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Daily Briefs


Photo : Dawn

23 June 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No.56

Imran Khan says he was against the idea of lockdown



UNDP report is critical of Pakistan's strategy on COVID, Imran Khan says he was against the idea of lockdown, political situation relating to BNP's exit, Balochistan's budget, and CPEC

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Focus

Lockdown was not the solution to the pandemic: PM

On 22 June, Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterated that lockdown was not the solution to the pandemic, further stating that if the provinces had consulted with him earlier, he would not have allowed a lockdown. PM Khan made these statements while addressing the launching ceremony of three initiatives as a response to the Covid-19 situation. Further, he added that the fear of the virus spreading from Europe and Wuhan resulted in the imposition of a strict lockdown even though the circumstances in Pakistan were different. 

For Imran, the timely launch of the Ehsaas cash distribution programme for poor families affected by the coronavirus had left Pakistan in a better situation than India, US, and European countries. He then revealed that under the PM's Covid-19 Fund, more than 16 million families would be provided monetary assistance.

While addressing the future strategy of the government for COVID-19, he added that the next challenge for the government is to look at measures to ensure that businesses continue to function and the enforcement of SOPs. In light of this strategy, he said that a media campaign was to be launched and the Tiger Force will be mobilised to provide awareness about SOPs, especially in hotspots. He reiterated that the next month will be difficult with the implementation of the smart lockdown and the SOPs will have to be strictly followed to protect the most vulnerable.  

Concerning the three-initiative launched to facilitate and empower welfare organisations and enhancing their role with the government in responding to the Covid-19 situation, he added that new Langar and Panahgah Apps would help provide critical coordination of welfare activities in the country. ("If asked, would not have allowed lockdown: PM," Dawn, 23 June 2020)

Local government's disconnected from citizens: UNDP
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) released a report titled "Covid-19 — Pakistan Socio-economic Impact Assessment and Response Plan" in which it stated that the local governments in Pakistan are disconnected from its citizens and have not been the at the forefront of the COVID-19 like in other countries across the world. This has led to the weakening of the essential state-society social contract leading to marginalisation, group grievances, and conflict and social resilience in the country.

Further, the report states that despite measures to provide relief amid the pandemic, the results remain poor, with traders, businessmen, and medical health professionals dissatisfied by the federal government's unilateral decisions affecting their businesses. Further, the poor segments of the population have lost their livelihoods, with many people relying on daily wages. The report also raises concern over how COVID-19 is threatening social cohesion within countries, and its impact on society and the behaviour of individuals, stating that Pakistan is offering that space for further integration of the relation between social cohesion and community resilience.

The report brings out the current situation in Pakistan, where the state-society disconnect has often been filled by a violent extremist who has exploited the grievances of the people and the lack of state support in times of crisis to win support among vulnerable groups. Further, the absence of local governments in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, and Balochistan make in unclear in knowing who making the decisions and what activity each one is doing. The report states that the presence of elected local governments would have helped create an effective bridge between the government and the population, thus resolving the current situation in which the citizens have lost trust in the government's decision. The report recommends that local governments also require a strong emergency management system that can identify vulnerable segments and respond to challenges immediately "Pakistan's local govts disconnected from citizens: UNDPDawn, 23 June 2020)

 
Image Source: Dawn

 

In Brief

INTERNAL
The Crash report of airbus A320 was released
The recent plane crash of the PK-8303 preliminary report has been released. It has given the reason for the crash was due to ignorance of the directions by the cockpit crew and the air traffic controller has also been blamed for not enforcing the instructions to the pilot to follow it. The air traffic controller was also made responsible for allowing the aircraft to land despite the wrong parameters. ("Plane crash report made public," Dawn, 23 June 2020)

MQM faction in London denies allegations of Anwar
The MQM London faction has denied allegations of MQM's veteran leader Muhammad Anwar that the MQM had been receiving funds from the government of India and that he was asked by its leadership to coordinate with Indian contacts to receive it. The MQM London issued a statement after a meeting at Altaf Hussain's House saying "The Coordination Committee of MQM has strongly denied comments made by Muhammad Anwar against founder and leader Altaf Hussain and MQM. The allegations levelled by Muhammad Anwar in his interview with Murtaza Ali Shah of Geo TV are baseless and fabricated. These allegations are not new for MQM because since inception it has been facing such kind of fabricated and malicious propaganda and has always rejected them in the strongest terms." (Murtaza Ali Shah, "MQM-London denies Anwar's RAW allegations," The News International, 23 June 2020)

BALOCHISTAN
The National Party head to topple the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government
The JUI-F chief has urged BNP-M head for alliance talk with party members to not support the current government while Mengal (BNP-M) has stated about having close relations with the opposition. The JUI-F chief has stated that "The other coalition parties in the government should now speak truth boldly" ("Fazl seeks Mengal support to topple Imran's govt," The Express Tribune, 23 June 2020)

Balochistan: the more things change, the more they stay the same
The Budget of Balochistan of Rs465.5 for the next fiscal year seems more the same as being adaptive to the crisis. The editorial brings out four drawbacks that lie in the budget. The lack of transparency in the budget and shows no accountability as reforms only seem to straighten the public finance but the management system goes on to be vague. The budget estimates are seeming to be diverted from the expenditure on service delivery needs. Along with corruption and bureaucratic red tape preventing the entry of private capital into the province. The editorial suggests that the province needs to bring stronger reforms to support its financial system, development schemes to get political support and accountability to the expenditures. ("Balochistan budget," Dawn, 23 June 2020)

CPEC
Former governor of the SBP states the importance of BRI to Pakistan
The former governor of the State Bank of Pakistan states four significant benefits to Pakistan from the BRI initiative. Firstly, the infrastructure that lacks investment will gain access to capital. Secondly, the shortage of power in Pakistan has reduced the GDP by three per cent and the support to power plant projects will help meet it. Thirdly, urbanisation helps to bridge the gap in income inequality. Finally, the boost to the intra-regional trade and generation of new businesses across the region. ("Pandemic disruption has elevated BRI's importance: former SBP governor," Dawn, 23 June 2020)

Transparency of the CPEC is under question
The editorial questioned the accountability of the CPEC to the government. In the recent event, the secretary to the Gwadar port had denied disclosing the agreement of Phase-II when it was asked by the Senate. In the CPEC history, it is not the first-time thing, but it has been a practise when it comes to being transparent. Although the infrastructure projects do help Pakistan, what is needed is the transparency of such projects involving international powers. Only upon a clear disclosing of the agreement should the government agree for the implementation. ("Sharing CPEC facts," Dawn, 23 June 2020)

ON INDIA
Qureshi brings the issue of Kashmiri's in OIC meeting
In the virtual meeting held by OIC on Jammu and Kashmir, the foreign minister has objected to Jammu and Kashmir Reorgani­zation Order 2020 and the Jammu and Kashmir Grant of Domicile Cer­tificate Rules 2020 as it violates the UNSC resolutions and International Law. The minister also condemned the actions of India on the people of Kashmir and the violence faced was intolerable. He urged "India to rescind annexation of Occupied Jammu and Kashmir; hold UN-supervised plebiscite in IOJ&K; end human rights abuses and international media to investigate and report on the situation in the occupied territory." (Baqir Sajjad Syed, "Pakistan asks world to look into Kashmiris' plight," Dawn, 23 June 2020)

ON INDIA-CHINA BORDER TENSIONS
Analysis of Pakistan-India-China possibilities of war
An analysis in the News initially compares the military expenditure of China and India. It is differential military spending, as per the 2010 SIPRI report China had spent 143 billion dollars while India spends 71 billion dollars in the current decade. This, in itself, gives a better possibility for China. In the case between Pakistan and India, the problem is viewed as a "battle of survival" and not a religious or territory problem. According to Zaidi, India has more of a nationalist and a religious extremist country and it is time for Pakistan to get ready for an attack from India as tensions build in the LOC. (Mosharraf Zaidi, "India's next attack is coming," The News International, 23 June 2020)

 


"The lockdown has created an unprecedented situation. If provinces had consulted me, I would have not allowed a lockdown. Panic was created that the virus will spread the way it had in Europe and Wuhan. Our circumstances are different, but a strict lockdown was imposed regardless."

- Imran Khan (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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