Daily Briefs

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28 July 2020, Tuesday, Vol 1, No.91

Pakistan's internal debate on Kulbhushan Jadav

The discussion (or the lack of it) when the ordinance to allow consular access to Jadav was presented in the National Assembly. Why were there no protests against the ordinance inside the Parliament after multiple statements by the Opposition?

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Focus
Pakistan's internal debate on Kulbhushan Jadav
Why was the Opposition silent in the National Assembly on the ordinance?

On 27 July, the government finally laid before the National Assembly the controversial ordinance which allowed Kulbhushan Jadhav to have consular access as per the International Court of Justice (ICJ). However, this is said to have come amid silence from the opposition who previously prevented it from doing so through a strong protest and boycott of the proceedings.

Criticism and silence from the opposition 
The ordinance previously had received criticism from the opposition parties who questioned asks the government on the grounds of secrecy about ICJ Review and Reconsideration Ordinance 2020. However, during the sitting the opposition benches made any objection to the ordinance, except for the Shahida Akhtar Ali of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) who voiced criticism to the ordinance and the government for facilitating this decision weeks before the first anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370. Further, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, who initially has opposed this decision made no remarks on the same. (Amir Wasim, “Jadhav-specific law laid in NA amid opposition silence,” Dawn, 28 July 2020)

Politics behind the ordinance: Domestic opinions
An opinion in the Dawn, points out to the vicious cycle of point-scoring between the parties, stating that this must end. While looking into the case, the opinion lays down the legalities behind the ordinance stating that the ordinance seeks to expand the grounds on which high courts can review judgements of military courts in certain cases to include the specific language of review and reconsideration in the ICJ judgement and that contrary to the opposition leaders claims, the ordinance does not contain any provision to grant Jadhav a pardon.

Further, the opinion notes that although there are legitimate concerns regarding the secret, non-consultative manner in which the ordinance was passed, it is unfortunate that opposition parties are centring their criticism on alleged “relief” to Jadhav and “appeasement” of India. Likewise, the government instead of acknowledging that Pakistan made a mistake by denying Jadhav consular continues to blame past governments for accepting the ICJ’s jurisdiction. The opinion states that this political point-scoring must end, for these comes at the cost of principles such as the right to a fair trial and creates an environment where basic international legal obligations are perceived as treason. (Reema Omer, “COMMENT: Political point-scoring over Jadhav case,” Dawn, 28 July 2020)

In Brief
FM Qureshi wants the opposition to delink FATF and NAB legislations
The PTI government has asked the opposition not to link legislation related to the action plan of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) with their proposal to amend the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO). At the second meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Legislative Business presided over by FM Shah Mehmood Qureshi the two proposed amendments to the FATF-related United Nations (Security Council) Bill 2020, Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill 2020 and NAO came under discussion. Further, while talking to the media the FM stated that the opposition has sought time to deliberate on the draft bills and that the committee has decided to meet again on Tuesday. As reported in the Dawn, sources have stated that opposition wanted both bills passed simultaneously. However, the government wishes that amendments to the NAO should not be linked with the FATF-related legislation. (Malik Asad, “Govt wants FATF legislation, NAB changes delinked,” Dawn, 28 July 2020)

Assessing PTI’s two years mark: Domestic analyses differ

An opinion in the Dawn is critical of the PTI’s record stating that is just as bad as that of its predecessors. The opinion states that the team continues to suffer from infighting and ineptitude with cases of corruption also emerging adding that the PTI looks like a disjointed and weak team. The opinion further argues that the PTI has failed to adopt out-of-the-box economic policies for increasing tax and export revenues and revitalizing the industry. Further, there has not been much improvement in daily service delivery in critical areas like health, education. Further, the opinion adds that it is not going to be easy for the PTI to improve its record in future given the complexities of politics and administration that lie ahead. (Dr Niaz Murtaza, “PTI at two,” Dawn, 28 July 2020)

On the other hand, an opinion in the News International argues differently on this matter. The opinion investigates the major achievement of the government, with the author stating putting PM Khan amongst the pantheon of Pakistani leaders who had left Pakistan better off than when they got it. The opinion states that in less than two years, PM Khan has carefully guarded and protected the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and has created a programmatic umbrella over it that is called Ehsaas. Further, his administration established the Poverty Alleviation and Social Security Division. Further, when the pandemic broke out his correctly focused on the economic impact it would have on the poor, and fast-tracked cash grants to the poor, who have now become the foundations for his enduring legacy, the Ehsaas Emergency Cash (EEC) programme. The opinion notes that this is where PM Khan’s long-term legacy comes in. (Mosharraf Zaidi, “Big achievement in two years,” The News International, 28 July 2020)

Senator Bizenjo condemned the killing of social media activist 
Senator Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo has condemned the killing of social media activist Anwar Jan Khetiran in Barkhan and has demanded that those involved in the arrest should be arrested immediately. Further, the senator stated, “powerful elements of the state, influential politicians and various criminal-minded people are behind the attacks on media people.” Further, he added that Pakistan has become one of the most dangerous countries of the world for journalists and that governments have done nothing to provide protection and security to members of the journalist community. (Saleem Shahid, “Bizenjo condemns social media activist’s murder,” Dawn, 28 July 2020)

Smart lockdown reinforced in Punjab
The Punjab government has extended complete/partial closure of several businesses ahead of Eidul Azha for the next nine days, ending 5 August amid the rising COVID-19 cases. As per a notification issued by Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department under the Punjab Infectious Diseases (Prevention and Control) Ordinance 2020, complete/partial closure of markets would start on are to start today and continue till 5 August. Further, all businesses, educational and training institutes, marriage halls, business centres, expo halls, restaurants, theme/ amusement parks, public parks, play areas and arcades, beauty parlours and spa, cinema and theatres are to be shut. Further, while addressing an anti-corona meeting of the cabinet committee the Chief minister stated, “The purpose of the lockdown is that we are close to defeating COVID-19 and the number of coronavirus cases should not increase again.” (“Punjab reapplies smart lockdown,” The News International, 28 July 2020)

The problem in Balochistan will be solved by giving rights to its people: Mengal
The BNP-M leader Mir Muhammad Akbar Mengal alleged that the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) led provincial government is incompetent and neglecting constituencies belonging to the opposition deliberately. Further, the leader stated, “The problems of Balochistan will be solved by giving rights to its people rather than making fake promises with our people.” Further, he added, “BNP would take future steps by taking into confidence all opposition parties.” he added. “The constituency of Wadh Tehsil is wide thus it is very difficult to cover the areas but all the money received is being spent on an equal footing.” Further, he added that they would continue to fight for the rights of the people of Balochistan. (“‘Govt neglecting opposition parties’” The Express Tribune, 28 July 2020)

Pakistan and the Afghan talks
An opinion in the News International looks at the role Pakistan has played in the intra-Afghan peace talks. The opinion states that Pakistan has been able to accelerate and facilitate these talks because of its relationship with both the Taliban and the US. Further, the opinion talks about the multiple benefits in it for Pakistan. Given that Pakistan is not looking for turmoil it has been consistently promoting the intra-Afghan peace process. Additionally, Islamabad does not want there to be a careless withdrawal of US presence in Afghanistan. Further, the opinion adds that it would be detrimental for Pakistan if the government in Kabul is friendlier with India than with Pakistan. The opinion adds this is a great opportunity for Pakistan to strengthen the ties that which have gone through their ups and downs over the years. Thus, Pakistan must adopt a strategy of smart diplomacy to combat the deep distrust and bitterness which has tainted the relationship between these two countries. (Zunaira Inam, “Pakistan and Afghan peace,” The News International, 28 July 2020)


"As if a tsunami had hit Karachi on Sunday. Here, there and everywhere, it was just water — on the roads and streets, into the houses and shops, and inside the stranded vehicles. Not just the impoverished and neglected areas of the city, but many upscale ones too were also inundated. People half-submerged in the rainwater was a common sight nearly everywhere in the city, illustrating the extent of the rain misery. The city — at places — looked like a river flowing speedily downstream"

-  The Express Tribune editorial on the rains in Karachi (The Express Tribune)

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