Daily Briefs

Photo : Dawn

02 July 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.65

The Curious case of "Minus One" Formula in Pakistan

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

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief

Minus-one, Accusations, Problems within the PTI: AnalysisAn opinion in the Dawn titled "RED ZONE FILES: Minus few?" by Fahd Husain states that the PTI government has seen a fair share of problems over the past few weeks. The recent development being PM Imran Khan giving life to the peculiar Pakistani political jargon of 'Minus-one' when he referred to the term at National Assembly. Husain then asks two questions; first, why did the PM dignify this term? Second, does this mean there is a move afoot to operationalize the term? The opinion going around it that the PM referred to 'Minus-one' because it was something that he was hearing too often and thus thought it would be the right time to address it. However, the opinion states that this development has caused unnecessary debate, thus further weakening the already struggling government and forcing people to indulge in gossip about possible candidates, even though there may be none. Further, the opinion cites the various political and governance problems that have highlighted once again the 'incompetence' of the PTI government, but many believe that there does not appear to be an existential problem for the PTI government. However, on the other hand, some believe that there is an existential problem within the PTI government, with some believing "Khan is not happy with some of his cabinet members," this is the final point which could cause a storm in a teacup to spill over. Thus, given that the PTI government has completed half its term, how will they remove this perception of incompetence? Does the answer lie in reshuffling the cabinet or is the problem deeper? are questions that remain. (Fahd Husain, "RED ZONE FILES: Minus few?Dawn, 2 July 2020)

Disgruntled lawmakers will prove costly for PTI: Editorial
The Editorial says that the past week witnessed emotionally charged, and criticism filled speeches by National Assembly lawmakers who did not care to practice restraint. Personal attacks and subjective rhetoric were rife. PM Imran Khan, as usual, pledged to hunt down "cartels and mafias"; criticized and mocked Opposition for "corruption and lies"; and blamed previous governments for the "inherited" mess. The article says that Imran Khan's government has been as much of a fail as the previous governments the PM is accusing. Two years since PTI taking power in the Centre, promised reforms and development projects are yet to materialize, and problems in the economy, law enforcement, sanitation and drinking water persist. The article says that the PM must keep his "defensive 'container politics'" and "political point-scoring and bickering" for later and fulfil promises before cracks within PTI and the ruling coalition widen and crumble the government. ("Lack of restraint, Dawn, 2 July 2020)

The government wants to assassinate Zardari: Bilawal
On 1 July, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari stated at a press conference that the PTI government wants to want to assassinate former president Asif Ali Zardari through the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). He added that when Zardari was in jail, he was not given medicines and accused the NAB of wanting to infect him with COVID-19 when they forced him to appear in court. Further stating that "This government does not respect the elderly as well as women, but we will not compromise on the 18th Amendment." Further, he spoke on the "minus one" formula, stating that his party was not seeking any concessions from the government, challenged the prime minister to an open debate, commented on Imran Khan stance on Osama bin Laden's death, and raised objections to the government's data on coronavirus pandemic. Amjad Mahmood, "Bilawal says govt wants Zardari to contract Covid-19," Dawn, 2 July 2020)

Clampdown on Academic Freedom
I.A. Rehman writes about the Punjab government's promise to not immediately present the Public Universities (Amendment) Act, 2020, that would curtail the autonomy of 29 public-sector universities through changes in existing laws under which they function. The potential enactment proposes the replacement of the chairmanship of the vice-chancellor with a BS21 rank retired judge of the Supreme Court or the Lahore High Court (LHC). Rehman says the syndicate's composition is also noteworthy. ("Threat to academic freedomDawn, 2 July 2020)

CPI-based inflation inches up to 8.6 per cent in June
The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) data, released on 1 July, showed that Consumer Price Index (CPI) based on inflation increased to 8.6 per cent in June from 8.2pc in May. Overall inflation had dwindled to single-digit owing to the cuts in prices of petroleum products and better supply of essential items. The pandemic has put downward pressure on prices of commodities by lessening demand. However, supply disruptions persist. Food inflation remains in double-digit while non-food inflation has been clocked at 4.7 per cent year-on-year. ("Inflation rises to 8.6pc in June," Dawn, 2 July 2020)

PIA forbade in EU & UK
UK Civil Aviation Authority withdrew the permit of Pakistan International Airlines to operate from its three airports, Birmingham, London Heathrow and Manchester Airport. This happened soon after, Pakistan Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan's statement, last month, that 150 pilots of national flag carrier had "dubious licence". The director-general of UAE, general civil aviation authority, Saif Mohmmad Al Suwadi has asked Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) to verify the list of the pilot who holds UAE pilot licence based on qualification and licence issued by PCAA. ("PIA barred from operating out of three UK airports," Dawn, 2 July 2020)

FM Qureshi speaks with EU official to reverse the ban on PIA
On 1 July, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi spoke with European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell via a telephonic conversation conveying concerns over the European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA) suspension of PIA flights to Europe for six months. FM Qureshi sought to reverse this ban. Further, he assured the EU official that adequate measures are being taken by the government to ensure the highest level of flight safety in PIA operations. Further adding that the national carrier remained committed to maintaining the highest standards and quality in its air operations. The PIA announced that Europe and UK have granted it landing permission from 1 July to 3 July, further the airline will be allowed to operate flights four days a week to bring back Pakistanis stranded in Europe and UK. (Kamran Yousaf, "Diplomatic efforts on to restore Europe flights," The Express Tribune, 1 July 2020)

Pakistan reaffirms its stand in the Intra-Afghan dialogue
On 1 July, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had met the US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad on his three-nation trip. Qureshi reaffirmed Pakistan's support and commitment, for working along with international and regional stakeholders for sustainable peace, and political resolution of Afghan dispute. He also reiterated the need for being alert to the sinister design of the 'spoilers' and had further urged "all sides" to reduce violence. The slow release of prisoners has, however led to a delay in the intra-Afghan dialogue. ("Pakistan warns about 'spoilers' of Afghan peace process," Dawn, 2 July 2020)

FM Qureshi tells US about Indian role in BLA attack
On 1 July, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi conveyed concerns over the outlawed Balochistan Liberation Army's (BLA) use of Afghan soil and India's involvement in the terrorist attack on the Pakistan Stock Exchange in Karachi to Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, the US President Donald Trump's point man on Afghan peace. The FM expressed disappointment over the failure of the US State Department's Country Report on Terrorism 2019 in recognizing Pakistan's efforts to counter-terrorism. ("Pakistan informs US about Indian role in PSX attack," The Express Tribune, 2 July 2020)


"News circulating in Indian electronic and social media claiming additional deployment of Pakistan army troops along LOC in Gilgit Baltistan and alleged use of Skardu Air base by China is false, irresponsible and far from truth. No such movement or induction of additional forces has taken place. We also vehemently deny presence of Chinese troops in Pakistan."

- ISPR (Click here)


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

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