Daily Briefs

Photo : Dawn

18 July 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.81

Goodwill gesture on Kulbhushan Jadav, and ISPR linkages on Cynthia Ritchie's Visa

Debate over Pakistan providing access to Kulbhushan Jadav, the links between ISPR and Cynthia, continuing crisis over the fake licences to the pilots, and the whereabouts of Ehsanullah Ehsan

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Focus
The government says, as a goodwill gesture, it is providing Consular access for the third time.
The opposition questions the "the International Court of Justice Review and Reconsideration Ordinance 2020."

The Kulbhushan Jadhav Case:
The government talks about goodwill access, while the opposition asks why the secrecy about ICJ Review and Reconsideration Ordinance 2020
On 17 July, Pakistan offered third consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav without the presence of security personnel. (“Kulbhushan’s case”, The News International, 18 July 2020) The Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said, ‘the offer is made as a goodwill gesture to New Delhi’. This came soon after Indian high commission consular left the meeting claiming that, ‘Pakistan did not offer them “unimpeded access”. 
According to the editorial, if the issue could be resolved with diplomatic channels, it could pave a way for resolution in between the neighbours. (“Jadhav affair”, Dawn, 18 July 2020)

After the legislation ‘ICJ Review and Reconsideration Ordinance 2020’ was enacted Pakistan gave consular access as an opportunity to file a review petition, in the Islamabad High Court till 19 July. PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had expressed his concerns and accountability to PTI government (“India again offered consular access to Jadhav”, Dawn, 18 July 2020). He also said, ‘PTI will not be forgiven’ for bringing in an ordinance to ‘facilitate Kulbhushan Jadhav’. (“PTI will not be forgiven for facilitating Indian spy in secret: Bilawal”, The Nation, 18 July 2020)

The Cynthia Ritchie Affair:
According to the Interior Ministry, Cynthia is working on ISPR and KP projects
In the report submitted to Islamabad High Court (IHC) by Ministry of Interior on 17 July, MoI notifies the court that the US blogger Cynthia D. Ritchie is staying in Pakistan on an ‘extended’ visa. The report says Ms. Cynthia “informed in her application that she had been working with Walkabout Films in collaboration with Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR – military’s media affairs wing) and the KP government on various film projects in the country.” Additional Attorney General Tariq Mehmood Khokhar maintained that Ms. Cynthia’s visa extension was till August 31 and that no illegality or anti-state activity, as being alleged, has been committed by her. According to the MoI, Ms. Ritchie has denied all allegations and since the process of further extensions of foreigner visas had been paused due to the Covid-19 situation, blanket extensions were granted to all. (“Cynthia working on ISPR & KP govt projects, court told,” Dawn, 18 July 2020)

The court adjourned further hearing of petition filed by PPP activist Chaudhry Iftikhar Ahmed till next week. Mr. Chaudhry’s petition questioned Cynthia’s extended stay in Pakistan after her business visa expired on 2 March 2020. While referring to ‘derogatory and objectionable’ involvement, activities, social media posts and media statements of Ms. Cynthia, he alleged her involvement in a media campaign against Opposition party’s leaders. Mr. Chaudhry also said the respondent was granted the visa without fulfilling legal formalities. Meanwhile, Cynthia has pointed out that travelling to different regions of Pakistan or interviewing tribal leaders were not considered crimes under Pakistan’s constitution.
Previously, on 13 June, IHC directed the Federal Investigation Agency to probe the allegations of defamation of former PM Benazir Bhutto, against Ms. Cynthia. (“Islamabad court orders FIA to initiate probe against Cynthia Ritchie for tweets on Benazir,” Dawn, 14 June 2020) On 26 June, the IHC demanded an explanation from MoI regarding the terms and conditions and status of Ms. Cynthia’s visa. ("IHC calls for explanation about Cynthia visa status,” Dawn, 27 June 2020) On 3 July, the federal government had informed the IHC that Ms. Cynthia’s visa had expired in February 2020, and that the applied extension was subject to clearance by intelligence agencies. (“Cynthia’s visa expired in February, IHC told,” Dawn, 4 July 2020)

In Brief
"Where is the TTP leader Ehsanullal Ehsan"?
On 17 July, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) parliamentary leader in the Senate, Sherry Rehman sought to find out the status of Ehsanullah Ehsan, a former spokesman for the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) questioning “Why is he not under anybody’s custody?” and further asked the government to share details of the entire episode, asking who had set Ehsan free. Earlier this year it was reported that Ehsan had escaped from custody after in an audio message released on 6 February, he claimed that he had surrendered to the authorities “under an agreement”, but escaped after “Pakistan’s treacherous institutions imprisoned me, along with my children”. In 2017, the military reported that Ehsan had surrendered himself to the security forces, however, only a few details regarding the capture was revealed. (Iftikhar A. Khan, “PPP wants to know Ehsanullah Ehsan’s status,” Dawn, 18 July 2020)
Two ANF personnel martyred in a clash with smugglers
On 17 July, two personnel of the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) were martyred while six others were injured in a gun battle with drug smugglers in Mashkeel, near the Pakistan-Iran border. A spokesperson from the ANF stated that the anti-narcotics personnel were attacked while they were returning from the area after seizing drugs and ammunition by at least 50 armed smugglers. This attack comes after the ANF and other security forces launched a search operation last week in Balochistan’s Washuk district, which includes Mashkeel. (“ANF loses two personnel in clash with smugglers,” Dawn, 18 July 2020)
UN designates TTP leader as a global terrorist
The United Nations has designated Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader Noor Wali Mehsud as a global terrorist. This decision was taken by the United Nations Security Council's Sanctions Committee when it added Mehsud to its ISIL and al-Qaeda Sanctions List. Pakistan welcomed this decision with the Foreign Office stating that the sanctions are being implemented by Pakistan in compliance with the relevant UNSC resolutions, hoping that other countries will also follow suit. TTP is an already UN-designated terrorist organization that is held responsible for numerous terrorist attacks inside Pakistan. (Wajid Ali Syed, “TTP leader designated global terrorist,” The News International, 18 July 2020)
Imran Khan’s government is poised to inflict damage upon this country’s education system in a manner never seen before: Hoodbhoy
An opinion in the Dawn titled “Education: PTI’s plan exposed” by Pervez Hoodbhoy is critical of the PTI governments initiative of a Single National Curriculum (SNC) which is to be implemented in 2021. He warns that Imran Khan’s government is poised to inflict damage upon this country’s education system in a manner never seen before stating that this Single National Curriculum (SNC) hides systemic changes going far deeper than the ones conceived and executed by the extremist regime of Gen Ziaul Haq. Further, he states that The SNC massively prioritises ideology over education quality and acquisition of basic skills for SNC calls for madrassahs, hafizes and qaris as paid teachers inside schools. He then highlights the three false assumptions on which this idea was built. First, the difference in the quality of education does not stem pursuing different curricula. Second, piety will not be the equalising factor. Third, school systems belonging to the modern world cannot be brought onto the same page as madrassahs. He concludes by stating that the provinces should strongly resist the regressive plan being push upon the nation by ideologues that have taken power in Islamabad, adding that Pakistan’s greatest need and its single greatest failure is that the country has tragically failure to impart essential life skills to its citizens. Thus, to move ahead, the priority should be to educate not to bag political points. (Pervez Hoodbhoy, “Education: PTI’s plan exposed,” Dawn, 18 July 2020)
Aviation Division suspends 15 more pilots
On 17 July, the Aviation Division suspended 15 more pilots raising the number of suspended pilots to 93. The 15 suspended pilots are among the 262 pilots who were identified as possessing suspicious licences by the Board of Inquiry and grounded immediately after identification on the instructions of the government. Further, spokesperson of the Aviation Division stated that the federal cabinet had approved the cancellation of the licences of 28 pilots, out of these 262 pilots and also stated that the entire process of scrutiny and validation which will be followed by necessary disciplinary action is being closely monitored and personally supervised by Minister for Aviation. (Mohammad Asghar, “15 more pilots suspended for having dubious licences,” Dawn, 18 July 2020)
The multi-layered mess within the Aviation Division and CAA: Opinion
An opinion in the Dawn titled “Our aviation mess” by Fahd Husain critical of the current development in the Aviation Division. Husain de-clutter the clutter by giving a chronological summary of what has happened starting from the initial statement made by the Federal Aviation on the pilots possessing fake degrees and licences to the contradictory statement by the director-general of CAA that all pilot licences issued by the CAA are genuine and valid. What does this mean? Husain states that the answer to this lies in the multi-layered mess within the Aviation Division and CAA which in turn symbolises a deeper malaise afflicting the government apparatus at large. Further, he states that performance anxiety is weighing down on the PTI government, where every minister wants to ‘perform’ for his boss, however, the problem is that nobody has identified what this performance entails. Further, Husain brings out the irony in this whole mess by pointing out that the secretary of the Aviation Division is also the DG of CAA, stating that this may be a valid explanation for this mess. ( Fahd Husain, “Our aviation mess,” Dawn, 18 July 2020)
40 per cent increased in FDI
The State Bank of Pakistan reported that Foreign direct investment (FDI) soared by 45 per cent month-on-month to $174.8 million in June. Further, the Bank stated that the increase in FDI for the entire fiscal year was even more distinct as it surged 88 per cent to $2.561 billion in 2019-20, from $1.362 billion in FY19. Although the FDI started falling in March amid the pandemic, June has seen a jump of 45 per cent month-on-month, indicting a possible recovery. Further, foreign private investment increased by 140per cent to $2.279 billion in FY20, compared to $947 million in the previous year. Further details show China played a key role in the improved FDI figures as its contribution stood at 33 per cent of the total inflows while the net FDI was $844 million. Pakistan also received the second biggest inflow of $402 million from Norway in FY20. Inflow from the US, Netherlands and Malta came in at $97 million, $133 million and $222 million, respectively. Further, the country also received a record remittance of $23 billion during the outgoing fiscal year and also succeeded to bring down the current account deficit to $3.288 billion 11MFY20. Total foreign exchange reserves also reached a three-year high to $18.95 billion. However, fears remain that the country may face a decline in remittances in FY21. (Shahid Iqbal, “Foreign direct investment jumps by 45pc in June,” Dawn, 18 July 2020)

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