Daily Briefs

Photo : Dawn

29 June 2020, Monday, Vol 1, No.62

Supreme Court to take up Sindh government’s request for urgent hearing on Daniel Pearl's case

Supreme Court to take up Sindh government’s request for urgent hearing on Daniel Pearl's case; National Assembly passes the federal budget 2020-21; Karachi Stock exchange under attack

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief

PTI passes the finance bill for 2020-21 in National Assembly
The PTI's second budget was passed without any major problem on Monday (29 June) in the National Assembly. Early this month, the PTI government had presented a budget for 7.1 trillion rupees. There was a heated argument between the ruling coalition and the opposition members; however, the National Assembly passed the Finance Bill 2020-21 with a voice vote after the many debates and amendments. The government defeated the opposition with 160-119 votes at the time of passage of clause nine of the bill. Further, the opposition insisted on not having a vote at the final passage for it had been defeated during the clause-by-clause vote. (“After debates and amendments, NA passes Finance Bill 2020-21” Dawn, 29 June 2020)

Opposition on the Federal Budget 2020-21
A joint statement has been issued by all the opposition parties in Pakistan asking for the Prime Minister to resign. The opposition’s resolution brings five key causes and effects of the budget that is observed by the opposition as unhealthy to the economy of Pakistan and its people. Firstly, the fiscal crisis where the debts of the country have surged in two years which shows the misdirection of the funds and incompetent leadership risking the future. Secondly, the fall in GDP rate from 5.8 per cent to 0.4 per cent. The government has allowed foreign investors to earn billions through high-interest rates while it devalued the currency by 40 per cent and still reduced exports, leading to extreme poverty and unemployment. Thirdly, at the time of crisis, the health infrastructure has been tossed away and no special budget or funding has been allocated but the financing towards CPEC hasn’t reduced and the budget for the provinces seem worse than earlier years slimming the chances to cope with the virus. Fourthly, the government has only facilitated the capitalists to launder money through construction, schemes and taxes in a false hope to provide shelter for the poor. Finally, the use of powers such as NAB to silence the media and journalists in conveying the news to the public, the very example is the oppression of the Jang Group’s Chief Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman. (Asim Yasin, “Opposition rejects budget, demands PM’s resignation,” The News International, 29 June 2020)

PML-Q to back the government in the budget vote 
Although different exits between the ruling PTI and its ally Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), the party has decided to vote for the passage of the federal budget. The decision was made at a PML-Q meeting which was presided over by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Pervaiz Elahi at their Zahoor Elahi Road residence. Further, the meeting discussed the ‘cold attitude’ of PM Khan towards the PML-Q. The PML-Q has five seats in the National Assembly and 10 in the Punjab Assembly. Earlier this year, the party warned that it may review its alliance with the PTI if its demands were not met. (Zulqernain Tahir, “Differences exist, but PML-Q will back govt in budget vote,” Dawn, 29 June 2020)

“The government will definitely complete its term”: PM 
On 28 June, PM Imran Khan hosted a dinner reception where he asserted that his government will complete its five-year term. Further, Imran Khan held separate meetings with the leaders of the government’s allies before the reception and assured them that all their demands would be fulfilled. Regarding the opposition's rejection, he said, “Some people give new date of ousting of the government with every passing day, but I assure you that we are going nowhere. Further adding that “The government will definitely complete its term.” However, three coalition partners, 14 PTI MNAs did not attend this dinner reception hosted by PM. (Syed Irfan Raza, “PTI govt will complete its term, PM assures allies,” Dawn, 29 June 2020)

Daniel Pearl case: SC to take up Sindh’s urgent hearing request today
On 29 June, the SC will take up Sindh provincial government’s plea for urgent hearing of the appeal filed by Sindh against the upending of Ahmed Omer Saeed Sheikh’s (and three others’) conviction for the kidnapping and murdering the slain Wall Street Journal (WSJ) chief Daniel Pearl by the Sindh High Court. As ordered by the SC during the hearing on 1 June, the Sindh government will furnish the entire case complete with evidence along with its appeal challenging the SHC verdict. Justice Munib Akhtar, Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Yahya Afridi will hear the appeal. (“SC to take up plea for urgent hearing of Pearl case today,” Dawn, 29 June 2020) 

Attack at the Pakistan Stock Exchange
On 29 June, an attack at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) killed a police sub-inspector and three security guards by at least four heavily armed militants, who are reported to have arrived in a sedan and attempted to storm the PSX compound from its parking side while firing and throwing grenades. All four militants were killed as the attack was been "successfully thwarted" said an Additional IG of police. Further, the bomb disposal squad has been called to search and clear the area. PM Imran Khan and the Chief Minister of Sindh have condemned the attack.  (“Pakistan Stock Exchange comes under gun and grenade attack; Rangers say all attackers killed,” The News International, 29 June 2020)

PTM to strive for peace and justice for Pakhtuns
In the recent encounter between the police and accused terrorists, the Pakhtuns of Irfanullah were killed. The Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) chairman has promised to raise this issue and bring justice to the Pakhtun population. He stated that “PTM would always strive for peace and justice on the “Pakhtun soil.” (Ibrahim Shinwari, “PTM chief vows to continue raising voice for rights,” Dawn, 29 June 2020)

GB Legislative Assembly Elections to be on 18 Aug
As per the federal Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan, President Dr Arif Alvi has approved Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly’s election schedule. On 18 August 2020, polls will be held. On completion of the assembly’s term, the Legislature was dissolved on 24 June. By the election laws, new members have to be elected within 60 days. The elections will be held by the GB Election Commission in its 24 constituencies. Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Ali Ameen Gandapur said that peaceful free and fair elections is the government’s priority and voiced his concern that Covid-19 would make the elections a challenge. Meanwhile, former DIG of police Mir Afzal has taken oath as Gilgit-Baltistan’s caretaker chief minister. Today, the 12-member caretaker cabinet will take the oath. (“Elections for GB Legislative Assembly set for Aug 18,” Dawn, 29 June 2020)

Afridi asks world to stop India from altering Kashmir’s demography
Shehryar Khan Afridi, the chairman of parliament’s special committee on Kashmir, while reacting to non-Kashmiri Indian citizens being granted domicile certificates of Kashmir, urged the international community to curb India from artificially inducing a demographic change in Kashmir and “diminish(ing) the Muslim majority”. Mr Afridi said the fascist Indian regime led by the racist RSS-Hindutva inspired supremacist Modi government was exploiting the shifting of global attention onto the coronavirus pandemic and that India was illegally altering Kashmir’s demography while violating international laws and the 4th Geneva Convention. (“Afridi urges world to stop India from changing held Kashmir’s demography,” Dawn, 29 June 2020)

Pakistan claims to shoot a spy drone from India
The military media wing of Pakistan reported that it had shot down a spy drone of India in the militarized zone of Pakistan occupied Kashmir. It is said that the drones have been used to spectate the Pakistan army post and civilian areas to gather intelligence. According to the chief “Pakistan army troops shot down an Indian spying quadcopter in the Hot Spring sector along LoC. The quadcopter had intruded 850 metres on the Pakistani side of the LoC” (Tariq Naqash, “Army shoots down Indian spy drone along LoC,” Dawn, 29 June 2020)

The India-China border dispute will bring the US closer to India
The border skirmishes between China and India has led to the killing of many Indian soldiers at the Galwan valley. It is reasoned that the recent military developments of India in the valley has triggered China to cause the disturbance and this event exactly represents the 1962 war but the trade relations between the two countries do not stand the same. The trade has enormously expanded from $3 billion to $95 billion and the deficit favours $60 billion to China. Hence using the historical strategy of India which is Patriotism to boycott the good of China is too far to achieve. This has resulted in drawing the US closer to India as the cold war between the US and China persists. As a way to settle the conflict the US has made India sign for a quasi-defence pact, but India must ensure that it does not get tangled between the two powers considering its economic position and health crisis. (Shahid Javed Burki, “As China-India relations remain unsettled,” The Express Tribune, 29 June 2020)


"Some people give new date of ousting of the government with every passing day, but I assure you that we are going nowhere...The government will definitely complete its term."

- Imran Khan (Dawn)


In Focus and In Brief sections are prepared by Lakshmi V Menon, Abigail Miriam Fernandez and A Padmashree.

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