Daily Briefs

Photo : Dawn

01 July 2020, Wednesday Vol 1, No.64

Imran Khan blames India for the attack on Stock Exchange in Karachi

Pakistan's response to the BLA attack on the Stock exchange in Karachi, and the ban on PIA by EU and

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief
"No doubt" that India was behind yesterday's attempted attack on the PSX: PM
On 30 June, PM Imran Khan in his National Assembly address stated that there is little doubt India masterminded and backed the attack on the Pakistan Stock Exchange. He added that India wanted to destabilise Pakistan and create “uncertainty.” He also stated that his cabinet ministers were aware of the threats and that intelligence agencies were in high alert. Further, Mr Khan has written a letter to the UN secretary-general in which he drew attention to the continued brutalisation of people in Kashmir. (“India behind stock exchange attack, NA told,” Dawn, 1 July 2020)
On Karachi Exchange attack, also read:
“The symbolism of the target cannot be missed”: Dawn's Editorial
An editorial in the Dawn titled “PSX attack,” comments on the return of urban terrorism with the attack on the Pakistan Stock Exchange by Baloch separatist militants. While looking into the attack the editorial points out the symbolism of the target, stating that the PSX represents the beating heart of economic activity in the country’s commercial capital, and is located in an area where the State Bank of Pakistan, the Central Police Office, and other major public and private institutions are based. Thus, the message sent across by the hostile actors is that the country’s economic nerve centre is vulnerable. Further, the editorial states that given the increasing number of bombings and other acts of terrorism that has been increasing in the city is clear these attacks have been aimed at destabilising the metropolis. The editorial concluded by stating that the security forces must remain alert and step up intelligence-gathering activities to prevent the plans of subversive elements, further, adding that if separatists and political militants have joined forces, then the state must adjust its counterterrorism policy accordingly. (“PSX attack,” Dawn, 30 June 2020)

Foreign Minister blames India for the terror attack on the stock exchange building
The Foreign Minister has blamed the incident on India for obstructing peace in the region and said that the clues lead to activating of sleeper cells by India in Pakistan. He appreciated the response of police in killing the involved terrorists and also stated that as Pakistan maintains peace, India is getting exposed for its human rights violations. According to him “As we are opening the Kartarpur Corridor, India is making attempts to disrupt law and order situation in Pakistan” (Shafqat Ali, “All clues lead to India: FM,” The Nation, 30 June 2020)

Pak Rangers Chief blames RAW for the attack on PSX
On 29 June, the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) came under attack. In the abortive assault, four militants were killed and one police officer and three guards were martyred. In the attack for which the outlawed Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) claimed responsibility through social media, three attackers from Kech were identified. However, the Director-General of Pakistan Rangers, Sindh, Major General Omer Ahmed Bukhari blamed Indian spy agency RAW and sleeper cells for the attack. The chief of the paramilitary forces said the attack reflected RAW’s “frustration” over concord in Pakistan’s financial hub and stated such an attack would have been impossible without foreign assistance. (“Heroism at PSX as deadly attack thwarted,” Dawn, 30 June 2020)

Opposition to challenge Balochistan budget in court
Balochistan’s Opposition parties consider the 2020-21 Baluchistan budget unconstitutional and illegal. At a press conference, the provincial assembly’s opposition leader Malik Sikandar Khan announced the decision to challenge the budget in a court of law. The Opposition says the budget has nothing for the people; neglects low-income employees; and does not address hike in prices of essential commodities. Mr Khan also called for a probe into mass corruption in goods purchased to tackle the pandemic. (“Opposition plans to move court against Balochistan budget,” Dawn, 1 July 2020)

PM’s attitude dangerous for the fragile coalition: Analysis
Zahid Hussain calls Imran Khan’s “we are the only choice” comment a dangerous manifestation of subjective reality, illusory superiority and habitual arrogance, which will widen cracks and peak discontent within the fragile ruling coalition and PTI. Hussain says perhaps Imran Khan was referring to the “security establishment” or Deep State’s choice; whose support has held the fractious coalition together so far. However, BNP-M’s exit may set a fateful precedent. Hassan writes that although the budget provided some relief to the ruling elite, the confidence crisis persists. The increasingly “coherent and forceful” Opposition has been strengthened by “the government’s mishandling of the ongoing pandemic, the worsening economic situation, and the various scandals highlighting the crisis of governance” and is destabilising the concord within PTI and the ruling coalition. However, Hassan states that BNP-M’s exit has made the PM take up a more hands-on approach reflected in his direct involvement in political manoeuvring and more frequent National Assembly appearances; both good omens. (“Dangerous delusions,” Dawn, 1 July 2020)

Lt Gen Nigar Johar first woman three-star general in Pakistan’s Army
On 29 June, Lt Gen Nigar Johar became the first woman three-star general in the history of Pakistan’s military. Gen Johar has been serving in the army’s medical corps for nearly three decades and has also held numerous management positions during her career. Besides being the first female officer to be promoted to three-star rank, she was also the first female officer to command an army hospital. She has been conferred with the Tamgha-i- Imtiaz (Military). Further, she is also the recipient of Fatima Jinnah Gold Medal for meritorious services in the Army Medical Corps from the prime minister of Pakistan. (“Army gets first woman three-star general,” Dawn, 1 July 2020)

WB approves another $500 million loan
On 30 June, the World Bank (WB) announced the approval of another $500 million loan to Pakistan for the country’s budget support amid its increased expenditures on Covid-19 crisis response. In a statement, the WB stated that its board of directors have approved the financing for the Resilient Institutions for Sustainable Economy (RISE) programme to help Pakistan strengthen fiscal management, promote transparency and private sector growth and undertake foundational reforms in the energy sector to transition to low-carbon energy. The project is to be financed by a $250m credit from the International Development Association (IDA) and a $250m loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). Further, the World Bank Country Director for Pakistan stated that these reforms will help build fiscal resilience and stimulate recovery from impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. The RISE programme will further support reforms such as harmonising sales tax and making the trade tariff structure more competitive. (Khaleeq Kiani, “WB approves $500m loan for Pakistan’s budget support, Dawn, 1 July 2020)

FY2019-20’s Revenue collection up by 3.9 per cent
The Dawn article says FY2019-20’s revenue collection experienced an insignificant growth of 3.9 per cent due to the Covid-19 lockdown and economic lull. The months of April and May experienced the steepest dips by 16 per cent and 30.8 per cent respectively in comparison to the previous fiscal year. With the easing of the lockdown, the decline in June reduced to 12 per cent. FBR has estimated a revenue collection decline of Rs223bn per month since the outbreak of the pandemic. Meanwhile, for the third time, IMF revised Pakistan’s revenue collection target (from Rs4.8tr to Rs3.908tr). (“Revenue collection up 3.9pc in 2019-20,” Dawn, 1 July 2020)   

BLA has an Indian connection: Analysis
The article states that BLA has known Indian connections saying that “New Delhi’s media also confirms the BLA’s Indian connection”. It presents Modi government’s Indian citizenship offer to exiled anti-Pak Baloch leaders including Baloch Republican Party Brahamdagh Bugti; a Hindu article on BLA commanders receiving medical aid in India under fake identities; Modi’s statement during his Bangladesh visit about India’s involvement in “destabilizing Pakistan”; and the 2016 reporting by News London correspondent Murtaza Ali Shah on links between Brahamdagh Bugti and the Indian establishment, as justifications for the primary statement. (“BLA has known Indian connection,” The News International, 1 July 2020)

Europe suspends PIA authorisation for six months
The European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) suspended Pakistan International Airlines’ authorisation to operate to the EU member states for six months with effective from 1 July, however, with the right to appeal against the decision. This decision came after the International Air Transport Association (IATA) expressed concerns over the case of dubious licences and lapse of safety oversight by the aviation regulator. However, an extension has been given allowing PIA to operate its flights to the EU till July 3 after the foreign secretary contacted the European authorities. Further, the UN Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) has also removed Pakistani airlines from its ‘Recommended List’ and has advised the United Nations staff in Pakistan not to travel on any Pakistan-registered airlines due to the findings from the PIA air crash in Karachi in May 2020. (Amin Ahmed, Mohammad Asghar, “EU safety agency to suspend PIA authorisation for six months Dawn, 1 July 2020)


"We very well know and there is no doubt that India is behind the terror attack on the Pakistan Stock Exchange building in Karachi."

- Imran Khan (The News)


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

Also read...
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By D. Suba Chandran
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