Daily Briefs

Photo : Dawn

10 July 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.73

The US bans PIA flights, while the Supreme Court warns Pakistan Railways

The US ban on PIA flights, the Supreme Court warning on Pakistan Railways, forecasts on Pakistan's economy by the IMF and World Bank, postponement of the proposed GB elections

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief

The US places ban on PIA flights
On 9 July, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) expressed concern over flight safety and revoked the permission granted to Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) from operating special flights from the United States. The email to the Pakistani authorities stated: “this revocation is effective immediately.” This action comes after a statement from Pakistan authorities stated that several PIA pilots could be possessing dubious licences/credentials. A PIA spokesperson commented on this decision and described it as a “setback to the carrier.” (Anwar Iqbal, Mohammad Asghar, “US too places ban on PIA flights,” Dawn, 10 July 2020)

SC tells Railways not to play with the lives of people
On 9 July, the Supreme Court advised the Government of Pakistan to consider revising the Railway's Secretariat from top to bottom to ensure that the Railways operate in Pakistan safely. The remarks were made during the hearing of the suo moto notice regarding the condition of Pakistan Railways before a two-judge bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed accompanied by Justice Ijazul Ahsan. Further, the court added the increasing accidents have been caused because the Railways were not being operated as per the rules and manual of the Railways. Further, the bench stated measures have to be taken immediately to ensure safety, warning that the Railways should not play with the lives of the people and Railways properties. (Shahid Rao, “Do not play with lives, Supreme Court tells Railways,” The Nation, 10 July 2020)

PM makes an appeal to follow SOPs on Eid
PM Imran Khan while addressing the media after inaugurating the newly established 250-bed Isolation Hospital and Infectious Treatment Centre (IHITC) warned that there could be another spike in coronavirus cases if people violate the SOPs on the occasion of Eidul Azha. He further said the “curve of viral disease is going down in the country” and that “If we behave carelessly on Eid, there is fear that the pandemic will surge sharply.” He thus appealed to the people to observe the upcoming Eidul Azha with simplicity and take all precautionary measures to ensure that the number of Covid-19 cases in the country does not rise again. (Syed Irfan Raza, “PM warns of virus spike if SOPs violated on Eid,” Dawn, 10 July 2020)

Maulana Fazlur Rehman demands mid-term elections
On 9 July, Maulana Fazlur Rehman chief of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI) said, “any support for “minus one” formula and called for “minus all”. He said, “We believe that the Constitution of Pakistan is a social contract which has well-knitted all the segments of society,” and demanded mid-term elections “without any interference from the institutions” as a solution for the countries crisis. (“Fazl rejects minus-one formula, calls for minus all,Dawn, 10 July 2020)

21 years after Kargil
On 07 July, Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa paid his tribute to Captain Karnal Sher Khan and Havaldar Lalak Jan, saying “the nation is proud of its gallant sons for valor and unwavering allegiance to defend the country, regardless of the cost”. The war between India and Pakistan dealt a huge blow for Kashmir, for which Pakistan lost its international support. (“Kargil martyrs”, Dawn, 10 July 2020)

Elections postponed to October
The Gilgit-Baltistan Election Commission has decided to postpone elections for the GB Assembly till October this year. The elections were scheduled to take place on 18 August, but on 10 July, a multiparty conference was called by the GB chief election commissioner to discuss the matter with the leaders of political parties in the region. The conference was attended by all political leaders in which they were informed by officials of the GB Election Commission that preparations for holding the elections in August were not completed. The new schedule of the elections will be issued in a couple of days. (Jamil Nagri, “Elections for GB Assembly likely to be postponed,” Dawn, 10 July 2020)

Gradual economic recovery in the next fiscal year for Pakistan: IMF
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released a report titled “Policy Actions Taken by Countries” which reviewed the various steps taken by Pakistan since March to deal with the Covid-19 crisis has stated that a gradual recovery in Pakistan is expected in the fiscal year 2021 as the country’s economy reopens. Further, the report stated comments on the efforts made by the federal government and the province who since mid-April have been gradually easing lockdown arrangements, by allowing ‘low-risk industries’ to restart operation and ‘small retail shops’ to reopen with newly developed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Further, the report highlights the various other measures taken by both federal and provincial governments to ease the economic impact of this pandemic. (“IMF predicts economic recovery in Pakistan next year,” Dawn, 10 July 2020)

World Bank policy brief: COVID-19 and Tourism in South Asia
World Bank policy brief on, ‘COVID-19 and Tourism in South Asia’, estimate a loss of $3.64 billion in Pakistan gross domestic product and has already risked 880,000 jobs in the tourist sector. The brief highlighted the impact on the travel and tourism industry with across 47.7 million jobs loss in South Asia. It states, ‘Domestic tourism and drive-to-market will be first to recover, and the intraregional travel between “Covid-19 safe zone” will be next’. (“Covid-19 may cause $3.64bn loss to GDP: World Bank report”Dawn, 10 July 2020)

Unforeseen challenges of Article 370
An opinion in the Express Tribune titled " Unanticipated challenges to Article 370" is critical of the revocation of Article 370 by India which had bifurcated the autonomous status of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir and had increased tension with Pakistan. With the tensions at LoC, neither India nor Pakistan can afford to have tension with Covid-19 crisis. On the other hand, the International analyst pointed China, ‘see both abrogation of Article 370 and formation of a new state of Ladakh as a sign of India’s aggression’. (Syed Mohammad Ali, “Unanticipated challenge to Article 370”, The Express Tribune, 09 July 2020)

On Jadhav, “We have nothing to hide”: FO
Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui stated that India was informed via established diplomatic channels that Pakistan would not violate any of the International Court of Justice’s directives in the Kulbushan Jadhav case. Aisha said Pakistan was committed to international laws and added that “India should stop propaganda. If they want they can file a review petition against the verdict. We have nothing to hide.” (“Pakistan won’t violate ICJ directive in Jadhav case,” The Nation, 10 July 2020)

Where does Pakistan stand as the “highly-hostile India(‘s)” neighbour, asks Senator
Senator Rehman Malik analyses the current Sino-Indian escalation, its threats to larger regional or South-Asian peace and role of global powers such as USA, Russia and Australia. He appraises Pakistan’s position as “a neighbour of highly-hostile India?” The Senator attributes the global interest to the economic rise of China and Trump’s dislike of China’s One-Belt-One-Road (BRI) initiative. The article argues that India is a peace spoiler in the Afghan process; has ditched the Blue Dot Network which aimed at shifting investments from China to India, due to domestic pressure; and accuses India of provoking China to satisfy the Americans. The Senator argues that the recently concluded US-India arms deal, presence of world powers and India’s unnecessary strife with China will jeopardise regional peace. (“A defeated Modi and peace in South Asia,” The Nation, 10 July 2020)

Kashmir faces India’s persistent oppression: Opinion
Dr Moonis Ahmar argues that Pakistan has so far been successful in exposing Indian atrocities in Kashmir before the OIC, UN, and the European parliament. Dr Ahmar says that granting of domicile certificates to non-Muslims was a way of grabbing the state. The author is pitting the selling of the property to non-Muslims by Kashmiris against the selling of property by Palestinians to Jews. He warns that the Muslim majority would be transformed into a minority in less than 15 years. Dr Ahmar says Kashmiris dilemma stems from three reasons: first, “atrocities and brutalities unleashed by the Indian security forces on unarmed Kashmiris”; second, “the morale of the Indian army is down as they are fighting a war they cannot win”; third, it is “related to Pakistan, their main supporter over their right to self-determination”. Pakistan’s “domestic issues, particularly of political polarisation, bad governance and sliding economy” are perplexing the Kashmiris. Dr Moonis says that if Pakistan was internally stable, the nation could have been a great support to Kashmiris of J&K. (“India’s limitless tyranny in Occupied Kashmir,” The Express Tribune, 9 July 2020)


"PR (Pakistan Railways) is not being operated in accordance with the Rules and Manuals of the railways as a result of which accidents are taking place frequently in which precious lives are being lost and great damage to the railways is caused...There seems to be nothing in sight by which the operation of the railways in Pakistan could be improved as not only is the infrastructure of the railways altogether bad and non-workable but also its employees are apparently not fit to operate the Railways"

-  Chief Justices Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan (Dawn)

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