Daily Briefs

Photo : Dawn

08 June 2020, Monday, Vol 1, No.39

The government needs to learn from its mistakes, not repeat them says, Amb Maleeha Lodhi

On not learning from mistakes; Khalilzad-Bajwa meeting; and the World Bank warning on economic growth

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Focus
The government needs to learn from its mistakes, not repeat them says, Amb Maleeha Lodhi

An editorial in the Dawn titled “Flight from reality,” by Amb Maleeha Lodhi is critical of the government’s actions amid the pandemic. (Maleeha Lodhi, “Flight from reality,” Dawn, 8 June 2020) Lodhi states that the government has chosen to remain in a state of denial about the serious health crisis that is taking over the country. With most of the restrictions being lifted and acknowledgement that coronavirus cases will multiply the plan adopted by the government is risky. Lodhi argues that the government’s distractions from managing the crisis seem to be increasing by the day, commenting on the government’s actions from day one.

First, the government has downplayed the seriousness of this health emergency from the beginning with its mixed public messages. This has left both the people and media in a confused state and resulted in violations of the SOPs that were out in place. With the government portraying that Pakistan was much better off than the world’s worst-affected countries meant setting the lowest bar for crisis management in the country and hid the grave realities of the pandemic all together.

Second, the government late response to the crisis. A coherent and consistent strategy to contain the virus was the key to fight the virus, the lack of which push the situation to get worse in the country. Further, early intervention of the lockdown was required to stop the spread of infection and ensure public compliance with SOPs in the smart lockdown phase. However, both were not achieved. Most importantly, the ground on which the government formed its response was to view the pandemic through an economic and not a public health prism is where the mistake was made.

Lodhi concluded by stated that the government needs to learn from its mistakes and not repeat them. With the situation worsening in the country the government needs to carefully review its policy of lifting restrictions and take measures to ensure the SOPs are strictly followed.


Image Source: Dawn

In Brief

In the tribal regions, “Old ways die-hard” says Dawn in its editorial
Jirgas are the all-men council of tribal communities who acted as the panchayats at the local level until the amendment in 2019 but the latest incidents in Waziristan show that the “old ways die hard”. The editorial in Dawn recalls the bad old days of the semi-autonomous federally administered Tribal areas where the people were deprived of judicial protection of their fundamental rights and emphasise the state to take a monopoly injustice. (“When jirgas abet crime,” Dawn 8 June 2020)

Demand for three weeks lockdown in Punjab
The opposition parties in Punjab demands lockdown for three weeks in the six severely affected cities. This follows the accusations made by the opposition on the provincial government for not only concealing coronavirus deaths but also the count of affected patients in the province. (“Opposition wants three-week lockdown in six Punjab cities,” Dawn 8 June 2020)

An investigation into "Sugar Cartel" scam, approves PM
Prime Minister Imran Khan approves the investigation on the "sugar cartel" case that is involved in multibillion-rupee scam for the past 25 years. The scam is involved with several bigwigs from the National Assembly and it could expose a lot of opposition party members during investigation. The Information Minister said, "The government will take on all mafia in the country one by one no matter how rich or politically powerful. No exceptions can be made" during his press briefing. ("Sugar Cartel' to face full brunt of law," Dawn, 8 June 2020)  

US special representative met Pakistan’s Army Chief on the Afghan reconciliation process.
The US special representative for Afghan reconciliation assent with Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff to continue working with mutually agreed goals in Afghanistan as a step for regional peace situation. The meeting also discussed the mutual interest of the US and Pakistan in Afghan’s peace process, Afghan refugees’ issue, and Pak-Afghan border management. (“Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation called on General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), today,” ISPR, 7 June 2020)

World Bank projects a negative growth rate for the next fiscal year
The Global Economic Prospective Report released by the World Bank has stated a negative -1 percent GDP growth for Pakistan in the upcoming fiscal year 2020-21. This stands contrary to the Pakistan National Accounts committee’s projection of 2.3 per cent GDP growth in the next budget year 2020-21. The World Bank report identifies the various reasons for deceleration on growth rates like depreciation of Pakistani rupees, budget deficit, and fall in revenue collection. (“World Bank projects -1pc GDP growth for Pakistan in 2020-21,” The News International, 8 June 2020)

Attentions to developmental projects in the budget year 2020-21, says Imran Khan
Prime Minister Imran Khan called the provincial governments to pay attention to the developmental projects rather than the non-developmental budgets for the financial year 2020-21. He reiterated on the exceptional circumstance caused by the spread of coronavirus and insisted provinces to prioritize budgets in the development of special economic zones and agriculture and to reduce the unnecessary governmental expenditures. The private sectors are to be facilitated in developmental projects under the public-private partnership. (“Budget 2020-21: PM Imran for the increase in development budget,” The News International, 8 June 2020)

“Hoping for mutual convenient middle path”, an editorial in The Express Tribune  
An editorial in The Express Tribune discusses the IMF's demand to freeze salaries of government employees and the state’s decision to increase the salaries by 20 per cent. Due to unsustainable public debt that is set to consume 90 per cent of the total national economy, IMF prescribes for the fiscal consolidation path. However, due to the high inflation caused Pakistan is taking a risky step in the hope of striking a mutually convenient middle path in the upcoming negotiations with the IMF. (“IMF’s harsh demands,” The Express Tribune, 8 June 2020) 


"Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation called on General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), today. During the meeting matters of mutual interest, overall regional security situation including Afghan refugees issue / Afghan Reconciliation Process and Pak-Afghan border management were discussed. Both shared steps taken in this regard and agreed to continue working towards mutually agreed goals"

- ISPR Press Release
on the meeting between Amb Khalilzad and Gen Bajwa


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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