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Daily Briefs


Photo : Dawn

15 August 2020, Saturday, Vol 1, No.107

Pakistan's Palestine Dilemma



The immediate and long term response of Pakistan to the deal between Israel and the UAE, four contributions of the CPEC to Pakistan, and an opinion on why Jinnah agreed to the Cabinet Mission plan.

PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Focus
Pakistan's Palestine Dilemma

Pakistan’s official response to Israel-UAE agreement

For long, Pakistan believed in the Palestine cause. Perhaps it does even today. At least on paper and in rhetoric. How will it respond to the recent agreement that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has with Israel in terms of normalizing the relationship? What will be Pakistan’s strategy, if Saudi Arabia maintains its silence or have a low profile protest?

Pakistan has to make a formal statement. And the foreign ministry did. However, as Dawn mentioned in its news report, “the statement instead of clarifying Pakistani position left more questions especially with regards to normalization with Israel.” 

The official statement from Pakistan was: “Pakistan’s approach will be guided by our evaluation of how Palestinians’ rights and aspirations are upheld and how regional peace, sec­urity and stability are preserved.” It also said: “Pakistan has an abiding commitment to the full realization of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination. Peace and stability in the Middle East region is also Pakistan’s key priority…For a just, comprehensive and lasting peace, Pakistan has consistently supported a two-state solution in accordance with the relevant UN and OIC resolutions as well as international law.” (“Palestinian rights, peace dear to Pakistan: FO,” Dawn, 15 August 2020)

For Pakistan, there are three issues. First, its own rhetoric of its principled position on Palestine (that focus on a two-state solution, with an emphasis on the UN and OIC resolutions). Second, its practical stance on following the OIC roadmap. Third, Pakistan’s bilateral dilemma on whether or not to explore a bilateral relationship with Israel.

The UAE-Israel agreement is unlikely to get a positive response from the Palestinians. On the other hand, the OIC is not likely to break its head over the issue. Egypt and Jordan have already established relations. Saudi Arabia is maintaining silence; during the recent years, Riyadh has gone slow with its opposition on Israel. The only two countries that have opposed the move strongly are Turkey and Iran.

Immediate responses from Pakistan

The initial response from Pakistan so far is of surprise. And a reality check.

Dawn, in its editorial, tries to find a reason for the deal. According to it, “Israel, built on the ruins of Palestine, and the UAE, on the tip of the Gulf, share no geographical borders, so why the rush towards normalization? Clearly, both these states — leading members of the American axis — share common geostrategic goals, and the welfare of the Palestinians certainly does not seem to be one of them.” (Dawn, 15 August 2020)

The Express Tribune in its editorial wrote: “The truth is that several Arab states have already established strong ties with Israel due to their common enemy — Iran. We also know that these countries could not care less for their oppressed Muslim brothers, be they Palestinian, Kashmiri, or Rohingya. Their decision-making is driven by finance, not religious fraternity or human rights. Money talks, and it is the oppressors who have cold, hard cash.”

 

(Image Source: Dawn)

CPEC: An analysis talks about four specific contributions to Pakistan
According to an analysis, there are four sectors in which CPEC has contributed.  First, the welfare sector. The welfare gains contribute to reducing or eliminating poverty. As per the analysis, due to welfare gains, almost 1.1 million people will come out of the poverty trap. The new reforms may increase trade by 9.8 per cent.  

Second, Employment sector. The analysis highlights, CPEC will create four million jobs, directly with the implementation of SEZs and new opportunities for entrepreneurship will be generated. Till now CPEC has created 75000 jobs for Pakistanis (China Embassy 2019).

Third, the energy sector. The CPEC investment helped in contributing issues of ageing plants and infrastructure related to electricity. As per the Vision 2025 pointed out, electricity load shedding was undermining the GDP growth rate by two per cent, and a monetarily a loss of $4-5 billion annually.

Fourth, the transport sector. Infrastructure played a major role in the development of industries and trade enhancement. From CPEC investments Small and Medium Enterprises have benefited. Earlier, the Bad transport infrastructure has resulted in a loss of 4-6 per cent to GDP (Vision 2025, Pakistan). ("Understanding the CPEC", Dawn, 15 August 2020)

 

 (Image Source: The News)

Looking Back: Why did Jinnah accept the Cabinet Mission Plan?
An opinion written by Hussain H Zaidi published in The News International has highlighted various aspects of the Cabinet Mission Plan of 1946 and explained why Mohammed Ali Jinnah accepted it. The author began by stating the features of the Cabinet Mission Plan which were presented by the British in an attempt to resolve the politico-constitutional problem of India. It was represented by the members of the Indian National Congress and All India Muslim League who offered different solutions to the problem. He explains that the Cabinet Mission Plan was to strike a compromise between the discordant positions and extend a proposal loose confederation called the Union of India where the Union government would control three departments – foreign affairs, defence and communications, while the rest would be handled by the provinces. The Union as per the Plan consisted of three groups which would be drawn on religious lines.

Mr Zaidi explains the factors for Jinnah’s acceptance of the constitutional scheme like overriding the decision of the Muslim League and giving powers to the Congress to decide on the Muslims. Second, the author believes that the Congress had unleashed a propaganda that the partition plan was a British conspiracy in which Jinnah and the Muslim League were a part of. However, the strongest factor was that being a constitutional expert, Jinnah saw that the Plan favoured the birth of Pakistan where two Muslim majority units would be granted full autonomy for 10 years before they had the right to opt out of the federation. Mr Zaidi then talks about the differing interpretations of the Congress which led to them refusing the Plan and the Viceroy’s interference creating more problems. (Hussain H Zaidi, “Jinnah and the Plan,” The News International, 15 August 2020) 

In Brief
COVID-19
Chinese firm developing virus vaccine to supply the candidate to Pakistan as part of a trial agreement
The China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) which is developed a coronavirus vaccine candidate has appeared to be safe and has triggered antibody-based immune responses in early and mid-stage trials. The candidate has been moved into a late-stage trial, where it is going to be tested on several thousand people to see if they are effective enough to win regulatory approval. Sinopharm is testing the potential vaccine in the United Arab Emirates in a Phase 3 trial expected to recruit 15000 people, as China has too few new cases to be a useful trial site. Further, the state-owned company will also supply the candidate to Pakistan as part of a trial agreement. (Reuters, “Chinese firm developing virus vaccine will supply to Pakistan,” Dawn, 15 August 2020)

COAS and Bill Gates discuss on Covid-19 and Pakistan’s polio campaign
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa had a telephonic conversation with Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates. They discussed Pakistan’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and resumption of the polio campaign. Mr Gates appreciated the role of Pakistan Army for the successful reach and coverage of the programme to the people to which the COAS attributed it to the grassroots workers including mobile teams, law enforcement agencies and healthcare representatives. The Army Chief added that the success was executed through the mechanism of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) which allowed optimisation of resources. Bill Gates reiterated his stand to support Pakistan in its goal of ending polio and improving the health of children. (“COAS, Bill Gates discuss Pakistan’s covid-19 response, polio campaign,” The Express Tribune, 15 August 2020)

INTERNAL
PM optimistic about a “progressing and industrial Pakistan”
While addressing the nation on the occasion of Independence Day, PM Imran Khan stated that he was seeing a “progressing and industrial Pakistan” in future with the government being able to manage the issue of foreign debt retirement and costly electricity generation. He stated, “Although we had a very difficult two years during which we didn’t have foreign exchange and couldn’t pay our debts, things are improving (now) as our stock market is going up, tax collection is increasing, our exports are on the rise despite Covid-19 effects and construction industry has boosted up that will benefit 40 other industries and provide jobs.” Further, he congratulated the nation for coming together and fighting coronavirus however, reiterated that the battle was not over, warning that the people should continue following the SOPs. (Syed Irfan Raza, “PM hopeful about emergence of ‘developed, industrial Pakistan’,” Dawn, 15 August 2020)

PROVINCES 
Twin blasts in Balochistan injure five, damage FC van
Balochistan’s Nushki and Mastung districts were rocked by twin blasts on 13 August. The target was a patrolling vehicle of the Frontier Corps in Nushki which was hit by an improvised explosive device on a link road in the Killi Mengal area of the city. No casualties were reported. Police said that the IED was placed under a pushcart which was positioned outside a government-run school. The blast was heard in many parts of Nushki as fear gripped the residents. However, the second blast in Mastung left five injured including a woman and a child. (Abdul Wahid Shahwani, “Five injured, FC van damaged in two Balochistan explosions,” Dawn, 15 August 2020)

EXTERNAL
Pompeo in his Independence Day message refers to "notable progress in advancing the Afghan peace process"
While extending extends greetings on Independence Day, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo stated that although there have been many challenges, the United States and Pakistan had made notable progress in advancing the Afghan peace process. Further, he also noted in the cooperation between the two for over 70 on issues of critical importance adding that he is looking forward to strengthening this bilateral partnership “expanding US-Pakistan trade and working together to protect fundamental freedoms in the years to come.” (Anwar Iqbal, “Pompeo hails Islamabad’s role in Afghan peace process,” Dawn, 15 August 2020)

Saudi Ambassador meets CM of Punjab and leaders of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q)
On 14 August, Saudi Ambassador Nawaf Bin Saeed Ahmed Al-Malkiy called on Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and leaders of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) and some religious parties. The ambassador’s meeting is said to be a part of an effort to mobilise support for his country. Further, a handout issued after the meeting between the Ambassador and CM Buzdar stated that the two also discussed Pak-Saudi relations and promotion of bilateral cooperation. (Amjad Mahmood, “Envoy discuses Pak-Saudi ties with Buzdar, PML-Q leaders,” Dawn, 15 August 2020)

Syed Ali Geelani receives Nishan-e-Pakistan
The leader of the Kashmiri Hurriyat, Syed Ali Geelani was conferred Nishan-e-Pakistan, the country’s highest civil award by the President Dr Arif Alvi. The award was conferred at a special ceremony held at Aiwan-e-Sadr during the 74th Independence Day of Pakistan on 14 August. The award was received by Convenor All Parties Hurriyat Conference Muhammad Hussain Khateeb along with other leaders. The ceremony was attended by various political leaders like Sadiq Sanjrani, Asad Qaiser and others. From 2001 to 2020, Syed Geelani headed the APHC against the Indian government. (“Nishan-e-Pakistan for Syed Ali Geelani,” The Nation, 15 August 2020)
 

 


"For a just, comprehensive and lasting peace, Pakistan has consistently supported a two-state solution in accordance with the relevant UN and OIC resolutions as well as international law...Pakistan’s approach will be guided by our evaluation of how Palestinians’ rights and aspirations are upheld and how regional peace, security and stability are preserved"

-  Official Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Office  (The Express Tribune)

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