Daily Briefs

Photo : Daily Times

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

Gwadar port ready for the Afghan goods

Gwadar port ready for the Afghan goods, COVID medicines from Bangladesh, the fiscal deficit

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief

81 coronavirus deaths reported in over 24 hours
On 29 May, Pakistan witnessed the highest ever spike in the number of coronavirus cases and deaths in a single day with 81 deaths and the countrywide death toll increasing from 1,283 to 1,364. Among these deaths, five were medical practitioners. Given this rise, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health stated that the situation was under control and that the government has adequate facilities to address the issue. This rise comes amid the government's decision to further ease the lockdown. (Syed Irfan Raza "Coronavirus kills 81 in Pakistan over 24 hours," Dawn, 30 May 2020)

International flight operations resume for outbound passengers
In a press release, the aviation division spokesperson stated that the federal government has decided to allow outbound international flights from 30 May. National and foreign airlines would be allowed to operate from all international airports of Pakistan, except for Gwadar and Turbat. Further, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for outbound international flights have been issued and are to be strictly followed by the airlines and the destination countries. This decision comes after the suspension of flight operations amid the pandemic. (Mohammad Asghar "Outbound international flights resume," Dawn, 30 May 2020)

Pharma company to import Covid-19 treatment drug from Bangladesh
Searle Company Limited, a local pharmaceutical company, has planned to import a generic version of remdesivir from Bangladesh. The firm has made an exclusive licensing and marketing agreement with Beximco Pharmaceuticals, a Bangladesh-based manufacturer. The business development director of the Searle stated that this partnership would create an immediate flow of supply at an affordable price, thereby helping patients and healthcare without any delay. Further, the company has decided not to make any commercial profit from the import and also to donate it to the government and COVID-19 designated hospitals until the pandemic is over. (Faiza Ilyas, "Pharma firm plans to import Covid-19 treatment drug from Bangladesh," Dawn, 30 May 2020)

Pakistan lacks essential medicines to fight COVID 19
Dawn speaks on Pakistan's ability to face the major global health crisis amid a shortage of essential medicines. It identifies the biggest challenge of Pakistan in fighting coronavirus pandemic as the extreme inability of the pharmaceutical companies to produce medicines as they are completely dependent on China and India in receiving raw materials for the manufacturing of drugs. It warns the federal government to prioritize self-reliance on essential industries like medicine to protect Pakistan from any other pandemic in the future. ("Why Pakistan cannot produce essential medicines," Dawn, 30 May 2020) 

Pakistan must exert influence on the Taliban to finally ditch their war-mongering, says the News Editorial
An editorial in the News International titled, "US pullout" is critical of the current situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan's role in the matter. The editorial stated that if the conflict between the Taliban and Kabul government continue with no negotiation reached it could lead the US to not fully withdraw from the country to prevent groups such as Al-Qaeda or Islamic State from harbouring in Afghanistan. This situation would be detrimental for Pakistan, as well as the country too, have suffered immensely from terrorism and thus, Pakistan must exert influence on the Taliban to finally ditch their war-mongering and give some relief to their own country and the people in this region at large. ("US pullout," The News International, 30 May 2020)

Gwadar Port imports goods for the first-time commencing Pak-Afghan Transit Trade Agreement.
The Gwadar Port in Afghanistan receives a ship of 16,400 tonnes of DAP fertilizers from Australia on Friday (29 May). The import of urea in Gwadar Port from Australia commences the Pak-Afghan Transit Trade agreement and marks the first time of using the port for trade purposes. The chairman of Gwadar Port Authority says the opening of import and export of goods from the port will create job opportunities for the people and flourish the region. ("In a first, ship with fertilizer for Afghanistan berths at Gwadar Port," Dawn, 30 May 2020)

Pak fiscal deficit for FY21 will be between 8 to 17 per cent of GDP
A special research report titled "Post-COVID-19 scenario for Pakistan's Economy" prepared by the think tank and the Planning Commission's affiliate research arm Pakistan Institute of Development Economics projects a fiscal deficit for FY21 between 8 to 17 per cent of GDP, depending on the duration of lockdown. The annual growth rate for FY21 is projected to be between 2.16 to 0.4 per cent. Considerable donor commitments and a decrease in debt servicing due to policy alterations are expected to lead to a quick V-shaped recovery.
("Pak fiscal deficit to be in range of 8 to 17pc of GDP," The News International, 30 May 2020)

UN organization warns of a possible loss of 451 billion rupees to Pakistan
The local farmers of Pakistan believe that the spraying of the anti-locust spray is very delayed by the agriculture department. The UN food and agriculture has warned Pakistan with a prediction of Rs451bn losses to happen due to locust attacks and might probe to food security in the region. ("Locusts damage crops in 31 districts of Balochistan," Dawn, 30 May 2020) 

Two committees formed to suggest reforms for the judicial system and women prisoners' wellbeing
Prime Minister Imran Khan has former to committees to suggest constitutional reforms and look into the plight of women prisoners and to recommend reforms for the judicial system. The committee comprises the Law Minister and PM's Advisor on Parliamentary Affairs who will devise a road map to implement reforms in the criminal justice system, police culture, and registration of cases, investigation, and prison system. PM said the reformation plan as part of the manifesto to ensure easy justice to the people, especially the weaker segment of the society. ("People's trust in the judicial system has been shaken: Imran," Dawn, 30 May 2020)

Court issues bailable arrest warrant for former PM Nawaz Sharif
The former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was issued with a bailable arrest warrant by the accountability court in Islamabad in the case of receiving luxury vehicles and gifts from Toshakhana. The court has summoned the PML-N supreme leader and the former PM Sharif about the case of illegally receiving luxury cars during his tenure. And the court has issued a bailable arrest warrant for being absent for the case proceeding. ("Accountability court issues bailable warrants for Nawaz," Dawn, 30 May 2020)

CREA study warns a threat to the lives of people due to air pollution
The study of the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air has reported on the impacts on air quality and health due to coal mining and power cluster in the Thar desert. It said that the emissions from these power plants would make South Asia the hotspot for carbon dioxide emissions. Till now I said that eight coal-based power plants have been custom-made in the last three years in Pakistan. The author further questions the "level of regulatory oversight" on such plants that will impact the environment. (Khurram Husain, "Thar coal power plants could cause 29,000 deaths from pollution, says new study," Dawn, 30 May 2020)

Famers lament inaction regarding locust infestation
Farmers worried about inaction and lack of Center-state coordination regarding locust crisis that is posing a food security risk amid the pandemic. Sindh Abadgar Board Vice President Mahmood Nawaz Shah laments inaction. He cautioned 38 per cent of Pakistan's territory was favourable for locust breeding and said locust infestation may cost 500 billion rupees to the agricultural economy due to the upcoming monsoons. Aerial sprays and comprehensive national strategy are required, he added.
("Locust threat worsens amid lack of coordination," The Express Tribune, 30 May 2020)

Why the government has been slow to respond" asks the Dawn on the Locust attacks
The editorial in Dawn states that against an early warning from farmers for a potential locust attack, the government has delayed in tackling the issue. It says that it is because of the politics between the federal and provincial government that has led to a gap in the coordination. Thereby, it has costed its agriculture crops. ("New locust attack," Dawn, 30 May 2020)

The temple would be a victory monument for the Sangh Parivar, says Dawn Editorial

The Editorial in Dawn states that along with the order of the Supreme Court to build Ram mandir upon Babri masjid, the transformation of Hindu Rashtra will be contributed. The temple will be seen as a victory monument for Sangh Parivar. According to Dawn "the party's stalwarts were at the forefront of the movement of Hindu zealots led to the demolition of the mosque in 1992, marking the beginning of the end of Indian secularism, and the bloody, violent arrival of Hindutva on India's national stage" ("Temple construction," Dawn, 30 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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