Daily Briefs

Photo : Dawn

29 July 2020, Wednesday, Vol 1, No.92

Opposition parties attempt to come together

An attempt by the Opposition to come together, declining COVID cases in Pakistan, political agreements on NAB and FATF, and new references against Shahbaz Sharif by the NAB.

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief

Opposition parties attempt to come together
Opposition parties, PML - N, PPP and JUIF decided that after Eidul Azha, Rehbar committee would finalize the strategy to oust the incumbent PTI government, either through an in-house change or by protesting on the streets. A multi-party conference will be hosted once the Rehbar committee decides the plan of action. Leaders said that the entire opposition is on the same page, to remove the incompetent PTI government from power. The leaders also dispelled the impression that the opposition is begging for relief from the proposed legislation on the Financial Action Task Force and the amendment to the National Accountability Bureau Ordinance. (“Opposition parties agree on need for joint efforts,” Dawn, 29 July 2020)

Record drop in COVID-19 cases
The number of coronavirus cases per day has started to drop to the level recorded three months ago. The Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) termed this decline as a major success. However, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health reiterated that people strictly follow the government’s standard operating procedures (SOPs) to avoid re-emergence of the deadly virus. The spokesman for the NHS ministry Sajid Shah, while talking to Dawn, said states that the highest number of 6825 cases was reported on 14 June after which there has been a decline with numbers as of July 14 dropped to less than 2000. The country has reported 1,128 cases and 26 deaths over the past 24 hours. (Ikram Junaidi, “Dramatic fall seen in Covid cases,” Dawn, 29 July 2020)

Talks on FATF and NAB legislations continues to lie in limbo
With consensus not reached between the government and opposition, the fate of crucial and much-delayed legislation related to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and changes in the accountability laws continues to hang in the balance with both sides determined to have their way. At a press conference, the opposition members announced their decision to boycott a meeting of the special parliamentary committee. Further, FM Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who is the head of the committee, chose the National Assembly floor to explain the government’s stance after the talks ended between them. Further, the minister reiterated that the opposition wanted to have a “package deal” whereas the government had requested it to delink the two issues in the larger national interest. (“Talks on FATF, NAB legislation hit a snag,” Dawn, 29 July 2020)

Political agreements on FATF and NAB
On 27 July, the government and the opposition have extended the conversation on amendments to NAB laws and FATF conditions. According to the editor, two major issues were focused. First, the issue of the extension in the tenure of the NAB chairman. Second, brought up by the opposition were against the powers of arrest available to NAB. The opposition had suggested that the government is keen on bringing changes before the Malam Jabba case to opens for NAB. (“Attempting agreement,” The News International, 29 July 2020)

Fresh references against Shahbaz, ex-PM Abbasi approved by the NAB
On 28 July, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) approved filing of separate references against top leadership PML-N former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif and his sons. Further, another reference is to be filed against the officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for selling the building of the Pakistan embassy in Jakarta allegedly at less than the market price. As per the decision, Mr Abbasi will face the first corruption case related to a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) contract, further, former finance minister Miftah Ismail is a co-accused in this reference. Further, the bureau stated that Mr Sharif and his sons will face a fresh reference on the claims of “accumulating assets beyond known source of income”. (Syed Irfan Raza, “NAB approves fresh references against Shahbaz, ex-PM Abbasi,” Dawn, 29 July 2020)

Review of the petition in Justice Isa case
On 28 July, Rashid A. Razvi on behalf of Pakistan Federal Union of Journalist has filed a petition seeking review on order in the Justice Faez Isa case. The petition argued a new chairperson of the FBR has been appointed to manipulate and adversely influence the investigation. As the petition contended that paragraphs three to 11 provided timeline/deadlines to the income tax authorities against Justice Isa’s wife and children. (“PFUJ urges SC to review the order in Justice Isa case,” Dawn, 29 July 2020)

Army inducted Al Khalid-I main battle tank in Armoured Corps Regiment
On 28 July, the Army inducted Al Khalid-I main battle tank in Armoured Corps Regiment. The tank which is an upgraded version of Al Khalid tank was handed over at a ceremony which was held at Heavy Industries Taxila (HIT), the largest state-owned manufacturer of defence products. Further, Al Khalid-I has been developed in collaboration with China and Ukraine. Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa was the chief guest at the ceremony at which the army chief stated, “Our defence preparation and operational readiness is to ensure peace within and peace without. However, if provoked we shall respond and respond with all our might.” Further, he emphasised on the need for bolstering defence and operational preparedness stating that there is an urgent need to enhance indigenous defence production in the evolving security environment. (“Al Khalid-I tank inducted in Armoured Corps Regiment,” Dawn, 29 July 2020


"There will be no need for any sit-in in Islamabad. We are sure if we march on Islamabad, this government will be toppled halfway to the capital...The people of Pakistan will hear a good news after Eid. We along with the PML-N and other opposition parties will fight for the rights of the people of Pakistan"

-  Bilawal Bhutto (Dawn)

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