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Daily Briefs


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23 July 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.86

On the abduction of a Journalist in Islamabad



On the abduction of a Journalist in Islamabad - criticisms from the Court to Media

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Focus
On the abduction of a Journalist in Islamabad 

All-round criticisms from the Court to Media
On 21 July, Senior journalist Matiullah Jan was abducted in broad daylight in front of a school. Mr Jan who is a vocal critic of the establishment and currently in news over the Isa case had been picked by men wearing police uniforms (and others in plainclothes). This incident is an attempt to intimidate and harass journalists- which has become a trend in the country. (“Fear of silence”The News International, 23 July 2020). As there are accusations of divide-and-rule strategy, being deployed to weaken the voice of journalism.
There is also a theory that he was taken away on account of personal enmity. (“Journalist’s abduction”Dawn, 23 July 2020)

Matiullah was picked up a day before his appearance in Supreme Court to answer his contempt charges. On the related judgement, the supreme court had granted two-week time to Matiullah Jan to engage with his counsel and submit his reply regarding his tweets. The Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed has said, ‘every citizen has the right to a fair trial as the Constitution gives full right for one’s private life’. (“State has to demonstrate press is free: IHC”Dawn, 23 July 2020). The court had also asked Inspector General of Police Islamabad to submit a comprehensive report before the next hearing.

The Supreme Court also took suo-motu notice on the abduction and said, such incidents are unacceptable, and that the government needs to explain. The investigation would be held transparently and diligently. On 22 July, Islamabad High Court while deciding habeas corpus petition of Shahid Akbar Abbasi observed that nothing impedes the freedom of expression and free speech more than such fear or perception, removing the perception becomes a duty of the state. The court has also slammed the police for the kidnapping saying the entire state was responsible for the incident. (“Playing with law won’t be allowed”The News International, 23 July 2020)


In Brief
POLITICS
Bilawal calls for the dissolution of NAB
Pakistan Peoples’ Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has stated that there is no justification left for the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to continue to exist following the Supreme Court verdict which raised questions regarding the body’s working. Further, stated “I have always said that NAB is being used for political engineering and now the Supreme Court has also vindicated my stance. NAB should be closed” adding “If the NAB chairman has any shame then he should resign and go home.” Further, Bilawal challenged the NAB’s impartiality, stating that if the Supreme Court’s judgment is to be implemented then all the Advisors and Special Assistants to the Prime Minister, besides making arrests in the foreign funding case, BRT project, Malam Jabba and other cases will also have to be arrested. (No justification for NAB to exist after SC verdict: Bilawal, ” The Nation, 23 July 2020)

PROVINCES
Gurdwara restored to Sikhs in Quetta
On 22 July, the Balochistan government handed over the 200-year-old Siri Guru Singh Gurdwara to the Sikh community. This gurdwara is located on Masjid Road has been used as APWA Government High Girls School for 73 years. The provincial parliamentary secretary and Adviser to the Chief Minister on Minority Affairs stated: “Restoring gurdwara as a place of worship for the Sikh community is a historical decision of the Balochistan government.” Further, Chairman of the Sikh Community Committee in Balochistan joyfully expressed the restoration of the gurdwara described it as a “gift from the Balochistan government to the Sikh community living in the province”. Further, officials in the education department confirmed that the education of students would not be affected. (Saleem Shahid, “73 years on, gurdwara restored to Sikhs in Quetta,” Dawn, 23 July 2020)

EXTERNAL
Islamabad will need to play its cards right to protect national interests on the highly treacherous international chessboard: Editorial 
An editorial in the Dawn titled “Changing dynamics” states that given the geopolitical changes in the neighbourhood, the country’s foreign policy must plan to take political and economic advantage of this emerging scenario. Further, the editorial lays down the dynamics between China-US-Iran relations and the budding role Pakistan can play with Iran and China considering the shared borders. Further, the editorial states that to take advantage of regional developments, Pakistan will need some deft diplomacy, adding that regional integration would help the country and its neighbours economically and politically if properly planned. Further, it states that Pakistan must make clear to the US that while they value its relationship with America, Islamabad cannot isolate itself regionally by alienating neighbours with whom Washington does not approve of, suggesting that India should also weigh its options. (“Changing dynamics,” Dawn, 23 July 2020)

ON INDIA
Federal Government moves IHC seeking counsel for Jadhav
On 23 July, the federal government moved the Islamabad High Court (IHC) for the appointment of state counsel for Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav, in order to implement the verdict of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) regarding his conviction. According to the Dawn, the petition was filed by the government through the law and justice secretary after the agent of India’s intelligence agency and the Indian government avoided the preparation made available to them by the federation for filing a review petition against his death sentence. Afterwards, the petition requested the court to “appoint any suitable” counsel for Jadhav. (Malik Asad, “Govt moves IHC seeking counsel for Indian spy,” Dawn, 23 July 2020)

Islamabad-based foreign correspondents visit PoK 
On 22 July, a group of foreign correspondents based in Islamabad visited Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) to gain first-hand knowledge about the situation along the Line of Control (LoC) amid the “unrelenting and unprovoked” ceasefire violations. According to News International, the media persons visited the Chirikot sector in Haveli district and were shown the areas across the LoC from where Indian troops were intentionally targeting civilians in this region. Further, the locals are to have interreacted with the correspondents, “condemn India’s desperate attempts.” (Tariq Naqash, “AJK people tell foreign journalists tales of pain caused by Indian firing,” Dawn, 23 July 2020)

 


"After the Supreme Court verdict, NAB is left with no justification to continue working; therefore it should be disbanded and its chairman should resign from his office...I’ve always been saying that NAB is being used for political engineering and now the Supreme Court has confirmed this"

-  Bilawal Bhutto on the National Accountability Bureau (Dawn)

 

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