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Daily Briefs


Photo : Dawn

27 August 2020, Thursday I Vol 1, No.117

An article speculates the Opposition’s options and strategies



PR Daily Brief | PR Team

In Brief

INTERNAL

An article speculates the Opposition’s options and strategies

Amid the Karachi issues taking center stage, the article asks if something is cooking in Islamabad on a slow burn. It says that the next possible step after the Opposition’s criticisms of PTI’s two years rule is an All Parties Conference (APC). The article brings out the different variations within the Opposition that are keeping the opposition from crafting a uniform strategy, unity and purpose: the Hawks (those who want to take an extreme step against the PTI), the Semi-Hawks (who want to abandon their “friendly” Opposition position), Realists (those who argue that the Establishment is still in line with the PTI government and hence no amount of protests would yield any favourable results) and Dreamers (who want to give Imran Khan enough time so that he will “fall under his own weight”). The author, Fahd Husain, argues that the following developments may influence PML-N’s future strategy and plan of action: first, “PTI government’s aggressive campaign to get Nawaz Sharif to return” and second, the “initiation of cases with serious charges against Maryam Nawaz”. (“RED ZONE FILES: Options for opposition,”Dawn, 27 August 2020)

Information and Broadcasting Minister Shibli Faraz lashes out at PPP and Sindh’s ruling party over present rain conditions in Karachi 

On 26 August, Shibli Faraz, Information and Broadcasting Minister Senator said, "PPP said they would transform Larkana into Karachi. Instead, they did the opposite, and turned Karachi into Larkana". The leader lashed out at Sindh’s ruling party, the PPP, over the present situation in Karachi's following the torrential rains. He also said, "Whether it is coronavirus or any other matter, Sindh has always politicized it. God is exposing Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Chief Minister of Sindh, Murad Ali Shah”. 

He also said the government would avail all legal options to bring Nawaz Sharif back, to face the law of the land. He rejected the notion that the government was engaging in "point-scoring" over the matter. (“God is exposing Bilawal, CM Sindh': Shibli Faraz lashes out at PPP over Karachi's condition”, The News International, 26 August 2020)

Pakistan must reopen schools with caution, says Dawn

The article delivers a strong word of caution amid urban centers bustling with people desiring normalcy, the big decision of reopening of schools on 15 September and the applauding of ‘smart lockdowns’ for bringing down the Covid-19 cases. The author Umar Nadeem asks the government and Pakistan’s population to not rule out the risks of new outbreaks. The article spells out the need for a “coherent and effective policy and administrative framework” to ensure educational standards and safety. The article also provides guidelines and suggestions for the systematic reopening of schools and educational institutions. (Proceed with caution,” Dawn, 26 August 2020)

Three arrested for carrying explosives in Charsadda

On 26 August, the police stated that they have arrested three terrorists and recovered explosives from their possession in Shabqadar area, adding that the three had an association with a banned organisation, and were planning attacks during Muharram. The seizure included three hand grenades and explosives to be used in the making of improvised explosive devices. The accused have handed over to the Counter-Terrorism Department for interrogation. (Three held with explosives in Charsadda,” Dawn, 27 August 2020)

Bugti’s death anniversary

On 26 August, the 14th death anniversary Nawab Akbar Bugti was observed in Quetta and other cities and towns of Balochistan. The Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) arranged Quran Khawani and a gathering at Bugti House in Quetta in which a large number of party leaders, workers and supporters participated. Further, the flag of the JWP was flown at half-mast at the main secretariat of the party in Quetta and other towns of the province. While speaking on the occasion, one of Bugti grandson’s and central leader of the JWP, Nawabzada Gohram Bugti paid tribute to the late founder of the party and said that the people of Balochistan were following in his footsteps. (“Bugti’s death anniversary,” Dawn, 27 August 2020)

NDMA AND PMD issue warning for Rawalpindi, Military also assisting the civil administration during monsoon 

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) warned Rawalpindi authorities for a possibility of heavy rainfall expected by Thursday. Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) Managing Director Raja Shaukat Mehmood said, flood response teams, along with machinery and de-watering sets have been deployed in low-lying areas along Leh Nullah. Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed and PTI MNA Sheikh Rashid Shafique also visited to inspect the administration’s preparation for flooding. 

He also said, “Rawal Dam was full on Wednesday and the spillways were opened to drain additional water. As the water level in Kanpur Dam is still low at 1,974 feet, while the dam [reaches capacity] at 1,982ft. If the dam [fills up] during the current spell of rain, it will meet the water requirements of the city and cantonment areas until next monsoon”. 

On the other hand, the rain continued in Islamabad is small breaks. The Met Office said, “Strong monsoon currents are penetrating in upper and lower parts of the country. A westerly wave is also affecting upper parts of the country, which is likely to strengthen”.  (“Rescue teams on red alert after NDMA, PMD issue flood warnings for Pindi's Leh Nullah”, Dawn, 27 August 2020)

IATA audit team to arrive in September

A designated safety audit team of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is said to visit Pakistan in the middle of September to assess the operational management and control systems of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). This operational safety audit (IOSA) has been carried out every two years, with the last such audit being carried out in 2018. This audit programme has been designed by the IATA in 2003 to access the operational management and control systems of airlines. (Azfar-ul-Ashfaque, Mohammad Asghar, “IATA audit team due next month to assess PIA safety,” Dawn, 27 August 2020)

Human Rights minister presents a report on the plight of women in Pakistan’s prisons

On 26 August, Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari presented a report on the plight of women in Pakistan’s prisons to the PM Imran Khan. The report is aimed at highlighting their problems comprehensively. This comes after PM Khan commissioned a committee to study and investigate the plight of women in prisons earlier in May. The committee comprises Mazari as its chairperson and the ministry's secretary as secretary, while the interior secretary, home secretaries and the inspectors-general of prisons of the four provinces and Gilgit-Baltistan, Justice Project Pakistan (JPP) founder and executive director Sarah Belal, and lawyer Haya Zahid were included as its members. On receiving the report, the PM office stated that it would “assess whether Prison Rules, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 and international best practices are being adhered to with respect to women prisoners, especially their protection, rights, health, security, and wellbeing.” (“Shireen Mazari presents report on plight of women prisoners to PM Imran,” The News International, 27 August 2020)

ECONOMY

Single indicators cannot give holistic image of Economy, says article

Khurram Husain in his Opinion article calls out the government’s tendency to declare untimely victory as soon as any indicator turns positive. The article looks at the economic ups and downs Pakistan has been through since the PTI came to power and emphasizes on the pandemic period. The author falsifies the Finance minister’s claims regarding the rising Private-sector credits being an indication of an economic boom; it only reveals the sharp increase in the cost of inputs and the internal struggle of firms and businesses. Husain argues that no single indicator can give a holistic image of the economy. He says that the current claims of economy being back on track based on the current account surplus is also a tomfoolery.

(“Declaring victory,” Dawn, 27 August 2020)

PM pledges to promote the country’s exports industry

On 26 August, PM Imran Khan vowed to promote the export industry while endorsing the local industry and the policy of “make in Pakistan” causing people to rely on local products thus helping curtail the import bill. While meeting with a delegation of leading exporters from various sectors, including poultry, rice, fruits, information technology, pharmaceuticals and textile he stated, “Our government is vigorously pursuing ‘Make in Pakistan’ policy to promote export-led industrialisation in the country and our efforts in the last two years have been to further this objective through various interventions, particularly in ease-of-doing-business.” He emphasised on the need for greater focus on capitalising the country’s potential in services-related exports with greater facilitation and provision of an enabling environment. Further, he expressed satisfaction over the country’s economy reiterating that the economy was moving in the right direction as the country had recorded a current account surplus in July this year and was constantly showing growth in exports after a global slump caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. (“PM vows to promote exports industry,” Dawn, 27 August 2020)

EXTERNAL

PM Imran Khan talk with Afghan High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah

On 26 August, Prime Minister Imran Khan said, “Afghan leaders must seize this historic opportunity to achieve an inclusive political settlement contributing to durable peace, security, and prosperity in Afghanistan”. Soon after his telephonic conversation with Abdullah Abdullah, Afghanistan's Chairman High Council for National Reconciliation.  He appreciated Pakistan's support in the Afghan peace process in a series of tweets and said, "We reiterated on the unique opportunity to reduce violence, start [Intra-Afghan] talks and pursue a path to a dignified and durable peace". 

He further says, “there is “no military” solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and a negotiated political settlement is the only way forward”. He also invited Dr Abdullah to visit Pakistan, as soon as possible to exchange views on advancing the Afghan peace process and forging closer ties between the two nations. (“PM Imran talks to Abdullah Abdullah, says 'no military' solution to Afghan conflict”, The News International, 26 August 2020)

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