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Daily Briefs


Photo : Daily Times

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

Pakistan remembers 28 May Nuclear Tests



Pakistan on 28 May 1998 nuclear tests; Najam Sethi's editorial on the Sugar report; and the reasons behind the crisis; PK-8303 investigation; economy and COVID related developments

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Focus
Sugar mills were sanctioned by the civil-military oligarchy to the old landed aristocracy to harness the various Muslim Leagues writes Najam Sethi


Najam Sethi's editorial in The Friday Times titled "Political Economy of Sugar" (29 May 2020) questions the working of the politicians, bureaucrats, generals, and judges after the inquiry reports of the sugar industry that has shed light on the corrupt and mishandle workings on this industry who have abused the economy to serve personal or political interests. By giving a historical overview he makes his arguments on the nuances of the sugar industry.

First, the sugar industry clearly explains the powerful nexus between the ruling elites who quickly recognized its potential for state largesse and private profit to secure political advantage. Through the 1950s and 1990s, many sugar mills were sanctioned by the civil-military oligarchy to the old landed aristocracy that was always on its right side or to its new urban political allies under Generals Ayub Khan and Zia ul Haq. This trend has been going on ever since, with the successive government following suit.

Second, the sugar industry is the single largest source of money laundering in the country. The loophole and rigging by the middlemen and the different models, especially the Jehangir Tareen model leave the farmers at the lower end while allowing the sugar mills and cartels to gain more than what they need.

Third, critical of the report, Sethi argues that although the report highlights the mishandling and manipulation of funds by the sugar cartel it does not look into the federal responsibility for sanctioning export which was done at an unfavourable time. Further, pointing out that Tareens, Khusraus, Chaudhries will continue to be protected by the Deep State for political manipulation later on and the federal government will pay no heed to it.

Lastly, he concluded the editorial with a word of advice to the federal government, particularly PM Imran Khan, stating that he should immediately act on the matter by introducing a bill in parliament or a Presidential Ordinance to outlaw federal or provincial subsidies to domestic sugar manufacturers, allowing for free imports of sugar in the private sector without protectionist duties. Further, he states that the only way to get rid of the predominance of the sugar industrialists is to let the market decide the demand and supply of sugar, thus putting an end to cartelisation, hoarding, artificial shortages, price hikes, and money laundering.
 

 
Image Source: Dawn

In Brief

NUCLEAR: REMEMBERING 28 MAY 1998
Qureshi says that the nuclear tests reminds about Pakistani quest for peace and its resolve to defend its territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence

In a webinar on the nuclear tests by Pakistan in 1998, the Foreign Minister was reported to have said that "credible minimum deterrence" will be the directing principle in nuclear weapons. He stated that Pakistan will adhere to the Strategic Restraint Regime (SRR) proposal for keeping peace in the country. According to Dawn, he underlined, "Pakistan’s growing technological prowess and offered cooperation with other countries in civilian nuclear application". ("FM Qureshi chides India for toying with risky military concepts," Dawn, 29 May 2020)

Shahbaz credits Nawaz Sharif with Pakistan's 1998 nuclear tests
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shahbaz Sharif credited his party under Nawaz Sharif for giving new strength to the country by testing six nuclear tests in 1998. Then Pakistan became the first country to become nuclear among the Islamic world and the seventh globally. While addressing a Yaum-e-Takbeer event on Thursday (May 28) he criticizes the PTI government of inefficient to leave the Jammu Kashmir region to be annexed by India. ("Nawaz Sharif gave country new strength by conducting N-blasts: Shahbaz Sharif," The News International, 29 May 2020)

Remembering 28 May, DG ISPR says Pakistan restored the regional balance
The Director-General of Inter-Services Public Relations addressing the National day event said that, on this historic day, Pakistan restored the balance of power in the region and successfully established credible, minimum nuclear deterrence. The country observed the National day, Youm-e-Takbeer on 28 May to salute the scientists and engineers who made Pakistan a nuclear-capable nation following India's Pokhran II in 1998. ("Pakistan restored the balance of power in the region on May 28, 1998: DG ISPR," The News International, 29 May 2020 ) 

COVID-19
Zafar Mirza says NCC will meet on first June to review the situation

The Information Minister has said that with a rise in the number of patients for Covid-19, Pakistan is well equipped to handle the situation. He mentioned that an increase in cases does concern the government, but the lockdown was not sustainable in Pakistan for the low-income group people. The National coordination committee will hold the next meeting on the first of June to discuss the situation.
(Amir Wasim, "No immediate plan to go for stricter lockdown: govt," Dawn, 29 May 2020)

INTERNAL
Prime Minister direct authorities for transparent investigation and report

The FDR and CVR were found by the Airbus team to inspect it in France and decode the recordings in the black box to find the reason behind the crash. Upon which Prime Minister has ordered the investigation board to present the findings publicly with complete transparency. According to Aviation Minister, the preliminary report will be presented by 22 June in the parliament. (Mohammad Asghar, "Six days on, cockpit voice recorder found," Dawn, 29 May 2020)

PM assures, report of all past air crashes and justice in an impartial manner to make public
Prime Minister Imran Khan called for a report of all past air crash accidents in the country and ensured people of being transparent to the public. Yesterday (28 May) PM briefed the progress in the investigation of PIA aircraft crash and expressed his deep sorrow to the victim's families. He assured that the investigation would deliver justice to the martyred and the government's action plans to provide compensation to the victim's families. ("PM Imran calls for making reports of all previous air accidents public," The News International, 29 May 2020)

EXTERNAL
United States, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan Trilateral forum on Afghanistan

The trilateral forum consisting of the United States, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan has stated that the instability in Afghanistan poses a roadblock to implement projects connecting South and Central Asia. Building railroads to the supply of natural gas pipeline to India from Turkmenistan has been halted due to violence in Afghanistan. The forum aspires to prolong the existing ceasefire in the region and aims to push for the intra-Afghan deal to ensure political stability. (Anwar Iqbal, "Linking Pakistan to Central Asia seen as a way to boost Afghan peace," Dawn, 29 May 2020)

Dawn Editorial says Pakistan can play a greater role on Intra-Afghan deal
The Trump administration has now realised that with the elections nearing it is late to work on the counter-terrorism experiment in Afghanistan. It has finally decided to withdraw its troops after two decades. The editorial states that this situation has opened the course for Islamic country especially Pakistan to conduct the Intra-Afghan deal. It is because of the Islamic nature of the state to convene the deal, else Afghanistan might end up being prone to war due to ethnic and tribal rivalry affecting regional security. ("US exit," Dawn, 29 May 2020)

ECONOMY
On the IMF reviews, The News editorial says Pakistan's options are limited

The editorial in The News says "For Pakistan the options are limited and the corona crisis is not going to last forever or will there be repeated emergency help coming from the G20 or other multilateral organizations" while commenting on the IMF reviews. The second IMF review for the country's Extended Fund Facility (EFF) programme is facing a challenge in receiving another 450 million dollars in the next trance due to the coronavirus outbreak. The article draws attention to the lacking financial administration in the federal government of Pakistan and calls for a thorough review of the entire economic management in the country. ("IMF review," The News International, 29 May 2020)

 


"Pakistan has demonstrated its commitment to peace and stability by putting forward the proposal for a Strategic Restraint Regime (SRR). Yet our desire for peace should not leave anyone in doubt regarding our capability and will to defend ourselves effectively against any form of aggression"

- Shah Mehmood Qureshi,
Pakistan's Minister for Foreign Affairs (quoted in Dawn)

 

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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