Daily Briefs

Photo : The News

22 June 2020, Monday, Vol 1, No.55

COVID-19: 55 per cent of the Pakistanis consider the issue overrated, says a survey

Survey on popular perceptions in Pakistan on the COVID-19, BNP-M's exit from the ruling coalition, comments analysing the Supreme Court verdict on Justice Isa, and the killing of two army men in Waziristan.

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Focus

Covid-19: 55 per cent of the Pakistanis consider the issue overrated, says a survey

As per Gallup Pakistan's Coronavirus Attitude Tracker Survey, presently 55 per cent Pakistanis (65 per cent from Sindh) believe the coronavirus threat to be exaggerated. Globally, Pakistani respondents are fourth likely to have this opinion, and those from Japan are the least likely (12 per cent). ("55pc Pakistanis believe threat of coronavirus is exaggerated: survey," The News International, 22 June 2020)

Public Opinion

As per the study, public opinion over whether or not Covid-19 has been brought under control is split – while 47 per cent agree, 48 per cent disagree with 33 per cent strongly disagreeing. The survey found that 22 per cent claimed to know someone from within their social circle who had contracted the virus; 12 per cent claimed to know someone who had succumbed to the virus; one-third Pakistanis doubt the reported number of coronavirus cases; and 67 per cent opine that the Central government has controlled the pandemic well, while 28 per cent disagree (in early April 82 per cent agreed). ("COVID-19: Percentage of people satisfied with government's performance decline by 15%," Geo TV, 22 June 2020)

Social distancing

"Housewives (47%), farmers (30%) and business owners (29%) are the least supportive of nationwide lockdowns to curb the COVID-19 crisis". 65 per cent Pakistanis report that a male family member attends the congregational Jummah prayer in the mosque; a steep hike from April's 29 per cent. In Balochistan, this figure is as high as 91 per cent; while in Sindh, it is 42 per cent. Data shows that nearly 75 per cent Pakistanis say that a male family member offered Eid prayers in a mosque; 74 per cent Pakistanis will send their children to school if they re-open soon, and 59 per cent believe things will normalize by end of 2020. The current public perceptions do not understand the gravity of the Covid-19 situation. It will lead to the flouting of SOPs proving detrimental to Pakistan's pandemic battle. ("Coronavirus Attitude Tracker Survey," Gallup Pakistan)

Economic front

On the economic front, the survey made the following findings: 22 per cent of Pakistani households claim to have reduced the size or number of meals. 2.1 million households sold assets, and over 22 million adults borrowed food or sought help in the past week to meet basic household needs. A significant majority, 88 per cent, claim their incomes have plummeted since the lockdown. "Business owners (97%), self-employed persons (89%), and daily wagers (84%) consider themselves to be the most at-risk". Regarding the re-opening of businesses, while 47 per cent (83 per cent Sindh residents) support it, 48 per cent do not. 95% of daily wagers claim to know someone who has lost their job owing to the lockdown. Also, 25 per cent Pakistanis claim to have experienced greater Eidul Fitr expenditure in 2020. 

The Survey

The Coronavirus Attitude Tracker Survey studies longitudinal behavioural, attitudinal, and public-perceptional changes since the commence of the lockdown. It examines public response and conducts towards preventive initiatives and programmes to tackle the pandemic. The survey also analyses the socio-economic impact of the Covid-19 lockdown and overall changes.


Image Source: The News

In Brief

More political change to come: Mengal
The Balochistan National Party (BNP-M) leader Sardar Akhtar Mengal met with Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman for the second time on 21 June, after while talking to reporters he said: "In our meeting, we discussed the changes that have already taken place in the country and the changes which are about to come." Further, the JUI-F chief stated that he hopes Mengal would contact other allies of the PTI and convince them to come out of the ruling coalition by convincing them that this was not the time to support the government. These statements come after the Mengal announced his party's decision to quit the PTI-led ruling coalition, further stating that the decision to quit the ruling coalition was a party decision that could not be changed by him. (Amir Wasim, "Mengal hints at 'more political changes' in near future," Dawn, 22 June 2020)

Alienating Mengal sends a wrong signal to Balochistan: Editorial
An editorial in the Dawn titled "Baloch demands" is critical of the PTI government's shortcoming in fulfilling the demands of the BNP-M. The departure of the party from the PTI coalition has once again only highlighted the grim situation in Balochistan. The editorial states that it is unfortunate that the government has succeeded in alienating someone as accommodating Sardar Akhtar Mengal, thus sending a wrong signal to Balochistan at a time when the province needs greater integration and healing. Further, this situation depicts the failure of successive governments to address the grievance in Balochistan despite repeated attempts at settling issues. The editorial concludes by stating that the PTI government and the establishment must not let matters slide further and that the demand of the Balochistan must be met. ("Baloch demands," Dawn, 22 June 2020)

Two army men killed in North Waziristan attack
On 21 June, a captain and a soldier of the Pakistan Army were killed in clashes with militants in North Waziristan. Three terrorists, including their leader, were also killed in the exchange of fire. The incidents took place when the authorities were planning the opening of the Ghulam Khan border crossing with Afghanistan for bilateral trade which was closed due to security reasons. According to the ISPR statement, terrorists opened fire at a security forces' patrolling party. In another incident, a remote-controlled device exploded close to a military vehicle near Mirali. However, no casualty was reported in the blast. There has been an increase of targeted killings and attacks on security forces in the North Waziristan district since April where over one dozen security personnel have been martyred in these attacks. (Pazir Gul, "Captain, soldier martyred in North Waziristan attack," Dawn, 22 June 2020)

Analysis of the Justice Isa case
An analysis by Rasool brings out a detailed analysis of the Justice Isa case. This started when the government claimed Justice Isa was guilty of misconduct for not disclosing the assets in the name of his family members. It was denied by Justice Isa for framing him under a reference that was acquired illegally. Therefore, the government asserted judicial accountability and a panel of 10 judges directed for an explanation for the source of funds to acquire assets by the spouse and children. In the short order, they provided a time of 60 days to carry out proceedings before the commissioner and 75 days within the date of receipt. It has asked the secretary of (Supreme Judicial council) SJC to submit the record of the proceedings, and this will be taken into account in case the FBR does not file the report. It is expected that FBR will inspect the audits of Justice Isa for the next two months and shall be reviewed by SJC. According to Rasool, the next months will challenge the justice and confidence of the Judicial system. (Saad Rassol, "Justice Qazi Faez Isa Case," The Nation, 22 June 2020)

Justice Isa's case was not a simple case for the Supreme Court to show courage in protecting a good judge versus the evil state: Comment
A commentary in the Dawn titled "Against judicial pessimism" looks into the dangers of thinking that the Justice Isa case has been closed. Further, it states that it is an illusion to think that Justice Isa's case was a simple case for the Supreme Court to just show courage in protecting a good judge versus the evil state, bring out three challenges in this case and how they were addressed by the court: firstly, how can judges be protected from persecution without compromising on accountability? It safeguarded the independence of the judge but permitted accountability with stern safeguards. Secondly, how can the state accountable for its illegal and mala fide actions against judges without provoking an inter-institutional crisis? It refrained from saying anything about mala fides of the executive without giving reasons to avoid speculations about an inter-institutional crisis. Thirdly, how does one provide justice to the persecuted judge without compromising the autonomy and effectiveness of the SJC? It exercised jurisdiction over the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) without compromising the role of SJC as the primary body of judicial accountability. The commentary concludes by stating that with the strong support of the lawyers' community and the general public, Justice Faez Isa has already won the war; however, a few battles remain. (Faisal Siddiqi, "Against judicial pessimism," Dawn, 22 June 2020)

Mustafa Kamal comments on MQM chief and links with RAW
In a Press conference in Karachi, Pak Sar Zameen Party (PSP) leader has accused the chief of turning youngsters into agents for RAW. He also blames the murder of MQM leader to be Altaf Hussain and how his party started Jihad against him for corrupting the younger generations. He said "Altaf Hussain is now conspiring against the country and is raising the slogan of Sindhu Desh," ("MQM chief turned youngsters into RAW agents: Kamal," The Nation, 22 June 2020)

Former MQM leader accuses the members of MQM for receiving funds from India
Muhammad Anwar, former head of the MQM diplomatic wing has accused the members of the party of receiving funds from India to support its contracts. He was earlier accused along with Hussain in the murdering of the leader Farooq but he has denied the fact and said that he blamed the former governor of Sindh for spreading the rumour. Regarding the contact with India, he commented that "I was connected by the MQM with the Indian contacts. I never had any vested interests. We were towing the party line in India." This can be viewed as a diversion for the accusation posed on the former head. (Murtaza Ali Shah, "Altaf's confidant admits to taking money from India," The News International, 22 June 2020)



"If our demands are unconstitutional and illegitimate, then the state, the government and the state institutions should clearly tell us so that we can see which door of any Pir we should knock at."

- Sardar Akhtar Mengal, Leader of the BNP-M on leaving the PTI coalition (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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