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Daily Briefs


Photo : Dawn

28 August 2020, Friday I Vol 1, No.118

Torrential rain floods Karachi shattering records, at least 19 killed



PR Daily Brief | PR Team

On 27 August, officials and rescue service stated that at least 19 people were killed in various rain-related incidents in Karachi taking the tally of deaths during the three-day monsoon spell in the city to 30. Further, the meteorological officials said downpours in August have shattered 89-year-old records for the city, with the city receiving 223.5mm of rain in just 12 hours on Thursday alone, the highest amount of rain ever recorded in a single day in the city. (Qazi Hassan, Imtiaz Ali, “At least 19 killed amid urban flooding as Karachi records highest rainfall in a day ever,” Dawn, 28 August 2020) (“23 killed as rain batters Karachi,” The News International, 28 August 2020)

As the rains wreak havoc, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that his government would “not abandon” the city's people “in their time of crisis” adding, “My government is fully cognisant of the suffering of our people in the wake of the heavy rains, especially the people of Karachi.” Further, he stated, “Have directed NDMA chairman to immediately not only rescue stranded people, but also provide emergency medical assistance, food and shelter to all those in need. I have also asked NDMA chairman to ensure restoration of utilities on an emergency basis.” While further adding, “We will be announcing a plan for a permanent solution to the problems caused by floods by cleaning of nullahs, fixing of the sewage system and resolving the huge challenge of water supply to the people of Karachi.” (“'Will not abandon people of Karachi in their time of crisis,' says PM Imran,” Dawn, 28 August 2020)

An opinion in the Dawn while highlighting the larger picture states that these recent floods in Karachi have exposed the lack of preparedness for climate change in Sindh. Further, the opinion notes that Pakistan’s development strategists have failed to effectively respond to the climate crisis adding that Sindh leads in this grand failure. In this regard, the opinion highlights four strategies that Sindh needs to develop for the short to medium term. First, develop an adaptation plan with the district- and tehsil-level projects. Second, focus on resilience instead of adaptation alone, which is a more precise concept in the international climate lexicon. Third, establish an insurance or risk transfer fund based on ‘loss and damage’. Fourth, lay the foundation for a new climate economy that seeks economic development and climate risk mitigation by focusing on five central areas of Sindh’s economy: energy, cities, food and land use, water, and industry. (Ali Tauqeer Sheikh, “New climate economy,” Dawn, 28 August 2020)

INTERNAL

Analysis gives a roadmap for Good governance

Tariq Khosa’s analysis calls for a “serious introspection on the relationship between the Pakistani state and society”. It blames “frequent military rules and successive inept civilian governments” for the lack of trust between state and society. The article looks into detail at the aspects and actions to be taken under democracy, service delivery, accountability, and rule of law. (“Good governance roadmap,” Dawn, 28 August 2020)

WAPDA says the Hub Dam is closed for tourists as the dam filled to maximum after 2007

According to the analysis, the Hub dam filled to its maximum capacity after 13 years to continuous rain in Sindh and Balochistan. The water level reported has risen to 340ft. Due to which WAPDA administration had closed the Hub Dam as the catchment area, which stretches up to the mountain range of Balochistan, the water level has risen to more than 9 feet in the last three days.

Sohail Siddiqui, WAPDA officer the dam was last filled to maximum capacity in 2007. He also explained, that two canals emerge from the 45km long Hub Dam, one that supplies water helps Balochistan in fulfilling its agricultural needs while the other supplies into western Karachi with 100 million gallons of water daily for drinking and other uses. (“Hub Dam filled after 13 years”, The News International, 27 August 2020)

Law minister says Arrests without warrants are not unconstitutional

On 27 August, Law Minister Farogh Naseem said the anti-money laundering legislation is a requirement to meet the criteria laid out by the global watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Responding to media questions, Naseem rejected contentions by the opposition, saying it was incorrect to assume that “making arrests without warrant in money laundering cases was not a requirement of the FATF”. As per the Code of Criminal Procedure there exist various offences for which arrests without warrants can be made without violating the Constitution. “NAB cannot be removed as an investigating agency from the anti-money laundering legislation,” the minister added.("Arrest without warrants not unconstitutional, says law minister,” The Express Tribune, 28 August 2020)

Central Ministers criticize Opposition for blocking the Waqf Bill

Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Leader of the House in the Senate Shahzad Waseem criticized the Opposition for opposing the Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Properties Bill, 2020, without any relevant reason. They said that it exposed the Opposition’s double standards. Chaudhry and Waseem said the opposition had advocated a check on all the religious entities’ funding, including the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan and Lal Masjid, but stood against the bill when presented in the Senate. (“Govt MPs blast opposition for blocking Waqf Bill passage,” The Express Tribune, 28 August 2020)

PM Imran Khan says that allowing Nawaz to leave was a ‘mistake’

On 27 August, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that allowing former premier Nawaz Sharif to leave the country was a “mistake” and that his government “regretted” this decision adding, “I would never have allowed [Nawaz to leave] if medical opinion did not suggest that his life in danger.” Further, while making these statement in an interview he implied that the government was pressurised into sending Nawaz abroad, stating that the reports presented to the government suggested that the PML-N supremo was severely ill, added that the court had declared that the government would be responsible, should anything happen to Nawaz. Further, stating that PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif submitted indemnity bonds worth Rs7 billion, promising Nawaz would return to the country. (“Allowing Nawaz to leave was a 'mistake', says PM Imran,” Dawn, 28 August 2020)

Pakistan’s envoy Muhammad Aamir Khan reaffirms country’s commitment for Nuclear test ban treaty 

Ambassador Muhammad Aamir Khan, deputy permanent representative of Pakistan said, “Pakistan remains committed to the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world”. He also said, “Pakistan was not the first to conduct a nuclear test in South Asia and would not be the first to resume testing”. Stating Pakistan’s several proposals to keep South Asia free of nuclear weapons and their means of delivery and “Despite all regional security threats, Pakistan has maintained a voluntary moratorium on nuclear testing since 1998.”

Ambassador Khan also added that these tangible measures were a demonstration of “Pakistan’s commitment to the objectives and purposes of the CTBT” [Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty]. He brought forward key considerations, as these weapons include threats of both nuclear and conventional. First, the existence of longstanding disputes with more powerful states. Second, the failure of the UN to implement its own resolutions to resolve such disputes. Third, the failure of the UN collective security system to deter aggression and military threats and discrimination and selectivity in the application of international norms and standards. (“Pakistan reaffirms commitment to N-test ban treaty”, The Express Tribune, 28 August 2020)

COVID-19

An opinion by Dr Zafar Mirza says that Pakistan has successfully bent the Covid-19 curve

An opinion by Dr Zafar Mirza in the News International states that defying all projections and against all odds, Pakistan has successfully bent the Covid-19 curve. In his opinion, he tries to answer, what was at work and how Pakistan managed to surprise themselves and the world? And, is it all over? He notes while being caught between China (Wuhan) and Iran (Qum), two epicentres of the outbreak the first case was confirmed only in late February after which the national effort was escalated by calling the National Security Committee (NSC) meeting which led to the creation of a National Coordination Committee (NCC) and eventually the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) who has since its establishment worked marvellously. Further, he comments on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s genuine concern who took into consideration the effect of the general and prolonged lockdown. Further adding that, despite many shortcomings, Pakistan’s response to Covid-19 has been impressively effective. However, he concludes by cautioning that it would be a grave mistake to consider that Covid-19 is over in Pakistan, however, in the long run, the lessons learnt from dealing with Covid-19 should be used to strengthen the healthcare system and essential public health functions in Pakistan. (Dr Zafar Mirza, “Rise and fall of Covid-19,” The News International, 28 August 2020)

EXTERNAL

Only a ‘Political solution’ can achieve long-lasting Afghan peace, says Qureshi

Referring to the meeting with the Afghan Taliban delegation, FM Qureshi said Islamabad is trying to move the intra-Afghan dialogue as soon as possible. He said that all parties had agreed to the need of a 'political solution' for long-lasting Afghan peace. Meanwhile, PM Imran Khan said that Afghan leaders must seize “this historic opportunity to achieve an inclusive political settlement contributing to durable peace, security and prosperity in Afghanistan”. The FM said Russia, US, China and other such regionally significant countries are supporting PM Khan's view on the peace process. The Doha (February) peace agreement’s implementation was also discussed. (“'Political solution' via dialogue only way to ensure lasting peace in Afghanistan: Qureshi,”The Express Tribune, 28 August 2020)

Pakistan’s envoy Muhammad Aamir Khan reaffirms country’s commitment for Nuclear test ban treaty 

Ambassador Muhammad Aamir Khan, deputy permanent representative of Pakistan said, “Pakistan remains committed to the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world”. He also said, “Pakistan was not the first to conduct a nuclear test in South Asia and would not be the first to resume testing”. Stating Pakistan’s several proposals to keep South Asia free of nuclear weapons and their means of delivery and “Despite all regional security threats, Pakistan has maintained a voluntary moratorium on nuclear testing since 1998.”

Ambassador Khan also added that these tangible measures were a demonstration of “Pakistan’s commitment to the objectives and purposes of the CTBT” [Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty]. He brought forward key considerations, as these weapons include threats of both nuclear and conventional. First, the existence of longstanding disputes with more powerful states. Second, the failure of the UN to implement its own resolutions to resolve such disputes. Third, the failure of the UN collective security system to deter aggression and military threats and discrimination and selectivity in the application of international norms and standards. (“Pakistan reaffirms commitment to N-test ban treaty”, The Express Tribune, 28 August 2020)

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