick background, Pakistan and Turkey were considered pioneers in the December 2019 Kuala Lumpur Summit, a new-Muslim alliance visualized by Malaysian PM Mahathir Muhammad as a 'mini Islamic summit' and widely viewed as a challenge to the Saudi leadership and Organization of Islamic Countries. The forum was to be launched with a core group of five nations – Malaysia, Turkey, Indonesia, Pakistan (four of the most populous Muslim countries) and the exceedingly wealthy Qatar, to address issues of Islamophobia, poverty and broadly "the plight of the Muslims". ("Kuala Lumpur Summit: Five major issues facing the Muslim world," Al Jazeera, 18 December 2019)

On 29 November PM Khan said he would be attending the meet but backtracked after his Riyadh visit causing Erdogan to blame threats by the Saudi regime for Pakistan's absence. Foreign offices of both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia denied the allegations and maintained that Pak-Saudi relations were cordial. Pakistan said they omitted the meet as the "division in the Ummah" had to be first discussed. ("Does Saudi Arabia feel threatened by the new Muslim alliance?," The New Arab, 3 January2020) Erdogan's outburst caused serious embarrassment and criticism for Pakistan. Hence, Erdogan's recent reiteration of supporting Pakistani brethren is noteworthy. 

And then the Ertugul magic. Outside government relations, there is a growing link between the two societies. With the Turkish TV series 'Ertugul' gaining popularity amongst Pakistanis, the growth of Turkey-Pakistan relations on the social side is evident.  ("Analysis: Ertugrul and the lure of Turkish dramas in Pakistan," Al Jazeera, 14 May 2020.)

Also read: "Turkish TV series Ertuğrul takes Pakistan by storm," The Express Tribune, 17 May 2020; "What is Dirilis Ertugrul and why does Imran Khan want Pakistanis to watch it?," Dawn, 9 May 2020; "A summary of Ertugrul's impact on Pakistan," Dawn.


Image Source: Dawn

In Brief

Attacks continue in North Waziristan; CSP officer shot dead 
A senior civil servant along with two others was shot dead in a targeted killing in Mir Ali, North Waziristan. Zubaidullah Khan, the senior officer of Information Group, was recently appointed as the director of Pakistan Housing Development and two other victims were shot by unidentified motorcycle riders while returning from their Eid prayers. Police officials said that this is the fourth major incident of target killing in the same month in Waziristan and it as an act of terror attack. ("CSP among three shot dead in North Waziristan," Dawn, 26 May 2020) 

Swarms of locusts attack Sindh and southern Punjab 
Swarms of locusts have moved to attack different areas of Multan, Rajanpur, district Muzaffargarh, and Kandhkot, causing several damages to mango, cotton rice saplings, and other crops. According to a media report in The News, with no help from the government, farmers have had to fight off the pest by themselves. With the rise in fear over the subsequent food shortage in case the government fails to act soon, locals and farmers have demanded the government conduct aerial spray to ensure the protection of food crops. ("Sindh, southern Punjab bear the brunt of locust attacks," The News International, 26 May 2020)

Government to reimposes lockdown after Eid if SOPs are violated 

Prime Minister's Special Assistant on health says that the government will review its stand on lockdown after the Eid festival. The relaxation on lockdown has increased people's movement, which is disastrous during the spread of the pandemic and the increasing coronavirus positive cases has alarmed the government to review its decision on lockdown relaxations. The special assistant on health reiterates the public to follow strict SOPs and maintain social distancing to stop the spread of the deadly virus. ("Govt may reimpose lockdown after Eid if situation gets worse, says PM's aide," The Express Tribune, 26 May 2020)

Sindh government says no decision to impose a curfew
On 25 May, spokesperson of the Sindh government denied the rumors on social media that the provincial government had decided to impose a province-wide curfew to contain the coronavirus from spreading in the province. He stated "People should not lend an ear to misleading news," and made an appealed to the people to stay at home and support the government during this pandemic. (“No decision taken to impose curfew, says Sindh government as COVID-19 cases surge,” The News International, 26 May 2020)

PIA gets assistance from the Airbus team 

The first level investigation of the plane crash brought out the technical faults which might have caused the failure. Now it is set to be inspected by the Airbus, a team of 11 members who will look into the plane's black box recorder that holds the cockpit voice record. This team will also provide technical assistance for Pakistan's investigation team to find out other possibilities of the crash. ("Airbus investigation team reaches Karachi," The Express Tribune, 26 May 2020)


" ...cases and deaths due to Covid-19 could increase in the coming days... (the) government will evaluate the prevailing situation immediately after Eid and can review its decision of relaxation in lockdown if the situation gets worse"

The Express Tribune
(Referring to the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health)


In Focus and In Brief sections are prepared by Lakshmi V Menon, Abigail Miriam Fernandez, A Padmashree and P Harini Sha.

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